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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2005
The World is a online 3-D fantasy game, where players log on and carry out quests, eithers are part of a party or on their own. For some reason, one day, a player appears who can't log out. And the mystery begins.

I loved this story. Besides a interesting plot, with tons of twists, characters who have real reasons for logging on and doing what they do, great music and good artwork, it really reminded me of when I use to role play (on and off line) in college.

The ending might be strange but remember that it does fit and also that it leaves it open because this anime is linked to the game. From what I understand, the events are nothing but a prologue - the background story to the game. Instead of a tiny booklet that they always insert into the game's case, to give it some kind of history, you have a anime that is 25 episodes long, with 26th episode as a stand alone flash-back, the 27th episode as a clip show of the important moments and the 28th episode as the final ending, the final episode set after the events in the four part video game!

But even without the game the ending still fits - after all, the anime is set in a online game. And you have to log out sometimes!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 14, 2005
This is an excellent anime series. The Complete Collection is a digipak set of the 6 discs from the individual volumes at a lower price. It was released in late 2004 for a limited run, with a collector's pin set. Note that this Complete Collection does not include Episode 28 Unison, which is only available on disc 2 of Volume 6 Limited Edition.
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2006
I loved the story of this anime up until the very ending...when something seemed first I thought it was another great anime with a very crappy ending...kind of like Evangelion...but I was wrong...this version is missing the complete edition...there are 28 episodes to the series and this one only has up to the 27th(including the ones in the extras)...the final episode the the most important..."Reunion" wraps it up folks and like many crappy American versions of good Anime, this on falls in short, unless you can get a complete import, don't get this one, you'll probably be just as disappointed in the ending as I was.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2004
I can't speak to the particulars of this complete box set as I purchased the Limited Editions of the series as it was originally released - that is what this review pertains to.

As an anime fan, there were a lot of things that stood out about .hack//SIGN. The story line is typical of many anime series. The plot line has plenty of twists and turns, just as much for the sake of the overall story as the developmet of the characters. After finishing this story I felt like I knew the characters. For those who don't already know this, the setting is one of the most unique aspects of this story - it takes place almost entirely inside a MMORPG (Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Game) - Like Everquest or Final Fantasy XI. The sound quality was superb, as well as the video. I was quite pleased to find that it was in the 16:9 aspect ratio (Widescreen) - and it looks awesome on my HDTV! The voice acting was also top notch. If you like anime, and/or video games, you really can't go wrong with this series. If you like a good mystery and sci-fi you can't go wrong there either. If you like stories about relationships and personal triumph, well, you get the picture. It has something for everyone. Anime haters won't likely be converted by its charms, but I don't know many people who wouldn't enjoy this series.

As a closing thought, there was a lot of hype about the interrelationship of the .hack video game series for the Playstation 2. You're not going to get gameplay tips out of watching this series, nor are you really missing out if you don't go out and play the games. The plots cross each other, but they are essentially different and independent stories - the same is true of the short OVA series that was included with the PS2 games, and of the more recently released .hack//TWILIGHT. That said, they all compliment each other in small ways. There are cameo appearances by players from the other series and some of the background given in one, will reflect the events of the other. Probably the most noable instance of this is in the last "Bonus" episode of .hack//SIGN - I won't give any surprises away by telling you why:)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2005
Simply put, this anime is the best non-animated and animated television show I have ever seen.

The plot is simply unique and amazing- as the description and other reviewers have dictated. Be prepared for twists, turns, depressions, and highs in this overall series.

Each character has their own personality that each viewer can relate two. The character growth is amazing, as most characters sport dynamic, unique, and well thought out personalities.

The animation is one of it's kind; the characters have innovative and beautiful costumes, the scenery is imaginative yet realistic, and the panels and scenes flow nicely.

The music remains yet one of my favorite parts of the whole series. Yuki Kajiura, a reowned Japanese composer, composed all (I believe) of the score to this movie. Each song fits in perfectly with the storyline, and is beautifully orchestrated.

