ThatAnimeSnob's avatar


  • Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Joined Dec 22, 2011
  • 42 / M

- 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.

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.

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.

5/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall
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