Anime: .hack//Legend of the Twilight Complete Series Released By: FUNimation Release Date: April 7th, 2015 Retail Price: $39.98
The popular .hack// franchise has provided both anime and manga fans with an assortment of anime series, and video games expanding on the idea of an alternate virtual universe. This particular series, .hack//Legend of the Twilight tells the story of 14 year old twin siblings Shugo and Rena. We begin with Rena winning a pair of avatars (of the chibi variety mind you), the distinguished .hackers (or playable characters) Kite and BlackRose. Rena takes on the pink haired warrior with a sword, BlackRose, with Shugo taking the teal haired Kite avatar. The siblings have been divided due to family circumstances that make it impossible for the twins to interact like they desire. With this new possibility for them to bond, they take on these roles in a virtual world that is full of steadfast gamers struggling to comprehend the difference between real life vs the virtual realm. It becomes quickly apparent that Shugo isn’t well equipped with the game as of yet, which results in him meeting a brisk death. When Shugo doesn’t wake up from the game, he registers that there is something seriously wrong with this reality. Luckily, AI (artificial intelligence) Aura emerges in the darkness to restore Shugo, and gifts him with the twilight bracelet that can ultimately alter the data of a given character, often purging dark forces created.
As the siblings cross paths with others they begin to initiate a friendship/alliance with other players in the world, that comes in handy after Rena is taken under mysterious circumstances. The relationship between Rena and Shugo borders creepy at many points where they even come close to kissing – yeah it goes there! Besides the humor the short series utilizes some fantastically animated action sequences between the gamers and creatures (and each other) that add to the already positive reputation that the .hack// series is known for. A specific notion addressed toward the second half of the series is a comparison between death that is related to both virtually and in real life, bringing up interesting thoughts about the afterlife. I wouldn’t have expected a chibi-light version of .hack// to tie into serious questions about what happens after we exit the only life that we know, and gives a push for viewers (as well as characters) to have faith. Not in an overly religious aspect per-say , but that all we can do is trust in some possible way you will reunite with your loved ones after our time has expired.
It was strange adjusting to the fact that a core group of the series villains (aside from that emotionless AI Mori) were children, implementing hacks and mayhem to wreak havoc for the series protagonists. Though when you really think about it, given the series is a video game, it makes perfect sense that young trolls would be an initial start for trouble (anyone who plays online games can no the pain of this, except for the real life danger.) When a real AI villain named Morti surfaces, things begin to make more sense to the stories plot, quickly putting everyone in the entire cyber world’s lives in jeopardy – and not just a game over type of death. One of the series most gripping characters is the godlike AI that oversees the entire realm, Aura. Aura sets off the story, and over the course of .hack//Legend of the Twilight, her plan is divulged to show how effective she is as a higher power, once again toying with the notion of spirituality through a video game medium, quite clever I must say. Another character I find to be of importance is Reki, the system administrator and assistant to the warrior Balmung. As a game-maker he is constantly thrown off course with the struggle between Shugo/Rena and the hackers. Reki is subjected to the stress of this building battle and the constant pressure of executing his boss’s demands, who he deeply respects. Reki begins to prove helpful with the search for the hackers, and shows extreme bravery when realizing the weight of the situation.
.hack// Legend of the Twilight contains humor, action, extremely uncomfortable hints of romance, and epic adventure in its 12 episode series (but don’t fret, there are many .hack// series courtesy of FUNimation!) The series is enjoyed for the different styled art, bright colors, and explorations of an uncharted world. Being a more fun oriented take on the franchise, .hack// Legend of the Twilight may take time to adjust for original .hack// fans, but the payout will make you glad you watched from beginning to end after dramatic twists and turns.
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
-Kite and BlackRose are the most visually interesting characters
-I enjoyed the miniature Digimon voice cast reunion
-The use of Artificial Intelligence makes you think about our own usage of technology
-Exploring the notions of death and afterlife were eye-openers to the real messages that the series contains