(Spoilers in this review)
Summary: Eagle Jump throws a welcome party dinner for Tsubame and Momo (Aoba, Yun, and Hajime were ordered to plan said event). Later on, Hifumi goes out of her way to talk with (and show pictures of Soujiro to) Momo while the others head off to the cafeteria (which gives the girls an opportunity to talk about how they can get closer to Momo). Momo ends up accompanying them to the cafeteria the following day and basically challenges Aoba. Aoba, who has already been tempered by a year’s worth of work and competition with their idol, Kou, answers back in kind which surprises Momo. The episode ends with Momo acknowledging that Aoba is truly talented after she sees Aoba’s design sheets for the upcoming game’s protagonist.
Comments: Since Tsubame seems to be
the best girl a relatively well-adjusted girl, Momo is the focus of this episode since she’s a standoffish and competitive girl who isn’t aware that she lacks social skills as fumes over Aoba’s accomplishments. She needs the screen time and characterization!
Momo gets more moe moments in this episode which are an attempt to endear her to the audience, but it doesn’t really change the fact that her defining traits (namely her pride and competitive nature) are very low-tier qualities in cute anime girls (I’ll probably whip up a tier list about these traits soon). Momo’s slightly more likeable as of this episode, but she’s still my least favorite gal by far so far.
Hifumin kind of was made a fool of in this episode on multiple occasions, but at least the audience got able to see that she’s still steadily blossoming as a leader. This season has been very kind to Hifumin!
Hazuki was rather prominent in this episode, which reminded me that Hazuki received more screen time compared to her role in the original source material back in season one. As an audience surrogate of sorts (since many fans of New Game!! fawn over the cute girls just like she does), it’s not a strange move for her to included so frequently. However, I was not this far when it came to reading the manga so I’m not completely confident if the trend has continued into this season.
While the scenes featuring Hazuki can get a little repetitive, she keeps things amusing by playing with familiar archetypes and tropes (in this episode, she plays with maid cliches) in order to make said scenes both pleasant and memorable (remember when she busted out the selfie stick back in season one? That was not in the original source material). Suzuki’s increased screen time and inclusion being so smooth and naturalistic and fun is a strong line of evidence to support the belief that adaptations don’t have to be 100% faithful to be a good adaptation.
Despite the slightly controversial character known as Momo, New Game!! continues to be a treat every week because of its strong characterization, character development, and sense of reliability.