All .hack//Liminality released episodes
The episode starts when Tokuoka was kicked out of CC Corp. Mai and her boyfriend, Tomonari Kasumi (known to The World as Sieg), are taken to a hospital due to both of them collapsing while playing a MMORPG called The World. Despite Mai waking up shortly after arriving at the hospital, Tomonari remains in a coma. For this, Mai is the object of rumors, especially when the clubhouse (known as G-study) is closed after the incident. It is soon revealed that she heard a certain sound (which is also present at important points in .hack//Sign) shortly before collapsing, and she later discovers that it is A in C major, which is used to tune instruments, including her violin. It was this sound that enabled her to wake up, and it was the first sound she made when she did. She meets Junichiro Tokuoka, and although she distrusts him at the beginning, as they investigate into Tomonari's coma, they soon become allies, if not friends. The investigation itself starts with Tokuoka accessing Tomonari's (Sieg's) account on The World, with Mai providing the password. Tokuoka accidentally opens the e-mail, and discovers that two users, Yukichin and Kyo, are close with Tomonari and have been harassing him with e-mails regarding his absence. It is also revealed during the course of the episode that Tomonari took the name "Sieg" as a contraction of Siegfried, from Richard Wagner's operatic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Balmung is the name of Siegfried's sword, and Tomonari told Mai that he would become the possessor rather than the sword: a reference to the fact that he aimed to surpass the player character Balmung of the Azure Sky, one of the Descendants of Fianna. Tokuoka and Mai's investigation leads them to break into G-study, in order to attempt to recreate the same situation so that they can find out why Mai and Tomonari collapsed. The sound starts up again when they enter a field, and although Mai saves herself, Tokuoka seems to be losing it. In desperation, Mai destroys the monitor and the computer that they were using, and drags him outside, where a splash of rainwater wakes him up. After that, the two pledge to find out just what C.C.Corp. is hiding, and what it will take to wake everyone up.
Tokuoka and Mai are on their way to meet with Yuki (known to The World as Yukichin), who is in Yokohama. Tokuoka gets stuck in traffic, and Mai goes to the library in Tokyo to attempt to look up information. During this time, she hears the sound. Meanwhile, Yuki is watching a movie when suddenly THE WORLD flashes on the screen, the power goes out, and the employees attempt to evacuate the building. Yuki runs into an unnamed woman who works at the building, and the two try to find their way out while the crowd gets stuck on the broken escalators. The two eventually resort to climbing through a ventilation shaft to a hallway with an elevator. After the fire alarm activates and starts sending out carbon dioxide, the woman rips off her shirt sleeves and makes mittens for both of them to slide down the elevator cables. At the same time, Tokuoka is finding his way to the meeting point without his car, as it's still trapped in gridlock, and Mai is using an old offline newspaper reel to look up information. She comes across Harald Hoerwick (the creator of The World), and the Epitaph of Twilight. Later, she contacts Kyo, and finds out that fires have broken out all over Yokohama, and that there is no cell phone service there either. Yuki and the woman find themselves at the bottom of the shaft, and it seems that the woman has twisted her ankle. They make their way onto the first floor regardless, and discover upon exiting the building that many cars have crashed. The woman says that it is the second coming of Pluto's Kiss. Finally, at 9:00, six hours after Tokuoka said that he would meet Yuki, he arrives to find Yuki waiting for him. Mai finally gets through to Tokuoka, and Kyo gets through to Yuki, and it is discovered that Kyo knows quite a bit about the Epitaph of Twilight.
This OVA is the (very much superior) follow up to the "Hack Sign" series. The production is in the typical style of Bee Train, with the ever present, haunting melodies of Yuki Kajiura (a staple aspect in Bee Train productions) succeeding to be even better than in "Noir" or "Hack sign". And since those were earlier works, it does seem like the studio is getting the hang of the music production more and more. Unlike "Hack Sign", significant events actually start happening from the word go, resulting in a captivating opening episode. Unfortunately, having set the bar rather high, the remaining three episodes are a little disappointing. In episode 2, the anime descends back to the usual faffing around that was so common in the "Hack Sign" series. The third and fourth episodes are better, but never really reach the standards set by the first. "Hack Liminality" does go some way towards explaining the events in "Hack Sign", but not very much. Either the translators are at fault, or Bee Train need better explanations. There are a lot of vague statements thrown around, but they don't make much sense, and by the end, I was still fairly clueless about what's going on. Basically, the conclusion is something like "Aha! I've got it!!" I had no idea what exactly what they were doing or how did they did it. All I know is that there were some hacking involved. How can you make a proper sci-fi without explanations?!Anyways, despite not really "getting it", I quite enjoyed the ride, I just wish they'd put in a more detailed explanation. Like "Hack Sign", this anime's high-ish rating is mainly boosted by its animation/music quality, but underneath it does have a bit more quality in its content to brag about as well.
