.hack//G.U.+ Vol. #01 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 212
  • ISBN: 1-4278-0635-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: .hack//G.U.+

.hack//G.U.+ Vol. #01

By Ben Leary     April 23, 2008
Release Date: February 28, 2008

.hack//G.U.+ Vol.#01

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tatsuya Hamazaki, Yuzuka Morita
Translated by:Ryan Peterson and Marc Lunden
Adapted by:Ryan Peterson and Marc Lunden

What They Say
It is the year 2017, and the stakes have gotten even higher in the massively multiplayer online game The Worldnow The World R:2, a dangerous place overrun by player killers, where lawlessness abounds. The PKK Haseo, known as "The Terror of Death," is a fearsome foe who punishes those who want to slay other players. But things have gotten personal as Haseo tries to track down the killer Tri-Edge, who has threatened the real life of his friend Shino...

Taking place three years after the events in .hack//Legend of the Twilight, the .hack adventures continue in the thrilling .hack//G.U.+!

The Review
The covers are done in a style that I can't remember having seen much of, in that the cover image runs from the front of the book across the spine to the back; like an inverted two-page spread. It works pretty well and the image itself is quite an eyecatcher: the hero foreground, two other characters behind him, shaded in dark red, and the tri-edge mark slashed across all three. The rear cover has a writeup along with the age rating and list of objectionable content - a feature I continue to like. Inside the book we have decent paper, not too pulpy, and acceptable printing. We even get colour pages at the start of the book. Messages from the artist and author, and two pages of character profiles make up the extras.

This incarnation of the .hack franchise has a fine visual sense, with a good use of angles and closeups to enhance the action and drama. Layout is also clear and efficient; character design is attractive. Nothing I can complain about here: good professional work.

Sound effects are unaltered but some have accompanying translations. Lettering is attractive and clear, and there are only a couple of instances of off-center text. The translation makes for smooth, problem free reading.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Video game adaptations are nothing new, often in the double sense of being an old genre, and the stories themselves offering the same old rehashed plots. The .hack stories have gone with the wrinkle of telling video game stories that are actually about video games. Or rather, about a video game: the online game massive enough to be called The World. It's a role-playing game, and like any role-playing game, The World is threatened by its share of villains. The villains at the start of this series are, interestingly, a group of the game's players who go around killing other players for fun. These guys are called PKs, "player killers," and have drawn the ire of a gamer named Haseo, who goes around killing them in retaliation. He's been so successful at this that he's now know as "The Terror of Death." Haseo isn't entirely a good guy, however. He doesn't kill the PKs out of any sense of justice, but simply because he hates them as scumbags.

As you might expect, Haseo is a loner, and he's obviously been embittered by something in his past. As the plot progresses we're thrown some backstory, and on another front we learn about a new phenomena that's threatening The World. Illegal errors have crept in. Some are so serious that they can result in players losing consciousness or even their lives when their characters are killed.

The idea of the the game having real world consequences is a good one, something I can see a lot being done with. So far not much has, but even so it gives some food for thought to the readers as well as the characters. This first volume, like many others, devotes most of its time to setup, with development (one hopes) to come later. So the major characters take their places, the plot gets rolling, and we wait for volume two to see what happens next.

.hack//G.U.+ has a good deal of potential, but very little has been realized yet. It doesn't click right away; so if it turns out to be a good series it'll be the kind that develops over time. Fans of the series will, I think, find more of what they liked before and a good twist as an added bonus. If you haven't read any of .hack up to now, this probably isn't the best place to jump in. But that mean cliffhanger of an ending just may keep you reading anyway.


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