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5.0 out of 5 stars from the creators of neon genesis...
I've watched A LOT of anime way before it became mainstream, so I have had a sample of all the good stuff that made it here before the crappy kids shows. Neon Genesis is a supurd anime, you can't call yourself an anime lover before you watch that, however as much as I liked that anime, I LOVE .hack//SIGN. This sotry is slower moving, you see mostly character development...
Published on July 22 2004 by B. Polier

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Awesome packaging, slow story
First, I'll admit, .hack//SIGN is getting some of the best limited edition treatment I've ever seen. This box and its load of extras is sure to be highly coveted by anime fans and DVD collectors. In particular, I think the soundtrack is a great extra, as .hack has excellent music.
Now the bad news... Unfortunately, these episodes failed to hook me on the series. I...
Published on Feb. 26 2003 by MBG


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5.0 out of 5 stars from the creators of neon genesis..., July 22 2004
By 
B. Polier "Aspiring Writer" (Cranbrook, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hack//Sign: V.1 Login (DVD)
I've watched A LOT of anime way before it became mainstream, so I have had a sample of all the good stuff that made it here before the crappy kids shows. Neon Genesis is a supurd anime, you can't call yourself an anime lover before you watch that, however as much as I liked that anime, I LOVE .hack//SIGN. This sotry is slower moving, you see mostly character development and none of that bloody violence that is prevolent in most anime and other media. If you love getting involved with the characters you'll love this. Every person alive can relate to at least one of the characters in .hack, it's amazing to watch it and see how their lives play out. Even better, if you like this anime enough, there are four games to play that take place 6 months after this story. They pick up where it left off and solve the riddles that are left unsolved at the end of this series. Now I have to say that to be an true anime fan you have to have watched 2 series, Neon Genesis Evangelion and of course, .hack//SIGN! ^_^ \/
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Anime at its best!, July 17 2004
By 
J. T. Sheehan (Oklahoma) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: .Hack//Sign-Login (DVD)
Have you ever wondered what it was like to be Mario's world? To be able to live in the game for awhile? Add more people and this would describe what dotHack has to offer. The name of the game is "The World" and they are able to act just like it was a real world. But, something disturbing has happened. Tsukasa, having an extra ordinary gift, is causing confusion and chaos among the top players and the administrators. However, the only thing Tsukasa is worried about is trying to log out of the game.
The story is given the five stars, because it has some amazing twists. I was very surprised when I first watched the movie.
To rate the DVD itself, I would give it four stars. The music over powers a lot of the movie and it is hard to hear some of the dialog. This shouldn't stop you from buying it. It just took me to turn up my TV on some parts.
Conclusion. If you like anime, played an Massive Multilayer Game Online, like video games, or curious about the whole plot, then this DVD is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, but when it hits you, it hits hard, May 24 2004
By 
Xyco (Greensboro, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: .Hack//Sign-Login (DVD)
This is one of the few anime that I've seen where the series is almost entirely dialogue driven. Despite the large swords and spears and such, you won't see them used much. Regardless, the characters are incredibly deep as the story evolves into something much deeper than you'll imagine.
This anime, taking place prior to the events in the PS2 game, is an excellent introduction to the .hack series. Don't get me wrong though, this anime is NOT just a long commercial for a video game. Standing on it's own it is one of the most powerful anime out there. Every episode is just dripping with emotion, from total despair, to total happiness.
I should also note that the music, performed wonderfully by the talented Yuki Kajiura, is simply incredible. It was the music alone that made me want to see this anime so badly.
Still, it is not for everyone. If you want hope to see all kinds of action and explosions and whatnot, look away. But if you want a mature story with depth and emotion, then this is for you.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, March 26 2004
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This review is from: .Hack//Sign-Login (DVD)
I thought I would like this, but all I had heard about it just turned out to be hype. The characters are all boring, two-dimensional personalities. The art, while pretty, was not enough to keep my interest, and the storyline was, to be frank, not even there. So, Tsukasa is trapped in an online game. *yawns* Big deal. None of the characters had me cheering for them, and some, like Subaru, made me feel the opposite. I found the Crimson Knights to be power-hungry and Subaru to be rather stuck-up. Bear is just...goofy. Mimiru is the only character to evoke any kind of good reaction from me, but she cannot carry the show all by herself.
The voice acting falls flat, as the voices either don't fit the character or are just uninteresting. Tsukasa sounds flat and emotionless, Mimiru's English voice gets on my nerves VERY quickly, and Subaru also comes across as rather unemotional and prissy. The voice actors for the Crimson Knights and Bear sound as though they have never done any voice-acting; their acting is stilted and jerky.
