.hack//Legend of the Twilight
Four years have elapsed since the events of .hack//SIGN, .hack//LIMINALITY, and the .hack games.
Fourteen year old twins Shugo and Rena win a contest that enables them to use the avatars of Kite and Black Rose. Since they live apart in real life thanks to family issues, "The World" is their way of spending time together. However, they are soon caught up in events that have not been seen in "The World" since the time of the legendary dot-hackers. Soon, Shugo must battle viruses with the power of a strange bracelet, just as Kite before him.
Who set up the contest in the first place? Why are high-level monsters appearing in newbie areas? Who nerfed Balmung? And why are they all chibi?
Many of the complaints about the original series revolved around it taking itself too seriously and being too dialogue-oriented. These concerns have been addressed in .hack//Legend of the Twilight (.hack//LEGEND for short), which is a good deal lighter and much less talky. Sadly, it is also quite inferior.
You see, this show was mediocre the first time around, when it was called Final Fantasy: Unlimited.
The trouble begins from the opening song, which is a piece from the same people who bring you the Chobits opening. While it's somewhat catchy, it pretty much heralds the image .hack//LEGEND is going to be somewhat fun and not the least bit impressive.
And well, what do you know.
You have Shugo and Rena as chibi versions of Kite and Black Rose and being clingier and more over-affectionate than any real-life siblings should be. There are a whole lot of scenes in here that scream "Unresolved Sexual Tension", which makes you squirm because they're twins. It's no wonder that a great deal of fans have dubbed this series .hack//INCEST.
The other characters really aren't much better. Mireille, for example (NOT the Mireille from Noir, but a cutesy little girl with the same character model as Mistral from the .hack games) is apparently there to look cute and make things explode at inopportune times. Even the cameo character from the games, Balmung (or Balmunk if you are completely ignorant of classical mythology references like many translators ostensibly are) comes off as rather hapless -- it's like they roped the character into this series, and made sure to ply him with lots of alcohol to make sure he stays.
The almost too light-hearted tone of the comedy simply doesn't mesh well at all with the serious bits. Yes, there are serious bits, mostly involving the reappearance of the viruses in "The World" and Shugo basically having to continue the roles of Tsukasa and Kite, because, well, that's apparently the sort of thing his character model does. Frankly, I wish they'd just ditched the half-hearted mystery angle and left this as an all-out chibi comedy.
As for the visuals and music -- it's just not up to the same level as the other series in the franchise. Kajiura Yuki's work in the original is sorely missed here -- the BGM seems phoned in, and the animation itself is competent but never truly spectacular.
I like .hack, but I found myself relieved when the digital sources were discontinued in light of the license. While it's not bad,
.hack//LEGEND is more interested in being cute than good. Those of you who prefer cuteness to character development may give this a star, but those expecting another cerebral Bee Train show may drop a star, because this isn't what you're looking for. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: There's some violence and some dark themes here that may not sit well with children, despite the cute character designs. Also, there's some inescapably creepy subtext between the relationship of the twins. Best for teens and up, in any case.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Partial (6/12)
.hack//Legend of the Twilight © 2003 Project .hack
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