Every week, I swear that I’ve written all I need to on Roots; that next week I won’t have anything more to say, and yet every week, I cannot help myself, even if it means having over 20 documents of complaints by the end (assuming I survive that long).
It was at this point that I was going to write, and had indeed partially written, a stream of effusive praise about my love of the original .hack games. On reflection, however, that seems better suited to a separate document to be released at some future date, and so I will just relate the conclusion, which is this- I have an inordinate, some might say even fangirlish love of ‘first generation’ .hack, and this only enhances my disappointment in Roots.
Episode nine offers us our first glimpse of Tri-Edge, or as the manga calls him, “Kite of the Azure Flame” (and so the secret behind my blog’s name is revealed). I prefer to think of him as a pissed-off version of Kite, one who left the franchise in pretty good shape, was a bit displeased with but overall quite forgiving of Twilight, and lost the will to live after seeing the ugliness The World:r2 had to offer.
Anyway, since Tri-Edge was just a bit of encouragement for any viewers who were flagging by this point, he’s quickly sent backstage again so that precious screen time can be devoted to our fast-paced rollercoaster ride of a story. Yes, the final of the cooking competition is upon us, and that can only mean one thing- Ovan is about to prepare his speciality, seven spice stew.
Unfortunately, Ovan doesn’t actually have all of the required spices virus cores just yet, but everyone’s really desperate to get out of the Guild and stretch their legs anyway, so the entire combined forces of the mighty Twilight Brigade (membership: five) head out to a field to stand around, and, in a shocking turn of events, participate in a few battles.
Now, at this point, you may feel inclined to get excited, or at the very least adopt a cautious optimism, so I must immediately warn you not to do so. You see, the servers of The World:r2 are, as I’ve already mentioned, rather delicate and temperamental beasts, and anything too strenuous could easily crash the whole system. To that end, battle must be carried out in the most simplistic manner possible, involving all the money-saving tricks that the Tokyo Underground staff were happy to share. Stills, simplistic movements against flowing backgrounds, or slashes and waves with some hastily added CG are the order of the day, with the most important events occurring off screen.
In the old days, battle in .hack was straightforward; there were six character classes, which admittedly sometimes felt like too few, but at least they made sense. Twin Blades carried two blades, Heavy Axemen carried axes, and the biggest leap you had to make was realising that Wave was pretty much the equivalent of elemental magic. These days, we have all kinds of new classes such as Steam Gunner, Dance Macabre and Harvest, and it seems to be pretty much left to us to figure out what they all mean. Harvest, for example, seems to be the new name for Wavemasters, and you just have to wonder- why replace a perfectly good term with one that has little meaning in this context?
And then we come to Multiweapons, the new class introduced just to ensure that players of GU aren’t stuck as Twin Blades all the time (not that I personally minded playing as Kite). However, this makes me wonder- surely a class that lets you use all weapon types is superior to one that limits you to a single type? And, assuming that you don’t take too much of a hit in stats for being ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, why is such a little used character class when it sounds so useful? The whole thing smacks of gimmick.
Poor Ovan, he’s been lugging that oven around for weeks and it doesn’t even seem to have any purpose in battle. Instead, as a steam gunner, he gets to wield a firearm in his other hand, although this does hold some measure of satisfaction when Ender finds herself on the receiving end of his still, er, attack.
The legendary black Multiweapon, or so the BBS said in episode three…so far we haven’t seen him use anything other than his twin blades. He’s the main character so I really should have more to say about him, but as it stands, there isn’t anything to add.
Shino and Tabby
They seemed to be getting owned in the battle against Ender’s party, but then Shino was able to pull out the “Plot Necessity” special attack and suddenly defeat the nameless fuglies.
Ender and the Fuglies
Thankfully, not a new band, but rather Ender and her team of hooded Twin Blades. Since Fat Guy has been cut out of the loop, Ender is now Naobi’s right hand fugly, however during their conversations, she always seems to be fingering her knife behind her back. Is it just a ‘character trait’, or does she plan to betray Naobi at some point? It barely matters, all viewers want is for her to be removed from our screens as soon as possible.
Fat Guy and Sakisaka
The two of them had to face off for the final spice, and whilst Fat Guy looked to a member of the Sumo class, he actually seems to be a book-type mage (obviously taking his lead from the HxH Greed Island OVAs). His greatest moments occur offscreen, however, and as his power is to get the plot moving, he must also be bound by its necessities.
End of the cooking arc
And so, as the episode draws to a close, Ovan manages to cook his stew successfully and step into a new arc. Conveniently, enough, Ender’s team manage to step through also, whilst Naobi somehow manages to get there ahead of anyone without once picking up a saucepan.
Next time: the band arc; a musical showdown between the Twilight Brigade and TaN begins!