- "I want to be born. To live. That is all I want."
- — Aura —
Aura is the ultimate AI, created by Harald Hoerwick. For Harald, Aura's existence was that of the daughter that he never would have had with Emma Wielant. After Emma's death, Harald obsessed over continuing her legacy, and created Aura for that purpose.
Aura has two noticeably different main appearances. Her first appearance is the way she is seen in .hack//SIGN (with the exception of Unison) and .hack//ZERO as well as a flashback moment in the .hack//Legend of the Twilight manga. The second appearance is the way she appears at all other times. Along with these two primary appearances, there were two other ways she was shown for brief moments in .hack//XXXX, for a total of four different appearances.
She is first seen as a young girl in a simple white dress with bare shoulders and no shoes. She has white hair that curls slightly around her face, and extends behind her into a massive ball of fluff that stretches down past her waist. Once she opens her eyes, they have the same purple color as Tsukasa's eyes.
As Aura grows and matures, she takes on a new look. Her hair becomes lavender and wavy, and only goes down past her shoulders. Her eyes also change color, and become an intense light blue. She wears a loose, flowing dress and a white shawl around her shoulders with a silver infinity brooch in the middle. The dress is sparkling and static during the Games when she is incomplete, but it takes a solid lavender color afterward. Due to the loose folds of her dress and her cloak, her hands are typically hidden from view. She has been seen wearing long sleeves, as well as sleeveless underneath the shawl. Since she floats in the air most of the time, feet are rarely seen. In some cases, she is barefoot, and at other times she is seen wearing simple slippers.
Aura momentarily appears two other ways in .hack//XXXX. In one scene, she is depicted as a very small girl in a fancy dress with bows in her hair, holding a teddy bear. At the end of XXXX after Aura is reborn, she appears in a fully-grown mature body without clothing. She has long hair that flows all around her, taking up much more space than her body itself.
In the Games, Aura displays a large amount of concern for the players affected by the events in The World. She cares about the people who play the game, and does what she can to help them. She repeatedly sends Kite messages apologizing for getting him involved. She also expresses the desire to be complete. After her restoration, she seems content to be the core of the system. However, she does try to keep herself amused, as seen with Shugo's adventure. Later, Aura becomes much more reclusive, seeking to leave The World to the players rather than interfering directly.
After Albireo gathers all the missing pieces of Lycoris together, he attempts to delete her. In that moment, they shift out of the field briefly. Lycoris replays one of her memories for Albireo. Albireo watches through Lycoris eyes as AI Harald calls her a failed attempt at his dream, and tells her that she cannot become Aura. Lycoris asks Albireo how he had hunted her down to begin with, and realizes from his answers that it had been the work of Morganna. Lycoris asks Albireo to finally delete her, but he refuses. She insists that Morganna will hunt her down anyway, since the existence of an AI in the system will hasten the birth of Aura, which Morganna sought to prevent. When Albireo asks why Morganna was trying to delete what she had created, Lycoris states that she is contradicting herself. From being labeled a failed Aura and the threat of constant pursuit by Morganna, Lycoris gives up, and activates Albireo's deletion abilities on herself.
Aura spends the majority of SIGN hovering over a bed asleep. During this time, Morganna is supposed to be developing her properly so that Aura can eventually awaken. Morganna resents her position, and attempts to prevent Aura's awakening. Morganna traps the player Tsukasa inside the game, and uses his negative disposition towards the world and other people to cause Aura to grow negatively. As Tsukasa's case worsens, Aura can be seen deteriorating. However, Tsukasa begins to recover, and Aura recovers too. In the end, Tsukasa chooses to return to the real world, which causes Aura's awakening. Aura briefly accompanies Tsukasa, Subaru, and Mimiru back to Net Slum. Skeith appears shortly after their arrival, and Helba abandons the field to help everyone escape.
Aura appears before Carl at the Hulle Granz Cathedral while Sora is going berserk. Carl blames Aura for Sora's misery, and attacks her. Aura responds by removing everyone, including herself, from the field. While searching for Sora, Carl meets Subaru, who tells Carl about Aura and Tsukasa. Carl learns about Aura's power from her. Later, Carl and Sora meet again at the cathedral, but Sora attacks her. Aura appears, triggering a transformation in Sora. Sora begins attacking Aura, and Aura endures it, believing that is what Carl wants. Carl calls out to Sora, momentarily causing him to stop. Carl takes the chance to pick up Aura and escapes from the Cathedral.
