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.hack//Quantum: The Complete 3 OVA Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 31, 2012 by  



“.hack//Quantum” will entertain longtime “.hack” fans but also will be enjoyed by anime on Blu-ray fans for its slick anime production which looks fantastic and vibrant on Blu-ray but also sporting one of the best lossless soundtracks for an anime title on Blu!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: .hack//Quantum: The Complete 3 OVA Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2011

DURATION: 3 Episodes: (75 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), Japanese and English DolbyTrue HD 5.1, English subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

Release Date: February 14, 2012

Directed by Masaki Tachibana

Written by Tatsuya Hamazaki

Music by Ko Otani

Original Character Design: Atsushi Hasebe

Art Director: Yusuke Takeda

Mechanical Design: Takeshi Takakura

3D Director: Eiji Inomoto

Sound Director: Kazuya Tanaka

Director of Photography: Toshiya Kimura

Anime Production: Kinema Citrus

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kana Hanazawa/Trina Nishimura as Sakuya

Miyuki Sawashiro/Anastasia Munoz as Tobias

Ayumi Fujimura/Lara Woodhull as Mary

Masami Iwasaki/J. Michael Tatum as Smith

Sanae Kobayashi/Stephanie Young as Shamrock

Yui Ogura/Lindsay Seidel as Hermit

Daisuke Namikawa/Brandon Potter as Iyoten

Youko Honna/Kara Edwards as Asta

Tobias, Mary, and Sakuya are way into the The World. Together, they form an inseparable group, grinding toward the break of day and running dungeons in search of the artifacts of adventure. But when the trio becomes lost in this virtual labyrinth, a chance encounter with the mysterious entity known only as Hermit will change their lives forever. There’s an eerie darkness spreading across The World, and once you stumble in, you may never make it out.

In January 2012, “.hack//The Movie” will be released in theaters in Japan and in America, the three-part OVA series “.hack//Quantum” will be released on Blu-ray+DVD courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

This long running multimedia series has its dedicated fanbase and it’s amazing how far it has come.

In the early 2000’s, a collaboration between media company CyberConnect 2 and Bandai would result in an anime, manga and video game multimedia franchise known as “.hack”.  The series began with the anime series “.hack//Sign” in 2002 and then led to four video game releases “.hack//(Infection/Mutation/Outbreak/Quarantine) which would contain the OVA series “.hack//Liminality”.

The series wold follow with a manga and anime series known as “.hack//Legend of the Twilight”  (2004), “.hack//Roots” (2006) and in 2008,  a new three-part video game series titled “.hack/G.U.” featuring “Resurrection”, “Reminisce” and “Redemption” were released.

To give people some background on what “.hack” is…

The series takes place during a time where people are hooked on a fictional MMORPG known as “The World” which is maintained by CyberConnect Corporation. “The World” was released two years after the virus known as “Pluto’s Kiss” caused a massive Internet shutdown which proved to be catastrophic worldwide.

As many people have partaken in “The World” online game, the game gives a chance for people to interact with each other through their virtual reality headsets (HMD) and a gamepad and can take on a character they have created and take part in adventures and battles monsters alongside friends or other people they meet online.

But unbeknown to people is that “The World” creator Harald Hoerwick designed the game to be a virtual womb to create the ultimate artificial intelligence known as “Aura” which literally receives emotional and psychological data from those playing the game.  “Aura” was created to be the daughter that Hoerwick and German poet, Emma Wielant have never had.

The first series “.hack//Sign” featured a person named Tsukasa who was mind-trapped inside the game, while players try to find out who and what happened to the person that is using Tsukasa in the real world and what connection the player had on Aura.

“.hack//Liminality” was a four-part OVA Series which focused on players who have been hospitalized and are in a coma after playing “The World”.  The first “.hack” video game series features two hackers Kite and BlackRose tring to find out what caused the coma of Kite’s friend Orca and BlackRose’s brother Kazu.

“.hack//Legend of the Twilight” focuses on two twins, Shugo and Rena who won a contest and are given the avatars of legendary .hackers “Kite” and “Blackrose” (both were introduced in the first video game series).  But Aura gives Shugo a “Twilight Bracelet” and both embark on a mission to unravel the mystery of the bracelet.  Meanwhile, CC Corp executives are displeased and want to know how Shugo has brought an illegal item into the game.

