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.hack//SIGN Ver. 01: Login (2003)

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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Bandai
Genre: Anime, Science Fiction Anime
Running Time: 125 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Welcome to "The World."

Get ready to login to the most successful online game ever! "The World" is now played by millions of people across the globe. Players can trade items, form parties, and go on quests.

But none of that concerns Tsukasa. All he wants to do is logout. But he can't. For some reason, he's trapped within The World, a virtual prisoner. He also has some rather unique abilities, including a monster that defeats his enemies for him. These unusual circumstances make Tsukasa a curiosity to some, and a target to others.

During his wanderings, he meets a variety of people. He has no idea, however, that these chance encounters may becomes his only hope of being freed from the grip of The World.

Contains episodes 1-5.

Special Features:

  • Isolated Score Audio Track
  • Textless opening and closing
  • Character Gallery

GreenCine Member Reviews

good, but a bit frustrating by jeffs May 18, 2004 - 4:39 PM PDT
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
You certainly don't have to be a gamer or have to have played the .hack ps2 game in order to enjoy this series. I played the first game in the series, and while I thought it was a great concept I found the gameplay a little on the boring side. The game's story was good though a little confusing if I remember correctly. In addition to the game is a DVD that includes .hack//LIMINALITY. To put them all in relation to one another, .hack//SIGN happens first. The events of .hack//LIMINALITY and the .hack game happen simultaneously and after .hack//SIGN. The final episode of the .hack//SIGN series (called UNISON on the bonus disc) happens after the conclusion of the game and .hack//SIGN. While you don't have to play the game to enjoy the series, after watching .hack//SIGN you may very well want to. While I didn't like the first game, I now plan on buying a used copy of rest and playing through all of them. The ending just leaves you wanting for more, and while I had hoped that UNISON would wrap things up nicely it just made me want to find out what happened in the middle of the story even more.

hneline1 did a great job of explaining the series so I really wont go into it too much. I didn't find the lack of a "real" world story bothersome, and at points through the story you do find out more about all the character's real life. I also have to second that the music for this series is just incredible (but I was also a huge fan of the music in Noir)

BTW, if you are a gamer and have looked a playing the game, definetely watch this series first. I think the game will be much more enjoyable.

Left me cold by EKissane July 7, 2003 - 2:41 PM PDT
8 out of 10 members found this review helpful
I have to suspect that this would be more interesting if I were familiar with the associated Playstation game, but as it is, I found it weak.

The animation's not bad, but the pacing is disjointed. In the first disk, the series never quite decided whether or not it was going to be a character-driven, edgy modern story in a slightly cheesy setting or a Saturday-morning style video game tie-in. The result was a hollow story with one-dimensional characters and nothing shiny enough to keep my attention.

I dutifully watched the whole disk, but have no interest in the rest of the series.

Everquest meets Serial Experiments Lain but cyberpunk it ain't by hneline1 April 16, 2003 - 8:07 PM PDT
14 out of 15 members found this review helpful
Talk about a multimedia undertaking -- the anime series .hack//SIGN (pronounced "dot hack sign") was released by Bandai on Japanese TV in 2002 as part of a larger project simultaneously producing a manga serial (.hack//Tasogare no Udewa Densetsu (Legend of the Twilight Bracelet)) with its own anime series to be released in Japan in 2003, PS2 video games (.hack//Infection, .hack//Mutation, 2 more games to be released in the US soon), OVAs (.hack//Liminality, one episode bundled with each PS2 game), and a novel (not translated into English yet). Each of these tells a separate story taking place in the same reality but at different times and with different characters. Taken together, they reveal answers to the history and mystery of the .hack universe.

And what is the .hack universe? It revolves around a multiplayer roleplaying game in the near future called The World, where normal people like us login to play characters like wizards (called wavemasters), warriors, thieves, guards, and shopkeepers. The mystery involves unprogrammed incidences that start happening on the game servers and to the people playing the game. Yes, it's like Everquest meets Serial Experiments Lain, or, to reach back even further, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons meets Tron (am I dating myself or what?). ;-)

But .hack//SIGN can be taken by itself, and so far it's an excellent anime series. It has the high fantasy elements of Record of Lodoss War or El Hazard the Magnificent World, but with the reality twist that there are normal modern people behind the characters that we see interacting in the game universe. There's no blood although it does have hack and slash violence -- The World is a quest-oriented RPG game, after all. Much of the intensity revolves around character tension and the mystery of Tsukasa's amnesia, so don't look for gore or much frenetic action. These first episodes do an excellent job of introducing the main characters and their varied reactions to the unexpected events in their game.

If I have any criticism, it's that I'd like to see more of the "real world" in .hack//SIGN, so that it makes more of a statement about our society's incorporation of virtual communities. As it is so far, .hack//SIGN just seems to be very well-done entertainment -- nothing wrong with that, but cyberpunk it ain't... at least, not in these first few episodes. Maybe I need to check out the other .hack stories.

Oh, and one more thing -- I absolutely love the music. Yuki Kajiura, the music director, also did the soundtrack for Noir, and both incorporate this otherworldly, edgy, almost Scandinavian-like vocalizations with a house beat that thrill me. It so much better than sicky-sweet J-pop.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.58)
271 Votes
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