Natsume is the reason INFECTION got a T Rating for sexual referencesThe quote "Oh, are you sure? But I can't give you anything in return. Well... except maybe myself." if you decide to give her the weapon she wants instead of keeping it.
The World's Background Music IS the //SIGN OST.Note how //SIGN never has BGM in the scenes that aren't in The World. Also the The Key of the Twilight is an Urban Legend of Zelda inspired by the lyrics of the song of the same name. (An Urban Legend of Zelda that just so happened to be true, but whatever.)
My Crackpot Theory to Try and Make //Link Not SuckSpoilers way the hell up in this bitch, obviously. No complaining.
So the returning characters are memory constructs, obv. Not only is Geist an AI copy of Jyotaro, but the rest of Schiksal are personality splits that don't realize it. Parts of himself he cast off so he can be UBAR VILLAINU (compare/contrast Naraku of Inuyasha and Father of FMA). Tokio is a trojan horse AI with false memories. Truth is he always had the virus in him, but he needed a few years to develop in a private server before he could be dispatched. AIKA is exactly what she claims she is, but Saika is not Jyotaro's sister. She is, in actuality, a split personality of AIKA that believes she is, constructed in order to give her reason to enter Tokio's world and unlock him. AIKA's motive is love, but Geist only allowed her to get close to Tokio if she followed his plans, so Saika was created as a sort of "sleeper agent" not realizing her own motives are made up. AIKA is also an AIDA that knows love in all it's forms, like Tri-Edge's hate and anger. She created Saika for the above reasons, but also out of jealousy for all the sibling bonds the AIDA have seen, such as Jun and Pi, Saku and Bo, etc. Now, the events of the game happened merely because Tokio entered the game. The virus took hold and began doing these time travel shit. That's because it's not time travel, but the virus already working at hacking into Aura, and so we manifest her memories (see the memory-viewing aspect of Avatar Space in GU+ and the GU Novels). The whole game was in Aura's core the whole time, but was a metaphorical, allegoral journey to the center of her heart. We saw her good times and bad times, and there were even attempts to twist and confuse them in order to break her down. Aura expresses her disdain for being a deity very early on in the game, and the virus is showing this in all it's myriad paths. Eventually the virus gets through, but hold on: Aspects of Cubia? That's not even congruous. But you know what is? ...remember what Cubia actually IS? Right. He's the barrier of her heart, right? His job is to make sure people keep away from her. In short, he's everything Aura hates about her job. He keeps people from truly knowing her, he's the danger that makes people want to persecute and control her due to her risk, and he's the personification of the fact that things go to hell whenever she tries to help, even though she is very kind.... (I'm sure I can even bullshit some sexual symbolism from their placement to represent how she can't be with humans and blah blah, but it's really only supplemental.) Anyway, that brings me to "Death Queen Aura." It's not Aura at all, or rather, it's not her true self. You guys've probably played Persona 4, right? You're familiar with the Shadow. The Shadow is that which the human mind represses, denies, or ignores about itself. We all have one, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's the part of us that wants to tell our boss to go f*ck himself, but we pretend we don't feel that way so as not to get fired. This being is actually symbolic of Aura's inner despair and nihilism. Her rage at herself and the world outside for her lot in life and the shit she's been dealt, created by the destructive barrier around her. She's kind, so she would never do anything evil, but she's also a human with good and bad emotions, so in her low points, she may have these sorts of fantasies. The virus, then, wants her to embrace this side of her and give in to it. But Tokio and his companions don't want this for Aura, and since they are effectively her dreams, they represent her hopes and the flickering light of her inner resolve. They begin to win over the nihilism, but it will never be defeated. Not really. And so AIKA makes her decision; Aura's given so much to everyone. She's been forced to live as a god with an infalliable spirit despite having a human heart, prone to weakness. She was forced to give, and give, and give, and no one ever gave back to her. Not in a way that was truly meaningful or selfless. But AIKA knows love. And she has hopes, and dreams, and fantasies she wants to pursue. and she'll give that all up for Aura, so that someone can say they've returned the favor. She remains in Aura's heart, as a shining light of encouragement that there's great things about being alive, even if no one is on her side, and things seem dark as night. The Nihilism is defeated, and Aura returns to her rest, allowing all the AIs that fought for her to become real and exist, continuing the dream as a reward for defeating the virus. ...As for Kite-Sora, I'll get to her now. She is a memory of something that has yet to come to pass. That is, she is a daydream. A daydream of what? She's a dream of what Aura wants to be, if not forced to be a Goddess. The next story will have Sora innocently go on a quest to "revive" Aura, reliving Kite's adventure in a sense. But then she'll learn the truth: She is Aura, deliberately reincarnated so she can be like everyone else and live her own life. In that case, at the end of her story, she will reject the revival, defeat the Big Bad or whatever, and decide to continue living herself. Aura's suffered enough...let her rest in peace. And let us celebrate the splendor of the life of a human being, and the dignity of a mortal. And as Kite!Sora walks to join her friends, she will be stepping into the dawn after her darkest hour, and she'll secure the unwritten ending of her Epitaph; of her story. The end of Aura's story, the beginning of her own. And thus the end of .hack.
