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Manga / New Game!

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Video game developing has never been this Moe.

Aoba Suzukaze is a fresh high-school graduate who is easily mistaken for a middle school student. She quickly joins Eagle Jump, the game company that produced her favorite game as a 3D artist, and has many cute antics as she gets her way through work and deals with her rather wacky co-workers.

New Game! is a 4-koma format manga by Shotaro Tokuno, which was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Carat from 2013 to 2021. While it leans heavily on a cute aesthetic, it also portrays how the video game industry works in a realistic yet light-hearted way. Since this is a 4-koma, expect lots of hilarious moments. Seven Seas Entertainment released the manga in English in 2018.

An anime adaptation by Dogakobo and directed by Yoshiyuki Fujiwara (Engaged to the Unidentified) premiered in July 2016. An OVA was released on May 3, 2017. A second season aired as part of the Summer 2017 Anime lineup. The series is streamed in most of the English-speaking world by Crunchyroll. In North America, New Game! is licensed and dubbed by Funimation. The episodes can be watched here.


New Game! provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: After Aoba is appointed as a character designer for a game, she gets in over her head and tries to act like a senior even though she's not as experienced as the others. Surprisingly enough for this trope, she quickly realizes she's out of her depth and becomes depressed, at least until Hifumi has a talk with her.
  • Acronym Confusion: When Rin first introduces herself to Aoba, she says she's an AD. Aoba first took it as the Assistant Directornote , then Rin corrects it to Art Director.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime adds some extra scenes along with its chapter adaptations. Examples include Umiko's rooftop airsoft range and Episode 9 of the first season, and Shizuku's maid cafe diversion in the second season.
  • Advertisement:
  • A.K.A.-47: In Vol. 2, Nene wins an N16 assault rifle from Umiko in a raffle. When Nene expresses disinterest in her prize, Umiko quips that a BK-47 would be a better fit for her.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Subverted with Haijme Shinoda, who works in the character design area despite being part of the animation team. When Aoba asks why, the way Hajime begins makes it sound like she was shunned by her team, but the real reason is that the animation team's area is all filled up.
    • Ko was a target for bullying when she became a lead character designer at 18.
  • Ambiguously Bi: While the entire cast counts as Ambiguously Gay, several of them discuss boyfriends during Aoba's official welcome party.
  • Ambiguously Gay: More or less everyone, though special mention goes to Rin, who is often hinted at being in love with Ko. She also becomes jealous of Ko and Aoba's mentor relationship, as well as Ko liking Hifumi's cooking and getting Hifumi to call her "Ko-chan" like Rin does.
  • Amusing Injuries: Characters react to getting shot by Umiko's airsoft guns, but typically no further effects occur, not even a welt.
  • Ascended Glitch: In episode 9, the fact that the player can see up the skirts of characters when there is a Skirts and Ladders Situation. Since it was never on the specs, Umiko declares it a bug, but the Covert Pervert Producer Hazuki overrules Umiko, and rather requires the graphics people to go overtime to make sure the panties are rendered properly.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The anime's opening makes it look like Aoba, Hajime, Yun, and Hifumi are a Four-Girl Ensemble. The series largely focuses on Aoba, and the latter three are supporting roles at most.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ko and Hifumi think Aoba has a sadistic side beneath her cheerful exterior, after they see Aoba send a picture of delicious donuts to Nene (who, as a part-timer, isn't allowed to come in that day) to make her jealous.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": In the dub of Episode 11, Nene screams "SHUT UP!" at the end of her argument with Aoba.
  • Billing Displacement: Invoked. In Chapter 49, Christina ordered Ko, instead of Aoba, to draw the key visuals for Peco, so that the project can be billed under well-known veterans to ensure sales.
  • Birds of a Feather: Hajime and Nene bond over their shared otaku interests.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • In Chapter 20, Tentendo, Suny, and Macrosoft stand in for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.
    • In Episode 1 of the anime, Red Gull stands in for Red Bull, Autodesk Saya stands in for Autodesk Maya, PZ3 stands in for PS3, and NEO for NEC.
    • In Episode 2, there's Calorie Mets! for CalorieMate, the market-dominating meal replacement bar. In the manga, it's called CalorieMake.
    • Episode 5 has several examples when Aoba and Hajime visit the electronics store: Mocom for Wacom, Toshida for Toshiba, and UVC for JVC, among others.
    • Episode 11 of the anime has "Will U" briefly appear on a video game magazine cover.
    • Masshirosoft Visual C++ stands in for Microsoft Visual C++ in an error message Freeze-Frame Bonus in Season 2 Episode 1.
    • Aoba uses "Qeeqle" to search for someone with twintails.
  • Bookends: The manga ends with a Time Skip and a new employee walking up to the Eagle Jump offices, ready to start working on a new game.
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • The conflict between Naru and Nene during the Peco arc is caused by Naru realizing that Nene largely got hired because of a favor for their boss Umiko, which angers Naru. On the one hand, Naru is right that Nene wasn't hired on her own merits, since Umiko admitted as much at the end of Nene's interview, and the fact that Naru had to pay her own way through vocational school means she had to work harder than Nene did to get to the same place. On the other hand, Nene diligently works on improving her skills, and manages to help debug Naru's minigames when the latter lets errors through due to her haste and desperation to prove herself(thus proving Naru isn't infallible herself).
