.hack//Roots 13: Watching Paint Dry

The weeks come and go, but Roots remains a static, never changing universe- at least until today, when something happened. That’s not to say that what happened was particularly interesting and unexpected, in fact, it’s what we’d all been expecting ever since we first learned of the existence of this anime. Yes, today was the day that Shino got Data Drained. To celebrate this momentous occasion, I will be exploring a new angle on the series- the daytime TV angst arc.

.hack//soap opera
With Ovan out of the way, Haseo is quick to move in on Shino during her emotionally vulnerable phase, and the two are soon spending every waking moment together; Shino even gives Haseo her phone and tells him to call her any time.

Meanwhile, having left the commune, Sakisaka and Tabby find themselves penniless and on the streets until on Tabby’s suggestion, they apply for a council house guild and move in together. Unfortunately, their happiness proves to be short-lived when Sakisaka brings home his half-grunty lovechild, causing Tabby to throw him out and start living there with her own grunty offspring (find out who the father is on the next Jeremy Kyle show).





Grunty-love proved to be the undoing of Sakisaka and Tabby’s relationship

Elsewhere, Haseo decides to toughen up a bit so that he can become a man worthy of Shino’s love, but the moment he leaves her alone, she sneaks off for a rendezvous with the estate’s World:r2’s bad man, Tri-Edge. A man of few (or rather no) words, Tri-Edge assaults Shino and leaves her for dead.

After finding out where Shino has gone, Haseo rushes to his beloved’s side, but can do little except hold her as she passes from this world. Meanwhile, with Sakisaka out of the picture, Tabby finally realises that she is gay and declares Haseo a rival for Shino’s love, little realising that her beloved is already gone.

Next time: What sort of trouble will be stirred up when old gang leader Ovan returns to the estate with his upgraded oven (now features grill mode)?

Character ‘Development’, back by popular demand [1]

Yata and Pai: In the spirit of Fei Wong and his carer, the new look Naobi and Ender have taken to lurking in a secluded area and watching The World on magic CCTV screens. Oddly, Ovan has escaped their clutches in unexplained circumstances.


“What do you think of these sunglasses, Pai? I borrowed them from Ovan.”

Sakisaka: The World:r2 is old news in Sakisaka’s neighbourhood; even the creation of a new guild fails to spark his interest after his friends invite him to cancel his subscription to The World and join them in a new game. Given the amount of fabric in his costume, the new game will no doubt be a cheaper option.

Tabby: Poor Tabby; with Sakisaka heading off into the great offline, she seems set to be as alone in The World as in the real world. Her only hope is that her beloved Shino might finally notice her as more than a furry background character, but now even that possibility is dashed.

Shino: In the band arc, Shino’s tragically unsuccessful solo career is cut short by a drug overdose of ‘Tri-Edge’, leaving only the rather glaring question of why he bothered to Data Drain her in the first place, other than to give Haseo an excuse to become PKK King of angst in the games.

This is the point where I have to digress a little; based on what I’ve read of the GU+ manga and game synopsis, I got the impression that Haseo and Shino had become good friends in real life before the whole Data Drain incident, but as it turns out, it was only in this episode that Haseo learned her phone number. There have been twelve episodes prior to this one, which should be ample time to develop a proper relationship between characters, but instead we’ve been stuck with a bland and uninteresting pair of characters who suddenly should be classed as ‘best friends’ now that one of them is in a coma.

Haseo: When we first met him he was a puny newbie who had just been PK’ed; today he meets the players that killed him and beats them up instead, in a set of action scenes so awful that I’m not sure if I should be annoyed or outright impressed that Bee Train have unsurpassed skill in conveying action whilst never depicting it outright on screen. I also have to wonder how Haseo has levelled up so much when his game experience consists of about two short dungeons and an excess of time spent chatting in the Root Town.

Phyllo: Come wind or snow, rain or shine (not that the weather ever changes in The World), Phyllo will be floating by the Root Town ready to dispense advice to any named character that stops by. Is he an official counsellor employed by CC Corp, the trapped spirit of the old man that loved RPGs in Shinigami no Ballad, or just a rich person with too much time on his hands?

Tri-Edge: I like Tri-Edge; in fact, he may just be my favourite Roots character for one simple reason- he’s a man of action. He doesn’t waste time standing around and chatting like the rest of the cast; he just goes out there, gets the job done, and returns to wherever it is that he occupies when he’s not out Data-Draining. Sure, he’s got no personality to speak of, but he looks entirely pissed off with this whole Roots farce- something I can identify with.

[1] May or may not have been any actual demand

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