[Sorry for this post being a week and an hour late. Turns out coordinating people to do videos is really difficult. Next week’s ep will be out as scheduled.]
I won’t lie, .hack//SIGN has gotten off to good start. If I were watching it without pretext, I wouldn’t have dropped it after these two episodes. My only real trouble with the series continues to be its verisimilitude.
My question about server movement was answered in this episode: Tsukasa and the Crimson Knights had indeed been on the same server, and the exposition of Tsukasa’s power in this episode happens through his managing to change servers without using a Chaos Gate (which the Crimson Knights have been policing). This brings up the question of why the Knights hadn’t been policing the gates to begin with, and how Tsukasa was apparently moving between dungeons without using them. That said, these technicalities don’t bother me enough that I’d consider them writing flaws.
What’s bothering me now is the attitudes of the characters towards Tsukasa, which are those of schoolkids in magical girl shows. For some reason, Bear and Mimiru really want to be friends with Tsukasa and care about his problems, in spite of having spoken to him about once apiece, to the response of him being a gigantic douche. Tsukasa wants nothing to do with anyone. Realistically, the random people he happens upon in an online game wouldn’t be interested in him. As a matter of fact, I’ve put together a simulation of how real people might react to Tsukasa using Ragnarok Online:
The World continues to feel too goddamn small for the biggest online game in the world. Mimiru is friends with Bear, and both of them individually encounter Tsukasa. Bear is friends with B.T., who is attacked by Sora, who also runs into Tsukasa. If these players were brought together through their encounters with the plot, it would be easier to take than seeing that the people who run into Tsukasa all happen to be connected already. But, like with the confusing nature of the game, I don’t consider this a serious issue.
It’s not surprising that an anime about an MMO isn’t going to perfectly capture the nature of an MMO. Sports anime almost never capture sports reality, and plenty of those are fantastic. It’s always true that the people who know about the sport are the ones who notice the inaccuracies, but that doesn’t always stop them from loving the show anyway. Likewise, as an MMO fan, I can nitpick .hack//SIGN for these reasons, but I don’t think they take so much away from the show that I can’t still enjoy it.