.hack//DUSK is the last in the series of .hack anime, and just like LIMINALITY and SIGN, it has a completely different feel than any of its predecessors. While SIGN was mostly conversation and discussion of what was going on in the world, and LIMINALITY was a somber look at the outside world, DUSK is more along the lines of the recent Ragnarok series -- a fun, playful look at the inside of the game and the things that go on inside it. Personally, I liked this mood and feel much more than the alternatives, but others prefer the quiet, slower feel of SIGN. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't go into watching this thinking that it'll be like the previous series. However, you should already have knowledge of the previous series and what the World is. Please click the anirec link above and then the yellow question mark to read more about how these series are related, and the suggested order of viewing. In general, a great deal of .hack//DUSK is centered around normal game type situations such as quests, special events, and even taking care if a grunty! You'll find yourself nodding and smiling when extremely typical MMORPG type events happen, if you play those kind of games. However, there also is a (somewhat thin, in my opinion) plot which is partially new, and partially spans back through the previous series. Although it is decent and has a good ending, I don't think it should be the focal point of the series. Watch it for the game-like elements and funny humor, not for the super rich plot (since it's not, and is a bit confusing anyways).
You'll immediately recognize the character designs from the .hack games, but with a more comical, almost chibi-like feel. (Don't worry, they aren't actual chibis). Colors used were extremely rich and vibrant, for everything from the characters, to the monsters, to the background. Bits of CGI were thrown in for things like the gates, just like in SIGN. The best part of the animation and design was definitely the monsters for me. So wacky and cute, and straight out of the games as well. Everything had a very flowing feel to it.
I felt the music was a very good indication of the tone of the series (comical and fun, in a game type world). It always fit in every situation and never seemed awkward. Nothing unforgettable, but definitely a nice touch to the series.
Voice actors were just fine for all parties involved.
.hack//DUSK does rely on you knowing a lot about the history of the multiple series in order to also know who a lot of the characters are. For veterans of the series, you will recognize old friends and familiar faces (especially from the games). For those new to the .hack world, this might be confusing and frustrating. However, the characters themselves are fleshed out well, especially the twins, Shuugo and Rena. Granted, there is also some fairly creepy incestual tones going on, but it tends to stay in the background and you forget it easily. Otherwise, the characters all had their purposes and it shows.
A very fun, comical series. The quality of this series proves that something with the Bee Train name behind it actually CAN be good! *shock*. For fans of MMORPGS, or the .hack universe, you probably will enjoy this. For those who are new to the .hack universe, I do suggest checking out the helpful info link I gave above to see if you really want to jump into this series as #1. But all in all, a great watch. I really enjoyed this show, especially the content and the tone, so I would probably watch it again. Granted, you'd know the big secret the 2nd time around, but it still would be enjoyable to watch again with friends.
.hack//Legend of the Twilight leaves us stranded in a bewildering gap between it and '.hack/Sign', where characters like Kite, BlackRose, Orca, and Balmung make fleeting appearances in the form of a side story that never received its own anime adaptation. Truly, a missed opportunity of epic proportions.
Now, let us turn our attention to the protagonist, who bears a striking resemblance to Kite but is nothing more than a chibi version of his avatar, complete with a borrowed bracelet. Oh, the audacity! Such lazy storytelling only serves to amplify the disgrace that permeates this anime. Brace yourself for a barrage of meaningless events and unfunny loli incest/fanservice comedy. Yes, you read that correctly—this abomination stoops to such deplorable depths. Do not waste a single precious moment of your time on this atrocity, for it offers no semblance of progression and can easily be skipped without any repercussions.
The characters In .hack/Sign were mature, nuanced, and dynamic, capturing our hearts with their depth and complexity. But in this travesty of a sequel, characters are childish and downright annoying beings. To make matters worse, old characters like Balmung and Silver Knight are shamefully left undeveloped, casting a shadow of disappointment upon the entire series. There is no progression, no growth—only stagnation and regression.
In summary, .hack//Legend of the Twilight stands as the polar opposite of its predecessor. Gone are the intricate mysteries and thought-provoking storytelling, replaced instead with a run-of-the-mill RPG anime that fails to offer any solution to the enigma of the 'World'. Spare yourself the agony and disappointment; steer clear of this abomination and seek solace elsewhere in the vast realm of anime. If you have any sense at all, I implore you to steer clear of this steaming pile of garbage. If you're seeking a respectable sequel to the innovative '.hack/Sign', I urge you to turn your attention to '.hack/Roots' instead.
As a stand alone series .Hack//DUSK may have been alright. However it isn't stand alone, it bears the .Hack name and did a poor job of fitting in with the family so to speak. Based off of the Manga it should have done alright. It had a good story laid out for it to follow, however not long after the frst couple of episodes it decided to stray from that path and follow a different direction, which, in my opinion, was a horrible mistake.
While some cool characters were introduced as a result of this divergence it as a whole ruined the story, and made it so that the watcher started to wonder if what was going on actually mattered. And don't even get me started on the bull shit ending the writers pulled out of their ass.
The animation is beautiful and the .Hack universe is very compelling, but in summary, there's a reason why this series isn't considered canon anymore.
As a long-time fan of the .hack// franchise, this is the only thing in the entire franchise I can't seem to bring myself to like (and this is including the confusing mess that was G.U. Trilogy), and it all boils down to one reason: the manga was better. The dub and the sub are relatively the same to me in this instance (aside from my pet peeve of the dub's insistance of prnouncing "Rena" as "Rayna"), so in this case the review is going to be more of a comparison between the manga and the anime.
