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DementedFellow
2008-06-14, 10:41 PM
I figured this would be the best subforum for this topic, if it is not, then I apologize.

Now on to the meat. I really enjoy ROOTS. For those who don't know, I'll try to explain it to the best of my ability. I'll just preface this by saying that I've only completed the first G.U. game and ROOTS begins the story of Haseo as a prequel to the .hack//G.U. Rebirth game.

The story follows young Haseo and his exploits in first joining "The World", which is an MMORPG, whereby people play a game with goggles, a controller, and a keyboard from what I can gather. The idea is total immersion and while the scenes where someone falls down or acts as if they are hurt are really gripping in the story, one is immediately reminded that there is a person behind their character and that person could simply quit playing the game and save himself/herself some headache.

Really, that is a minor annoyance as it sets the stage for what is, in my opinion, the most melancholy anime series. And this series shows that melancholy isn't always bad, and in the right hands, it can almost be a character all to itself. Part of this melancholy stems from "The World" as most of the scenes take place in a nondescript town which is almost always experiencing a sunset. This sets forth the notion that the best has already happened, and we're already seeing the decline of "The World" moments into playing it. However, there are some rich and vibrant scenes in other areas of "The World". Perhaps the most lively is the aptly named "Lost Ground", aptly named because only a handful of people go there. This could be because A) they are the only ones who know about it, or B) no one else cares to go there because it is devoid of XP or Loot. And as much as it pains me to say it, we all know it's B.

Guilds are used in "The World" as a way to stay safe from PKers and ultimately give the players someone to talk to. But I thought the most interesting thing about the guilds was that most of the ones in charge didn't have fun while doing it. In fact, next to a real newbie named Tabby, the only character to have as much chuckles per line is Phyllo, a character who openly admits to playing without a guild. So for something that is meant to combat the general bleak mood of "The World", the guilds do nothing but create drama and ultimately serve as a plot device. And the question arises, does the game create the melancholy or do the players?

As Haseo joins "The World," he is almost immediately player-killed (PK'ed). Ovan, a mysterious man with mysterious glasses and a steamgunner for an arm, revives him for unknown reasons and says vague things about Haseo having a special attribute. The first few episodes follow Haseo's quest to learn more about Ovan and his mysterious motives. It all sounds very trite, and we have heard it all before and better, but rather than waste a couple seasons on following an enigmatic character, like some animes do (looking at you, Inuyasha!), they only devote a couple episodes to Haseo's sleuth work, and before you can say Jack Robinson, Haseo is invited to join Ovan's Guild.

It doesn't take long that others hear about how Ovan has taken a mysterious interest in Haseo, especially considered he is a newbie to "The World". Another guild the TaN takes it upon themselves to make virtual life miserable for Ovan & Co. (including Haseo). I guess no matter how much time Ovan devotes to staying mysterious, he can't shake TaN minions following his every move. I'm willing to wager that if it was possible to break wind in the game, the TaN would know what he had for breakfast that morning.

Apparently, it is common knowledge that Ovan's guild, the aptly named Twilight Brigade, is searching for a... thing... called The Key of the Twilight. The Key of the Twilight is a very mysterious and powerful device. Its mystery is only surpassed by its power. Where do people learn of such powerful devices of mystery? The BBS, of course! I am not making this up. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/IAmNotMakingThisUp) Evidently, the secret of an ancient in-game artifact that serves no other purpose for players to lust after is readily available to anyone with a username and an afternoon to browse the bulletin board. Which kinda explains why the TaN are so interested in Ovan, aside from his general air of mysterious mystery, he is one of the few people who hasn't given up on actively seeking the Key of the Twilight, and recent activities of Ovan's mysterious actions has given rise to suspicions that Ovan has found a new piece of information concerning the Key of the Twilight.

Of course this is just the first couple episodes, and the series takes a decidedly darker turn halfway through, but I don't want to spoil too much.

Now a lot of you might read this and feel I think lowly of this show, but this couldn't be further from the truth. This series goes deeper than it should. It's a launch board for a video game franchise's second run. It doesn't have to be deep, but it does not fall short of being evocative and it actually made me want to play the game. I definitely recommend this show to anyone who doesn't mind a little melancholy with their story. Perhaps you'll be like me and be encouraged to play the game as well.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-15, 04:08 AM
I gave up watching it around episode 18 (so you can't say I didn't give it a chance). There was just too many other better things to watch. The plot was pointlessly dragged out, much like the original hack sign and I knew it wouldn't have a decent ending since it's just a prequel.

Thiel
2008-06-15, 06:07 AM
I gave up on this one somewhere around episode ten. It was just too mediocre. Nothing about it stood out. Sure, the World is a great concept, but I feel that it has already been mined for all it's worth.
Seriously, by now there's four novels, an anime series, and anime OVA, a manga series and three games. And that's only counting the original Project .Hack

As an aside, I found that the OVA .hack//Liminality to be far better than the anime series.

Closet_Skeleton
2008-06-15, 10:42 AM
As an aside, I found that the OVA .hack//Liminality to be far better than the anime series.

Agreed.

It was also very short and actually explained stuff, which may have helped.

Innis Cabal
2008-06-15, 11:51 AM
i enjoyed the game series far more then i enjoyed the anime, but then again i enjoyed .hack//sign for the most part, and i still consider the .hack meta series one of the better thought out and interesting out there, compared to the over drawn mecha genre.