After the termination of the incredibly popular virtual reality MMORPG "The World," a new version of the game—The World R:2—is brought online. On his first day in the game, newcomer Haseo thinks he has made some friends to quest with. However, as if mocking his sentiments, they kill his character just for fun. Luckily, he is saved by a mysterious, one-armed player named Ovan who offers to show him around The World.
Alongside Ovan and his cleric friend Shino, Haseo enjoys a wonderful first year in the game. But this peaceful life is shattered when Shino's character is killed by a familiar figure notoriously known as Tri-Edge, whose victims have all fallen into comas in the real world. In a fit of rage, Haseo vows to find the elusive Tri-Edge and kill him.
Taking place during Haseo's first year in The World, .hack//Roots explores the friendships Haseo built in the game before Tri-Edge ripped them away.
.hack//Roots is a fine sequel that's kind of bashed because of the plug-in-nature relationship to the .hack//G.U. And it's sad it's kind of bashed, because Roots was a really good installment in the .hack// Series. My favorite has and probably will always be SIGN but I found roots to be very enjoyable at the least.
In terms of the story it struck a fine balance of keeping in the nature of .hack in general with out going over the SAME OLD STORY. While it re-introduced the story of the mystic "Key of the Twilight" as explored in .hack//SIGN and it's
sequel quartet. Bringing in all new characters, giving the classic 'The World' a make over with all new classes was the change needed. Of course the story of the .hackers was great and so was the story and drama of Tsukasa in .hack//SIGN and that was good for those, but it was time for a change.
.hack//Roots goes back to the darker more somber story line after it's campy epilogue-like predecessor .hack//Legend of the Twilight (aka .hack//DUSK) which was refreshing change. I can't say I liked Legend straying so far from it's roots (heh no pun intended) of it's predecessor of SIGN, though it's certainly understandable why. But again I felt it was far better to keep on the darker side of the story line, which is why SIGN captivated me in the first place.
The story dwells much more into the dark human psyche of our personal demons, and can show every character has a purpose for playing "The World" that to me is the darker end of why people like to play games for hours on end. (namely me). Like with SIGN I felt captivated and relatable to every character. I was able to care about them on such personal levels. It's amazing to see the changes all the characters go through, as the series progresses, which made them much more dynamic foil characters. I recall in SIGN the only one who really changed was Tsukasa. So it was a new direction that worked.
You'll notice a big difference between Haseo and Tsukasa, which is something I found worked well. Again if you are going to do a sequel you have to make it original, otherwise you just get Pokemon all over again. I thought the idea of Haseo's power-binge to avenge the the PKing of Shino was a brilliant concept, and added to sympathy for his character or otherwise maybe more antagonizing concepts. Haseo's journey into the black abyss of PKKing actually really contributes to the GU storyline.
The overall storytelling didn't stay as strong as SIGN. It started off pretty typically, with the set up and the world-of-the-play but soon dissolved into a pretty weak middle, and picked up slightly at the end. The middle episodes that don't involve Haseo feel much like cheap fillers that simply aren't that needed. It could have stood to be a little shorter in length even though it stands at 26 episodes. That's not to say the entire middle is weak, there are some great episodes in the middle such as "The Forest of Pain" arc, and Haseo's ever growing into the "Terror of Death." Other than that, episodes that show attempts by Tabby and others to form a Medic Union or any episode that features Tabby alone, pretty much fall right away.
As I mentioned earlier Roots is a plug-in story to .hack//G.U. for the PS2, so in the end you will want to play the games to continue the story line. (or you can read the novels). Again it's kind of sad Roots takes a lot of flak for that, because I think it's a clever and very unique way to extend a story line. SIGN in some ways was like that as it all lead into .hack//Infection.
Music, was fair. I mean no disrespect to Ali Project I am coming to like their work quite a bit, but it was a strange direction and style compared to Kajiura's score for SIGN. I was taken aback by it, but it has grown on me enough that I find it okay but still not good as I've come to expect when Mashimo is the director. It's almost deceptive at first because one of the first after-theme piece you hear is very well composed and orchestrated, but after that it's pretty dull, inattentive, and flat. You will also hear a few pieces that sound eerily similar to works by Danny Elfman which doesn't help the case of the music get any better. It's also at times poorly place and orchestrated. Ali Project has provided a good original score, this I know with Avenger, but Roots is considerably dull in comparison to SIGN's musical score. On the otherhand Kajiura's opening theme with FictionJunction YUUKA is a really unique theme, much different than Obsession almost more like a melancholy and "searching for" or "yearning for" theme.
In the end ROOTS is good but not great. The introduction of more action and more tension helped the story but still I think SIGN will have the stronger storyline. I can't speak for all fans because some might hate it, others might love it, or some will find it in-between. Absolutely there are aspects about it that could have been better. Not likely Roots will go down as the greatest chapter of .hack especially with it's relationship to GU which by the way is a rather fun game for the story experience.
.hack//Roots is a 26-episode anime created by. It is based on the worldwide hit game, .hack. That said, though, the anime falls flat on its face, because of far too many factors that should been taken care of.
