.Hack//Liminality

Return to the Gate
Introduction
The OAVs and The World
Character Guide
Episode Summaries
   

Introduction

Dot Hack is a larger whole that is made up of several parts.  The Liminality OAV series, which makes up one of those parts, consists of 4 OAVs that come packaged with the RPG game.  In this section, I'll describe the Liminality storyline as it relates to The World, and present short descriptions of the characters in the OAVs.

Liminality takes place in the real world, side-by-side with the RPG game in the timeline (and 6 months after the end of the TV series .Hack//Sign, placing the OAVs around the year 2010).  It relates the stories of three women - Mai, Yuki and Kyoko - who are brought together by Junichiro Tokuoka, the former Director of the Japanese Release of The World, at CC Corp., in his quest to find out why players of The World are falling into comas.

   

The OAVs and The World

What do the OAVs tell us about The World?  Well, the first obvious connection to The World are the players themselves.  Here, we get to see what the players of the game look like in real life, and how they normally act with the people around them.  And, we get a look at CyberConnect Corp., the producers of The World, and their uncaring attitude towards their customers.

Additionally, we get to see what happens when the Altimit OS starts breaking down in the real world.

More importantly, in volume 3 (The Case of Kyo), we learn a lot about "Fragment", the original game that The World is based on.

In OAV 1:

In OAV 2:

In OAV 3:

In OAV 4:

 

Episode Summaries

 

Character Guide

Mai Minase

Appears in all 4 episodes

Mai is a high school student and a competition-level violinist.  She's learned her love of classical music from her recently departed grandfather.  She's recently developed an interest in fellow student Kasumi Tomonari, who tried to introduce her to The World.  Mai doesn't normally play computer games, and her first few minutes in The World don't help matters - she falls into a partial coma, and is the only victim of The World that eventually recovers consciousness, because of her affinity with music.  Mai teams up with Junichiro Tokuoka to find out the secret behind The World.
Japanese VA Sanae Kobayashi
English VA Michelle Ruff

  

Junichiro Tokuoka

Appears in all 4 episodes

The former Director of the Japanese release of The World, Junichiro is forcibly ejected from his employer CyberConnect Corp. when his snooping around becomes intrusive to the company's bottom line.  He's a middle-aged executive, unmarried, and a heavy smoker.  When he discovers that Mai has pulled out of a coma, he tracks her down to see if there is a connection between her and The World.  After he confirms that there is, he and Mai work together with two on-line friends of Kasumi Tomonari to learn more about what's causing the comas, how CC Corp. fits into this, and just exactly what the "Epitaph of Twilight" is.
Japanese VA Masashi Ebara
English VA Jamieson Price

  

Masaya Makino

Appears only in episodes 1 and 4

Computer geek.  A friend of Mai's and Kasumi's, Masaya seems to have a big brother complex regarding Mai, and is the one that introduced Kasumi to The World.  Masaya might have played the game a little too much, and role-plays being a knight in the real world.  But, basically, he's a wuss who feels guilty for Kasumi's having fallen into a coma.
Japanese VA Soichiro Hoshi
English VA Kirk Baily

  

Doctor Makino

Appears only in episodes 1 and 4

Masaya's father, and the supervising doctor for Kasumi Tomonari and Mai Minase.  Very pragmatic.  Is convinced that whatever it was that cause Kasumi and Mai to fall into comas has nothing to do with The World.
Japanese VA Toru Okawa
English VA Barry Stigler

  

Mrs.  Minase

Appears only in episode 1

Mai's mother.  Is very wrapped up in her work, and is rarely home at night.  She wants Mai to study to become a violin soloist, and hates the idea of Mai simply dabbling at the violin like her own father did.
Japanese VA Ai Sato
English VA Leslie Hicks

  

Kasumi Tomonari

Appears in episodes 1 and 4

Recently introduced to The World by Masaya, Kasumi is a fast learner and quickly increased his character - Sieg - in level.  He is something of a braggart, and wants to bring Mai Minase into the game in order to become her boyfriend.  His character, Sieg, is named after the sword of Sigfried the Balmung, from Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungen.  His password to The World is "maiminase".  Both he and Mai fell into comas while playing the game, but unlike Mai, Kasumi is still hospitalized, unconscious.
Japanese VA Takahiro Sakurai
English VA Anthony Pulcini

