I never got to play the PS2 games
AND HOW DARE YOU GIVE AWAY MIMIRU!
Anyway, this probably has to be in my top 10 favorite animes! The idea of virtual reality has always been interesting to me, then I found this which shows it off in game form!
Yes .hack//SIGN definitely gets slow towards the middle after starting out strong, but has it's awesome battles throughout it and the ending is pretty awesome too. If I remember correctly this one does have SOME real life flashbacks in it, but it's mostly based in game; where as the newer .hack series focus more equally on real life and in game.
THE SOUNDTRACK IS AMAZING! The first ever album I put on my ipod and still have it on there 10 years later.
I shall put my random question / thought in a spoiler in case no one has watched it yet~