I don’t like repeating myself, so it would be wise to first read my SIGN review before starting with this one. It is part of the same world and should normally be watched after the main series.
ART SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 2/2, Visual Effects 1/2
The setting is the real world, not the game. The graphics are not so dreamy but surely are well made. A lot of effort was given this time to make things look as realistic and normal as possible, which is a huge contrast to the main series but otherwise helps to expand world-building and provide more aspects to the already intriguing setting. Beyond that, they feel too normal and simple to care about after awhile.
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
Sound themes and voice acting were rather common, unlike the deified ones of SIGN. Also well made but you will forget them pretty soon. Unlike in SIGN, all the attention was given on the graphics and the story, leaving the music and even the dialogues to have a backseat.
STORY SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 1/2
- The story takes place after the events of SIGN and parallel with the events of the PS2 games. In fact, each of the 4 episodes was sold along with each part of the games, to make that even clearer. Everything happens in the real world, a few months after the viruses begin to throw people into comas and cause problems with the networks. It is about everyday people, meeting and trying to uncover the truth the company which is making the game, is hiding. You get to learn a lot of information considering the story around the game, most of which I have already mentioned in my SIGN review.
- There are many in-game jokes and references about movies and Japanese traditions that are supposed to make the scenario feel like a mystery/thriller. But they are too bluntly provided, making the story more confusing rather than interesting.
- The story also ends without a conclusion, as a way to spur you to follow all the rest of the .hack franchise. Kinda cheap if you ask me. And disappointing too; since there is no conclusion in any other installment no matter how much you look for one.
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 1/2
The characters are normal; they have no special powers or weird pasts. They are a bit interesting as they behave like real people in the real world but they also don’t mature or change much, which ruins their appeal. They are not memorable or eye-catchy as those of the main series.
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 2/4
LIMINALITY was made solely to explain the various details of the .hack PS2 RPG quatralogy backdrop story. It is otherwise as boring as SIGN and even lacks all the good elements that made it interesting (characters, graphics, sound). So, besides the info you get from it, IT IS UNBEARABLE! Its replay value is really low.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 2/4
- One third of the time is wasted on every day situations. They are very well made situations and they could make a fine slice-of-life anime; but they are completely irrelevant with the theme of the story.
- Another third is wasted on the characters meeting and getting to trust each other. Of course, it would be stupid to see total strangers becoming buddies so fast; but with the small duration of the series, more episodes were needed to leave more time in order to bind with them and comprehend the theme of the story.
- As for the last third, they talk. They talk all the time! There are some stealth/pursuit scenes in it but I can’t say I found them to be interesting.