   

Harald Hoerwick

Appears in episodes 1 and 4

A genius programmer, Harald met Emma Wielant at a seminar on the blending of boundaries between humans and computers, and fell in love with her.  After Emma died in a car crash, Harald became obsessed with expressing his love for her in his game "Fragment".  When it was completed, he took Fragment to CyberConnect Corp., which bought the game, re-wrote it, and released it as "The World".  He lives in Germany, and visits Emma's grave in Nuremberg, in the first OAV.  However, Helba later states that Harald had put himself into The World to talk to Morganna about waking up Aura, and that he may have "lost himself" in The World, and has faded from the real world.
Japanese VA Takumi Yamazaki
English VA Crispin Freeman

   

Emma Wielant

Appears in episodes 1 and 4

Emma was born to a rich family, but her parents died when she was a child, and an uncle took over her estate.  When the uncle tried to take her inheritance, Emma decided to become self-reliant by studying medical science to support herself.  However, she pushed herself too hard and started coughing up blood.  While recuperating, she then began studying the blending of human nature with computers, and ended up meeting Harald Hoerwick at a seminar on the subject.  She fell in love with Harald's talent, but not with Harald himself.  About this time, she started writing her epic poem, "Epitaph of Twilight".  At age 23, she died in a car accident while driving to meet Harald.  She is buried in Nuremberg, Germany, and the subtitles for the German on her grave stone reads “The hand that spun a legend will also become a legend itself.”  (Technically, the German epitaph really translates to: "Creator of legends, now rests here, a legend herself".)
Japanese VA NA
English VA NA

   

Yuki Aihara

Appears in episodes 2-4

A spoiled Yokohama high school student, upset that her parents talk more about the pregnancy of their daughter-in-law (Miho) than they do about her.  Yuki plays in The World under the name Yuki-chin.  Her close contact to "Sieg" in the game is what causes Junichiro to seek her out in his quest to determine why players of the game have fallen into comas.  While waiting for Junichiro to arrive from Tokyo, she gets trapped in a department store with a strange, unnamed OL.
Japanese VA Saeko Chiba
English VA Sherry Lynn

   

Asaba

Appears in episode 2

In truth, this OL (office lady) never gives us her name, and we can only infer it from the voice credits.  From what she tells us, Asaba works in a department store in Yokohama, on the same floor as the office's computer servers.  She claims to not know much about computers herself, but when it comes to escaping from a skyscraper, she wields a mean frying pan.  She met Yuki once before, at the wedding held for the girl's brother.  Has some kind of connection to the bride, Miho.  She shares the same U.S. voice actress as Helba, from the TV series.
Japanese VA Yumi Tohma
English VA Mary McGlynn

  

Kyoko Tohno

Appears in episodes 2-4

The third heroine, Kyoko first appears in episode 2 as a friend of Yuki's.  In The World, she goes by the screen name "Kyo", and seems to know "Sieg" pretty well.  Her parents are experts on the Epitaph of Twilight, but they live in a backwater town that Kyoko wants no part of.  Kyoko is a city girl in a small town, and can't quite assimilate into either culture.  She decides to join forces with Junichiro as a way of giving herself a goal that will allow her to finally fit in with society.
Japanese VA Aya Hisakawa
English VA Jane Lanier

    

Sato Ichiro
Bith the Black

Appears in episodes 3-4

One of Helba's retainers.  Assists in bringing Kyoko and Junichiro up to speed on the problems in The World.  Both of the names he gives are false.
Japanese VA Toshihiko Seki
English VA Michael Reisz

  

Kyoko's Mother

Appears in episode 3

Editor of a local newsletter.
Japanese VA Nanaho Katsuragi
English VA Karen Strassman

   

Kyoko's Father

Appears in episode 3

Translator, and local expert on the Epitaph of Twilight.
Japanese VA Nobuaki Sekine
English VA Kevin Brief

 

Notes: Thanks to Lennart D for giving me the correct translation of the German on Emma Weilant's tombstone.