- "As system administrators, we can access The World in ways that a player cannot, but we don't have a complete understanding of it, like a god would. We're not omnipotent."
- — Albireo —
Albireo (アルビレオ) is the name of the PC of Kazushi Watarai and the main character of .hack//AI buster. Aside from being a normal player, he is also a system administrator, and the leader of the Cobalt Knights, the debug team of The World.
Albireo chose a unique look for his character, with one blue eye and one golden eye, the colors of the binary star Albireo, from which he takes his name. His body is that of a tanned twenty-something man, dressed in scale armor. He practices the Earth Wave, as shown by the hexagon-shaped wave tattoos on his upper arms. He wields the legendary Spear of Wotan, a rare item from the game Fragment, the beta version of The World. When working as a system administrator he adds their trademark steel hat and visor to his outfit.
Albireo isn't a very social person. He is a solo player, preferring to go and adventure alone instead of in a party, and he rarely talks to other people. Because of this he has become an immensely powerful player, threatened only by the toughest creatures the game has to offer. He has a great love for the game and is dedicated to keeping it balanced and bug-free for the rest of the players. He considers it his personal duty to protect The World from anything that threatens it. He will gladly talk about how balance must be maintained in the game, and how cheaters must be punished, assuming that you can get him to talk at all.
Offline, Albireo is named Kazushi Watarai (度会 一詩), leader of CC Corp's debug team, the Cobalt Knights. He works in their main office in Japan along with his assistant Saki Shibayama. Watarai gained employment in CC Corp when it was a small company and worked on the development of the Japanese language version of The World under Junichiro Tokuoka. After its completion, Watarai was placed as head of the debug administrators, the Cobalt Knights.
As an administrator, Watarai was known for being the best at what he did. He directed the members of his team flawlessly and always accomplished his assigned tasks. Having worked on The World, he had extensive knowledge of how it worked; that knowledge included the existence of the black box hidden by Harald Hoerwick.
Watarai has few hobbies outside of work; his job is his life, and he spends almost all of his time at the office.
While investigating an anonymous report of a Vagrant AI, Albireo failed for the first time in deleting his target, an AI with the form of a little girl in a red dress. Instead of being deleted, the girl escaped by segmenting into multiple parts. Playing the game as a regular player, Albireo eventually found the girl, Lycoris, and found all of her segments. During his quest, Albireo met a player named Hokuto, the only player to force him to form a party, and the only other one to know of Lycoris's existence. He also met with Orca and Balmung before they attempted to conquer The One Sin. He declined their offer to join with them in the attack because he knew that if he formed a party with them, they would know about Lycoris. Albireo would later go to the area The One Sin was located in to witness Orca and Balmung defeat it. When Albireo brought Lycoris to Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground and completely restored her, he turned his Spear of Wotan against her and struck, but still failed to delete her. Lycoris then told him of everything that happened to her, revealing the existence of Morganna Mode Gone and the presence of Harald Hoerwick, and of how she was discarded as one who failed to become the Ultimate AI. After hearing all that Lycoris had to say, Albireo decided against deleting her, but Lycoris drove the spear into her body, deleting herself.
After seeing Albireo standing on the balcony of his house in Mac Anu, Haruka Mizuhara becomes intrigued with the strange spear he wields and decides to find out more about it. Disguised as the newbie character Hokuto, Haruka successfully barges into Albireo's life, and begins to follow him everywhere he goes. Though initially intrigued by his spear, Haruka soon finds that Albireo is far more interesting. As she watches his journey with Lycoris Haruka realizes that she's fallen for Albireo. Eventually she reveals both her identity and her feelings to him in the form of a poem.
One month after his last encounter with Lycoris, Watarai continued his administrative work, this time investigating possible illegal character Tsukasa. As Albireo, he located Tsukasa and attempted to stop him, but he was stopped by Macha, who questioned the already wavering Albireo of his actions. Albireo promised to maintain order within The World and threatened to delete Macha. Upon striking, the fabled Spear of Wotan was shattered and Albireo was deleted; Watarai himself would fall unconscious. Upon waking in the ambulance, he instructed Saki Shibayama that Tsukasa was not to be approached. Some time after encountering Tsukasa, the Twilight Incident occurred and Watarai was held responsible and forced to resign. In real life, Watarai meets with Haruka Mizuhara, the player behind Hokuto. It is implied that they live together, though officially, Watarai made it so he has no address or phone number since he doesn't want anyone to find him.
Though he doesn't appear, Watarai is mentioned several times by Kamui in this story, as he is the force that drives her in her work.
Albireo appears a few times in flashbacks by Kamui, as she remembers the day he left CC Corp.
Albireo, while he makes no appearances is briefly mentioned by Hokuto to Rena in an email that accidentally is sent to Haseo saying he is the "same as always". This seems to imply he and Hokuto are still together by 2017.
In the .hack//G.U. novelization, it is implied that Watarai attempted to have a relationship with Haruka, but his inability to get over the Lycoris incident and other reasons caused them to eventually separate.
- See Albireo (LINK)
- Albireo's name comes from the binary star of the same name, which is comprised of a yellow and blue star, which this character's eyes are a reference towards and a name in Kenji_Miyazawa's Night Train to The Stars.
- The name of Albireo's spear, the Divine Spear of Wotan, is a reference to Odin's spear, Gungnir (Odin was called Wotan in German mythology).