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.hack//Roots #5 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Friday, 16 January 2009 00:00
.hack//RootsHaseo's got a bad case of obsession going on at the moment, and it's definitely affecting his better judgement - enough so that his few remaining friends in The World are getting concerned about him. Meanwhile, there are a few new boys on the block - but still no sign of the Key of the Twilight...

17 - Painful Forest
Losing to Phyllo has proven to Haseo that if he wants to tackle Tri-Edge, he'll need to do what many anime male leads have done before him, and work on becoming stronger - mainly by working through as many of The World's challenges as possible. Good training, perhaps, but Haseo's mood and demeanour are those of someone who's losing himself in a rage, and doesn't seem to realise it. Meanwhile, Master Yata is taking an interest in Phyllo's past with Shino and Ovan, while Saburou has latched onto Tabby. Both seem to be trying to learn more about the Key of the Twilight - but for what reason..?

Tri-EdgeOvan

18 - Limit
It's been a while since Tabby last saw Haseo, and she's wishing she could go to him, to see how he's doing and see if there's anything she could do to help. She's also aware, though, that he's unlikely to be in any mood to take her help or her company, and so she's left talking to Phyllo about her feelings and waiting to see what happens next. Haseo's still in the Forest of Pain, working on improving his skills and avoiding any contact with Saburou, who's just about ready to give up on any hope of getting close enough to him to get any information out of him. But the time on her own has given her a chance to think about the person she's been taking orders from, and she's realised that she really doesn't want to take orders anymore....

Shared feelingsEnd of quest

19 - Violation
Tawaraya is an old acquaintance of Phyllo's, who has become concerned by some recent events in The World and wants to meet with Naobi to discuss them. Not having been in the game for a while (his account was suspended and he's had to come back under a new username, Tohta), he's missed Naobi's disappearance and the collapse of TaN, but once he realises they're gone, he starts setting some of The World's wrongs right on his own - and attracts some unwelcome attention, including Master Yata's, in the process. Haseo, meanwhile, reaches the end of the Forest of Pain quest - but seems to make a dangerously wrong choice right at the final hurdle...

Info boothTrouble

20 - Pursuit
Haseo's taken his new, upgraded form on a tour of The World in search of Tri-Edge, and he's making short work of anyone who won't help him in his quest. He may be on a pointless search, though - rumour on the boards is that Tri-Edge is no longer in the game. It's been a while since he last appeared, at least - and if he's out of the picture, then Haseo really is wasting his time. Master Yata is still keeping a close eye on him, though - Haseo's transformation has persuaded him that he possesses "The Factor", whatever that may be, and that something needs to be done to awaken the powers within Haseo that Yata knows are there. But how? Meanwhile, word of Haseo's killing spree has reached Tabby and Phyllo. Both want to believe that Haseo will eventually do the right thing, but Tabby decides to take her concerns to him herself and goes to see him - but she doesn't receive what you could call a warm reception...

PowerupSaburou

21 - Defeat
Reports of Tri-Edge's disappearance have been premature, it seems, as word quickly spreads of a PC who managed to escape from him with her life intact. That's such a rare occurence that Yata immediately takes an interest - was the lucky PC, Midori, genuinely lucky, or is there something special about her? She also quickly draws Haseo's attention - and while Yata's content to watch things from a distance, Haseo takes a far more direct approach to questioning her. Tabby, meanwhile, is thinking of ways to be more like Shino, hoping that will make her more useful to Haseo. At Tohta's suggestion, she sets up a new guild - you can do more with a group of people than you can on your own, after all - but once it's et up, there's small matter of members and what to do with it to consider...

ObservationChallenge

If there's one thing that this volume proves, it's that watching .hack//Roots without prior knowledge of the games can be a confusing business. At least, I assume that having played the games will help - and since they haven't been released in the UK, I'm not about to find out. What doesn't make sense? Well: the lack of detail about Ovan, who appears in just one scene tis volume - apparently a key one, but you wouldn't know to see it. The lack of any further information on Shino and Hakisaka, both gone and more-or-less forgotten (especially Hakisaka). The reasons behind the introduction of Tawayara and his market-stall contacts, who seem to be pretty much treading water and not doing anything in the main storyline. There are more, but you get the picture - my guess is that these events all tie in with events in the games that you're assumed to know about, but in this case we don't, so we're left in a muddle.

It doesn't help that our lead character, Haseo, becomes less and less likeable as the disc progresses. He's descending into a blind rage, a desire to defeat Tri-Edge at the expense of all else, and in the process he's become a two-dimensional cardboard cutout of a character with nothing left about him that encourages you to feel sympathy or support for him. That's not a good state of affairs. As it is, Tabby's the only remaining "good" character who you can actually connect to, with Saburou perhaps being the best of the "baddies" - and even then, the aims of Yata and Pi (who are controlling her for most of the disc) are so nebulous that you can't really follow them either.

With only one disc - five episodes - left in the series, the show is really beginning to run out of time if it's going to have an ending that makes sense on its own. I can't say I'm hopeful of that happening. .hack//Roots has had its promising moments, but as the series has gone on it's really lost its way, to the point where on this disc its really just a mish-mash of scenes that may or may not have any connection to each other. Disappointing.

Rating - **

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