Winning the legendary characters "Kite" and "Black Rose" from an event held by the creators of the MMORPG "The World," Shugo and his twin sister Rena steps into "The World." Together they completed events and quests, along with their new friends Ouka, Mirelle, Hotaru, and Sanjuro. Soon after, mysterious monsters appeared, and death by these monsters caused players to slip into a coma in the real world. Only Shugo and Rena can solve this problem, but why are they being targeted, and what secrets is the game hiding?
Legend of the Twilight is the next anime following on from .Hack/Sign. I had expected that this series would fill in some of the plot holes from .Hack/Sign but they were only half fulfilled. As someone who has not played the game I have no idea why Kite and Blackrose are famous ... However, Twilight is a tolerable standalone.
In contrast to .Hack/Sign, the plot moves along at a much swifter pace while the characters develop quickly. There are Shugo and Rena, twin brother/sister who win characters based on Kite and Blackrose. As they're around 14 in real life they act like teenagers. Twilight isn't full of too much philosophical talking since both protagonists are young. This could be a good or bad thing depending on each viewer.
Shugo is brash and caring. I disliked Rena, because of the fact that she spends (I swear!) 80% of the series crying out "Onii-Channnnn!". After 5 episodes of being tortured by her crying out pretty much nothing but that "Onii-Channnnn!" I was about to beat someone with a hammer.
The secondary characters are fun. Ouka (the Werewolf), Sanjuro (the teacher), Mirielle (the rare hunter) - now that, I could understand. Greed and MMORG, they seem to go hand in hand :) Best of all we got to see a lot of Balmumg of the Azure Sky, what a stud! My absolute favorite character from .Hack/Sign gets some serious airtime and ends up even cooler than before. The only one I found annoying was Mr. "Tres Bien".
Art/Animation and sound
The animation was great. If possible, EVEN CUTER than in .Hack/Sign. Cuteness overload. Kawaiiiii! Some frames I had to stop and look again just to appreciate how adorable everything was, even the little widdle Grunty. A lot of the sound/music was copied from the first series so this was nothing remarkable, just average compared to how this anime looked.
Twilight was short and satisfying. There didn't seem to be much time wasting and the plot moved along at a brisk pace leaving the viewer engaged instead of bored. For this reason alone it deserves a solid 6, enough to prompt me to look for the Offline Meeting Special. read more
I’d like to start off by saying that I am an avid fan of the .hack series, but have only ever seen all of .hack//SIGN and read/watched .hack//Legend of the Twilight. I am currently collecting all the games and will start playing them soon. Since I have not played the games yet, I am fairly unfamiliar with Kite and BlackRose’s characters, so I may not have been able to appreciate .hack//Legend of the Twilight (which I will call .hack//LOFT for short) to its fullest as the two main characters are based off Kite and BlackRose.
Story- .hack//LOFT’s story follows Rena and Shugo, who have just won character models of the famous .hackers, Kite and BlackRose. Once a high level monster defeats Shugo, he comes into contact with Aura, who gives him Kite’s bracelet. This bracelet allows him to “data drain” essentially any monster to defeat it with ease. The storyline then goes into Shugo and Rena investigating the mysteries behind the bracelet and how they meet other characters during their adventure. The storyline gets a lot more complex when people start falling into comas, as in previous .hack anime/games. I will not go into detail on this point to avoid spoilers, but I can say that I really enjoyed the story line as I got further and further into the series. The anime does an excellent job of luring the viewer into a false sense of security by portraying characters in chibi form, suggesting a simple, childish storyline. I was impressed as the story became more through and multifaceted.
Art- In my opinion, the chibi-style art that .hack//LOFT was animated in did not suit its storyline or many of its characters. This made for some awkward juxtaposition between a serious storyline and light-hearted, childlike characters. Besides this point, I thought the animation and artwork was really well done. The animation was clean and had a polished feel to it. Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the few fight scenes that came up in the series were also well animated. Each character’s movements were clean and fast-paced- a rare occurrence in some anime today where fight scenes are drawn out over the course of several entire episodes and contain extensive dialogue in between attacks. Backgrounds were also well done and had a polished look to them. Their vibrant colours and attention to detail provided visual eye-candy throughout every scene in the anime.