Addionally, the voices of the characters (in both Japanese and English) are amazing. Anime shows have a reputation for having bad dubbing (or English voice-overs for the origional Japanese speak). However, all of the voices are nearly identical, and very interesting. In both English and Japanese, the speech is in near perfect alignment with the movement of the characters' lips.

At least in English, .hack//sign also has very little cursing, and very little violence (no excessive gore or uneeded violence).

I highly reccommend .hack//sign to anyone, as it is a phenomenal series.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2007
This story is about a virtual reality game in which the people playing the game are more than just players, they actually feel and relate through the game.

For the protagonist, Tsukasa, the world is his real world ever since he went into an unconscious state in the real world and was unable to log out. Now he can feel and see things in "The World" that others can't. Smells, pain from wounds, fatigue from not being able to sleep, he can't do anything normal and is unable to figure out why he was trapped.

First Tsukasa meets Mimiru after he fights a battle and his real self falls unconscious. He can't remember how he got stuck in the world or if he is a real person or just a character. Sympathetic and curious, Mimiru, a sword wielding girl with a big attitude tries to connect to the withdrawn and depressed Tsukasa.

Next they meet a companion of Mimiru's, Bear, who is another swordsman with blue skin and wisdom. He is a fatherly figure and Tsukasa views him and other adults as "meddling".

The other characters are the Crimson Knights, a group of online police led by a young girl named Subaru and a gruff, rule abiding, and agressive leader who serves Subaru, the Silver Knight.

The founder of the knights, Crim or Crimson, quit after placing Subaru in charge and went on to play the game for fun instead of policing.

At first the Crimson Knights chase Tsukasa and try to arrest and "Bind" him (Meaning trap his character in the game) because his new Guardian (A powerful being with Unlimited HP that does not die easily) that Tsukasa got when he lost his ability to log out, is killing other players, including the Silver Knight.

Tsukasa has many problems adjusting to the world with his problem of losing more memory every time his character dies because his real self isn't conscious. He also doesn't trust others because he feels everyone is selfish.

This is a good series for RPG game goers and for those who want a change in anime, this series is pretty unique.


My only bone to pick is that the series ending is that after Tsukasa breaks free and gets to log out, first he forms a three person team with real players to create a new character and then comes back after his real self (A girl by the way) graduates to college. I don't get why the story didn't just end after he got out, the story introduced all these new characters that weren't at all fleshed out. The reunion and the reaction of the characters was really out of place too.

Not that I don't like female characters or anything, but I think having Tsukasa be a girl in the real world, or involving the real world to be a part of the story beyond Tsukasa's dilema is a mistake. His character is completely destroyed because the conflict is over.

Next, the story is about the World in the game, not the real world. So having the relationship of the characters be ruined by the revelations of the actual people is kind of weird, however interesting it is to have a girl play as the character Tsukasa, it doesn't help the relationship that Subura and Tsukasa had as characters. I liked it better if Tsukasa just became just a character in the game, that character is more powerful.

Well, that's just my view of it anyways. I liked the fact that the people who played the games were more real in "The World" than in reality. I think bringing Tsukasa, Subaru, and Mimiru into the story as their real selves makes their game characters one demensional. They were pretty deep before then. I think a few things weren't really drawn out as much as they could have been, namely the legends of the world: Orca and Balung. And it didn't seem like the conflict was that hard to solve. I was expecting more problems.

Anyways, other than the ending, this was a good series to watch. Short and sweet. Not as violent as you might expect. The graphics were made to look like an RPG, so, it's even less gory than most anime shows. It has fighting though, PKs (player killers) who just try to get the IDs of other players. And monsters.

The music is excellent, I highly suggest looking for the soundtracks. And it was well mixed into the story. Good series, though incomplete, and enjoyable for all anime fans. This is one of the older series, so that animation is not as brightly colored as the others, but it's good because the it matches the tone.

