The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: .hack//SIGN
Genre: Drama
Company: Bee Train
Format: 26 Episodes
Dates: 4 Apr 2002 – 25 Sep 2002

Synopsis: In the year 2007, a computer virus destroyed the very fabric of the internet. The year is now 2010 and everyone plays an MMORPG called “The World.” In an attempt to escape the realities of a cruel and destructive world, Tsukasa logs into “The World” for the first time. After Tsukasa’s initial login, however, mysterious occurrences begin in “The World”, such as unbeatable monsters, cat-like users, and a player who cannot logout.

The Highlights
Music: Second to few other anime.
Art: Beyond incredible.
Originality: A one-of-a-kind series.
Pacing: Slow. Really, really slow.

.hack//SIGN is a series that defies convention and the stereotypes of action anime. Instead of the cornerstone of their series being kicking ass and taking names, Bee Train supplants most of the fighting with dialogue. To many, this would be an instant turn-off due to a lack of combat, but it shouldn’t be. SIGN weaves a story so intriguing and deep that it more than makes up for the lack of action that most other animes showcase.

The first thing to grab my attention in this series was Kajiura Yuki’s absolutely wonderful score. The music in .hack//SIGN is reason enough to watch it. One would be hard pressed to find anywhere an anime with a better score than .hack. The beautiful instrumental pieces filled with haunting melodies and delicious harmonies are a treat to the ears of any anime fan.

Of course, to be included in the action genre, an anime has to have an amount of action scenes. While they are few and far between, the choreography is stellar. Additionally, the art is nothing short of wonderful. Some anime, such as Evangelion, suffer art and animation lapses from budget cuts, but .hack presents expertly crafted artwork throughout all 26 episodes.

Unfortunately, .hack//SIGN is very slow moving due to it being a dialogue driven series. I mean, the pacing is absolutely awful. While I am a huge fan of SIGN because it is dialogue driven, sometimes I feel like the words are being shoved down my throat. I would have loved to have seen Tsukasa use his staff and shove it down Bear’s throat to shut him up so they could go accomplish something, but it was for the better that he chose not to.

In the end .hack//SIGN is definitely not for anyone interested in action. However, for those of you who like a plot-based, dramatic, adventuresome anime, this is your cup of tea. Such fans should certainly give .hack//SIGN a chance, it will not disappoint. You’ll forget all about the lack of fighting and become engrossed in Tsukasa’s plight the same as I was in no time.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Seven

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