For “.hack//Roots”, the story takes place in 2015 and CC Corporation’s building has been burned down and a lot of the data of the “World” was lost.  So, the corporation spliced data used for another game with the current data to created “The World R:2” in 2016 and allowed for player vs. player (PVP) play. The story features on a person named Haseo who logs into “The World R:2” for the first time and his character is nearly killed by PKers (player killers) but is saved.  He jouns a group of online friends to find the “Key of the Twilight”.

The second video game series “hack//G.I.” features Haseo (of “.hack//Roots”) trying to find a cure after his friend was attacked online by a player known as Tri-edge and led to Haseo’s involvement with Project G.U.

Which leads us now to “.hack//Quantum”, a three part-OVA series by Kinema Citrus Studio (“Eureka Seven – good night, sleep tight,  young lovers” movie, “Tokyo Magnitude 8.0”) and a tie-in to the video game and manga series “.hack//Link” (the final chapter to the “.hack” series) which is currently ongoing in Japan.

“.hack//Quantum” is an OVA series directed by Masaki Tachibana (“The King of Fighters: Another Day”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex”) and features a screenplay by Tatsuya Hamazaki (“.hack” related manga series, “Digimon Next”).  Character designs are by Atsushi Hasebe (“Darker than Black”, “Ouran High School Host Club”, “Fighting Spirit”), art direction by Yusuke Takeda (“Eden of the East”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, “Giant Robo”) and music by Ko Otani (“Ghost Slayers Ayashi”, “Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino”, “Eyeshield 21”).

The OVA series focuses on three players: Sakuya, Tobias and Mary who play the world’s largest MMORPG, “The World R:X” created by CyberConnect Corporation. The series showcases the characters in-game and out-of-game.

One day, the three go on an adventure together online and Sakuya tends to pick up anything she can find and one day, she picks up a glowing item not thinking much of it.

Meanwhile, a difficult boss fight take place between a guild and large dragon monsters and somehow Sakuya and friends get caught in the battle.  Meanwhile, watching them from afar is a cat character known as Hermit.

While Sakuya and friends literally survived the battle, unfortunately a bounty is placed on Sakuya’s character for interfering in a guild match and causing the death of 16 guild members in the game.

But as Sakuya’s friends are busy with their own personal life, she continues to visit the World (despite a bounty on her head) and encounters the mysterious cat character known as Hermit and become friends.

With Sakuya has a bounty on her head, she and Hermit are captured by one guild but each manage to escape thanks to her friends.

And as they try to escape from these guild members, somehow their activity inside the game including the injuries they suffer starts to affect them in reality.  Meanwhile, the mysterious Hermit appears to have special abilities in “The World” but also the ability to hack into the software and doing so for some apparent reason.

VIDEO:

“.hack//Quantum” is presented in 1080p High Definition and is presented in 1:78:1.  The OVA looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray with vibrant colors, amazing detail and for those who have seen the work of Yusuke Takeda on “Eden of the East”, you know that you’re going to get amazing detail with his work on “.hack//Quantum”.  He’s one of the best art directors when it comes to anime series in Japan and because this series was produced by newer anime studio Kinema Citrus, there is less worry about a studio being busy with too many projects.

If anything, the production of “.hack//Quantum” is quite impressive for its character designs and art backgrounds.  Not only is this the best “.hack” anime I have seen to date, it’s one of the better look anime OVA series to appear on Blu-ray thus far.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“.hack//Quantum” is presented in Japanese and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  And I have to say that the Blu-ray release of “.hack//Quantum” and its lossless soundtrack is phenomenal, specifically for the English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack.

The Japanese soundtrack is good, but the audio engineers at FUNimation Entertainment have amazed me of what they were able to accomplish with this OVA series.  The soundtrack is immersive with a lot of LFE during the eruptions and booms.  Depending on your setup, I can tell you that while I was watching, I had this smile on my face as my two subwoofers began to shake the floor.  Wow!    I was absolutely impressed.

You also get a good amount of audio coming from the surround channels and all I can say to FUNimation Entertainment audio engineers is that you have spoiled me with this release, I hope you continue to deliver lossless audio for anime on Blu-ray fans on these upcoming anime releases from here on in.  Once again, the lossless audio for “.hack//Quantum” via the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is fantastic!

And which leaves me to the Japanese lossless soundtrack.  As many know, I am biased to the original Japanese soundtrack, but with the acting of the FUNimation Entertainment releases and better audio quality with the English soundtrack is now making me want to listen to the English dub track even more.  The Japanese lossless soundtrack was good, the voice acting was very good but with the English dub soundtrack so much more immersive and obviously much better for those with a good home theater setup, it’s hard to listen to a soundtrack that is not as pronounced.

