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.hackG.U.+    by Tatsuya Hamazaki & Yuzuka Morita order for
by Tatsuya Hamazaki
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

The .hack// universe covers all areas of imported Japanese pop culture: manga, anime, video games, and merchandise. .hack//G.U.+, with its story by Tatsuya Hamazaki (who also wrote the story for the PlayStation 2 video game) and art by Yuzuka Morita, is the latest manga series about a massive multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) called The World.

In the year 2017, The World has evolved into The World R:2, now a dangerous place where Player Killers (PKs) run wild. One PK, Tri-Edge, has taken player killing to a new level his victims wind up injured in real life. After his friend is killed by Tri-Edge and winds up in a coma, Haseo goes vigilante and becomes the Player Killer Killer (PKK) known as The Terror of Death. When Haseo is attacked by Tri-Edge himself, he learns that there are players in The World that even the company that owns the MMORPG cannot control, and that these players are attracted to players like Haseo, who learns he is an epitaph user. If Haseo wants to keep surviving The World, he is going to have to face enemies stronger than he ever imagined.

This was my first exposure to .hack//, and even though at some spots I was a little lost, I was able to follow the story pretty well without having read or experienced any previous stories or games. The first volume of .hack//G.U.+ gives some background, but is mostly full of action, making it a very fast-paced read. Morita's artwork is perfect for this type of story as the bold drawings help keep the reader's eye focused, even during the fight scenes. I think .hack// fans will be pleased with .hack//G.U.+ and that fans of SF shonen manga will also find something to like. Being a shojo fan myself, I appreciated the artwork, but just could not get into the story.

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