With the challenge now out there in the open, Hikaru has to balance Sai's request with his own desire to go against Meijin.
What They Say
The ever-busy Toya Meijin has finally decided to participate in the Shinshodan Series on one condition: his opponent must be Hikaru Shindo...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Meijin Toya's challenge to Hikaru Shindo in the new one dan competition is certainly going to turn heads, though only if news of him specifically requesting him as an opponent really gets out there. Before that can cause any serious waves though, Hikaru has to deal with Sai who has been longing to play against Meijin since he feels he may be the one to give him the challenge that he's looking for, which in turn may allow him to finally pass on to the next world. But Hikaru has grown significantly himself and wants that challenge with Meijin all to himself and reacts to Sai's request as you would imagine any boy his age would.
All eyes are now turning to Hikaru though as he's gaining a lot of rivals and curiosity seekers. While he has his rivals in school and from the study sessions, such as Waya an Ochi, he's getting some high profile ones. When the news does get out and the competition series is about to start, Akira returns to watch but so does nine dan Ogata as well as Kuwabara. There's something profoundly unnerving in the scenes where Meijin and Hikaru are together before their match, even just the two of them participating in a picture taking moment. The tension doesn't ease even when they get to the match and Sai is doing his best to stake out his position as he truly wants to take on Meijin himself and is almost seemingly willing to damage his relationship with Hikaru over it.
The match between Hikaru and Meijin is one that is spent in a way we sort of saw during the pro exam where an opponent would walk out of the room for awhile at a time as a psychological ploy during the opening window. Much of this is really focused on the internal battle between Sai and Hikaru over who will play and what an opportunity it is more than anything else though. It sends an interesting message to those watching from the other room though as they seem to think that Hikaru is intimidated. It's the kind of sequence where you really want to hear Meijin's thoughts on what's happening and what Hikaru is doing. We get almost everyone else but him though so it's a mystery, but one that's really fascinating to imagine. As the game gets underway though, it's one that's going to be very difficult for Sai to take on with the kinds of stipulations placed on him as Hikaru doesn't want to draw too much attention to himself. But honestly, at this point, with him playing against Meijin, it's a given that he's going to get attention.
With the pro exams firmly behind us barely two episodes ago, Hikaru no Go moves on to its first post-exam match with Hikaru as a pro. And it's definitely one for the record books for those watching the games as he gets to go up against the big guns right from the start. With the history the two have and Sai's own desire to play against him, Hikaru has a lot going on with it but it's hard to imagine this not being a memorable match. It's easy to feel like you're in the room with Waya, Ochi and the others watching the game and feeling the tension though and that's what continues to make this an exciting series.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.