Aurora3500's avatar


  • USA
  • Joined Nov 13, 2011
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Mar 23, 2015

Premise: A virtual reality MMORPG exists with "The World" in the game. Our mysterious protagonist Tsukasa is the only player who can't log out and is the focus of an ingame mystery item called the Key of the Twilight.

Story(8/10): The focus of the story is based on the mystery of Tsukasa. He is the only player who can't log out and he has strange powers that the other players don't have which are summoning a personal strong monster called a Guardian, and the ability to move to any Town/Dungeon/Field without using a Gate (A warp point in the game). It is believed he is connected with The Key of the Twilight. A group of commited players work together to try and uncover this mystery. 

The plot looks simple at a glance, but there are subtle things working behind the scenes that give even more mysteries than just the Key of the Twilight mystery. Such as what Macha is. What the Girl is there for, and why no other players can go to where Tsukasa is. The story is slow paced, so it can feel slightly draggy at times, but it is nessacary to soak in all the knowledge that the players learn and for the viewers to piece together what's happening.

Despite this being a mmo, there is very little fighting which may alienate people who are constantly hungry for action in a series. The important part of the show is the interactions between the characters discussing philosophy of gaming and the nature of reality.

Animation(9/10): This anime was made around 2002, so it doesn't have as many fancy effects like in some of the more modern anime like SAO. The characters look great and The World feels very vibrant and exciting to be at. When the characters discover a new area, it sparks curiosity at what awaits there for them to find. There are enough enviornments in the virtual world to make it feel very fresh.

The Real World is contrasted compared to the World by being full of brown/grey as a sort of symbolism of how the real world is lifeless, while "The World" is full of life. It makes for a good effect of somewhat showing how Tsukasa and the other characters think about reality and "The World".

Sound(10/10): Yuki Kajiura is involved in this anime and her music is always extremely great. Some of the most memorable songs she has composed like "Aura" and "Key of the Twilight" are in this anime being sung by Emily Bindiger. Yuki Kajiura has also composed for Noir, Madlax, Fate/Zero, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, and Sword Art Online. The music generally fits the atmosphere of the characters present and what they are discussing. The soundtrack is very likely to stick with you even long after you've finished this anime.

Characters(10/10): Along with the main character Tsukasa, the anime also focuses on Mimiru who is a sword wielder in-game, Bear also a sword wielder, BT a wavemaster like Tsukasa. Subaru who is a leader for the ingame Crimson Knights that funtion like a police force. And Sora a rogue-style player. Each character mentioned gets involved in the mystery of Tsukasa and has their own motivations for helping Tsukasa and finding the Key of the Twilight. As the anime progresses the characters develop more and become a close group.

Other Notes: This anime is frequently compared to Sword Art Online because they both take place in MMORPG virtual worlds. Despite this similarity however, I would consider this anime and SAO to be opposites, in terms of style and characters. SAO is very fast paced, fast forwarding the plot while skipping over information. While .Hack//Sign is slow paced and doesn't load a ton of info into one episode but rather gradually throughout episodes. The protagonist of SAO Kirito is strong and has a straightforward personality, while Tsukasa is more introverted, doesn't want to interact with other players, and doesn't fight as much. If you come into this anime from SAO expecting a similar feeling, it will feel very different and you may be disapointed. 

Overall(10/10): .Hack//Sign's strengths lie with the characters and their development with the Key of the Twilight mystery being more of a "sidequest" type of thing. The soundtrack is the brilliant result of Yuki Kajiura's work, and is heavily focused on the interactions of the characters rather than action like what you would expect from a rpg.

It is a great anime to watch if you focus on the characters and their development. I have rewatched it a few times as well. If you come into this anime expecting action and fast-paced excitement, this anime will disappoint you. Regardless of what you are looking for, the anime was well made and hit many great points about gamers, gaming, and reality.

8/10 story
9/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall

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