16bit Sensation: Another Layer Review

16bit Sensation: Another Layer Review

16bit Sensation: Another Layer anime series cover art
16bit Sensation: Another Layer

Konoha the Gal Game Enthusiast

16bit Sensation: Another Layer (16bitセンセーション ANOTHER LAYER) is an anime about bishoujo games. In case you don’t know what a bishoujo game is, think of a dating simulator. They’re visual novels in which the player develops relationships with cute girls.

The protagonist of this series is Konoha Akisato, a bishoujo game enthusiast. She’s obsessed with cute girls. And, we can see that by the game and anime product placements all over her room. From this, we know she’s a Fate/Grand Order fan. And, we know she likes Lycoris Recoil, among many other anime.

Konoha loves bishoujo games so much that she even works at a game company as an artist. But, unfortunately, she doesn’t get to work on the games she wants to make. And, rather than drawing cute girls, she often has to fill in backgrounds, instead.

Konoha Akisato being loud and annoying from the anime series 16bit Sensation: Another Layer
Konoha Akisato being loud and annoying

When this series first started airing, it got a lot of hype. People identified with Konoha’s obsession with cute anime girls. But, to me, it became apparent pretty quickly that Konoha is very annoying. She’s a complete otaku who can’t go a few sentences without bringing up games.

Her voice is also pretty grating. Though, I don’t want to blame Aoi Koga, the voice actor, for that. Aoi Koga is a very good voice actor. She even voices Kaguya Shinomiya in Kaguya-sama: Love is War. But, the issue with Konoha’s voice is that it’s the same as Kaguya’s “baby voice,” as I call it.

When Kaguya speaks normally, she’s great. But, when she goes into “baby mode,” I can’t stand her voice. That’s how Konoha sounds all the time. No matter what she says, there’s a whineyness to it that drives me insane. I don’t know why this was the voice direction for the protagonist.

Back to the Future

The twist of 16bit Sensation is that it’s actually a time travel anime. The present in this series is 2023. But, Konoha jumps back in time to various other years in the 80s and 90s throughout the series. You know, the golden age of bishoujo games.

So, how does Konoha do this? With magic copies of retro games, of course. Konoha purchased a bunch of old bishoujo games from a random shop. And, when she opened the case of one of these games, she got sent back in time.

Eventually, we learn how these magic games work. The release year of the game she opens is the year she gets sent to. So, if she opens a game that was released in 1988, she goes to 1988. But, she can only use each game once. After being opened, the game disappears.

Konoha Akisato opening an old game from the anime series 16bit Sensation: Another Layer
Konoha Akisato opening an old game

How does Konoha go back to 2023? A strong whack to the head. Every time we see her get sent back to the present, it’s after she gets hit by something. She’ll then wake up in 2023 wherever she was when she got sent back in time. So, is she really going back in time?

It kind of seems like her going back in time is all a dream. After all, if she opens a magic game in a coffee shop, she’ll reappear back in that coffee shop in the present. It doesn’t matter where she was in the past.

And, on top of that, she always wakes up in the present after falling over. So, it seems like she’s just dreaming of the past and then being jolted awake. But, that’s not what’s happening. And, we know that because the things Konoha does in the past have direct impacts on the present.

Late-Stage Capitalism: The Anime

I think my favorite part of 16bit Sensation might have been what became of 2023. After Konoha messed around in the past too much, she caused some serious damage to the present. She changed the course of bishoujo game history — and thus the history of gaming in Japan.

Thanks to a game Konoha helped make in the past, the future of bishoujo games wasn’t centered in Japan. Instead, it became centered in the United States. All major bishoujo game releases came from the US. And, the term “moe” was even replaced by “kyu,” which is short for cute.

Konoha herself even earned herself the title “Original Kyu.” This is in reference to her being the one behind this bishoujo game revolution. But, because she went back to 2023, the whereabouts of “Original Kyu” were unknown for decades.

16-bit Konoha Akisato from the OP of the anime series 16bit Sensation: Another Layer
16-bit Konoha Akisato from the OP

What’s funny about the Original Kyu timeline is how familiar yet different everything is. And, the biggest example of this is Fate. Fate/Grand Order no longer exists as we know it. Instead, there’s Fate/Gears of Order, made by an American company. It’s like the FGO we know, but the art style is edgier and Artoria fights with her fists instead of Excalibur.

Obviously, the name Fate/Gears of Order is also playing off the Gears of War franchise. That’s the state of moe, or should I say kyu, in this timeline. The bishounen games Konoha knows and loves are either gone or almost unrecognizable.

But, it gets worse. Because the US holds a monopoly on the gaming industry, we get to see late-stage capitalism at work. Games are no longer “created” by creatives. Instead, creatives are put in large tanks and their brains are used to pump out content 24/7.

Final Thoughts

16bit Sensation: Another Layer is a 6/10. It’s just not as interesting as you might think. If you want to watch an anime about a girl who wants to make games, I recommend watching New Game! instead. It’s better, has more cute girls, and has two seasons.

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