I was so hyped for the release of this DVD since it has been years since a .hack animation was released, and boy did this live up. The story is really cool, and the animation is just amazing. Along with that the special features are pretty neat and amusing to watch.
This is the first entry in the .hack animes to focus on the characters real life AND the game life at the same time, which is really cool to see since the games/manga/books have done this already. The students are new to the .hack franchise, but they use character modeled after Blackrose, Balmung and a Kite lookalike.
It takes place two years after the .hack//link game, and It seems that It may be setting up the .hack movie that just released in japan. The story was really cool and different than the previous .hack animes, so you won't see it copying from them.
They did a wonderful job with the drawings in this anime. They were also all drawn by hand, instead of a computer, which makes you appreciate it even more. I watched the anime and special features on the DVD and I think they would look amazing on Blu-Ray.
Besides the story, I think the .hack universe needs to live up to its amazing soundtracks, and this one is no let down. It helps the flow of the story and you can make out slight nods to previous .hack music. The ending theme is pretty awesome as well.
Funimation included a ton of special features from the .hack versions of the DVD. The first set is "Go, our Chim Chims!!", which is in three parts (One for each episode). Its basically the .hack//gift - .hack//4KOMA of this era of .hack, but also explains some things from the anime you may have not picked up.
The next set they give you is three 15ish minute segments that range from cooking a hermit looking lunch, semi interview with the producer and lead animator (and has them doing flip drawings at an animators desk) and the final segment is focused on a quiz the Japanese release received (They tell you the questions in it though, so you could pause and answer them if you choose to. I was in the 7-9 range). All of them have Yui Ogura (Hermit Japanese voice) narrating/anchoring and they are pretty cool to watch, and I did find myself laughing at times.
They final set is a bunch of trailers for both the Japanese and English release of the DVD's, along with current Funimation releases.
It seems that anime releases that have Blu-Rays in them come in a regular Blu-Ray case, and a cardboard slip sleeve that is the length of DVD case, and has a cardboard bottom that the Blu-Ray can fit in. They did decide to make the case itself a "recyclable" case, but with the slip-sleeve it's not a big deal and is protected.
The DVD and Blu-Ray disc have the same look on them (title, background and Hermit) but it's in full color, and not cheaply made. On the back side of the paper insert has a poster like photo that you can see through the blu-ray inside.
I say buy this DVD right away, it may be only three episodes but it's the same length as any movie out there at the same price. For those that are new to the .hack Conglomerate will enjoy this OVA anime, and may even make you want to delve deeper into the huge universe .hack is. If you have watched the anime, played the games, read the books this anime has a TON of references in it that you will pick up and it's really cool seeing the easter eggs you can pick up.
~Written: Feb, 2012
* Really cool addition to the .hack saga
* Awesome soundtrack
* Really well made anime
* Tons of special features
* Fantastic packaging
* Tons of easter eggs and hints at previous installments
* Cheap price