Posted by psgels on 15 August 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

So, the new .Hack Movie: how did it turn out? Well, you can see this as the spiritual sequel to .Hack//Quantum. It’s got a similar kind of set-up, it’s got a similar main character and its story progression is kindof similar. It’s just slower-paced and more epic.

But yeah, for those who are unfamiliar to the franchise: take Sword Art Online, and instead of putting the focus on combat, you put the focus on adventure and social interaction. Where Sword Art Online has a lot of shounen elements, .Hack on the other hand has more shoujo-esque elements in it, although it does tend to blur the lines between the genres more often. Of the .Hack franchise, I really recomend.Hack//Sign, which has been among my favorite series for eight years now. This movie simplifies a lot of the setting, but it has its merits.

Here is the thing with this movie: don’t expect anything from the plot. You’ve seen this story before, especially if you’re familiar with any other .Hack installment. All you need to know is that the story is epic, the protagonist is an average teenaged girl and that it has romance, and you can pretty much fill in how it’s going to progress on your own. Where this movie delivers instead is with its atmosphere.

The plot is simple, yet the movie clocks in at an hour and 50 minutes. That time is used to make everything play out very slowly. Because of this, it does a proper introduction of the characters, it does the development and the progression believably, the acting is down to earth and credible and the build-up all gets used well in the climax and it closes off satisfyingly. It’s also helped by a composer who obviously is a big fan of Yuki Kajiura, yet manages to keep her own influences.

So yeah, it’s not a movie that people are going to talk about for long, because there’s not much to say about that hasn’t been said in other .Hack anime, but what it does, it does well. It’s also completely done in CG, but this is handled well: in the virtual world this makes sense, and the characters manage to avoid the “botox”-face syndrome decently. It’s in any case better than the other CG .Hack Movie (Trilogy) which was heavily over-acted.

Storytelling: 8,5/10 – The pacing is slow, but skillful and the build-up is good.
Characters: 8/10 – Well acted and engaging characters.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty good CG, and an impressive soundtrack.
Setting: 7.5/10 – It’s the .Hack franchise well portrayed, but it doesn’t really add something new to it.

Suggestions:
– .Hack//Sign
– .Hack//Quantum
Digimon Movie 2 – Bokura no War Game

3 Responses

  1. Juno says:

    Bought the release and watched it a few weeks ago when it came in the mail. I agree COMPLETELY with your review. Usually I have a few gripes, but here, you said everything I say about it. The plot seems to take concepts from the previous installments so it can just… do it again. Except this time, I feel it was far more simplified and cliche.

    Yet I still enjoyed it. I had put too much expectation into an epic ending plot… so I was consciously aware of my own disappointment in that regard… but when it ended, I was upset that there wasn’t any more. The characters did lack in anything spectacularly motivational for me, but just the way they acted came out as really unique and special in the world of “anime.” Sora was… genuinely adorable.

    And the in-game graphics and movement were so Disney-Pixar-esk that I kinda… laughed a lot. It was just a lot of fun to watch, if only for the eye candy. 3D gimmicks haven’t captured my heart outside of the Nintendo 3DS, but this BluRay has an option for 3DTV’s to play in 3D… and after seeing it in 2D, I feel like watching it in 3D would just make my heart explode in joy and wonder…

    For anyone interested in the physical release, especially if they want the game… I’d say to give it up. .hack//Versus is pretty much like the Naruto Storm games (which are far more than just random cash cow games surviving due to the franchise title–they’re good, and have a really well-worked out gameplay system)… Except .hack//Versus loses the speed, variety of moves, huge roster, and the balance of the characters, so it just ends up getting old really fast. Especially when there are only a handful of playable characters and the moves can be dangerously cheap to spam–especially since there is no real reason to play any other way, due to the lack of variety. No story mode with an actual story, either. Just a series of battles… :/

    At least the other bonus stuff is cool. It just might not constitute the full price for the limited edition that I got. The movie was the only thing really worth it. =P

  2. DangerMouse says:

    Excellent, totally looking forward to seeing this. :)

  3. hoiut says:

    This is the first and only thing I’ve watched in the .Hack franchise, and I have to say I’m impressed. This was certainly a feast for the eyes. The characters are fleshed out and developed extraordinarily well.

    My gripe (like most people’s) is with the climax — how all of that development isn’t quite used to its fullest potential with the somewhat generic “mystical girl” conclusion.

    Plus, for all the subtle and patient build-up between Sora and Tanaka, the viewer never actually gets to see how/when they “hook up.” The subtle implication at the very end is really the extent of it, which is a shame — I really enjoyed seeing their chemistry building!

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.

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