What would you do if you found yourself trapped? Not only trapped, you find yourself to be trapped inside a game? The World is a game played by thousands of people around the world, and our main character, whose handle name is Tsukasa, finds themself waking up on the floor of one of the games many dungeons. Tsukasa does not remember how he got there or where he was. In fact, Tsukasa didn't seem to remember much at all. As the story progresses we find that Tsukasa is not only trapped within the game, he can actually feel and smell, even experience pain. To all intents and purposes Tsukasa is actually living within the game. We soon realize that Tsukasa is an anti-social person who started playing the world as a means to escape reality. After meeting the lone swordswoman Mimiru and the adult heavy sword Bear, Tsukasa finds himself being forced to interact with them as they try to find out why he is trapped within the game. But as they begin to investigate, they find not only the truth about Tsukasa's real self, but that some sinister event appears to be happening within The World, something that will not only effect the whole programme of the game, but will have many repercussions upon the real world.
.hack//SIGN is one of the best game based animes ever made, dealing with the complicated mental state of Tsukasa and the manipulative voice orchestrating the events happening within the game, this is an anime which can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. However, warning is advised for people with young children as many of the emotions and situations within the anime may be deemed as too upsetting for children.
The loving relationship which develops between Tsubasa and Tsukasa helps to set the premise for Tsukasa's rehabilitation as he begins to open up to people and finally want to return to the real world.
The old fashioned setting and speech patterns of the characters really fit the story this anime portrays without feeling out of placed. I would recomend this anime to anyone who is looking for something dark and emotional, or is just looking for something with magic and action. However, you have been warned that this anime is very dark and may bring you to tears more than once through the series. This anime now has 3 OVA episodes which are nice for finding out more about the past of some of the main characters, as well as one showing what happens to the characters after the events of the series linking them up with the characters of the .hack game series, these OVA's are definitely worth a watch once you have finished.