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.hack//SIGN Collection #2 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Friday, 17 August 2007 17:00
.hack//SIGNTime for the second half of .hack//SIGN, and with Tsukasa's story hiding in the background again it's time for some of the other cast members to get some time in the spotlight. Tsubaru's frustration with the Crimson Knights reaches crisis point, Tsukasa withdraws further into his own little world, and the forces behind the problems in The World continue to have their way...

Tsubaru has discovered that the Crimson Knights have been withholding information & not passing on messages that have been left for her, leading to something of a crisis of confidence in the Knights - they seem to be developing delusions of grandeur and are looking to take on system admin roles despite Tsubaru's frequent reminders that they are just players. She turns to Crim for advice about how to handle the situation. Meanwhile, Tsukasa's mysterious benefactor seems to think that he's been having a bit too much freedom of late, and needs reigned in again - a punishment that leaves Tuskasa trapped in a private area of the game where no-one can reach him...

Another appearance by MahaAura's world

Okay, so Tsukasa's absence from the main story isn't entirely voluntary. It's not entirely unwelcome, either, as it gives the rest of the cast (a far more interesting bunch of people, in my opinion) control of the airwaves for a while. To begin the set, the focus is primarily on Tsubaru and her deteriorating relationship with the Crimson Knights, and with her authority seriously undermined she does the only thing she feels is possible and pulls the plug. Power corrupts, and the players she'd gathered around her had become far too used to the power they were wielding. That gives us an interesting little sidestory with Tsubaru for once having to be a normal player, without her position to protect her & having to fight her way through the game like anyone else. It's a good way to shake things up a little, although sadly it doesn't last long.

GuardianPeaceful scene

Episodes 20 onwards start filling in a lot more detail about what's going on. It seems some of the subroutines written by The World's creator have taken on a life of their own & are working towards gaining control of the in-game world. This knowledge gives everyone a renewed sense of purpose, as they finally know pretty much what they're looking for. After the series having been plodding along at a very slow pace for most of the story, the increased pace here is very welcome - although even now it's not a consistent improvement, there are still places where the old glacial pacing comes back to frustrate.

Come the end of the series, you realise that while .hack//SIGN has so individually good episodes, there's just too much time wasted by characters talking and doing nothing. The Yuki Kajiura soundtrack saves the series on the first pass, as you're too busy marvelling at how good it looks and sounds to worry about the real lack of substance, but if you ever come back to rewatch the show, the impact of the presentation is lessened, and you can't help but see the glaring flaws in the execution. .hack//SIGN isn't alone in this, by the way - a lot of early Bee Train shows suffered from the same problems. This would have been my 4th time through the series, if I had rewatched the whole thing instead of just dipping in and out of it - the prospect didn't fill me with joy, and what I did see here only confirmed that. Worth a rental, but I wouldn't be rushing out to buy it.

Rating - ***

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