16bit Sensation Another Layer returned with episode 10 after leaving us on a major cliffhanger last week. Konoha Akisato has time traveled again, seemingly to an alternate timeline where Akihabara is no longer the sacred district of otaku subculture. Furthermore, Konoha runs into Mamoru in this timeline, but he’s now middle-aged. Episode 10 answers the questions we’ve had about the fate of Alcohol Soft and the reason behind Akihabara being stripped of its anime charm.
I’ll Give It All I’ve Got!
After meeting Mamoru at the Radio Kaikan construction site, Konoha is told about the fate of Alcohol Soft and Akihabara. It turns out that their game, The Last Waltz, was an absolute hit. However, due to stronger economic benefits, many game studios moved from Japan to America. This is the most interesting and hilarious part of the episode as we see “Americanized” manga and anime characters in this new timeline which reflects that of Western comics more than Japanese anime. It’s not exactly clear to me why these Japanese studios moved to America (other than financial reasons), but nonetheless, this is the reason why the Otaku subculture in Japan isn’t what we know of today.
This obviously shocks Konoha – as avid a lover of bishoujo games and anime as she is. She spends most of the episode trying to figure out how to get out of this timeline, and back to her original timeline in 2023. Meanwhile, Mamoru ponders about his own time-traveling adventures from years ago. Despite my love for this series so far, I have to admit that time travel is one of my least favorite devices used in fiction due to how difficult it is for me to wrap my head around the concept is explained poorly and how easy it is to find loopholes when it becomes convoluted. Fortunately, 16bit Sensation has explained the timelines in a simple way that isn’t overwhelming.
Later in the 16bit Sensation episode 10, Konoha walks upon the old building in which Alcohol Soft used to carry out their work. It is now up for demolition, and this knowledge drives Konoha to tears. Mamoru asks her about the games she received from the old lady who runs the game shop from episode one. Comic Party, a real bishoujo game released in 1999, is the last game Konoha has left. Mamoru suggests that she use it to travel back to 1999 with a plan to make a rival game to The Last Waltz with a different company in hopes of making it explode in popularity and sparking competition in the bishoujo gaming industry. This is one way to potentially save Akihabara from being stripped of its otaku charm.
My favorite part of the episode is when Konoha explains that despite Akihabara being grungy, loud, and crowded she still loves the district. I feel exactly the same as Konoha does, and her love of Akihabara and otaku culture resonated with me so perfectly. As always, I’m excited for the next episode of 16bit Sensation – mundane animation and all!
Images via Crunchyroll
© Tamiki Wakagi / Misato Mitsumi / Kanroki (Aqua Plus) / 16bit Sensation AL PROJECT