Aura is first seen running from Skeith in a dungeon. Soon afterward, she appears before Orca and Kite, and gives Orca the book that holds the Twilight Bracelet. However, Orca is Data Drained by Skeith, and the book passes to Kite. Kite then searches for Aura, trying to find out how to save Orca. Aura sends Kite garbled e-mails and provides field names to Kite. At the end of Infection, Skeith finally Data Drains Aura, and she is split into 3 segments.
Kite then works towards recovering the segments from various Phases. After recovering the first segment from Innis, the segment activates while exploring a dungeon with Mistral. Aura's body appears before them, but she is unconscious. Cubia then appeared to fight Kite, but ends up running away. After securing the second segment from Fidchell, it activates in front of Kite, BlackRose, Balmung, and Lios. This time, Aura's body regains consciousness, but cannot speak. Cubia appears again and forces them to fight, once again retreating. After the third segment is obtained from fighting Macha and activates, Aura is able to warn Kite not to fight Cubia, but he ends up having to force Cubia to retreat yet again. Finally, after meeting AI Harald, Aura explains to Kite and BlackRose that Cubia and the Bracelet share a connected existence, and if one is destroyed, the other will be too, and she also warns him that Cubia will no longer going to run away now that she had been released. Kite and BlackRose are drawn into a long battle with Cubia. Kite uses what Aura said, and has BlackRose destroy the bracelet, causing Cubia to disappear.
Without the bracelet, the .hackers are forced to face Corbenik without the power of Data Drain. Corbenik activates its absolute defense, making their attacks useless. Aura appears with the spirits of the coma victims, and they crack the shield. Morganna then fuses with Corbenik to fight them. They manage to severely injure Morganna, but she activates Drain Heart, and eliminates all of Kite's party. Kite does one last charge at Morganna, but at the last moment, Aura steps in the way, taking the attack. Aura disappears into light, and slams into Morganna, Data Draining her. After that, Aura and Morganna die, and Aura is reborn in a complete form with all the data gathered by the Phases. Aura e-mails Kite later, and gives him a new bracelet in the Book of Twilight ~Daybreak. She instructs Kite that there is another life trying to be born in a certain field, and asks him to go there and help prevent the mistake Morganna had made from being repeated.
Near the beginning of Liminality, a short scene shows Harald mourning at Emma's grave, stating his resolution to not let it end there. It is from this resolve that he begins work on the development of Aura. When Mai Minase logs into The World alongside Tomonari Kasumi, they enter a field where Skeith is hunting Aura. Mai catches a glimpse of Aura before they both pass out. Later, when she returns to the field with Tokuoka, they re-encounter Skeith, who attacks them again, but Mai recognizes the A in C major sound signaling the danger, and they manage to escape.
While discussing the source of the problems in The World, Ichiro Sato explains the purpose of Harald's system, and Harald's love for Emma Wielant. He mentions the system's purpose being to create an AI Child, which Mai Minase immediately realizes means the girl she saw. They infiltrate the CC Corp headquarters on December 24, 2010. During that time, they switch the servers during Kite's final battle with Morganna, giving Kite's team the chance they needed to win. Once they have escaped the building after the battle, Mai, Yuki, and Kyoko discuss the events they had witnessed, realizing that it was Christmas Day. This marked December 25, 2010 as Aura's birthday, when she was finally born into the role of the Ultimate AI.
BlackRose meets Aura for the first time right before the battle with Skeith when Aura gets data drained. BlackRose remains in confusion about Aura's nature and her connection to the Cursed Wave for most of the story. While discussing the Epitaph of Twilight with Asaoka and Hagiya, they determine Harald's intention in creating Aura as an AI child. When Aura's third segment is returned, and she warns them not to fight Cubia, BlackRose begins to wonder if Aura is a part of the Cursed Wave, or maybe an ally of Cubia. After being forwarded, and experiencing one of Aura's garbled e-mails for herself, BlackRose realizes Morganna's purpose as Aura's mother.