    • Toward the end of the series, Naru has to take a month off, forcing Umiko to bring in a replacemnt. Nene feels a bit hurt that Naru could be replaced so easily. Umiko sympathizs with Nene, but points out that Nene has to accept that none of them are irreplaceable. Nene gives what Umiko said some thought and admits Umiko has a point, but says she wants to make a game that can only be made by combining the talents of everyone at Eagle Jump.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Episode 3, Aoba imagines a situation where Ko punishes her for being late by forcing her to stay overnight in her underwear. At the end of the episode, while facing the prospect of having to work overnight, Aoba blurts out that she doesn't want to sleep in her underwear in front of Ko.
    • In Episode 7, Aoba's coworkers mention that Umiko supposedly once got impatient and tried to draw her own blood during a physical exam, although they're not entirely sure whether it actually happened. She ends up doing that in the latter half of the episode, which is adapted from Chapter 16.
    • In Japan, the manga was obscure and on the verge of cancellation until a panel of Aoba declaring "Ganbaruzoi!"note  became an enormous meme, taking Tokuno completely by surprise. Per the Japanese Wikiepdia, he didn't think much of the panel, since it was just a transitory line and wasn't very well drawn, and said he had no plans to have other characters repeat the meme. Literally the very last panel of the manga is a grown-up Sophie-chan declaring "Ganbaruzoi!"
  • Canon Immigrant: Hazuki's cat Mozuku started off in the anime, but is introduced into the manga in Chapter 52, serialized when the anime is running.
  • Cerebus Syndrome:
    • Those who have only watched the anime would be surprised at the arc between Chapters 49 to 51, in which Kou is given the main credit as the character designer despite Aoba doing most of the work, an arrangement that neither of them is happy about. It's especially surprising to see the normally laid back and humorous Kou get angry enough to raise her voice.
    • A more permanent example happens when Kou temporarily leaves the company to go to France, with the following arcs being significantly more serious.
  • Character Development: Some characters develop significantly as the series progresses.
    • Nene is first shown as someone who can't stay focused. She later takes up programming and shows skill at it.
    • Hifumi goes from barely being able to speak face-to-face to becoming the character team leader and showing competency at her role.
    • Naru is initially so preoccupied with proving herself and getting hired that she refuses to make changes that would put her group at risk of missing their deadlines, even if said changes would make the game better, and cuts corners on programming. Later on, though, she works with Hajime on coming up with an idea for a new game, despite there being a risk of her getting in trouble for it. Likewise, she goes from looking down on Nene for seemingly not taking her work seriously to coming to understand Nene's commitment and skill, and accepting Nene as a friend.
    • Naru's mother gradually becomes more accepting of her daughter's decision to go into the gaming industry. After initially refusing to send Naru any money for school, and telling Naru that she'd have to come home and inherit the inn if she couldn't get a job at her first choice (thus causing most of Naru's issues), she later has a heart-to-heart talk with Naru at the end of her visit to the inn, and even attends Naru's graduation.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • In Chapter 27/S2E1, Umiko agrees to become the chief programmer on the condition that she gets to flick Shizuku's forehead if a specification change is made. Umiko makes good on that promise in Chapter 37/S2E3.
    • Two gags in Episode 6 have importance later in the manga. Specifically, the fact that Eagle Jump chooses character designers by internal design competitions and Aoba's cute bear sleeping bag. In Chapter 30, Aoba's winning entry for Eagle Jump's new project is inspired by her sleeping bag.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Nene interviews at Eagle Jump in Chapter 51, you can see Momo and Naru (who end up being hired at the same time as Nene) waiting for their interviews.
  • Cherry Blossoms: Falling sakura petals and a flower viewing happen in Chapter 43/S2E1, signifying the start of Aoba's second year at Eagle Jump.
  • Club Stub: In the Prequel, Hotaru was the only member of the art club before Aoba and Nene joined.
  • Color Failure: A brief flashback in episode 6 shows Hajime in this when she struggled to hand in a submission for an internal design competition.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: Yun says she "wouldn't not be unbothered by" the prospect of Hajime having to move to a different cubicle to make room for Momo. Hajime lampshades this trope by asking, "Which is it?"
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • In chapter 45/S2E04, Hajime is unable to get a ticket to the Moon Rangers concert. It's fortunate for her that Yun managed to acquire four tickets, for herself, her younger siblings, and her father, and her father offered to give up his ticket so Hajime could go.
    • When Ko moves to France, an entirely different country halfway across the world, her roommate turns out to be Aoba's close friend Hotarun.
    • In chapter 113, Momo marches off to speak to the editor who commissioned her light novel cover and Hotarun rushes after her. They meet in the publisher's lobby, just in time for Hotarun to recognize the editor as the exact same one who commissioned the cover art from her in high school.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Peco takes place in a soft and fluffy world with a cute female protagonist who kills other characters, skins them, and wears their pelts as a disguise to easily kill others. The only thing that keeps it from being a gore-fest is the fact that every creature is a living stuffed animal. Nene attributes the dissonance to Aoba's "dark, surreal touch". It even has a tribe of cannibal bears; Aoba cheerily says she proposed them as a joke, but Hazuki included them anyway.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Aoba Suzukaze has a surprisingly dark, sadistic side. Several characters point out its influence on the development of Peco's setting and characters.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Shizuku really likes her cute colleagues, to the point that she chooses staff based on that. This way, she can forgive their mistakes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapters 32 and 42 focus on Nene and Umiko, who get together to review Nene's code in both chapters.
