This week, New Game!! focused heavily on the theme of aspiration.
Episode seven managed to not only tie up all of the loose threads from the previous episodes but also introduce a new source of conflict with the introduction of two characters.
The episode begins with Nene interviewing for a programmer position at Eagle Jump. She gets the job despite her inexperience. This is in large part due to her enthusiasm for games design, and indeed, the company itself.
Unfortunately, Aoba and Kō’s key visual contest from the last episode is glossed over, and the results are simply told to the audience. Aoba, it turns out, is responsible for providing the internal artwork and Kō, the key visuals. However, Aoba’s art is released on the game’s promo materials in an attempt to capitalize on Kō’s reputation. It’s not unusual for artists to have assistance, but in this case, it was obvious to Kō’s fans that the illustrations weren’t created by her.
That’s where the series’ new characters enter. Narumi and Mochizuki are interns, interested in programming and art, respectively. From the outset, Mochizuki seems to have a problem with Aoba. They’re both the same age, and Mochizuki appears to be jealous, marking her as a rival the moment they enter the office. In essence, Mochizuki is a less experienced, more aggressive version of Aoba who wants to prove herself to Kō. It’s unlikely she’ll get very far with her current attitude, however. Games design jobs require a harmonious team which works closely together, and this is something Mochizuki will have to learn if she hopes to succeed.
In contrast, Narumi seems to be a good fit for the company. She’s also fairly inexperienced, but considering Nene is too, it appears Eagle Jump may value enthusiasm and willingness to learn more than actual skill, at least to begin with. With Umiko there to mentor them, it’s likely they’ll grow into formidable programmers, and Umiko even tells Nene that she expects great things from her. To Nene at least, the best motivation is knowing that other people believe in you.
The beginning of New Game!! was muddied by several lightweight plotlines running seemingly independently of one another, but episode seven ties them all together in a way that was both logical and satisfying.
There is now a single main source of conflict in the office: Mochizuki’s apparent jealousy of Aoba. Given the nature of Aoba’s job, it’s unlikely that this will be dragged out over several episodes. Kō has her hands full creating promotional art, so it’s possible that it will fall to Aoba to train Mochizuki, and as a result, we’ll probably see tensions come to a head fairly quickly.