Tuesday, January 15, 2013

.hack//Sign: Boggled Minds

.hack recap: Subaru and the Silver Knight were last scene talking to Bear about Tsukasa, she looked at the log and found out Tsukasa has been logged in, without pause, for ten days.

.hack//Sign, Episode 4: Wanted, 8:45-10:02

Subaru is talking to someone in what look like it's some kind of a business or some such.  The Silver Knight is standing some distance away, back to.

Someone behind a counter: That's all.
Subaru: Thank you very much.
Someone behind a counter: We appreciate your work.

Don't you just love it when you know exactly what's going on?  You could put that conversation more or less anywhere and it could make sense meaning that the information is entirely that they're talking about something.

The something is, of course, Tsukasa.  He's like a black hole that bends all conversations in his direction.  Actually, it's presumably more normal than that.

As a member of, and indeed the leader of, the Crimson Knights Subaru has an interest in things that are making things weird.  Tsukasa and Maha are making things weird and Tsukasa is the only link they have to Maha, and thus their only lead on the weirdness in general.  As a player of the game she has an interest in anyone who seems to be breaking the rules, which Tsukasa definitely does.  As an associate of the Silver Knight she has an interest in how the hell he was knocked unconscious by a game; Tsukasa was the only witness.  As someone in contact with the system administration she has an interest in how impossible things are happening, Tsukasa seems to be at the center of said impossible things.  As a human being she has an interest in whether or not Tsukasa's body is wasting away somewhere.  So on, so forth.

It makes sense that she'd be making finding out more about Tsukasa an important priority and thus most of her conversations would be about him.

Cut to the next scene and she and the Sliver Knight are walking at the canal side.  Silver Knight stops walking, then calls out, "Lady Subaru," as she keeps on walking.  Apparently lost in thought she responds and then seems to realize that his voice was too far behind her and sort of does a quarter turn back in his direction.  The conversation will take place with her talking over her right shoulder.

Subaru: Is something the matter?
Silver Knight: That rogue does whatever he pleases.  The number of those that have seen him increases daily.

What he pleases seems to be staying on his own and having fun while bothering no one.  I'm not convinced this is as horrible a thing as Silver Knight's tone of voice and word choice (that rouge, and for the Latin speakers out there you know it's an iste "that" not an ille "that") make it out to be.  As for the number of people who have seen him increasing, I'd venture a guess that that's true of most everyone in the game who started out unknown and plays regularly.  Mind you most people don't notice or remember most of the people they've seen, where (given the guardian and the rumor mill) they do remember seeing Tsukasa.

But I cut the Silver Knight off in the middle of a paragraph, lets get back to the conversation:

Silver Knight: Can we leave him alone like this?
Subaru: I don't think it is good to do so.  There is a need to do something about this immediately.  However *pauses, closes eyes* This may no longer be a problem that we can handle on our own. *opens eyes* I have a feeling that this is the case.
Silver Knight: *questioning/surprised/disappointed?* Lady Subaru!?

"Can we leave him alone?" assumes that there's an alternative.  Which, I suppose, there is, they can stretch the Knights thin and try to have them everywhere, though there probably aren't enough knights for that, but at some point, even by chance alone, they'd have to bump into him at which point they could try to attack him and watch as either:
a) He warps away
b) The guardian knocks their character senseless/does that thing that leaves the player unconscious and with temporary short term amnesia.

But Subaru is coming at this from the opposite end which is one of, "Can we do anything useful," and on that end it is rather difficult to see what they can do.  Like Little Bo Peep, who has lost her sheep, there's very little they can meaningfully do besides leave him alone.

So she answers the unasked question, "Should we leave him alone like this?" and she thinks the answer to that question, for her, is "No," it is not good to simply let things on as they are.  However what one should do and what one can do do not always line up.  So while Subaru thinks they shouldn't, she also thinks they lack the capacity to do otherwise.

Subaru: I have never doubted your loyalty as a knight.  However, there are things that cannot be solved with just loyalty.  How he... that Wavemaster-is behaving is boggling the mind of even the Sys Admin.  Can we, who are ordinary player in the game, find a way to stop him?

It came up last time* that there's a question of where the system administration is.  They're having their minds boggled.  They're probably looking at the code line by line and constantly coming to the same conclusion: this simply is not possible.

And in the end, it's going to prove the case that only ordinary players can solve this problem.  In theory the programmers should be like the gods of the game, able to change the very laws of physics by altering a few lines of code and limited only by their imagination, their programming language, and their processing power, but in actuality the game has taken on a life of its own.  (Sort of, it's somewhat more complicated.)  It now extends beyond the bounds or control of its own programming, which means that the problem cannot be solved by the system administration.

At least not while they're acting as system administration.  If they came into the game as players then they'd have as good a chance of solving the problem as anyone else.  But the simple truth is that the solutions will have to be found within the game because as far as the ones and zeros are concerned this is all impossible.

We're in the weeds of metaphysics now, programming knowledge will not avail you.  (It won't disavail you either.  It'll just, sort of, be there.   Doing not much of anything.)

Silver Knight: I don't know.  I simply don't know.  But surely there must be some way...
Subaru: If Crim were here right now, I wonder what he would do?
*Subaru turns to look out over the water, Silver Knight makes whatever you call a sound halfway between "Hmmm" and a growl and does some fist clenching*

Attitudes toward Crim are... interesting.  Silver Knight was jealous of him, and apparently still is, they also had philosophical differences.  And, Silver Knight doesn't know why Crim left.

Subaru and Crim founded the Knight's together, and were good friends in the game, but they also had philosophical differences and she wasn't exactly happy with his reason for quitting and, see the link above, got downright angry when the Silver Knight suggested she might agree with Crim's ideas.  Yet at the same time when he was brought up the episode before that she took the opportunity to think about him quietly.

Acting as if Crim's ideas and Subaru's ideas are the same will get her angry, but other than that she seems to have no animosity toward Crim himself, where the Silver Knight clearly does.  Yet when the Silver Knight is asking if Subaru's disapproval of Crim's ideas is why Crim left it has the tone of an accusation, as if him leaving was a bad thing and the Sliver Knight would have preferred he stayed.

Oh what a tangled web Crim wove when he first learned to ... decove? (Soft C.)  Actually I don't think Crim really lies.  Nor is he the sort to deceive with carefully presented fragments of truths.  Just not all that deceptive.

Crim will be there, by the way, starting next episode.


* A month and two thirds ago I guess, this was supposed to be a weekly or more thing.

Ah... plans.



  1. Replies
    1. I do have readers! I mean I know that some people who are here anyway occasionally comment on such posts, but I'm seldom sure if anyone is really liking the .hack posts in themselves. And it's been long enough that I was worried anyone who did like the .hack posts would have left by now (have the same worry about Deus Ex.)

    2. This is a much more close-up look at .hack than I gave it when I was watching it... I have very little to add to what you're saying, and "I agree" gets boring. Would the series be improved if we had a perspective from the admins? Maybe, but it would lose the trick of having almost everything shown from an in-game perspective, and I think that would be an error in itself.

    3. i hardly ever comment, chris, but the hack sign posts are some of my favourites <3