If you are a fan of online RPGs, you might like this. Otherwise, I suggest you stay away. There are many other anime titles out there. I am currently selling my copy of .hack here on Amazon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun fantasy series, March 1 2004
By 
Kellyannl (Bronx, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: .Hack//Sign-Login (DVD)
In the near future, virtual reality technology is perfected, resulting in the ultimate roleplaying games. The most popular of these is "The World".
One day, a frightened young boy appears, accompanied by a mysterious creature that attacks anything trying to harm or restrain him. His name is Tsukasa, and he says that he cannot log out of the game and can physically feel everything happening to him in The World.
A handful of seasoned players tries to reach out and help him - Mimiru, an outgoing young girl with enough self-confidence for both of them; her friend Bear, a warmhearted man with a strong paternal streak; Bear's associate B.T., a beautiful, ice-cool woman playing so many cards even she must have trouble keeping track of them and Lady Subaru, a compassionate young woman who founded the Crimson Knights - an informal order of rule enforcers working in unison with system administration to keep the game pleasant and fair and who's highly respected in spite of her realatively low experience level due to her distaste for fighting. Also joining them on occasion are Crim, a nice friend of Subaru's who perhaps has the healthiest attitude towards the game and Sora, a witty but rather nasty manchild who tails them when he's not being tolerated for his connections to a legendary hacker and whose purpose in life seems to be to push the otherwise mellow Crim's buttons (remember that kid you couldn't stand in grade school? That's Sora...).
At first, Tsukasa's dilemma is an interesting mystery, but things become more serious as they discover that The World might not be as disconnected from reality as most of them believe...
The series has many strong points. The World itself is beautiful, with breathtaking and imaginative color and landscaping. The soundtrack is incredible and adds alot to the series. The character designs are funky and fun. Most of all, this isn't just another adventure. It's the people behind these roleplaying characters that's the real story as we learn who they really are, most of them trying to either avoid the real world or find something that they're not getting in their real lives. Part of the fun (and drama) is putting together the clues, such as Bear roughly dating himself with strong hints that he belonged to the early Dungeons & Dragons crowd or the first hints, besides his speech and mannerisms, of Sora's real age as he has to occasionally leave abruptly due to his online time being monitored and curtailed. By the end, the various truths we slowly learn about them range from moving to sometimes disturbing. This is a story for grownups, with some interesting moral discussions.
It's not perfect, however. The first half in particular is slow moving even by the standards of the very tolerant. There's a recap episode - which is inexcusable considering this isn't a long series. Finally, to really appreciate it you have to understand online roleplaying or at least how roleplaying and computers work in general - so this isn't for everyone.
If this sounds like it's for you, though, jump right in. At an extremely reasonable six volumes, you can't go that wrong if you have leanings towards fantasy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome if you are a real fan of anime, Jan. 26 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: .Hack//Sign-Login (DVD)
.hack is a totally immersive experience. It is one of the best anime series out there and the simp0le point is you aren't going to completely understand the story. You will be stuck knowing only what the characters in the show know. It won't be handed to you and it wont be full of dazzling fights because .hack is a story and a complicated one. You must hold all the pieces to understand. If you watch the series and play th games etc. it will become clear.WARNING EXTREME SPOILER AHEAD! This for thse of you who can't understand to get the basis. Harald Hoerwick was in love with a poet named Emma Wielat who died in a car crash. In her memory he took her poem the Epitaph of the twilight and made it into a game called fragment. In this game he created aura as a child of the two. A program named morganna was made to awaken aura. Morganna became corrupt and trapped tsukasa in the world to use his negative feelings to keep aura unawake. cc corp had no idea this existed in haralds game and s it was added when they revised fragment and renamed it "The World". In the games you play trying to awaken orca (a coma victim) and are opposed by morganna as she sends the eight phases as wriitten in the epitaph of twilight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Forget about the videogame!, July 21 2003
By 
Courtland J. Carpenter (Fort Wayne, Indiana United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I say that because, despite having its own release on Playstation 2, .hack//Sign is really based on those other addictive games, Everquest and Ultima Online. The plot involves a "What if?" question about someone's consciousness, brought totally into the virtual world. While this concept has been explored before, in movies as far back as Disney's TRON. It takes on a much different form here. Consequently, we can almost emphasize with the predicament, and problems of the central character.
People love a mystery, and that's a big part of these types of video games. It's easy to believe the people represented, would want to find out more about this person. Even to the point where some of them, start to explore this in the outside (real) world. In this case, the real world is the real world of the anime setting, and not actually the real world. Confusing? Yes, but that's what a good thought piece is all about.
