Studio/Creator: Bee Train
No. of Episodes: 12
My Rating: 7/10
Suggested Age: 14+
Summary: Shugo has just started playing “The World” as a Twin Blade and is surprised to be reunited with his twin sister Rena, who is a Heavy Blade. They are joined in their adventures by a Wavemaster named Muriel and a Swordmaster named Sanjuro. Shugo receives a bracelet that gives him a special ability called “Data Drain”, which allows him to alter the data of his enemies, causing them to weaken and die instantly. This item attracts the interest of Lord Balmung, an administrator of CC Corp, the makers of The World. Why has this power been bestowed on Shugo and what could it mean for the game?
Review: When I first watched this when it ran on Cartoon Network (back in the good days of the channel), I liked it, but not as much as its predecessor, .hack//sign. Now that I’ve rewatched it for this review, I have changed my opinion. The series is somewhat lighter in tone than .hack//sign, but it doesn’t bother me this time because I knew to expect it.
Shugo is a different kind of hero from Tsukasa, the hero of the previous series. He’s more confident and is less experienced. He is very protective of Rena, mostly because it’s been so long since they’ve seen each other. Rena enjoys The World and seems to view it as one vast playground, and it was fun to watch her gleefully explore her surroundings.
Muriel might be annoying to some. Like Rena, she sees the World as only a fun place. Her one goal is to find as many rare items as she can, in order to impress her friends on the outside. Thus, she is very interested in the bracelet Shugo has, but she soon realizes the danger of the situation when she discovers he cannot take it off.
Sanjuro is an interesting character. You get the feeling that he is a seasoned warrior and sees himself as one who can pass on what he’s learned from experience to new or less-seasoned players.
Lord Balmung is someone unique to this show. .hack//sign showed us nothing of CC Corp’s administrators. The closest we got to authority figures at all were Subaru and her Crimson Knights. This time around, the Crimson Knights have disbanded, and the Cerulean Knights have taken over in their place. In my opinion, the Cerulean Knights are worse. Their order is more absolute and they seem more unwilling to changer their rules. They see Shugo and Balmung as enemies despite Balmung’s allegiance with the company.
While the show is lighter in tone, the intrigue of the previous series is still present. I wanted to learn more about this world and how it has changed since the events of its predecessor. If you enjoyed .hack//sign, I recommend this program.
Music/Score: To compliment the light tone, the music is light-hearted. I thought the opening theme was pretty good, and I enjoyed it almost as much as .hack//sign‘s opening.
Sub/Dub: Again we have a good dub. We even get to hear Steve Blum as Sanjuro. Hearing Steve Blum in any program is always a plus to me.
Violence: (7/10) The lighter tone does not mean less violence. Especially when you consider that if you die in The World, you can possibly end up in a coma in the real world.
Nudity: (2/10) Rena’s outfit shows off some skin. There’s also a beach episode.
Religion: (0/10) none
Related Media: This is the second of the three anime series in the .hack franchise. There is also .hack//sign and .hack//roots. This anime was also a manga, and there are other manga titles as well and various video games that were made for the PlayStation 2.