For the last few weeks, I’ve tried to spice up the dull monotony of .hack//Roots by resorting to cooking and band parodies, but this time around only a more ‘classic’ rant format will do the episode justice. Yes, the unthinkable has happened- .hack//Roots has somehow become even more boring.
Be it misplaced optimism or a vaguely interesting screencap from the raw version, for some reason, I was expecting something to happen in this episode. Of course, that was not to be- if there’s one constant in this universe more fundamental than all the rest, it’s that nothing ever happens in Roots; the series is mired in endless scenes in which the characters pick either the Root Town or the game’s single grassy field to chat to each other about nothing in particular. With Tawaraya, the one man with the bulk to drive the plot forward, having already had his account suspended, little of import can happen until the inevitable day when Tri-Edge Data Drains Shino and Haseo takes up his throne as King of Angst.
Naobi: The furry lord is gone and in his place Naobi’s controller is now using GU’s Yata instead. Since monthly subscription fees are directly proportional to the amount of fabric worn by the player’s avatar, this means he’ll be making a substantial saving but there’s little chance his new, bulkier form will exhibit the Tawaraya effect on the plot.
Ender: If there’s one thing we all wanted, it was never to have to gaze upon Ender’s tanned, scantily clad form again, but what we also wanted was to see her get thoroughly owned and possibly even Data Drained by Tri-Edge. Unfortunately, it was not to be, for Ender has taken a square inch of red fabric and used it to make a costume for her new avatar, Pai. From a distance, Pai doesn’t look too bad, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that she is actually wearing some kind of string bikini, possibly raided from Rikku’s FFX-2 wardrobe. It is also rather disheartening to realise that a prominent playable character in GU had such ignominious origins (that is, assuming that she isn’t just a look-alike in the manner of Elk/Tsukasa, Bear/Orca, Shino/Atoli and BlackRose/Mimiru).
Ovan: Poor Ovan has been trapped in Naobi’s secret lair of evil for a while now, enduring the best laser show that his captor has to offer. As it turns out, the worst is yet to come as this week, Ovan’s defining feature, his arm oven, is cruelly ripped from him. It’s hard to care too much, however, after all he does appear as “The Rebirth” in the game (complete with oven), so obviously the damage isn’t going to be too lasting.
Shino: There was a time when I quite liked Shino, but over the past couple of weeks, she has become that most despised of character types; a woman incapable of acting at all when her man isn’t around. Thus it is that Shino spends most of her time hugging her knees and playing with her grunty food plant, until finally she decides to reinvent herself with a new black costume and disband the Twilight Brigade several days after pretty much everyone had decided to leave anyway.
Haseo: Poor Haseo, week after week goes by and it’s still hard to scrape together two sentences about him. The Brigade he took so long to think about joining is gone, and so he decides to follow his heart and tag along after Shino.
Sakisaka: In the band arc, poor Sakisaka had it tough; Ovan smashed his drumkit, and even his bass career was cut short by Naobi’s unthinking hatred of all stringed instruments. Finally, he decides to walk away and strike out on his own, although Tabby soon appoints herself as his furry follower.
Tabby: At first, I wasn’t too bothered by Tabby’s character design, but now her pink furry parts seem bizarre and out of place. Her job: to tag along with Sakisaka until one or both of them drops out of the storyline.
Gourd: Gourd’s gourd career is over, and thus he has quit The World:r2 and the music industry. Perhaps he would have been better served appearing in the Air summer special, which briefly featured gourds.
B-set: Consider her either a rival for Ovan’s love or a lesbian desperate to win Shino’s heart (or failing that, Tabby’s), either way, her return to the Twilight Brigade’s @home signals their demise rather than any kind of triumphant return.
Phyllo: As Sydney Bristow once said in Alias, “Fake-quitting seems to be all the rage”, and if we remove the ‘fake’, that seems to hold true for Roots these days as well. As Phyllo himself says, however, he has no attention of ending his ever fascinating days floating around the Root Town’s bridge; in fact, I suspect that he will be there long after everyone else has gone home and switched the lights off.
I haven’t forgotten: ‘amusing’ captions
Ovan considers including a laser show in his next live performance
Even grunty foods:r2 are inferior- they don’t even say their own names
The remaining band members are unimpressed by Sakisaka’s demonstration of his tambourine technique
Shino adopts a new look for her solo career