.hack//Roots episode 7, now with added Online Jack

Given how little happens in any given episode of Roots, it seems almost inconceivable that I could find enough material to write a whole new rant a scant week after I created the last. And yet, whilst I was alternately watching and falling asleep during the seventh instalment of .hack//Roots, I decided that if anything needed to be slated, it was this.

Following the ‘worst action scene ever’ that concluded episode six, this week brings us back to what .hack does best- namely, sitting and talking. Be it Twilight Brigade members, TaN’s fugly representatives, or just miscellaneous characters that no one really cares about, all of them have signed up for an online game just for the pleasure of remaining stationary and discussing their various plans.

This time around, said plans revolve around a staple of the old version of The World- virus cores. Veterans of the first game series will recall that virus cores were needed to let you into various areas as and when the plot dictated, and generally make the fourth game take longer than it otherwise would have. These days, finding virus cores in the Lost Grounds is all the rage, provided one does it in the usual ‘slow and steady’ .hack way. It takes the entire episode just to set current mission from “aimlessly talk” to “talk about finding virus cores”, and if anyone’s expecting some daring and action packed quests to acquire these rare items, I suggest you take a strong, sharp dose of reality.

Last time, I mentioned my disappointment at the series’ background music, and yet I feel I must touch on this point again. The same Ali Project that put Avenger into my top ten anime OSTs seem to have taken a backward step here- when I hear music that reminds me of the irritating Treno bgm in Final Fantasy 9, I know that something is terribly wrong.

All that aside, however, I have discovered a way to breathe new life into this franchise- all based on my observation that Ovan has some kind of oven on his arm. This series isn’t about the Key of the Twilight or glitches in The World:r2 at all, but about Ovan’s quest to cook the perfect rice dish in his arm. The virus cores are in fact the small vials of sauces and seasonings that he will require to flavour the rice; whilst Naobi’s plan to lure Ovan out will surely involve telling him that TaN have stolen the salt.

Next week: “Starting”- surely the plot can’t be starting yet! We’re only eight episodes in!

Bonus rant: .hack//Online Jack part 1
Not, as you might suspect, some sort of internet-based blackjack game, but rather the 4 minute OVA that came packaged with the first .hack//GU game. I can’t say I know what the point of it all was, only that the eponymous Jack, a man of unfortunate appearance and instantly detestable personality, went around interviewing people about online gaming. It is tempting to laugh at how awful it was; only most of it was too dire to even laugh at. Worst yet, there are two more (hopefully short) instalments to come.

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