With his game fully back on, Hikaru's drawing al manner of attention from the Go world while he keeps his focus on the game itself.
What They Say
Now that Hikaru's playing again, he's drawn the attention of Go Players throughout Tokyo, as well as the readers and writers of Go Weekly.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Hikaru's win against Murakami was pretty much a given since it wouldn't be good for the lead of the series to lose after just getting his mojo back. With his win out of the way, he's set for the next round of competitions with a bit of energy to his step and the potential for playing against Akira again coming up in the very near future because of it. A lot of people are eager to see how he will perform, such as Kuwabara, but there are some that don't seem to consider him a real talent in comparison to Akira. Akira is considered the gifted prodigy, but there's something about Hikaru that sets him apart since he really just dropped into Go because of Sai and his start at a relative late age for everything.
While Hikaru has been playing on his own for awhile now without the assistance of Sai, it does feel very unusual to not have Sai sitting at his side observing the games and talking about what's going on, or thinking about how the play itself is going in relation to other things. Hikaru's skill is definitely shining and, like Isumi, there is a new kind of confidence to his play that wasn't there before. Neither young man is playing in a way that's cocky or overconfident or even aggressive in a certain manner, but they're playing to win and they're doing so with more calculation and skill than before. The new wave of students that's coming up is having an impact on the older players as well as the psychological impact of being taken down brutally by youngsters takes its toll on them. Culturally and socially, it's an interesting area to examine and I wish it got more time instead of moving on to the next match.
And though Ogata isn't exactly one of the young upstarts, he's having his impact as well as he moves about in playing with the senior players who have been playing a long time and have won Meijin titles in the past as well. Ogata does fit in with the youngsters overall since he's part of the new wave of players, but he's kind of on the outside of it, almost in between the two ages in a way, where he takes on the role of a champion who is holding the title for someone from the next generation rather than his own. And it's intriguing and amusing that some of these senior players are looking to do something different as they get older, which is evidenced when the news comes out that Koya Toya has decided to sign on with a Chinese Go team now that he's not bound to the Japanese league having retired. The competitive side of the game when it comes to international aspects gives the show plenty of room to grow, if only it didn't have only three more episodes to go.
Though not quite a placeholder episode, Hikaru no Go spends its time getting Hikaru back on track with a few games. It also highlights how the Go world is reacting to his return and the news of the former Meijin now playing for China in their league. The generational divide among the players is becoming more apparent as the new group moves in and challenges the more established players and there's some interesting little nods to be had throughout it. That's given more focus here than the game of Go itself, but in general everything feels just a little quieter now that Sai isn't here anymore and practically goes without mention by Hikaru. The rivalry that has been set from the beginning is inching ever closer to having its face-off and it can't come soon enough.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.