As I started watching .Hack// Sign, I felt that something was wrong with this story and began to wonder why it was making me so uneasy. Then, I realized that the origin of this uneasy feeling was Tsukasa, the series main character, and his behavior. Normally, when you watch a movie or an anime show, the main character (the hero), young or old, is a nice person or "a man of character". Most heroes or heroines have their own courage, hate "evil", try to save their friends and loved ones or fight for the sake of justice or humanity. Sometimes, those good characters even sacrifice their lives to save the people they love. Even Shinji in Evangelion has courage of a sort and his a good person. When I started watching .Hack// Sign, I began to wonder WHY Tsukasa, who showed no respect for any values or for other people, was this show's main character. He says things like "I Don't care about other people. I don't care about the world around me. If I'm stuck in this game world, it's even better. I Don't have to return to your s--t reality world!" And when he has to listen to other people (who are often only trying to help him), like Mimiru or Bear, who are concerned about him, he tells them off and walks away "I have nothing to do with you", and yet, when he feels lonely, he sends them messages. This Tsukasa guy seems top have the worst personality ever for a main character in anime history! He is so selfish, always trying to escape from his duties or other people. Then Tsukasa meets a mysterious girl, named Aura, toward whom he seems to have a duty to carry out. But even then, he really does not seem to care, only showing the careless attitude of "Living for the moment".

What a selfish, childish character he is and I began to wonder WHY the creators of this show, director Koichi Mashita (Noir, Irresponsible Captain Tyler, Eat-man) and screenplay writer Kazunori Itoh (Patlabor) came up with such a worthless character! And why is this show so popular despite its despicable main character. I thought "they must have had a purpose in creating such a nasty character". Despite his huge power as a "//Wavemaster" (a magic user) and the protection of his "Guardian", Tsukasa is a coward, craven and a chicken. Moreover, he ruins "The World" for the other players!

Then, some time later, I was just switching the TV channels and David Lynch's Twin Peaks TV show appeared. I thought of Lynch's films and the characters in them. They are often going crazy, they are weirdoes. The characters of .Hack//Sign seem to have some similarities with those of Lynch, as they keep appearing and disappearing, talking to each other in bizarre, hard to grasp terms (when the concepts they are exposing are not simply too complicated to follow!). .Hack is supposed to be a kind of RPG show, but, as I watched episodes after episodes, the characters kept just showing up and talking, with not much action taking place. Then I began thinking that, just with Lynch and his Twin Peaks, the creators' purpose is to show these everyday characters of our society and reveal their inner secrets, the true personality they can only show in "The World" (a good example of this is Sora). Is Tsukasa a bad person? The answer is obviously no. He is not a villain in the real sense of the word, he is just a deeply hurt, misguided soul who never learned to care about others since no one ever cared for him (if you watch the series, you WILL understand why we are saying this). And yet, the viewers seem fascinated by him. I suppose that viewers see that, one way or the other, under the pressures and the waning of social values in our society, we are like Tsukasa or in danger of becoming like him. I suppose the creators wanted to show the world the dangers of loneliness and uncaring in the modern world. So, the question here is "Can Tsukasa change for the better after meeting people who care for him?" .Hack//Sign is definitely a thought-provoking anime!

Miyako Matsuda

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