Part 20: .hack Mutation - //Update 07 - .hack//SIGN Reference//Update 07
Good evening everyone! Today's update isn't necessarily gonna be the most exciting, but it is pretty important all the same! Also if you pay close attention, and have a rudimentary knowledge of .hack//SIGN, you may recognize a few faces we meet today! Without further ado, let's-a-go!
: You saw the thread about "Epitaph of Twilight," right? Well, I e-mailed 01. Guess we'll wait for the reply.
While Blackrose stands around in Carmina Gadelica, we've got something to poke at over in Δ Server. Something that's actually been available to see since approximately when we fought Cubia. I've held off showing it until now for reasons y'all will understand in short order.
Music: Δ Server ~ Aqua Capital "Mac Anu"
We're headed back to the Hulle Granz Cathedral! There are two different videos you can watch for this little "event." One is the way things unfold in the game, as expected. But the other is how things actually happened in the anime. It's your choice if you want to watch either, both, or none of them. Though I highly recommend watching the animated version just to get an idea of how creepy Sora really is.
Video: (ANIME WARNING)
: Your member address, if you please.
: *anime gasp of surprise, you know the one I'm talking about*
: Tell me, what do you think of my style? I could be a powerful ally for you! But you'll have to trust me~!
: Hmph! You're a fool!
: Hmmm... boring and smart, or interesting and foolish. What's your preference?
: But the worst of all is a boring fool. Like you are!
: *chuckle* I like that. A sharp tongue! Your member address please. Last chance!
: Heh heh. Not a chance!
: That's truly a shame.
: They're gone... Wait... could this be a player's memory that was left behind in "The World?"
While it's neat to see scenes from .hack//SIGN replay in the games, I have a question about how a player's memory can form a pseudo ghost in an online game. Even with a series that strains the bonds of credulity like this one, a player's memory burning itself on the game seems pretty far fetched.
Oh, right. For those of you unaware, this was a scene from the .hack//SIGN anime. It basically serves as an introduction to Sora, the twin blade in green. As you can guess, it didn't end well for BT, the lady he caught, and marks the first of several times she gets ganked during the course of the series.
Finally, yes there is a pretty heavy handed rape subtext in this scene here. Please let this be the only mention of it! Let's at least pretend we're better than that.
As for the two items that we received from the flashback?
Not as nice as the +30 HP from a Golden Grunty, but still pretty useful! They're pretty rare, so getting one for watching a minute long flashback is pretty nice!
The other item we received was a random quote from Sora. It pretty well encapsulates his character, actually. He's in it for whatever's interesting and fun, and in the case of BT, collecting the member addresses of female characters. As much as I hate to call D&D alignments in on this, Sora is the very definition of a chaotic neutral character. He does whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and very few characters can even try to stop him, because of how powerful he is. Most of the cast of Sign hang around Dun Loreiag, suggesting that they're between level 30 and 40. Sora is level 99 and equipped very well, allowing him to really do as he pleases.
He gets involved in the plot of Sign because the abilities that Tsukasa was granted interest him. And speaking of Tsukasa, I'd also like to call back to the Memory: Wavemaster we got way back in the first update of this game.
This also pretty well captures Tsukasa's driving motivation for Sign. The entire purpose of the series boils down to him and why he can't log out of The World. In this quote, he realizes that he would much rather have fun in the game, than face the real world and all of its insanity.
It's worth noting that Tsukasa is also one of the first victims of the data drain process, and is in a coma in real life. All throughout the series, you catch glimpses of his life while he was growing up, and it's pretty heavily hinted at that his father is abusive and possibly blames Tsukasa for his mother's death. At one point, he even breaks into the hospital and pulls the plug on the life support machines keeping Tsukasa alive!
So given all of that, I can't say I'd honestly blame him for wanting to remain in The World.
Anyway, the plot won't progress until we log out. The e-mail Blackrose was waiting for is CCed to Kite as well. So let's go take a gander at what this "Epitaph of Twilight" thing is!
Θ Rejecting Oblivious Wavemaster is added to the Word List!
I told you, this episode is gonna be full of stuff about and from Sign! Bear looks just like Orca, but is blue instead of teal. Mimiru looks just like Blackrose, but has a more subdued color palette. They were both featured pretty prominently in the Memory: Wavemaster flashback. It's also arguable that Mimiru is the other primary character of Sign.
Linda, if you recall, is Orca's friend. We met her in Δ Buried Pagan Fiery Sands, and she gave us the keywords to a white room. She also invoked an in-game deity to bless us before gating out.
So she's a bit of a weird role player. But she's also helping us out for the second time, so I don't think we can hold that against her anymore!
We've got our goal, but we also saw that bit about Bear and Mimiru. I dunno about you all, but I like to procrastinate. So let's procrastinate doing the main plot in favor of wandering off and spying on two characters we've never met before!
Music: Θ Server ~ Highland City "Dun Loireag"
By the way, how do you even pronounce Dun Loireag? It looks vaguely Celtic, which makes sense given a lot of area names we'll eventually be seeing in the Conglomerate trilogy. (Conglomerate Trilogy are the GU games.)
I asked the thread at the end of the previous update if anybody had any preferences for different characters to use. One such party was Kite, Elk, and Moonstone. I'm now convinced you all hate me.
After I finished this area, it dawned on me that I should have taken Elk and Blackrose for maximum confusion. Oh well!
The area is relatively low level, and will be no problem. Especially with Elk on healing duty.