But the good news is that fans get the best of both worlds with the choice of two lossless soundtracks.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“.Hack//Quantum” features the following special features:

  • Go, Our Chim Chims!! Part 1 – (3:04) Purple creatures talk about quantum physics.
  • Go, Our Chim Chims!! Part 2 – (2:08) Purple creatures talk bout psi and phi waves.
  • Go, Our Chim Chims!! Part 3 – (2:02) Purple creatures and Hermit talking about Schrodinger’s cat.
  • Yui Ogura’s “Yui-Yui Cooking” – (17:59) Featuring Hermit voice actress Yui Ogura making charaben.
  • Yui Ogura’s “Yui-Yui Club” – (11:12) Featuring voice actress Yui Ogura and Hamazoe visit Kinema Citrus studio talking to Yamamoto-san about flipbooks.
  • Yui Ogura’s “Yui-Yui Cult Quiz” – (8:21) Featuring voice actress Yui Ogura giving the answers to the Cult Quiz.
  • Promotional Videos – (3:12) Promotional videos for “.Hack//Quantum”.
  • Original Commercial – (:17) Original TV commercial “.Hack//Quantum”.
  • Pre-Release Promotional Video
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:02) US trailer for “.Hack//Quantum”.
  • Trailers – FUnimation Entertainment trailers

EXTRAS:

“.Hack//Quantum: The Complete 3 OVA Series” Blu-ray releases also come with the DVD version of the release.

For long time followers of “.hack”, as we near the end of the series, more anime episodes for fans is always welcomed.

While the OVA series for “.hack” tend to not have the overall deep storylines that their TV anime series counterparts have, “.hack//Quantum” still manages to incorporate as much action and character development into this three episode OVA-series but perhaps what separates this title from the others is its production quality.

“.hack//Quantum” is the best looking and best sounding “.Hack” series TV or OVA that I have seen or heard.

With newer anime studio Kinema Citrus handling the series, more time was put into the actual detail of the art backgrounds and character design.  And with Yusuke Takeda as art director for this OVA series, and many know of his work recently with “Eden of the East”, you know there is going to be amazing detail and that is what anime on Blu-ray fans will want to see.

Everything from character design to art backgrounds are detailed and sketched amazingly well.  From the dragon beats featured in the opening episode, to the detail of the villages that the characters visit, I was quite impressed with the overall look of this series.

And also equally impressive is its lossless soundtrack, specifically the English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack by FUNimation Entertainment.  Kudos to the engineers for what they were able to accomplish and I hope they keep it up because this OVA series sounds fantastic!

While many anime soundtracks on Blu-ray are good and some are great, “.hack//Quantum” is amazing!  The soundtrack is absolute immersive and utilizes the LFE and surround channels with amazing efficacy and this is what audiophiles have been wanting to hear more of on their action-driven anime series on Blu-ray.  More rumble, more ambiance, more immersive sound and “.hack//Quantum” definitely delivers!

And along with the fantastic picture quality and lossless audio, the voice acting via Japanese and English is well-done.  And there are also a good amount of special features were included.

The series may seem simplistic but that’s because it’s an OVA series, not a 26-episode TV series.  There are only three episodes but for the most part, Tatsuya Yamazaki was able to create a pretty involving storyline within three episodes.  The characters are intriguing and fun to watch.  And I have to say that Kinema Citrus and the crew’s work on this series and how things look visually and how awesome the series sounds, made me appreciate the OVA series much more.  But I enjoyed watching “.hack//Quantum”.

As for those who are wondering if they can watch “.hack//Quantum” without watching any of the previous anime related releases or have not played the video games.  My answer is yes. If anything, the most important thing that people should know is that “The World” is the world’s largest online MMORPG and that with every video game, anime or manga release, the storylines focus on some unusual occurrence inside the game.

With this OVA series, the storyline is easily accessible.  For those who played an MMORPG and are familiar with it, can understand what is taking place.  For those who are familiar with the series will notice the upgrades to the overall MMORPG experience and the characters featured.  But other than that, anyone really can pick this series up and enjoy it.  No need to watch or play every video game.

And for anime on Blu-ray fans, this is probably one of the most immersive anime soundtracks on Blu-ray  for an OVA and is not an original movie (which typically gets the better production and better lossless soundtrack).

Overall, “.hack//Quantum” will entertain longtime “.hack” fans but also will be enjoyed by anime on Blu-ray fans for its slick anime production which looks fantastic on Blu-ray but also sporting one an awesome immersive HD soundtrack.

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