Sword Art Online and .Hack Similarities and Differences

Topic started by takashichea on Nov. 4, 2012. Last post by takashichea 1 year, 11 months ago.
Post by takashichea (16,532 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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Inspired by the Sword Art Online discussion and the trailer blog that we have in Anime Vice, .Hack is a topic that came up recently. I was interested about the show and what it had in common with Sword Art Online.

Now, I'm a Sword Art Online fan who has no prior knowledge of the .Hack series which is massive. Feel free to correct me in this discussion. I will add everyone's input in this blog. Please help promote the discussion. All comments are welcome.

First off, let's introduce the franchises.

Sword Art Online

Technological innovation named Nerve Gear allows players to enter virtual world, achieving the true immersion. Soon after the invention of Nerve Gear, beta invitations of MMO named Sword Art Online are sent to numerous players. The game was fun to play until player realized that they cannot log out of the game. Suddenly creator of Sword Art Online appears and announces that everybody in the game are trapped within, until they defeat boss at top of dungeon.

Via Anime Vice


This franchise that first started out as a video game has spawn multiple video game, anime, and manga adaptations.

Note: I don't have the overall plot of the franchise, so I list a few anime series.


.hack starts in a fictional 2005, introducing a computer virus called Pluto's Kiss as the cause of a massive Internet shutdown.[11] The results are described as catastrophic:[12] traffic lights shut down, planes collide in midair, and the United States' nuclear missiles are nearly launched. As a consequence, cyberspace is subjected to severe restrictions. The virus affects all operating systems except for one, Altimit OS, the only operating system immune to all computer viruses.

Via Wikipedia

.Hack//Legend of the Twilight

Winning the legendary characters “Kite” and “Black Rose” from an event held by the creators of the MMORPG ‘The World,’ Shugo and his twin sister Rena steps into ‘The World’. Together they completed events and quests, along with their new friends Ouka, Mirelle, Hotaru and Sanjuro. Soon after, mysterious monsters appeared, and death by these monsters caused players to slip into a coma in the real world. Only Shugo and Rena can solve this problem, but why are they being targeted, and what secrets is the game hiding?

Via MyAnimeList


After the destruction of "The World" in 2015, CC Corporation rebuilt the game using data from what was previously to be another game. "The World R:2" was then released in 2016. A newcomer to the game, Haseo, is instantly PKed and then revived by a mysterious man known as Ovan. With the problem of PKs occupying the game, Haseo soon after receives help from a female Harvest known as Shino. Amidst curiosity and confusion, Haseo is lead to joining the guild known as the Twilight Brigade. The guild that searches for the legendary object known as the "Key of the Twilight". Set before the .hack//G.U. game.

Via MyAnimeList


Unlike the Sket Dance and Gintama Similarities and Differences blog, the characters in both series are going to be hard to put down similarities, so I decided to just put down the overall details.

Beware of Spoilers!

  • Both shows are set in massive virtual MMORG worlds.
  • Player Killings are present in both series
  • Like Kirito and Asuna of Sword Art Online who have a romantic relationship, Aura and Kite have an romantic relationship.
  • Races: Only in Sword Art Online's ALFheim world, there are multiple races just like .Hack's races.
  • Guilds: Both SAO and .Hack have concept due to being MMORGs. However, the guild system in .Hack is more complex and intricate.


Beware of Spoilers!

  • Protagonists: Sword Art Online has one main protagonist, Kirito. Compared to .Hack, there are multiple protagonists with their own stories: Kite, Tsukasa, Sakuya, and Aura.
  • Sword Art Online has three main arcs while .Hack is more massive with multiple side stories.
  • Regions: It appears that .Hack encompasses the world. (I could be wrong here). For Sword Art Online, the franchise is concentrated in Japan.
  • Antagonists: In .Hack, it's Morgianna, an AI like Aura. For Sword Art Online, it's two male characters: Akihiko Kayaba and Sugou Nobuyuki who are human and control only one world.
  • Earlier we said .Hack started out as a video game, Sword Art Online started out as a web novel.
  • Artificial Intelligence: So far, the only AI seen in Sword Art Online is Yui while in .Hack, there are AI, Vagrant AIs, and the Ultimate AI. .Hack is more involved with these beings.

