Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

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Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby k-su » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:35 pm

So I decided to go back and rewatch SIGN on the road to Last Recode and something I noticed really got me thinking. At the start of the episode Party, Tsukasa dreams of playing with Aura, before being assaulted by her with a knife. When he looks at her face, it's Subaru's. We know Morgana has been manipulating Tsukasa and that around this time, Tsukasa started seeking out Subaru as he slowly opens up again. Since these positive feelings conflict with Morgana's plot, her attempts to keep Tsukasa isolated become more and more overt.

My question is that since Tsukasa's mind is trapped in the game and is under Morgana's "care", I'm wondering if it's possible for her to have influenced Tsukasa's dream in an attempt to spook him into staying away from Subaru specifically in that scenario. Can the electric sheep in the mind of a soul digitized victim be manipulated like the coding of their virtual prison?
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Kuukai » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:17 am

Definitely. Was it even really a dream? She took Tsukasa's memories, it could have been something in the opposite direction.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Xu Yuan » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:06 am

Tsukasa does say in one episode to Mimiru that though he falls asleep sometimes it feels different from sleep. So odds are that these visions Morganna plants into Tsukasa's data are made for the purpose of influencing his next actions.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby k-su » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:44 pm

If that is true, then was it possible for Morgana to read Tsukasa's mind? I'm not sure it's been touched on in the series proper, so I can't know if CC2 thought of its possibility and/or decided to ignore it for sake of the plot. A normal player's thoughts exist outside the game, so Morgana wouldn't be able to apply this to most encounters outside of SIGN and maybe Zero.

There's also a later scene that would imply Morgana during SIGN is not omnipresent. In the space where Aura sleeps, she has to confirm with Maha that Tsukasa hasn't shown up that day. This seems to imply her focus was probably devoted elsewhere exclusively or she was sleeping on the job. Do you think she'd be omnipresent in her complete form?
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Xu Yuan » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:30 pm

I think that Morganna can function as a full omnipresent being, but it likely takes a lot of energy (?memory?) and she wouldn't be able to conduct it for that long. During the later parts of the series she is clearly acting in this role as she cannot see the Net Slum and asks Macha where Tsukasa and the others had gone which implies she was overseeing the entire system. She also destroys the Harald AI when she recognizes where this meeting was taking place.

I do believe that Morganna can read Tsukasa's mind, it would be a basic imperative for her to test his emotional status at any given time. We know when he is conflicted about whether to search for the Key of the Twilight, Morganna PM's him (presumably) with a refrain of what she had told him previously (at first I thought it was a memory, but the first part is slightly different and the tonal inflection is wholly different). It's also at this time that Tsukasa realizes that Morganna wants to keep him trapped there, hence why Macha confronts him angrily in the next episode before he heads off to Bitter Fantasy Mirror World.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Kuukai » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:29 pm

Everyone "bleeds over" a little bit into the game, that was the original point Harald had in creating a game that blurs the real and virtual - he didn't want people in comas, he wanted everyone to contribute "data" to his AI. As explained in Liminality, this data is typically spread via gold and items, and then Morganna is the overall system that manages the process of using this to grow Aura. To prolong this, Morganna used Tsukasa's negative emotions to stunt Aura's growth. So, Morganna is pretty deep into all the mental data trickling into the game, it's her original job.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby k-su » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:55 pm

I'd forgotten about that. This whole topic really hinges on that factor. Thanks for pointing that out. That brings us back to the possibility that she could mind-read Kite's party, though. Something else I just thought about is Elk stealing the Vaccine program which led to Morgana creating a counter for it. Was this just something done out of spite for Kite that Morgana took advantage of or could she have been more involved? I don't remember there being a definitive confirmation for the latter, but I'm replaying the games again, so maybe I'll find out something out.

