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Video Game: .hack//G.U.
aka: Dot Hack Gu Games
The Infinity Eight: Left to Right: Endrance, Ovan, Atoli, Yata, Haseo, Pi, Sakubo, Kuhn

Taking place after the events in .hack//SIGN and the original .hack games, the popular MMORPG "The World" is open for business yet again. Well, the new World. The old one was destroyed when the servers mysteriously burned down. The new world is a bit Darker and Edgier these days with all the Player Killing. The PKK (Player Killer Killer) from .hack//Roots, Haseo, has become legendary in his own right. As The Hunter; he has killed hundreds of Player Killers and has gained the title The Terror Of Death. Yes, the same title the first Boss in the first game series had. He is hunting down a mysterious Player Killer known as Tri-Edge, for this mysterious Tri-Edge PK'd Haseo's friend Shino, and she fell into a coma in real life.

After being attacked and Data Drained by Tri-Edge, Haseo is found by a mysterious organization known as Raven, and joins their ranks, unleashing a hidden power in his character data known as Skeith.

All the while, a mysterious computer virus called AIDA is threatening the existence of "The World" and quite possibly the entire Internet.

Like its predecessor the game is split in three parts, or volumes:
  • Volume 1: Rebirth
  • Volume 2: Reminisce
  • Volume 3: Redemption

Character Sheets are here, tropes related to them should be added there.

The games contain examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: The World R:2 never crashes or lags, unless because of in story events.
    • Also the Save Stations: Not only do real MMORPGs not have anything of the sort, but in G.U. you start the next play session at the last save station you saved at rather than your desktop (unless you used that one last, which is itself another acceptable break). This actually helps add some realism to a story event early on in Disk 2.
    • The affection meters are clearly not part of the Game Within a Game because you can increase them by sending other people emails and greeting cards. Yet they have level limits that depend on which of the three GU games you are playing, cannot be increased in The World when the other player's character is dead, and eventually you find in-game objects used to increase them.
    • The game pauses when you check your menu, which shouldn't be possible if it was a real MMO and Haseo was checking his menu while the other players continued to act.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Trilogy movie.
  • All There in the Manual: See the entry for Hidden Depths. Also, some events in the game make way more sense if you've watched .hack//Roots.
    • Additionally there was a disc included with some editions of Volume 1. Written as a personal diary that detailed how The World R:2 came about, how the Epitaph Program came about, the mysterious fire at CC Corp, the fate of Mia from the R1 series, the details of Aura and how she created the Azure Knights and Rena and Shugo.
  • Alternate Continuity: The game starts the same way as the novels, manga, and Trilogy. Each medium branches in different ways after the basic premise is set up and acknowledges that they're alternate tellings. For the record, the games are the canon version.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: All of the Avatar battles as well as some of the areas outside of the system that aren't a White Void Room.
  • Animal Motifs & Animal Stereotypes:
    • Bordeaux embodies the obsessive, predatory spider woman.
    • Atoli's player loves birds, so she named her character after one and gave it the wing-cloak design. Thematically, she fits the vulnerable, "caged bird" heroine who is later set free to fly.
    • Gaspard has a rather dog-like loyalty and affectionate nature that fits his design too.
    • Members of the minor NPC guild ZOO attempt to play this trope up too, but with much less depth.
  • Arc Words:
    • Grow Up.
    • "Welcome to the World."
    • "Become stronger, Haseo."
  • The Atoner: Ovan at the end. Also, Endrance in Volume 2 when he saves Haseo in the Arena.
  • Ax-Crazy: All of the PKs, Bordeaux as a most shining example. Haseo in his PKK days too.
  • Author Avatar: Piros the Third is based upon Hiroshi Matsuyama, the director of the game series. Natsumi is based off his wife.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Level 3 Arts in Volume 3. They look awesome, but are generally less powerful and useful than regular skills. note .
  • Back from the Dead: Technically everyone who went comatose here and there.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Most female characters, and some male characters. Most notably Haseo himself.
  • Berserk Button:
    • "I'M NOT A NOOB!!!" This extends to being looked down on in any way. (e.g. The first conversation with Endrance, Pi, etc.)
    • Also, endangering any of Haseo's comrades is simply asking to get online ass-kicked. PK'ers who hunt beginners also trigger Haseo's button.
    • Calling Hiiragi "he".
    • Calling ωRice "Butt-Rice".
  • Betty and Veronica: Shino and Atoli or Atoli and Alkaid.
  • Between My Legs: In the most serious fashion possible in the endgame battle of Volume 1.
    Haseo: Give us back... ALL OF THE LOST ONES!!!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: As a surprise guest character from the previous .hack quadrilogy of games Natsume makes an appearance in Redemption. She has a split personality as the Chaotic PK "Natsume: The Edge-Maniac".
  • Big Bad: Azure Flame Kite in the first game, "Tri-Edge" Ovan in the second and finally Cubia in the game series ending.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Silabus and Gaspard. Also, Kuhn. Minor NPCs AppleStar and Renji also fit this role.
  • BFS: One of the classes is Heavy Blade/Edge Punisher. Their weapons are steam-powered swords, which are twice the size of their characters.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Several in a row in Vol. 3, against the Cubia Gomoras. Also a Not Quite Dead moment.
