Bandai’s .hack franchise spans several different types of media; anime, games, light novels, drama CDs and of course manga. As such, the series can be difficult to get into for those that only stick to one type of media, since many of the main character’s arcs come full circle through different games, anime and manga. Most of the light novels and Drama CDs are spin-offs and humorous omake type content that Bandai targetted to appeal to people that were already fans of the World and characters of .hack.
I have a lot of thoughts about the .hack series as a whole, and plan to write about all aspects of the franchise much more in future blog posts but here are two manga that I’d like to recommend to people that have played the first series of .hack games on Playstation 2.
.hack//XXXX (2 Volumes)
At first the title of this manga confused me. Why are there four x’s? Then I remembered that there were four .hack games on the Playstation 2 that feature Kite as the main character; .hack//INFECTION, .hack//MUTATION, .hack//OUTBREAK and .hack//QUARANTINE. I’ve played and enjoyed all of the .hack games on the Playstation 2 including the .hack//G.U. games which feature Haseo as the main character.
“.hack//Legend of the Twilight is a science fiction manga series written by Tatsuya Hamazaki and drawn by Rei Izumi. The twenty-two chapters of .hack//Legend of the Twilight appeared as a serial in the Japanese magazine Comptiq, and published in three tankōbon by Kadokawa Shoten from July 2002 to April 2004.”
This manga was never published in English or even translated in English by any scanlation group, I suppose the fan base never grew enough here or in Japan because their are only two volumes of this manga and there were never any anime adaptations. Despite this Bloody Roar 2 was, and still is one of my favorite fighting games for the Playstation. In the video games; specifically in the second one since that’s the best one in my opinion, all of the fighters are zoanthropes.
Zoanthropes are basically humans that possess the ability to transform into animal hybrids. There are a lot of different reasons given for the existence of zoanthropes throughout the game series but the gist of it is that they all have a similar genetic mutation.
I’ve only read the first volume of this series in Japanese, but so far I find it interesting that none of the characters in this series are in the games and perhaps that was a good choice on the manga artist’s part. Mashiro is a much more fleshed out character than Alice; the bunny character from games, is and the same with fang in comparison to Yugo.
The only character that I’ve encountered so far that I don’t like as much as the game counterpart is the cat character. Akino doesn’t get as much character development in this manga series as Uriko does in the game’s story mode. Although I haven’t finished reading the second volume of this series, I wish there were more to it. I’m happy to have these volumes in my collection but it’s a real shame that Hudson Soft basically just killed off the Bloody Roar franchise.
“The story takes place in Hiroshima where the protagonists Mashiro and Fang, both zoanthropes, are in search for four talismans, remains of a legendary and evil creature.” – Synopsis from the Bloody Roar Wikia
The artwork is decent compared to most popular shonen series at the time it came out. It’s obvious that Murayama had a firm grasp of anatomy and gives his characters stylish yet practical clothing, which as a cosplayer I appreciate. Even those unfamiliar with the Bloody Roar games should check this series out, especially if they are a fellow Japanese learner that’s looking for a new manga to read. Since this is a Shonen manga there is furigana for every Kanji and there is a lot of interesting vocabulary to learn from reading this.