hack liminality anime 1Something is happening inside ‘The World’, the online network game that took the world by storm in 2007. In Japan alone, at least six cases have been reported in which players all of a sudden dropped down into a deep coma. The attempts at reviving these fallen players have all failed. While their vital signs appear stable, their minds remain locked behind in ‘The World’.

The most recent case happened at Ishikawa Prefectural Kanazawa Sogo High School. Two people taking part in an experiment involving the playing of ‘The World’, collapsed during the game. Tomonari Kasumi and Minase Mai both slipped into deep comas. However, Mai managed to awaken from this state, the first person yet to do so.

Enter Junichiro Tokuoka, the Japanese Version Director for ‘The World’. Two years ago, he cut off ties to the CC Company, producers of ‘The World’. He knows that something has gone wrong with the game. And he intends to find out just what is going on inside ‘The World’. As he travels, getting closer to the truth, he enlists the aid of some unlikely allies. Minase Mai, Aihara Yuki, Tohno Kyoko, the mysterious hacker Helba and her liason, Kuro no Bito all join Tokuoka in his fight against the CC Company.

These people try to unravel the mystery surrounding the game, the theories of Emma Wielent and the actions of the prototype fragment programmer. And even if they are successful at finding the source of the problem, will it be within their power to set ‘The World’ right again?

The .Hack//Liminality OVA was released in conjunction with the release of the .Hack games in Japan. Something has gone wrong in ‘The World’, causing a lot of problems in both the real world and the game itself. The playstation game investigates the problem from within the gamespace, whilst the OVA investigates the problem from a real world perspective. You can watch the OVA as a stand alone story, but it makes even more sense if you watch it in conjuction with the playing of the game.

.Hack//Liminality is surprisingly well done, considering that it was released as a freebie with the game. The animation, soundtrack and story are all top class.

As I mentioned, the complete story is told from two viewpoints. However, enough details are given during the OVA that you can follow what is going on just by watching the OVA. Whilst the time/information skips between episodes are sometimes noticeable, it is understandable because these missing issues are dealt with within the actual game. The first three episodes introduce the four main characters in the OVA and serve to set up the story. The final episode then serves up the action as the four try to solve the problem of ‘The World’.

The animation is smoothly done and the characters and backgrounds are well designed. The colours are sumptious, and really stand out during the outside scenes of episode three.

The soundtrack and voice acting are all of a high standard. See-Saw perform the potent opening and closing tracks for the OVA.

Overall, I thought that this production is really well put together. I like the idea of telling a story from two perspectives. However, if you only have access to the OVA, the I believe you are missing a little bit. Nevertheless, the quality and story of the OVA make it worth your while to give it a look. However, the story will only really make much sense to those who have watched both the .Hack//Sign and .Hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet television series, which serve to introduce the marvelous game and characters that make up ‘The World’. If you are a fan of the .Hack franchise, I would recommend this OVA to you.

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(Historical Note: This was written back in May 2003. Thankfully my writing has improved greatly since then.)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.hack//Liminality