In the process of making an online Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game popular, the company that produces the game would first build momentum by publicizing it, and having a beta period, where gamers would be invited to test out the system, and report on bugs. This beta trial period is usually capped at a player limit. There is normally no player limit when the game is released for mass consumption; however what happens if the demand for a game overextends the supply?
This is the case for getting the chance to play R:X, a portable variation of The World. So when the cap is reached what happens to gamers that didnít apply soon enough? For avid gamer, Tokiko Kury this is what happens when he loses his golden opportunity to take part in playing in the portable online game. He completely forgot to apply. Bummed beyond belief, and still as the main character of this book, he is thrown into The World. What type of characters, and adventures will he get into? This is an ongoing manga series that is continuing.
.hack//link like the many other graphic novel or novel is yet another adaptation to the insanely popular .hack series. .hack//link takes place three years after .hack//G.U. While you donít necessarily have to read other graphic novels in the .hack series, it is a fun experience to know if and how other characters are mentioned in other versions. Still reading this book is sufficient to be introduced with characters that only matter in this series.
There are similar themes that are explored in this book as what can be found in the other .hack adaptations, there is the mention of gamers physically immersing themselves into this game, there is PK mentions, and definitely the differing factions with their own agenda in playing this virtual reality.
Reading this version actually captures the spirit of adventure quite vividly. If it wasnít for the other adaptations, I would have imagined that this book would be an anime series already instead of just a standalone book series. Yu Gi Oh and Brave Story are actually similar if not good similar reads to this type of book. They are all similar because of a male protagonist, forming a band of comrades, and going head to head with conflicts or antagonists.
Reviewed by Linda Yau, May 2011
.hack // Alcor
".hack" is already a successful series that has influence in many anime relevant industries. So when the main story is over, there are spin offs, and other stories that utilizes the World as the setting, and fleshes out what a story already established. So for readers to pick up this book, there are two type of readers, one, a reader already familiar with this world, two a regular video gamer, three a person who wants to read of a familiar teen age story line.
Alcor is one of the multiple spin offs from .hack, and this one shot story is centered on Nanase, a girl trying to form strong friendships, as well as having a crush on a guy. This is completely opposite to her real self, which the story alludes to on occasions, but mostly the story, takes place in the World.
Nanase believes herself weak, and definitely not a fighter, but what happens when she faces on the challenge of assisting another player in this game, under duress from outside elements? This is a familiar game path for many non-serious gamers in playing this type of game. Each person would have an individual preference and strength in playing the game, but what happens when reality questions the virtual world?
This is an interesting reading choice, and if one thing that can be taken away with reading this book is individuality and self-awareness. For individuality and self-strength improving like this The Lapis Lazuli Crown is a good read alike.
Reviewed by Linda Yau, March 2011
It is the year 2017, and the stakes have gotten even higher in the massively multiplayer online game The World — now The World R:2, a dangerous place overrun by player killers, where lawlessness abounds. The PKK Haseo, known as "The Terror of Death," is a fearsome foe who punishes those who want to slay other players. But things have gotten personal as Haseo tries to track down the killer "Tri_Edge", who has threatened the real life of his friend Shino...
Taking place three years after the events in ".hack//Legend of the Twilight", the .hack adventures continue in this thrilling manga, that follows an alternate version of the events of the G.U. games.
Based on the series of games for the Playstation2, the manga and the games follow the plotline of each other and complement each other. The manga actually started serialization six months before the game was released in a magazine (.hack//G.U. The World) which focused exclusively on G.U.
This is unusual, not only because of concerns about spoilers, but because at that point a game wouldn't be completely finalized. However, the author of the manga was also the scriptwriter of the game — how very convenient!
Reviewed by Zareh Artinian, May 2008
This addictive NOVEL takes place in the well-known .hack// universe, and in a time BEFORE the PS2 game. Wonderful for newbies as it explains the universe and characters in a detail not available by the manga, anime or game, yet, it is still a good read even for experienced .hack'ers.
AI Buster captures the wonder of anime, the artistry of manga and the sheer thrill of gaming, and does so in a format that is — so far — barely used by the anime/gamer community. We hope to see more adventures such as this one from Tokyopop!!
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, October 2005
Below: Promotional artwork from the .//hack series.
.hack// Website Links:
Madman Entertainment Official Australian .hack// site
dot Hackers (.hack fan website)
.hack//info center (.hack fan website)
.hack//SIGN (TV) entry at Anime News Network
.hack//Liminality (OAV) entry at Anime News Network
.hack// Game Music Best Collection
Anime Soundtrack Review
You've watched the series on Cartoon Network. You've read the manga. You've played the game for the PS2, but, throughout the game, you struggled to listen to the music though the sound effects. Struggle no longer! .hack//SIGN Game Music Best Collection contains most of the best bits (pun definitely intended) from the game. The music is ethereal and light listening, but the overall experience is pleasant. Listening again to the music helps us recall many exciting moments from the game.
If this whets your appetite for more from this wonderful series, we suggest you check out the other soundtracks from the show. If you're gonna be trapped in a virtual world, it's good to know that at least you've got a good soundtrack.
Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, July 2004
Light Novel Review
Unlike the other graphic novels in the market, there is the alternative choice of reading a novel, and this is what .hack//Cell is. In a two volume series, you are thrown into reading about a female Edge Punisher known as Midori, and how she handles survival in The World.
Seriously there is no spoilers to much of .hack world, other than for fans having enjoyment in reading inclusion of .hack//G.U. and .hack//Roots characters. This makes a good connection trivia, quite similar to reading other America science-fiction series like Star Wars. As trivia for kicks also, a darker side of .hack//Alcor characters are mentioned. This might be a statement for what type of reader this book supposed to be for as compared to the friendship themes of .hack//Alcor.
Upon playing any video game, and with heavy usage of the internet, a social fissure occurs. The real world is mentioned right alongside The World, and readers are led to think about what is a good time and place to not be so heavily sucked into the virtual world addiction. .hack//Cell refers to a futuristic world, where users playing the World is way more commonplace.
Still .hack//Cell is a novel, and there is certainly some subtle difference in reading this than with the visually pleasing graphic novel adaptations. More vivid written descriptions are needed that can engage the reader's five senses to imagine a scene. There are few yet black and white illustrations, used as points of character reference, and plot emphasis.
A good read alike to this book is reading the King of Thorn series, since .hack//Cell and the recommended series mention female protagonists that must confront issues that are life changing, and definitely persevere over immeasurable survival odds. This is definitely an enjoyable plot driven young adult book.
Reviewed by Linda Yau, April 2011
Below: Two panels from the the .hack // Alcor manga.