I caught this show on Cartoon Networks new Saturday Night lineup. I missed it the first time it was shown on Saturday afternoon some weeks ago, and gave it a shot.

So far, I’m sold on it, having already been exposed to Captain N in my younger years and being familliar with the ‘guy trapped in game’ premise.

If you’re not familliar with the show, basically ‘the World’ (EverQuest without calling it EverQuest) is a popular Online RPG. People create their characters, log on to servers, and try to accomplish goals, gain levels or even Player-Kill.
Possible Spoiler Info…

Tsukasa, a young man, wakes up in a cave on one of the servers not knowing how he got there. Keep in mind the player doesn’t just log on and find his character sleeping in a cave, he is the one sleeping in the cave. His personality has been transferred into a game character, and apparently an illegally created one at that. Everything gets really interesting when the Scarlett Knights (system moderators) start hunting for the illegal character and Tsukasa begins uncovering a strange prophecy that provides him with an unbeatable guardian that easily defeats his enemies without command. To make things more interesting, the damage he does to an online character also sems to affect the actual player in the real world.

Tsukasa is completely locked in the game and cannot log out at all. In fact, he impresses some with his ability to jump from server to server without logging out. He feels pain and has all of his senses, so the world just became more dangerous.

I have to admit that I am hooked on this show and will probably check out the novels and manga on this series. I did some research and this thing branches off more than I realized.

Anyone else familliar with this series?

Yeah, I’ve seen the whole thing and though there is a lot of narrative in the first 10 episodes, the action and interest really picks up around episode 13 or so.

It should be noted that there is a .hack//SIGN game for the PS2 that is probably directly related to the anime series. Like a story continuation or something, I’m sure someone else on the board knows.

The PS2 game is scheduled to have 3 sequels slotted to come out every three months. The original premiered in February. It has been getting some monstrous good reviews but only has about 30 hours of gameplay to it. I thought it was based off the cartoon but haven’t played it.

There’s also at least one novel set in the same universe (a prequel to the cartoon, in this case).

The show does look interesting; I stumbled onto it when I was channel surfing Saturday night, and for once I stumbled onto a show during the first episode, so I think I’m going to try and watch the whole thing.

The PS2 game includes a DVD with a 45-minute anime “The Case of Mai Minase.” It’s basically another episode in the same “universe,” this time about another player who is sent into a coma after playing the game. I prefer that one episode than any of the .hack//SIGN episodes I’ve seen so far on Cartoon Network; stuff actually happens, instead of just having characters wander around repeating themselves as if the creators of the series were stalling for time.

As for the game itself, I don’t know. It’s a neat set-up, and it’s presented pretty well, but the game itself is just ugly, IMO.

I noticed the DVD with the .hack//INFECTION game. It’s the .hack//LUMINALITY OVA. I’ve heard some good things about the OVA, so I’ll probably grab Part 1 in a week or so.

As for the video game, IGN gave it a 8.5 out of 10 in its review, citing choppy camera work. But the review seems to indicate the game does an excellent job of making you believe you’re playing an online game. Which you’re not.

I went to B&N today, but they had no record of any of the .hack novels. I don’t know if they carry them, or what, but I’ll be checking their website tonight.

Actually, now that I’ve done a bit more investigating I think I may have lead you astray. The title of the book was supposed to be “.hack//AI Buster”, but now I think that might in fact be a manga, probably not translated into English yet. My apologies.

Actually, according to .hack//SIGN DeFragmented there is both a novel and a manga. At least, that’s if I read it correctly…I can be rediculously loopy sometimes.

But I’ve been reading through some info on the series and it seems like I’ve got a new Anime habit: Something I haven’t had since I completed my Escaflowne collection.

This also means I’ll have to pull out my VCR again and start recording on Saturday nights. Just when I thought I could put that damn thing away…damn you Cartoon Network! Damn you for showing quality shows instead of more Scooby Doo reruns!