.hack//G.U. TRILOGY Review

The .hack franchise is over 10 years old now and is responsible for countless video games, manga and anime series. The latest to reach Australian soil, thanks to Hanabee, is .hack//G.U. TRILOGY, a CGI feature film with all the hallmarks that you've come to love in The World.

Follow on after the jump for the full review!

"Blinded by rage. Blinded by revenge.

In a quest for revenge against Tri-Edge, Haseo has become a killer of Player Killers. Callous and dismissive, he has become a shadow of his former self. Atoli wishes to alleviate some of this pain and makes it her mission to help him, but this may be a difficult task when her face reminds him of a fallen friend.

But Atoli may be the least of Haseo’s problems. Tri-Edge’s influence appears to go above and beyond his attack of his friend Shino, with deadly consequences. When a death in the game causes the player to fall in a coma in the real world, it’s a race against time to stop the attacks before its too late." - Hanabee

Produced as usual by .hack Conglomerate and CyberConnect2, initial impressions are that the quality of animation isn't much better than you could expect from the cut scenes of a JRPG circa 2005. At first I was slightly concerned that this was to the detriment of the film, the fact that it isn't exactly competing with other recently released CGI anime films. Then it dawned on me. The entire .hack franchise is built on a foundation of JRPG's circa 2005 and when thinking of it that way it's kind of meta. This does, however, seem to be an indication of the films intended audience. Although it's reasonably good looking, highly polished and fluid, this film is marketed directly to an already established market - .hack'ers.

The story also leaves a lot to be desired by newcomers. Elements of the .hack universe are completely glossed over and would make it difficult for the uninitiated to enjoy all that this film has to offer. To truly enjoy this film, it would be advisable that you track down .hack//Roots. Last year, after reviewing the gorgeous .hack//Quantum, I decided to backtrack and catch up on the game so far and there's no reason that you, fair reader, couldn't do the same. The main issue with the film is pacing. It seems as though longtime .hack collaborator and director, Hiroshi Matsuyama, tried to squeeze in an OVA's amount of story into the time frame of a feature film. The plus side to this is that TRILOGY is action packed from just about the first minute. Any complaints of effects to new audience members can be completely discarded by fans of the .hack universe. For anyone who knows and loves the franchise, .hack//Roots specifically, TRILOGY is a must have addition. 

.hack//G.U TRILOGY would have been far more palatable to new audiences if it had taken stock in its own moniker and stretched out to a trilogy. However, since this is only a reference to the source material and not a reflection on screen time, TRILOGY is a fast paced, reasonably pretty film that will only resonate with fans of the franchise while leaving those new to The World completely lost.

.hack//G.U TRILOGY is available on DVD now from Hanabee and good anime retailers.

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