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Anime: .hack//Roots Complete Series

Released By: FUNimation

Release Date: May 19th, 2015

Retail Price: $39.98

If you know the .hack// franchise, you most likely know of the various incarnations that the series spawns. From video games, to anime series installments, both serious and satirical based, the popular franchise only continues to flourish amongst its dedicated fan base. .hack//Roots After “The World” was destroyed previously, the CC Corporation began to reconstruct the alternate virtual reality (MMORPG, or Massive Multiplayer Online RPG) including mass amounts of data from a previously established mainframe. Haseo, new blood to the gaming world, is PKed (Player-Kill) by an ally instantly, but is revived by an older man named Ovan. Haseo’s second chance leads to joining up with a guild called the Twilight Brigade, all searching for the holy grail of the .hack// universe, the “key of twilight”.

After its light hearted series .hack// Legend of the Twilight, the Roots series adapts to a more somber tone that explores inner conflict and personal struggles for characters with higher stakes. Fans of the original .hack franchise will especially enjoy the Roots series for embracing the original darkness involved in gaming that reeled in fans to begin with. The story itself does leave you wondering what will come of their quest, while addressing where the characters will end up by the end, and for protagonist Haseo there is definitely progression as he becomes a strong individual (after aimlessly wandering for a chunk of the time). Patience is key when diving into this series, because there are definitive moments that occur, where you expect something to elaborate with a murky result.

An exciting inclusion to the series was the well-known avatar Tri-Edge, whose appearance doesn’t occur until very far into the series. It would have provided a larger payout to add his story in earlier, but his role at all is appreciated – or his short yet memorable fight with Ovan. Tri-Edge plays a detrimental role in the fate of one that sparks Haseo to make a drastic change, in a debatable manner, playing the anit-hero with ease and intrigue. Unfortunately by the series end, the conclusion to .hack//Roots only leaves more unanswered questions and possible storylines to explore, which is mostly likely the point to accumulate additional viewers and gamers for the franchise, I just wish more time could be spent exploring the suspenseful scenarios that the series manages to build in its final moments.

The character designs in .hack//Roots are particularly unique, creating each character with specialty details included, and specific characteristics to set each other apart from others, and past game characters. The intensity and sometimes insanity from Tri-Edge is done especially well, and the new character Haseo who completely brought a new element to the game. The music is one of the series most notable accomplishments, mixing elaborate musical arrangements that fit effortlessly into the series most important moments.

The gaming world has always created polarizing responses, and the anime plays up that notion by embracing the addictive quality to virtual realities, and how they can cause problems – just in a more drastic way for this anime series. The characters almost feel as if they are constantly submerged into the gaming realm, which while that may seem odd at first, goes to portray those devoted gamers who dedicate their life to fulfilling gaming impulses. The concept of action and fantasy added to a gaming world and franchise makes .hack// different than a simple anime or video game, and attempts (mixed) to find a balance between the two.

Aedan’s final Thoughts:

-The drastic change in the series mood from legend of the twilight was needed

-The ending unfortunately leaves much unspoken of the future for certain individuals

-Haseo was a character you could enjoy throughout the series, and Tri-Edge though evil, was a necessary character to include.

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