  • Big "NO!": Humorously done by Atoli in the Promise event with Endrance.
    • Not so humorously done when Kuhn and Atoli are screaming at Haseo to not use the newly awakened Skeith on Bordeaux and her lackeys.
  • Bi the Way: Depending of how you answer Endrance's e-mails Haseo himself can be seen as bi.
    • Endrance himself, since he fell in love with Mia long before he met Haseo.
  • Blade on a Stick: Used by the Lord Partizan Class.
  • Bonus Boss
    • Doppelgangers in every volume.
    • The Guardians in Reminisce. Also The One Sin and God Eater.
    • Cernunnos, Lord of the Underworld and God of Death in Rebirth, as well as his full power True Cernunnos form in Redemption.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The 100-floor Forest of Pain.
  • Boss Rush: Doppelgangers in the last dungeon of the Vol.3 Redemption.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The DG-Z (level 150 weapon, strongest Dual Guns) and the Guide to Divinity (level 150 accessory that boosts skills and increases skill XP gain) in Redemption are both extremely powerful pieces of equipment, obtained only upon the defeat of final boss of the Forest of Pain optional event, the God of Death, Cernunnos...and they're practically useless by that point, since you've already beaten the ultimate bosses. They can be used to take on a Bonus Boss-esque arena team, the Sweepstakers, but outside of that you're pretty much done with the game by the time you get the stuff.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: It's not clear whether the game interface for "The World" itself tracks your allies' affection rating, but the email system might as well have No Fourth Wall.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Gabi, the leader of Kestrel.
    • Minor NPC Ninjato is actually one of the graphics designers for "The World R:2." You probably better know him as that guy who is obsessed with shrine maidens.
  • Call Back: Too many to count.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Not all of them, but still most of them. This is the only way to hear Azure Balmung's and Azure Orca's voices, though Azure Kite won't talk even while using his skills.
  • Camp Gay:
    • Hiiragi, the captain of Fifth Division of Moon Tree.
    • The Chaotic PK'er Garden Michelle too.
  • Cam Whore: NA00, a minor NPC, somehow attracts a following of devoted male players who go so far as to form a guild based entirely on finding stuff to give her just by acting flirty. She comes to expect this from everybody.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Despite playing an MMO where anyone could be the party leader, Haseo can't relinquish the role. It goes further in that even though your party members get gold while you adventure together and can even level up outside the party, they never buy new equipment for themselves.
  • Card Games: Outside of "The World" is an online card game you can play based off characters and skills from the .hack universe. If you make your way up the ranks, you'll eventually be challenged by the champion, Gaspard.
  • The Chessmaster: Yata, Ovan, Sakaki.
  • Chainsaw Good: For Haseo, especially in his PKK days.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Haseo. Lampshaded in one of the wallpapers you can unlock in Redemption.
    • Silabus is also one.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Subverted. Haseo is dragged grumbling and grousing into helping people by Silabus and Gaspard. Despite his Jerkass personality in Disc 1, you simply can't advance the plot without helping them out.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Kuhn.
  • City of Canals: Mac Anu.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Many of the minor NPCs, but Henako is made of this trope.
    • All the Grunties are a little off, but Melo Grunty stands out in scenes where they all gather to talk.
    • Also, near the end of Volume 3, all of the natives of the Netslum.
  • Combos: Yeah. Lots of them. The combat system revolves around them, actually.
  • Cosmic Keystone: Key of Twilight, anyone?
  • Climax Boss: Each Volume has its own and they are hardly a letdown.
    • Vol.1: Endrance and Bordeaux.
    • Vol.2: Innis, Atoli's avatar and Sakaki.
    • Vol.3: Sakaki (AIDA-infected), Ovan and the Azure Knights.
  • Creepy Child: The victims of Doll Syndrome.
  • Cross Player: Some background characters and Bo, who is a boy playing a female character.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: When Atoli blames herself for what she did while controlled by Sakaki, Haseo demands to know how she intends to take responsibility to snap her out of it rather than reassure her it isn't her fault.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The beginning of the first game shows a level 133 Haseo fighting Tri-Edge (who is actually Azure Flame Kite), who nonchalantly blocks all of of Haseo's attacks one-handed, knocks him on his ass, destroys his weapon without even touching it, gives him a Face Palm of Doom, and Data Drains him, reducing him to level one. Ouch.
    • Haseo's opening battle vs. Bordeaux and the other PKs.
    • It is established quite well in the first game that normal players will experience this against Avatar users who spam out the Phases. Even said in-game that Endrance was originally quite a low-level player, for an Arena Emperor.
  • Cute Bruiser: Zelkova, the only Flick Reaper you can party with.
  • Cute Machines: MECHA! MECHA! MECHA! MECHA-GRUNNNTYYY!! *dun da dun!*
  • Cuteness Proximity: Atoli has shades of this trope, although this is particularly exaggerated in the 4koma strips.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Played very straight in the fight against Alkaid in Volume 1.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • Haseo annihilating a party of PKers in the beginning.
    • Alkaid, when she came Back from the Dead. She was destroying dozens and dozens of Cubia Gomoras in a cutscene, but when you use her to fight the same Gomoras she barely can scratch them.
