(Spoilers in this review)
Aoba feels worthless because she can’t contribute to the group discussion concerning her own design (due to a lack of experience with 3D art). A lunchtime pep talk with Hifumi helps Aoba realize she’s still got a long way to go, which only serves as motivation for the young character designer.
Nene works on her own game (which is dubbed NeneQuest) while Umiko tries to program for their new (in-progress) game. Amusingly, both girls are working with fireballs in their respective games.
A brief talk (between Umiko and Shizuku) about Kou’s past is followed by the girls eating lunch together. Some time later, Umiko meets up with Nene and helps the aspiring programmer with NeneQuest. Umiko also mentions Aoba’s accomplishments to Nene, who later calls up her childhood friend to give her some words of congratulations.
Being jealous and feeling incompetent, as well as becoming overconfident only to feel overwhelmed shortly afterwards, are frankly not very pleasant emotions and sensations to experience. Yet this episode, as well as episode 2, deals with these less than pleasant sensations while managing to keep the tone very much in-line with New Game!! as a whole without becoming overly dramatic.
Some may say that the series only does a cursory examination over several things, such as the work environment or programming, and may claim that these sort of touchy situations are underdeveloped. I disagree with this sort of conclusion – the series isn’t really about that. Sure, there are some self-reflection that happens in both seasons, but the series is a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things show at its core. As such, I think these situations were handled well enough given the genre.
I will say I’m a little bored over how often the series mentions Kou’s past. I think New Game!! is three for three in regards to reminding the viewers how Kou was selected as the lead character designer shortly after joining EagleJump and how some people treated her poorly or reacted poorly. But I do realize her backstory is very much relevant since Aoba’s current situation parallels Kou’s.
Finally, I want to express my happiness over the emerging ship between Umiko and Nene during these last two episodes. Much like how Kou took Aoba under her wing, it seems like Umiko is basically Nene’s
partner mentor. More parallels is a good thing! Ahhh, I know Umiko and Nene are both controversial girls, but I really do like these girls and this pairing.
New Game!! continues to deliver with its portrayal of steady progress for the game, handling of sensitive topics, and lovely yuri shiptease.