The anime explores video game obsession in detail, and the various characters that populate a game world like this. One of the great things is how the series can reveal so much about a real character, when all we see is their game persona. Less than one percent of its total running time is devoted to little glimpses of the real world. Yet, knowing about each character from the game, that small glimpse reveals their innermost motivations. The moment we see who the character is in real life, we know the answers. Those answers we've been seeking, to questions we have been asking ourselves, questions about that character we met in the virtual world.
I think this is very close to the way things go on in these games. The representative characters are all there, the player killer (PK), the rule enforcers, the warrior heroes, the magic users, the strategists, and others just tying to find their own way. We are not shown much about the characters behind the computer. We see the game character. That character emotes with verbal, and non-verbal expressions, which illustrate the emotions of the actual player. That's good, because it would be pretty boring, if they acted exactly like characters in these games.
My rating loses one star, because the series is a little too slow for some fans. It would have benefited from a little more screen time on the reality side. Once those characters are revealed, we just want to know more about the real person. Like a lot of anime series, this one leaves a lot of holes in the ending, loose ends not neatly tied up. They did make a 27th episode after the first ending to try and clarify some of that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Cliffhanger...That Pushes You Over The Edge, July 6 2003
Luckily, ".hack" starts off beautifully and intrigues the viewer right away. Unfortunately, by the time the entire series finishes, you'll be left with a plot with more holes than Afghan, in addition to having had the rug pulled out from under you. A four star Vol. 1 indeed, but a three star series because of the ending.
Like the first 3/4 of this series, Vol. 1 opens in mid-action: young Tsukasa wakes up sprawled face down on the ground in a cave next to a staff. A young girl named Mimiru happens upon the cave and Tsukasa, who abruptly transports out in a column of golden rings. Mimiru and her friends--an older man named Bear and a shady blonde woman named B.T.--soon find out that Tsukasa isn't quite like anyone else in their world.
Their world is "The World," an online gaming community accessed by goggles on the user end, allowing for a much fuller experience of a dimension with millions upon millions of users. Users gain points in wisdom, fighting and defense by going through "events" or missions that the game offers, such as solving puzzles or defeating monsters. People can "die" in The World; they must simply re-log on if they are killed in the game, but lose the entire day's worth of experience points. None of this is explicitly stated in the anime; you're well off reading the back of the DVD or reviews that tell you what is going on. Also, a reasonable amount of knowledge concerning computer terms are needed (talk of servers, illegal and backed up data, and message boards, etc.). Just imagine The World as a gigantic online community with numerous chat rooms; no one is who they seem--women can sign on as men, adults as children, etc. This is also true with Tsukasa--it's good to watch the series keeping in mind that he could very well be a she or the other way around.
Tsukasa differs from all the other players in that he cannot log out of the world. He can also do many things that others cannot--move throughout The World without using the usual gateways, and access areas that others cannot or do not even know exist. One particular place he returns to holds a sleeping child floating above a bed, with a floating Teddy bear, and a voice that tells him to stay and that it will protect him. Many people soon begin looking for Tsukasa, who is armed with a powerful guardian/monster, for both good and bad reasons. The Crimson Knights search for him to stop his non-conformity; their leader, Lady Subaru, searches for him out of curiosity. A powerful villain and player killer named Sora, also wants to ally with Tsukasa, who, unfortunately, is extremely shy.
The series goes on following the quest to find out who Tsukasa is, why he/she is trapped in The World, and what is the Key of the Twighlight, if it does exist.
The art is beautiful, in the new style manifesting itself in series like Gasaraki and Full Metal Panic: smooth, non-liney art, cleanly integrated with CG effects. The music is...different. It's a mix between techno-pop and Celtic choir music, with a touch of Olde England minstrels thrown in. It's not bad, actually, but the timing and use is pretty bad. Sometimes, the music plays and plays and plays, too loudly at times, even during conversations or moments where no music, or sadder music would be appropriate. The English version doesn't differ too much from the Japanese version, except that the Japanese translations are a lot "deeper" than the English versions.
As many have said, it moves at an extremely slow pace, with plenty of talking and philosophizing, and the occassional fight and flashes of the characters functioning in the real world. The slow pace does allow the characters to develop much more than in most series. Nearly all of the characters presented have deep, strong personalities.
Negatives? Also has to do with character development. By the time you crack to the last half to 1/4 of the series, so many questions are posed that aren't answered. Similarly, characters are introduced but not fleshed out: Maho, a silent cat that follows and helps Tsukasa; the two legendary master heavy swordsmen, one of whom makes a singular appearance in the series; and even the main villain isn't fully fleshed out. Maybe this goes along with the fact that the video game it's based on continues on into more series. The ending? Your thought process will go: ah, okay, sweet, good, nice...what the? Keep watching during the credits and you will be pleased and disappointed all in the span of one minute. Depending on when and how a continuation to this series takes place (if it does), it could be great. If it stops here, then it's pretty nasty.
