The .hack series is rather special to me. The video games, which I harmlessly rented at a video game store many years ago, led me into both the anime and manga genre. By the time I had played all four of the original games, I had watched the whole series of .hack//SIGN and .hack//Liminality however this manga series, had a very odd history for me. I found this at my local EB Games and at that time, I was not into manga. I bought it thinking it was a novel only to find it was a manga and returned it within their 7 day policy. However, it did open my eyes to reading manga, and I have added it back into my collection a fair while ago. .hack is a very successful series, spanning over 7 PS2 games (4 in the original and 3 in G.U – which I cannot find in Australia T_T), countless manga series and a great number of anime series.
Artwork: For the genre and setting of the manga, the artwork isn’t too bad, whilst the background artwork is lacking (Most of the time resorting to the white background), the character details as well as the other little details in each page makes it very pleasant for the eyes. Whilst they could not pull this off in the case of other .hack series, this one being focused as a comedy as well, allows it to pull of some comedic graphical settings and it pulls it off also very well. I could award it a perfect score if it didn’t have the lacking background, as the graphics are something quite special.
Characters: The characters are similar in design to characters out of the original game series such as:
Shugo <==> Kite
Rena <==> Blackrose
Mireille <==> Mistral
Alongside this, there are several new characters as well as familar characters from the game series. Either way, these familiarties are mentioned in the story and a large amount of it is a big part of the storyline (Especially Shugo and Rena). They are very different from the game characters as well, with Shugo and Rena having a much different, more optimistic attitude then Kite and Blackrose did.
Storyline: As with every other piece in the .hack Franchise, it focuses on the game “The World” only this time, the avatars of Kite and Blackrose have been given to twins Shugo and Rena, and from there on, they learn all about “The World” and the fun and horror that lies within it. Simple as that, rather original storyline.
Extras: The extras include:
- After each chapter, an email from one of the characters directed to Shugo is shown.
- .hack//pinup artwork
- Manga segment which links to .hack//GU
- 2x 4koma
- Several Artwork Pieces
- Message from “Shugo” at end
A large amount of added features in this volume!
Personal Opinion: 4.5/5
Total: 4.6 (A)
Overall, I think this is a necessity in everyone’s manga library, and encourage everyone to at least give the series a shot, if you haven’t already!
Other Bits of Information:
Total # of Chapters: 6
Total # of pages: 176
English Publisher: Tokyopop
Publisher Website: http://www.tokyopop.com/
Art: Rei Izumi
Story: Tatsuya Hamazaki
Rating: T – Teen
Description: Old-fashioned role-playing games have experienced a renaissance on the World Wide Web. Twins Rena and Shugo are two middle-school students who enter ‘The World’ as level one game characters. When Shugo’s character dies, he is transported to another level where he is entrusted to bear the Twilight Bracelet by the mysterious Aura. Shugo must find out who Aura is and why she gave him this powerful weapon to protect his sister from the peculiar characters in ‘The World’.