The fireflies were Tsukasa's symbolic connection to others.He crushed one when he was most closed off; and it was a firefly that led him to Subaru after she was attacked by the PK. His Dumb-Bell Guardian was a mutated version of this, which is also why, after it was destroyed, she started getting her memories back.
Subaru killed the PK that attacked her, which was a betrayal of her pacifism and is why she was suffering a BSOD.Hence the Clothing Damage. If she had been killed, she would have respawned with full HP though less experience.
Saika Amagi is the younger sister of Jyotaro Amagi and trying to accomplish what her brother failed with Project Aura.The crash of R:1 was the result of his attempt to use the Phases to bring back Aura. He failed and went insane. Saika took up the mantle by creating R:X, which uses save data from both R:1 and R:2, since both accomplished different objectives. She's using an Idiot Hero to act as a proxy, so she won't suffer the same fate as her brother. (And if the proxy goes insane, it'll take longer for it to make a difference.)
Tsukasa is staying with Tokkio to save Macha.There's something Tsukasa "still doesn't remember"; that's Macha, aka Mia. Since R:X has information from both R:1 and R:2, they should be able to recover her data.
Emma Wielant was used as a prophet to herald the coming of the psychic astral planeA character in the Liminality series knows the history of Emma's poem, saying that she wrote it shortly after what she called a "supernatural experience." In turn, her poem inspires her would-be lover to create an entire world where, whether he intended it or not, the barriers between mind and matter break down. Unforeseen events follow Emma's poem closely enough that the heroes start referring to it to figure out what to do. Besides being a world where human minds can be separated from their bodies, it's a spawning ground for a whole new form of digital consciousness (Aura on purpose, Morganna and AIDA by accident). Emma's poem was either the work of some crazy mystical mumbo-jumbo that intended all this to come about or one mother of a coincidence.
Tsukasa would have been the Epitah User of MachaThe whole reason Elk (and Endrance) has Mia hang around him is because he looks like Tsukasa. Had Tsukasa recovered from the Mind Rape that Morganna inflicted on hir and come back to The World. Mia would have been there, waiting for hir. If she continued to play after R:1 crashed and recreated Tsukasa in R:2, Tsukasa would have been the Epitaph User of Macha.
Haseo remembers his time as SoraHe considers it his Old Shame and tries to hunt down P Kers to stop them from having the same feelings when they get older.
Haseo has a wrist problemHe snaps his wrist a lot in the first G.U. as an idle animation (I haven't played past the first so I don't know about future games). Since people's avatars are supposed to be reflections of one's self he could be trying to fix his wrist after playing too long
Haseo was infected by AIDA
Zelkova is an AI.He said the Net Slum Tartaga is his home town, never said anything about his life outside the game and somehow knew everyone's Member Adresses. Or maybe Helba.
Sakaki = Generation Xerox of Sora.Both are imature kids with lots of power in their hands. Unlike Sora, Sakaki is not likeable at all. Judging by the Online Jack OVA, he forgot ever playing as Sakaki. His parents won't tell anything about what happened and Online Jack will be forgotten eventualy. Then he'll create another character and become one of the good guys. At some point, he'll have to research about Puppet Syndrome and learn he caused it. Just like Haseo was a PK and became a PKK, Sakakiwill become either a PK or a PKK, suffer in the hands of Knight Templars and be horribly manipulated and betrayed. That's what you get for crossing a bunch of Moral Event Horizons.
Shugo is really Zefie's fatherAura was trying to create a better AI than herself, but it's impossible to write code that can do something you don't know how to do. Therefore, she had to get a data sample from an actual human in order to complete Zefie, and did so when she revived Shugo.
Kite's real name is Kite (either first, middle, or last)It could be used for an in-universe explanation for why he chose that player name.
The World has become a psychic astral plane with connections to all of the main characters in the manga and games.Hints of this abound throughout the series.
Miss Asaba, from Liminality OVA #2, is Helba.They were very careful to give both characters the same VA in Japanese and in English; Yuki doesn't seem to know her at all (Asaba offers an explanation that they met at a wedding not long ago, but this is well within the reach of someone of Helba's abilities.) but Asaba goes out of her way to take care of Yuki and constantly tests her with distressing implications about what is happening to the other people in the theatre. Asaba doesn't even give a full name, just a family name - which could easily be fake, taken from the wedding's guest list. In the next OVA, Helba makes the effort to contact Tokuoka's group, because Yuki passed her tests. This is completely in character for Helba, too, as she similarly watched the characters in SIGN and the games before agreeing to help them.
