Hikaru no Go Vol. #20 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, August 03, 2010
The finals to determine Japan's Hokuto Cup team!
Writer/Artist: Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata
Translation: Naoko Amemiya
Adaptation: Naoko Amemiya
What They Say
Go players under the age of 18 in Japan, Korea and China are getting ready to qualify for the Hokuto Cup, and Hikaru and Akira are both in contention for the Japanese team. The preliminaries prove to be tough going, and Hikaru, stung by a reality check, focuses like never before. But will it be enough to meet the challenge of the unconventional yet formidable go of Kiyoharu Yashiro of the Kansai Go Association?
Hikaru and Akira have caused quite a stir in the go world as the geniuses to keep an eye on. Yet they are still teenagers, and the creators press that point in this volume with two parallel matches: one between Hikaru and his instructor Morishita-sensei and another between Akira and Ogata. The pages practically scream that talent isn't enough against the big dogs of go, and that the "ferocity" of a master player can only be acquired through years of experience.
The focus then shifts back to the highly anticipated Hokuto Cup. With only two open seats, Ochi, Waya, and Hikaru already know that one of them will not make it, but then Hotta-sensei really heats things up with Yashiro, a Kansai high school student with a highly unconventional playing style. His moves border on reckless, but he has the skill and nerve to back them up. However, even with the seat for the Hokuto Cup on the line, Hikaru relishes the chance to play him and matches Yashiro's wild pace move for move. Between the two players' intense expressions and flabbergasted reactions of the observers, you'd think you were watching a World War II dogfight instead of a boardgame. Yashiro comes across as a bold talent who's just gotten off to a late start in life, and I hope he stays on as a recurring character.
Hikaru's quickly making the transition from child to adult. In this volume, he graduates from junior high, plays his first pro match against Morishita-sensei, and battles it out for a spot to represent Japan in international competition. Though he's come a long way, Hotta-sensei is intent on showing how much further he needs to go. He's determined to strive ahead though, and his wild round in the Hokuto Cup qualifiers is a wonderful conclusion to the volume.
Volume 20 extras include a story thus far summary, facts about the tournament system of go, and ads for other Viz titles.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Hikaru no Go