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Anime / .hack//Quantum

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.hack//Quantum is a three episode OVA by Kinema Citrus and Bandai, created as part of the .hack franchise.

It's 2022, and The World is still as popular as ever. Three friends — Aida Asumi, Ikuta Iori, and Etou Eri — are, naturally, avid players of it. During a regular dungeon crawl, they accidentally ruin a guild's attempt to kill an infamous monster, The One Sin, and promptly get a bounty placed on their heads. During the ensuing chase, Aida happens upon a strange cat PC by the username of Hermit, who's looking for something...

It comes to a head when the chase lands them somewhere strange — an anomalous area called the Digital Prison, where Eri and a few others are PK'd and sent into a coma. Asumi and Iori are left to puzzle together why CC Corp is transferring comatose patients to one hospital, what a list containing the personal ID of the afflicted means, and who's behind the attacks...

.hack//Quantum provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Billy Needs an Organ: Hermit's actions are motivated by his search for a suitable organ donor...
  • Butt-Monkey: Remember IYOTEN!? He's injured a LOT during the chase and is the first to be PK'd and turned comatose by an entity in NetSlum. Bastard deserves it, though.
  • Call-Back: Reiko Saeki known as the player character Pi appears in a significant role.
  • Cat Girl: Cat Boy, actually. Hermit's avatar is a bipedal cat. In keeping with series tradition, he's a purple one too.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the background, one of Asumi's school lectures mentions that the real world has progressed technologically to the point where microchips are implanted into people's bodies to store personal data. Besides reminding the audience of human RFID chip implantation, this becomes a plot point when Hermit gathers players' personal real life data through these chips.
  • Chibi: Hermit.
  • Cool Sword: Tobias and Mary.
  • City of Canals: Mac Anu... Again.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The technology to trap minds in virtual reality has finally been put to practical applications, being combined with cryonic suspension for storing criminals with life sentences and people with incurable diseases. The Digital Prison still has a few bugs that need to be worked out, though.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Sakuya's avatar is basically a female version of Kite.
  • Dual Wielding: Sakuya.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Shamrock, Pi's new avatar. She says it's to throw off suspicion and lampshades her appearance, noting it's something a fanboy would use.
  • Eldritch Location: The Digital Prison verges on this with its effects on corrupted players, and a twig from its tree allowing Hermit to alter the data of The World freely.
  • Fanservice: Two scenes at an onsen, and when Eri is data drained by Pi in an attempt to stop her from killing Asumi in-game, her "clothes" temporarily disappear.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Digital Prison.
  • G.I.R.L.: Invoked. Hermit blushingly wonders about who Sakuya is in real life and hopes it isn't a dude. Also inverted with Iori, who plays a male character named Tobias.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sakuya.
  • Human Resources: According to Geek, the caged humans in the giant tree are being used as components of a giant quantum computer, and each one contains 14 billion entangled qubits, which is about the number of neurons in a human cerebellum.
  • Idiot Hero: Sakuya
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Sakuyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Well, not really her fault, but would anyone really care?
    • They even put a bounty for her head. 300,000GP to be exact. It turns out it was IYOTEN's Guild [a bunch of P King griefers and trolls] did it for kicks.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Invoked: Iori says Eri is talking as if she were Hermit's sister, and Eri replies that's because she spent the most time with him.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: Or in this case a studio turnover with Kinema Citrus handling the animation having taken over from long time .hack animation house, Bee Train. Even in the licensing this makes the first .hack to be released through Funimation instead of Bandai Entertainment. Of course the cast is a justified case given that it's an entirely different set of characters who just happen to have similar looking avatars.
  • Man Behind the Man - Invoked: near the end, Reiko suggests that some third party, connected to the Digital Prison, may have been the real culprits behind the whole story.
  • Meaningful Name: The Digital Prison turns out to be where criminals with life sentences are kept. The Complete Guide implies it's some foreign country (i.e. not Japan or America).
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Eri shows up again in the same state as the Azure Knights, attempting to PK Asumi.
  • Tomato Surprise: Hermit flips out when he overhears out his real body been dead since 2015.
    • Subverted: And then it turns out he's not dead after all, and that his real body was only put into cryonic storage.
      • Double Subverted: According to the novelization, no one has ever been revived from cryonic storage, and the technology to do so will not exist in the foreseeable future.
      • Triple Subverted: But cloning from a preserved body is not technically impossible, and if the process that traps players in the game were reversed to put a digitally preserved spirit into a healthy young body...
  • Virtual Ghost: The new bout of coma victims, along with the old Dot Hackers' data.
  • You ALL Look Familiar:
    • Sakuya, Mary, and Tobias use (modified) avatars of Kite, BlackRose, and Balmung, respectively.
    • Hermit's avatar is a chibi version of Mia/Macha.
    • Shamrock's avatar is a variation of Aina's.
    • There is even a Player that looks like Orca in Episode 3
    • If you watch carefully, you'll see expies of Shino/Atoli, A-20/Natsume, Silabus, Kuhn, Grein, and even a female version of Zelkova. And sometimes even multiple expies of the same character in the same screen, but then again, it is an MMORPG...
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: After the tomato surprise, Hermit turns into a bit of a Death Seeker. There's a scene where he respawns/wakes up in the Digital Prison again says, "I died seven years ago, but it hurts all the same..."