Trans Media Retrospective: .hack

Hello everyone and welcome back! Finals are over and it’s time for me to do another post and I just got a lightbulb and it is based on the project I had to do for one of my classes this spring!


So, in the light of the MetroCon theme of Old School vs. New School, I will be a part of a cosplay group with my fiance, Gondras, that deals with both .hack and Sword Art Online due to how Sword Art has been one of the newest online RPG centered series and has been on Toonami for months, why not do a versus group with a long running one called .hack which is still going on for years!


.hack is one of those series that has been transformed in many ways from being in text novels, to anime series, video games, and manga adaptations of some of the parts off the story for fans to enjoy! Trust me, when I first saw sign on Toonami back in 2004, I wanted to see more of it and that is how I got into the first round of games, Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, and Quarantine. It didn’t end there of course since it grown and now we have the newer game for the PSP, well new in our eyes, Link, it won’t probably stop there! Even TV Tropes referred to this series as “.hack//GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY!” Which I will show you why and how it evolved into this idea!




The entire franchise of .hack deals with a virtual online MMO known as “The World,” which takes players into an online setting through headsets and using game pads hooked up to their computers so they can go through virtual zones by making keywords. Within the series, this fictional game was created by Herman Hoerwick, which created the first game where “The World” came from known as “Fragment,” and Cyber Connect aka CC Corp.


Basically, players go into Root Towns through Chaos Gates of any server that they start playing in or get transferred to since each stage they play in can be played in different servers and in order to log out, they have to be in the Root Town they started off in. In order to get to the areas to play and fight monsters and go through dungeons is based on creating three keywords and once they are made, they get sent to that area. I would warn anyone who wants to find the first set of games, or the second, or even link, be careful when making these words or choosing a random area, you may get levels that may be too hard for you and your companions that you recruited. I would say go with a level below and what level you’re at, trust me, I went through times when I was at level 9 and tried taking on level 11 areas, not easy!


What gave premise to the story? Well, it deals with viruses and how the real world in the series got effected, which the firstvirus known as Pluto’s Kiss caused a major malfunction on the internet and caused a switch to a newer system. Later on, a newer virus becomes important in the games, which I will mention later, known as “The Twilight Incident,” aka “Pluto” gives more storytelling especially in the four OVAs that you get in the games. Speaking of anime, shall we started with the video games first? Not yet! I do have to mention, there is a different version of the World that does show up as a portable version within the story! It takes place a thousand years after the original versions of the World, which gets mentioned later on in this post!


Main Characters


So, like many series that has been transformed, there are many characters that get mentioned throughout the entire series as well! I will mention the most important characters that are really the ones that the stories revolve around!


Aura: This character is basically the seed of the entire storyline! She is an AI created by Hoerwick as a dedication to his dead lover and the daughter that was supposed to be his if his lover gave him kids! She is supposed to be the perfect AI but Morgana kept her asleep in order to keep her from doing so, even during the games she gets chased by Morgana’s phases in order to keep the perfect Data Drain, which was given through a book turned into a bracelet to defeat Morgana! Here are the characters that get linked to her!


Kite, character from the games: You play as the Twin Blade Kite in the first round of games who has to save people who come under comas by the Phase, Skeith, he gets the Twilight Bracelet from Aura and criptic e-mails from her in order to beat the Eight Phases and Kubia, the Yang to the Bracelet’s Yin, which causes it to be destroyed and a new one gets made, The Dawn Bracelet.


Haseo, .hack//roots and g. u. aka Guilty Universe: The main cAlbierio, a. i. buster (not always going to put, .hack): The main character from the novel series, A. I. Buster is played in the game by a system administrator at CC Corp and has to take out any anamolies and the A. I., Lycoris, that may cause problems within the game. He does meet with Lycoris without knowing who she was while collecting the fragments of her and then deleted her when Lycoris realizes she can’t exist there. He does show up in volume 2 and ends while chasing Tsukasa and then ends up in a coma after meeting Macha and had a forced resignation placed on him for causing “The Twilight Incident,” which he was blamed for.


Shugo Kunasaki, from Legend of the Twilight: A player who thought he outgrew video games until he won a contest with his twin sister, Rrina and got an avatar version of Kite in chibi form along with his sister who got the chibi version of BlackRose that was arranged by Aura and gets in contact with him by giving him a version of Kite’s bracelet that doesn’t harm humans and becomes a character from the past in order to reunite with her daughter, Xiphi.


