Hikaru no Go Episode #56 (of 75) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Friday, June 04, 2010
Release Date: Monday, February 26, 2007

The Divine Move has been elusive all this time, but will it finally be revealed now that Sai is playing against the master of the age?

What They Say
With the Sai finally facing Toya Meijin, the entire world of Go sit on the edge of their seat. Who will triumph in this battle of epic proportions?

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the Go world realizes that Meijin and Sai are playing against each other, Ogata himself finally learns of it as well and becomes quite intense of it. Ogata's an interesting opponent as he's young in the larger sense of the pro playing community and he's intent on taking over many titles. Meijin truly is a stepping stone but he's at least politic about it, something he's not with a particular woman who he does inform that nothing is more exciting or interesting than Go. It certainly makes his priorities clear. When he learns that Meijin is playing online and then that it's against Sai, you can see plainly how much of an effect it has on him.

Similar to the previous episode, much of the focus is on the people watching the game playing out online rather than the game itself. There are tense moments to be had as we watch the representations of Meijin and Sai playing against each other, but it's mostly everyone else that we get to see. The group with Akira learns more about Sai as Akira reveals his playing with him in the past while both Akira and Ogata try to figure out who Sai is based on how they connected with Meijin since he doesn't use email. There are continual leads toward Hikaru but each of them keep pushing the idea that it can't be him for different reasons, which makes their heads spin a little at the same time as well.

With the understanding of who is actually playing, seeing how the game slowly but then decisively turns from Sai being weak to Meijin being weak, everything ramps up nicely with the tension as even Meijin realizes that if the game goes as he predicts, he'll end up losing. There are always chances of mistakes being made, a piece being played wrong, but a player like Sai would never do that based on what he's learned from playing him in this match. With the way Meijin can analyze a game and his opponent after so many decades of playing, so many matches played, he takes a route that's very surprising to most players in how he intends to finish out the game. The Divine Move is still elusive however, sadly, but the intensity of the match is simply enthralling as we get to the final minutes of this episode.

In Summary:
Lost in the match, however, is Hikaru himself. While it's not been realized, Hikaru is learning and paying attention during all of this as he's grown so much in the last two years. While Sai has been looking around the world for the one who will lead him to the Divine Move, it looks like one of my predictions from the previous episode is likely more accurate. Hikaru's definitely involved in all of this for a reason and it's something that Sai has completely overlooked, much like how Meijin overlooked a particular avenue of attack in the game with Sai. Everything in the two episodes involving the internet match are worthwhile if just for the last minute of this episode that opens up where the series will go from here. Hikaru no Go is once again very engaging.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
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

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 23
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Hikaru no Go