Sigma and Omega servers were added between Sign and Infection.AFAIK, we never see any sign of Fort Ouph or Lia Fail in any works set before Infection, and generally higher-level areas are created later. However, they aren't mentioned in the "new features" e-mail in Infection, meaning that they were added in an upgrade before the two.
After things turned Grim Dark in R:2, Aura and Zefie simply left the game for a friendlier serverThey have enough Playful Hacker friends to teach them how to to create a suitable environment. While Haseo and crew were having freakouts, she was off snogging Shugo silly.
The World left saved game files inside people's brains.This is why players of both R:1 and R:2 can get their characters back in R:X. R:1 player files weren't compatible with R:2, but they are with R:X. If they played both, whichever one they identify most with is used.
Pluto's Kiss was an anti-competitive move by the writers of ALTIMITALTIMIT was the only survivor, and it was not by chance.
.hack// is actually a simulation.It's not a game. No one behaves as though it's actual a game, the game play doesn't have anywhere near the necessary options for even an Everquest 1 era MMORPG, and any game that was sending people in to comas would be pulled off the market fast than the seizure episode of Pokemon. No, what it is a simulation with AIs and AI evolution. All the characters are advanced AIs interacting with more basic ones. They don't know it, though.
.Hack//'s world was Com.net onceAt least before it was perfected by the current team of computer programmers that involved Professor Inukai, Mr. Kasuga, and both Mr. and Ms. Shinozaki, the Big Bad of the second season, and a bunch more. They took the credit for reinventing the internet; but the first concept was in place, and Grosser was the program responsible for cleaning any residual or glitchy data from the beta, which could have corrupted him. After all, he was the proto-corrector; so, having artifical intelligence like all the others and seeing all that happened, he became corrupted and crazy. There are too many similarities between these worlds for it to be just a coincidence, and Haseo himself (who is 30-something) could be in the com.net invention project. Considering that Adaptation Decay is common nowadays, why not in such a near future?
The World is a Realm created by Virtual Adepts.The game itself, while appearing as a typical piece of software to Sleepers, are far more advanced than even futuristic technology should be. Also, full-body immersion seems to affect many players within the game, even those who are only wearing gloves and goggles in the real world; this is because, while in the game, those players are physically within the Digital Web in a pocket-dimension created by the cabal of Adepts who are the true creators of The World. Most of the events have been simply to keep players entertained; those who are Enlightened enough to follow the path to the end are marked as having potential for Awakening into Adepts. Most players are just playing a computer game, but some - like the .hackers - are able to use the Digital Web to its fullest. Hence, actions are possible in the manga and anime - sitting down, for example - that aren't in the games we play. We just don't have enough potential. Incidentally, the mods and admins of the game are either the Adepts themselves, in a number of puppets, or advanced AI of the type Adepts are capable of creating. The 'Sea of Data' is the fringe between the pocket-dimension of The World and the rest of the Web. Morganna was an Adept who went rogue; everything else, with Emma and all, was programmed or reality-hacks to add depth to the simulation. Some of the characters Awaken and became Adepts; an example is Balmung, who Awakens during his adventures with Kite and joins the staff/cabal. The Adepts themselves appear in the game as the Phases from R:2, having built up so much Paradox that they were verging on Quiet; battling Haseo eventually gets them back in touch with their mortal sides, pushing back the Quiet for the moment.
Helba's player is Major Motoko KusanagiWhen she isn't piloting Knightmare Frames, teaching the next generation of ninjas or being an demonic electric guitar-scythe, the Major kicks back and plays The World R:1. She got hooked on it after having to infiltrate it for a mission and discovered that there was more to The World than meets the eye. The whole "multiple users" rumor is partially true, as the Major plays Helba when there isn't a mission going on (using the "I can drive a car while asleep" and the "Hmm, I used to be able to control two bodies." lines), while the Tachikoma who don't go on missions (Rarely are all of them needed) play Helba to keep themselves interested.
This universe is another server on The Matrix, being run by an Architect who likes MMORPGs.The minute somebody's Fridge Logic kicks in and asks: "Wait, if The World is just a simulation, what's to say the real world isn't, he implants a subconscious desire to play in The World one last time before inducing a coma.
Alternately, this is Instrumentality.Tsukasa's player was struggling with the same issues of self-worth as Shinji (and Tsukasa's character design looks suspiciously like Kaoru).