The second episode of 16Bit Sensation: Another Layer aired on October 12th and picked up where the first episode left us with Konoha, a young game illustrator, being mysteriously transported to Akihabara in 1992 with no way to get home and no place to stay. Episode two gives us a further look into the work culture, the otaku industry, and technology of Japan in the early 1990s.
Episode 2- “Let’s Make Bishoujo Games Together!”
The episode opens exactly where we left off in episode one – Konoha, now in the year 1992, falls on top of a young boy outside the same building that is her office in 2023. This building, despite still being a game studio, is now under the ownership of an entirely different company called Alcohol Soft and bears no resemblance to 2023. Konoha scrambles around Akihabara trying to find a familiar place, but as the district is stripped of its otaku flair, she returns to Alchohol Soft begging for help.
Mamoru, the young boy from earlier mysteriously wearing a school uniform, hears this plea and is forced by his female coworkers, Meiko and Kaori, to let Konoha inside. After a threat to call the police, Konoha panics and springs the idea of working for their game company onto these strangers. This simple plan to save her skin backfires as she has no proof of her art skills due to a dead phone and a dead tablet – tools that people from the past are obviously not familiar with in the first place. The desperate Konoha must now prove herself by using computers and software from thirty years before her time, which proves difficult.
The most interesting aspect of the episode is getting to see just how game illustration worked in 1992. We learn, as Konoha does, that artists used a computer mouse instead of a pen and tablet, and instead of the seemingly infinite colors of modern games, artists were limited to about fifteen colors thirty years ago. Meiko and Kaori, cheerful and encouraging ladies, heavily support Konoha and teach her how to use the unfamiliar hardware and software of this time.
After a long session of illustrating a piece on a chunky desktop computer for the first time, Konoha and Alcohol Soft’s employees are pleased with her work and allow her to stay at the office. However, Mamoru is still hesitant to believe she is actually from the future and insists she’s just some crazed otaku talking nonsense.
16Bit Sensation continues to portray the stark contrast of the 1990s by showing employees openly smoking in the office building, a practice that is now forbidden. The reality of Konoha’s situation is further explored whenever she mentions SNS (Japanese social media) or uses her smartphone for train and map apps. It comes as no surprise that these employees, who were most likely born in the 1970s, are completely clueless about what she is referring to.
One of the last scenes displays a heart-to-heart conversation between Konoha and Mamoru, who is apprehensive about letting Konoha stay with the company. Konoha gets Mamoru to open up as to the reason he is even working at the company – to simply help his father. Mamoru would much rather work for what he insists is a “real” game company, as he thinks bishoujo games (visual novels with cute girls) aren’t “real” games. Konoha is completely opposed to this way of thinking and explains to Mamoru that the future is bright for bishoujo games. She describes how bishoujo game marketing will explode in Akihabara in the future. Despite her situation, Konoha still continues to have a beaming spirit and undying passion for the games, and this takes Mamoru by surprise as he starts to have a little more faith in her. Mamoru is probably 16Bit Sensation’s most interesting and mysterious character so far, and it will be exciting to learn more about him as the series airs.
At the very end of 16Bit Sensation episode two, the Alcohol Soft office is full of celebration upon the completion of their latest game. Konoha carelessly jumps onto Mamoru in adoration for his hard efforts, and he forcibly pushes her away – somehow hard enough to knock her back into 2023! Konoha wakes up back in the donut shop from episode one, and with smartphones and modern clothes galore, she knows she’s back in her decade. While most of this episode is set in a gaming studio, the story stays exciting as the mystery grows.
Episode two leaves us with many questions. Why is Konoha able to time travel? What exactly triggers her to do so? Does it have anything to do with the broken microwave seen in episode one (we’ve seen Steins;Gate)? We can look forward to getting all the answers we’ve been waiting for in episode three of Silver‘s 16Bit Sensation: Another Layer, which is set to air in Japan next week on October 19th.
Images via Crunchyroll
© Tamiki Wakagi / Misato Mitsumi / Kanroki (Aqua Plus) / 16bit Sensation AL PROJECT