Saturday, August 11, 2012

.hack//Sign: What happened.

.hack recap: Bear and Mimiru have called together Subaru, the Silver Knight, BT, and Sora to discuss the Tsukasa situation.  Bear wanted Tsukasa's player information, only for that to be shot down for reasons of confidentiality.  BT and Sora have been silent so far.

(I recommend actually buying .hack//Sign since my words don't really do it justice.  One can get either the DVD this episode is on, or the full series as a set.)

.hack//Sign, Episode 3: Folklore, 17:32-End

So, on the one hand, this was never supposed to be it's own post, this was supposed to be part of the last post but then the plant fell and that took a lot of time to deal with.

On the other hand, maybe it's for the best. I started the episode with the question, “What just happened?” now I get to answer that question.

On the third hand, I haven't exactly been doing much in the way of writing this week because my brain hasn't really been in gear, so this could come off as somewhat forced. We'll see.

Bear was trying to get the Crimson Knights, here represented by Subaru and the Silver Knight, to give out confidential player information about Tsukasa. Subaru explained that the CC Corporation would never violated player confidentiality that way, so not only could Bear not get the information, neither could she.

When Bear asked if they could at least find out where Tsukasa's player was, the Silver Knight loudly explained that if it could be done he'd have already done it. The awkward silence that followed was finally broken by BT:

BT: So, you're the knight he beat up?
Silver Knight: It wasn't him. It was a weird monster I've never seen before.
BT: That's too bad.

The first thing that I take away from this is that the Sliver Knight's amnesia cleared up. That's good. I mean, I don't want amnesia at all but I'd prefer temporary amnesia to permanent memory loss. The defeat initially left him unconscious in front of his computer terminal with no memory of what happened. Not long after he does remember details.

The second thing I notice is BT's “That's too bad,” seems, if anything, amused. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it.

Worth remembering that Silver Knight has read the manual, and has traveled far and wide within the game, and likely knows about any unusual monsters encountered by any other Crimson Knights. The fact that he can't describe what got him beyond, “a weird monster I've never seen before,” lends credence to the “weird” part of the statement. If it weren't weird he'd have something more to say about it.


At this point we get into what happened territory. Mimiru tries to speak up but is repeatedly unable to find the right words, after BT demands that she “Spit it out,” Bear comes to the rescue and says what she was trying to say:

Bear: She means it's possible that he is a victim as well.
Silver Knight: End of conversation.
Bear: Really? I agree with her assumption.

I'm trying to think of whether Bear and Mimiru being on the same page is the reason that he's able to say what she wanted to say, or whether Bear just has that ability even with people he doesn't necessarily agree with. I know that I am, or at least used to be, good at summing up other people's points so that third parties could understand them. Perhaps Bear is as well. But I'm not sure if that's what's going on here so much as Bear and Mimiru are in the exact same position at the moment, so it's as easy for him to say what she means as it is for him to say what he means since they both mean the same thing.

The Sliver Knight's unwillingness to consider Tsukasa a victim is notable. All Tsukasa has done is run away and refused to talk. As he says, the monster is the one who beat him. He really knows nothing on which to base his, “Tsukasa is not a victim,” stance. He seems to just be pissed off and holding a grudge.

Anyway, Subaru asks Bear to explain, and we move into flashback:

We see the end of Episode 2 again:

Bear telling Tsukasa that if the creature is his guardian he should order it away, Tsukasa unable to stop it, Bear charging with his sword, the Guardian launching a spiky counterattack, Mimiru and Tsukasa looking on in horror.

Then it continues. Bear is knocked backward, unharmed. The Guardian's attack is stopped in mid air, the spike falling just short of Maha's hand-paw. (Maha is the floating anthropomorphic cat in a pointy hat) Then the spike retreats back into the Guardian, Macha disappears, taking the Guardian with her, as everyone looks on in awe/shock/wonder.

Flashback ends.

Subaru: A cat...
Bear: Yes, out problem is the cat, not Tsukasa.
Silver Knight: I haven't forgotten.

You will.

In fact, I think that this is the last time Sliver Knight mentions or takes an interest in the cat.

Anyway, moving on:

Sliver Knight: The original reason why we got involved was because of the cat. However, the one person who has information is the character called Tsukasa.
Bear: Thus we are right back where we started.
Subaru: Tsukasa's player information.

Which, as we established the last time, they're not getting their hands on.

Mimiru: I really think we better hurry.

Just to add to the urgency behind this, all Bear, Mimiru and BT know is that Tsukasa can't log off. Which means that Tsukasa hasn't been doing any work maintaining the body back in the real world. Which means that, without other information, the default assumption probably has to be that Tsukasa's player is on the verge of death by dehydration at this point in time.

Bear: Such a thing should never happen but if this issue isn't resolved soon, there will be more victims.
Subaru: At least, these incidents can be prevented by access limitation.

Subaru's thinking here is completely reasonable, and completely wrong. It's like BT's thinking when discussing whether it's possible to be stuck in the game.

Bear: Check the log. You can at least do that, right?
Subaru: Yes.
Bear: Find out the truth with your own eyes.

Bear doesn't tell her that Tsukasa is trapped in the game, he doesn't go on about the impossible things happening, he just asks her to look for herself. He gives her his member address so she can contact him if she wants to talk.

Sora, who had previously been pretty much ignoring the conversation (laying way off to the side) is in the center of the group in a flash to ask to get the address as well, and asks for that of Mimiru as well. While those two are having a back and forth BT changes the topic:

BT: The Crimson Knights gather various information, right?
Subaru: Not that much, though.
BT: Any news on someone obtaining a hidden item?

BT's been interested in this thing since the beginning of the episode, but she doesn't even know what it's called. The asking gets immediate reactions from Sora, Silver Knight, and Subaru.

Subaru pretends she doesn't know what BT is talking about, saying that they haven't had any hidden item events in a while.

BT: You must be playing dumb. It's not that... that thing...what is it called?
Sora: The Key of the Twilight.
Subaru *sighs*
BT: Is that its name?
Sora: Hey, that's cheating!
BT: The Key of the Twilight, sounds significant.

Once again, "The Key of the Twilight" is an English term that Japanese people use based on a a largely German email in which, the term “Key of the Twilight,” doesn't actually appear.

One of the downsides of seeing a translated version is that you don't always pick up on the linguistic quirks of the original. As near as I can tell, based on listening to the Japanese but not actually understanding it, BT translates the name into Japanese upon hearing it. Sora says, “Key of the Twilight,” In English. But the entire sentence translated as “The Key of the Twilight, sounds significant.” is in Japanese.

So I think that BT is one of the few people to actually bother translating the name into her own language.

Regardless, the scene ends with BT finally learning the folklore item's name,


The episode ends in a wordless scene where Tuskasa watches a sunset with his Guardian.



  1. Incidentally... are you watching Sword Art Online on fansub? It clearly has quite a bit in common with .hack//Sign, and I suspect it may end up having more than it's admitted to so far.

    1. I have never heard of it before, so no.

    2. Basic setup: new immersive-neural-interface MMORPG, lots of people log on for the grand opening, then there's a message from the designer saying essentially "har har, you're now stuck in here, and if you die in the game the interface hardware will microwave your brain; the only way to get out is to level up far enough". It's unclear so far why any of this is happening.