Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Discuss the anime series that started it all, .hack//SIGN and //LIMINALITY

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Xu Yuan
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Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:06 pm

As I've been replaying, rereading, and rewatching dot hack v:1 stuff recently i obviously watched //Liminality, I don't care what anyone says, I still find the short series intriguing in all the right ways (it seems people so often write "intrigue" off as "boring" people lacking the patience for //SIGN and the like) but as I was watching it there seems a few plot threads which seem like they were meant for a larger stage.

First off is Mai Minase, the way she is set up is as the main character of the entire OVA, but that's not actually true, the main character is Tokuoka, but the first episode focuses on her (I'd argue in a way that it doesn't focus on Yuki or Kyoko) displaying her as having a broken family life with an often absent mother, a business oriented father who apparently hasn't been home in months, and seemingly her only real family relation she had was her grandfather who passed away likely nearly a year before the series starts. It goes into strange diatribes like her violin and musical expertise, but never really goes into them in much depth. The reason she is able to resist Data Drain (or possibly being fully pulled into a phase field) is due to her special hearing. Then there's the character of Masaya who seems like he was going to reappear in a later OVA but doesn't, despite being a secondary main character in the first episode.

So I was wondering if there was any other information that was released that may have hinted that //LIMINALITY was meant to be more than just an OVA?
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Lindz » Wed Aug 12, 2015 9:18 pm

I dun got any evidence but by looking at the runtime of each episode, the first was by far the longest which always struck me as odd. Maybe the plan always was 4 episodes at 45 mins minimum? Instead we get 45, 27, 30, 30. The lost time could've better made use of each character and story segment. It prolly always was meant to be an OVA cause a .hack tv series set pretty much only in the real world? Even at 10 - 13 episodes there just wouldn't be a whole lot going on.

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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:19 pm

The timing is something I never considered, I oddly never noticed that the first OVA was that long. I think you may be right that there may have been a plan for 45 minutes episodes, maybe that's what was throwing me off since character development on anyone but Mai is missing throughout the rest of the OVA's.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Kuukai » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:31 pm

I think the first episode was longer to make up for Infection being the shortest game. They knew it was risky to release a game that short - which ended up being warranted, as half of the people who bought Infection never touched .hack again. The anime was in there to mitigate that and provide something else of value.

I don't think Liminality was meant to be longer, they knew there were going to be 4 games. The idea was just to peak into the lives of three characters and then unite them (Trismegistus). This fits Kouichi Mashimo and Kazunori Ito's storytelling style as we see disjointed and brief character aspects in .hack//SIGN as well. In Kouichi Mashimo's other directed works there are also a lot of dropped characters. Not everything needs/gets closure, it's up to your imagination, and it leaves them material to work with in the rest of the metaseries, since Liminality connects to the games in several places to "continue" the story. It probably doesn't help that it was also meant to tie in more with .hack//ZERO (Sieg is a main character and Karl is Tokuoka's daughter), which was discontinued, which may have messed up a little bit of their plan.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:42 pm

Infection was the shortest game? Really? Hmm, I just finished a relatively normal playthrough (clear all fields and dungeons as far as is allowed) a couple of days ago without any specific grinding I finished it in about 12 hours or so. I'll see what my times are for the others then.

It was likely meant to tie in more with //ZERO as you say, I know the idea that Carl was Tokuoka's daughter was not thought up by the writer, it was likely something on some sort of background info. that would be important to include. Sieg is a big point though and he was meant to be a large character as evidenced in //LINK. Did that sub-story in //LINK also show Mai's character? I can't recall if it did or not.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Kuukai » Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:00 pm

I think she got a line, or at least a mention.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Lindz » Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:32 pm

Kuukai wrote:I think the first episode was longer to make up for Infection being the shortest game.

Based on personal experience Infection is the longest. My last two playthroughs of IMOQ netted these times:

12:12:50 | .hack//Infection
11:33:50 | .hack//Mutation
10:01:29 | .hack//Outbreak
11:20:22 | .hack//Quarantine

15:54:01 | .hack//Infection
12:48:30 | .hack//Mutation
12:11:54 | .hack//Outbreak
14:17:38 | .hack//Quarantine

Quarantine + Epilogue bring it closer to Infection, an obviously the item completion event blows it outta the water but still just to get to the credits Infection is the winner in length. So I dun think making the first episode longer had to go with game time.

