16Bit Sensation: Another Layer episode 8 is easily the strangest episode we’ve seen yet in this series. In the last episode, Mamoru opens up a game box from Konoha’s bag that sends him on a time-traveling journey. I definitely have more questions than this episode had answers. There’s almost no screen time from our main character, Konoha Akisato, as the episode instead focuses on Mamoru.
In my last write-up for 16Bit Sensation, I mentioned that the game box Mamoru opens is known in the 16Bit Sensation world as Gogo no Tenshitachi, a reference to the actual 1985 bishoujo game Tenshitachi no Gogo. Early on in episode 8, Mamoru realizes that he has indeed been transported back to 1985, about 15 years prior to his present time considering 2023 is Konoha’s present (but time travel is convoluted, so it’s hard to establish a fully accurate past, present and future). For a few moments, I thought Mamoru may have somehow transported to the future given that the mysterious white-haired character, called Echo, who we meet for the first time in this episode seems futuristic. I recall the moment he finds Mamoru in a hologram-like state, and seems to use some sort of magic or technology to make him tangible.
We also see the return of a character from episode five – a green-haired girl who is also named Echo. Mamoru eventually calls the man Echo One and the girl Echo Two. In episode five, you may remember the scene in the donut shop where Konoha opens a game box and time travels again. This young green-haired girl was in that scene and saw Konoha disappear in golden light. I feel that Echo Two holds a lot of knowledge about time travel given her composed demeanor to seeing it happen, but episode 8 still doesn’t give us clear answers on this despite her having more screen time.
Aside from these two peculiar new characters, the most jarring part of the episode is how effortlessly Mamoru embraces his situation. He feels that since he’s stuck in 1985, he should deal with it as calmly as possible as he starts to work for Echo One and adjust to his new life. This is in stark contrast to Konoha’s reaction every time she time travels. I felt that Mamoru was accepting his circumstances too nonchalantly, especially after promising to work with Konoha on a game back in 1999. However, I also realize that he’s a much more collected character compared to Konoha.
The second half of the 16Bit Sensation: Another Layer episode 8 sparks mystery after mystery. What’s the deal with Echo One not understanding the idea of imagination? Where did Echo Two disappear to for a whole week (maybe to the donut shop in 2023)? And perhaps most importantly, what exactly happened in the unusual rooftop scene? There are a dozen more questions I could ask about this episode. I personally have the feeling that Echo One and Two may be the same person. They have the same eyes, and their names alone have me speculating.
After watching the episode twice, I’ve concluded it’s my least favorite so far. That’s not to say it ruins the series by any means. 16Bit Sensation is still my favorite anime of the season, but I foolishly didn’t expect the story, despite consisting of time travel, to get this weird. I’m excited to get back to 1999 with Konoha and Alcohol Soft, and I’m glad Mamoru made it back by the end of episode 8.
Until 16Bit Sensation episode 9, check out my write-up on the latest happenings in Girlfriend, Girlfriend, which is also airing this season.
Images via Crunchyroll
© Tamiki Wakagi / Misato Mitsumi / Kanroki (Aqua Plus) / 16bit Sensation AL PROJECT