Buhssuht's Comment

My teammate, Buhssuht, has some awesome thoughts for us.

  • While the chaos in SAO is caused by creator alone, the abnormality in .hack is cause by mysterious entity, creating programs that breaks all the rule of programming and real world
  • .hack concentrate on game known as The World, but in SAO franchise the main characters move on to different game
  • No offense, but SAO is more of harem series. .hack is more of... adolescence of teenager for lack of better terms.


Even though I don't know the characters well in .Hack, I look up their personalities and relationships of several characters in spite of spoilers. I find two characters in .Hack that have some common ground with Kirito and Asuna.

Sword Art OnlineSimilarities and Differences.Hack
  • Interesting enough, both couples (Kirito X Asuna and Kite X Aura) share the same first letter in their names.
  • Both Kirito and Kite have this mentality to help others in need of help.
  • Both Kirito and Kite are professional duel wielders. For Kite, some of his blades are invisible.
  • Kirito is passionate in computers while Kite enjoys reading science fiction books.
  • Asuna is a real girl while Aura is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) being.
  • Both Asuna and Aura are deemed to be perfect in one area. For Aura, she is built to be the ultimate AI. In Asuna's case, she is somewhat of a Mary Sue (from fans) because of her beauty and strength.
  • Aura is the keystone in keeping "The World" stable. Without her, the virtual world will collapse. Asuna is just a mere girl with no significant powers over SAO.
  • Hobby-wise: It seems that Asuna enjoys cooking, and I don't know what Aura likes given the fact she is an AI.

This is all I have so far. Thank you for reading and contributing to the discussion.

Other Similarities and Differences Discussions

Post by takashichea (16,532 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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Sorry for the delay, guys. It took a while to put this blog, and .Hack is pretty overwhelming. Thank you guys for the inspiration behind this blog.

I'll put down any thoughts you have for similarities and differences.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15


First off Yeah dot .hack is VERY Dense

containing not to mention mangas

(in chronological not release order what they were and my opinion)

  1. .hack//sign (anime good)
  2. .hack//(I forget the name anime that follows the games ehhh)
  3. .hack//infection (main games good)
  4. .hack//mutation (main games good)
  5. .hack//outbreak (main games good)
  6. .hack//quarantine (main games good)
  7. .hack//legend of the twilight (anime really bad)
  8. .hack//roots (anime good)
  9. .hack//rebirth (main games good)
  10. .hack//reminiscence (main games good)
  11. .hack//redemption (main games good)
  12. .hack//quantum (anime never seen it)
  13. .hack//the movie (anime movie never seen it)
  14. .hack//link (Game japan only)

got some additions and comments though.

.hack sign has more connection to SAO then that.

For one the crimson knights in .hack//sign as compared to the knights of the blood oath was it? both an order of knights designed to defend and fight for the players who dress in uniform white and red who are lead by a male commander and a female for the most part figure head

.hack/sign is about a character (Tsukasa if I remember correctly) who is stuck in the world until a set event

both kirito and kite have seemingly randomly given special ability that separates them from the rest of the player base Kirito has duel wielding kite has data drain

In season two of SAO the villains are heads of the games, where in .hack CCcorp the makes of the world are always a side villain if not the main villain.

on the differences side

.hack anime's tend to be more physiological/mystery based and SAO is more Combat and romance focused making the combat in SAO way more fun to watch

.hack works more subtly and slowly while SAO is fast paced and not very subtle for better or worse

.hack's world works in a mysterious ways often the "strange" elements of the world are a mystory (I.E. the only thing know about how the game traps you is before you are "locked in" you hear I high A note, that if one can Identify the note meaning they are musically trained, it has no effect on them, the rest is a mystery) where ever little thing in SAO (except for some BLATANT plot holes during the season one finale) is explained (though in my opinion the explanations are hamfisted and in the opinions of Mr. biology and Sir. physics are often impossible)

Romantic relationships always fail in .hack expanded universe it seems, no real reason why they do...but its depressing.

Grey comparisons

Aura is more of a plot device then the lead female. The opposite to asuna would be black rose in the main games who is a tough solo female swords-woman who shares little in common with asuna in terms of personality just in plot relevance. (that is to say, no plot relevance at all (at least in the first season of SAO) just a romantic figure for the MC)

the man who made the world, Harold, in .hack// made it in such a way that he may have meant for all the bad stuff. he just passed away before it all happened in .hack. (presumably by CCcorp)

I got way more for you later but thats just a bit now

Post by Acura_Max (2,433 posts) See mini bio Level 13

Kite had a romantic relationship or interest in Aura? I don't remember this!