    • Even opponents get this at least twice in the first game. In the first battles with Bordeaux and Alkaid in the Demon Palace Tournament it's made clear that Haseo is getting his butt kicked. In actual combat it's entirely possible for you to wipe the floor with them.
  • Cyberspace: The entire game takes place in an MMORPG, and its effects on the real world are the major plot point of the game. It also has a more traditional Cyberspace in the AIDA-infested space outside of the normal game areas, and of course hacking is all graphical with avatars.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Some have this, but the most notable is Atoli. Her complete lack of self-esteem pushes her to do "good" stuff to gain acceptance even in a game. To twist the knife further, her most trusted friend/mentor Sakaki is actually manipulating her, milking her trust in him and her powers of the Second Epitaph, Innis. She also met him on a suicide website.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: At first glance on Haseo's outfit after the Time Skip of six months would you still believe he is the hero? More over would you believe he is one of the nicest guys by the time he recovers the very same form?
  • Darker and Edgier: Where to even begin? The World is overrun with Player Killers, the main character is a Jerkass Player Killer Killer who likes to use the online equivalent of chopping people's heads off, Aura decided to leave The World with all the ensuing instability from her absence, and The World that they're playing in? It's actually a cobbled-together version with the original largely gone after its servers were physically destroyed. And that's all just the back story and opening. As you make your way into the game and learn more about the people in it things just get darker from there.
  • David Versus Goliath/Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Despite beating all of the others, Skeith is the smallest of the Avatars.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Haseo, frequently. (Especially when Atoli or Piros the 3rd are involved.)
  • Death Glare: Haseo gives one before charging Tri-Edge for the first time and then to Bordeaux when she throws in his face she was the one who PK'ed Alkaid, making her go comatose and nearly killing her in real life.
  • Death Seeker: Ovan.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Natsume, Matsu, Alkaid, Bordeaux, etc.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: The full inner part of Moon Tree's area to an extent in Reminisce, because while it is close to the end of the game, the Final Boss is fought some time afterwards.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • The Doppelganger weapons, if you get them early enough in V2.
    • To a lesser extent, getting Heavy Blades/Edge Punishers makes fights with Chaotic PKs, who could kill you in one hit, into a relaxing exercise in juggling with earthquakes.
  • Disney Villain Death: Played straight with Sakaki in Reminisce and subverted following his comeback in Redemption.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The Steam Gunner class is basically the physical version of the Shadow Warlock class, and the opposite is naturally true.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Several lines from the ending, when removed from context, sound more like they came from a lover's spat.
    Haseo: Wait! I... I still haven't found a way to return your feelings. You're always like this. You always leave before I can tell you how I feel! And now you're leaving me again! Please...Ovan!
  • Doppelgänger A game based event where you can fight your twin who is far stronger than you and get awesome prizes! They also become apart of the Final Battle.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side
    • Everyone infected by AIDA, but especially Sakaki.
    • Haseo when his Avatar has awakened until he nearly kills Kuhn.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Anyone who has the Twin Blade job.
    • The Macabre Dancer class dual wields fans.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Endrance.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Doppelgangers, which are always 8 levels above the leader of the party they face. Except that they are still restricted by the level maximum.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Many of the playable characters have issues, to say the least.
  • Eldritch Location: A few of the Lost Grounds, but most notably the Great Temple of Caerleon Medb, which is practically an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield with its floating ruins over a void and a swirling nebula and stream of broken asteroids in the distance. A couple of the others notably involve floating ruins or otherwise impossible architecture like magma "aquaducts."
  • Elemental Powers: The game as a 6-element system. Several characters are themed along certain elements in appearance or personality and come with unique equipped items that match that theme when the join the party. (e.g. Antares & fire, Endrance & wind, etc.)
  • Emergency Transformation: When Haseo's character data is critically damaged in the wake of Ovan's defeat, Zelkova repairs it, giving Haseo a new appearance and an additional character class.
    • Avatars are often unwillingly called forth in response to near-defeat when an Epitaph User has just awakened (and is thus still fairly new to using them). This happens several times to Haseo. The awakening itself is triggered by intense emotional distress.
  • Emoticon
    • Unsurprising, since forum posts and emails are a part of the game.
    • Japanese-style emoticons also appear in Vol. 3 as the faces of NPCs native to the Netslum.
  • Emotion Bomb: AIDA, which magnifies the emotion of people—be it good or bad. Some examples are Saku with her desire to protect Endrance and despise towards Haseo, Bordeaux with her grudge towards Haseo, Sirius with his desire to stay emperor and Atoli and her terrible inferiority complex.
  • Engrish: CC Corp's slogan: "Heartful and useful for all."
  • Everyone Can See It: Haseo and Atoli. They have strong feelings for each other, but neither of them is actually aware of the other's feelings. Half the cast want them to hook up.
    Silabus: "She's cute, but she has you, doesn't she? :)"
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The system administrators aren't evil, but their voice is a pretty good clue that things aren't going to be better when they get involved.
  • Evil Weapon: Demon Sword Maxwell.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Endrance and Sakubo turn their backs on Haseo and join Taihaku in the Sage Palace Tournament. Subverted when it turns out to have been a Reverse Mole ploy on Endrance's part.
