Tentacle-Free Anime: ".hack//Quantum" (2011) Review
- by Kazekun, 1 September 2014
I really like cross-media franchises. I like the interconnected tissue of it all, and being able to go from one to the other and feeling like I am getting more of the story. I also really like when you can experience something connected to another, and not feel like you HAVE to experience the thing it is connected to. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy is connected to all of the other Marvel Studios movies, but you can absolutely watch it without watching any of which came before it. This gives me more of the story, without needing to absolutely go watch movies like the Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And in Japanese entertainment, one of the best – in my opinion – cross-media franchises is the massive .hack//franchise. From games, to novels, to anime, and manga, and more. And this long form series just keeps growing.
When I first saw .hack//Quantum, I thought: “Oh great, they're doing what .hack//Legend of the Twilight did re-using popular main character designs, but now gender bent. I know dot hack likes to recycle plot lines, but really? Have they really run out of that many ideas?” Sitting down to watch it though, I came out very pleasantly surprised and whooping for the show as a whole.
It's kind of trope-y, but a whole lot of fun. And in real life, there are actual games for the PS2 that revolve around this storyline. All of them tie into this new installment in one way or another. There is a moment when, if you don't know the characters, you really wouldn't understand what's going on, and I know I said I like when you can watch something without having to experience what it is tied to, but I never said I did not like little nods here or there to the stories this is connected to.
The characters, while using old, gender-bent character designs from previous stories, do come into their own quite easily and never once did I feel they were just reusing older characters with a newer story. I very much appreciated that because if you know the franchise it'd be easy to look at the main character and go “Oh, it's female Kite” like I did, but after seeing Quantum I look at her and go “Oh, that's Sakuya, the main character.” We also get to see a lot of the character's off-screen time when they aren't playing The World mixed in with them being in the world and it was really nice to see that.
Rarely does dot hack actually focus on the real lives of the characters outside of their gaming personas, so seeing it be so prominent here was great. The three girls were very likeable and acted like they had been friends for a long time.
Another thing I should point out is Quantum is the best of all the anime in dot hack franchise to show The World as a game, instead of just making it feel like another realm. We see many things that make it seems like a game, like in game text and the way they find items or use their abilities. It was very refreshing to see the creators acknowledging that this is, indeed, a game they're playing.
The animation is pretty great too, very fluid and colorful. And there is a clear difference and feel between the real world and the fake world when either one is shown. I was happy to see that. The music, too, is pretty great. All dot hack additions seem to have amazing soundtracks, and this one is no exception.
I would say one of my criticisms would be is that I wish it were longer, in order to flesh a few things out. The ending it kind of rushed, probably do to the balancing act of story lines the writers were trying to juggle in only 3 episodes. But for what they do, they don't do it bad, but they probably could've used a few more episodes to finish everything out properly.
In 3 episodes .hack//Quantum manages to tell an engaging story with interesting characters, while paying homage to the stories that tie into it and came before it. What I first judged by its cover, and that is purely my fault and I apologize, ended up being a wonderful addition to the ever-expanding dot hack project. I recommend it. Whether you're a already a dot hack fan, or not.
Final Score: 4 Game Induced Comas out of 5
Have you seen ".hack//Quantum"? How did you enjoy the movie and the review?
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.