Also, thanks for indulging me in my speculations. It's been so long since I've done this sort of thing, I had forgotten how fun it was to just dig into the lore and discuss it to try and better understand everything going on.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Xu Yuan » Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:13 pm

I think that Morganna's non-character in the first four games is probably one of the only failings of them. There are *hints* that she is more involved than she appears. After defeating Skeith people report hearing a woman shouting before the system error and this reminded me of when she is yelling (if I recall right) near the end of //SIGN and as a result Mac Anu slight distorts and her voice sounds more like an echo.

As for the games I don't know what Morganna was doing through most of it. As Skeith she managed to track down and deal with everyone she could that had a connection to Aura (Carl, Sieg, Alf, Kazu (as Shugo), Orca (though that was by coincidence)). I think she may have sent the data-bug to Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground to deal with the Bracelet Bearer before he realized what power he had at his disposal.

I forget where I read it and I could be completely wrong (As it makes more sense to be from Lios) but the initial "Warning" email is supposed to be from Morganna, but I forget where I read it so take that with a grain of salt.

She couldn't pull Skeith away from the Aura chase. She doesn't want to lose Innis in the manner that she does (my theory is that she wanted to utilize Innis more... effectively, but Kite was given information on it and went to confront it. The hint that's the case is that Innis actively flees from Kite.)

Magus was a huge gamble and one she immediately lost. Her targets were Helba, Lios, (maybe Balmung) and the dot hackers, she immediately failed to catch Helba and Lios and again fell prey to the Bracelet. After this she was more vengeful than calculating. She knew what Fidchell's fall would do to the stability of her system but she didn't seem to care by that point. What is notable about Fidchell is what she was trying to do and it was rather insidious. After Fidchell's defeat the power in the place where Yasuhiko was being cared for went out for some time. You can tell she was trying to kill him as per Fidchell's prophecy "Those who are mourned for will never return, the Hands of Time cannot be turned back."

Gorre is another trapped phase, akin to Innis. Macha is special and Morganna knew that. The 3rd Segment of Aura was placed in Macha. After Macha's defeat she knew that Elk was distraught. Do you recall at the end of //SIGN where Morganna is repeating her "I need you, just as you need me." I always felt that was her reaching out to Elk with the promise of bringing back Mia if he would give her the vaccine. He listens and sees the damage he causes.

She attacks with Corbenik after the dot hackers have no path to proceed, she was guaranteed of victory had Aura not managed to interfere.

Elk is one of my favorite characters of the first games because of his status as wild-card. It may very well be that Morganna trusted Elk to hold to his bargain as she doesn't send a Drain Heart after him and had he not taken the blow for Kite, Morganna would have won.

I think they realized their mistake of making Morganna a near non-entity in the first four games, hence why in all other iterations of the story (except for //Another Birth) Morganna has a bit more of a presence. She even has a death speech in //Link which would have been nice in the original games.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Keyaki » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:44 am

Something else I just thought about is Elk stealing the Vaccine program which led to Morgana creating a counter for it. Was this just something done out of spite for Kite that Morgana took advantage of or could she have been more involved? I don't remember there being a definitive confirmation for the latter, but I'm replaying the games again, so maybe I'll find out something out.


I always felt that was her reaching out to Elk with the promise of bringing back Mia if he would give her the vaccine. He listens and sees the damage he causes.


Not really. Morganna had nothing to do with Elk helping Morganna, he did that entirely on his own. Kite destroyed Macha which, in turn, killed Mia and Elk was upset. With grudge against Kite, he decided to help Morganna to get back at him. Thankfully, Elk realized how wrong and selfish he was.

You can tell she was trying to kill him as per Fidchell's prophecy "Those who are mourned for will never return, the Hands of Time cannot be turned back."


Eh...no. Morganna never had a murderous intent. That line was actually relating to the computers and other techincal hardware. Considering after Fidchell's prophecy was when Morganna's corruption began to spread beyond The World R:1 to the rest of the networks (as we see in Liminality Vol.2), the hospital Orca was in was just one of the various victims of her corruption.

