The conclusion of the Liminality branch of the .hack universe, .hack//Liminality: Trismegistus, finally returns to the level of quality seen in the first episode. This time, the plucky girls and spirited middle-aged man of Tokuoka’s Teenage Girl Investigation Squad find themselves teamed up with the heroes from the .hack games, doing their part to birth Aura the ultimate A.I., and save the lives of all of the coma victims. To do this, they have to sneak into a (not so) heavily guarded facility, take over the control room, and have some character developing moments while doing mysterious computer things.
This episode does a really good job of mixing plot points, character development, and action, and even manages to add a bit of humor. Watching half of the team run around distracting the guards managed to be both tense and hilarious, and I even found myself cheering on a progress bar, although I had no idea what they were trying to do. I got the general idea, though, and that’s all I needed. And as if the stakes weren’t high enough, the climax of the episode puts the lives of everyone in The World in Mai’s hands. It’s hard to imagine a scene with everyone sitting at computers being silent could have you on the edge of your seat, but that’s what happened to me.
Amid all of this craziness, I still managed to understand the characters even further. Yuki’s involvement with the team is explained a bit more, but it didn’t help me like her even more. In fact, the other characters began to dislike Yuki as well. It seems odd at first glance, but it’s actually a completely human reaction that once again reminded me just how natural the majority of the characters come across. When Tokuoka put himself in harm’s way for the girls, I really started to respect him and appreciate just how protective he was of these girls he had involved in this mess. During the short time they had worked together, they had managed to form a bit of a family, and it made the ending all the more effective.
At this point, it should be clear that I love the animation in this OVA series. Unfortunately, there aren’t many opportunities to show this off in this episode, since the majority of action takes place inside a generic building, but towards the end, as snow begins to fall on Christmas Day, everything just looks so beautiful and peaceful. There’s just something about watching snow drift down underneath a street light that I find mesmerizing, and the animation team here pulls it off perfectly.
.hack//Liminality: Trismegistus was a near perfect ending to the Liminality OVA, and was a great way to further tie our team’s adventures in the real world into those unfolding in The World. On its own it makes for an entertaining story of love, obsession, and good intentions gone wrong. As part of the .hack universe, though, it’s a great companion piece to the games, offering some needed insight and interesting alternate looks at the action and effects of the virus. If you’re playing through the games, there’s no reason not to watch this.
Score: 4.5 out of 5