It probably doesn't help that it was also meant to tie in more with .hack//ZERO (Sieg is a main character and Karl is Tokuoka's daughter), which was discontinued, which may have messed up a little bit of their plan.

Were ZERO chapters being published in magazines or something at the time? Cause as far as being released as a standalone book what I gathered is it came out in June 2003, which is well after IMOQ/Liminality finished? Its really a shame since aside from connecting with the games/liminality it also continued from SIGN. Might've even ended up connecting with Another Birth!

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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Avatar_Crim » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:36 pm

those are your times? dang, I guess I really take my time. I think i was at around 30 hours or total for infection. (haven't beat the others yet :/ )
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Sat Aug 15, 2015 5:00 pm

Oh when I Actually play the games as in trying to 100% //Infection and acquire each special Trade item and all of that jazz it takes me around 35-40 hours, but I decided to see how it would be to rush (but not carelessly rush) through the game this time around. There was one playthrough where I only fought mandatory in dungeons (and a slight bit of grinding to get Virus Cores from early foes) I made to Skeith at Level 18! Murdered me in an instant though.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Lindz » Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:12 pm

Avatar_Crim wrote:those are your times? dang, I guess I really take my time. I think i was at around 30 hours or total for infection. (haven't beat the others yet :/ )

Xu Yuan wrote:Oh when I Actually play the games as in trying to 100% //Infection and acquire each special Trade item and all of that jazz it takes me around 35-40 hours, but I decided to see how it would be to rush (but not carelessly rush) through the game this time around. There was one playthrough where I only fought mandatory in dungeons (and a slight bit of grinding to get Virus Cores from early foes) I made to Skeith at Level 18! Murdered me in an instant though.

My last 100% Infection run took 24:31:11. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or missing things which would count toward 100%? All the relevant trades, optional quests, special keyword areas, goblins, bonus dungeon, affection, emails, ryu books... I dunno. Maybe it just gets easier an quicker the more ya know your way around the game an have relevant tools handy for finding specific things?

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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Avatar_Crim » Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:40 am

ah that makes sense. I don't think I quite 100% it, well, I think I did, but then later careless sold items without thinking, but at least I don't feel like I am that slow lol.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Sun Aug 16, 2015 2:28 am

Lindz wrote:
Avatar_Crim wrote:those are your times? dang, I guess I really take my time. I think i was at around 30 hours or total for infection. (haven't beat the others yet :/ )

Xu Yuan wrote:Oh when I Actually play the games as in trying to 100% //Infection and acquire each special Trade item and all of that jazz it takes me around 35-40 hours, but I decided to see how it would be to rush (but not carelessly rush) through the game this time around. There was one playthrough where I only fought mandatory in dungeons (and a slight bit of grinding to get Virus Cores from early foes) I made to Skeith at Level 18! Murdered me in an instant though.

My last 100% Infection run took 24:31:11. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or missing things which would count toward 100%? All the relevant trades, optional quests, special keyword areas, goblins, bonus dungeon, affection, emails, ryu books... I dunno. Maybe it just gets easier an quicker the more ya know your way around the game an have relevant tools handy for finding specific things?


Out of curiosity do you go for the best armor and weapons ASAP? As in do you set up some early Keywords for a perfect Zeit run and trade to get Masterblades as soon as the game starts? If you do a fair amount of trading to get equipment it could be where the differences lie. I like to keep the game a consistent challenge and will only use what I find rather than what I can trade for since I find that sort of cheapens the experience. But that's just me. I imagine it would add a bit of time to a fully complete file though.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Lindz » Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:22 pm

Xu Yuan wrote:Out of curiosity do you go for the best armor and weapons ASAP? As in do you set up some early Keywords for a perfect Zeit run and trade to get Masterblades as soon as the game starts? If you do a fair amount of trading to get equipment it could be where the differences lie. I like to keep the game a consistent challenge and will only use what I find rather than what I can trade for since I find that sort of cheapens the experience. But that's just me. I imagine it would add a bit of time to a fully complete file though.

Nope nopes. I do a trade or two early on after the first dungeon or so to get a nicer weapon or something but I don't go outta my way to get trade bait or anything close to the bestest gear early on. Could be an interesting way ta do a playthrough though an would prolly make them Kite-only dungeons somewhat less unbearable!

