Posted by psgels on 7 October 2006 with categories: .Hack//Roots, Anime Reviews


.Hack//Roots is an incredibly difficult anime to review, as this anime is a combination of an interesting view with a trainwreck. It’s got so many good points but at the same time, it’s got just as many, if not even more, bad points. It uses the same setting we’ve known from series as .Hack//Sign and .Hack//Dusk: everything in the series happens in an MMORPG, or Massive Multiplayer Online RPG. It doesn’t belong to any specific genre. If I had to put it in a category, it would be around the mystery-dramas, though that isn’t the most accurate description. This anime is closely related to a game, .Hack//GU.

First of all, let me warn you. If you plan to watch the series, without playing the game, don’t. That’s what I did, and you can’t imagine how many unexplainable events happened. Characters aren’t fleshed out enough, things just happen without any reason for this being given, you miss out on a LOT of character background and the ending leaves SO many questions unanswered that it would make even Narutaru jealous.

Another big problem with this series is that at times, it doesn’t seem to realize that it’s in an MMORPG. .Hack//Sign solved this well, by occasionally showing a mysterious scene about the person behind the computer, but don’t expect to see any of these in .Hack//Roots. The characters move way too much like normal people, instead of computer-graphics. Some even go emo, and instead of relieving their stress on some unfortunate object in the real world, they do this in the virtual world.

The third point actually is a nasty side-effect of the first bad point: some of the character are just so incredibly unlikable. Because their background has been left out, some characters now are a bunch of paper bags. Others, who did have a bit of fleshing out also were incredibly annoying to watch at times. Our main character, Haseo, for example. He just roams around The World like a big gorilla for ten episodes until something changes. Another very cool guy also changes into an incredibly plain one.

Okay, enough bad points. Now the good ones. While some characters are horrible, other ones work out greatly. Haseo, for example, when he’s not in gorilla-mode. And there are a few more of these gems which are very interesting to watch. Around the halfway-mark of the anime, people actually start quitting the game, giving extra depth to the characters who remained. The final three episodes, also, manage to actually recover from the trainwreck that the previous episodes set, and actually deliver some very strong final episodes. If you ignore the frighteningly huge amount of open ends it left.

This show also excels in the visual and sound department. It probably contained, along with Good Witch of the West and The Third the best graphics of all the shows who aired in the spring-season, and the soundtrack is nothing short from memorable. The background music is also one of the things that managed to bring .Hack//Roots back on track when the final episodes started.

13 Responses

  1. Kaitsu says:

    Yes, dear god yes, if you’re going to watch the anime without playing the game afterwards, it’s just a ginormous waste of time, because you WILL NOT get anywhere in the end. Also, I get your point that it does forget the fact that it is only a game, though like they say throughout the series, “Can you call it ‘only’?” In doind what you said, it’s proving a point. The point being that even though it’s a game, it could be just as important as life, or even intertwine with it, which Sign didn’t nessesarily do as much as this series. Also another comment to you, if you have a PS2 and some spare money, and are even the slightest bit of a gamer, you really should buy the games and play them. All your loose ends wil be tied up and you’ll experience some great gameplay :D

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Yeah, that’s my major problem. I don’t have a ps2. :P

  3. aquagon says:

    Well, I just have finished watching this and I ended liking it a lot, except for some events in the final episodes that are a bit different from the games (I have played to the half of Vol 1 of GU and I dind`t had problem with loose ties) but I ended liking how it ended (specially with the “dwindled bible“ melody playing in the background, man why I thought that that BGM would be the perfect closing for this anime and the perfect start for the .hack//GU games?)

  4. BigBoss says:

    man..have you played .hack //GU before watch the serie ??
    difficult to understand…c´mon!

    ITS A PRECUEL !! IF YOU DONT PLAY GU ,YOU CANT UNDERSTAND WELL ROOTS !!!
    well…thats all ,but dont say its a hard-to-understand anime because,if you play at least GU vol 2 you can undertand EVERYTHING
    no more…

  5. Anime fan says:

    I never played any .//hack games, so this anime sucked big time for me. It was very boring, I kept watching it in hope it would get better, but then it ended without really revealing anything.

    The main characters only talk all the time, you’d think MMORPG games were like that…

  6. herbata says:

    well I would say that Hack Gu Trilogy Movie turned out to be a decent ending for the roots

  7. Tan-Tan says:

    (some spoilers)

    I loved the anime. Just finished it. I’m halfway through only .hack Infection game, very first in the plotline, and now I’m thinking of playing GU fast xD

    I loled at how you defined Haseo in gorilla-mode. Well, gorilla mode is better compared to Sora in hack sign. He’s very interesting and I often wondered what exactly he was thinking. This is what kept me watching so close, until ep20+ where I sometimes skipped scenes, especially relating to Tabby.

    Tabby is another who I often thought of. It only crossed to me that she may like Haseo when the brigade was about to disband, but I wasn’t still sure of it. I mean, I didn’t really see WHY she’d like him.