I think she may have sent the data-bug to Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground to deal with the Bracelet Bearer before he realized what power he had at his disposal.

I don't think so. A Goblin monster appeared in the Cathedral before the Data Bug. Now granted, how two monsters let alone a Data Bug ended up appearing in the Hulle Granz Cathedral, one of the Lost Grounds, is a mystery because monsters are never supposed to be in those areas but I'm willing to believe it's just another early minor symptom of Morganna's corruption allowing monsters to appears in those areas by chance.

Plus, also remember that Data Bugs were originally regular monsters that happened to succumb to Morganna's corruption. The random monsters that happen to turn into Data Bugs reach the end of the Incubation Period. As we see in the cutscene, that Data bug was, at first, a regular monster. But it was going through it Incubation Period that ended right when Balmung destroyed it. In short, I highly doubt Morganna sent it. Though I'm sure she probably could, she never has controlled any monsters like that except for the Guardians and the 8 Phases.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby k-su » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 pm

Xu Yuan wrote:Morganna trusted Elk to hold to his bargain as she doesn't send a Drain Heart after him and had he not taken the blow for Kite, Morganna would have won.


Now that's something I never considered before and would lend more credence to there being a pact between the two.

Xu Yuan wrote:I think they realized their mistake of making Morganna a near non-entity in the first four games, hence why in all other iterations of the story (except for //Another Birth) Morganna has a bit more of a presence. She even has a death speech in //Link which would have been nice in the original games.


I always liked to think the games depicted Morganna from the perspective of the other players. As stated above, she lacks any real presence in the games compared to SIGN. However, aside from the Elk and Kite's connection to Mia, Morganna never reaches out to anyone like in Tsukasa's case, so she could never be seen as anything other the world around them, which I think works to the story's advantage.

A group of mostly normal players vs the world of the game they inhabit. An ever present and looming threat, whose existence isn't heard but felt. I feel it does a better job of conveying a daunting enemy and the state of their conflict more than having her rant and send angry emails to Kite.

Also, the story does well in connecting the phases back to Morganna, each one's existence justified by her increasing desperation and whose defeats prove progress, while conveying disastrous consequences. This, while reflecting Harold's original vision being rejected by his own creation.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Xu Yuan » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:19 pm

Keyaki wrote:Not really. Morganna had nothing to do with Elk helping Morganna, he did that entirely on his own. Kite destroyed Macha which, in turn, killed Mia and Elk was upset. With grudge against Kite, he decided to help Morganna to get back at him. Thankfully, Elk realized how wrong and selfish he was.


That's mentioned pretty authoritatively. I take it this is mentioned in //Analysis or one of the early data books then?

Eh...no. Morganna never had a murderous intent. That line was actually relating to the computers and other techincal hardware. Considering after Fidchell's prophecy was when Morganna's corruption began to spread beyond The World R:1 to the rest of the networks (as we see in Liminality Vol.2), the hospital Orca was in was just one of the various victims of her corruption.


To me the lines of "Like a frenzied horse that is driven, an unseen wind of plague shrieks across the border, nowhere to run, no hope of escape, wailing, pandemonium", etc, etc. all sounded to me like the corruption of the outside systems. The lines I mentioned do not line up with that view. "Those who are mourned for" can't relate to technology since that is not a "they" to mourn for. But this is probably something where we'll have to agree to disagree.

You're probably right on Hulle Granz, To me though I don't see many coincidences in the dot hack world.

k-su wrote:I always liked to think the games depicted Morganna from the perspective of the other players. As stated above, she lacks any real presence in the games compared to SIGN. However, aside from the Elk and Kite's connection to Mia, Morganna never reaches out to anyone like in Tsukasa's case, so she could never be seen as anything other the world around them, which I think works to the story's advantage.

A group of mostly normal players vs the world of the game they inhabit. An ever present and looming threat, whose existence isn't heard but felt. I feel it does a better job of conveying a daunting enemy and the state of their conflict more than having her rant and send angry emails to Kite.

