10 December 2012 | arorashadow_2003
A Solid Installment
Having followed .hack since the days of .hack//SIGN it's pretty safe to say I'm quite the fan of the franchise. I've seen every anime installment out there and I was actually excited for this. While mixed feelings of Kinmea Citrus taking over from longtime.hack// animation house Bee Train I was wondering how a new studio would take a new anime and I can say it's a fun and entertaining watch sure to be accessible to newcomers but may be a bit of a turn off for longtime watchers such as my self.
Animation and art wise Quantum was certainly sporting production values lacking from some previous installments and to Kinema Citrus' advantage they came in on a much later installment to be given a full budget and effort. Animation quality looks high and character arts while reusing avatars from the previous do give a new and great twist on some of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's early designs. Now we have a female version of Kite and Balmung and a BlackRose with longer hair. I really do enjoy the new style and the new characters are fun to be around. Seeing some returns of GU characters also made for a nice mix of World R1 and World R2 styles and features.
The art direction is as good as ever as the scenic art always captures what a fantasy virtual world might look like overall this is an aesthetically pleasing show to look at.
Storywise the story is fun and adventurous. But it's a balance of dramatic and light at the same time. It doesn't feel too out of left field as Legend of the Twilight did when it first debuted. Unlike SIGN or Liminality which were far more dialog driven and continued to build on it's mystery with mood and atmosphere this show mostly features action. A positive and a negative trait at the same time but it feels like the story was balanced enough to make it feel legit. The show offers diverse cast of characters that we get a full look at both within The World and back in the real World making this the first .hack anime to really do that.
The plot is very welcoming to first time viewers and doesn't really require viewing of past .hack to understand it. Most previous events are talked about briefly but the cast is entirely new characters that it's really easy to jump right in with no prior knowledge of the franchise.
One major drawback to the story is while this show is very kind to new viewers who have never seen any .hack before, it may come as a bit jarring to long time watchers as my self. The very idea that CC Corp is still allowed to be in business after two major network crises which caused people to become comatose and other very serious problems within the real world, seems a bit of a stretch. The anime does it's best to justify this somewhat by saying comatose victims are in private hospitals controlled by CC Corp but it unfortunately doesn't solve other problems with the continued repeat of the coma plot. I get it that to tell .hack you have to use this plot to raise the stakes and I honestly can't think of any other way to do it but really the only explanation as to how The World is still a massively popular game as well as how CC Corp. must be that CC Corp has paid off the Japanese government or something.
Musically the show fails to capture anything interesting. Ko Otani unfortunately doesn't deliver an interesting score and the soundtrack itself isn't all that great either. The franchise has sorely lacked without Yuki Kajiura's direct involvement ever since Ali Project took on Roots and failed at it just as much. Yuuka Nanri does return to provide the theme song though this time she is without Kajiura. However the theme song is still a nice one and fits the general mood of .hack.
Dubbing wise, this is the first .hack to ever be dubbed and released by FUNimation. it's a very solid dub overall with plenty of great performances. I'll admit for those who played GU it may be jarring to see Aina speak with a deeper voice as opposed to her more young girl voice from the Games but it makes sense in context. It's a great dub and release from FUNimation and I'm hoping with Bandai Entertainment's demise they will handle any future if any .hack anime even if the games never get released over here. Although if any past characters ever return I would hope they would try and get the original English cast members back but that's for future projects to worry about.
Quantum is just fun. It may not have the depth of Liminality or SIGN but it certainly was a lot more fun than Legend of the Twilight was. I'd put it above Roots in terms of enjoyment and it's an overall fun project and one of the few that does not tie directly into a followup game. If you are long time fan it still may be worth a look just remember you might have to check your brain at the door and if you are newcomer this might be a very easy one for you to get into as SIGN and Liminality are known for their very slow methodical pacing and more talking than action.