As the questions suggest: how do I start and what is the preferred order?

It would be appreciated if one would also identify which anime/film/OVA has a main story. Additionally the timeline of which anime goes where would be appreciated as well.

2 Answers 2


I just want to expand on Toshinou Kyouko's answer (since i was beaten to answering it, thank you stupid timezones).

While the question asked about the Anime there are some things to note as the asker is also asking about the "main story" and in Toshinou's Answer comments on not wanting to "skip any of the storyline"

  • .hack//Legend of the Twilight is not canon, the Manga by the same name is mainly because of how Zefie's first appearance is in it (she does not appear in the anime, instead we get a fragment of Morganna Mode Gone)

  • .hack//G.U Trilogy is not canon while the game it's based off from is. .hack//G.U Returner and .hack//Quantum follow from the game and there is one major point that is different between the game and the movie

Ovan is brought back by Haseo in .hack//G.U Trilogy. in the games he is still a Lost One after having used The Rebirth and Reiko Saeki AKA Shamrock is searching for him in .hack//Quantum (she mentions looking for someone).

Also a huge chunk of the main plot of the series is told in the games (.hack Part 1 - 4, .hack//G.U Vol. 1 - 3, .hack//G.U Last Recode), .hack is set between the second last and last episodes of .hack//SIGN with .hack//Liminality occuring at the same time

when Helba forcefully shuts down The World's serves just as Tsukasa and party are about to face Skieth is shortly before when the games start. the last episode with everyone having a party in Net Slum we see Kite and BlackRose along with how Tsukasa mistakes Mia as Macha because Mia is Macha in a new PC (with little to no memories).

in .hack//Liminality's last episode we hear mentions of the .hackers final battle with Morganna Mode Gone and Corbenik, in fact the server they set up is the same server that Helba mentions went down during the fight

while .hack//G.U is set between .hack//ROOTS and .hack//G.U Returner

the intro scene of .hack//G.U Vol. 1 Rebirth shows Haseo's fight with the PKers and his fight with Azure Flame Kite which initializes him back to Level 1. .hack//G.U Returner shows Haseo's Xth Form and the AIDA infected Chim Chim explains how the AIDA aren't by nature violent and were influenced by Tri-Edge

Also, there is .hack//Terminal Disk, while not an anime series it is a collection of videos which came on a DVD with the pre-order of .hack//G.U Vol. 1 Rebirth and also included with .hack//G.U Last Recoded, the re-release of .hack//G.U with a new 4th Chapter set after the 3rd Volume.

it follows Reiko Saeki's brother, Jun Bansyoya as he explains the events of the previous games (including how Sora/Haseo/Ryou Misaki was freed from Skeith), of Project G.U (which he was a member of), the R.A Program and the Nature of Cubia which lead him to separate Tavos from Project G.U Originally, particularly revealing insight into Jyotaro Amagi who we see in .hack//Quantum

and how he was responsible with the CC Corp Fire and he destroyed Mai from the original games/last episode of .hack//SIGN, which lead to Elk/Endrance/Kaoru Ichinose to see an AIDA as Mia and become inflected

also Jun mentions he met Zefie during the final hours Players got to spend time in The World before The World:R2 replaced it (wiping all PC Data). Zefie hints at as to why Aura suddenly disappeared before the events of .Hack//ROOTS before returning to her

  • 1
    Wow! Thanks so much for the detailed explanation! Next time i should have just waited a day or 2 for potential better answers to pop up before selecting one.
    – DarkDestry
    Aug 27, 2014 at 4:52
  • 1
    @DarkDestry Toshinou Kyouko's answer does provide details with the anime/film/ova which is what you asked for however you do talk about the storyline and i assumed you didn't know of the games and that .hack//Legend of the Twilight's Manga was so different so rather than stealing Toshinou's answer i'd just link back and add the stuff on the rest
    – Memor-X
    Aug 27, 2014 at 5:03
  • @DarkDestry you can change to accept this one if you want, I don't mind :) Aug 27, 2014 at 5:32
  • @ToshinouKyouko Didnt notice i can actually change :P Both are so useful tho. Though i think this is more informative. Thanks for answering anyways!
    – DarkDestry
    Aug 27, 2014 at 6:21

The release order of .hack is:

  1. .hack//Sign
  2. .hack//Liminality [OVA]
  3. .hack//Legend of Twilight (Tasogare no Udewa Densetsu)
  4. .hack//Gift [OVA]
  5. .hack//Roots
  6. .hack//G.U. Trilogy [Movie]
  7. .hack//G.U. Returner [OVA]
  8. .hack//Quantum [OVA]
  9. .hack//Sekai no Mukou ni [Movie]

If you want to watch each story at a time, I would suggest:

  • .hack//Sign
  • .hack//Liminality

Because they share the same storyline. Then,

  • .hack//Legend of Twilight
  • .hack//Gift

As Gift is a side story to the other three you have now watched.

At this stage there are two distinct storylines you can pick from:


  • .hack//Roots
  • .hack//G.U. Trilogy [Movie]
  • .hack//G.U. Returner [OVA]


  • .hack//Quantum
  • .hack//Sekai no Mukou ni [Movie]

Finally, pick the story you didn't choose to watch in the last choice

Here's a flowchart from AniDB:

  • 1
    Just a note. The Graph to me is incorrect, yes .hack//Quantum has the same setting but it should be connected to .hack//G.U Returner like how .hack//ROOTS is connected to .hack//SIGN
    – Memor-X
    Aug 27, 2014 at 4:06

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