  • Facial Markings: Lots. Tattoos are all over the place. Especially on the face.
  • Faking the Dead: Kuhn, after he got beat the crap out in the fight against Skeith.
  • Fanservice: A lot. Let's leave it at that.
  • Fat Idiot: He's a nice guy and all, but let's face it — Gaspard is a little dim.
  • Foreshadowing
    • Haseo is generally not nice in Volume 1, but he holds a particular contempt for Sakaki. Guess what Sakaki does later on...
    • The scene with Sakaki and Atoli at the Lost Ground is a type of foreshadowing as well.
    • Atoli and Sakubo being Epitaph Users is also briefly foreshadowed when Haseo Awakens his own. It's stated previously that only Epitaph Users can see Avatars, and it seems fairly obvious that those two can see Haseo's.
  • Flower Motifs: A scene in Vol. 2 hinges on how honeysuckles mean "devoted affection." Cue flashback & angst for Haseo and Luminescent Blush and denials from Alkaid.
    • In an E-mail chain with Sakubo in Vol. 3, Haseo tells Saku that a White Chrysanthemum means "I'm here for you". This convinces the Saku side of Bo's personality to not abandon him.
  • Forced Level Grinding: The bigger the difference of levels, the less damage you'll do (if a lower level than your opponent) and take (if a higher level). If the difference six or more levels levels you won't even make you opponent flinch. Unless you have some serious skills, tons of healing items, or resort to hit and run tactics you really shouldn't fight enemies under-leveled.
  • Friend to All Children: Surprisingly enough, Haseo. It's noticeable in the Vol.1 when Saku keeps yelling irritatingly at him and Haseo just keeps listening and answering normally.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The many meanings of G.U.
  • Furry Fandom: At least two guilds and several message board posts in the game play this trope straight (and rather innocuously compared to many Western works that reference the phenomenon).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: In Reminisce before the battle against Sakaki, he declares that he will destroy "those who have betrayed him" first, referring to Atoli. Guess who becomes his target during most of the battle.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Even though the game constantly picks on the topic of PK'ers predating on anyone you never get assaulted by one unless in story events or if you choose to enter in a Battle Area and face either one or a horde of monsters.
    • In a cutscene in the first game Atoli prevents Haseo from kicking a Lucky Animal. At any other point when she is in your party she will never complain.
    • Haseo's in-game character level depends on how you grind his character, but story segments routinely describe how difficult battles and dungeons are with reference to what level Haseo's character is expected to be at the time rather than what you ground it to.
  • Gambit Roulette: Ovan's ridiculously convoluted master plan... goes horribly awry...
  • Genki Girl: Tabby and Atoli.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: A partial example, because the flea in question was a major boss in the R:1 games and drove the plot for the last quarter of Redemption, but still had absolutely zero foreshadowing regarding his presence in the story or even that he was still around after R:1. You spend most of the series chasing after Tri-Edge but when you finally defeat him, Cubia suddenly shows up.
    • Very observant players of the first game series might have seen it coming: Cubia is specifically mentioned in .hack//Quarantine to be the "shadow" of the Key of Twilight, born when it manifests its power. Therefore, when the Epitaphs were referred to as the Key in this series, alarm bells went off in some players' heads.
  • Girl In White: Aina.
  • The Glomp:
    • Gaspard gives these out.
    • Atoli on Haseo after the first arena match in Volume 1.
  • A God Am I: Sakaki. It doesn't last.
  • Gossipy Hens: Trifle is a minor guild of eccentric gossips and Fan Girls. Saku is a member.
  • Guns Akimbo: Haseo's Xth Form has the power to use dual guns.
  • Gun Kata: Haseo gains this with his final "Xth-Form", where he wields two guns with bladelike attachments. In a typical Short-Range Long-Range Weapon , his special moves using that guns are performed close range as he both slashes and shoots; also used in the one of the last cutscenes. The game's juggle reaction to specific attacks mean that one can use the guns to juggle an opponent continuously until they die. Of course, said ability can only used by Haseo, until one realizes that * somehow* , the in-game Doppleganger is able to replicate his guns too and hence can use said trick back on you. Frustration ensues.
  • Heel-Face Turn:
    • A rather unusual case. When he was younger, Haseo's player Ryou Misaki was the antagonist PK Sora in The World v1, but loses his memory of it when Sora is data-drained by Skeith at the end of .hack//SIGN, putting Ryou in a coma. He later goes on to become the hero of the GU games.
    • A straighter example would be Endrance, one of Volume 1's main villains, who saves Haseo from being put into a coma in Volume 2.
    • Also, some of Kestrel's members, including the reviled IYOTEN and Asta, become Haseo's allies toward the end of Volume 3. The Moon Tree captains that had previously sided with Sakaki become "good guys" as well.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Justified, as the game takes place in a game that uses what appear to be PS2 controls.
  • Heroic BSOD:
  • Hidden Depths: Most characters apply, as many of them are playing the game casually, roleplaying, or quiet about their real life situations. You'd find some surprising things in the bonus materials. If you send greeting cards and raise affection with your allies, they email you more frequently, and tell you more about their jobs and such in real life.
