In this highly evolved virtual universe, people log in and play various characters. Some use swords, others use magic, and if you die, you can log back in with some restrictions. All this sounds fairly simple except for one character that is a mystery, Tsukasa. He has abilities that others don't and no one is quite sure what to make of him. Is he a real person, trapped inside the machine or is he just a computer generated character like some of the more mundane shop keepers or is he really a system administrator who's lost his memory? No one can answer the questions, which adds to the appeal of finding the answers behind the guy.
As the series begins to come to a close, a lot of threads begin setting themselves up to tie together. Bear, Subaru, and Mimiru all see the value in continuing the game in order to get to the root of the troubles taking place all over the established gaming world. They also want answers about Tsukasa; both his origins and how they can help him. In order to accomplish this, they turn to the inventors of the game itself and risk their characters on the outcome.
22) The Eve:
As with Hack//Sign 4, the show has picked up a fair amount of momentum and the character development increases too. I think it's still worth a rating of Recommended although a boxed set of the entire series, properly priced, would elevate that to the next level. If you like fantasy based anime, the series is well worth your time and money.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.85:1 ratio Anamorphic Widescreen and looked great. The colors were vibrant and as clear as I think I've seen on my television. While the anime style itself wasn't the most detailed, it had a lot going for it in terms of a "look" that fans seem to like. I didn't see any artifacts or other dvd transfer problems when I watched it. The problem I had with the DVD locking up is not present this time (it was a factor in Hack//Sign 4) so perhaps Bandai has taken care of it or it was a fluke.
Sound: The sound was presented with a choice of Dolby Digital stereo English or Japanese with optional English subtitles. The vocals on each track were well done and the music was also exceptionally clear and appropriate. The usual isolated score was very pleasant to listen to as well.
Extras: There was another isolated music score, the usual trailers, a character photogallery, credits and a paper insert with a short discussion concerning the cities in relation to the game servers was present.
Final Thoughts: The stand alone value of this one is fairly weak but I still think the series is worth checking out, based on the technical merits, the story, and all it has to offer. Get the entire series or at least start with volume one before checking this one out and you'll thank me later. Overall, it has a lot of depth if you pay attention but the building blocks to this understanding start off early in the show.