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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Each of the pieces of the .hack bundle presents a different vision of both the real world and its imaginary counterpart - The World. Like Rashomon, they offer use a set of varying viewpoints and challenge us to form our own opinion. In this, the video series, the characters believe that a secret artifact, the Key of the Twilight, hold the means of solving the mysteries of the virtual universe. For Tsukasa, who is trapped in the game while his body lies comatose, it is the promise of a return to a normal life.
For others, the key spells power, or wealth. But in a sense, it is really a red herring, distracting the viewer from the more subtle dramatic interplay taking place among the characters. For this series isn't really about the game, but those who play it. For some it has come to replace live, and for others it is only a game they play for fun. Who is right? - we are offered only vague signs and portents to make our own decision.
In this set of episodes the real story is the unfolding and development of two characters that previously held lesser roles - BT and Subaru. BT's avatar it one of cold, self-centered sensuality - perhaps, though, it hides a deep neediness and loneliness. Confronted with Sora, who only sees other players as tools, she finds a reflection of herself - and is disquieted by it.
Subaru, however, takes her place as one of the heroines of the story as her feelings for Tsukasa put her in direct conflict with many of the Crimson Knights. The results appear disastrous, but in the end we are given a flash of understanding about both her own bravery and what underlies it. We are reminded vividly for the second time that The World is only a reflection of the characters' realities.
Is there a tragedy coming? Or transformation and healing? For now we are only given the delicate underpinnings of an increasingly complex story. When this series started I expected a pleasant presentation of adventures in a virtual role playing game. But it has become much more - sneaking up on the audience and engaging their vision.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2003
.hack//sign is a very creative series. With 4 video games, and 26 episodes of //sign, and several of //dusk (unreleased in America to my knowledge), it's an expansive series. This collection of episodes (15-18) has nothing particularly spectacular. Warning, this series is not fast-paced. If you like action, get Trigun, or Neon Genesis Evangelion. But for those who love a deep and intricate storyline that will captivate you, get into .hack//sign.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2004
Containing some of the series' best-scripted episodes, this whole volume is proof that SIGN is at it's best during quiet moments when we learn more about the characters. After the intense cliffhanger of the last volume is resolved, things slow down a little. It's the calm before the storm as the next volume will start heading the party towards it's inevitable confrontation with The Voice tormenting Tsukasa.

Tsukasa himself takes a backburner to some extent once we find out what has happened to him, as these episodes are largely devoted to character studies of the two women of the party - B.T. and Subaru. As the DVD jacket suggests, Crim also plays a large role, his relationships with the women acting as a catalyst for revealations about them.

Crim is a decidedly good man, but he's only human like everyone else. In this volume, we find out that offscreen he's committed the faux pas of giving B.T. mixed signals by meeting with her in the real world in spite of the fact that he already knows he's not going to return her blatant interest in him. This leads to an uncomfortable scene in which he's forced to gently but firmly refuse to see her again offline, leaving a humiliated B.T. to struggle between any loyalty she owes Bear and her jealousy of Subaru, who she knows has a bond with Crim that she never will.

Subaru, meanwhile, pays for her championship of Tsukasa as she watches the Crimson Knights disband before her eyes, throwing her into The World as most players know it for the first time. At first Crim is there to protect her, thoroughly enjoying the knight in shining armour act, but in a case of really lousy timing his job forces him to leave again while she's still overwhelmed. All he can do is try as best he can to lovingly prepare his friend for what he knows she has facing her in his absence. One of the most memorable sequences in the series, Subaru's first day in The World on her own is both sad and inspiring, including a glimpse of her in the real world as she's comforted by an empathetic Tsukasa that explains her aversion to combat and why she doesn't just stay offline while Crim's away.

