Home 16Bit Sensation Episode 9 – The Last Waltz

16Bit Sensation Episode 9 – The Last Waltz

16Bit Sensation: Another Layer episode 9 comes a week after viewers were left completely lost after Mamoru’s strange journey to supposedly 1985. Fortunately, Mamoru is transported back to late 1999 where he can continue working on the game that will hopefully rescue Alcohol Soft from its financial debt. Episode 9 of 16Bit Sensation is my favorite episode of the season so far. It’s emotionally moving and has an incredible twist at the end.

Where am I?

The first half of the episode shows Alcohol Soft as they work towards completing their ultimate bishoujo game and the celebrations that ensue upon the game getting printed and prepped for release. Meiko and Konoha share a moment together in front of the Sofmap building (a real place in Akihabara) that is prominently displaying an ad for their game, which we now know is called The Last Waltz.

Meiko explains how she felt weird in the past about being a female while making such lewd art for games. But she reflects on her time with Alcohol Soft and feels an immense sense of pride for her team’s resilience during challenging times. They have successfully completed a project that they can feel truly proud of for the first time. In the early episodes of the series, side characters like Meiko seemed a bit shallow and one-dimensional. Seeing her get a moment to be emotional was something I had been waiting for, and this episode was perfect timing.

The most interesting parts of 16Bit Sensation episode 9 take place in the latter half. As light snow falls from the sky, Mamoru walks the streets of Akihabara pondering his adventure to the past and the games in Konoha’s backpack that seemingly hold the power of time travel.

He makes two crucial points: firstly, that Echo might be the mysterious force behind the game boxes’ ability, and secondly, that opening the game boxes might have been Konoha’s destiny rather than Mamoru’s. Soon, Konoha catches up with him, leading to an emotional scene between the two.

Konoha, always cheerful and encouraging, exclaims how full of joy she is about the accomplishments they’ve made at the studio the past few months. Mamoru explains how he wishes things could stay like this forever. He doesn’t want these happy feelings to flee him, and this attitude is reflective of how he feels about the PC-98.

This moment between the two sets up for the eventual heartbreak to happen — something that I could sense from miles away. I was just waiting for the moment that Mamoru turned around and found Konoha vanished. The animation in the scene vividly captures Mamoru’s movement and frustration, surpassing my expectations for a show that isn’t typically recognized for its animation quality.

Konoha awakens, once again, in the donut shop. But this time, she is not feeling frustrated about returning. On the contrary, she is eager to return to the present because she feels motivated to give her all and create remarkable games in 2023. But as she exits the donut shop, everything about Akihabara is not as she left it. No anime, no otaku culture, no games. Akihabara looks completely different, almost normal except for the giant skyscraper that Konoha thinks looks like Tokyo Skytree. In a panic, she runs towards the Radio Kaikan, which is being destroyed. There, she lays eyes on none other than Mamoru, but Mamoru as a much older businessman.

 These two twists were as emotional for me as they were for Konoha. Seeing such a symbol of otaku culture like Akihabara be stripped away is something painful to see, and it’s obvious that the present was somehow altered. Seeing Mamoru as an older businessman at a construction site makes me theorize that something terrible happened after the release of The Last Waltz, which in itself has a symbolic name.

All we can do until the next episode is ask a couple of questions. What exactly happened after the release of Alcohol Soft’s game? And why is Mamoru at this construction site as a full adult? I don’t think I’ve been as excited for the next episode as I am right now. Until then, check out what’s been going on in Girlfriend, Girlfriend Season 2, which is also airing this season. 

Images via Crunchyroll
© Tamiki Wakagi / Misato Mitsumi / Kanroki (Aqua Plus) / 16bit Sensation AL PROJECT

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