Tsukasa, sign: the main character of .HACK//SIGN who’s player is in a coma while his consciousness is awake in the world. Morgana keeps him from waking up Aura by placing negative thoughts into him and not reaching out to the other characters of the series until later, Subaru, Mimiru, Bear, and the others and causes Aura to awaken and let him log off.


Xiphi from Legend of the Twilight: Aura’s daughter and the A. I. that becomes attached to Shugo by smelling the scent of her mother on Shugo’s bracelet. Even though she starts out as a brat due to her attachment to Shugo and Rina, but she does mature towards the end.


Haseo from ROOTS and G.U.: a rogue and a “player killer killer,” just like the original design of him, Sora, was in the game and chased by player killers himself and then joined the Twilight Brigade, headed by Ovan. Ovan disappears while his buddy, Shino, gets placed into a coma by Ovan. He then goes up against Tri-Edge which causes him to get data drained and restored and soon gains the powers of Skeith as an avatar.


Aida from G. U.: The A. I. of the newer version of the World from the disappearance of Aura. Unlike helping the players, Aida causes players to go insane or slip into a coma in the real world. But the Eight Epitaph users, who gained avatars of the Phases from the original games, are immune to Aida’s virus and can Data Drain, which was said caused Aida in the first place due to how illegal it was.


Tokio Kuryuu from LINK: the main character in the portable game and was transported into the game after meeting the new student, Saika, who gives him a special copy of the game and meets up with Kite. He was forced to work with Saika to find the chrono Core. Tokio is seen as a double ware which is a human can be transported into the game due to a digitized technology.




Anime and Video Games:


Since I am done with characters, well the bigtger ones since it took a while, now onto anime and video games! I placed these two together because the both of them go hand in hand due to how the events for each half take on! As you know sign was the first series to start off the story, despite a. i. buster was the forerunner of the entire story and how Lycoris came to be and how it later changed into Aura from there. Anyways, sign was the first tale that tells how Tsukasa,a Wavemaster player, can’t logout due to his player in the real world was placed into a coma due to being used by Morgana in order to keep Aura asleep! He meets characters such as Subaru, Mimiru, Crim, Bear, and many others that help in getting over his predicament to beat Morgana to wake up Aura to free her. This story helped start the next arc of the tail with the first round of Playstation 2 games, Infection, Mutation, Outbreak, and Quarantine, which follows Kite who was given the power of the Twilight Bracelet to Data Drain while his friend Orca was Data Drained by Skeith before getting the power but Aura gave it to Kite after it happened, which had him meet BlackRose in order to solve the mystery of the comas in the real world with players and help Aura out by destroying the Phases that were made to destroy her. An interesting fact about these four games, even though players finished the first three games, Quarantine was the game they didn’t finish due to how events unfolded, even the prologue scenes of the games kind of give you sad tidings to come! I could see why since I was in an EBay bidding war over this game due to GameStop not carrying it since people hardly bought it! Now I can see why it didn’t get traded in!


Liminality, which are the four OVA episodes that are included with the first round of games, these four episodes are correspondent to each game they came in and takes place in the real world rather than inside The World. Like Kite’s and BlackRose’s adventure of looking into what is causing people to go into comas within the game, the story outside with the characters, Mai Minase, Yuki Ihara, Kyoko Tihono, and Junochiro Tokuoka, who used to work for Cyber Connect, in order to see why people are slipping into comas after playing The World at certain points of the game. I found it interesting since we tend to see what goes on within the games while playing as Kite and BlackRose, we get to see what happens on the outside of the games by seeing other chracters that have loved ones going into comas, for example in the first episode Mai’s boyfriend ends up in a coma and she ends up staying awake after being sent to the hospital with him and wants to know why she wasn’t in a coma as well and wants to help her boyfriend out. Not only that, it takes a deeper look into the Pluto’s Kiss Virus that takes place since in the second episode, Yuki Ihara gets trapped in the mall when the virus hits and while playing the game Mutation, you get a news article in the “News” menu to read about the virus going on and how it cut off so many communication devices and computers in order to continue with the game and read more message board posts for keywords and so on! This is a way of interacting between the games and the anime series since you get both sides of the story, inside The World and outside by seeing these characters solving the mystery behind the computer viruses and comas and see how both worlds change due to how the adventure takes on in beating the Phases and how the characters interact in order to take on the final boss in the end to save everyone who fell victim to the comas. If only most games were like this then we can see two sides of the story!