  • Hidden Eyes: Shino, in the real world.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Cubia comes a little after Ovan activates the Rebirth, with no indication beforehand that he would appear; the only way you would know is if you had taken a look at pre-release previews and promotional material.
  • Hot-Blooded: Haseo, Matsu, Sakaki, Saku and the list goes on...
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In form of cutscene in the fall of Haseo.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Within "The World's" history, which can be accessed on its website before logging into the game proper. Humans were once the majestic elves, blessed by the gods (see Our Elves Are Better below), but they got too proud and were "cursed" with humanity. They quickly deteriorate in morality and take up war and domination, which quickly becomes humanity's defining characteristic. The history gets worse from there and it's implied that the constant warring will cause the end of The World.
  • 100% Completion: The Book of 1000.
  • Identity Amnesia: Haseo is actually Sora from .hack//SIGN, but doesn't remember any of it.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In the fight against Innis, Atoli's avatar, Haseo constantly yells to her in and between the cutscenes trying to bring her out of AIDA's control without having to resort to Data Drain.
  • Idle Animation: Everyone has one.
  • Ill Girl: Aina, Ovan's little sister. Sakubo's player is also an Ill Boy.
  • Implacable Man: Dopplegangers. Once they spot you out on a field, they will not stop chasing after you. You can run like hell to another part of the map to get away, but it will continue to slowly walk towards you, one step at a time. Ducking into a Battle Area to fight another monster will not stop it from walking right in after you.
  • Inevitable Tournament: There's one for each game.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Nearly all of the equipment obtained from Doppelgangers (with the exception of the DG-0), and the Redemption-exclusive DG-Z dual guns, which has a chance to take off 95% of an enemy's HP in a single shot. Sadly, the last one is also a Bragging Rights Reward, see above.
  • Insult Backfire: More than once when Haseo calls out Yata on his manipulative streak.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Many places. Most literally in Hulle Grantz Cathedral.
  • Jack of All Stats: Blade Brandier class. The damage output is somewhere between Twin Blade and Edge Punisher, not as fast as Twin Blade and Tribal Grappler, but faster than heavily armored class as Lord Partizan.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: The AIDA infecting Ovan sometimes takes over and PKs those close to him. The most notable victims were Shino and Aina.
  • Jerkass: Haseo, initially. Played for Laughs with Death Grunty.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Haseo, after a little Character Development.
  • Joke Character: Adept Rogues are "masters of none", meant to make up for their average stats and slow skill growth by using multiple weapons and being able to deal with a variety of situations. Matsu, however, refuses to use his Broadswords, making him little more than a sub-par Steam Gunner; Kuhn will always be more useful than him.
    • Statwise they're more or less the same, although Kuhn is a Epitaph User (meaning you're forced to used him often so he'll be better leveled and he has a powerful Lost Weapon) while Matsu can equip stronger armor. A better example is Bordeaux who joins at the end of the final volume at level 80ish (everyone else is level 120+) with a level 25 weapon, and is a Blade Brandier which you already have 7 others of, and Endrance is flat out better than the rest of them statwise. She's basically useless.
    • Lethal Joke Character: Alkaid. At the end of vol 3, when she comes back, she will probably be at level 60-70, when everything else at this point is level 120 or higher. Give her a Counter customized armor, and she will be hitting 4999 damage whenever the counter procs. This can somehow kill the last boss of vol 3 in one hit, even though said boss has much more HP than that.
  • Lag Cancel: One of the most efficient ways to attack with a Broadsword is to hold the Guard button as soon the hit lands, it will cancel completely the horrible lag it leaves. In Vol.1 this made a Broadsword as fast, if not faster, as Dual Swords.
  • Large Ham:
    • Piros the Third, Gabi, Sakaki, and Salvador Aihara.
    • The final duel against Ovan in his avatar form, Corbenik 2nd, in Vol.3 is almost made of this.
    • The AIDA-infected bayonet in Volume 3.
    • Haseo. He's possibly the largest ham in the entire series.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Several of your party members, while possessing great abilities, join very late in the game (or worse, when the game already ends) and are outclassed by others in terms of usefulness.
  • Latin Lover: Salvador Aihara wants to be one so badly it hurts to watch.
  • Laughing Mad: Haseo after he awakens his avatar for the first time.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Haseo versus Kuhn in Vol.1. When Haseo has to be taught a thing or two about humility and how avatar can be dead dangerous if overused..
  • Lost Forever:
    • Musics, Wallpapers and some Movies inside the game if you didn't get before moving to the next Vol. or worse, if you started playing in the second or third Volume.
    • Greeting Cards are great for boosting relationships with party members, but they come in finite amounts—once you use them up (like the Promise Card, of which you ONLY get one), they're gone for good.
  • Love Freak: Atoli. Endrance becomes one from Vol. 2 on.
  • Madness Mantra: Someone infected by AIDA generally has one of these.
  • Manga Effects: Many of the in-engine cutscenes use Cross-Popping Veins, a Sweat Drop, etc. to illustrate the characters' moods. Haseo gets a lot of these thanks to his moody temper and general role as grumpy cast tsukkomi in comedy scenes.