This is a must see, watch and enjoy if you're an anime, RPG, or looking for something new and different to watch, this is it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2005
I have seen all 28 episodes of this series and I can say that I really appreciate this kind anime. I know that the ending of episode 25 leaves you hanging but the .hack games, the .hack. OVA, and the bonus episodes 26-28 will fix that. I did not get this full collection, I bought all of these DVDs indivdually with the episode 28 bonus disk. Why? It is because I got them before this complete collection came out. If you like anime with mind trips, cliffhanging climaxes, and good fight scenes then this is a good show for you to watch.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 10, 2005
I feel that this is one of the most underrated anime series of all-time for the same reason that Dragonball Z or Furi Kuri do not truly get the respect they deserve stateside: the English editing and translation sucks. It's true . . . So what? I can't speak Japanese, but I always have to watch anime with subs on. You get the true emotion and feeling for the scene and the characters than when you have the English dubs. I have yet to find a series where the English dubs are close to the Japanese. Well, maybe Cowboy Bebop is pretty close.

This show is full of heart-tugging drama. There is so much emotion in this story, the dramatic pauses are excellent and well placed and they set the tone so well. Do yourself a favor, get the complete series and watch it the way it was meant to be seen, not how it was translated over to be turned into a kiddie show like most things. You will be amazed.

Also, if you like this, and you love subs, watch Full-Metal Alchemist in subs as well. It is a much darker show, a million times better than the Cartoon Networks version.

Happy viewing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2014
First off, I will say that I love this series, but it is not a review of the show but rather for the product and trying to bring awareness of the product's availability and bootleg problems plaguing the marketplace. This is not a seller problem, but these will be found at conventions, online retailers, and brick and mortar stores that don't know better.

In 2012 Bandai Entertainment USA went out of business. Since then many bootlegs have hit the market, especially for the popular shows.

These bootlegs typically come in a clear case and are nearly indistinguishable between the retail copy. These bootlegs are using the same disc count, disc art, and are copying the DVD sleeves art and information as you would see with the official retail release 1:1. This particular series was never released with clear casing and came in a thick black box. The DVDs they're using for these are DVD-5's, meaning that the max they can put on the disc is about 4.75 Gigs while the official retail releases use DVD-9's. Due to the fact it's impossible to tell by looking at the DVD set, the only way to know for sure if you have a bootleg or retail copy is to check the disc's properties in your computer.

The only way you will know for sure that you got an official retail copy, will be:
1. If you buy *directly* from Amazon or Rightstuf. Their warehouse stock comes directly from the publisher.
2. If you buy new it will come with a security sticker.
3. The final test to see if it is legit is to put it into your computer and see if the disc is less than or greater than 4.75 Gigs. If it's greater than that, then you should be good.
Example: [...]
(note: the bootleg on the right was not an Anime Legends bootleg, so they may have copied the disc file name for these as well)

I hope you found this information useful. There's not many people who know about this and I'd hate for people to continue falling prey to buying bootlegs.

Not only is this happening to Bandai's Anime Legends sets, but it's also happening to Discotek Media's sets as well.
Sources of information:
1. [...]
2. [...]
3. [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2009
This is one of the best series to come out around the turn of the millennium (which was when anime, both domestic to and exported from Japan made leaps in writing and visual quality.

.hack//sign is set inside of an mmorpg, but is a genesis story, describing the nearly aborted birth of a technology based god. Similar anime include serial experiments lain, and akira (for you old school fans.) However, unlike those two, this show uses a very oblique approach to the story telling.

The plot focuses on several loosely related characters who, for one reason or another, form deeper relationships with each other (not necessarily healthy or desirable ones.) The story is told primarily through the conversations of the people, and is designed to be obscure, so that it can take several viewings to fully understand what is happening. This is mostly because, while the setting is congruent (to itself, not the rest of the franchise so much) none of the leading characters have a clear idea of what is going on.

One thing that is made clear early on is that all of the players who play the game are escaping from some trouble in their life. A significant part of the story is watching them all mature, essentially graduating from the game. This is made more interesting because a little over half of the lead roles are adults with careers.

The show's use of conversation to tell a much larger story is well done. The conversations themselves tend to be about the relationships the players have, or the mystery of the game as they see it. Most of them are not friends, but rather are tied together by their belief that a particular player, Tsukasa (the boy/girl on the cover) is essential to solving the mystery. They often alternate between speculating about what they do know and more normal conversation about their lives or the game itself. Also, because most of them do not like each other, they are never all together at the same time (save some brief moments near the end, when all of their lives are in danger,) and actively keep secrets from each other. The evolving dynamics alone would have made the show worth watching, and episode to episode, it is the plot.

