Yun: “…isn’t Yagami-san gonna get chosen anyway? She’s super talented. This competition’s just so that no one can complain. But it’s a foregone conclusion.”
Aoba: “That may be true, but I’m fine with failure so long as I know the results were deserved.”
(“Cos-purr-lay.” New Game!!)
How you tackle opportunities in life can determine your position and future endeavors, and there are often countless approaches to take. Picking the right one for your own happiness can be tricky; doing so may result in the unhappiness of others. This is the dilemma faced in the second episode of New Game!!, “This Is Just Turning Into Cos-purr-lay!” With a new project on the horizon, Eagle Jump creates a challenge to all employees to win the position of Lead Character Designer.
Despite Yagami Kou’s promotion to Art Director, it’s assumed by everyone that she will take part in the competition as well. Some employees, like Yun, view this as a fixed race and shy away from confrontation. Others, like Aoba, are more than eager to have this rare chance. Her gut reaction to give it her all shows just how much she’s improved since the first season, when she looked up to Yagami as a near unreachable figure. Now she’s excited to challenge her, even if the outcome is certain.
Problems almost immediately pop up, though, and from the most unimaginable of sources. When Yagami’s designs are rejected for being too similar to those of the first game, no one is more surprised than she. It’s young Aoba who steals the spotlight with a last-minute design that lacks Yagami’s finer detail and finesse. What follows gives us hints about Yagami’s start at Eagle Jump. Will she treat Aoba similar to the way her own coworkers treated her? Instead of encouraging and welcoming Aoba, will she let jealousy and aggression create a gulf between them?
Competitions of this nature are a more sanctioned display of some workplace politics. There are job environments where undercutting your peers so you can rise to the top is normal, even expected. I know people who prefer to keep the peace and avoid conflict by never standing out. Their ideas may be better than others proposed at meetings, but they either don’t voice them, or let them get taken by more vocal coworkers. If you want recognition and higher pay, sometimes you feel the need to be ruthless and cut ties when necessary.
I’ve had the fortune of never working in a hostile environment. My bosses tried to treat their employees like family, and I befriended most of my coworkers. There were some clashes with others, but I didn’t work directly with any of them since we focused on different departments. When we needed to communicate, professionalism always allowed us to push past our differences.
There were times, however, when a problem needed addressing, but no one was willing to speak up to the business owners. This was a small company, and as much as the owners tried to treat us “like family,” there were plenty of times where the hierarchy and support of a large corporation would have been ideal. My coworker was too scared to voice her opinions, remembering a past situation where she was not only ignored, but even ridiculed at a performance review. I thought her opinions invaluable, and had worked at enough places to know the importance of asserting yourself.
When I requested a meeting and brought up the issue, the owners listened carefully and agreed, then went so far as to thank me. Their favorable response prompted me to cite my coworker so she could receive the proper recognition. It turned out that her negative experience happened not only several years past, but also when the owners were still young in the business themselves. Through their own trials and mistakes, they loosened up and were more open to critique. They acted upon my coworker’s ideas, and she became visibly happier in her tasks.
Yagami could have easily chalked up her cold reaction towards Aoba’s success to a natural result of competition, and taken a more combative approach with her next designs rather than providing advice. She could have even stolen Aoba’s ideas and made them her own with prettier packaging. I’m sure if she went with either path, Aoba’s inexperience would have tripped up her progress and delayed her rise in the company. Instead, Yagami chose to help her. This decision not only aids a growing artist, but also promotes a healthier workplace environment where people can rely on one another without fear of betrayal and work more efficiently together. A group is only as strong as its weakest point. If everyone can step forward of one mind, then the likelihood of success is much higher. When the time comes again, Yagami and Aoba can face off and improve from their rivalry. Competition is healthy, yes, but there comes a point where we need to lay down our differences and focus on the final product.
“This Is Just Turning Into Cos-purr-lay!” New Game!! Crunchyroll. 18 Jul 2017.