  • Master of None: In-universe, the Adept Rogue character class is generally viewed as inferior to those who value statistics over skill; while the Adept Rogues have versatility due to the ability to wield multiple weapons, they have lower stat increases and slower skill gains when compared to other classes.
    • Haseo is unusually powerful for an Adept Rogue. This is commented on by several people on the forums, who are amazed he's such a high-level player with that class. His power with the class is well justified as he was only one of two people (the other being Taihaku) to finish the Forest of Pain event, a 100 floor dungeon which nabbed him multiple levels and as a reward skipped him right to his final job extension and majorly boosted his stats.
    • It helps that the 3 classes he chose mesh well together, basically making him a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of them. Justified in that the character names were intentionally picked by their respective players. Lampshaded by minor NPC "angel hair."
    • Haseo's name especially. His name is an alternate reading of the name of the famous Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho. This is significant because his previous character Sora (of whom he remembers nothing) was named after Basho's disciple Sora Kawai.
    • Minor NPC Henako's name is a variation on "henna ko" or "weird girl." She lives it.
  • Men Don't Cry: Said by Shino toward Haseo before she fell into coma in the beginning, and later by Alkaid in Reminisce. More like "Boys Don't Cry", but still.
  • Metaphorgotten: Wise Grunty's sayings tend to end up in this way.
  • Mighty Glacier: Lord Partizan and Edge Punisher classes.
  • Mind Rape: Atoli at the hands of Sakaki.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Happens sometimes when reading the news/forums after tragic game events. e.g. Finding out that Usagimaru & Rei-chan from the last game are a famous comedy duo at the same time that you find out Alkaid's player nearly died when Bordeaux PK'ed her. Made worse if you have a rather cheery background / music set up at the time.
    • Also present when Alkaid gives Haseo an item that has unintentional romantic implications (her reaction is hilarious) but that causes Haseo to have an extremely melancholy flashback at the same time.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Haseo after Data Draining Magus, Kuhn's Avatar, and nearly putting him in a coma.
    • Sirius has one complete with the The Scream once he has the AIDA infecting him drained and Endrance tells what happened to Alkaid.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
    • Haseo, The Terror of Death.
    • Skeith, the other Terror of Death.
    • The in-game forums states the Chaotic PK'ers. They have even a special Red Baron codename.
  • Neck Lift: Several times. One amusing example would be your first meeting with Alkaid.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, in the forum posts Kaki Leader constantly teases ωRice by calling him "Butt Rice". Soon the other forum posters take a notice to his hilariously unflattering nickname.
  • New Media Are Evil: Several news articles and the like that can be accessed from Haseo's desktop discuss both the benefits and drawbacks of recent technology, though more than a few cover the detrimental effects "online gaming" has had on the populace.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Eliminating AIDA by using Corbenik's Rebirth to reset the Internet? Congratulations, you've created Cubia.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Averted as Haseo will always have matching upgrades in the cut scenes.
  • No Export for You: The one-episode sequel OVA, .hack//G.U. Returner, has not been localized officially and there is no indication it ever will be. It's a real shame, since it clears up a lot of confusion in the ending. The games also never saw a release in certain parts of the world.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The fight against Magus, when Haseo's avatar goes berserk, is probably the most brutal, one-sided fights of the entire game.
  • No Sense of Direction: Based on what happened early in Volume 1, Gaspard. One has to wonder if he is aware of the map function in the game at all.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: You know the game really wants you to follow the plot to the next point when it denies you the chance to ask any allies to join your party to go leveling up and doing side-quests. In an exploration sense, some areas really are straight-forward with no alternate paths of exploration.
    • It gets better with the "All party members are Busy so get on with the plot!" stuff in the latter two volumes, where most party members are usually always available.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: The original version of "The World" met its demise when its physical servers were destroyed in a fire. What information they could save from the original game's code had to be merged with another game in order to create "The World R:2".
  • Oba-san: Haseo starts calling Pi an old hag after she calls him an unruly child, much to her ire. That pretty much sets the tone for their relationship for a while. Saku gets in on the act later too.
  • The Obi-Wan: Antares and Phyllo, whose "original" player happens to be dead.
  • Ominous Walk: Taihaku really likes to do this during the match against him.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Wise Grunty.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The backstory of "The World" reveals that elves were created in the image of its god, the Elder Deity called Sol, who loved them so much that he and every other deity and creature blessed them (except for Cernunnos, the Lord of the Dead, created from the spirit the Elder Deity's deceased younger brother, who withheld his blessing). The blessings essentially made the elves into demigods. Unfortunately, they grew proud and demanded to become true gods. In response, Sol furiously took away all the elves' blessings, turning them into humans.
  • Out of Character: Haseo himself has moments like this in Vol.1 if you send cards to people. Considering how much of a jerk he is in that game, it can be strange how nice he acts in some of his messages. This is lampshaded by Atoli in one of her responses.
  • Paparazzi: Salvador Aihara, who actually stumbles into an important story.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: It's possible to level grind on enemies near or at the maximum level attainable in Volume 3 - get a steam bike upgrade that allows you to stun enemies when you collide with them, then go to field areas around levels 140-150 where the objective is "Defeat the Boss". Ram the boss with your steam bike to stun them for the whole battle, and they'll likely be too slow to get attacks in during the short periods that stun status lets them move, and make sure to bring plenty of SP-restoring items and spell items so you'll rack up hits fast. Have fun chaining Rengekis. Watch out for Doppelgängers, though.