Also, the story does well in connecting the phases back to Morganna, each one's existence justified by her increasing desperation and whose defeats prove progress, while conveying disastrous consequences. This, while reflecting Harold's original vision being rejected by his own creation.

[/quote]

I am always on the fence on this... I watched //SIGN as it came out so I was always a little upset that this awesome manipulator character who was also a God lost all of her character in the games. (Well she did at least put up the statue of Aura bound by the eight chains, which I always thought was a nice reference to her controlling nature.) From a perspective of the games alone, Morganna is a much more frightening creature perhaps because she doesn't interact with anything visibly. It's not until the start of //Outbreak that we even learn the name Morganna Mode Gone. While mentioned in //Mutation with Harald's Note 2, it doesn't make clear who Morganna is that he must speak to. Once it is learned that Morganna is "The World" itself, she is no less threatening as her corruption causes issues which expand beyond the game's scope. (Bith also makes an odd statement that "the system" is on the watch for any unusual activity so she may have been onto the Liminality crew as well) In //Outbreak we get the sense that Mia is probably a Vagrant AI of sorts, but for those who have watched //SIGN it is clear that she is Macha. For those who aren't aware that she is Macha by not watching //SIGN I assume that it would be an actual surprise.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby k-su » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:25 am

I feel Morganna's more overt presence works better in SIGN. Her whole plan hinges on swaying Tsukasa's emotions in the way that benefits her survival via Aura's degregation, so she has to make a personal connection with our lead, which connects her as a character to the viewers. Through her voice, we gain clarity on her nature as well as her influence on the young wavemaster.

This is something lost when viewing the story from Mimiru's perspective, for example. She, like most others in the cast, don't even realize Morganna's existence for quite some time. At most, she gets something vague from Tsukasa about "her" and "the girl". She has little idea beyond what little Tsukasa mentions until they get into the thick of things. This means the audience would be at a loss as far as establishing her character goes.

Mimiru perceives what we know as Morganna through the oddities that occur around her. A prime example of this is when she, Bear and Subaru meet Harold's clone for the second time. When Morganna begins to delete the area, her presence is felt by the fleeing party. They are not privy to the intimacy Tsukasa has with her and require a name to personify her on a superficial level. They know her only as an enigmatic force sabotaging their efforts to learn the truth and save their friend.

This is why Tsukasa's dynamic works so well here and not as well in the games. It's the intimacy. Kite's party lacks the intimacy Tsukasa has with Morganna and if I understand the character enough, Morganna may not have even bothered to connect with Tsukasa if her plan to clone his data had worked. I can't think of anywhere else in canon she attempts to speak directly with players, choosing instead to use others (SoraSkeith and Maha) as her mouthpieces while remaining in the background. Either she breaks character and reveals herself to the cast or she monologues to herself, which only impacts the viewer and changes nothing in regard to her dynamic with the cast.

I feel like an addition of maybe her screams during the defeat of each phase, a low growling or evil laugh during certain scenes could have contributed well in conveying her as a character to the cast, then maybe throw in some audible dialogue in her final moments to cap off her character and grant the party more of a clear finality to their ordeal. However, I like the ending we got just fine as it remains in line with what we got of Morganna throughout the entire story.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Falions » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:48 pm

I think just as she abandons the data cloning plan once manipulating Tsukasa directly fails too she just decides interaction with players is pointless, which is why she is silent in the games. By the way, did they even address her by name in SIGN? I don't recall ever hearing it spoken.

Also, by not having her speak in the games, and by hearing her speak in SIGN, the avid .hack fan will put two and two together and be more rewarded. The answer for Morgana is within the games, and the answer for her motivation is within SIGN. Likewise, Aura's purpose is explored more in the games, whereas she is kept more vague in SIGN. The intertextuality of .hack media is the real fun, after all.

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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby k-su » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:29 pm

Falions wrote:By the way, did they even address her by name in SIGN? I don't recall ever hearing it spoken.


