Since the 1970’s video games have been an intromit part of pop culture. With the increase in graphics and storytelling throughout the years they have only become more popular. In the last decade, the anime industry has begun to take an interest in the video game world as several MMORPG shows have been introduced. These shows have been successful commercially and aesthetically. Yet they would not be here if it weren’t for Tatsuya Hamazaki’s .hack// Legend of the Twilight manga which was initially published as a manga beginning in 2002. Later in 2003 the manga was adopted into an anime by Madman Entertainment that paved the path for several other video game and MMORPG themed animes to be established.
Prior to the anime starting, Rena and Shugo are twins who are separated from one another as their parents are not getting along. The two do not get to spend much time with each other. One day Rena wins a limited-edition character model contest featuring the legendary characters of Kite and Blackrose from The World. Several years before Rena began playing, The World Kite and Blackrose were part of a team that helped to save The World from being destroyed. Despite Rena not knowing this she decides to invite her brother Shugo to use the Kite avatar while she uses the BlackRose avatar for herself. While exploring The World, Shugo is easily killed by a monster, but is revived by a mysterious girl named Aura. Upon his revival, he is given a mysterious bracelet that grants him a power called “Data Drain”. This power comes in handy as he starts to explore The World and finds many monsters have been altered and can only be defeated with his power. This leads to him developing friendships with Mireille, Ouka, Hotaru, and Sanjuro as they attempt to uncover the mystery behind these monsters. With several leads to what is causing these warped monsters to appear, Shugo, Rena, and their friends decided to investigate a haunted mansion. During this investigation, it is revealed that several children are responsible for creating these warped monsters as they want to capture Shugo. As luck would have it Rena stumbles into their trap and is killed by their monster causing her to fall into a coma. As she is in a coma state she wakes up inside a private server of the game where she begins to interact with Aura as she explores her surroundings. Meanwhile, Shugo along with his friends begin to search for the warped monsters and any clues to where Rena might be. This attracts the attention of the Cerulean Knights, a debugging team for The World’s creators, led by Kamui who punishes any alteration or incident by deleting that character. Shugo’s bracelet is no exception as she has increased security to be on the lookout for him, which has prevented him from doing a proper search for his sister. Eventually Shugo and his friends locate and manage to find a way to access a private server where Rena might be. Once there they are met by the children who have been creating the warped monsters. Right as Shugo and his friends are about to attack these players, the Cerulean Knights show up with the objective to capture all the players in this area. With this new development, the children choose to awaken a hostile AI named Morti who begins to eliminate both the children and several members of the Cerulean Knights. Rena begins running towards the exit of the dungeon where she has been since her comma as she senses that Shugo is nearby. As she exits the dungeon she sees Shugo using his bracelet’s power to save his friends and Kamui from being deleted by Morti. Shugo, along with his friends, receive help from one of the administrators revealing where and how to potentially save Rena. They then transport themselves to Root town, an area in the game that is not open to the public, where they face Morti for a final time. As the battle carries on she summons Rena and slowly begins to infect her with a virus that will delete every player in The World. In responses to this Shugo, after Aura instructs him, waits for Rena to be infected with the virus to use his Data Drain on her to eliminate the virus. Morti’s plan is debunked and she begins her back up plan, which is to spread corrupt data all over The World that will kill every player’s character. Shugo and Rena realize what’s happening and activate the power that Kite and Blackrose had as they save The World from killing all of the players.
.hack// Legend of the Twilight has paved the path for every MMORPG video game related to anime. Prior to 2003 the MMORPG genre was just beginning to rise in the video game world and was non-existent in the anime world. As a result, .hack// Legend of the Twilight introduced the basic premise of what an MMORPG can be. This was done through various methods including the characters and events that occurred in the anime, encouraging socialization and team work to gain a greater level of achievement. Once this was established, without having any guidance, the anime quickly introduces a serious situation that shows how events in the game effect real life. In this case it is Rena getting killed that puts her and others like her in a comma. It justifies a reason for the characters to want to save their companion (Rena ) and stop this from occurring again. As they make strides to accomplishing this goal these characters learn new skills and information that helps them to accomplish their goals, which they ultimately achieve. These three components that were initially outlined in .hack// Legend of the Twilight have become the blue print for every MMORPG video game series currently out there due to this anime’s commercial success. Without .hack// Legend of the Twilight, the foundation of the MMORPG video game anime genre would never have been established.