The field is honestly pretty boring. Despite spawning in a ways from the dungeon, we barely have any fights on the way over. Inside the dungeon, however, is a different story.
: Hey, do you know about the Golden Grunty?
: What? Is that an item?
: Yup. It's a really ugly item. I'm collecting them.
: I thought I could find one here.
: No luck?
: Nope. The monsters were too strong so I couldn't move ahead. I just kept running away on the field and finally got to this point. I can't go ahead any further just by myself.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, A-20 is not a recruitable character. Thankfully, we have all the Twin Blades we're ever going to get for the rest of the series. As though we needed any more.
: Heh heh. I'll come back again later.
: There's so many types of people...
A-20 is another character from Sign. She was a minor character that featured in a couple of episodes and really only ever befriended Mimiru. She started playing The World because the other students in her class kept talking about it. A-20 is her class name and student number, which is frankly an inspired name.
Also, in the continuing parade of Sign-Game lookalikes, Natsume and A-20 are the exact same character model with different colors.
While the top screenshot is just to show what the dungeon layout looks like, the bottom one serves a different purpose. I'm possibly the only person in the world spergy enough to care, but I'm pretty sure the room pictured in the second image is where Tsukasa and the Silver Knight had their "duel" at the end of the first episode of Sign. Or I could be wrong and it could be any other number of rooms in the dungeon.
Down on the third floor, it's basically a straight shot into the Gott Statue room, so let's go plunder that and see if we can't find Bear and Mimiru.
: Greetings, I'm Mimiru.
: Something wrong?
: Hmm... I've never seen a character in that color before. Red's pretty rare. And... you're pretty powerful.
: Um... uh...
: Oh... I'm just meeting up with my friend here.
The "new mail" notification from the desktop plays here. The response is to the mail, but come on. It's hard to not think that she's confused by why Elk looks just like her friend. This scene is also why I regretted not bringing Blackrose instead of Moonstone. Gotta have maximum confusion!
: What?! You call me all the way out here and now you want to change the location?! Sorry! I just got an e-mail saying the location's changed! That's how it is... Hey, wait a sec! Use this if you'd like.
: Well, see ya around!
You're a man of many words there, Kite. Really stunning the guest characters with your witty repartee.
Like I mentioned above, Mimiru is the female lead for Sign. Early on, despite claiming to despise Tsukasa, she seems depressed when he ignores her. Later, she simultaneously resents "being twisted around his little finger" and laments that he hasn't answered her IMs. So it's pretty blindingly obvious she has a thing for him. Usually she can be found playing with Bear or hanging around in the various root towns.
As for her sword?
It's a flat upgrade to the hy-whatever weapon that Blackrose has equipped! The thing we found at the end of Infection.
Anyway, neither Elk nor Moonstone were all that bad to use this time. They're still not my favorite characters, but they're at least competent enough to help out on a minor sidequest. That said, their time in the party is now done. In their place come Blackrose and Gardenia, another request, and one I'm pretty happy to fill.
Ugh. We spend so much time in Mutation zipping to fields with little or no protection. Now we're starting an unfortunate chain where fields are gonna be pretty heavily protected from now until the end of the game. If there's one mechanic that I hate more than any other from the first series, it's gotta be the gate hacking virus core crap. Luckily something in Outbreak will help immensely with that. But until then we've gotta endure.
The "field" is one of those exceptionally rare forest maze types with a dungeon layout. If not for the large number of mimics, it would be boring. Despite the field's relative low level, the mimics are a major threat with both Blackrose and Gardenia in the party.
Why? Because the mimics like to chain-cast confuse. Blackrose and Gardenia both have exceptionally powerful rare weapons equipped. When confused, they can basically one shot anyone in the party should an attack land. For this reason, we go through about 30 or 40 remedies during the course of the dungeon. In many cases, as soon as I cured one confuse status, it was immediately reapplied to the same character.
On the third floor, the dungeon completely cuts off into nothing. At least this time there's no ominous purple fog to signal a boss fight. No, this time we get off lucky.
: It's you again...
: I'm not going to argue with you. However - I have to know. Tell me what this thing that lurks within "The World" is.
: It doesn't concern you.
: Yes it does! Balmung of the Azure Sky, Orca of the Azure Sea - aren't your goals the same? Isn't there a connection between the girl, Aura, and this disaster?
: ...I don't want you to meddle any further. I'm telling you, do not get involved!
I really ought to keep a running total of how many time Kite uses a double ellipsis in place of actually saying anything. It's starting to get a tad ridiculous.
Anyway, that's about enough for today. Time to check our e-mail and see what's cooking.
Λ Dazzling Sage's Arctic.
Let's go meet Wiseman. We're going to do what we can, right?
Λ Dazzling Sage's Arctic is added to the Word List.
It's not entirely clear, but when Lios says to stand by for a while and not move, he means don't even bother logging in to play the game. Of course, instead of saying that, he just keeps repeating the same thing: stay put. Stay put. Stay put. He really has an issue with communication and it's starting to get a little old.
Anyway, that's all for today. The requested longer updates will begin starting with the next one. On the upside, with the longer updates, that means we're officially entering the endgame as of the end of this one here! Stick with me friends, before too long we'll be wrapping up Mutation and getting into Outbreak.
But until then, the knowledge that next time we'll meet Wiseman and finally get some answers regarding the oft-mentioned Epitaph of Twilight will have to do. See y'all then!