  • Distant Finale: The last chapter takes place several years into the future, following a now adult Sophia on her first day at Eagle Jump.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Stinger of episode 4 makes it look like Rin and Ko went off to have sex, before revealing they were at a spa getting heat massages.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The anime's opening and ending themes are performed by fourfolium, which consists of voice actresses Yuuki Takada (Aoba), Ayumi Takeo (Yun), Megumi Toda (Hajime), and Megumi Yamaguchi (Hifumi).
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: Discussed in Chapter 35. Hajime's worried about planning the end-of-the-year party with Aoba and Yun, since if they don't do well, they'll be considered employees who can't work well with others, but if they do well, they'll get the job every year. Hajime then suggests that they could do a decent but forgettable celebration, but Aoba wonders if being forgettable is worse than being seen as uncooperative, and Yun argues that they have nothing to lose by doing well.
  • Dramatic Wind: In episode 12 of the anime, Aoba's and Ko's hair fly into the air when Aoba says she'll stick by Ko no matter what. This happens inside a building, with no fans nearby.
  • Dub Name Change: The Fairies Story franchise is spelled as Fairy Stories in Seven Seas Entertainment's translation.
  • Emoticon: Hifumi uses those heavily, not only in groupware but also in some written materials(e.g. paperwork for when she comes in late), which annoys Ko.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: In chapter 150, Aoba goes around to the other staffers to hand out candy. Hotaru quips, "It's almost over, isn't it?" In-Universe she's talking about the development of Fairies Story 4, but out of universe it's a clear reference to the fact that the manga is ending and Tokuno is getting in one last comedy bit with all of his characters before it's over.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: In-Universe, Sophia becomes fairly popular, despite being killed off shortly after her introduction. Since she's the first character Aoba designed, and significantly more important than the villagers Aoba worked on, Aoba's pleased.
  • Entertainment Below Their Age: Hajime and Nene openly love tokusatsu shows like Insect Five and magical girl anime like Moon Ranger, the latter explicitly noted to be aimed at little girls. Hajime even blows most of her pay on toys from these and other shows, leaving her constantly flat broke. Hifumi is a more closeted case, but is shown to be a big Moon Ranger fan herself.
  • Escort Mission: In Fairies Story 3, there's supposed to be a mission of The Hero escorting Sophia. Subverted, because the game won't continue until Sophia dies.
  • Excited Show Title!: That's New Game!, with an exclamation point. The name of season two of the anime adds one more exclamation point.
  • Fanservice: For a show about working girls they all end up naked or in just their underwear a lot. The anime is also full of Male Gaze with long lingering shots of butts, stomachs, chests, and feet. Ko and Hifumi get the lion's share of leg and breast shots, respectively.
  • Fanservice with a Smile: Invoked in S2E08. Shizuku attempts to use the new staff welcome party as an excuse to have the team do a Maid Cafe for her, to the team's annoyance.
  • Feud Episode: In Chapter 21/Episode 10 Aoba and Nene have a fight after Nene expresses concern about how hard Aoba is working, which Aoba brushes off, angering Nene. They spend most of the segment fuming over the other. They make up by the end.
  • Fictional Video Game:
    • Fairies Storynote , the series which inspired Aoba to join a game company in the first place. It's inspired by the Valkyrie Profile series. Common traits include:
      • "Mythological creature" plus "written account" naming scheme.
      • Gorgeous fantasy character designs by Ko (and his brother Yo) Yoshinari.
      • Seven years after the first Valkyrie Profile, mangaka Shotaro Tokuno joined tri-Ace and worked on the sequel—the same time span between Aoba playing Fairies Story and joining Eagle Jump to work on its sequel.
    • Peco, the second project Aoba works on at Eagle Jump. It's a game that runs on Power Copying and Rule of Cute.
    • Nene Quest, a personal project of Nene's that she made while learning how to program.
    • Nene's Maze, a project Nene created while in training at Eagle Jump.
    • Destruction Dodgeball, an evolution of Hajime's sentai proposal Eagle Jump puts into production with Hajime as the director. When prompted to shorten the title, she lands on "Desu-Ball"
    • Utopia, a Western RPG made by French company Blue Rose which Ko and Hotaru helped with the design of its main monster.
  • Finale Title Drop: Aoba's monologue at the end of the final episode of Season 2:
    Aoba: I want to make even more wonderful games. Working together once more on a new game!
  • First-Name Basis:
    • When Hajime first introduces herself to Aoba, Aoba initially addresses her as "Shinoda-senpai". Hajime finds that too embarrassing and asks that Aoba just call her Hajime. Not long afterward, Yun and Hifumi ask the same of her.
    • Umiko insists on being called by her first name, as she doesn't like her surname Ahagon despite it being written differently from its usual meaning. Ko doesn't really care and calls her by surname anyway.
    • While most of the newer employees call Ko and Rin by their last names, Hifumi uses their first names and "-chan." According to her, Ko insisted on this when she was helping Hifumi talk, and Rin, jealous that someone besides her was on a first-name basis with Ko, asked Hifumi to do the same for her.