Incredibly deep and nuanced, Sign just keeps getting better and better.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
Though the episodes that are on this DVD, episodes 15 to 18, have not yet released in the US, I have seen these (along with the rest of the series). Although the Japanese and English dialog differs slightly, it does not change the story between the two releases, and I feel that I can give an accurate review of this DVD. These episodes concentrate on the development of the various characters in Dot Hack Sign, and the history behind some of them are explained. Dot Hack Sign DEVELOPS SLOWLY, so do not expect anything major to happen...though there are some pretty big twists in this volume. It is not until the next three DVDs that the mysteries behind The World begin to unravel in earnest. The First episode of the next volume, "Tempest," sets the stage for the end of Dot Hack Sign, and in consequence the beginning of the Dot Hack Playstation 2 games and Dot Hack Liminality. It is to be noted that the rest of the Dot Hack Sign DVDs only have four episodes. Only the first two volumes have five episodes, and the remaining four volumes (including this one) only have four episodes. I do not think this was entirely necessary, because I think they cut out one episode called "Evidence" that was between "Castle" (which ends the last DVD, Gestalt [German for "shape," if you were wondering]), and "Depth," which begins this DVD. This episode that seem to be cut out only reflects back on "Castle" and the previous events in Dot Hack Sign, so it is no great loss. I'm not positive, though, but I am judging this based off of the "next episode" ending sequence following "Castle" on the Gestalt DVD. It says the next episode is "Depth," clearly bypassing "Evidence." This would mean there are only 25 episodes, but the original count could have been ignoring Evidence because nothing happens in it. At any rate, great DVD!
Recommended to: Dot Hack fans, or people who love long and intricate stories that develop slowly (those people should buy Dot Hack Sign volumes 1, 2, and 3 as well)
Not recommended to: People who dislike Dot Hack Sign, or people who dislike stories that develop slowly. There isn't any action or violence in this DVD, so don't be upset if you get it and end up regretting it. Dot Hack Sign is more about story than animation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2003
This anime is just as well done as the others. The music is awesome and makes the series that much better. The fact that you get a cd with this DVD makes it all worth it. I purcheased my set from Amazon and I listen to the CD almost every day. The music pics you up and really takes you to The World. If you like Dot Hack, then you will definately love this DVD and CD set.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2003
This is one of the best volumes of the series. One to definately add to your collection.
The music is phenomenal. The music changes based on the emotions of the characters which makes the series seem more real. The animation is well done with the story well thought out. The series asks many philosophical questions that need to be asked.
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on April 4, 2005
.Hack//SIGN - Vol. 4: Omnipotence contains episodes 15 - 18 of the fascinating series about a virtual reality online game called The World and the characters trying to unravel a strange mystery.

I watch these DVD's straight through; the story is so absorbing. The backgrounds are clever and enchanting, and especially realistic at twilight. The colors in the sky are gorgeous. I confess I have a bit of a crush on Bear. I also really admire the Silver Knight and feel Subaru is in the wrong.

Episode 15 - "Depth" - Tsukusa "dies" a painful and terrifying death within the World. His screams are something awful. Tossed out of the Twilight Eye, Mimiru and Bear are worried about Tsukasa. Mimiru is overjoyed when he makes his appearance again, but he has forgotten an important conversation they had.

Meanwhile, Lady Subaru finds out that Silver Knight has been keeping messages from her to prevent her from seeing Tsukasa. Subaru finds Tsukasa and they share a special moment. We see she is deeply in love with him, and he is beginning to have feelings for her too.

Episode 16 - "Conflict" - BT is shot down by Krim (in his "The King and I" outfit) as he says their tryst in the real world was a mistake, but he would like to be partners with her in the game. She is very hurt. We learn a little more about BT in this episode. She and Tsukasa open up a little to each other.

Episode 17 - "Declaration" - The Silver Knight and Subaru argue about the true purpose of the Crimson Knights in the World. He wants to stop and bind malicious players to protect other players in the world. Subaru does not like the vigilante style and insists on only sending stern e-mails to players who flout the rules. The conflict between Silver Knight and Tsukasa reaches a head, and she takes drastic action.

Episode 18 - "Recollection" - A "princess" with no knights to protect her, Subaru is vulnerable and shy in the World. Crim comes to his lady's rescue. He gives her some good advice to boost her self-confidence. Unfortunately, Crim cannot always be with Subaru, and she is attacked. Weak and hurt, she finds Tsukasa and falls into his arms.

In this episode, we learn who Subaru really is in the real world - a bit of a shocker.
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on December 5, 2013
The characters in this series were really interesting and the fun part was that they were RPG characters controlled by real-world people. We get to know them through the game. It's funny to see their characters freeze as the person leaves the computer, or pauses to read an email. It's also interesting that Crim has to keep reminding them that they are in a game - especially when the drama gets high. The music and the voice-acting complemented the mystery of Tsukasa's entrapment. Watch it. You won't regret it.
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on April 4, 2004
In this volume, Tsukasa and Subaru develop a friendship, and Subaru starts to discover who she is. I was really moved by these episodes. I usually don't buy special editions, i prefer just the episodes, but i was forced to purchase this due to the limited inventory of Spec's. I was surprised by the soundtrack. I love the music of the series, but I thought the CD would just be a bunch of bridges. I was surprised to find that it had many of my favorite songs. Don't miss it.
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on October 8, 2008
Though this DVD currently isn't out at the writing of this review, I have seen every single episode of Dot Hack Sign (all 26 episodes). While the dialog differs slightly between the US and Japanese versions, it isn't different enough to cause any discrepancies between the two releases. I feel, therefore, that I can give an accurate review of this DVD. Dot Hack Sign is a...
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.hack//SIGN - Vol. 1: Login
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.hack//SIGN - Gestalt (Vol. 3)
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