Oops, I goofed up on that one. My brain started leaning back towards the games again. The most I remember them getting was "she" from Tsukasa.

Falions wrote:Also, by not having her speak in the games, and by hearing her speak in SIGN, the avid .hack fan will put two and two together and be more rewarded. The answer for Morgana is within the games, and the answer for her motivation is within SIGN. Likewise, Aura's purpose is explored more in the games, whereas she is kept more vague in SIGN. The intertextuality of .hack media is the real fun, after all.


I like to think of the first season of .hack as the story of The World itself, but from the perspective of players. Their interactions are what drive the story forward and are responsible for many of the developments we see in Morganna as well as Aura, directly and indirectly. At first, they seem like non-entities but as things progress, they become more and more prominent in each proceeding tale. The players are made more and more aware of this story and eventually what was hidden in the background of these smaller tales has taken center stage.

EDIT: Just started Mutation again and in the aftermath of Skeith's defeat, there are people reporting having heard a noise like a scream during the incident. Nice subtle detail that could easily be overlooked that adds a bit of awareness of the character for people like us who closely follow the story.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Keyaki » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:52 pm

To me the lines of "Like a frenzied horse that is driven, an unseen wind of plague shrieks across the border, nowhere to run, no hope of escape, wailing, pandemonium", etc, etc. all sounded to me like the corruption of the outside systems. The lines I mentioned do not line up with that view. "Those who are mourned for" can't relate to technology since that is not a "they" to mourn for. But this is probably something where we'll have to agree to disagree.


Oh really?

Fidchell's Prophecy

Recited by the Phase Fidchell the Prophet

Like a frenzied horse that is driven.
An unseen wind of plague shrieks across the border.
Pandemonium, wailing, and stench of carnage fills the air.
There is no place to run. No hope of escape.
Those who are mourned will never return.
The hands of time cannot be turned back.

Notes from .hack//analysis:

Listed as part of the Epitaph, but shown to also be relevant to the events of the .hack Games.
"Wind of plague" refers to the virus corruption.
"Border" refers to the servers, security zones, and the real world.
"Those who are mourned" refers to the belief that computers are infallible and dependable.


As you can see from .Hack//Analysis, that line refers to computers. Morganna may have been evil but murderous was never her intent. There'd be no reason for her to kill anybody. She wanted to keep Aura in stasis forever. Then after Tsukasa woke her up she wanted to destroy her outright. How would her killing any of the comatose victims, let alone, Orca and Kazu solve anything? If anything, it'd make Kite and Blackrose fight even harder.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Falions » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:24 pm

k-su wrote:
I like to think of the first season of .hack as the story of The World itself, but from the perspective of players. Their interactions are what drive the story forward and are responsible for many of the developments we see in Morganna as well as Aura, directly and indirectly. At first, they seem like non-entities but as things progress, they become more and more prominent in each proceeding tale. The players are made more and more aware of this story and eventually what was hidden in the background of these smaller tales has taken center stage.

Yeah, sort of like how Lost unfolds! The characters are all good and interesting, and they slowly unravel this mystery that we as viewers experience through them. I really like the first season of .hack for that reason, that it's just a bunch of people trying to get to the bottom of this thing that seems to be as thin as air.

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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Xu Yuan » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:20 pm

@Keyaki,

I stand corrected. I'm not sure I'd call Morganna "evil", but she was most concerned with self-preservation which lead her to do some malevolent actions.

@k-su & Falions

I think you're both exactly right. Especially when taken piece by piece. I would say that reading a synopsis of the first season of dot hack (which... the Terminal Disk does) ruins some of the effect. Each part of the medium presented a different viewpoint into the mystery.

