.hack//Roots 14: the end of the line

Don’t be too concerned about the tone of this rant, I will be posting screencap-based parodies of episodes 15+ from tomorrow.

So, the time has finally come; I’ve had enough, I’m throwing in the towel. No, I’m not about to stop writing rants, but I have made the long overdue decision to stop subjecting myself to the tiresome and monotonous borefest that goes by the name of .hack//Roots. The good news for the show’s three English-speaking fans is that Roots is now licensed for US distribution; the bad news for Bandai is that I won’t be buying it.

In the days before this miserable series spread unhappiness all around, I was pleased to count myself amongst the ranks of .hack fans. Objectively, I could see that the franchise was not without its flaws, but nonetheless when it came to .hack, I had been there, done that and bought the plush grunty. Were it not for this simple fact, I would have had the sense to drop Roots long ago, instead of letting things drag on this long.

This week, as little happens as ever, and Bee Train no longer even seem to care about animating the series. Panning over stills is up 50%, and even scenes which are supposed to contain characters are zoomed out so far that they appear as poorly detailed shapes. Not that I should complain too much, as close up the cast are hardly pleasing on the eye.

The latest instalment begins with a dejected Tabby sitting in an abandoned S&M shop, clearly upset that she has been deprived of enjoying any lesbian action with her beloved Shino. Nonetheless, after a consultation with Phyllo, she announces her intention to keep playing, since clearly paying to mope around an online game is better than anything else she might have lined up.


“Shino, I wanted to call you Master just once”

Continuing in their Fei Wong and helper roles, Yata and Pai are now using their subscription fees to watch Haseo et al on magic CCTV. This must surely be more boring than even Fei Wong’s Syaoran TV, especially as Haseo now appears to be stoned most of the time.


“Hey, Fei Wong, I bet you don’t have multiscreen!”


“The drugs help me to forget how awful this series is”

So far, so uninspiring, then, but wait- something new and exciting is happening! For the first time ever, Phyllo has left his spot on the Root Town’s bridge (I had temporarily forgotten that the town is Mac Anu:r2, and am freshly disappointed to see my beloved Root Town turned into a post-industrial dump) and ventured out onto the field- as he later tells Haseo, he isn’t actually an NPC anchored to one spot, he just likes to role-play as one. There he meets with the ever drunk and belligerent Tri-Edge, but (un)fortunately enough, Phyllo is not deemed worthy of being Data Drained and lives to tell the tale.


“Don’t worry, little cat, it says in my script I’m not to Data Drain you”

Elsewhere, plans of some kind are afoot, as EnderPai meets up with a green haired maid, apparently an old character in a new PC body. At this point, intrigued fans are probably supposed to start coming up with theories as to who this person is (could it even be fat guy Tawaraya?) but to be perfectly honest, too little has happened for me to expect any answers or even care. Even a glimpse of Ovan, complete with restored oven, or mention of the ‘limited edition characters’ (Shugo and Rena?) is not enough to dispel the apathy.

Finally, the end of the episode draws near, but before it can be put to the rest for the final time, it’s time to revisit our dull lead, Haseo. As the calming effects of the drugs wear off, he is driven mad by a glimpse of Tabby’s bizarrely pink-furred form and starts attacking the altar of the cathedral where Shino met her end. Presumably this is meant to symbolise some sort of character development but it seems like more of a childish tantrum.


“If I attack this, my Stone class will go up!”

And thus, the fourteenth episode of misery ends, with a brief preview showing us a few new characters, including some recognisable faces from the games. Less a train wreck than a case of the train never having left the station in the first place, .hack//Roots will continue, but I shall no longer accompany it on its journey to nowhere.

Bonus Rant 1: OST1
A couple of weeks ago I decided to ‘acquire’ the first OST, not so much because I had any burning desire to listen to the music, but because I wanted to assess its worth. As expected, the music has little to offer; at best, it is an inferior remix of Avenger themes, at worst, a dull and simplistic mass. Even the OP and ED have been done better elsewhere.

Bonus Rant 2: GU character designs
With this being my last rant, I can no longer delay this planned section, in which the GU characters are named and shamed.

Atoli: Not a particularly bad design, only we’ve already seen it all before with Shino. The turquoise dress now looks worse each time I see it.

Bordeaux: Her pose makes her proportions look weird, but worse yet, she seems to have visited Peorth’s bondage store and attired herself in dominatrix outfit, complete with whip-sword.

Endrance: He gains points for being vaguely bishie and having a cat, but his outfit leaves a lot to be desired- especially the wraparound ‘skirt’.

Gabi: A poor man’s Kimahri.

Gaspard: Fat dogs were ugly and undesirable in the Breath of Fire II days, and they haven’t improved with time.

Grein: His incredible bulk just makes him incredibly scary; in fact he may be pregnant.

Haseo: Somehow he manages to look worse than he did in either the anime or manga, with the bare shoulders and midriff now joined by an uninspiring face and awful centre parting. As always, his twin blades seem ill equipped to actually cut anything.

Haseo 2nd form: The increase in fabric and slightly retooled hairstyle makes it better than the first form, overall not marvellous but better than the average GU character.

Kaede: Apart from the puffy pink midriff and bland face, this is actually quite a serviceable design.

Kuhn: The mass of hair and yellow and brown colour scheme work against him; on the proposed cover of volume 2, he looks like a poor man’s Crim.

Matsu: His weapon looks interesting but his costume fails him- the top half is basically a pair of straps across the chest, whilst the lower half is a kilt. A failed attempt at the ‘tribal’ look.

Negimaru: He looks like an evolved form of the green onion aliens from Gantz, need I say more?

Ovan: Overall not too bad if nothing new; the oven looks larger and more unwieldy than ever whilst that scarf seems a hindrance to battle.

Pai: From a distance, not too bad, unfortunately a close up reveals the bondage elements, such as her red thong.

Sakaki: Standard supporting samurai look; reasonably inoffensive.

Sakubo: Single elements such as the oversized hats and striped tights are anything but pleasing on the eye, but taken as a whole the overall look isn’t too bad.

Silabus: A dull green design, best for the background.

Taika: At first, second and third glance he looks like some kind of mutant birdman.

Tri-Edge: Psycho-Kite with added patchwork.

Yata: The colour scheme isn’t too bad but he needs more than a scarf covering his torso, and the arm and ankle guards look stiff and uncomfortable. The platform heels must also be questioned.

Yowkow: Actually not too bad if not outstanding- for example, why does she have a fan sticking out of her back?

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