Hikaru no Go Vol. #22 (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Friday, February 25, 2011
Release Date: Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Hokuto Cup gets personal for Hikaru!

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata

What They Say
The Hokuto Cup games are about to begin, and Hikaru gets caught up in some misunderstandings that make it difficult for him to concentrate on go. In the first match between Japan and China he starts out poorly and seems well on the way to a resounding defeat. Only by getting a tight grip on himself can he possibly make a showing, but that's far easier said than done!

The Review!
As if going into his first international competition isn't stressful enough, Hikaru now feels he must defeat top Korean player Yong Ha for the sake of Shusaku's (that is, Sai's) reputation. As it turns out, the insult that gets Hikaru so rip-roaring mad is actually a misunderstanding, but once Yong Ha realizes what's happened, he purposely worsens the situation. It seems imprudent, not to say rude, behavior to Hikaru No Go readers who are at this point quite familiar with Shusaku/Sai, but Yong Ha makes the telling observation that most of the tournament sponsors don't even recognize Shusaku's name. At any rate, the "insult" does the trick of getting Hikaru fired up right before his first match and also bringing out a bit of Yong Ha's personality.

That aside, the tournament is a fun mix of characters. We've seen Hikaru and his friends interact with a number of the Chinese and Koreans, and now all of them are competing in one place. One thing that does get a little confusing is that Chinese, Korean, and Japanese are being spoken all at once, and there's nothing in the text to indicate which language is actually being spoken. Interestingly, Kurata provides a bit of comic relief in his interactions with the Chinese and Korean team leaders. I thought that he'd be a bit more mature, but then again, his occasionally impetuous behavior does make the final decision for the lineup of the Korea-Japan match easier to swallow.
In summary:
The pressure is on as the Hokuto Cup begins, and things get even more heated when Hikaru sets his sights on taking down Korean first Yong Ha. Kurata is betting that that fighting spirit will take Hikaru to victory. But will it backfire? For Hikaru, more is at stake than just the prize, and I can't wait to see how the match concludes!

Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781421528274
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Hikaru no Go