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.hack//SIGN #5 PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 00:00
.hack//SIGNWhile Bear and the others are rediscovering their interest in the search for the Key of the Twilight, Tsukasa and Subaru are independently suffering as their worlds begin to fall apart. So who will break first? Or will they find comfort in each other? The Silver Knight, meanwhile, finds that stubbornness doesn't always pay off...

18 - Declaration
Subaru 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 Subaru's frequent reminders that they are just players. In desperation, she turns to Crim for advice about how to handle the situation, but his reminder that The World is only a game isn't really the advice that she needs. 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...

ChallengeFinal proclamation

19 - Recollection
Subaru's having to adjust to life after the Crimson Knights. Her main problem is that all that administering has left her a lowly level 1 character, and without her status to protect her she's now got to learn to fight for herself, just like any other character. Ever since her early days in The World (where her chance meeting with Crim gained her a protector) and through the formation of the Knights, she's always had people around her who were prepared to defend her, but now all that has changed. So what's a defenceless girl to do..?


20 - Tempest
Life goes on for the players of The World. Mimiru & Bear are questing, with Tsukasa having pretty much dropped off the radar for them & the search for the Key of the Twilight on hold. Silver Knight's having to get used to life without the Crimson Knights, BT & Sora are scheming about how to make best use of him, and Subaru's spending most of her online time just sitting with Tsukasa. So much for everyone's grand plans to solve Tsukasa's logout problem - but after letting things drift for a while, Bear finally decides to relaunch the search for the Key & calls the gang back together again. Tsukasa, meanwhile, decides to show Subaru his hiding place, but when they get there the mysterious girl is gone, and someone's really not happy at him having brought Subaru there...


21 - Despair
Subaru hasn't seen Tsukasa since her visit to his hiding place & is worried enough to be searching for him. She'll have a hard time finding him in his current state, though - he's back in his hiding place (now a wasteland) and he's in no condition to do anything. There's much talking about what's happened to Tsukasa & concern for Subaru, as she leaves herself weakened as a result of her worry. Meanwhile, Bear's been doing some thinking about the ramblings of the upside-down man, and has come up with an explanation...

Vacant mindAura

So, here we go again. The stop-start search for the Key of the Twilight is a tad on the annoying side - you can't help but wonder why people can't just decide whether they're going to look for the damn thing or not - but by the end of the volume it does seem to have become the centre of attention for Bear and the others again, while Silver Knight's unexpected teaming-up with Sora and BT gives us some interesting possibilities to chew over.

The main focus of the volume, though, is on Subaru and Tsukasa. For Subaru, the whole life she's built for herself within The World - the only place where she can live an unrestricted life - is falling down around her, and from a position of respect and authority where no-one could touch her, she's suddenly down at the bottom of the heap again - no respect, and no protection from the unsavoury elements within the game that she's been trying to keep in check for so long. It's not long before payback comes calling, either, and Subaru's in-game life really does hit rock bottom. Rather than turn to the people she's usually gone to for support, though, she turns to Tsukasa - and that in turn proves to be the trigger for Tsukasa's own further demise.

By the end of the volume, Tsukasa has been severely punished and left to one side, making you wonder why his mysterious keeper was so determined to keep control of him in the first place. Rather than seeing things begin to come together as the end of the series gets closer, events are if anything become a little more confusing as some obvious possibilities of 'the truth' are eliminated - but surprisingly, that didn't bother me as the Subaru and Tsukasa storyline more than made up for the usual slow pacing.

That said, the final two volumes had better get the Key story back on track. I am enjoying this time through the series somewhat more than I was expecting to - a few years away seems to have helped rekindle my enjoyment of the show - but the glacial pacing is still the biggest issue. Still hope for an exciting ending, though...

Rating - ***

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