    • Blue Rose, a French company, naturally is more casual with first names than the Japanese Eagle Jump. For example, Chloe addresses Hotaru, whom she's just met, by her first name, and does the same for their boss, Catherine.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In the anime, in the scene before Nene joins Eagle Jump, she finds a job posting for the company on a bulletin board.
  • Flanderization: In season two, Rin's tsundere crush on Ko is ramped way up and her actual job duties are shunted to the background, making her appear markedly more temperamental and passive-aggressive than in the first season.
  • Funny Background Event: In Episode 11 of the second season of the anime, when Ko remarks that she worries about what Aoba's like on the inside after seeing some stuffed-bear cannibals, Hifumi can be seen off to the side with a shocked expression on her face.
  • Gilligan Cut: When everyone plays rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets to play the debug version of Peco, Momiji quietly hopes that she'll lose. One cut later, she's in the player's seat, lamenting that she won.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: The Big Bad of Peco is the queen of the world, who happens to be the only human besides the protagonist. That said, Shizuku and Aoba discuss the possibility that the queen wants to have friends, but doesn't know how to make them.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In-universe, Nene discovers a couple while Beta Testing Fairies Story 3, including:
    • Ice weapons inexplicably dealing high damage to a Frost Giant.
    • The ability to prevent Sophia's scripted death by moving her into a corner of the map and killing the enemies as they approach (this sort-of breaks the game, as enemies are continuously spawned until she dies).
    • She also discovers that you can get a panty shot of female NPCs in certain areas. This is actually turned into a feature, much to Umiko's annoyance.
  • Guilty Pleasures: Nene sees Moon Rangers as this. Since the latter is a children's series, she'd only take her Childhood Friend Aoba to watch it rather than her college friends, lest it strengthens the view that Nene's extremely childish.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Sometimes, individuals in companies have to make sacrifices for the greater good of the organization. For example, Aoba has to accept Kou being chosen over her to do Peco's key visual because Kou's more famous and skilled.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Chapter 61/S 2 E 11 has a montage of Nene and Tsubame diligently squashing bugs in Tsubame's code.
  • Harsh Word Impact: When Hifumi tries to comfort Aoba about not contributing to character design discussions more, Hifumi says that it's obvious that Aoba is still inexperienced. Aoba is then pierced by an arrow labeled as much, and Hifumi quickly apologizes.
  • Hero Stage Show: Hajime is a big fan of these despite being at least twenty years old, to the point of spending not a small amount of her income into it. Two series of such shows are featured in the series: Signal Three is about stoplight-themed crime fighters, Insect Five is about insect-themed crime-fighters.note 
  • Heroic BSoD: Aoba is significantly shaken after she is lashed out at by Ko, whose character designs were entirely rejected at a recent inter-office contest. It's enough for Aoba to question her job and the path she took.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Nene, who is introduced as Aoba's goofy, troublemaking friend, later takes up programming and shows some skill at it.
    • There are moments when Hifumi isn't shy at all. That's when she cosplays, to the point that her coworkers can't recognize her. She eventually is promoted to character team leader and proves capable of filling the role.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Most of the time, but what takes the cake is Aoba getting trapped outside the office because she didn't have an ID card. Twice.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Sophia's death is an non-traditional example of this; what the Knight character faces in that battle are just garden-variety mooks, but they would spawn indefinitely until Sophia dies.
  • Hot Springs Episode: One half of chapter 29/the OVA focuses on Aoba and co-workers in a hot spring.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Aoba asks her co-workers what they do on their days off, Yun quickly says what she does is a secret, which Hajime teases her over. When Aoba asks Hajime the same question, Hajime replies that it's a secret.
    • Nene takes a swig of a strong energy drink and complains about its taste, and Aoba says she's just like a child. When Aoba takes a sip of the drink, she gags and tears up over it.
    • Umiko chides Ko over eating at a ramen restaurant, while sitting down and ordering a bowl for herself.
  • Ill Girl: The Queen of Peco's world was this in the real world, which resulted in her being lonely and ending up as a tyrant in the land of stuffed animals.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • While Aoba is on the train, anxious after having overslept, she imagines a situation where Ko punishes her for being late by forcing her to stay overnight in her underwear.
    • In Chapter 18/Episode 8 Nene goes to apologize for eating someone else's pudding, but then has a brief spot where she imagines getting told off by Ko and Rin, and Aoba getting in trouble by association.
    • In Chapter 42, Nene briefly imagines Umiko, who's difficult to please, being impressed by how far she's come on her game, but a moment later, imagines Umiko criticizing her instead.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Everyone the manga focuses on is female, despite how the video game industry in Real Life is still male-dominated even after more women have entered it. Aoba brings up that the department she's in is staffed entirely by females during her evaluation where we learn that Shizuku purposely only hires women. The Prequel manga further explains this; the company as a whole might be equal-opportunity, but team assignment isn't.
  • Inconsistent Dub: In the dub of the first season, Aoba and a few other characters alternate between Rin by her first name and "Toyama," depending on the scene. Ko and Shizuku are always "Yagami" and "Hazuki" to them, though.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Several extras have a very similar design- that of a young woman with short dark hair in a bowl cut and eyeglasses. These include the younger female nurse, the photographer who takes Ko's picture, the police officer who finds Aoba with a drunken Ko and Rin, and the waitress at the ramen shop.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Played With when Ko returns to japan. She and Rin begin living together and even sharing a bed, while Ko feels she is being a burden, Rin is of course extremely happy with this set up, despite no hint that they are even dating yet.
