a.k.a. .hack//SIGN: GIFT
Company: Bee Train
Format: 1 OVA
As a thank you to the players of the .hack games, Helba has prepared a special hot springs for some much needed rest and relaxation. Tsukasa, Mimiru, BlackRose, Kite and the other important players of The World decide they’re due for some soaking in the springs themselves. There’s a catch, however: not only will Helba not reveal its exact location, but she insists that role-playing is forbidden. So who will find it first? And who keeps killing the other characters?
summary by Madoka
Reviewed: 04/14/2004 by
Highs: Funny and irreverent
Lows: Purposely annoying animation; overplayed jokes
.hack//GIFT is a self-deprecating look at the .hack series full of inside jokes and sight gags with an equally mocking animation style. While the animation is grating on the nerves, the levity and irreverence of this gift to fans make this a must-see for those who have invested the time in the series and games.
The most noticeable feature of this OVA is the geometry-based animation. Reduced to triangles and circles, you’ll barely recognize the characters. It’s not pleasing to the eyes at all, but it immediately lets the viewer know that this is not your normal OVA. Matching the unorthodox animation with the great music from .hack//SIGN and the seiyuu from the series and game emphasizes the over-the-top spoofs of the story and characters. These scenes show just how aware the creators of the series and games are of their creation, and they’re just as ready to cut loose as the characters are.
.hack//GIFT knows the weaknesses of the anime series and attacks them head on. Those long, drawn out conversations that deterred many a viewer are back, but this time with a tongue-in-cheek delivery. These scenes still manage to drag on, overplaying the joke, but are still sure to draw at least a smile from even the seasoned .hack veteran. Other jokes are spot-on as characters break out of their shells, especially Subaru’s treatment of Ginkan and Balmung’s rendition of Yasashii Yoake.
This OVA lives up to its name as a true reward for those who stuck it out through the series and the game. Any .hack fan will find .hack//GIFT a funny and very strange way to spend thirty minutes of their time.
.hack//GIFT can be legally downloaded in the United States HERE.