.hack//Quantum 02: Wired Prisoner
This has to be one of the least anticipated OVAs of the season seeing that there are not many .hack fans left out there or those that are more interested in the games than the anime, but it does not matter to me as .hack//Quantum is living up to my expectations of a descendant of the series while linking almost perfectly with the previous stories and this episode does it quite a few times. Well the episode starts with a revelation regarding the PC Hermit. Contrary to my previous belief, Hermits player is just a small sickly boy who seems so have mastered the art of hacking.( well we can’t say that his avatar doesn’t match his real form) haha. And it seems that the Green gems that he has are sort of a storage medium for him.
They then proceed to show the aftermath of the previous episode’s battle both in-game and in real life as well. Eri/Mary has fallen into a coma while Asumi/Sakuya has fainted due to the negative feedback from touching Eri’s PC. Asumi does regain her consciousness but she seems to have trouble with her right hands motor control which seems to be an after-effect of what happened earlier.
Next after Asumi’s check-up at the hospital, in which Tobias/Iori tags along while trying to find out what happened in-game, they find out that Eri has been transferred to another hospital. On further investigation, they discover that the hospital in question is being managed by C.C corp which poses them a question, are they trying to cover-up something?
Iori then goes on to explain the reasons why C.C corp seems to have their own hospitals, referring to the many instances in the past in which players have fallen in to coma while playing the game but their characters are still able to move in-game. Asumi does not really understand all the information but the conversation causes them to have think about the past when they just started playing, showing how much Eri means to them.
The next scene explains Hermit’s involvement in the previous fiasco. It seems that he is compiling a list of Bio-data which he has lost and needs to make a new one, obtaining the data from another player/hacker.
While that happens, Sakuya and Tobias are finally in-game and still trying to investigate what had happened. It also seems that due to Sakuya’s contact with Eri when she was attacked, her PC’s right arm seems to have degraded and the CG texture turned black, losing its original colour, and this may explain the effect on her arm in real life.
As Hermit sources the fallen PC’s for their Biodata and transfers them into the gems, the input of information triggers the activation of the Green gem in Sakuya’s possession, which explains where his missing list ended up. Sakuya and Tobias are startled by the activation of the list and through their curiosity activate it, discovering that it contains personal data and that of their friend Eri too.
Using the information they have just discovered, Tobias finds out that all the people are currently hospitalized and in C.C corps’ hospitals too. As they are discussing their further actions, they suddenly receive a mysterious call. Iori is adamant on not answering it but it thwarted by the caller’s ingenuity as he calls the residential phone simultaneously too, which is picked up by Iori’s brother.
Iori reluctantly answers the call and the caller seems to already know their identities and their previous actions and poses them some questions. The caller reveals that she is a private investigator and then asks them to meet her in Tokyo while providing them transport and giving them location to meet her. After the call, the pair are seemingly shaken and they realize they are into something quite serious. ( Well at this point if you still do not know who the investigator is i have nothing to say as the voice is a total giveaway)
They then travel to Tokyo to meet the investigator, and travel to the location specified by her. Reaching the level of her ‘office’, through a call she instructs them to Log In to the World. It seems that the FMD has some improvements over the years, now it seems to be able to augment reality or have a visual overlay, changing the originally drab office into something else.
As they enter the room instructed by the investigator, they are shown avatars of PCs from the past that have been affected by what happened and given a short summary of the events. As they transition to the next area, which looks like a normal office, the identity of the investigator is partially revealed, it seems that she is actually Shamrock from the guild that they encountered previously.
Shamrock goes on and explains that the source of the comas lies with The World and the cure lies within it too. Iori tries to dismiss it off as a rumour but is immediately rebuked as Shamrock reveals some information that somewhat almost confirms her true identity, that she was involved in a similar incident five years before. She also reveals her face due to the insistence of Iori, which gives them quite a shock as it is an opposite of her avatar.
The time line roughly coincides with the events of .hack//GU+ and if you consider her avatar or seiyuu(if the creators planned it that way), Shamrock could either be Aina, Ovan’s younger sister, or Pi from GU+ of CC. corp is you consider her seiyuu. Both have reason to continue playing and to help other who have fallen in to coma’s but given on how she looks in real life, I get the feeling she in Pi as Aina maybe too young but what happens later makes it slightly more debatable.
