The main character of the series is Tsukasa, a Wavemaster (a magic user), a player character in the virtual reality massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called The World. The series opens with Tsukasa awaking in a dungeon in The World, but he has no recent memories of what has happened in the game. Tsukasa discovers he is trapped in the game, with no way to log out. Tsukasa joins up with some other players in The World to go on a quest to find out the truth behind Tsukasa's situation.
Tsukasa first meets Mimiru, a Heavy Blade character. At first, the two of them don't like each other, but over the course of the series, they form a bond. Bear is an older player of the game, and is a cool and collected Blademaster. BT is an acquaintance of Bear, and is also a plotting and scheming Wavemaster. During their journey, the have encounters with the Crimson Knights, a player organization designed to fight injustice. The Crimson Knights were formed by Subaru (the leader of the Crimson Knights, and is a female Heavy Axeman) and Crim (a Long Arm). The party also has to deal with Sora, a Twin Blade player killer that enjoys hunting down players.
The storyline of .hack//SIGN has multiple layers. Throughout the series, the viewer is being fed false information and red herrings. However, the truth is revealed near the end of the series. For an anime about players in an MMORPG, .hack//SIGN puts more focus on character development than on action sequences. In fact, the series has little to no action sequences at all. Themes that appear in .hack//SIGN include anxiety, escapism, and interpersonal relationships.
Since there is very little in the way of action sequences, there isn't too much in the way of visuals that would make .hack//SIGN inappropriate for younger viewers. However, with the pacing of the storytelling, as well as the lack of action sequences, younger viewers probably wouldn't find much enjoyment in the series. Personally, I would recommend .hack//SIGN for viewers ages 13 and up.
|.hack//SIGN||29||2002||Koichi Mashimo||Bee Train||N/A|
|.hack//Intermezzo, .hack//Unison, .hack//Gift||3||2002-2003||Koichi Mashimo||Bee Train||N/A|
|.hack//Liminality||4||2002-2003||Koichi Mashimo/Masayuki Yoshihara/Koji Sawai/Hiroshi Morioka||Bee Train||N/A|