  • Ironic Echo: In Chapter 9/Episode 4 Rin catches Ko stripping down in the office and tells to be more careful, and to be glad it was her who saw that. The next morning, Ko sees Rin stripping down and repeats what Rin said back to her.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: After Umiko lays into Aoba for some errors, Aoba doesn't have the best opinion of her. Ko says not to worry, because Umiko's probably thinking she went overboard. In the very next strip, Umiko says she probably went overboard saying that Aoba looked like an apologetic monkey.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Umiko frequently carries around an airsoft pistol and gladly uses it to shoot anyone that annoys her.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Yun is from the Kansai region. Her speech in English scanlations is rendered into pirate fashion.
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • Despite insisting on being called by her first name, Umiko calls most of her coworkers by their last names. Christina and Shizuku do the same with most people besides each other.
    • A few characters switch to last names, as opposed to first names or nicknames, on occasions that require formality. For example, when Nene's being tested for her professionalism during her interviews, she calls Aoba "Suzukaze-san" instead of "Aocchi."
    • Naru pointedly addresses Nene as "Sakura-san" after learning that Nene mainly got her job because of her connections with Umiko. After Naru apologizes, Nene encourages Naru to call her "Nenecchi," like Aoba does, and Naru accepts.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Zig-zagged. Aoba almost always wears the same suit to work (when said suit is in the laundry, she changes her outfit, and people make note of it), but outside of work she changes up her wardrobe. Ko almost always wears the same clothes because she sleeps at the office often. Everyone else wears different outfits.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • Hajime once suggests that if she becomes Ko's boss, she'll stop using "-san" on her, calling her "Yagami" instead of "Yagami-san." In the dub, which doesn't include the honorifics (or even use the rough equivalent "Ms. Yagami") Hajime's Imagine Spot merely has her speaking to Ko in a more bossy and demanding voice.
    • When Umiko's discusses her new hires with Kou, she says that Naru was putting on "a cat act," (a reference to Naru's acting polite while Umiko's around but being hostile to Nene), while Nene was like an excitable puppy, prompting Kou to muse about Umiko comparing Naru and Nene to pets. The localizations retain the cat reference, but not the idiom.
  • Maid Cafe: It's a point of discussion in Chapter 35, when Shizuku says she's like to visit one as part of a company dinner. Its anime adaptation in Episode 8 of the second season also has Shizuku drag Aoba, Yun, Hajime, and Momiji to the cafeteria for a demonstration.
  • Measuring Day: Chapter 16/Episode 7 focuses on a company-sponsored physical, and naturally taking measurements is one of the events that occurs.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Of course this is also the case in real life video game studios, but there are a few specific examples:
    • In Chapter 19/ Episode 10, when Aoba and Hifumi go to Umiko's cubicle to give her some donuts, they noticed Umiko's two coworkers at the programming department have crashed, with at least 7 energy drinks visible.
    • Chapter 22 is basically about Umiko asking Nene (and Aoba) to buy energy drinks for the whole debug team, since Umiko expects the entire team to work overnight.
  • Nervous Wreck: The younger nurse at the company physical. In the anime, she's the one who has to take deep breaths to calm down while examining Aoba.
  • Never Trust a Title: Episode 6 of the anime adaptation is titled "The Release Is Cancelled?!" This does not happen(although it, like other episode titles, is based off a line said in the episode), and the mere possibility of Fairies Story 3 being cancelled is only brought up in passing.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: In the Afterword to Vol. 2, the author states that Umiko handing out a shotgun shell as a gift is based on something that actually happened.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Ko and Rin stay overnight in the office in a state of undress, Aoba comes in early and catches them in a compromising position. They were just trying to keep quiet.
  • Odd Couple: The goofball Nene and the straight-laced Umiko eventually bond in a protege-master style.
  • Official Couple: The Author notes at the end of the final volume reveal that Rin and Kou got married sometime before the series Distant Finale.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • At the company physical, Yun and Hajime desperately hope that they'll get the older and more experienced nurse, rather than the younger one, who's a Nervous Wreck and not very good at her job. When the older nurse steps out and leaves the younger one to hold down the fort, Hajime and Yun react with silent terror.
    • Nene has a look of utter dread on her face after she accidentally unplugs Umiko's computer.
    • The employees who are standing in line for the release of Fairies' Story 3 are terrified of being fired when, after Nene blurts out a spoiler about the identity of the Final Boss, people begin tweeting about it. Rin desperately tries to convince everyone that those who played the release version simply leaked the information (which ends up being true in the anime).
    • Momo is shocked and gets a Luminescent Blush after getting Aoba's surname wrong.
  • Older Than They Look: Aoba and Nene, who are 18 at of the start of the series, are sometimes mistaken for middle schoolers.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In the manga and the series, A Stinger features a police traffic camera catching Ko and Rin walking home drunk, while Aoba, a female police officer and Nene happen by. After Ko walks face-first into a street light, a thoroughly-soused Rin cracks a joke about Ko-lateral damage. However, since Ko's actual name was bleeped out to protect her identity, the pun is lost on anybody who isn't a New Game watcher.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Aoba quickly learns in season 2 that despite her improving art skills, she's still nowhere near the level of where Ko is, evidenced by their mock art contest in episode 6 where Shizuku allows them to draw a piece of art to be used as a promotional piece for gaming magazines. She ends up crying when she sees how much better Ko's work was compared to hers, though Ko at least tells Aoba her piece isn't half-bad either.
