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.hack//link: Volume 1    by CyberConnect2 & Megane order for
by CyberConnect2
Order:  USA  Can
TOKYOPOP, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Of all of the .hack manga I have read, I have to say that the newest one, .hack//link is my favorite. CyberConnect2's story in this installment is a fun one, focusing a little more than usual on the adventure, and a little less on the sci-fi. This feel is enhanced by Megane Kikuya's light and expressionistic illustrations.

It has been years since The World went offline, but a new version is now out. Tokio Kuryu is a video game champ, but he forgot to reserve his copy of the new The World game, and now he is left on the sidelines as everyone else discusses the hottest new game. But all that is about to change when a new student, Saika (who looks exactly like the princess in Tokio's dreams), hands him a black copy of the game. Without realizing it, Tokio is actually transported inside the game. Tokio, though, has no clue that he is in the game rather than playing it, and this adds humor.

Once in The World, Tokio is tasked with finding the legendary Kite's friends and helping them defeat the evil organization, Schicksal. But this is unlike any game Tokio has ever played this is his real life! The story in .hack//link is just plain fun. It is a typical shonen-style storyline with the main character fighting battles and picking up new friends along the way. The fact that Tokio is in the game rather than playing a character in the game, makes him all that more real, and I found it easier to connect with him than with previous .hack characters.

If you are a fan of .hack, you must go pick up .hack//link. If you have not tried any of the .hack manga before, this is a great one to start with; while older characters are referenced, .hack//link has an exciting new feel to it that welcomes readers and quickly catches them up on the universe of The World.

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