Sound- Overall, the sound in .hack//LOFT left much to be desired. The opening and ending songs were more boring and irritating than anything. All I can remember from them was a typical Japanese female voice droning on far longer than I care to listen to them. The background music was no better; a soundtrack that contains primarily music written in a major key with occasional vocal overdubs is destined to fail. Sound effects weren’t very memorable at all, but one noise I can never get sick off is the noise that sounds whenever a character logs in or out of an area. That particular noise is quite yummy and I am glad that they didn’t change it since the days of .hack//SIGN.
Character- The characters in .hack//LOFT did not feel nearly as developed as they should have been. Perhaps I was spoiled from the ample character development present in .hack//SIGN, but nonetheless, the characters felt fairly two dimensional on the whole. This is especially true for many of the secondary characters who have extremely stereotypical personalities (e.g. Mireille is the peppy and upbeat type, Ouka is strong and distant, Hotaru is caring and king-hearted, etc.) These characters barely, if ever, break their predictable personality traits and do not grow in any way during the series. Even the main characters, Shugo and Rena, show little to no growth during the series. The most growth that Shugo undergoes during the course of the anime is learning to enjoy and like videogames, when he used to think they were boring and for children. Not a very significant realization, if you ask me.
Enjoyment- First of all, a lot of the jokes in the series were very predictable, overdone, and generally not funny. While the chibi-ness of the characters worked as an effective basis for an element of surprise (as I mentioned earlier in the review), it also prevented me from being able to take the anime seriously. While the storyline did get interesting and fairly complex, the chibi-ness of the characters distracted me from much of its intellectual or artistic value. Also, since I read the manga before watching the anime, I was expecting the same storyline as the manga (for those that don’t know, the anime and manga storylines are VERY different). Once the story started to stray from the manga, I lost some interest in the series because it began to feel like one long filler. While the storyline did deserve some merit for its originality, I unfortunately couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching an extremely long filler- sad, but true.
Overall- .hack//LOFT will be a major disappointment if you are hoping to see an animated version of the manga. However, if you can get over the chibi characters and are looking for an original storyline taking place within the infamous “The World” then be sure to check out .hack//Legend of the Twilight. read more
What a disgrace! I suggest you to skip this piece of garbage. If you're looking for a real sequel of .hack//Sign, go watch .hack//Roots.
A question comes to .hack// series watchers:
"What is the Key of the Twilight?"
There's a gap between .hack//Sign and .hack//Legend Of The Twilight; we see a character named Kite in .hack//Unison aka .hack//SIGN Episode 28, he along with BlackRose, Orca and Balmung. These characters had their own story in the gap I was talking about, but they didn't have their own anime adaptation.
The protagonist here looks similar to Kite, but he's actually just a chibi version of Kite's avatar, he also given the same Kite's bracelet.
This anime is so shameful, it's filled with boring meaningless events, unfunny incest/fanservice comedy. so don't waste your time, there's no progression; it's skippable.
Unlike .hack//Sign; characters are childish and annoying. While old characters like Balmung or Silver Knight are kept undeveloped, no progression.
This is almost the opposite of .hack//Sign, it's your typical RPG anime; If you're looking for a solving of the "World" mystery, skip this. Unless you were 8 year old or something.read more
So a little background: the .hack//Legend of the Twilight manga was possibly my first non-Toonami related anime/manga ever. I say possibly cuz it was a long ass time ago and I don't really remember, and it was such a long time ago that the whole reason I got the first volume of the manga was because my horny pubescent mind noticed the steamy full color "pin-up" inserts in the first couple of pages. Good thing my mom wasn't curious enough about Japanese culture to ask to take a look before buying.
However, this turned out to be the one time in my life my dick coerced me into making a good decision - the manga was actually pretty enjoyable in its entirety, and I read the whole thing several times, completely taken in by that magic I spend all of my time as an anime watcher trying to capture more of. Now, some months later I see a familiar looking DVD sitting on the new releases shelf of a store. They made an anime adaptation of my favorite manga at the time, and I couldn't have been more excited to see the story and characters I liked in full color, motion, and sound. That wasn't really meant to be. You see, as it so happens the .hack//Legend of the Twilight was one of those short mediocre budget series more concerned with advertising the manga than it was with doing it justice. Evident by the fact that the studios couldn't wait a measly ten months for the manga to finish.
