The third entry in the .hack//Liminality OVA, In the Case of Kyoko Tohno, gives us our first full meeting with the third member of Tokuoka’s Teenage Girl Investigation Squad. Kyoko is the main source the team has for information about the Epitaph of Twilight, due to both of her parents belonging to the literary profession. It’s thanks to her that Tokuoka starts to piece together the origins of The World’s mysterious events, but even Kyoko doesn’t have all the information they need. That’s where Helba steps in.
When talking about the last episode, I complained there was too much side action, and not enough focus on the main .hack plot. This time, the situation is completely reversed. Almost the entire episode is devoted to discussing the Epitaph of Twilight, what it means, and how it came to be. The only time they aren’t talking about that is when they’re busy following Helba’s clues, so they can arrive at a new location to continue their discussion. Don’t get me wrong, we get to learn some interesting information and back story, but I’m still left wishing for the balance that was achieved in the very first OVA episode.
Due to the larger focus on plot, I feel I like and understand Kyoko much more than I did Yuki. She’s smart, friendly, and full of determination. Her knowledge makes her a vital member of the team, and she seems to have a better grasp of just how serious the situation could be. She’s cautious, yet at the same time she seems a bit optimistic. Tokuoka even comes across as a better character around her, managing to show off his intelligence and maturity more than he has in the past.
The animation quality is still amazing. With this episode taking place in a rural area, the team shows they can make nature look just as impressive as they can towering architecture. And while the setting seems tranquil, it’s use manages to increase the feeling of dread associated with The World’s actions. Even in this place, the network is pervasive. This allows for surveillance now, and allows for the possibility of plenty of trouble if The World goes out of control. If the network is really this widespread, just who would be safe?
Although the first OVA episode is still my favorite, I enjoyed In the Case of Kyoko Tohno much more than the previous episode. The lack of action does slow things down a bit, but there’s plenty of plot reveals and intrigue to keep you interested. This episode manages to provide new information, things that haven’t even been presented in the video games, which makes it a vital part of the story. As always, the .hack//Liminality series leaves me ready for me. The team is assembled and committed to action, even if they’re branded as criminals. They’re ready for the truth, and so am I.
Score: 4 out of 5