  • Paying Their Dues: In-Universe, some of the junior employees start out studying various texts and doing training assignments before moving on to significant tasks. This may be why Aoba is more accepting than Ko regarding the Billing Displacement in Peco. In a flashback, Kou also finds it unfair that Rin, who started around the same time Kou did, has to get her coworkers coffee while Kou gets to work on character design.
  • Periphery Demographic: In-Universe.
    • The Show Within a Show Moon Rangers is targeted to children. However even the producers noticed its adult fanbase, so the concert discussed in Chapter 45/S2E04 has two sessions—an afternoon session for the children, and an evening session geared towards the adults.
    • Both Hajime and Hifume are fans of the children's Sentai show "Insect Five".
  • Perpetual Poverty: This is implied for Momo and Naru. Justified because they are originally from Hokkaido, coming to Tokyo to learn game making and only interning at Eagle Jump. Naru's parents also refuse to send money, since they hope Naru will give up on the gaming industry and return home to inherit the inn. However, in Chapter 93, Naru's parents send her a large sum of money as compensation for not paying her expenses, making her and Momo wonder whether they need to stick together.
  • Pose of Supplication:
    • Aoba in the first chapter, when she gets Rin's title wrong.
    • In Nene's Imagine Spot about what would happen if she confessed to eating Kou's pudding, both Nene and Aoba do this, since the latter is held responsible for the former's actions.
    • Late in the series, an applicant for Eagle Jump mistakes Aoba for a job seeker and suggests that Girlish Pigtails are not an appropriate hairdo for an interview. She eventually realizes that Aoba will be interviewing her, and goes into this pose to apologize, but Aoba isn't offended and apologizes for misleading her.
  • Power Copying: This is the concept behind Eagle Jump's new project Peco, where the protagonist can wear different animal suits and attain that animal's abilities.
  • Prequel: Volume 5, which is only available in collected volumes, is about Aoba, Nene, and Hotaru's high school lives.
  • Product Placement: In the anime's second season, Ko's favourite energy drink is no longer given the Bland-Name Product treatment—it's Red Bull, alright.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: In Episode 9 Aoba, Hajime, Hifumi, and Yun all visit a bathhouse after finishing some overnight work.
  • Quit Your Whining: When Aoba initially struggles with designing Sophia, she says that she's been so busy she hasn't had time to draw, only for Ko to tell her to stop making excuses.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Christina laments some of her employees' status as such in Chapter 83.
    Christina: A brand-new director(Hajime)... A devil-may-care advisor(Shizuku)... An art director who still has communication issues(Hifumi)... And a character designer who's not technically hired yet(Momiji). With communication problems of her own. This doesn't look good...!
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Invoked Rare Female Example in episode 1. Since Aoba sees herself an "adult" as she gets her first job, she asked for black coffee—rather than orange juice—when she first reports to work. To keep this trope straight, she couldn't stand the coffee.
  • Real-Place Background:
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted with rivals Aoba and Momiji. Although Aoba has a cool color palette and a name that means "blue leaves" and Momiji has a warm color palette and a name that means "red leaves", Aoba is the friendly and compassionate one while Momiji is the quiet, withdrawn one.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Hifumi's pet hedgehog, Sojiro, is the only thing she could smile towards for the longest time. It's because he's one of these.
    • The Mooks in Peco are adorable, five foot teddy bears.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding:
    • In Chapter 37 Shizuku attempts to tease Umiko by offering some food to feed to her. Unfortunately for Shizuku, Umiko was in a similar situation previously and eats the food without hesitation.
    • In Episode 9 of the anime, Ko makes some porridge for a sick Rin. When Ko refuses to return to work, Rin demands that Ko feed her.
  • Running Gag: Aoba's suit is often mistaken for a school uniform because of the ribbon she wears. In Volume 12, an applicant for Eagle Jump mistakes Aoba for an interviewee and suggests that she not wear her Girlish Pigtails to the interview, unaware that Aoba will be the interviewer.
  • Scotty Time: Aoba is asked by Hifumi about her progress on an assignment. Aoba admits that she's behind schedule and asks for a two-day extension, of which Hifumi grants immediately. Aoba is forced to admit that she can actually get it done a single day; she'd padded her estimate because this trope was always in effect under Ko.
  • Ship Tease: A lot between various pairings, though some get more pushed than others.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the opening, Hajime twirls her hand and points at the camera like Haruhi.
    • Eagle Jump usually work with a game publisher called "Hobundo." The series' publisher is called Hobunsha.
    • In "Lunch Break 2", a bonus story for the second manga volume, Aoba decides on an item from the grocery store by exclaiming, "I choose you, Kombu!"
    • The Show Within a Show Moon Rangers is primarily a reference to Sailor Moon (the light stick given out at the film is basically just the Moon Stick), but the practice of waving lights to cheer on the heroines during a theatrical film is clearly a nod to Pretty Cure.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Kou leaving the company to work in France. The character in question wasn't purely comic relief, but a lot of the humor came from her, so with her gone, the series is naturally more serious.
  • Show Within a Show: Since the show/manga revolves around a group of girls who make video games, obviously there's bound to be some of this.
