Welcome to The World.
.hack (or Dot Hack), is a series of separate but connected stories told through anime shows, video games, manga and novels. In .hack, human players interact online in The World – a fictional MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) – using virtual reality headsets and a gamepad controller. Filled with mysteries and adventure, the .hack saga is a complex and intricately woven journey that includes virtual reality, artificial intelligence, human players, corporate cover-ups, a mad scientist, all with MMORPG job classes, dungeons, and monsters.
Imagine a popular MMORPG where strange things are happening, and you are searching for answers along with the characters. An entire mythology, a journey with great depth, .hack is the struggle to save others and to save one’s self, and to what lengths a person will go to, to achieve their goals. When you finally reach the end of the journey, it’s mind blowing and you’ll want to travel it all one more time.
Probably the only drawback to the whole .hack franchise, is that it can be confusing to newbies. There are so many different stories and media types, and it makes more sense if you watch/read them in order. Also, there is some overlapping and retelling of the story; for example, some of the anime, manga, and novels retell exactly the same story. It can be repetitive, and there are discrepancies, but it sometimes adds small details – especially the novels which add more background details to the anime. Sometimes the story is retold from a different point of view – for example, the .hack video games are told from Kite’s perspective, while the .hack//Another Birth novels tell the same story from Black Rose’s perspective.
The best way to enjoy .hack – in chronological order:
.hack//Sign (anime; prequel to the original four .hack games)
.hack (PS2 video games) or .hack//Another Birth: Infection, Outbreak, Mutation, Quarantine (novels)
.hack//Legend of the Twilight (anime and manga)
.hack//Roots (anime; prequel to the three .hack//G.U. games)
.hack//G.U. (PS2 video games, manga, novels)
Vol. 1 Rebirth
Vol. 2 Reminisce
Vol. 3 Redemption
.hack//Trilogy (DVD movie)
.hack//Link (manga, PSP game)
I would recommend the .hack video games for ages 10 and up. The PS2 games are all rated T; there’s no blood, but lots of battling (REN GEKI!), and some swearing.
I would recommend the .hack anime shows for ages 7 and up. The anime shows have some battling and swearing. Keep in mind, the battling is taking place in an online game, so only the player’s online character is “killed”, and then has to relog in at their last save point. There are some profound concepts to think about, and very young kids might be frightened by Haseo’s 3rd form, Flick Reaper.
So far, we’ve watched Sign (twice, as once we knew what was really going on, we had to watch it again), and Roots. We bought all 7 PS2 games of .hack and .hack//G.U. from eBay and Amazon. We’ve also read the Legend of the Twilight and G.U. manga and novels. We’re waiting to watch Trilogy until after we finish the 3 G.U. games. Then we’ll also watch the OVA Returner, and, after we read the Link manga, we’ll hopefully find a way to watch Quantum.
Immerse yourself in the fantastical World of .hack, and while you’re there discover some awesome music. Sign, Roots, and Trilogy all have amazing soundtracks, ranging from driving/fast paced to relaxing/slow. The kids and I have downloaded all the songs from these shows to our iPods and YouTube queue. Here’s one of my favorites, Fake Wings (Yuki Kajiura):
To make life easier for you – .hack media, sorted by type:
Games (all by CyberConnect2)
.hack//Fragment: (PC mmorpg) released in Japan only; now closed.
Vol. 1 Rebirth
Vol. 2 Reminisce
Vol. 3 Redemption
.hack//Link (PSP – Japan only)
.hack//Liminality (4 part OVA)
.hack//Legend of the Twilight (series)
Online Jack (clips)
.hack//G.U. Trilogy (DVD movie of the .hack//G.U. games)
.hack//G.U. Returner (OVA)
.hack//Quantum (new 3 part OVA)
.hack//Legend of the Twilight
.hack//AI buster, .hack//AI buster 2
.hack//Another Birth (Infection, Outbreak, Mutation, Quarantine)
.hack//G.U. (The Terror of Death, Borderline MMO, Harald’s Archetype)
.hack//Epitaph of Twilight
Classes/Jobs in the MMORPG The World:
The World: blademaster, wavemaster, heavy axeman, heavy blade, long arm, twin blade.
The World R:2: adept rogue, steam gunner, flick reaper, harvest cleric, blade brandier, edge punisher, lord partisan, macabre dancer, shadow warlock, tribal grappler, twin blade.
For more information:
Dot hack Wiki
Be sure to check out my upcoming posts with more details on Sign, Roots, G.U., Link, and Quantum. Are you a .hack fan? Share the love, and any tips you have, in the comments!