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.hack//SIGN #2 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 00:00
.hack//SIGNIt's the return of the grumpiest lead in an anime series this year. Yes, Tsukasa, I mean you. Just as well the rest of the cast in .hack//SIGN are more likeable. After volume 1's introduction to The World and Tsukasa's predicament, where does volume 2 take us? Simple answer, not very far - this disc has that 'filler' feel about it, as while Tsukasa's situation is touched upon - Bear & BT in particular are 'investigating' matters - the episodes here revolve more around the periphery of the story...

5 - Captured
Tsukasa is approached by Crim, a long-time player of The World who's been out of the game for a while and so has missed most of the recent "fun". Seeing Tsukasa moping alone encourages Crim to offer his help, but as ever Tsukasa's dismissive of his approached and simply disappears - but their encounter is more than enough to pique Crim's curiosity. Bear and Mimiru are still working out a way of getting through to Tsukasa and persuading him to accept their help, with their time seems to have run out - the Crimson Knights have been tipped off to where Tsukasa is likely to appear next, and put in place plans to capture him...

Lonely boyMoody man

6 - Encounter
Mimiru's not at all pleased at Tsukasa's capture, and believes that BT had more of a part to play in it than she's prepared to admit - not that she can do much about it. Meanwhile, in captivity, Tsukasa and Subaru have their first face-to-face meeting, with it quickly becoming clear that Subaru's taking more of an interest in her prisoner than she probably should. With a little help from Sora, of all people, Tsukasa's soon a free PC again, but Mimiru's efforts to talk to him and make him see that the path he's on isn't the right one come to nothing, however, and he's soon back in his hiding place again. Meanwhile, more un usual monsters are beginning to appear in the gameworld - are they somehow connected to Tsukasa..?


7 - Reason
While Bear and BT still seem interested in solving Tsukasa's little mystery, Mimiru's still a bit miffed at Tsukasa's attitude towards her, to the point where she's about to give up on her desire to help him. It's at this point that she meets A-20, a new player eager to try one of the more advanced quests in The World, and who needs a lot of help to get the job done. Cue Mimiru, who initially isn't interested but is dragged in by a few well-placed insults. Subaru, meanwhile, would quite like to find Tsukasa and try to talk to him again, but is finding that her position as head of the Crimson Knights is getting in the way...


8 - Promise
After her adventure with A-20, Mimiru has a renewed determination to help Tsukasa, and messages him to meet her. He takes his time in deciding whether to come or not, leaving Mimiru as the subject of some speculation on The World's BBS while she maintains her vigil. BT, meanwhile, has discussions with Subaru and Crim about searching for the "Key of the Twilight", an item which may have something to do with Tuskasa's inability to log out...


So overall, there's a lot of conversation & character development spread over the four episodes here, with the main plot shifted almost to the background. The mysterious "Key of the Twilight" provides a hook to the main story so that you don't forget what's going on, but Tsukasa takes much less of a role than he did in the first batch of episodes - and given how unlikeable he can be when he's at his moody best, that can only be a good thing. In truth, I'm still at a loss as to why Bear, Mimiru and co are so determined to get close to him - he's not offering them any encouragement, going out of his way to annoy Mimiru in particular. Go figure. Still, they're the characters that make the show enjoyable.

Perhaps the most important aspect of .hack to bear in mind is that there's a lot of talking going on. If you're looking for wall-to-wall action, this is not the show for you, as you need to pay attention to what's going on & what's being said to be able to properly follow the story. If that doesn't bother you, there's a good show to be enjoyed here. Even though these episodes are mostly filler, it's worth watching for the interactions between the characters & the glimpses you get at their motivations - but it's genuinely not going to be for everyone, and even for people the do "get it", the length of time that it takes the story to go anywhere can be a real frustration, especially on repeat viewings.

Despite all its flaws, though, .hack//SIGN does have a certain appeal - otherwise I wouldn't be watching it for the fourth time through now - and is worth a look, even if you've never played the PS2 games that it's spun off from.

Rating - ***

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