    • Large chunks of the narrative are taken up with the development of Fairies Story 3, PECO, Destruction Dodgeball, and to a lesser extent Nene Quest.
    • Moon Rangers, a Magical Girl anime of which Hajime, Hifumi and Nene are fans of. On the other way, even Yun and Aoba watch it frequently, being dragged by siblings and Nene respectively.
    • Signal 3 and Insect 5, two Sentai-styled shows. One is about stoplight-themed crime fighters, the other is about insect-themed crime-fightersnote 
    • Dandy Max, a pastiche of Golgo 13.
    • In the episode "That's How Many Nights We Have to Stay?", Hajime waits in a lounge and watches a kid's show about talking animals.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Tokuno realistically portrays the usual working conditions in Japan in general, and the Japanese video game industry in particular, although he had to tone it down in order to give the manga a Lighter and Softer feel.
    • Japanese workers are known for being much more hardworking than your average worker, so pretty much the reason why they try to lighten up the mood all the time by goofing off once in a while is to relieve all the pent-up stress from working all day and all night.
    • Some, like Ko (and later Rin and Aoba), are shown to sleep in the office in order to be able to work long hours and meet deadlines faster.
    • Many in the tech industry may take issue with Aoba's easily getting a job, or the series' sugar-coating of workload issues, but they do appreciate the series' depiction of groupware use.
  • Sick Episode:
    • In Episode 9 of the first season of the anime Rin falls ill and leaves work early. Ko later goes to Rin's place to take care of her.
    • Chapter 73 involves Aoba coming down with a cold after the trip to Hokkaido.
  • Significant Name Shift: Nene Sakura and Tsubame "Naru" Narumi initially get along well, and Naru calls Nene "Nenecchi" at the latter's invitation. However, Naru is offended to learn that Nene mainly got hired due to connections, and starts calling her "Sakura-san" instead to distance herself from her. Later on, Nene helps fix some of the bugs that were discovered in Naru's minigames, and says that while she disliked Naru at first, she learned about how hard Naru worked to overcome her mother's opposition to her working in the game industry. Naru, however, says that was no excuse to treat Nene so poorly and apologizes, whereupon Nenecchi once again invites Naru to use her nickname and Naru accepts.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Aoba's parents are worried about her staying out late because it's bad for her skin, rather than it being unsafe to go home late at night.
    • Zig-zagged in Episode 10, in which Rin sends a company-wide email to ask who ate Ko's pudding, which cost 100 yen (roughly a dollar). As strange as it is that Rin would worry about something so trivial, as Ko herself mentions, Rin makes the sound point that they're at a critical point and must be able to work together well.
  • Snap Back: Originally, the scene where Aoba discovers Rin and Ko in a compromising position and the scene where Aoba gets her first paycheck were two separate chapters. In the anime, these two scenes are back-to-back, resulting in a very odd mid-episode Snap Back where Rin isn't awkward or uncomfortable around Aoba at all, despite the fact she just got caught straddling Ko at the office.
  • Sneeze Cut:
    • While Aoba and Nene are in a theater to watch a Magical Girl movie, Aoba mentions that another co-worker might be into this kind of thing. A little while later, Hajime, who's in the same theater, sneezes after Aoba remarks about her some more.
    • In Episode 9 of the anime, the character design team decides to work overnight and Nene blames herself for it. Umiko says not to do that because the blame lies with Shizuku for changing the game's specs on a whim. Cut to Shizuku sneezing and looking rather confused by it.
    • While Aoba works through the night with her co-workers she wonders how Ko does it. Yun agrees and remarks that Ko looks thin and weak. At that moment, Ko, who is at Rin's place, suddenly sneezes.
    • Momiji frets because Ko hadn't told her if her employment at Eagle jump would continue, only for Rin to say that Momiji will be able to continue working, and Ko forgot to tell her. Momiji says that Ko's pretty irresponsible, to which Aoba agrees. The two then yell that Ko is a jerk, and Ko, who happens to be elsewhere, (on a plane to France) suddenly sneezes.
    • In Chapter 54, after Hifumi tells the others why she's on a First-Name Basis with Ko(who is present) and Rin(who isn't), Rin sneezes at the start of the next page.
  • Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: In episode 2x09, the leader of the "Insect Five" Sentai team is named "Spider", which is not an insect. It's lampshaded by some background chatter.
  • Spit Take: Shizuku spits out her coffee in Chapter 26/ S2E01 after Aoba asks why Eagle Jump only seems to employ females.
  • Squee: In the anime Nene is overjoyed to meet Ko in person.
  • Super OCD: Ko has the tendency to redraw the same things many times to change even the slightest details. She even takes too long to take Aoba's ID picture because she takes off Aoba's ribbon and unbuttoning her collar to make her suit look more proper, before realizing the look doesn't fit her and changing it back. This is somehow Deconstructed; her stint as the art director for Fairies Story 2 was extremely bruising for her partly because of this trope—she was seen to be an overly demanding superior.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted, compared to other slice-of-life works. As fitting for a work environment, new people are hired, some are promoted, and even some people leave the company for various reasons.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: In the anime, Shizuku often appears out of nowhere, surprising those around her. Sometimes she'll even have helped herself to some of their snacks beforehand.
  • Stylistic Suck: Averted in the anime. The quality of the video games and most of the computer models depicted are at least on par with the anime and those in an obviously different, 3D style are comparable to what you'd expect in a real-life video game.
