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.
The 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.
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 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….
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.