From today forward, I’ll be covering each of Bee Train’s .hack franchise shows on Fridays, starting with .hack//SIGN. Because I have a long history with the franchise, I decided to do a little introduction first.
Back in 2002, when .hack//SIGN was on Cartoon Network, I was a big fan of the show, leading me to buy a PS2 just so I could play .hack//INFECTION on it. Because I suck at video games (and because it was boring), I never actually beat INFECTION, so I can’t say I have a lot of knowledge about the .hack games. Of the publications, I read (and at one point owned) AI BUSTER 1 and 2, the first book of ANOTHER BIRTH, and LEGEND OF THE TWILIGHT. Beyond SIGN, I watched the LEGEND OF THE TWILIGHT anime, the first episode of LIMINALITY, and this year’s QUANTUM OVA. I also had a bunch of .hack//ENEMY trading cards, though I never learned to play the game because it was more confusing than the plot of the franchise.
After SIGN and the first volume of LEGEND, the .hack franchise was a constant source of disappointment for me. Every new work that I consumed was worse than the last, and all of it was a constant rehashing of the same plot over and over, never improved upon. The game was too mind-numbing for me to play through (I tried maybe eight times), LEGEND turned to shit as soon as it stopped being silly (and the anime was crap), and the AI BUSTER novels were the same shit, different toilet. ANOTHER BIRTH was what finally killed my interest in the franchise for being totally pointless and boring.
Summarizing like this doesn’t do justice to how much I wanted to get into the franchise and how big a fan I was. I’ve read the first volume of LEGEND enough times that I’ve just about memorized it, and I still own that manga and the DVDs for .hack//SIGN (yes, I own a Bee Train show). I had the first volume of the LEGEND anime on DVD along with the collector box and OST, though I never bought the rest of the show (because it sucked). Every so often, I still long to re-explore the franchise, especially with this year’s QUANTUM having been long and by far the best thing to come out of it (not a Bee Train show).
.hack may disappoint me, but I don’t “hate” the franchise the way I hate all of Bee Train’s other work. .hack doesn’t suck in the specific and terrible ways that most Bee Train shows suck—it’s more a constant flood of mediocre material with a little sprinkling of goodness throughout that will only serve to drag you in and then disappoint you—sort of like Alternate-Universe Gundam shows.
A grand sense of disappointment doesn’t make for good episodic blogging, and after reviewing the first episode of .hack//SIGN, I don’t think there’s enough terribadness to deconstruct or parody. Instead, I’m going to experiment and get creative with this series. If you have any suggestions of ways to have fun with this, please share them. Keep in mind that the point of this blog is to be funny/mean-spirited, so blogging methods that are too “nice” are probably not what I’m going for.