    The fact that most characters did nothing when Haseo was in gorilla mode was one great act I commend. It’s frustrating, but like they repeatedly said: Haseo won’t listen, they can’t do anything. They in fact did something. They tried violence many times and a lot of blabbering, but nothing happens. I think it’s not right to criticize something because we deem it should be or shouldn’t be, but analyze the circumstances and what it wants to say to us.

    It’s also reality that no matter how often people are told of what they should do and that they should act now, nothing will happen until they realize so themselves. Most things don’t move instantly until the moment comes, because the world doesn’t revolve around a single person.

    Anyhow, I completely agree that the anime doesn’t show it’s an MMORPG. I WTF at some scenes, like Yata’s homebase spaceship >> I mean, WTF how can you make computers inside a computer-generated reality…I thought many times: this show is better if it were a true fantasy setting, but it’d lose elements, of course.

    The biggest ??? I have when the series ended were the two figures with Azure Kite. I was like…WHAT?!?!

  8. Hana says:

    I’m halfway through watching this series. I only watched it because Haseo was Sora from .Hack//Sign (although he doesn’t remember). Sora was a very interesting character so I was eager to watch this series. I’ve never watched any other .Hack series besides Sign and never played the games. So I’m always confused and barely any background information is given on the characters. I’m thinking of quitting the show entirely.

  9. John says:

    This franchise has been steadily downhill since //SIGN
    A trend that is pretty weak to say the least. It’s the animation teams work that is supposed to bring everything together without the need for having to buy games for this crap.

    The characters were weak, the storyline was weak. I had heard a lot of good things about the .hack series and lets just say I was disappointed. It seems that the makers of this story don’t give a crap about what people think because between all of the OVA’s and these two weak ass seasons that leave a billion questions that never get answered.

    I get that a lot of the information is from a game, but there have been some incredibly great game translations from system to screen that let the viewer know what the %#@^ is going on. Look at Fate/Stay Night. Great transfer over.

    The .hack series is lame, the only thing I liked about it were the background art scenes. Aside from that, the whole series gets 2/5 stars from me. It might have made 3 if I hadn’t watched Roots.

  10. momo says:

    OMFG DISSAPOINTED!
    I have not played GU but I HAVE to now otherwise I will never understand the brand new COMPLETE 6 disk set I JUST bought and watched religiously within a week GRRR!

  11. Sakubo says:

    oh for the love of god,do you even know about hack?!you don’t know anything about poor Haseo(seriously),and to tan-tan(or whatever),you don’t need to say WHAT,’cause Azure Kite does hunt down AIDA and bugs,so it’s normal for AIs to come out and hunt them…(ex:Ovan),or, read manga~~~(how obvious)Atoli’s cute/kind,Zelkova’s…umm…cute(kinda)and there’s Kazumi~ still I’ll give roots 3/5,because of TaN and the anime style design(i don’t know~)and even though I love .hack,but I really think they can do better…but I like the world R:2,the graphics are nice,the music(ending theme and music:God Diva)are nice.

  12. Angel says:

    This show dragged on soooooo much after around 8 episodes when they try to find Ovan or whatever his name is. I ended up skipping through each part just to get to the actual show.

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:46 AM)
    Wait, wait scratch that, that was an old article/rumour…feck…
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 11:39 AM)
    @Bam: I was quite fond of Gillian Andersons character.
    Apparently Laurence Fishburne wants to quit the show =<
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:44 AM)
    I really enjoyed Alana Bloom’s shadow transformation during the season two hypnotherapy sessions. I thought was visually stunning and thematically relevant. Bryan Fuller has managed to gather quite a bit of talent around himself in the recent years, but Mads is undeniably both the egg that holds this cake together as well the cherry that’s sitting on the top.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:37 AM)
    Word of mouth and good reception managed to raise the viewership near the tail end of the 2nd season, that and the aforementioned cosponsorship managed to pull a hallelujah and bring the show back from the verge of death. And I’m glad tha happened.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:32 AM)
    I also always felt that their screen chemistry was mesmerizing and am very surprised that some critics found that it was lacking in that very same department, but to each his own I guess. The budget is not all that low actually, and the reason the 3rd season was greenlit was in part due to a dedicated fanbase, as well as the fact that this is a joint effort between NBC and a European studio who undertakes portions of the expenses.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:08 AM)
    There is this…certain chemistry between Dancy and Mikelson in that show too.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 10:01 AM)
    *their
    As much as I love the inventiveness and creativity of the death/crime scenes I can see how someone would find them silly.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:54 AM)
    @Bam: I had heard there were alot of cancellation risks but that there series was cheap to make, if its true the budget is low, then they’ve worked around it effectively.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:27 AM)
    But everyone knows that this is Mads Mikkelsen’s show, and it’s really his magnetic charm and the series’ strong cinematography that sells the experience. I also think that the special effects are very well handled, and the whole show has a seriously disturbing edge while still managing to stay classy. Quite sophisticated if nothing else.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 28. 2015 09:22 AM)
    @Emma: I’ve been steadily enjoying Hannibal and am thrilled for the third season. A lot of people had a problem with Hugh Dancy as Graham since they believe that he doesn’t fit the novels or the earlier adaptations, but I take this show as as a whole new reimagining of the story so I don’t particularly mind him, and I do think that he’s mania is quite palpable.

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