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: July 17, 2014. Supplemental Review to .Hack//SIGN I looked into the .Hack video games and I really couldn’t get interested in playing them…However there was something else that came along with it… here’s **.Hack//Liminality** In the year 2007, the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) known as 'The World' was released in the US and became insanely popular, spreading worldwide and reaching up to 20 million players. One day, a mysterious phenomenon occurs where all the monsters in the game become increasingly powerful and harbour unheard of abilities. Along with this, players are unable to make any progress with their characters. Naturally, these occurrences render The World rather unplayable, so a player who goes by the name of Kite decides to get to the bottom of it. To be technical, this is a Bee Train production and like I said before with my .Hack//SIGN review about Bee Train. They have done some decent works since the studio’s foundation to today. There is one thing that is completely different from .Hack//SIGN and that is the character designs. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto did not do the character designs for this 4-part OVA series, instead we have Toshiya Washida, who usually does Key animations for the most part in his career. For this short OVA series, I do not like the character designs in this one, and it’s not because Yoshiyuki Sadamoto did not do the character designs. It’s because some of the design choices look a little awkward on some characters. At least some non-character designs are drawn in well… and that’s one of the things that surprisingly stand out in LIMINALITY unlike SIGN. When I reviewed .Hack//SIGN, I did rant about how the animation hardly moves in some parts… Well, Liminality is an upgrade on that. For what this anime is… The animation is decent in this anime. The artwork and visuals are also not bad either. The only real problem I had with the animation is the openings. The openings used clips from each part of the .Hack video games. It’s a unique approach but I didn’t care for those openings that much. Anyway, When I saw .Hack//SIGN, I found myself bored because .Hack/SIGN hardly moved when it comes to animation. On the other hand, .Hack//Liminality is also boring as well but not because of the animation. The animation here is actually decent… a lot more decent than .Hack//SIGN with the expection of a different character designer. The music by Yuki Kaijura may have been memorable in .Hack//SIGN and I do commend her for having a different vibe for this anime’s soundtrack considering that it’s placed in the real world and not in “The World”. However, the soundtrack is kind of forgettable but it fits in the show somehow...I really don’t have much to comment about the soundtrack of .Hack//Liminality. The opening themes are okay I guess but I find them forgettable because the opening and closing themes aren’t really talked about these days and for a 4-part OVA series. I guess that is to be expected. The soundtrack might not be some of Kaijura-san’s best work and that is totally fine… At least the soundtrack was somewhat decent. When voice acting is concerned. I don’t think either casting between Sub and Dub are worth saying a mouthful over because of the length of .Hack//Liminality. Mabashi Ebara, Sanae Kobayashi, Saeko Chiba, and Aya Hisakawa are competent seiyus but since they are playing characters that are rather forgettable. The voice acting alone does not save the show. I could say the same with its English Dub and the dub has a competent voice cast. Some big names, some unknowns. Jamieson Price, Michelle Ruff, and Sherry Lynn do play their roles fine but… The voice acting doesn’t do the show justice. That’s all I can say about the voice acting. If there is one weak aspect of .Hack//Liminality, it is the characters. For something thats around 2 and a half hours consisting of 4 OVA’s and part of an Anime franchise that these characters are only in...There’s bound to be some issues. I gave the characters a chance but… I found them forgettable…Even with 4 OVA’s, The only relevant character is Junichiro because of the fact that he is the creator of "The World" other than that, The characters were still forgettable. That’s all I can really say about the characters. Do you want to know something? Assuming you were aware that .Hack//Liminality was released alongside the 4 part .Hack Video games. Each of these episodes came with each part of the game. 4 games and 4 OVA episodes. Also, these OVA’s are in the point of view of the real world and not in “The World”. Would you like to know what would be a great idea? Having the point of view focused on the real life counterparts of the characters in the 4 part video game… This OVA did come with the 4-part .hack games anyway. What does Junichiro Tokuoka, Mai Minase, Yuki Aihara, and Kyoko Tohno have to do with the games? Pretty much nothing… To stress this even further, the characters that you will see in this OVA do not appear anywhere else unless there’s cameos elsewhere. .Hack//SIGN was an interesting anime even in its slowness. The .hack video games felt normally paced but the game series was considered to be repetitive at times and even though I was looking into the story of the games… The games’ story felt boring at times. THIS ANIME ON THE OTHER HAND FELT POINTLESS. Why? The 4-part video games of .hack were inbetween .Hack//SIGN’s chronology…Liminality is within the .hack video games. We have one .hack entry within another .Hack entry within the .hack entry that started it all. The games were near the end of .Hack//SIGN’s chronology which is fine I guess. What’s not fine is that the video game’s OVA companion has little connection to the fucking game to begin with. When I heard that Liminality was taking place during the video games and that the real world was the point of view it was focused on, I thought this would deal with the real-life counterparts of Kite, Black Rose, and others… The fact that the main characters in Liminality have no connection to the video games, it kind of makes .Hack//Liminality pointless… And you know what else is a problem with .Hack//Liminality, it feels like .Hack//SIGN… The show is filled with dialogue and intrigue...The games are different which is understandable. .Hack//Liminality is unacceptable for not parallelling the OVA to the games between characters we know in “The World” and their real-life counterparts. .Hack//Liminality was released alongside .Hack//Infection, .Hack//Mutation, .Hack//Outbreak, and .Hack//Quarantine… There has not been a re-release since and the games were for the PlayStation 2. That being said, .Hack//Liminality is out of print. With everything said, .Hack//Liminality was conceived to be a companion to the video games that it was released with concerning that the point of view is in the real world during the events of the video games. this OVA of .Hack fails due to a slow pace, and forgettable characters who only are involved in this .Hack entry. Yuki Kaijura’s soundtrack is decent, and the animation is also decent despite the different character designs in this .Hack entry to .Hack//SIGN. If you like the games… Feel free to watch this one since they technically go together. if you were not fond of the games… This doesn’t do the games justice. I give .Hack//Liminality a 3.1 out of 10. it is WEAK! Feel free to leave a comment.