In the series .Hack//Link, pronounced "dot Hack Link", the story takes place in a world with the most popular Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game called "The World". Within it, the player chooses a character class and you enter a world full of exotic scenery and clothing.
Following the two years since The World crashed, the MMO gets rebooted as The World R:X. This series stars the 14 year old, Tokio Kuryu, a gaming otaku that is able to fly through any game in a fast amount of time. After missing out on a chance to get the brand new R:X, he meets the girl of his dreams, literally. Her name is Saika Amagi and she is a new student at his school. After asking Tokio up to the roof of their school and a confusing conversation Tokio wakes up in a strange world. Turns out he is inside The World even though he isn't wearing the headset required. Confused, he stumbles around before bumping into the legendary dot Hacker, Kite. After being told by Kite of the problem involving the data that makes up the World; there is an evil group called Schicksal who is trying to get the items that hold the data. After Kite has given Tokio his mission, Tokio must find certian PCs (Player Characters) to help him in his mission. With this knowlege and a device specifically designed to Tokio heads out to first find the player Tsukasa.
While on his journey, Tokio runs into the former head of the Crimson Knights, Subaru. She tells Tokio that her friend Tsukasa has lost his memories and has been abducted by a giant man that works for Schicksal and where to find him. After Tokio confronts the man responsible for Tsukasa's abduction, named Trommel, we learn that Tokio, even with his obsession of believing himself to be a great hero, turns out he is only a level 1 player. As Tsukasa is being tortured for the data that he holds, Tokio awakens a power that allows him to rescue Tsukasa and save the day, as well as meeting a third Schicksal member named Geist.
As soon as I opened .Hack//Link Volume 1, I was hooked. I am a fan of the original .Hack//Sign show and enjoyed the first .Hack video game that featured the PC Kite. The story is interesting and it's nice to see the characters I grew to love long after their respective series' have ended. For anyone who comes across this story without knowing anything else about the .Hack series, this series looks to be a massive crossover of the original show and games. It is at least apparent that there will be recaps of the prospective sagas the characters were from, so you won't be completely lost as to who these people are. A real impressive feat, I find, is that the characters look just as they did in their respective sagas. Subaru and Tsukasa look just as they did in .Hack//Sign and Kite looks just as he did in the first .Hack video games. While this doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, the last time I read a .Hack manga the art was a bit off and distracted from the story, and to see the PCs be drawn as realistic as possible for some video game characters is a nice touch.
ComicsOnline gives .Hack//Link Volume 1: 3.5 out of 5 Grunties.
You can get .Hack//Link Volume 1 at Amazon.com now!
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