    • The area Delta: Screaming Idling Princess. It's a Lv11 area that is actually a glitched mirror of a quest area. It has the monster Azul Sachem, a Lv90 monster, even in vol.1 (where the level cap is 50). While in vol.1 it's named "-" and has very low stats, in the sequels they take their regular stats, so you can go in there at the beginning of vol.2 to Level Grind.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Haseo's interaction with Sakubo, especially in earlier parts of the story where he's pretty much a jerk to everyone else.
    • He also has a few moments with Gaspard.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Depending on how you left your Steam Gunners' action settings, they'll only bash, and at times slash, enemies with their guns.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Saku and Bo, to the point that their character's hat indicates which one is active (Saku has the "sun" side pointing up, while Bo has the "moon" side).
  • Power Fist: The Tribal Grappler class, which also fits Fragile Speedster.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Icolo members have shades of this trope.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: In the beginning of Redemption, when Atoli wants Haseo to find Melo Grunty together. It works.
  • Purple Prose: Endrance borders on this with his florid love speeches from Vol. 2 on. Before that, he's the master of the Cryptic Conversation.
  • Race for Your Love: In the end, Haseo chooses to chase after Atoli rather than stay with Shino.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Haseo. The first times he uses his avatar and the rematch against IYOTEN and Asta are notable examples.
  • Red Herring: The most famous in the .hack series: Azure Kite is not Tri-Edge, Ovan is.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Haseo who wears red and black to Ovan who is in blue and white. One is fiery, hotheaded and the other is calm, logical and manipulative to no end.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sort of. In Redemption, Sirius, who lost himself after using AIDA for power in Reminisce, becomes a Lost One after entering the Sage Palace in order to save Taihaku and find a way to cure Alkaid.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Haseo towards Ovan, especially after the reveal of his identity as Tri-Edge. Prior to the activation of the Rebirth Haseo gives an amazing speech chewing the hell out of him.
  • The Red Mage: Macabre Dancers are able to use healing, attack, and status magic, but do not learn the highest level spells of the other magic classes (Harvest Clerics and Shadow Warlocks).
  • Relationship Values: Each party member gets a Relationship Value, which rises as Haseo spends more time with them or gives gifts. A party member who has maximum affection in Redemption allows you to have a Friendship/Marriage Ending with him/her.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Chim Chims.
    • All the Lucky/Unlucky Animals fill this role too and are also fun to kick around.
    • The Grunties also fall into this trope.
  • Role-Playing Game Verse
  • Rousing Speech: Double subverted in Vol. 1, when Piros the 3rd repeatedly fails to convince a high school student to follow his dreams. At the end of the quest, he finally succeeds.
  • Running Gag: The Arena Commentator seems to have troubles when dealing with the guest commentators for the Tournaments.
  • Say My Name / Skyward Scream: Haseo & Pi.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Ovan's lenses pick up a considerable glare whenever he's being especially mysterious... or dangerous.
  • Serious Business:
    • MMORPGs are srs bsns.
    • Also, the conflict between members of Moon Tree and Kestrel, despite neither of the guildmasters being all that worked up about it.
  • Screaming Warrior: Haseo. And about everyone who can fight, actually.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Endrance. After accepting Mia's death, he moves on and latches onto Haseo.
  • Sinister Scythe: Used by the Flick Reaper class.
  • Slasher Smile: The only way to properly describe the look on Haseo's face when he first awakens his powers as Skeith's Avatar and prepares to slaughter Bordeaux and her lackeys with it, even while Kuhn and Atoli are screaming at him to stop.
  • Slow Motion Fall: When Atoli is attacked by AIDA in the end of Volume 1.
  • Small Annoying Creature: In-universe example: Haseo regards Death Grunty as one. Which is hilarious, given that Death Grunty is based on himself.
  • Sock Puppet:
    • Yata and Nala have the same player, who uses both to further his agenda.
    • Yata and Pi also did this in the prequel anime .hack//Roots as Naobi and Ender.
    • On a related note, Salvador Aihara promotes his own movies in the game forums without identifying who he is.
  • Sparkles:
    • Haseo's intro to Saku's obsession with "Master En."
    • Atoli trails glittery sparkles everywhere after her Epitaph is stolen by AIDA. It stops when she gets it back.
      • Subverted, somewhat, in that this event is most definitely NOT a good thing. It is her character data deteriorating, and the hand that is fritering away in the game is useless in real life.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: When a Doppleganger spawns and notices you nearby, the music will change to what can best be described as exceptionally scary and fear inducing. The tempo of the music increases as it slowly walks towards you (and flashing red screen intensifies as well.)
  • Stalker with a Crush: Saku claims to be constantly pressing the screencapture button when Endrance is on her screen. This is the least of her stalker-ish behavior.
  • Steam Punk: Not quite this trope, but clearly inspired by it as Lampshaded by minor NPC Boltz. Steam Gunners are a good example.
  • Stepford Smiler: Atoli is a major example.
  • Suicide by Cop: Ovan's master plan is to make Haseo become his "cop."
