AI buster 1(Novel)

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.hack//Epitaph of Twilight Vol.2
.hack//AI buster
2nd Character (AI buster 2 Story #1)
.hack//AI buster 2

AI buster main illustration featuring Albireo, Lycoris, and Hokuto
"AI buster logo"
AI buster
Japanese, English,
Kadokawa Shoten
Release Dates
September 28, 2002
Hamazaki, Tatsuya
Idumi, Rei

.hack//AI buster (Japanese: .hack//AI buster) is a light novel set after the events detailed in Epitaph of Twilight novels and before the events of SIGN. The story follows the player character Albireo as he tries to solve what he thinks to be a strange in-game event. The second volume is a collection of stories, including a retelling of the events of AI buster from the perspective of Hokuto.

AI buster


Both the English and Japanese releases stylize the title as .hack//AI buster with a lowercase "b." "バスタ" (basuta) is a loan word from the English word "buster" and carries a slightly different connotation when used in Japanese speech and writing; "one that destroys, eliminates."[1]

US Edition Blurbs
Front Cover

"The adventure and intrigue in these pages make AI buster just as addictive as playing the .hack series on the PS2." –Evan Narcisse, Teen People

Back Cover

"AI buster captures the wonder of anime, the artistry of manga and the sheer thrill of gaming."–Melissa Walker, ELLEgirl

A "fast-paced, easy read."–Wesley Schneider, Dragon Magazine

"An adventure that flows from page to page"–Kristin Fletcher-Spear, VOYA

"An instantly discernable and absorbing cyber-reality accessible to anyone with a sense of wonder"–Dave Halverson, Play Magazine


Back Cover of Tokyopop US Edition:

Log On to // AI buster

The Year's Most Exciting Novel!

In the epic prequel to .hack, the avatar Albireo is a solo adventurer in The World–the most advanced online fantasy game ever created. When he comes across Lycoris, a strange little girl in a dungeon, Albireo wonders if she's simply nothing more than a bug in the system.

As the two journey further into The World, Albireo watches Lycoris turn all of the rules of The World upside down. Slowly, he comes to realize that she may hold a very deadly secret–a secret that could unhinge everything in cyberspace… and beyond!

The untold origin of the super popular anime and manga franchise begins right here!


ネット世界を逃げ惑うひとりの少女に出会ったときから、主人公アルビレオの放浪と戦いの旅は始まった! 大ヒットPSゲーム&アニメ『ドットハック』の創世記秘話がついに明かされる!

Tokyopop US Website blurb:

Welcome to The World, the most advanced online game ever created. In The World you can be anyone you want to be, act out your adventure fantasies and through teamwork and determination, you can even become a hero!

AI BUSTER, the prequel to .hack//SIGN, is the story of Albireo,a debugger, who used to play 'Fragments,' the beta version of 'The World.'

Albireo encounters Lycoris, whom he assumes is an event NPC (an AI character) but she's actually a failed version of Aura. She is blind, deaf, and mute, because Albireo debugged her and broke up important files. The missing files are hidden as items in the World, and when returned to Lycoris, she gets a function back. When she gains them all, she changes into a teenage form with purple hair who looks like Aura. Because of his acquaintance with Lycoris, Albireo cannot log out of the game and exit the World ...


Chapter List (US Version)

  • Area.0 Navel of Lake (p. 005)
  • Area,1 Tacit Ruins (p. 021)
  • Town Mac⭑Anu (p. 039)
  • Real Cyberconnect Japan Co., Ltd. (p. 109)
  • Area.2 Bad Angel (p. 129)
  • Area.3 Alchemy (p. 163)
  • Area.4 Memory (p. 181)
  • Area.* (p. 219)
  • Postscript (p. 231)


Albireo Lycoris Hokuto Balmung Orca
Albireo Lycoris Hokuto Balmung Orca

A debugger and the main character. He is also Watarai and the Captain.


Balmung a legendary player that is known all over the World. The wings were part of a mod he obtained during .hack//AI BUSTER. He was one of two players that destroyed the One Sin, during the "One Sin avent".


She is deaf, blind, and mute.


Orca: Like Balmung, Orca is a lengendary player. In the video game series, he is Kite's classmate that convinces him to play, "The World".


Tokyopop 1st. Edition Credits
Role Name
Story by Tatsuya Hamazaki
Illustrated by Rei Idumi
Translation Naomi Kokubo
English Adaptation Stormcrow Hayes
Copy Editor Abigail Phillips
Proofreader Wendy Hunter
Design and Layout James Lee
Cover Design Christian Lownds
Editor Nicole Monastirsky
Digital Imaging Manager Chris Buford
Production Managers Jennifer Miller
Mutsumi Miyazaki
Art Director Matt Alford
Managing Editor Jill Freshney
VP of Production Ron Klamert
Publisher and E.I.C. Mike Kiley
President and C.O.O. John Parker
C.E.O. Stuart Levy
Copyright and Licensing

.hack//AI buster ©Tatsuya Hamazaki 2002. First published in Japan in 2002 by KADOKAWA SHOTEN PUBLISHING CO., LTD., Tokyo.

English translation rights arranged with KADOKAWA SHOTEN PUBLISHING CO., LTD., Tokyo through TUTTLE-MORI AGENCY, INC., Tokyo.

English text copyright © 2005 TOKYOPOP Inc. First Tokyopop printing August 2005. First Tokyopop printing August 2005.

Author: Tatsuya Hamazaki () Artist: Rei Idumi () Listed as "Izumi" Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten 角川書店 (Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko Series)

English: Tokyopop Volume 1 ISBN 10: 1595328696 ISBN 13: 9781595328694 Publication Date:August 2005Novel


German: Carlsen Verlag GmbH Volume 1 ISBN 10: 3551620040 ISBN 13: 9783551620040 Publication Date:


The code featured on the background of the US cover appears to be HTML taken from Tokyopop's website header circa 2005.[2]


  1. Weblio English-Japanese Dictionary Article (Accessed 2024 April 09)
  2. AI buster product page on Tokopop's website. Wayback Machine Archive. 2005 March.