Legend of the Twilight, the next part of the story which takes the Kite and BlackRose story and feels like a spoof by what I saw and remembered and give it a new part of the Aura story! This is a twelve episode series that introduces twins, Rina and Shugo, who end up getting the chibi versions of BlackRose and Kite and Shugo gets the Twilight Bracelet and the both of them have to solve the mystery behind it. This is more of an alternative version of the manga, which I will touch upon later!


Roots is the next part of the story and prequel to the G. U. games which you get introduced to Haseo and how he got into the Twilight Brigade and how his character came to be, “The Terror of Death” to many and towards the end it gives you an idea of how G. U. started, which the games takes a look into how Haseo has to rescue Shino from her coma from Roots but meets other characters and finds out that he and seven other players hold a power known as the “Epitaph,” which holds an avatar of the Eight Phases from the original games. I never played these games, even though my copy of the Roots box set came with the demo disc, but I think I was a little too late in getting the video games from GameStop since they stopped carrying PS2 games. An interesting fact though is that you can’t get the Roots anime in stores unless you want to go and find it, you can find it on EBay but for a hundred bucks! How I got mine? Well, I was at AFO 2012 and was at a stand and found all the .hack stuff and came across the boxset for it and saw it was $60 less than the EBay price! So, I snatched it up before someone got it! Yeah, it is rare to find!


Finally, Link, is the newest game that is available for the PSP in Japan, not sure if it will ever come to stateside but it takes places years after the G. U. games and takes on the story of Tokio, a fourteen year old, meets an exchange student who gives him a copy of The World and gets transported to the game! He ends up meeting The Twilight Warriors, who are characters from the previous games and try to save Aura from being corrupted!


There is a new game for Android and IOS systems in Japan but there will be an American version soon, while there is a new .hack game project announced in Japan but no platform to be announced as of now! Who knows, maybe E3 will get that announcement in the future? I will be waiting!


Books and Manga:


Like most anime, there is always a manga version, but .hack is one universe that not only has manga but books as well for everyone to enjoy different sides of the story as they travel through each anime and video game adaptation!


  1. I. Buster: This story is the prequel to the entire series itself! This two volume story shows how Alberio meets the original A. I. Lycoris and data drains her at first and then meets another girl and finds remnants of her to reconstruct6 Lycoris once again! Plus, it shows the characters Orca and Balmung become Descendants of Fianna as Orca of the Azure Sea and Balmung of the Azure Sky by defeating the One Sin. Even though I didn’t read volume two but I did read the first volume which I couldn’t put down at all!


Zero: This novel series takes place after Sora after being trapped due to Morgana and meet a Long Arm class by the name of Carl, and even tells the tale of life of Tsukasa in the real world.


Another Birth tells the story of the first video games through BlackRose’s point of view due to how we saw Kite’s point of view. If I could get this through Bookshare, I would so read it since I like the first round of games and see what happened to her during the times you don’t call on her for anything, since while playing you do get e-mails from her in clues that lead you to some of the Phases and Kubia.


Legend of the Twilight: This is the manga that I mentioned and pretty much follows through the anime did with the mystery of Aura, except the contest they got their character models was mostly mysterious.


Epitaph of the Twilight: novels that shows how Lara Hoerwick, Howard’s niece, gets trapped in The World.


Cell: Midori, a Edge Punisher, becomes a victim of PK her and get money for it and have as much money for herself. G. U. had many published stories for it as in manga and novel versions of the story, plus there is one talke that takes a humorous view of the story and another that talks about a former empress of the Demon Palace being obsessed with two of the characters.


There are many other manga and books published for this series but it will take a long time to talk about!





Now that there has been the anime, manga, books, and video games, there is one part of the media world for .hack and that is cosplay! The entire series has many unique characters and many unique designs for them which has a lot of work to do in order to get it done for the convention season! Whether it is picking up parts at a Good Will or Salvation Army or going online for wigs, the cosplay idea is endless, especially with many variations of characters such as Haseo from the start of Roots to his Skeith Epitaph variation and the Shino version of Atollie. Besides doing the characters, there are times when someone can imagine and make their own characters, for example I will be doing a variation of my Soul Eater character by turning him into a Twin Blade like Kite. Waiting on the wig btw! And of course, there are the human characters for their game avatars, such as Mai from Liminality as one good example. Anyway as you look at it, cosplay has its own way of getting into .hack within transmedia.


So, that is about it for this retrospective! If you want to see anymore transmedia retrospectives of certain anime and video games, just comment down below!


Before I tell you all what’s next, I made a typo with the author of the Midnight Breed Series in my favorites post, her name was Lara Adrian, not Lauren. Sorry!


What is next? I have a haul from Ulta! Til next time!

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