In 2024, the computer network prevails throughout daily life. Sora Yuuki is a 14-year-old girl. One day, she is invited to an online game "The World". After an accident in the game, the real world begins to deform.
I'm sorry for keeping this review short, but there's not just that much to be said about .hack//The Movie. It's just a pile of wasted potential, and if this combined with .hack//Link are really supposed to be a swan song for the .hack// franchise, it really makes me sad.
For some reason this movie has thus far received some surprisingly positive feedback at least in MAL, so I'll try and explain why I didn't like it as thoroughly as I can.
Story & Character
.hack//The Movie takes place after all the current movies, games and animes, and has a totally new cast of characters, but also a familiar
face in the form of Aura, who changes her age constantly for no apparent reason. I have nothing against new characters, but they are not developed very well during the film. Most of them are just a bit reskinned versions of classic .hack// characters, or just flat out copies. Also there's not much conflict of any kind between any of the characters for like the first hour. I seriously thought it was just a slice of life movie at first.
When the story finally pics up, it is a tad uninspired and uninteresting. It is the .hack// story that's been used a million times by now. Someone gets stuck in the game and falls into a coma in real life, and the other characters have to help him. There's also a school romance subplot, but I thought the romance part was kinda shallow and cliche.
I quess they're trying to ride on nostalgia with this one, but I think it's kinda cheap to just flat out copy&paste plotpoints and characters from the past.
Art & Sound
This is where .hack// always gets to me. They always have some great character and enviroment designs, and absolutely fantastic musical score. The movie is no exception in this department. Probably the only point of the movie that I could call entertaining was the training montage where the main characters just killed monsters and there was awesome music playing on the background. Also seeing The World in full 3D looked amazing.
Enjoyment & Overall
So in the end what we have is a great looking and sounding movie, which is awfully lacking in story. I've seen all the animes and OVAs thus far and I read some .hack manga, so I could call myself a fanboy of this series. Thus I thought I'd cut the enjoyment aspect some slack, because although nothing happens in the movie for the most part, it's still decent fanservice, because of how gorgeous it looks.
Well I just finished this movie and decided to do a review of it. Note that some of it is my own opinion - take it as you will.
The story takes place in the year 2024 where computers and technology are evrything. It centers around a girl named Sora Yuki, a normal middel school girl who is rather out of the loop from the rest of her friends and classmates. However, this all changes once she starts to play the online game known as "The World". On her fist experience in the game, she gets involved in an incident and thus begins her
Story 8: The story is a bit plain with the use of recurring anime themes ; such as love triangles, commentaries/jokes on generation gaps and the famous: one who saves "The World"(sorry, couldnt resist). But I like these types of stories so maybe thats why I'm a little biased. Although its not like I'm going to give it a pure 10, but I feel its fair to give it an average number of 8.
Art 9: To be honost, I expected the normal 2-D animation found in most(if not all) anime, but was surprised to see a 2-D/3-D combination. It absolutely blew my mind. The art also shifts when they go into "The World" where the art mimics that of video game animation scenes. Overall the art is unique and original and thats why I give it a 9.
Sound 10: OMG the sound, I dont even know. If you have ever played or watched .hack, you will probably feel some nostalgia. But the main thing that blew my mind was that the Americans were actually speaking fluent ENGLISH. In most anime's, the foriegners usually speak in Japanese and it is just indicated that they are speaking English, but not here. That is why I give it a 10.
Character 7: Overall the characters are not all that great and fall into common character types seen in anime. There is also little to no character development to anyone aside from the main character; but what can you expect from a movie - they cant make it like 5hours long(a 12 ep season). But they are not entirely bad and that is why I give them a 7. Plus Yuki's grandpa is hilarious.
Enjoyment 9: I personally enjoyed this movie. It tends to be a bit more serious near the end, but the begining allowed for some slice-of-life as well as some comedy. I also enjoyed it because of the many refferences to the original .hack//sign that brought back many fond memories and thats why I give it a 9.
Overall 9: I have to say I really liked this movie. It has action, a little romance, comedy and the refferences are not so heavy that one would get lost if they never saw .hack. That is why I give it a 9 of 10 and recommend seeing it weather your a fan of .hack or not.
I normally don't write reviews for things but after watching this I definitely needed to vent.
So first, it's not the worst thing I've ever seen I guess? The aesthetic was interesting in that it used two different styles for real and game worlds. The animation on the faces was fluid and detailed, especially on Kite.
There were also a few fun moments when Sora starts playing the game and learns the controls.
So now the bad stuff.
The biggest issue is that this movie feels incredibly far removed from the rest of the series. Sure, there's the callback character designs to Kite, Balmung and Orca, Aura's
in it and they play the "note" twice, but there isn't much tying this entry to the rest of the franchise.
Everyone seems to have forgotten the events of G.U. and the original games despite the incidents making headline news at the time.
No one recognized the Kite model (which is kind of hinted at to maybe actually be Kite, since it's male despite having a female playe, premade, and named Kite but that doesn't go anywhere).
They don't even seem to be playing the same game anymore (I know it's a different version of the World technically, but R2 kept a lot of the same classes and some of the areas from the first version). The big finale is an airship battle that looks like a cutscene from Final Fantasy XII.
This movie basically tried to turn .hack// into a slice of life, shoujo story that kind involves MMORPGs, which theoretically could be good, but it's not even done well here.
What made the .hack// series good was always how the various anime and games explored the reasons people played games, whether it's to escape from reality, make friends, kill time, etc. No other franchise ever looks at gaming and "gamers" the way .hack// did or has since and that made it unique for me.
There is none of that here in this movie though. It feels as if someone unfamiliar with the franchise took a couple recognizable parts from earlier entires, threw them haphazardly into a safe, feel good plot. It's just lacking in all the key areas.
Warning: This review comes from a fan of the series. Actual enjoyment of the movie may vary from person to person. I'm a bit biased on this review, you are warned.
Just like all of the series' setting, the story took place in a virtual reality world called "The World", developed by a gaming company named CC Corp set in fictitious Japan in real world. Even though actual events in the movie happened in the virtual world, these events too have its effects on the real world namely people falling into some sort of coma which has been an issue from the story since the original
game back on the PlayStation 2, and other disturbances in the supposed real world in matters electronics.
However, this particular movie release hasn't really strayed far from the "tried-and-tested" formula the franchise is known for which may appear cliched and even unoriginal (or even boring) given how many times already it has already been used, be it from the original game, anime series, OVA's, manga, and probably even the upcoming literary works. I, personally, was watching the movie looking for something new that the story might offer given the timeline of the movie from the overall series, sadly there's nothing new in it. Even the characters themselves (some of them) are nothing new but rather are just a recycle of previously existed models namely that of Kite, Balmung, and Orca only given new characters especially fit for the character they represent and the movie.
Be that as it may, the movie is notable to its highly detailed animations which gives the movie an appeal to specific audiences such as myself who loves CG animated movies. The movie's animation and special effects can be stunning at times if you know how to appreciate art in this discipline. In terms of graphic presentation, this movie is superb.
In terms of voice acting and music, I find no fault so as to dislike any of the two within the movie. Voice acting is just fine, if not very good, and so is the music.
Overall, I find the movie very entertaining given I'm a fan of the franchise. The overall experience may vary however if otherwise due to familiarity issues with both the story and characters as these two factors might affect interests for those who are new. However, with these two issues not being a concern and / or have overcome, watching this movie is a visual treat and entertaining especially if one is not expecting much from it.