Akira and Hikaru's opening game finds itself in disarray after Akira's father ends up in the hospital suddenly.
What They Say
Toya Meijin falls victim to a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital. Hikaru goes to visit him and discovers that he's supplementing his recuperation by playing Go on the internet...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There's been a good lead-up overall to Akiar and Hikaru having their first match together after passing the pro exams since Hikaru has been working so hard to catch up to him since discovering Go and meeting Akira. When they're within reach of the game itself, it does feel a bit cheap to go this route and defer the game to the future by having Akira's father end up hospitalized. Naturally, Hikaru is worried about him since he respects Meijin but Akira is completely distant from everyone about what's going on, leaving the match to be dealt with later. Unlike Akira though, we see that Ogata has no problem going to a match after he makes sure that Meijin is settled.
Hikaru's time visiting Meijin is a good bit of fun though, especially as it nets us a flashback to when Hikaru first went into a Go salon and met Akira and we can see visibly how much younger the two of them looked back then. What changes things in the present though is that we learn that Meijin has actually learned to play Go online, and that obviously gives Hikaru a great idea in how he can formally play against him. Or rather, how Sai can play against him without any repercussions. Getting that match organized may be difficult though but it would let Sai play without any restrictions on his style or method so there's a lot of advantages to it. Meijin continues to be an interesting character to watch and his bedrest aspect here only adds to that since he's not so much focused on playing the game itself and can just converse, such as he does with Hikaru as he talks about Akira a bit in a rather fatherly tone we don't often her from him.
Interestingly, because of the mention of playing Go online, the internet side of the show takes up a bit more time as we see Ogata trying to track down Sai again. Sai's been offline for awhile though so there's not much of a trail there. Meijin has some serious issues about playing with someone line Sai online because to him, Go is a battle to be faced in person and without the anonymity that the internet games provide. It's not a bad diversion, but for someone of Sai's playing ability, Meijin wants to face him head on and it's something that really strikes to Sai's core since he considers himself very honorable overall since it's looking for the move that will shake him. The way Hikaru and Meijin's conversation goes though causes a lot of problems as the meaning of words change mid stream and a new match is set up that's going to be very important.
Hikaru no Go kind of went in a direction I didn't like with the last episode as it took the planned match between Hikaru and Akira and took it off the table for a bit. The show slows down with an episode that's mostly spent with Meijin in bed, feeling relatively fine but under watch for another ten days, and it's generally about the dialogue and reminiscence. We do see a rather good flashback that highlights how much both Hikaru and Akira have grown, physically, and Hikaru's time with Meijin leads him to a very difficult situation that's about to come up since he misspoke in a way that really lights a fire under Meijin. There's a lot to like here, but it wasn't where I expected or wanted the show to go at this stage, so it's a little frustrating.
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.