The storyline is so weak, the viewer often feels as if he's watching a documentary of something. There's no connectivity in the episodes, and the fractal appearance of the whole series will put everyone (except the most devoted .hack otaku) off. The story doesn't have heads or tails; it just plods on, like an excrutiating torture session.
The character design's very weak as well. Though the lead
character, Haseo, is created well, flaws in his conceptualization leave him with a schizophrenic character set. Shino and O-van, the other two lead characters, are far better in their conception. O-van, particularly, is a great character, sort of like Hatake Kakashi in Naruto or like Urahara Kisuke in Bleach. Besides these two exceptions, everyone else is useless as characters. Tabby is too smarmy, Sakisaka too vacillatory, Ender too non-violent, and Filo too plodding.
The one high point of the show is the music, produced by Ali Project. The OP (Silly-go-Round by FictionJunction YUUKA) and ED (Boukoku Kakusei Catharsis by Ali Project) are awesome, to say the least, and the INs never fail to enthrall either. IMO, do look out for God Diva; it's a superlative track. Silly-Go-Round, thanks to its catchy tune structure and fine alterations between the violin and modern instruments such as the guitar or drums, makes for a great listen.
Sadly, the music is the only thing we reviewer otaku can rave about. The idea behind the characters is good, and as in the case of Tryedge, almost exquisite. But there is no clarity, no Ichigo-esque madness, no Naruto-style idealism in this story. One misses the clear objective reality of Bleach or Ghost in the Shell (or maybe even the earlier .hack iterations?). There is virtually no action, no drama, no flesh and blood; in short, there's no juice to this baby.
Who do I recommend it to? No one. This anime (as much as it pains me to say it) is simply unwatchable. Don't watch it at all, except maybe the first episode and towards the end. The rest will simply bore you, and make you regret the time you spent downloading the episode. .hack//Roots is a total failure for me.
To start off, .hack is well-known by fans as a game within a game. With the online game, "The World" as your setting, you play as a character who interacts with other characters who are all aware that this is all but a game they're facing, from beginning to end. Twists and turns soon crash on the protagonist and his allies as they encounter different obstacles that usually do not play by the game's rules. Most of these rule-breakers are usually rendered as bugs, viruses, glitches, hacked entities and more anomalies that can be defined within the branch
of computer ethics.
As a fan of the series(more on the games), I appreciated .hack for being a story that most people today can relate. The series also inspired me to play online games which in time, I grew tired to continue due to the fact that it wastes my wallet, time and ego.
The first series, //SIGN made an impact on me by being emotional, mysterious and sharing a piece of action overall but mostly, it was just fantasy with suspense. The second, "The legend of the Twilight", a.k.a. //Dusk, was mediocre for me though, it was good for the series to have a livelier side for a change but the sad fact was that they didn't complete the anime series or at least portrayed it completely from the manga which had a touching(yet surprising) ending.
Here, //Roots now has it's changes for its own respect to the series.
Now, on to the review:
For the sake of the part of the audience who didn't really seem to get why "The World" has began its new revision, the company of the game, CC(Cyber Connect) Corp. had its main building, set on fire by an unknown cause, thus, deleting most of the original online game. The developers then made an idea to make a new "The World" where more people could enjoy. The ratings soon grew rapidly after debut with the help of interested new players though old members seemed to grow tired and quit the game.
The story begins with a player named, "Haseo" who was back stabbed by his party members during his first try on the game. These players are branded as "Player-Killers" or "PK" for short. Another player, Ovan took care of them and revived the crushed Haseo, thus begins their friendship.
Now, the story more so revolves around Haseo as he copes through his life, in-game. Regularly, you would see him in dilemmas as every decision he makes can affect his friends and enemies. Sometimes, both. The story's pace is rather slow and describes Haseo's life before the events of //G.U., the main plot and climax of Haseo's story.
But there's more to the show than just the life of a misguided player. There are other more things where the online game seems to have trouble with. Soon, Haseo these problems will soon make a drastic impact on the protagonist, changing his shy and dependent attitude into a fierce vengeful vigilante.
The story overall is absolutely more than decent as it combines mystery and drama with fantasy and gaming though the main plot slows down as different characters have their own story, pausing the plot's pace which is sometimes a drag to some part of the audiences who have little interest with those specific characters.
The story ends with a cliffhanger wherein we have to buy the game, .hack//G.U.(all 3 volumes) in order to finalize its story. Now, most people would call this some kind of marketing trickery although the story is appreciable to its own extent, making it a good experience for those audience members who would want a taste of a story about online games which are click in today's society.
Animation isn't that much different with //SIGN's though you'd have to agree that it has improved in different aspects. The only problems are usually that they are frequently recycled, making it a less remarkable as the show continues on. Clips often repeat here and there though at different times throughout the story which is like budget-saving in terms of business so there's nothing much to say when it comes to the show's art though the digital effects when the characters draw their weapons never become much of a yawn.