This led to one of the most drastically changed anime adaptations I've ever seen. I'm not inherently opposed to this idea, since changes always bring the chance of some improvements (like parts of Fullmetal Alchemist), but the fact is that improvements are extremely unlikely and optimally shouldn't be prioritized over first doing a faithful adaption. In an ideal world we'd have our complete manga adaptations and then whatever extended universe/re-imagining series the studios wanted, but in the real world there are time, budgets, and profits to consider.
To make a long story short, if you're a .hack fan interested in the Legend of the Twilight world and were only going to do the anime or the manga, then do the manga because it's far, far better. Or at the very least do both, because they're entirely different stories. They begin seemingly the same way: Shugo and Rena are siblings living under different parents who reconnect in the online game "The World" after winning avatars that look like previous legendary The World players. When they're attacked by a mysteriously invincible monster, Shugo is killed and revived after being given a special bracelet item by a girl named Aura. This bracelet can rewrite data in the game to weaken it, allowing Shugo to combat these new invincible monsters. Shugo and Rena try to play the game normally but are continuously disrupted by strange circumstances and more invincible monsters. With the help of new friends Mireille, Ouka, Hotaru, as well as systems administrator Balmung and his friend Sanjuro, they'll have to confront whatever is threatening The World.
The anime's story majorly deviates from the manga early on when Rena disappears for half the series after being killed by one of the special monsters. It's around here we see that our main antagonists are a group of hacker children, which is very lame because aside from our villains being snobby brats their motives are also never fully explained, they basically never interact with our main characters directly, and in the end they're written out of the story like they never existed. Every once in a while they send an invincible monster after Shugo because his Twilight Bracelet threatens their plans, but they never seem to realize Shugo can just deus ex machina it with Data Drain and win every battle the same way. It's similarly annoying to see the other characters attack the self-regenerating monsters repeatedly even though they know from experience only Shugo can do anything.
If you remember Shugo and Rena's relationship in the manga being far too affectionate for a brother and sister, then you're really going to shake when the incest dial is turned up even further in the anime. Shugo is downright in love with his sister this time, ogling her (or at least her player avatar) twice in the first two episodes, and literally half of Rena's dialogue in the entire series is her yelling "onii-chaaaan!" often several times in a row. It's only made creepier when you remember this sibling love is bordering on both of them experiencing the beginning of puberty at around 14 years old or so. Gross.
When the "search for Rena" plot appears one of the anime's worst traits is made obvious: it likes to waste as much time as it can. It does most of this through a ton of long-takes (this is where the "camera" pans slowly across a scene, sometimes to get something across but in here for nothing usually) and redundant pointless scenes of Shugo and friends running around looking for Rena all over The World, which is a completely stupid idea because if she was in a normal area she would obviously be contactable or could just log out. This new plot also means the manga's cute minor one of reuniting Zefie with her mother is completely gone. All other characters return in mostly similar roles, but a new main character called Sanjuro replaces Zefie. He's some experienced samurai type who mentors and trains Shugo even though his bracelet is more unstoppable than any legitimate attack, and he's friends with Balmung and also realizes the danger coming to The World.
Nothing in the anime really has much personal stake to it. The main antagonist is only revealed when the anime is almost over and is never even hinted at or lead into before then, and neither they or the child hackers have absolutely anything to do with Shugo or Rena besides them just happening to win the special costumes (which they also had nothing to do with). Literally Shugo's only reason to be involved with any of this is because Rena just happens to get kidnapped. Naturally, the side characters Mireille, Ouka, and Hotaru, despite being far more likable than the two main characters have even less to do with anything that's happening and really don't help much at all when the story is all said and done.
There's a terrible tendency for the show to introduce slapstick jokes at complete random and often totally inappropriate moments. The worst example is the series's running gag of having Shugo, who is seriously one of the dumbest, most helpless anime protagonists I've ever seen, constantly trip and run into things and break a tooth off (which is even kept in some subsequent scenes which looks ridiculous). In the climax of the anime when everything is doomed bla bla bla a total comic relief character barges in from the edge of this apocalyptic scene just to cry and scream and run into a wall like an idiot. I know Legend of the Twilight is obviously aimed at a younger audience, both anime and manga, but that doesn't mean kids are complete idiots who can't get engrossed into any drama.
