Originally Posted by Helbagate
Legend of the Twilight Bracelet (the manga version)
Four years pass. CC Corp. has blacklisted the accounts of Kite and Black Rose, preventing anyone else from using those character designs. Balmung has become Sys Admin for The World. After her brother, Kazu, recovered from his coma, Black Rose's family moved away from their old home. Kamui is the head of the Cobalt Knights debugging team, having assumed the post after her mentor and love interest Watarai left the company. Kamui received her Wotan Spear from Watarai.
A young girl, Rena, is an avid player of the game, and is familiar with its history. Thus, when CC Corp. decides to make the banned accounts of Kite and Black Rose available to the winner of a promotional contest, Rena is one of the first to enter it. She wins both accounts, and entices her twin brother, Shugo, into playing The World with her. Rena and Shugo's parents have separated, and she sees the opportunity to get Shugo into the game as a way of spending more time with him. (Also, Rena and Shugo grew up as neighbors to Kazu and the original Black Rose, before their family moved away.) At first, Shugo is reluctant, but the attention that he gets from pretty girls in the game makes him change his mind. He finds himself fighting a monster that is too difficult for the level that it is in, and his character gets killed. Aura takes this chance to rescue him, and to give him the Bracelet of Twilight. Shugo recovers, but is very slow in learning how the rules of the game, and the Bracelet, work.
Shugo and party explore The World, and slowly get stronger. Shugo meets up with one of Aura's "daughters", an impetuous AI named Zefie. They also run afoul of an overzealous debugger named Kamui. Kamui has been running around, deleting trash data, and has become interested in Shugo's Bracelet. Eventually, CC Corp. management loses patience with Balmung because he's taking a wait and see attitude regarding Shugo's bracelet and Zefie, and they put Kamui in charge of operations. CC Corp. management is afraid of another "Key of the Twilight" episode, and want Aura, Aura's attempts at cloning herself, and the Bracelet deleted immediately. Kamui has Balmung arrested and thrown into a prison in The World, and then does the same to Shugo's party. Shugo's friends have too much time invested in their characters to be willing to lose them and be banned from the game, so Shugo and Rena stand alone in being banished, and Zefie waits to be deleted.
Alone in their cell, Rena has a crisis of faith, but eventually decides that she really wants to keep playing in The World. When asked, Zefie shows that she has power over what happens in The World, and causes the cell door to unlock. The three escape and are joined by their friends, who also decide that The World is no fun to play in if they can't have Shugo by their sides. Balmung also escapes, with the help of his assistant. Kamui tries to defeat Shugo in a fair fight, and loses. Eventually, she realizes that she's lost track of why she was playing the game in the first place and sets out to recapture the sense of adventure that she used to feel. Over time, Zefie starts acting like a real human, and less like a spoiled brat. Finally, Balmung gives Shugo some virus cores, which the boy uses to gate hack to Aura's secret field area. In a flash, Shugo remembers when he first met Aura 4 years ago, and told her that he wanted to become a hero. We now learn that Aura had been the one that ran the Dot Hacker's contest, and gave the Kite and Black Rose accounts to Rena as a way to get Shugo back into The World so that he could realize his dream. Zefie is reunited with her mother, and Aura kisses Shugo as thanks for keeping her "daughter" safe. Zefie is now on her way to becoming an Ultimate AI.
[End of .Hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet manga. Note that there are two novels placed in the .Hack universe - Zero and AI Buster. Kamui should make her first appearance in vol. 2 of AI Buster, which will be out in Japan around the Summer of 2005.]
Legend of the Twilight Bracelet (the TV series version)
After episode 4, the .Hack//Legend of the Twilight TV series diverges from the manga that it was originally based on. In the TV series, a code fragment, named Morti, wants to understand what "death" really means. Morti teams up with 4 children who have all lost their parents in the real world to create Data Bugs that put players into comas again. The children are too young to understand what death means, and are using the game to release their pent-up frustrations with life. They've heard about the Kite character, and view the reincarnation of Kite as a threat to their plans. They attempt to Data Drain Shugo, but mess up and put Rena into a coma instead. Rena's consciousness finds itself in a sealed-off server in Japan, surrounded by the characters of other coma victims. Aura manages to enter the sealed server and wakes Rena up. Rena learns that the key to Data Drain is a planted subliminal suggestion stating that the player really is dead. The 4 hacker children chase Aura out of the server, leaving Rena trapped there. Eventually, there is a big showdown between Kamui's Cobalt Knights debugging group, Morti and the hacker children, resulting in almost everyone but Shugo, Kamui, Balmung and one of the hacker kids getting Data Drained by Morti. Morti is finally defeated, but not before she releases a virus that will destroy The World, and Data Drain everyone still logged into it. Shugo realizes that there's a reason why Aura brought back both the Kite and Black Rose characters, and both he and Rena jump into a vortex. In the epilog, we learn that Aura's anti-virus code from the Kite and Black Rose characters caused another server reset, saving The World from Morti's virus, and releasing all of the Data Drain victims from their comas.
[End of .Hack//Legend of the Twilight Bracelet TV series.]