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.hack//Roots #3 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Thursday, 20 November 2008 00:00
.hack//RootsYou're a high-profile fighting guild, and your leader mysteriously goes missing. What do you do? Well, if you're the Twilight Brigade, you get moody and restless but mostly do nothing, while you wait for him to mysteriously re-appear. And talk a lot. For three episodes. Riveting viewing? Uh, not quite - but still a bit more exciting than it sounds...

9 - Melle
The time has come for the Twilight Brigade to makes its move, it seems - they're still missing two of the Virus Cores that they've been trying to round up, something that bothers Hakisaka (it leaves them vulnerable to TaN, for a start), but Ovan's keen to move ahead. If they have faith, he says, it'll all work out in the end. Sure enough, TaN are aware of the Brigade's movements are are making their own plans to interfere - but other parties have plans of their own, and aren't going to let TaN get things all their own way...

Shugo!?Confrontation

10 - Missing
The Twilight Brigade have a fight on their hands - whatever it is that Ovan's hoping to do, TaN seem determined to make sure he doesn't get the chance, and Haseo and the others are soon facing overwhelming odds as a horde of TaN fighters attack. Ovan's already gone ahead to try and find the Key of the Twilight, leaving the others to keep TaN at bay, but when he reaches his destination, he finds TaN's leader already there, waiting for him...

Group discussionImpending romance?

11 - Discord
Thanks to Shino's evidence, TaN have been disbanded for illegal play, potentially making The World a much safer place. That hasn't helped Shino find Ovan, though, but one of the guild's members has some information to give to Haseo before his suspension from the game takes effect. Meanwhile, the search for Ovan continues, but Sakisaka seems to have had a falling out with Shino, while Phyllo receives word that Ovan may be beyond help...

AccusationShock

12 - Breakup
With Ovan still missing, Shino's beginning to feel the strain of keeping the Twilight Brigade together on her own. Sakisaka's already on the verge of quitting the guild, and both Haseo and Tabby are wondering what's really going on. If there's no Key of the Tilight, after all, there's no need for a guild that was formed to find it. Haseo turns to Phyllo for advice and to use as a sounding board - he's beginning to wonder if it's even worth playing The World any longer, never mind staying with the Brigade - but Phyllo's as full of questions as he is answers. Meanwhile, Naobi continues to try and find the secrets behind Ovan's unusual PC data - he's not had any luck so far cracking into the code, but he's convinced that where there's a will there's a way, and isn't prepared to give up yet...

United frontCaptive

The big news here is that TaN is completely dispensable - Naobi, the guild's leader, is the key player in attempts to thwart whatever it is that Ovan's planning, and whatever decisions and sacrifices he has to make to reach his goals, he's going to do - and his guild is one of the sacrifices made along the way. That, at least, was a surprise - Naobi's PC appearance always carried an ominous vibe to it, now he's finally living up to the appearance. Just in time to ditch it for something a little less recognisable.

Also on the interesting side is the first episode of the volume, which sees Ovan and the rest of the Brigade finally making some real movies towards finding the Key of the Twilight. It's the nearest Roots has gotten to real action so far, and it's surprisingly enjoyable - then Naobi moves in, removes Ovan from the scene, and it all begins to fall apart in more ways than just one.

In story terms, that's represented by the Twilight Brigade beginning to fall apart at the scenes - Ovan's the charismatic man who held it all togther, Shino just doesn't have the force of personality to do it herself, and without the search for the Key to hold them together, the others don't really see any point in continuing. Hakisaka is the first to drop out, but both Haseo and Tabby have their own concerns that Shino's failing to deal with.

That spills over into the basic structure of the show, though, and instead of trying to find Ovan - or doing anything of note - the Brigade just begins to wallow in their own self-pity. For three whole episodes. There's the odd scene thrown in of other plotting going on around the place, but the vast majority of the disc is handed over to a detailed examination of the Twilight Brigade's disintegration. Now, it's not riveting viewing - the arc goes on for far too long (and with Ovan still AWOL at the end of the disc - at least as far as the Brigade's concerned, it looks like we'll be getting some more of it, too) and there's just not enough material to support it. But it does make for a fairly thorough piece of character development, and after giving a 1,001 shows a drubbing over the years for not doing enough in that department, I can hardly criticise too much for getting a boatload of it here.

The overall package could definitely be better, then, but seeing in detail how everyone ticks does have a huge appeal of its own and that's enough to carry the volume out of the quagmire. Just about. The next few episodes are going to have to switch the focus a little bit, though, to make sure that the current bout of plot idling doesn't turn into us going backwards. Still worth a look, though.

Rating - ***

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