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.hack//Legend of the Twilight: The Complete Series
.hack// Legend of the Twilight is the second installment in the long-running .hack franchise which has had a series of acclaimed anime productions, video games, and manga publications. This incarnation is animated from animation powerhouse studio Bee Train (Medabots, Arc the Lad) and was produced by Ryo Shimamura (Captain Kuppa Desert Pirate), Kazunori Takagi (Spider Raiders), and Koji Morimoto (Di Gi Charat Nyo). It is based upon the manga written by Tatsuya Hamazaki and illustrated by Rei Izumi which was originally published in a computer video-game magazine called Comptiq.
This season of the .hack universe is a bit different from the previous incarnation. For one, the series takes on a slightly more cheerful environment and is clearly being aimed at younger audiences than the previous series. The philosophical and thematic undertones aren't quite so apparent this go-around and the focus is more on the virtual-reality gaming aspect (more so, certainly, than before).
It's apparent from the beginning that a new approach was going to be done with .hack// Legend of the Twilight when the chibi-style anime approach is introduced and immediately signals in a lighter atmosphere. The tone shifts. The series is less about its conceptual ideas and more about taking a fun journey.
Having not seen any of .hack// Legend of the Twilight in years, I was surprised that something I once considered amiss about the show - the chibi approach - was not as bothersome as I remembered. The show is actually pretty much in-line with other .hack productions in that all of them have that video-gaming element: it just goes about it in a somewhat different fashion. It might not appeal to all audiences but the series is simply approaching this franchise from a different viewpoint.
The animation on the show is superb. There's very little to complain about in that regard. It's actually a step up from .hack//Sign. The art is so robust and colorful and fun. It's a charming approach with more fluid animation than before. It's enjoyable and the animators really did a good job at studio Bee Train with this aspect of the production.
The music is by Yuki Kajiura (Noir, .hack//Sign), who is a pretty talented composer who is capable of highlighting the drama and action with good electronic sounds as needed. It's on similar wavelengths to the style approach of the earlier .hack series. It's stylistic approach is befitting the series.
Directed by Koichi Mashimo and Koji Sawai, .hack// Legend of the Twilight is a reasonably entertaining sci-fi anime. It will keep franchise fans happy enough. It does not exceed the first production but it is a decent show despite not setting the bar any higher. Ultimately, this incarnation is still one worth checking out for fans who have an interest in the .hack universe.
.hack//Legend of the Twilight arrives on DVD from Funimation with an impressive release in the original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio. The quality of the release is generally quite strong with good color reproduction and a clean, smooth image free from compression issues. As the series is shorter it has a bit more breathing room on the release. This is a presentation sure to please fans.
The series is presented with both Japanese (with English subtitles) and English language dub options. Either option should prove satisfactory for audiences. The quality of the audio will satisfy. Though the series is presented in stereo, the quality of the mix is quite good and is immersive enough to be an enjoyable experience.
The release includes a character art reel, textless opening/closing credits (songs), and trailers promoting other Funimation releases.
.hack//Legend of the Twilight is a lighter in tone sci-fi series in the .hack franchise with well-done animation, quality music, and other impressive production elements. Fans of the .hack franchise (as well as those new to the universe) should consider it worth checking out. The release from Funimation offers good A/V and is a welcome return-to-print for anime fans.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.