  • Take My Hand!: While Aoba and Yun are running to work because they're late, Aoba begins to fall behind. Yun reaches her hand back and tells Aoba not to give up. Aoba reaches for Yun's hand... and slips and falls on her face.
  • Teen Genius: Ko became the lead character designer at age 18, which made her a huge bullying target among her older co-workers back in her younger days.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: Non-lethal variant. When Umiko challenges Ko to an airsoft pistol duel, they take the expected ten paces, but neither allows themselves to actually get hit after shooting.
  • The One Guy: Hana, the only male character shown working at Eagle Jump. It's implied he's equal in rank to Hazuki, and she states he poaches all the male hires for his own team, justifying the Improbably Female Cast and implying a Cast Full of Pretty Boys somewhere beyond the cubicle dividers.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In Chapter 83, Christina realizes that they'll be in for a rough time considering the quirks and shortcomings of some of the people on staff.
  • Title Drop: The ending theme Now Loading!!!! doubles it up with this line:
    New game is now loading, now loading, now loading...
  • Tsundere: Flora, a friend Sophie makes while in France. She initially rebuffs Sophie's attempts at befriending her, eventually telling her to go away and not come back. When it seems as though Sophie's given up, Flora's outward reaction- annoyance at Sophie for giving up so easily- seems to imply that she's actually disappointed, but when Sophie returns, Flora accepts her offer of friendship in an emotionally understated manner.
  • Two Decades Behind: Tokuno worked in the gaming industry in the mid-to-late 2000s, before mobile gaming and downloadable console games exploded in popularity. A lot of the issues with Destruction Dodgeball's production came from the fact that Eagle Jump insisted on making an unproven IP about a rather simplistic sports game into a full physical release, rather than publish it on a platform with minimal overhead and the ability to easily patch or update it later.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: An In-Universe case in Episode 10 of Season 2. Momo notices that during the "Red Light Green Light" minigame, the other bears can get a glimpse of Peco's face, and wonders why they don't react.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Chapter 87 focuses on Nene and Naru giving chocolate to Umiko, and learning that everyone else in programming is planning on doing the same.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Hajime and Yun mess with each other and exchange barbs, but they're amicable enough that they're willing to spend time after work together.
    • Kou frequently gets on Umiko's nerves by calling her by her last name, as well as failing to teach Aoba to look for bugs in her NPCs, but also respects Umiko, reassuring Aoba that Umiko is a good person and convincing Momo that Umiko wouldn't hire Naru out of pity.
  • Wham Episode: The end of Volume 6/Season 2 shakes up the status quo significantly when Ko leaves Eagle Jump to work at a French game company for a while.
  • Wham Line:
    • In Chapter 4, Kou repeatedly rejects Aoba's characters, sending them back for changes, since she doesn't want Aoba to be satisfied with "good enough." As such, this line from Rin surprises Aoba.
    Rin: Truthfully, what you submitted this morning was actually ok as-is.
    • In Chapter 49, after Ko casually asks Aoba to do the key visual for Peco, the meeting they're in suddenly turns awkward.
    Christina: The key visual won't be done by Suzukaze-san, but by you, Yagami-san.
    • In Volume 12, Christina arrives, nearly out of breath, and delivers some shocking news.
    Christina: Management... just called me in... and dropped the bomb. As of this month, they're cutting off funding for FS 4.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Episode 7 of Season 2, Aoba is told to sit in on a job interview with Umiko, but neither she nor the viewer knows who the interviewee is... until the door opens, revealing Nene. Averted in the manga, which makes it clear that Nene is the interviewee from the start of Chapter 51, which begins with Nene's POV.
    • Similarly, in Chapter 18, Umiko notices that one of the new hires is running late on her first day, and contemplates firing her. At that point, one of the other debuggers points out that the newcomer just arrived, and the next panel shows Nene saying "F-Fired...". The anime foreshadows this a little, by showing Nene finding an Eagle Jump job posting on her college campus.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Ko gets quite upset in episode 6 of season 2 when she's told by Shizuku and Christina that she'll be drawing the promotional art for their newest game, despite Aoba being the lead character designer and the person that would normally also do the promo piecenote . However, Rin also sides with the two, since Ko had name recognition and would garner much more interest from the public than Aoba could. Aoba even reluctantly agree with the committee's decision, but asks to have a small contest with Ko anyway. Shizuku allows it, on the condition that Ko's work was still going to be used regardless of who won, and pointing out that Aoba has next to no chance of winning. Though Aoba understandably loses, she does at least accept the decision with no regrets, and Ko even compliments her piece since it was one of Aoba's best so far.
    • Ko also gives one to Christina's younger sister Catherine, when Catherine gives Hotaru the extremely important job of designing the "King's Hand" enemy (practically the Series Mascot for the game), a task that other designers had failed to do well enough for Catherine's standards. She is concerned what will happen to Hotaru if she can't do it well enough, and accuses Catherine of treating the employees like "tools." Catherine stands by her decision, saying that she doesn't give employees tasks to boost their self-esteem or advance their careers, but for the good of the company.
  • Yonkoma: Enforced by being serialized in Manga Time Kirara Carat.


Video Example(s):


New Game!

Even adults need a little comfort during a thunderstorm every now and then, am I right?

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Example of:

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