Still, I highly recommend watching it, better with the expectation that the ending provides as much closure as it creates questions. Know that, know some computer terminology, and have an open mind, and ".hack" can be a pleasurable experience. If they finish it right.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's all fun and games till somebody losses a soul....., July 3 2003
By 
CB (MD & PA, USA) - See all my reviews
It's all fun and games till somebody losses a soul.
That's the premise of .hack//SIGN. There's millions of people playing the ultimate online RPG called The World. The players are running around having a good time oblivious to the fact that for one player this is no longer a game and is now life threateningly real. The series opens with the main character Tsukasa waking up in a cave with a case of partial amnesia. He eventually realizes that his consciousness is trapped inside The World and that's he's very powerful and uncontrollable. From there we start to meet the rest of the cast of characters, learn the rules of The World and try to figure out what's going on.
This is a series that takes it's time revealing things to you. It makes sense to me that they would present things this way since the main character doesn't know what's happening to him and this is mostly his experience. If you were thrown into a world that is completely different from what you are use to, with little idea of who you are or who you can trust you would probably act weird and not understand what's going on either. Add to that the people you are dealing with are all more or less playing make-believe and your stuck with a very confusing situation.
There's a general feeling of mystery and after awhile a feeling of dread. There's definitely something malevolent laying just under the surface of The World. The characters have even less of an idea then the viewer does of what is threatening them. We at least get to see flashes of the real world and the characters inner musings/memories to give us clues into who the various people really are and what their motives might be.
This is a series all about characterization and plot. There's very little violence or action and it only alludes that people might be having sex in the real world. Mostly what goes on is people sitting around talking to each other. Personally, I like these people, they remind me of people I know. They keep my interest by being believable, even if the situations they are in are not. And you will need to pay attention to what they are saying because they are constantly dropping clues, most of which won't be clear until you watch the whole series, repeatedly. As a result if you miss a single episode you will probably be lose later on.
Lucky for us while they are talking we have absolutely gorgeous animation to look at and amazing music to listen to. The artistic style of the series might not work for everyone. It reminds me of impressionism and realism thrown together. I will admit that at times it feels like they add music for the heck of it instead of trying to match it to the scenes taking place. Generally I let this go because I really love the music and it's not bad enough to detract from what's going on.
By the time you get done watching the 5th episode you will either care about the characters and want to know what's behind the mystery or you will have lapsed into a coma from boredom. Which is why it might be a better idea to rent, borrow or buy just the 1st DVD if you have not already seen some of this series. I saw the first few episodes and was hopelessly addicted to everything about this series. So buying the box sets not only feeds my addiction by getting me more episodes and soundtracks sooner but costs less money in the long run because it's cheaper then buying the DVDs and soundtracks separatively.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny! A new and different series..., May 15 2003
I gotta admit. I thought .hack was all hype. Until I saw it.
The beginning went slow.. but then suddenly I became captivated with it. The whole idea of the series taking place entirely inside of an online RPG is even more interesting than it sounds. Ever play one of your RPGs and think "This is so good.. I kinda wish it were an anime."? Well that's kinda what .hack//SIGN is. .. and if you don't like watching it, you can always invest your money in the .hack video game series for PS2 instead.
You will, however, find a lot of the series to be more dialogue-driven than action-driven. If all you want is to see the characters whacking each other with swords, then you might as well get the video game series instead.
The main story in .hack//SIGN focuses on a mysterious character in the game named Tsukasa. He's unsocial, isolated, and pretty darn annoying. All he wants is for everyone to leave him alone. Then one day he tries to log out of the online world he's playing in, but he can't! That's only the beginning of all sorts of bizarre happenings that go on with Tsukasa. Bizarre happenings that were thought to be impossible inside "The World" where the game is played. Everything Tsukasa does seems to override the system, and nobody knows why. Could he have acquired a powerful legendary item which was previously thought to be nothing more than fiction?
If a unique plot and gorgeous animation aren't enough to win you over, Yuki Kajiura's amazing musical score will. When you buy the Limited Editions of the first 3 .hack DVDs, you'll get all the OSTs from .hack//SIGN along with them. Great deal, if you ask me. (Especially if you chose to buy the Vol 1 L.E. Box set, which is exploding with awesome goodies and is worth every cent you spend on it. )
.hack's character designs are wonderful, which is only to be expected from Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, who is one of my personal favorite artists. Sadamoto is the writer and illustrator of the Evangelion manga, as well as the character designer for Evangelion and Nadia, two of Gainax's most popular anime series of all time.
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.Hack//Sign-Login
.Hack//Sign-Login by Megumi Toyoguchi (DVD - 2003)
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