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.hack//Legend of the Twilight #1 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 30 August 2006 00:00
Volume One (Cover Art)It's .hack, but not as we know it.  A few years on from the original .hack//SIGN series, a new set of players have joined The World, and at least this time around they seem to be having fun - although beneath the cuteness and treasure-hunting, something sinister is beginning to develop...

1 - The Legendary Hero
Four years on from the events of .hack//SIGN, and The World's a very different place - it's gone all SD for a start... Shugo & his twin sister Rena have won limited-edition Player Characters in a contest - which works out well for them. They get the opportunity to be in The World together, which makes up a bit for being separated in the real world following their parents' divorce. Shugo's first foray into The World proves to be quite difficult - for some reason there are level-48 monsters roaming in the newbie area, and Shugo is very quickly killed off. An encounter with Aura saves him, though, and she leaves Shugo a gift - a bracelet of amazing power...

Enter The WorldA gift from Aura

2 - Kite's Bracelet
Shugo & Rena's run-in with an Armed Super Shogun has raised concerns in some places that The World is about to take another turn for the worse, as is the appearance of Shugo's bracelet. Not that such things are any concern to Shugo & Rena - who have been joined, like it or not, by Mirielle, a collector of Rare Items. Conveniently, there's a Rare Item Event scheduled, so the party of three head for the event field. In a sign that the unusual seems to be becoming commonplace, it's not long before Shugo's again placed in a position where he's forced to use the power of his bracelet - although this time it doesn't quite work as planned...

MirielleBalmung

3 - The Phoenix Feather
The gang have worked out a possible reason why Shugo's control of the bracelet it so weak - it's obviously a really high-level item, but with Shugo just being a newbie he doesn't have the experience to control it - so it's off to the combat fields to work on levelling-up a bit. Meanwhile, Balmung and Reki are trying to figure out who has been causing the unexpected problems The World has been experiencing lately. Later, in something of a rerun of .hack//SIGN's episode 'Epitaph', Shugo finds himself looking after a grunty while its owner is away for a few days - and just as before, the grunty has Grunty Flu...

TroubleHotaru & Shugo

4 - Tanabata Night
Shugo's training continues, although it seems he may not be cut out for this 'legendary warrior' gig. Fear not, though, it's Tanabata Night, which Rena reckons should be a very romantic evening. Shugo's not impressed by such things, but someone else is - by chance, former classmate Komiyama appears, and he definitely likes what he sees when he sees Rena's in-game form, so when it turns out that Rena's the 'prize' in the Tanabata event, all bets are off between Shugo (determined to preserve his sister's honour) and Komiyama (determined to get his hands on her)...

Komiyama arrives1st Prize: Rena

I'm going to have to eat my words a little, here.  This is my third time through Legend of the Twilight now, and I wrote a rather damning review of the first volume.  The set hit eBay shortly after that.  It's now a year or so later, the UK release has landed on my desk - and for some reason, it's much more enjoyable this time around.  Humble pie, anyone?

There are plenty of references here to "the return of Twilight" and things happening in the game that shouldn't be - just like in SIGN.  The main difference here is that, where SIGN was deadly serious with very little evidence that the characters there were having fun playing the game, Twilight takes a much more upbeat and comical approach to The World, with the characters so far obviously enjoying themselves and pretty much oblivious to the problems that are starting to develop around them.

As well as Shugo and Rena, there are a few other characters who make up the central cast.  First to appear is Mirielle, a Wavemaster with a penchant for collecting rare items - and with no item are rare as Shugo's bracelet, there's no getting rid of her (reminds me a bit of Lina's obsession over Gourry's Sword of Light in Slayers, really).  There's also Ohka, the knuckle-fighting werewolf whose womanly appearance works wonder for Shugo's mood, and Komiyama, a classmate of Shugo's who loves no-one more than himself - except possibly Rena.  Keeping an eye on things from a distance are Lord Balmung, one-time player and now CC Company employee who spends a lot of his time organising The World's special events, and his assistant Reki.  Overall, it's a nicely varied group of characters - some fairly normal, some a little more unusual - and they way they get on and interact definitely adds to the show's appeal.

The four episodes here follow pretty much the same pattern - Shugo and Rena decide to join an event, a monster who really shouldn't be there shows up, and Shugo is eventually forced to use his Data Drain to save the day - sometimes with unexpected results.  Episode three is the exception, as Shugo takes the opportunity to level-up in the hope of improving his control over the bracelet.  This one's a little bit of a cop-out, as it's essentially a rehash of the sick-grunty from SIGN, just with a slightly different ending and a lot more humour.

If I was feeling cruel, I could point a "lack of originality" at quite a bit of what happens here, but that would really be missing the point.  .hack//LotT just sets out to have some fun with its setting, and it does that really well, thanks to a bunch of likeable characters and good presentation.  The interactions between Rena and Shugo (very possessive one way, suffering from a bad case of sister-complex in the other) are particularly fun to watch.  There is a darker story bubbling along underneath the surface, harking - it hasn't become the main focus of the story yet, but I'd be surprised if it didn't become a major issue later in the series.

While there are a lot of similarities between Twilight and its predecessor, its still very much its own show and is very different in tone - and for me, that's a good thing.  While it's not going to tax the brain cells, this is a good, simple and enjoyable show - which is sometimes just what you need to pass the time.  Worth checking out.

Rating - ***
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