In XXXX Aura appears before Kite and Orca bearing the Twilight Bracelet. With an enigmatic message that "you have the power to resolve this" she gives the bracelet to Orca and vanishes. At one point, while Kite is busy with Cubia, BlackRose meets Aura. Aura tries to warn her about the "dark side of the Bracelet", but the meeting is interrupted by what appear to be Gomoras. When Tarvos appears in Mac Anu after Kite's collapse, Aura intervenes. She destroys Tarvos and repairs the damage done to the town, then sends BlackRose to rescue Kite from Cubia. With Aura's blessing, BlackRose is able to defeat monsters that ordinary players cannot hit.
In the final showdown with Morganna, Aura appears and offers to let Morganna kill her, if Morganna will agree to stop hurting Kite and to return his friends. She explains to Kite that she was not originally programmed to sacrifice herself, but by watching him, she learned that doing so could be worthwhile. Kite does not accept this, and enraged by Morganna's comments about Aura being "mere data", he attacks Morganna. Aura takes the hit, and is reborn as the complete Ultimate AI. She grants Kite the power he needs to defeat Morganna once and for all. The Lost Ones return, and Aura takes Morganna's place as the foundation of The World, "for as long as there are people here who love it."
Aura appears at the very end of GIFT, right before the credits. She rambles for a bit and then proceeds to swear at the audience.
Years ago (in the time between SIGN and ZERO), Shugo had encountered Aura while playing on Kazu's computer. Shugo asked her to play with him and also told her of his dream to become a hero. Aura grants this years later. Under the disguise of a contest, she gives Shugo and Rena PCs identical to the ones Kite and BlackRose used. Aura later sends her daughter, Zefie, to play with Shugo, and encourage him to come and find her. At the end of their journey, Aura welcomes Zefie back, and acknowledges Shugo's accomplishment.
After Legend of the Twilight, Aura vanishes for no reason. The Internet, which had come to depend on Aura, begins to suffer serious network trouble. CC Corp, realizing the value of Aura, begins Project G.U. to bring her back. Programmer Jyotaro Amagi comes up with an ambitious plan: Restore Aura, or the R.A. Plan. His team salvages the data of the 8 Phases to recreate the Morganna system and bring Aura back under CC Corp control. They embed the Phases into 8 PCs, so they can be controlled by CC Corp, but when the Chosen Ones attempt to execute Amagi's R.A. Program, something goes wrong. First, most of The World's data is immediately lost. Second, all seven Chosen Ones fell into comas, while Amagi, using a "dummy program" he constructed, fell into a state of delirium and set fire to the CC Corp building. CC Corp combined the remaining data with another in-progress game to create The World R:2. On the last day of The World, Zefie appears to Jun and hints at where Aura has gone, before leaving herself. It is unknown exactly when this happened, but the statue of Aura at Δ Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground disappeared as well.
- See Aura (G.U.)
- See Aura (LINK)
- In the Japanese version of .hack, Aura's name uses the German/Latin pronunciation ("ow-ra"), rather than as the much more common English loanword pronunciation ("oh-ra"), which is the way it is pronounced in the English version.
- Both Aura's Japanese voice actress (Maaya Sakamoto) and English voice actress (Lia Sargent) also play the role of Natsume.
- Aura did not appear in 6 episodes of .hack//SIGN. Episodes 1, 7, 17, 19, 20, and 27.
- Aura did not appear in 5 episodes of .hack//Legend of the Twilight. Episodes 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10.
- In the background story for The World R:2, the Goddess "Aurora" seems to represent Aura.
- Girl in White is the only .hack//ENEMY card picturing Aura.
- In the .hack//games, Aura's third segment is held by Macha, but in Another Birth, Kite reports that he retrieved it from Gorre.
- According to .hack//Archives, Aura's appearance was inspired by the girl in the Mamoru Oshii film Angel's Egg.
- Also, Aura could be based on Alice (Alice in Wonderland). She becomes stronger and manages to develop her mind and physical appearance as the story progresses, similar to how Alicia manages to mature and see the world of different way at the end of the story.