Shamrock, well she does not give her real name, goes on and explains the history of The World, with Harald Hoerwick (its obvious who is she referring to) being a key personality to the events that have and are occuring. Asumi then hands over the list to Shamrock, who after browsing through it and realizing its importance, decides to hold on to it as she thinks she is able to trace the creator of the list and the purpose of it.
The next scene if that of Hermit discussing with another hacker on trying to remove certain people from the system he had created. It seems that the derelict tree is actually part of Hermit’s program and is quite an immense and complicated project.
Next is Sakuya and Tobias meeting Shamrock in-game for an update on the situation. It seems that Shamrock has found out the purpose of the list and for whom is it for. The list contains the database of the user’s haplotype which is sort of a genetic type, and the creator of the list, Hermit is searching for a compatible donor within The World to treat a certain patient. It seems that it is possible to access one’s personal data through the game using the said person’s social security number and their implant chips. Shamrock has also found who the recipient is and that that person has already been dead for seven years so Hermit’s work was for naught. Hermit, who overhead the whole conversation, is devastated by this revelation and teleports out in shock. Shamrock also reveals that by ripping out biodata from the peoples IDs, it prevents them from returning to the game.
Hermit in his rage goes on a rampage destroying his new list and teleports again.
Shamrock, on the other hand, explains to Sakuya and Tobias that the security of the implant chips is easy to bypass with the FMD and other programmes. She also stumbles upon the fact that Sakuya is a potential donor, a fact not revealed yet to the other two.
The next scene jumps to Mac Anu, which is under attack from monsters that look almost like AIDA from .hack//GU. Shamrock and the rest receive an alert of this attack and teleport to Mac Anu to assess the situation. It seems that the area in being hacked but before Smith, Shamrock’s companion, can assess the situation, he gets attacked by a PC like in the previous encounter.
But this time the PC from Sakuya observation looks like Eri/Mary ‘s avatar and due to that Sakuya tries to establish contact with it but before she could get any closer, she gets attacked by it. Atypical of someone affected by The World, Sakuya is able to feel pain from that attack. Shamrock proceeds to engage to rogue PC by, of all skills, DATA DRAINING it but only takes it out of commission temporarily as it recovers too quickly.
The episode ends with Sakuya still trying to save Eri and Shamrock, noticing that they are getting surrounded by the rogue monsters and that it is getting too dangerous, unleashing a huge spell that covers the whole area in Flames.
From the preview, it seems that everyone is fine but it looks like they are organizing a resistance to fight against the “AIDA”. How they save the rest of the Lost-Ones is anyone’s guess but i think it has to do with them destroying the derelict tree or asking Hermit to reverse his programme, which maybe tied possibly to Asumi being a compatible donor. Oh and from the snippets, it seems that Asumi’s right hand has become something special, able to open new areas or something, just like Kite’s bracelet.
On the other hand, what Shamrock did at the end makes her identity quite debatable again. Well she could be either Aina or Pi but the ability she manifested near the end makes it even more confusing.
From that, it confirms that Shamrock is an Epitaph user, like in .hack//GU+, which also confirms that the remnants of the Project GU organization is still present in The World. As Pi was part of Project GU, it is expected that she still has possession of a Morganna Factor, allowing her to summon an Avatar and use Data Drain. The part which makes it more confusing is that of the Sigils on her PC when she activates her Avatar which, if i’m correct, look reminiscent of Ovan’s Avatar Corbenik, especially the sigil on her forehead, not Pi’s Avatar Tarvos or maybe its a brand new one so it anyone’s guess. Well that way Shamrock identity is still not confirmed but knowing the creators of .hack they may or may not reveal her true identity as evidenced with their previous works. If only she told Asumi and Iori her real name, then her identity would be confirmed. Or I could just be looking too deep into the characters but well can’t blame me for trying to….
Overall this episode was a blast and another great tribute to the .hack series. Well even though what has happened is almost typical of the franchise with people using the game to save someone, the characters are fresh and quite unique even though they look like the previous heroes which makes it enjoyable to watch. So onwards to the final episode of the trilogy, The WorldEND Pallbearer, for the epic conlcusion.
P.S: I really hope that either Helba/Zelkova or Wiseman/Yata makes a cameo in the next episode which would really complete the tribute, or to make it better the original Kite and his gang appear or maybe Haseo and the rest, but that would be too much right? Haha one can only dream……