.hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: .hack//Legend of the Twilight

.hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     June 29, 2004
Release Date: July 27, 2004

.hack//Legend of the Twilight Vol. #2
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
The ones behind the disruptions within 'The World' decide that Shugo must be eliminated! After all, he is the possessor of Kite's legendary bracelet, the lone item that can defeat them. Falling within a trap meant for Shugo, Rena suddenly disappears! Shugo is overwhelmed by grief and guilt struggling desperately to find her at all costs! But time is running out - Rena has fallen into a coma in the real world! The game has become deadly serious. As 'The World' swirls in chaos, a character from the past reappears to once more defend justice!

5. Mansion of Terror
6. Trap of the Hot Steaming Water
7. Twilight Moon
8. The Solitary Knight

The Review!
The mystery deepens of what the group is supposed to be dealing with in terms of saving the world as various forces start to work against them.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Both it and the English track are done in a fairly simple stereo mix though the combat sequences do provide some good bits of directionality across the forward soundstage. The music also makes good use of the stereo channels and feels really full and vibrant here. During regular playback we had no issues with dropouts or distortions with either language track.

Originally airing in 2003, the twelve episode series for this particular incarnation is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is wonderfully enhanced for widescreen playback. Much like the //SIGN series, the show is filled with rich colors and backgrounds but also ups the ante a bit with a lot more characters moving around and a bit more CG used to mix into the animation such as water effects. Colors are gorgeous and wonderfully solid, particularly the orange for Shugo's outfit in that it doesn't show any breakup during his many scenes that I could see. There's some aliasing going on in a few scenes, particularly when it starts on a close-up of someone you can see it in their hair as they pull back until it disappears, but cross coloration itself is very minimal to almost non-existent. This is a very pleasing transfer overall.

Continuing with the cute aspect, the cover features our lead duo plus Ohka together with Rena in particular looking very chibi and cute. The cover looks decent and definitely colorful with the varying shades of green for the backdrop. The back cover has a series of small shots from the show running down the right side while the left side features a good summary of the opening premise and lists the discs features and extras. While the spine does have the volume number, the back cover also provides the episode numbers and titles and the usual array of staffing information. The discs format and runtime information is pretty easy to find though I wish Bandai would adopt the more universal grid format for it. The insert provides a slightly cleaner version of the front cover and opens up to a colorful two-panel spread of some of the supporting characters in the party. The back of the insert provides the usual detailed staffing credits as well as bilingual cast credits.

The main menu is an active little piece that has the floating "portals" that the characters use moving round and round while you can see the show playing out through them, all set to a bouncy little instrumental piece that really does set the feel of the series. One of the sections has all the selections in it, allowing for direct episode jumps or playing all of them. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is decent, fitting into the theme of the show nicely but without the quite "awe" that the first series tried to provide with. The menu was also accurate in reading our player preset defaults and starting up with the right language selections without having to change it in the menu.

The disc is pretty light on extras with really just an art gallery included. There's a trailer for the video game but since it's been released here it's more a commercial than a peek at a game we'd never normally get.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the first volume of the Twilight series didn't quite absorb us in the way the SIGN series did, it did capture my imagination in the way some of the old online text only multi user dungeons I used to run around in used to. The more lively feel of the gaming World in Twilight is a vast difference over the SIGN world and that really changes the entire feel of the show. Instead of a lot of quiet moments even in the heart of the city, the World in Twilight is filled with all sorts of other characters and adventuring parties.

Rena and Shugo's group has grown nicely with both the fairly new player and some of the older more experienced types, such as Sanjuro. While the group is still trying to figure out exactly what it is Aura is trying to get them to do to save the world, they do still go on various adventures and missions to gain experience and hopefully unlock some accidental clues about what's going on. With the group as evenly balanced as it is now with the skill sets they all have, they're able to tackle some interesting and creative areas. It's much more interesting to see them tackle the more diverse creatures in various dungeons and mansions instead of hunting down minor creatures in the fields.

A lot of time is given to Balmung throughout these episodes as well as we see him continuing on his search to figure out what's happening to all the missing people, or rather, the dying players who are being forced to stay and unable to logout like they want. With the help of Reki, they check various places where things have been altered as of late trying to find clues as to what's going on. While we know it's related to the four young kids who are playing their own game within the game, probably not realizing that their deletions of characters is causing actual deaths, Balmung and Reki treat things much as a crime scene and poke and prod about while searching for answers.

But Balmung's actions and interactions with the higher-ups over the years has started to affect how they perceive him now and they've gone so far as to take him off the case. To his surprise, it's given to Aura and her group the Cerulean Knights. These folks feel much like the Silver Knights did at their worst with the belief that anything they do is right and their word is law. Of course, they do have the power of the CC Corporation behind them, but it's that kind of attitude and style in the game can really set things into a bad direction for all players as it inspires fear and hatred. Since the object of the game, at least as Balmung continually claims it to be, is to provide a place where the players can have fun. The Knights and Aura take things too far though and too public, such as actual spinning wheel executions of those found guilty of possessing illegal items, even down to just altering their own clothes.

While the power struggle begins between Balmung and those higher up in the CC Corporation who think his days as an administrator are done, we get that balanced out with the disappearance/deletion of Rena by the troublesome foursome. For her, it leads to her body being disconnected from her mind and entering a comatose phase while her mental self ends up in the same place as Aura. Their meeting allows for some interesting bits of information to be exchanged and a look at just how big a picture we're looking at with all these deletions and deaths that have been caused. Rena's change into this new area where she gets to interact with Aura is interesting and gives Aura more lines in one episode than I think she had in all of SIGN.

In Summary:
The lighter and bouncier feel of Twilight continues to be strong here as well as the energy it exudes. While I'm surprised that they managed to find a way to include a hot spring section into even a series like this, I'm more impressed at just how much fun this is. With a young cast and the more chibi oriented designs, I wasn't sure I could get into this at all. But the show manages to mix the mature and the immature very nicely, going from sweet to sexy within a frame or two as well as shifting between the cute and bouncy and the dark and macabre. And there's no love like Grunty love that we see in these episodes in a few places. This volume brings in some new plot elements and moves things forward nicely. It's unfortunate that there's only four more episodes left in the series though as I'd like to see more of this crew.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Character Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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