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: All of the Awakenings.
  • Super Robot: Piros the 3rd acts like he can't decide whether he's playing the hero in such a show or the robot itself. One of his running gags it to point to the sky and leap as if taking off with rockets, only to turn and run off once gravity asserts itself.
  • Superpowered Evil Side:
    • Played for laughs with Natsume.
    • Any Epitaph User who gives in to their Avatar's power.
  • Tareme Eyes/Tsurime Eyes: Saku has Tsurime Eyes. Bo has Tareme Eyes. This is how you tell them apart on the party invite list since all you can see is Sakubo's eyes.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Some of the AIDA attacks are named after programming languages. Algol Laser, Prolog Lazer, Lisp Tackle are some examples.
    • Pretty much all of Anna and Helen's attacks are named after programming languages, although a few of them were changed in the English translation for no known reason.
      • AIDA Victorian, however, draws its names from more royal or kingly-sounding words, such as Elegant Orb or Excellent Ray. It fits with Sakaki's over inflated self-view.
    • All of the leaders of Moon Tree are named after various trees in Japanese (with Sophora and Zelkova switched to their latin genus names in English). The guild name itself is a pun ("Tsuki no Ki") on one of the Japanese words for the tree Zelkova serrata ("tsukinoki"). Some of these names count as Meaningful Names too.
    • This also applies with members of several guilds in the game, such as the Gem guild.
    • Three of the forum posters are named after the parts of Cocytus. Judecca, Antenora, and Ptolomea, respectively. They also have an arena team named Cocytus-1.
    • The members of the Hetero Trio (in Vol. 3) are genetics terms: Hetero, Axanthic, and Leucistic. The latter two are types of albinism.
  • There Are No Therapists: So everyone who needs one just has to work it out with Haseo.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: In-universe example: some players from R1 express disappointment at how R2 turns out.
  • This Is a Drill: Some of the Lord Partizan weapons are gigantic drills.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Shadow Warlocks use grimoires as weapons.
  • Too Clever by Half: Sakaki.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Fish for Melo Grunty, and pickles for Wise Grunty.
    • There's a greeting card that you can send to your party members to find out their Trademark Favorite Food. Some of them are rather surprising, like Atoli's beef bowls.
  • Tsundere:
    • Haseo is a male example of a Type A.
    • Saku (Type A) is also one if you choose to keep her around in Redemption, as well as Bordeaux of all people (Type A) if you choose her in the Wedding Event.
  • Turtle Island: Netslum Tartarga.
  • Two Roads Before You: Ovan sends Haseo an email with this phrase after the latter is Data-Drained by Tri-Edge at the beginning of Rebirth. He gives Haseo a choice: forget about The World and never log in again, or endure harsh trials in order to discover the "truth" about The World.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The game allows you to run over the little blue critters with your steambike. Also on that note, you get more points towards the Book of 1000 if you hit monsters with the bike!
    • Through trading, you can take back a gift that you just gave to someone, along with some of their other stuff. They'll ask you if you don't want to be friends anymore. Does this count?
    • The Relationship Values. Particularly the replies you can give in email conversations or forums. An example would be making fun (rather harshly) of Gaspard for liking the card game Crimson VS. And all it costs you is a little extra time putting them in your party to make up for it.
  • Trickster Mentor: Everything Antares does is meant to teach Haseo something. Everything.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Avatar battles.
  • The Un-Reveal: Haseo never finds out Yata and Pi once controlled the characters Naobi and Ender, nor does he find out they are responsible for unlocking Ovan's arm.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Sakaki, Sakaki, Sakaki.
  • Valley Girl: Minor NPC NA00
  • Verbal Tic: Each Guild Grunty has one.
    • Death Grunty: "I'm Grunty! You're Haseo! Oink!"
    • Wise Grunty: "'Good and ill fortune are closely interwoven.' That's a proverb I learned from my master. Nero. "
    • Nazo Grunty: "I'm telling Master on you! Naru!"
    • Gao Grunty: "So you want to obtain my manliness for yourself? Haha."
    • Melo Grunty: "I think I smell Death Grunty on you. Mellow."
    • King Grunty: Shu.
    • There's also the Golden Goblins. *gob*
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Beatrice, a forum poster in Volume 1, views ωRice and Kaki Leader as this.
  • Yandere: Madame Insane, one of the minor NPCs wandering Lumina Cloth, became a PK to grief her husband after getting jealous about him talking to another woman. She finds it more effective to torment his character than to scold him in real life.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Regular players can't see battles between Avatars and with AIDA. They see these epic battles as an "instant-KO" move that just causes Haseo to glow briefly. The time-dilation is more explicitly pointed out after the AIDA server incident in Vol. 2.
  • Years Too Early: If you send Challenge greeting card to Antares, he will reply with something around this line.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Justified by the Role-Playing Game Verse. It's also a plot point that Atoli is practically a Palette Swap of Shino.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: People Data Drain'd on the game go comatose in Real Life. One character almost dies as a result.
  • You Should Have Died Instead:
    • According to the Perfect Guide, Saku was created when Bo heard his mother say this about him in comparison to his stillborn twin sister.
    • Sakaki, when defeated after morphing into AIDA <Victorian>.

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