Costume and weapon designing can be pleasing to look at, especially when you compare Ovan's look to Haseo's which is an important interpretation to their background. Almost all characters wear the usual part-ethnic, part-medieval attire with a good touch of designing that greatly expresses their form of character. Another not to add is that there are now anthropomorphic characters which are a fresh idea to the franchise since there were limited of those kind in the earlier series.
Guns and swords have their fair share of love and war. You would just really want to hold them..... well, most of them.... at times...
The sound effects are good to hear though aren't all that fresh in the world of special effects. The intense blade-bashing and the flickering sounds of weapons drawn are used less than needed which is a real downer although there are some cuteness effects like tail-wags to boot which can really be a reliever at times before and after the action.
Soundtracks are frequently used to fill-in the usual silence and some same tracks are played in every episode. Some people might call it a drag though the ethnic genre can really give a good feel in "The World". It just so happens, that you might get annoyed, hearing the same song over and over again within a span of 26 episodes.
This is probably one of the most interesting aspects of the story; the characters' personalities vary a lot and you can't exactly tell which character can be like the other. Earlier, Haseo has this introverted persona and later events convert him into a cruel beast which is an amazing change with a little psychology in there while Ovan is the cool-headed and mysterious character. We see a cute, tiny, fuzzy character named Phyllo who is actually a wise old man behind the mask. Shino, the usual kindhearted, nature-loving damsel, Tabby, your cute cheerful catgirl and others more with some returning characters for fanservice.
Overall, they're not too dull to look upon and they can be interesting from time to time.
Honestly, you'd love the game more than the anime itself. Delays are usually bound to happen at times. You'd frequently see a long pause after a short conversation/fight where there will come a time where you just want to fast-forward to the juicy parts. This was where I was really disappointed about the show - only a handful of action is present. If you were less of an action-person and more of a talker and in for the soap opera-like drama, this is more for you but if your in it for the sword-fights and the usual "Saving the world while kicking some ass" thing, don't set your hopes too high or you might just end up pulling your hair or glancing through the window rather than the TV screen.
This show was merely born for the sake of //G.U. If you played the game but you wanted to know the "why"? You better watch the series. If you haven't played the game yet but you still finished the series, better grab the //G.U. Trilogy movie instead. Saves a lot of money for those who only want to watch rather than play.
The show didn't really swept me off my feet but it was fair enough to be engaging so a forgivable lucky 7 should do nicely.
Alright, so I sat through each and every one of the 26 episodes of .Hack//Roots so I could conjure up a review. I forced myself to finish the series after the fourteenth episode only because I was already so far in and I'm someone who likes to get things done and when I criticize something I want a full understanding of what I'm going to bash.
The story wasn't "so" bad because it's got the base and foundation of the .Hack//Series. Which you all know by now because of the previous anime's and the synopsis above. What I had
a problem with is the way they had told it.
The main issue is that all of the characters behave unrealistically. And there's no character in this entire series who I could relate to. Which is VERY important to any show because you want someone to root for (pun intended) and build a relationship with.
Haseo didn't give two shits about anything or anyone and didn't even care much for the Twilight Brigade or anyone in it until Ovan ordered him to take good care of Shino, and abruptly they began a "relationship" after his sudden disappearance after the gathering of all the Virus Cores. Which is hard to identify because it happened so quickly. They get hitched supposedly, but it wasn't amplified properly since they only showed one scene that gave you the hint. I mean, yeah, they obviously felt something for each other but it seemed almost as platonic as her relationship with Ovan.
She kicks the bucket immediately after these shortly lived events and Haseo reacts strongly. Which is odd, because it didn't even seem like such a big deal when I sat and watched but Haseo's expression made me think otherwise. It just seemed so quick to actually feel anything for either of them. I just didn't care, which means there's something seriously wrong with this series.
There also isn't one central character. Sure, in the start they focus upon Haseo, but when shit hits the fan they switch to numerous different people. Tabby, Phyllo, and the supposed villains Pi and Yata who were Ender and Naobi previously but had their characters permanently disabled in the earlier episodes. Tawalaya who soon became Tohta. The two cat people and a bunch of others I didn't care much about.
When there's so many characters it's hard to keep up, and to feel anything for either of them. It's just an overall mess, an anomaly to story lines. It's probably one of the reasons why I didn't give a fuck about Haseo's "desperate" struggle towards insanity.
Tabby is as gutless as a guppy and doesn't think twice before she acts. She just does stupid things and is an idiot. Why she did some of the stuff in the series is beyond me. I don't mind very happy characters with not so strong intelligence outside of the "serious" bits, but yeah, she's stupid everywhere and in every situation.
The music was sub-par. Ali Project is a really good artist, but it didn't seem to fit well as an ending theme in my own personal opinion. Just seemed a little too wacky for something like this show. Yeah, it's dark, but it seemed more wacky Halloween than dark.
The opening of the opening's nice but everything following it is bitter and tasteless like lettuce. The animation's fine, I guess, but it didn't wow me. Anime openings are just a very recycled process. Run sideways, slash slash, stare up at the bright light above you with a solemn expression. How generic.
If you're a fan of .Hack I wouldn't watch this show, and if you're not I would try and forget it ever even existed.