Image Source: Funimation on YouTube

With games, manga, novels, and of course, anime, it can be difficult to navigate CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco’s .hack// franchise about kids trying to save their friends who have lost consciousness in a fantastical online game. We’re here to help.

[Note: This guide is presented in loose chronological order for the world where .hack// takes place.]


Original .hack// Series

.hack//SIGN (2002) – 26-Episode TV Anime Series

In this very first piece of media from the multi-media .hack// project, “Tsukasa” has been trapped into an MMORPG titled The World, his memories altered so that he can’t really remember who he is in the real world. Despite being a game filled with combat, the anime mostly focuses on Tsukasa’s encounters with others, his emotional struggles, and his attempts to solve the mystery behind The World and why he is trapped in it. This anime takes place before the first volume of .hack//Infection, the first game in the franchise, but features a different cast of characters.

This anime has two OVAs that were included with the DVDs: Unison and Intermezzo, with the former uniting the characters from the games and the anime, and Intermezzo serving as an innocent interlude episode.

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll


.hack//Liminality (2002) – 4-episode OVA Series

This OVA series shows what’s going out in the real world while Kite and the others fight against the evils within the online RPG The World, seeking to release their friends from their comatose states. For example, the first story revolves around Mai Minase, a high school girl whose boyfriend has been comatose ever since encountering an enemy called Skeith within the game. His character, Sieg, appears within the .hack// game series. In the end, the characters of Liminality actually make an effect on The World as seen in the video games. One episode of this anime was bundled with each installment of the .hack// game quadrilogy.

Where to Watch: Bundled with the four original .hack// games. All four are out of print.


.hack//Legend of the Twilight (2003) – 12-Episode TV Anime Series

This series takes place four years after the end of .hack//Quarantine, the final volume in the first .hack// video game series. It revolves around two twins named Rena and Shugo who win a contest to gain the ability to create characters in The World that look like Kite and BlackRose, who have become famous within the game. Rena falls into a coma due to a Data Bug, and Shugo must solve the mystery of The World once again to save her.

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll


.hack//Gift (2003) – 1-episode OVA

The last anime released for the original .hack// series. This one-episode OVA unites the casts of the game and SIGN, with both sides racing to find a hot spring. It’s drawn in a very blocky and comedic style, and is completely for laughs.

Where to Watch: Bundled with the fourth disc of Liminality, which is in turn bundled with .hack, Part 4: Quarantine. This game is out of print.


.hack//G.U.

.hack//Roots (2006) – 26-episode TV Anime Series

This anime shows what happens before the .hack//G.U. series of games begins. While things like the Twilight Brigade guild within The World are mentioned in the game, it’s only in Roots that we’re able to see what connection it has to the plot—and more importantly, to our protagonist Haseo. It’s a tale of a loner making friends and falling in love, only to have everything taken from him, giving us a reason as to why Haseo is such a dick at the beginning of the games.

.hack//Roots Is the Prologue to G.U. You Really Should See

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll


.hack//G.U. Trilogy (2008) – Film

This film adapts the events of all three .hack//G.U. games into an 80-minute film. After his beloved Shino falls into a coma due to the attack of the mysterious “Tri-Edge,” male player Haseo goes on a rampage, looking for Tri-Edge and taking down any player that gets in his way. When he is downgraded to level one again due to a bug, he must learn to make allies and appreciate The World along the way—all while also looking for a way to free Shino from her slumber.

.hack// G.U. for PS4 Is the Perfect Chance to Hop Back into “The World”

Where to Watch: Available on home video from FUNimation Entertainment


.hack//G.U. Returner (2007) – 1-Episode OVA

This OVA was shipped to players who purchased all three volumes of the .hack//G.U. video game series—but only in Japan. It features a variety of characters from G.U. “returning” (get it?) from the games to be reunited at a festival. Even characters that were once comatose make an appearance, making for a warm-and-fuzzy ending to Haseo’s story.

Where to Watch: Not Currently Available


All That Comes After

.hack//Quantum (2011) – 26-episode TV Anime Series

Three girls using similar character models to Kite, Balmung, and Orca—the three legends of the first version of The World—play together in the online game. Their friend Mary, the BlackRose model player, ends up falling into a coma. Her friends Sakuya and Tobias must find a way to get her back, and a strange cat character seems to hold the answer.

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll


.hack//Sekai no Muko ni (2012) – Film

A girl named Sora and her two male friends play The World together as models based off of Kite, Balmung, and Orca. Sora finds out that one of her friends has a crush on her, leading to complications. Making things more messy, The World starts going out of control, causing problems in the real world. It’s up to Sora, who has been given the power to solve these issues, to bring peace back to not only to the real world, but The World as well.

Where to Watch: Not Currently Available


Thanatos Report (2012) – 1-Episode OVA

This one-episode anime is rewarded to players who complete the fighting game attached to the Blu-ray set for .hack//Sekai no Muko ni. It revolves around two detectives who seek to eliminate an organization that seeks to cease human activity to save the planet. The creator of the entire lore behind The World, Emma Wielant, as well as the founding members of the ALTIMIT Corporation that produces a variety of devices, including the goggles with which The World is played, were part of this organization.

Where to Watch: Not Currently Available

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