#1: In the case of Mai Minase


45 minutes
English Subtitles

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Anime consumes my life. A fetid quagmire of oddly colored hair and breasts too big for anyone's body threatens to drag me down as if I were some sort of Indiana Jones questing for an ancient Azetican temple. There's nothing I can do to resist, and so... my life this week is likely to be filled with nothing save the fruits of Japan's labor and Josephus'sJewish War. How I long for my days of hard-core insane Irish professors who never assigned work. I'd much rather loose my bowels every class from sheer terror than be sent home to do a 3000 word paper a for freaking FIRST LEVEL GENERAL EDUCATION COURSE. Why is it that classics are only good when you're reading them of your own volition? I feel that the Jewish scholar and I could have had a better relationship had we only met on more friendly terms.

But such is life. And so, with nothing else to do while I waited for Bear to makes his way back to West Philly for the very first time (I believe my exact words to Joel were : "Oh shit. He's definitely dead"). I popped in the OVA that comes with the .hack//Infection game Jerry was so kind to provide me.

There really is never much to say about those shows that are 45 minutes long, are they? And my opening rant wasn't very solid this time so I find myself stuck in the third paragraph already without much to show for it. Such is life, I might as well get to the meat of it... though I admit that it is through no personal choice of my own that I got into discussing the show proper so soon.

The story of .hack//Liminality, so far, is that of Mai Minase and her friend Masaya, who is in the quite dedicated gamers group who get together and play on "The World" regularly. Their mutual friend Tominari was through into a coma through an odd event during the game that even Mai herself can't explain, and she was sitting right next to them. From then on it seems that Mai is becoming more and more disinterested in everything. Her insane mother believes that since she regards the violin as only a hobby she should give it up all together. I can sympathize with the young girl. "What's the point of doing something if you're not going to do it all the way?" My mother would query as she beat me to and fro with her belt. But as far as crazy matrons go, this on takes the cake from even mi own madre. She's all canaries and handbaskets. As if this weren't enough, there's some hard-core pedophile stalker poking Mai for information about what happened to Tominari in the game. Masaya, the young rascal, tries to put up a decent fight against the rapscallion, but sometimes old stereotypes prove true. This nerd couldn't rub to sticks together in a fight... whatever that means...

As it turns out though, the man, Jinichiro, isn't a pedophile, but one of the people who worked on the Japanese version of "The World". A rather high up person at that, he's since resigned and is now on his own little crusade to figure out just exactly what's happening with the game. See, it seems that six people have fallen into comas much like Tominari's while they were playing the world. Begrudgingly, like a woman faced with my most noble phallus, she informs him of a strange sound she heard just as everything "went down". A ringing tone.

But if I were Jinichiro I wouldn't believe a damn word that came out of the girl that might as well be daughter to Mrs. Bates. I spent half this show waiting for a shower scene, and not the kind where lesbians get all soaped up and start doing things that they "really shouldn't do because their dad might come home". More like the stabby stabby shower scenes, if you didn't catch the Psycho reference up there. But to be honest, nothing like that was to be found in .hack//Liminality... and there's certainly a paucity of super hot Anne Heche types too.

...because it was basically a 45 minute instruction manual on how to move a form of entertainment as slow as possible. I usually go for the whole heavy on exposition detective mystery deals, but this show needs to learn how to keep things running.. Like it's big brother, .hack//Sign, Liminality isn't really sure what proper pacing is. Unlike the TV series though, it doesn't have a hundred and twenty five minutes on the first disc to get it right. There's 40 minutes where absolutely nothing happens, 4 minutes where everything moves at light speed (with excellent music over action) and then a final minute or two that probably feels slightly shorter than an eternity.

Liminality isn't something I'd really suggest buying (and you won't because the only way to get it is as a pack in with a reasonably fun PS2 game), but I do feel better for having seen it. Something about this show and its companions makes me want to view them all, because the creators were very clever. There's angles upon angles and they don't really intersect. Liminality refuses to give you more than the slightest glimpse into the real world in the same way that Sign did with the real world. The director, Mashimo if I'm correct in assuming the same person did the OVAs, is either a genius or crazier than Mai's mother. Or is that MY mother...?