Collecting rare items, and questing are two of the most common elements in MMORPGs and they are also present in the .hack world. .hack//SIGN is an anime that takes place inside of a mmorpg. Thats right, it takes place inside a popular online game called, “The World.”
The show follows Tsukasa, a low-leveled wavemaster. Wavemasters are the magic users in “The World.” Tsukasa is a shy player, who just goes around soloing, which is unusual for a wavemaster. Oh, and did I mention that Tsukasa can’t log out of the game? Thats right, he can not log out of the game. Because of his inability to log out, he makes friends with an NPC (that is a non-playable character) that is a somewhat weird white and purple cat who can float, and also with a mysterious girl that is asleep and doesn’t wake up. Throughout the rest of the show Tsukasa becomes friends with several players from “The World.”
With that being said, .hack’s story is driven by the dialogue of the characters. The show usually consists of the characters talking to one another, and very occasional fight scenes. While the fight scenes are very few in number, the are fairly good, but usually only last for a few seconds. Since the story is dialogue based with the minimal fighting, the story seems to drag out. No, seriously the show’s pacing is very slow. So if you want to hurry up and find out how the series ends, you have no choice but to watch every slow paced episode. The reason being because you would be utterly confused if you just jumped to the final episode. The conclusion takes place over the last two or three episodes, so even if you chose to jump to the last episode, you wouldn’t know where the characters are, or why they are there.
Since you will be watching the show for a good while, it is nice that the artwork is great. .hack//SIGN has some of the best art that I have seen. So the fact that you will enjoy looking at the beautiful animation while you watch the story unfold, is great. The backgrounds are very good and detailed, while the character designs are great also. So be glad that you eyes can enjoy the animation.
Your ears will also be pleased as the music is wonderful. Not only does the music sound good, but it fits the mood of the moment. The track, “Aura”, sometimes sent chills down my spine when they played it. I also have to say that the opening track, “Obsession”, is also just a great track. The voice acting isn’t that bad either. Since the music has been established, lets move onto one my favorite parts of the show-the characters.
Since the show is driven by dialogue, it needs to have good characters to pull it off and .hack//SIGN has that going for it. The show sports off 9 characters; Tsukasa, Mimiru, Bear, Subaru, BT, Crim, Sora, Maha, and Silver Knight. Some of these characters are in most every episode, while some of them are left out from time to time. The relationships between the characters is a big part of the show, as some of them are exactly how they seem, while some have secret motives. This helps you understand their motives for helping out Tsukasa and just to understand them in general. Another thing that I personally liked is that not all of the characters meet Tsukasa in the first episode, several of them meet him later, but they may know about him. For instance, Crim doesn’t meet Tsuakasa till about the middle to end of the show, but he helps Subaru deal with him by giving her advice. It is nice that not every character knows each other at first. I think it fits .hack well because of the fact that the setting is an online game, so all of the characters might not be on at the same time, or know everyone else.
All in all .hack//SIGN is a great show with great animation, sound, plot, and characters. I would definitely recommend you watch this show if you can handle the slow pacing. If you are like me you will find that .hack//SIGN is on you favorites list.