Here is one more difference between Kirito and Kite: In the game, Kite's real name is never mentioned or revealed because the game allows the player to pick his name.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@Acura_Max: theres kinda a romantic thing between the kite nock off in legend of the twilight manga where he is assumed to not only have a relationship with her but also to have a little girl with her (auras little daughter is awesome), but then again legend of the twilight is the red headed stepchild of the .hack series.

Post by takashichea (16,532 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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I was reading this part in Wikipedia:

Kite (カイト Kaito) is a Twin blade and the main character of the .hack//Games series. He is kind, considerate, and courteous to those he meets in The World; even those who seem a hindrance to his righteous quest to save the coma victims. Kite is the close friend of Yasuhiko, who plays online as Orca, in their school, so Kite joins The World and meets up with Orca. Soon after, Yasuhiko is placed in a coma by Skeith, and Kite receives the Twilight Bracelet from Aura, allowing him to Data Drain. Following leads set by Aura, Kite defeats the various Phases and Cubia, the alternate side of the bracelet, destroying the bracelet. Aura eventually gives him a new bracelet called the Dawn Bracelet. In .hack//G.U., Haseo gets a message from BlackRose, indicating that she and Kite finally meet each other offline and that she has feelings for him. Voiced by: Sayaka Aida (Japanese), Mona Marshall (English)

I assumed that Kite and Aura have a romantic relationship.


Wow, thanks for the help! XD I liked that you put the chronological order for .Hack. I was really confused where to start doing the similarities and differences. I was looking for a central plot that ties all of them because I thought the plot was nonlinear for some odd reason. Also, I like how you break down the franchise's approach in story telling.

I'm looking forward to your findings.

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,512 posts) See mini bio Level 21

My knowledge of these series is really low, cause I haven't watch SAO and got bore to death with .Hack first series (sorry)

I might watch SAO, after reading this blog. It sound interesting

Post by takashichea (16,532 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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No problems. I couldn't get much information without your help and the others. If you like faster pacing and some cool action with great animation, Sword Art Online will suit you.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@Destinyheroknight: Different strokes I guess.



.hack//sign (Prequel to the kite story)

So this dude named Harold desided to make the greatest game every, however before he finished he caught a bad case of the death. However before he died he finished “the world” a game who is both run and is the AI Morgana. This AI program to help develop and raise the perfect AI of human intelligence and emotion Aura, Harolds “daughter” in his place.

Well morgana decided that Aura wasn’t perfect or right and that she should make her own perfect AI for Harold, but we’ll get to that nose later, for reasons understood later Morgana decides to stunt her growth by limiting her absorption of what it means to be human with a miserable human player Tsukasa, who morgana locked into the world again stunt auras growth. It deals with setting up what’s going on in the first game, who morgana is how aura was made and the people trapped in the game. Most of the episodes deal with Tsukasa and friends trying to figure out who tsukasa is and how to save him.

.hack//infection-quarantine (kite story)

So kites this kid he joins the game after his friend tells him to play it with him, turns out kites friends name is orca, the biggest badest player of them all. Whoda thunk it? Anyways out while teaching how to play they stumble onto a AI fight between the AI Skeith the shadow of death one of the 8 AIs known as the “phases” (oddly enough my giant bomb username) and the AI Aura. Well more like a chase. You and orca jump in to try to save the young girl and Skeith kills the f@#k right out of him putting him into a coma in the real world. You a weak player of level one survive and given the “key of the twilight a bracelet” that gives him power of “Data Drain” something aura had meant to give to orca to stop morgana the phases and, Aura then escapes sending you away. You and a team of people attempt to solve all the mysteries or the world, morgana, the people in comas, and later the fate of the real world. It’s my favorite JRP series.

.hack//legend of the twilight (side story post kite story)

Kites little cousins play the game with character models and names of the heros of the kite story. They mess around for three volumes or 26 episodes…I earnestly don’t remember what they were doing.