If there is a single good thing about the anime's story changes, it's that the plot is now much more dependent on it taking place inside of a game. It wouldn't take much at all to rewrite the manga to fit inside a typical fantasy world with actual magic and such. The biggest problem would be Shugo's bracelet rewriting code to linearly make monsters weaker, but it still wouldn't be hard to imagine it as some kind of transformation spell. This is relevant because it's inherently harder to take a story seriously inside a world that has less consequences than a "real" one. In the anime the elements of hackers and such mean it has much more to do with .hack's unique setting, which is the whole point of .hack to begin with. Despite this, there's constant logic holes where the writers failed to equate the logic of the game world with what's going on in the story. In one scene a hacker has already been caught by the CC Corporation staff, but instead of them just banning him instantly because this is all data and they have the controls to do that, they literally chase the hacker around a virtual town until they catch them physically. Also, how are completely fluid human movements made with just a regular game controller? They could've just said the headset has some mind-reading power for all I care since obviously the fictional technology is already highly advanced compared to ours. In one scene the administrators talk about monitoring log-in info to see who accessed servers, but when they're searching for Shugo and friends none of them think to just stand by and wait until Shugo logs in for the first time of the day before he reaches Mireille's hideout and just capture him there? Also, why is a hideout hidden from administrators. They're administrators, they should have access to everything. There are hundreds of things in the anime to nitpick like this, and it counts because it makes both the world incoherent and the ability to buy into it as a gamer difficult. Everything I wrote above could have been written around, but the writers were either lazy or not very clever.
The series was made around the time when digital animation was starting to take over, and it shows the worst aspects of the format. The show is full of bright, solid colors that aren't shaded well at all and give it a very "flash cartoon" appearance, and there are frequent "moeblob" faces and other poor art flubs such as background characters having stick-thin or otherwise imbalanced limbs and screwed up faces. It's not an ugly anime, but it's not afraid to cut any corners. The backgrounds are painted though and look quite nice, with a lot of the fantasy architecture looking mystical with their odd color schemes yet friendly and inviting.
The music is, oddly enough, easily the best part of the anime. It's not really something I'd listen to outside of the show, but it's a somewhat post-modern mix of influences. It's typically light and breezy as the setting and characters are, and there's everything from synthesizers, xylophone-centered jazz, orchestration, and even (the best parts) picopop with bossa nova-esque vocals. I really like the opening even though the lyrics are completely impenetrable even by general anime standards, and the ending song and the short beautifully surreal visual sequence is literally my favorite part of the entire series. No joke.
As for the dub vs. sub thing, it's a weird situation. Normally it's cut and dry whether a dub is worth checking out because either the studio cares or it doesn't, but in this case the casting is acceptable to great (both Steve Blum and Crispin Freeman as main characters) yet the voice you hear the most is absolutely horrendous. Bryce Papenbrook as Shugo is unbelievably aggravating, with constant shrill shrieks of whining and screaming for Rena like a complete teenage baby. It's absolutely maddening, and I don't know how someone thought this was an acceptable performance. It makes his moronic, childish personality even more grating. I guess try the dub and see if you can last ten seconds of Shugo's ballistic babbling because if you can tolerate it the rest is solid.
But as a whole, I just don't want to recommend this to anyone. A serious .hack fan will watch it anyway and to them I only recommend to read the manga as well. Those on the fence should definitely just read the manga, where the main character personalities are far less annoying and every supporting character is used in the plot much more thoroughly. The story stays charming in its lack of severity which suits the more child-friendly tone of the art design and gentle characters, while the anime goes for broke on dramatic effect when it doesn't fit its surroundings and thus can't be taken very seriously. It also goes to mention its complete lack of depth, relevance to the series and its characters as a whole, and extremely vague explanations of events and character motivations, and almost every character is exactly the same at the end as they are at the beginning. It's a very uneven and loose story for something so short, while the manga stays within the modest confines the short length allows. Neither seem important to the overarching .hack story as a whole, so don't let thoughts of that sway your decisions. If Shugo went to my middle school I'd bully him.read more
If you love .hack//Sign, you’re likely an RPG fan. Yet if you’re a bit too young to have enjoyed the Playstation 2 generation of games, you may have missed the .hack video game series and the MMORPG based on the game. If you love the anime, this is one you’ll likely want to dust off and play!