The game that the bulk of the story takes place in is difficult to imagine given the interface the players use. Also, when the show was made, mmorpg culture was not well developed, and the creators make some guesses of player behavior that seem rather unlikely today (although there are many failed or less popular mmorpgs that guessed the same thing.) The show, however, does take place in the "real" world, and there are brief static filled sequences that show very important pieces of information, such as player hospitalizations, RL meetings, and personal events from their lives.

The music put the composer on the map. It was hailed as one of the best scores of the year. While many like other scores by Yuki Kajiura, I still think it is her best overall work. Also, the sound mixer does a great job of chopping and splicing up pieces to fit the actual scenes. I have not seen any serialized production do a better job, and if you enjoy analyzing how music is used, you ought to watch this. Outside of the context of the show, the soundtrack holds it own as a great work, but the two together are great memories and the main reason I pull my dvds off the shelf once or twice a year.

I don't think children will understand the story at all, although they may enjoy the experience of watching it. Teens with long attention spans and who listen carefully will likely get a lot out of it, but others will be confused. The story is told rather casually, and there are maybe 30-50 minutes worth of action sequences (themselves very slow) scattered throughout the entire series. It is about relationships and responsibility, and I have often heard the show described as one long conversation. This isn't an entirely unfair description. That said, the depth of motive behind what people say and do in the story means that the players are far from one dimensional and can be related to on a deep level.

Most of the characters are depressed, clinically depressed, at least mildly. Some with good reason, some because they indulge in such a personality. The ones who aren't depressed are angry, which might just be how they express their depression. That said, if you can stand watching these people bite at each other's ego's as they grasp for hope, you will be well rewarded at the end. This idea of negative emotion is important to the plot, and the reason why Tsukasa is important to the mystery. For most the game is where they go because they feel trapped in some way from making progress in thier life. For a couple the game is very much a playground, but neither are healthy people.

This, and other aspect of online gaming culture are explored a bit, although to some inaccuracy of how things really work. These explorations are more the result of the lives of the players involved, and are not presented outside of the context of what they do most of the time. If you enjoy stories that talk about gaming culture, you may wish to watch this, or really any .hack piece, as it is always in the background.

.hack//sign is why .hack is still around. And, unfortunately nothing else in the franchise has measured up. Which is to say, if you like anything else .hack, you may be surprised by how unlike the rest of the franchise this is.

********.hack//sign unison*********

Unison is the name of a special OVA only episode. It was not filmed or aired as part of the original story, but was added with the release of the dvd version, which was after the release of the first PS game. It features characters from both, and so may be a bit confusing if you are not familiar with both. However, it does describe what happens to many of the characters about a year or two after the end of .hack//sign (the game takes place in that interval.) Certainly interesting for the first 15 minutes, but it is a departure from the show in some ways, and isn't necessary. Bascially everyone gets on with life, a few are dating each other, and all of them stay loosely in touch, although the //sign players don't play the game very much. If the show's REAL ending left you hanging too much (which is common in Japanese storytelling, part of a belief that life goes on, and everything repeats) then you may want to give this a look. Otherwise if you enjoyed the ending moments, you don't have to. It isn't really more of the show.

******spoilers, sort of, but you wont know all of this without doing some reading or playing the games**********

There are a few things, however, that they do not make clear in the show. One, that around 2015 (don't remember the dates from the setting) there was a trojan program that was released into the web and necessitated the shutdown of the web and all extant OS's. The company that runs the mmorpg, "The World," also is the company that made the new OS ALTIMAT, which is secure against the trojan. There is no other functional OS in the world at the moment, and the company CC corp is, consequently, king of the heap as having the only OS that wont instantly fail if plugged online. So, "The World" is the only mmo* in the world, and is, consequently, very popular. Other things that are not made clear, NPC's in the game are highly adaptable AI, making for a more immersive experience. This AI technology is part of what makes ALTIMAT secure, and is behind the deus ex machina of the setting.
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