Sword Art Online – My New Love

Posted by Neko Kyou in Thoughts on July 27th, 2012

Yes, I have a new love. It’s Sword Art Online. There has only been 3 episodes so far, the story jumps forward rather fast with a lot of holes missing here and there but it doesn’t stop me from loving. every. single. moment. of. it.

I love the .hack series. It was, and still continues to be, an awesome series. It marked the beginning of my love for MMORPG related series. That was Accel World had me super excited. Any good MMORPG themed stories would make me squeal with delight.

Then came, from the same brain behind Accel World, yet another MMORPG themed show. This time, it also features plenty of swords – my favourite weapon. I already knew I would enjoy Sword Art Online even before watching it, but actually watching it just made me fall in love all over again with the genre.

From the tiny bits of information I’ve picked up here and there so far (trying not to spoil too much for myself) it seems that Sword Art Online is only the start of a longer series – with the protagonist Kirito venturing into other VR-MMORPG games after SAO has been completed. With the light novel series still on-going, we might be in for a long and fulfilling ride.

But what if you weren’t a fan of .hack or Accel World? Would you still enjoy it? The only thing I can really say is to give it a go. Unlike .hack, the plot (so far) is much less complicated and moves at a faster pace. It also have a heavier atmosphere than Accel World, where true death awaits you even in a game.

Fortunately, Baka-Tsuki have a translation project going on for Sword Art Online which has gone pretty far. I probably won’t be touching that for a while since I want to enjoy the anime a bit more 😀

Sword Art Online Light Novels Translated

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.hack//The World’s True Hero?

Posted by Neko Kyou in Thoughts on July 3rd, 2007

I was talking about how “The World” was my one gaming wish yesterday, and it kind of reminded me of an interesting topic about the .hack series. If you were asked to select one of the characters from the entire .hack series, who do you think is the true hero of “The World”?

Among all the characters, I have narrowed my candidates down to 4 people. First up, we have Tsukasa.

TsukasaThe girl who was trapped in “The World” and believed herself to be a boy in .hack//SIGN. Tsukasa found herself living in a very real “The World”, being able to feel, hear and touch her surroundings even though they were just data on a server. She had lost consciousness in the real world and have no recollection whatsoever of who she really is and even believed herself to be a boy in real life.

Tsukasa was the key to awakening Aura, and was under the influence of Morganna Mode Gone, who did not want Aura to awaken. Throughout the series, Tsukasa caused a lot of frustration not only to herself, but those around her. She had been wishy-washy and passive for the entire series until the last moment, when she finally decided that she would no longer escape from her real life and awakened Aura, paving the path for Kite in the .hack PS2 games.

Next, we have the man himself, Kite.

Kite

The leader of the legendary .hackers party who solved The World’s final mystery… Kite sought after Aura with the help of the Twilight Bracelet in order to find out what happened to those who fell into coma in real life after being killed by “bugged” monsters. With the help of the rest of the .hackers, Kite finally managed to bring back all those who had fell into coma due to Morganna and obtained peace in The World.

The third candidate is…

Balmung of the Azure SkyBalmung of the Azure Sky. Recognized by his angelic wings, a super rare item obtained by Balmung during .hack//A.I. Buster, Balmung had been an important character in many of the .hack installments. A highly respected player during the early days of The World and .hack//SIGN, an invaluable ally and member of the .hackers and a system administrator during the events of Legend of the Twilight Bracelet/DUSK. Balmung’s role lasted a longer time compared to the other main characters and contributed significantly each time.

And finally, the uber mysterious Queen of the Dark….

Helba Queen of the Dark If there is any other character that has a greater span of influence and experience than Balmung, it is the leader of the hackers (no “.” in this group of hackers :)) who takes her name from the Queen of the Dark in the Epitaph of Twilight… Helba. She had helped many of the main characters time and time again, not only in-game, but in the real world as well. As shown during the events of Liminality, Helba’s influence is not restricted within just The World itself. The creator of the Net Slum and generally a “know-it-all”, Helba is without a doubt a key player in the .hack series whether directly or indirectly, and often provides crucial information that allowed the main cast to triumph in their quest. There are also speculations that Helba is currently still playing The World, in the guise of Zelkova, the leader of the Moon Tree guild.

Haseo, Yata (aka Wiseman) and Ovan might also play crucial roles in the .hack storyline, but until the final G.U. game is released, we can only speculate. Therefore, I did not consider them for this.

In my opinion, all four candidates above each play key roles in The World, and the biggest is most likely Kite. However, I do not think that he is the true hero for The World. Who do I think is worthy of that title, then, if not Kite?

It is Tsukasa, the one who started the ball rolling. By deciding that she would no longer run away, Tsukasa allowed Aura to awaken, which triggered the events that would make Kite a hero.

Balmung’s role in Aura’s awakening was too minor, and although Helba aided the group to discovering the truth about Tsukasa, it was ultimately her own decision to do what she did. True, Subaru had a role to play in that, but Helba was nowhere near to influencing Subaru as well. Even the events of G.U. can easily be linked back to the moment Tsukasa awakened Aura, which lead to the release of the 8 phases by Morganna.

And that is why I believe Tsukasa is the true hero of not only The World, but the .hack series itself.

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Tagged: My Gaming Wish

Posted by Neko Kyou in Thoughts on July 2nd, 2007

A reply to Dyna-Storm’s tag post, “Your 1 Gaming Wish”. Now, incidentally, my 1 gaming wish happens to be related to anime, which makes it a perfect post for this blog :)

My 1 gaming wish is – for “The World” to be a reality. If you don’t know what it is, “The World” is actually a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that exist in the .hack story lines. The entire .hack series revolves around this MMORPG, which makes use of virtual reality goggles that allows players to fully immerse themselves in the fantasy world setting of the game.

The World R:1 and The World R:2 Login Screen

The World R:1 and The World R:2 Login Screens

In fact, it was the .hack series (or to be more precise, the .hack//Legend of Twilight Bracelet and .hack//SIGN anime) that turned me into a MMORPG lover, especially Ragnarok Online, which I previously disliked. I loved role playing games since I was little, from traditional pen & paper RPGs to favourites like Final Fantasy. However, I didn’t really enjoyed MMORPGs as much until I was exposed to .hack a few years ago.

The main reason why I wished “The World” would become a reality is probably due to these of visors that allows players to have a full 360 degrees view of the in-game world that boasts awesome graphics and sound system.

Legendary Party .hackers

It also helps that the game is full of quests and special events, especially while Balmung was an Administrator with CC Corps. If I had a choice of which timeline I would like to enjoy “The World” in, it would have to be during the .hack//Legend of Twilight Bracelet arc, where Shugo and Rena had their fun with Mireille (Mistral’s daughter), Ouka the Invincible Fist, Hotaru and of course, Administrator Balmung.

The manga version of this series was the first time I had been exposed to the .hack universe, followed by.hack//SIGN and the .hack PS2 games with Kite as the main character.

.hack//ROOTS

I’ve been a fan of the .hack franchise ever since then and even until the most recent .hack//ROOTS and the .hack//G.U. series featuring Haseo, the Terror of Death. “The World” continued to leave me enchanted, hoping that someday soon, we will be able to play a game in the very same way that the .hack characters are playing their beloved “The World”.

I now tag anyone who reads this, just make a post about your one gaming wish and link back to the person who tags you (in this case, that’s me :D)

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