Although all her high school friends are playing "The World", an online role playing game, Sora Yuki is reluctant due to her grandfather who seems to be avert to technology. Things change once she finds out that he secretly started playing this game. Now with no restrictions and with the help of her friends, she timidly enters the game and is thoroughly impressed by it. While still learning the basics of how to play, she witnesses an odd event: a mysterious girl being attacked by a smoke-like entity. The girl has no problem in avoiding its charges, but while doing it she approaches Sora and gives her a strange small cube that enters her online body. From then on, news start to appear that some players are losing consciousness while playing "The World".
SENOMUNI is basically the fifth version of the same story, after SIGN, TWILIGHT, ROOTS and QUANTUM. At this point they only keep making more just to support the videogame franchise and not because it has anything new to show us in terms of context. Having followed the franchise through the years I can appreciate how it keeps trying to flavor the exact same premise and correct past mistakes. At the same time, WOOPS, it keeps making newer ones so it never manages to get something overall better than the rest.So what new minor improvements this version has compared to the older ones? Basically it is up to date with the current gadgets. - It feels more natural (and cool) to see the game being played as a cell-phone application instead of a PC one. PCs are dying baby; everything is turning mobile! - Those bulky VR helmets have also being reduced to simple sunglasses. Everything keeps being miniaturized and looks trendier as years go by, so it makes sense. - There are AI pets used for file and schedule management. We have progressed a lot since the days of Tamagochi so this too looks cool.- As soon as you enter the game, a ton of advertisements start to fly all around you. The internet may be free but commercialism is not, lol. Too bad it couldn’t keep the amazing production values along with these additions. SENOMUNI happens to be the first fully computer generated HACK entry, meaning that everything is now 3D. That was supposed to be a good addition along with the rest for moving away from the 2D and entering the brave new world of 3D polygons. Sadly it isn’t because it looks very poor compared to what technology can do in the year it came out. All previous versions had amazing budgets for their time but this one is the first to look pretty run down, like it’s a patchwork of cut scenes from a PS2 videogame such as Kingdom Hearts. Hell, Spirits Within was made a decade ago and still looks ten times better than this thing. It’s so crude with its physics and bulky character models that it makes you wish it would instead be hand-drawn. And wait a second, this could have actually worked fine if it really was partially hand-drawn. It could go for the gimmick Black Rock Shooter used and could have the scenes taking place in the real world being traditional animation and the ones in the game being 3D as it is. It would at least save some face by excising it to look like a crude videogame. And sadly none of the guys in the production team thought of something as simple as that. But even with that gimmick, the movie would still be boring because of the simplistic plot. Aside from the overused premise of people falling into a coma and being trapped in the game, there is nothing going on in this movie for the first 20 minutes. Supposed they were spent on getting to know the main characters but they are all so simple and boring that there was absolutely nothing to show about them. You literally need to tolerate 20 minutes of them walking and sleeping and doing absolutely nothing of importance. Jeez you guys, are you trying to make us hate your work? Although to be honest this is technically an improvement over QUANTUM. The characters may be simple and boring as hell but at least they are not sexualized lolis with obligatory bath scenes. Anyways, the plot is exactly the same as before with even the exact same character models as before, albeit now in 3D. The problem is that the whole story needs to be told in just two hours and almost half of it is spent on introductions and boring slice of life scenes. That results to the crisis of the viruses overrunning the game happening way too fast and sudden for you to cherish it. The characters also seems to immediately go to the offence without ever questioning what the devil is going on here or why should they care more than others. Furthermore the heroine had more than a few encounters with the viruses and Aura before the crisis initiates yet dismissed the whole thing as something unimportant. All that result to a very messy storyboard that fails completely to build up tension and interest to the viewer. Stuff happen and you have no reason to care. As far as action scenes go, the movie is fine in making everything look like a videogame. It is a small saving grace as far as guilty pleasure goes. But surely doesn’t beat the original series which was about philosophy and psychology and not about brainless action. There is little to no context in the conflict of this movie; it’s just about beating some faceless virus to save their friend who has been captured. Hell, even the sexualized lolis of Quantum had more psychological conflict than these here in SENOMUNI. Man, it is sad to see the franchise loosing more and more depth with each new installment to the point it is now a passable mediocrity. In all, this is not much of a watch and easily stands as the worse of all current HACK installments. You may dig the sci-fi touches if you are a gadget geek or a veteran gamer but even those mean nothing now that the premise has turned almost to an overused premise because of lame shows such as Accel World and Sword Art Online. Once again, SIGN remains the first and best of the franchise, with other anime such as Serial Experiments Lain and Ghost In The Shell still being the best of what sci-fi has to offer in anime form. And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 7/10 General Artwork 1/2 (looks like a 10 year old videogame cut scene) Character Figures 1/2 (overused) Backgrounds 2/2 (like a videogame) Animation 1/2 (typical) Visual Effects 2/2 (like a videogame) SOUND SECTION: 6/10 Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series) Music Themes 2/4 (typical) Sound Effects 2/3 (typical) STORY SECTION: 3/10 Premise 1/2 (typical) Pacing 0/2 (aimless and rushed) Complexity 1/2 (not much) Plausibility 0/2 (none) Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy) CHARACTER SECTION: 3/10 Presence 1/2 (generic) Personality 1/2 (cheesy) Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there) Development 0/2 (messy) Catharsis 0/2 (messy) VALUE SECTION: 1/10 Historical Value 0/3 (none) Rewatchability 0/3 (no reason to rewatch it) Memorability 1/4 (nothing to remember) ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 Art 1/1 (looks like a videogame) Sound 0/2 (sounds lazy) Story 0/3 (generic and rushed) Characters 0/4 (stereotypes) VERDICT: 3.5/10
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