Wednesday, February 9, 2011

.HACK//Quantum Episode 1

Episode 1 (2010)
Directed by Masaki Tachibana

     When three friends are transported to a pariah folder in The World, which causes players to feel real pain, Sakuya gets trapped in the game and must figure how to get out and wake up her friend without losing their soul.

     .HACK//Quantum is the tenth animated series, including clip series and OVAs, in the .HACK universe.  .HACK started out in 2002 as a anime series that branched out to other media fields and has just continued to grow with the years.  Unlike with most RPGs, the story lines and even some characters continue over through each iteration in some fashion or form. The easiest way to put .HACK is to compare it to World of Warcraft with everyone as humans with a overflow of player killers as the main hobby for most people.

     While with most long running series it would be hard to jump into, Quantum was easily assessable even with it's long history. Anyone can easily get into the series as previous knowledge of the past doesn't come into play with episode one as it starts out quickly with the three main characters taking a secret route to get a valuable treasures guarded by The One Sin (which is a legendary dragon which only two players have ever beat in the whole series). While doing this Sakuya trips a trap that kills over 16 players and an illegal bounty is put on her head. An unknown factor, in the form of the character Hermit, is also present during all of this and enjoys what he is seeing as it messes with the order of the game. The next day Sakuya logs back in and is captured along with Hermit, who in turn is killed which causes the surrounding players to be transported to a Pariah Folder which causes pain to be felt by the players and if killed the players fall into comas (which is the main problem with the game throughout the entire series). While Sakuya isn't killed her consciousness is trapped in the game and her friend Mary is absorbed into the game itself.

     As I said before the series is easy to get into as it puts you right into action with the main character who even though she loves playing, she winds up most of the time over her head in trouble in the game. Thankfully Sakuya is likable as the main character as she's more of a free spirit that has a curious streak which helps flesh out the character which helps the viewer out as well. While the animation isn't amazing, it is better than most anime that airs on TV in Japan and without a doubt superior than almost anything airing on television in the US as the animation by studio Kinema Citrus and director Masaki Tachibana know that they had huge expectations laid on them with this anime. I 'll go ahead and say that I love anime, specially ones that don't act dumb and are overly cute, which is one of the reasons why the anime market failed in the US in my opinion, and are beautifully animated that doesn't cut corners and .HACK//Quantum fits the criteria I just stated. Anyone that plays a MMORPG, in particular World of Warcraft, should watch this as it has the feel of those games and the wanting to see more of the surrounding places that inhabit them. My only complaint is that it's only 30 minutes and a 3 part series, but compared to what is on screen it doesn't take away the wonder and excitement of .HACK//Quantum.

      The three nameless player characters who are flambeed by The One Sin.

     Not even death cures you of stupidity.

     .HACK//Quantum is the first of the .HACK animes not to be produced by studio Bee Train or directed Kiochi Mashimo.

    Past characters from other .Hack series that show up in Quantum include: Tsukasa from .HACK//Sign and Haseo, Ovan, and Shino from .HACK//Roots and .HACK//G.U.

     Originally part one was supposed to be released in late 2010 but got pushed back to January 2011. Part two comes out in February 2011 and the third and final part to the whole series comes out March 2011.

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