.hack//roots (Haseo story prequel)

The world R2 is released this dude named Haseo starts playing (he’s Sora from .hack//sign) he decides to try it gets almost PKed just as hes about to be killed this guy named Ovan saves him. turns out Ovan runs this guild looking for the key of the twilight with a girl named shino. Haseo falls for Shino and joins the guild. Needless to say that doesn’t go well and Shino is killed by a famous PK named Tri-edge, which puts her into a comma. Under the theory that if he beats Tri-edge maybe shino will come back he sets on a quest too kill every PK in the game. In the process he becomes the infamous and nigh invincible “PKK Haseo the Shadow of Death”

.hack//G.U. rebirth-redemption (Haseo Story)

Starts with Haseo finding Tri edge, if you wanna know how it goes here it is

So data drained back to level one you play as him find out Shinos death may have more to do with a Virus called A.I.D.A. and that Tri-edge seems to have something to do with it. Also that Haseo was not put into a comma because his character has the AI Skieth in it. (I’d explain how but I’m lazy) Mystery unfolds from there explaining and growing more complex. Games are really good

The other .hacks have to do with the world r3 no idea what they are about aside from that.

This is all just really brief and simplified. 14 separate pieces of games and anime is a LOT to try and explain…-_-

oh and for auras interests you might want to add, sending kite really annoying cryptic emails > .>

Post by UsachanMaN (4,668 posts) See mini bio Level 16

One unmentioned similarity is that Yuki Kajiura composed the original sountracks for both .Hack//Sign and for SAO

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@UsachanMaN: Really? I find that strange since I absolutely love the .hack//sign's soundtrack, but SAO's is just functional to me not in any way memorable. Not doubting you at all, but color me surprised.

Post by takashichea (16,532 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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Thank you so much for the help. Sorry, I was caught up in some wiki work. I was learning how to add Shonen Magazine to the database, Weekly Shonen Sunday. There's not much info on these magazines, so it's pretty confusing if one doesn't know Japanese.


That's cool! Though, I remember you brought up Yuki Kajiura in another topic or was that someone else?

I'll summarize what ElfenLied1012 stated and UsaChanMan and added to the blog later.

Post by Elfenlied1012 (557 posts) See mini bio Level 15

@takashichea: more then welcome man, if you got anymore questions I know pretty much every little think about .hack from sign to G.U past that your on your own.

Post by UsachanMaN (4,668 posts) See mini bio Level 16

@Elfenlied1012 said:

@UsachanMaN: Really? I find that strange since I absolutely love the .hack//sign's soundtrack, but SAO's is just functional to me not in any way memorable. Not doubting you at all, but color me surprised.

Yup its her :) Yea I find that her SAO soundtrack is a bit different. I know when I watched Pandora Hearts and heard the .hack/sign track I instantly figured she was the composer, but with SAO, it was a tiny hunch and after looking into it I realized it was her. If you keep an ear out during the episodes, you can hear the "Yuki Kajiura-niss" (lol) of the music XD

@takashichea: Yup it was me that mentioned her on the Sword Art Online thread XD

Post by Ace20A (13 posts) See mini bio Level 12

@UsachanMaN: One easy ­way to recognize Kajiura Yuki's ­works: Listen to the chanting.

Post by UsachanMaN (4,668 posts) See mini bio Level 16

@Ace20A: Agreed! Sometimes I find the vocals / chanting soothing...but sometimes it gets creepy O.O

Post by Ace20A (13 posts) See mini bio Level 12

@UsachanMaN: In ­where exactly?

Post by UsachanMaN (4,668 posts) See mini bio Level 16

@Ace20A: Hmm, well I find Ensei by Kajiura pretty soothing :D And its got chanting, well I dont really think its really chanting but kinda like soft opera-like (I dunno XD); whereas M01 - Kara No Kyoukai 1 sounds kinda creepy O.O ( i stil listen to it though XD)

Post by Ace20A (13 posts) See mini bio Level 12

@UsachanMaN: Not sure if you know this yet, but these "chantings" are actually a language made up by Kajiura Yuki herself and it's usually dubbed as "Kajiurago" or "Kajiuran".

Post by UsachanMaN (4,668 posts) See mini bio Level 16

@Ace20A: Oh yea? I had no idea..that's an interesting thing to note. Thanks for sharing!

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