While like with any part of the franchise as a general rule I do enjoy most of the characters and feel the creators did a good job or portraying different types of people who play online games, I have given characters such a low rating for two reasons: 1.) Over the years Shuugo's personality has sort of worn on me, particularly his insestuous lust for Rena based entirely on her character model within The World, and to this day while I still find some aspects of him cute, he is still my least favorite character with the Kite model. 2.) The anime axed who I feel to this day is still one of the best characters of the franchise, Aura's daughter Zefie. She was a major reason for my liking the manga and when I learned she wasn't in the anime I was devestated and since then have never been able to bring myself to get past episode 5.
Story is a bit hard to rate as I never have actually watched any part of the anime that really has "story", but props are given for the fact that the episodes I have managed to get myself to sit down and watch follow the manga pretty well. However, points are lost again for the fact that Zephie was removed and no matter how much time passes I just can't bring myself to get over this fact.
Not much to talk about here, your standard fare of quality of music from .hack// Though sound gets docked a little for the opening and ending themes being incredibly forgettable and bubbly in comparison to music from the rest of the franchise. Voice acting is... decent. Aside from now being able to tell Shuugo was voiced by Bryce Papenbrook in the dub, I never really paid much attention to the show's voice work in either language. Though, again, my pet peeve of the pronounciation of Rena's name and... her voice was only really grating to me in the dub.
Even less to talk about here. Pretty standard animation.
In conclusion, I would only reccomend this to people who are fans of .hack// or fumoffu in the first place, and I would reccomend the manga before I'd reccomend the anime.<div> </div>
- Let’s start our prologue with a warning. Don’t DARE to watch this before SIGN and LIMINALITY (made reviews about those as well, by the way). Not only you will miss the (slight) story continuity but you will also consider it a mediocre series, a thing that is not true.
- Let’s proceed with some production info. In the original planning of the .hack project, there was supposed to be a different chapter of the story made for a different form of media: SIGN would be a tv series, LIMINALITY an OVA mini series, the PS2 games would be a RPG quatralogy, and DUSK would be a manga. The decision to make an anime adaptation of DUSK not only ruined the originality of the project (one chapter per media) but also produced an inferior version of the original story that only damaged the reputation of the series.
- And now, let’s end with a little advice… READ THE MANGA! It has a lot more fan service and far better story and characters. The ending is totally different and a lot more satisfactory than in the anime. And not to fail to mention that it has Aura’s child in it! How could they replace the Dark AI programs with a bunch of sissy hackers and expect us to like it? “It’s a hype trick to make us bitch about it and have the mythos of .hack keeping going” is most likely the reason. After all “Bad publicity, is also publicity” as they say.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 6/10 (7/10 in the manga)
While the atmosphere of SIGN, LIMINALITY and the games was very serious and psychological, DUSK is totally different. It’s a light-hearted comical adventure, without endless philosophical discussions and total absence of action scenes (ok, the games had plenty of action). And THIS is the reason I enjoyed it more than the others; plain and simple. While the others had a boooooring plot and a slooooow development, DUSK featured fast pace, comedy, action scenes and light ecchi scenes that simply made it more interesting to watch. Not that it was great, though. Half of the jokes were mediocre and the action was quite simple and predictable (DATA DRAIN is a panacea!). But it STILL beats the aforementioned ones in entertainment.
STORY SECTION: 5/10 (7/10 in the manga)
Four years after the events in the games, two twins, a boy named Shugo and a girl named Rena, (living mostly apart because of their parents’ marriage problems) win the character figure packs of Kite and Black Rose, the characters from the games that stopped the virus from spreading. They decide to play THE WORLD (the game) as a way to be together, even when they are apart (the game is MMORPG). In the game, Shugo is quickly killed by a virus monster but escapes the coma by Aura (the AI from SIGN) who gives him the Kite’s Twilight Bracelet (and a kiss!) and asks him to search for her. The rest of the story is about learning to play the game, leveling up, making friends and enemies, participating in game events and facing viruses, game administrators and hackers.
VALUE SECTION: 1/10 (4/10 in the manga)
The story has continuity with the previous titles mostly through cameo appearances of characters and settings. It is nothing much if seen as a stand-alone and doesn’t move the story any further than the others did (GRRR!). The ending gets more dark and serious but it feels only as a poor attempt to leave us with a better last opinion about it. Overall, it’s just a superficial retelling/repeating of SIGN and the games. So, its value also drops a lot because of the lack of story originality.
ART & SOUND SECTIONS: 6/10
Although the setting is THE WORLD, production values are far inferior to SIGN. That is a bad thing, although they wouldn’t fit the series’ cheery atmosphere to begin with. The artwork is mostly childish and the characters look and talk silly. They are cute and that makes them a bit likeable but that is all. It is practically a simple production made mostly for kicks.
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
No character gets to have a strong personality amongst all this silliness. And as far as character development goes, Shugo, Rena and Balmung (of the games) get more serious and strong-willed in the end, but that is all there is to it; all the rest are there for fun and don’t even provide further mythos or information as those in HACK. They are not a bad bunch but outside of comedy values and cameos they are nothing worth remembering. Also be noted how they are going for the incest routine, where the two twins are for some reason sexually attracted to each other, even if they are just playing with fictional characters. Gets creepy if you are not used to that from overused anime stereotypes.
VERDICT: 5/10 (6/10 in the manga)
Mahujin Guruguru, Dragon-Half, Slayers. Great RPG parodies.