The eleventh episode of New Game!! brings brought back all of the things that hooked viewers in its first season.
By exploring characters’ aspirations in this episode, this episode made the show far more intriguing and may have renewed some viewers’ interest after the somewhat underwhelming start to this season.
Naru finally received the character development she deserved. Until this episode, she had been portrayed as a determined, slightly arrogant woman who would stop at nothing to succeed. With her character fleshed out more, she became far more relatable than she has been.
Her feud with Nene is resolved too, at long last. Now that Eagle Jump has a cohesive programming team, it’s likely that the project will proceed more smoothly from now on, at least on the programming side of things. Nene has shown that she’s determined. Although she has a long way to go, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her heading the debugging team in future seasons.
The biggest surprise of this episode is the revelation that Kō is considering leaving the studio. This revelation could be a sitcom-style misunderstanding, but the way she spoke seems fairly clear. Kō’s departure will likely affect the morale of the entire team, though. She is a large part of why Aoba and Momo both joined the company, and Eagle Jump relied on her name to bring attention to their most recent project.
Kō is certainly acting as though she intends to leave. Last episode, she gave Rin a gift and this episode, she spent time with Momo. Considering she’s the studio’s most high-profile employee, it’s not surprising that she’d be well sought-after within the industry.
If Kō leaves, there are two choices for her replacement. The studio could hire another well-known artist, or they could promote Aoba. Considering Aoba’s work was passed off as Kō’s earlier this season anyway, the latter move would make sense. That said, Aoba is just getting used to the responsibilities of her management job, so she probably needs further training.
This episode is particularly refreshing. It manages to strike a good balance between plot progression and character development. The team has begun to feel like a group of friends again, even though the cast that the show started with are now in separate areas of the office and rarely see each other. The latest game from Eagle Jump is ten days away from being completed and next week’s episode is likely going to explore the pre-deadline rush as well as going into more depth on Kō’s situation. It’s an exciting prospect and could lead to a huge restructuring of the staff. In short, everything we know about New Game!! could be about to change.