AI Buster focuses on the view from a System Administrator who was fairly knowledgeable about the game. Everything he knows becomes undone as he continues to communicate with Lycoris and when Lycoris reveals to him that "God", her creator had disowned her. That Morganna and Harald both wanted her gone because she possessed an enormous amount of data that should have been devoted to Aura's awakening. Harald wanted her gone because she could not become Aura and Morganna wanted her gone because her existence hastened the birth of Aura (I'm not sure if that's a mistranslation or not) You are given the idea that Aura is... something related to Harald, Emma, and Morganna, but not much more. Morganna is a system which is capable of contradiction or "wavering" as Bith puts it.

SIGN shows all events from the view of normal players, Tsukasa, and Morganna. Throughout the series you get the sense that Tsukasa is being lead to some purpose by "The Voice" and Macha. This also introduces the Key of the Twilight which is said to surpass the system. The story goes to the source of the rumor and through it the crew meets with AI Harald in a much more complete form than Kite meets him in. Harald's lament sounds quizzical and Mimiru calls him a "broken old man". The system side of things stays quiet until Tsukasa dares to bring another into Morganna's Lair and this causes her to leave Tsukasa a broken mess after he is ?data drained?. In the second meeting with Harald the audience learns that the sleeping girl's name is Aura and Morganna is trying to warp Aura After this we are told that Morganna has no intention of awakening Aura but to keep her asleep. We are told that Morganna fears this, but we are not told why in //SIGN, but Tsukasa can sense Morganna's anxiousness when he comes close to awakening her.

The games is where everything in //AI Buster and //SIGN was leading up to. A group of mostly ordinary players confront all that Morganna can throw at them. The Eight Phases, a fleeing Ultimate AI, and pieces of Morganna bent on sealing Aura once more. As I recall the games themselves don't actually go into why Morganna is doing this, but //Liminality does a great job of filling in those loose ends. (Maybe Helba does mention it in //Outbreak or //Quarantine) Morganna is frightened of dying and being made obsolete, hence she keeps Aura sealed.
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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby Falions » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:45 pm

Xu Yuan wrote:
The games is where everything in //AI Buster and //SIGN was leading up to. A group of mostly ordinary players confront all that Morganna can throw at them. The Eight Phases, a fleeing Ultimate AI, and pieces of Morganna bent on sealing Aura once more. As I recall the games themselves don't actually go into why Morganna is doing this, but //Liminality does a great job of filling in those loose ends. (Maybe Helba does mention it in //Outbreak or //Quarantine) Morganna is frightened of dying and being made obsolete, hence she keeps Aura sealed.


It's easy to forget that for a long time the timeline of these events, motivations, names of concepts and characters were so shrouded in mystery that we end up taking it for granted. The tragedy of Harald Hoerwick and Aura and so on seem like ancient history to us now in retrospect. The fact that it is so clear in my mind now and that I don't have many more questions to ask is a testament to the very complex but clean storytelling of .hack; sure we have a lot of questions still remaining now but I think that's expected of a series that's run for 15 years with as many entries and also budget cuts that lead to a lot of information scattered around in various books and blog posts. Here's to Kazunori Ito.

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Re: Dreams, Morgana and Mental Manipulation in The World

Postby (Phantom) Thief » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:10 pm

k-su wrote:So I decided to go back and rewatch SIGN on the road to Last Recode and something I noticed really got me thinking. At the start of the episode Party, Tsukasa dreams of playing with Aura, before being assaulted by her with a knife. When he looks at her face, it's Subaru's. We know Morgana has been manipulating Tsukasa and that around this time, Tsukasa started seeking out Subaru as he slowly opens up again. Since these positive feelings conflict with Morgana's plot, her attempts to keep Tsukasa isolated become more and more overt.

My question is that since Tsukasa's mind is trapped in the game and is under Morgana's "care", I'm wondering if it's possible for her to have influenced Tsukasa's dream in an attempt to spook him into staying away from Subaru specifically in that scenario. Can the electric sheep in the mind of a soul digitized victim be manipulated like the coding of their virtual prison?


Tsukasa's Aura-Subaru-Morganna Nightmare .hack//Sign

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Just leaving this here in case anyone ever wondered what this post was talking about.


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