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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Kuukai » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:19 pm

I can't argue with numbers, although 2-4 definitely felt longer to me, especially since they had more phases, Cubia encounters, abilities/monster types, and special content (like .hack//PHANTOM). In any case there are also plenty of examples where OVA series have varying length anyway. They just do what they can with the budget and let the runtime fall where it may.
Lindz wrote:Were ZERO chapters being published in magazines or something at the time? Cause as far as being released as a standalone book what I gathered is it came out in June 2003, which is well after IMOQ/Liminality finished? Its really a shame since aside from connecting with the games/liminality it also continued from SIGN. Might've even ended up connecting with Another Birth!

It came out right after Quarantine but was planned from the beginning. It was written by the co-writer of SIGN they made numerous allusions to it in the games (fifth coma victim, Alph, etc).
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Sun Aug 16, 2015 8:59 pm

Lindz wrote:Nope nopes. I do a trade or two early on after the first dungeon or so to get a nicer weapon or something but I don't go outta my way to get trade bait or anything close to the bestest gear early on. Could be an interesting way ta do a playthrough though an would prolly make them Kite-only dungeons somewhat less unbearable!


Maybe you are just fast then, haha! I played a solo game once of //Infection, it all goes so well until you get to Skeith... it was still a lot of fun and I feel that with the right amount of preparation Skeith may be defeatable... but getting past Data Drain and hoping he doesn't kill you right after that doesn't seem very probable.

Kuukai wrote:I can't argue with numbers, although 2-4 definitely felt longer to me, especially since they had more phases, Cubia encounters, abilities/monster types, and special content (like .hack//PHANTOM). In any case there are also plenty of examples where OVA series have varying length anyway. They just do what they can with the budget and let the runtime fall where it may.


You make a very good point and it's something I've noticed through my current playthrough of //Mutation the game feels more balanced and placed well together, there are three optional party members early on, several special party member events and the plot has accelerated, granted the chase for Skeith was well conceived and it really feels like you accomplished something while building up the mystery of what is happening the extra elements added to the plot like Lios and Cubia really help to spice things up.

I especially forgot how punishing Cubia can be. I fought him at Level 38 and may have been down only a couple 100 HP on all party members... Megiddo Flame gives me a Gameover. I was shocked! I forgot how powerful Megiddo Flame was! So the next time around I used one of the Burning Oil's I got on the way to Cubia and the damage was still massive, but survivable. This makes me wonder actually if surviving Judgement at lower levels can be done if Ap Ruem or Pure Water is used before hand.

Kuukai wrote:
Lindz wrote:Were ZERO chapters being published in magazines or something at the time? Cause as far as being released as a standalone book what I gathered is it came out in June 2003, which is well after IMOQ/Liminality finished? Its really a shame since aside from connecting with the games/liminality it also continued from SIGN. Might've even ended up connecting with Another Birth!

It came out right after Quarantine but was planned from the beginning. It was written by the co-writer of SIGN they made numerous allusions to it in the games (fifth coma victim, Alph, etc).


Now that is something I did not know! Was there any official reason why //ZERO was left in hiatus? I was always under the assumption its because they let a less than dedicated agent take the reins, but knowing that it was the co-writer of //SIGN is rather strange.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Kuukai » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:10 pm

She simply never finished it and (eventually) moved on to other work. Not being able to get the author back is stated as the reason they don't finish it now. If there was an initial reason it wasn't continued, it was either industry issues (Kadokawa didn't think it would sell) or the author being too busy.
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Re: Was //LIMINALITY originally conceived as more than 4-part OVA?

Postby Xu Yuan » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:20 am

Well doing the same style of gameplay I ended at 17 hours roughly. So yes, Mutation is Much longer than //Infection, time is increased because the game is more difficult, enemies require an amount of strategy to defeat that may go beyond their weaknesses. Dungeons are a bit longer all around, the optional dungeons and events which open up really enhance the play time. This is even without going to get the rare Trade items. The //Sign Memories are included though (how could I pass up 2 free Gold and Silver Grunties?!), and skipping Bitter Fantasy Mirror World (as in the first volume I skipped Hideous Someone's Giant).
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