Studio: Bee Train
Distributor: FUNimation, streams on Hulu (note: originally owned by Bandai.)
No. of Episodes: 25
Suggested Age: 13+
My Rating: 10/10
Summary: In the distant future, an online RPG called “The World” has become a runaway hit. People everywhere log on to enjoy its surreal landscape, unaware of the dangers lurking within. One such player is Tsukasa. Tsukasa is an enigma: he experiences the World as if he were actually alive, with all of his senses engaged. What’s more, unlike the other players, Tuskasa can not “log out” of The World and return to the real one. He is trapped within the game. Why? And more importantly, can he escape?
Review: Many years ago, Cartoon Network was awesome. It had many great anime titles, some of them I’ve already covered: Trigun, Cowboy Bebop, Dragonball Z, InuYasha, etc. Many of these were late night. One of the best was .hack//sign. (pronounced “dot-hack-sign”)
The show has beautiful animation. I love its surreal landscape and how the immersive the World is. It really does feel like its own place, with dangerous creatures and players who play the game for different reasons. The players each have a specific class, just like any RPG. The different classes are: Wavemaster, Heavy Sword, Blademaster, Heavy Axe, Long Arm, and Twin Blade. Each of the characters in .hack//sign represents a different class.
Bear is a Blademaster. He sees himself as an elder player, and likes to give other players alive and assist them on quests. For this reason, he is a respected player and has gained many allies. He’s like that seasoned veteran who accompanies the inexperienced hero to give him a better edge in a battle.
Mimiru is a Heavy Sword Class. She is kind, energetic, and easy-going. Her demeanor seems like someone I’d want in my party if I were playing this game. She is a well-balanced fighter who is only in the game for fun and adventure. Making friends is a bonus.
BT is also a Wavemaster, but more experienced than Tsukasa. She is the most secretive of the characters, and has a history with Bear.
Subaru is a Heavy Axe. She is also the leader of the Crimson Knights, who are charged with keeping order in The World. The Crimson Knights are strict adherents to The World’s rules, much to the chagrin of most players. Subaru is the closest to Tsukasa, and it is their relationship that encourages him to come out of his shell and trust others. She keeps her reasons for playing to herself, and I don’t want to spoil them because I thought they were the best motivation. I want you to be just as surprised as me.
Crim is a Long Arm, so named because they wield spears. He is a former Crimson Knight, but is still good friends with Subaru. He is the most cynical of the characters, and a bit on the cocky side.
Sora represents the Twin Blade class. Unlike the others in his class, Sora’s blades are spring-loaded and come from his wrist. (The other Twin Blades use daggers) Sora is your typical troll. He enjoys annoying everyone else and threatening to kill them for information. There’s one everywhere on the Internet.
The villain is an invisible AI dubbed Morganna Mode Gone. (We never hear her mentioned by name by any character, however, her name is given in the credits) Morganna oversees the world and seems to have an interest in Tsukasa. She is like the witch who lurks in the shadows, manipulating the world from afar.
Sub/Dub: Both versions are great. I love the dub cast.
Music/Score: One of the best soundtracks I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. I wish FUNimation had acquired the rights to it. The songs are beautifully haunting. If you can find one of the many streaming Internet radio stations that play songs from anime, I recommend requesting any song from this anime. You won’t be disappointed.
Language: (2/10) Very low on swears.
Violence: (4/10)SPOILER! While the show seems deceptively mild on blood, It should be noted that when people die in The World, they risk becoming comatose in reality.
Nudity: (0/10) Except for the fact that Mimiru’s and Subaru’s outfits show a little bit of skin, there is no nudity.
Sexuality: (0/10) None.
Religion: (0/10)None, except for the fact that Wavemasters can wield magic. But if you have a problem with magic, why are you watching anime?
Related Media: .hack//sign is part of a saga that encompasses various media. The other anime titles within the saga are, in the order they should be watched, .hack//legend of the twilight, .hack//roots, and .hack//quantum. There is also an OVA that was four episodes long called .hack//liminality. Unlike the others, FUNimation has not acquired the OVA, mostly because there is more legal trouble involved. The OVA was packaged individually with the accompanying video games for the PS2, and you had to buy each one to get the whole story. .hack//legend of the Twilight was also a manga.