Hikaru no Go Vol. #07 (Mania.com)

By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, July 05, 2006



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hotta Yumi & Obata Takeshi
Translated by:Andy Nakatani
Adapted by:Andy Nakatani

What They Say
Hikaru is horrified to find that he's losing all of his games at the insei school! The Young Lions Tournament is just three months away, and the insei who qualify will play against rookie pros, including Akira. Hikaru sees his chance to impress his rival, but can he turn his losing streak around in time?

The Review
Hikaru's luck has dried up and for good reason. As Hikaru has moved from armature middle school go tournaments to semi-pro player the transition with the pressure, the level of quality and the culture has got to him. Each game means so much more now. A loss here and there could have been spotted on a go team, but in the individual game they count against everything. A win is important, but reducing the loses is even more critical because every time you lose someone else has a bigger advantage. Something has to change but how can he make a livelihood fun? Furthermore, when those around him are struggling so much to keep their hopes alive as well, the motivation must come from within. Play the game or play the opponent? Sai's got to set him straight!

One thing I enjoyed about the early volumes of Hikaru no Go was the pacing. Hotta's ability to slow down the story, to give her readers a taste at the pace and intensity of the game of go, brought the matches to life. As the story develops and the games mean more, I have noticed that Hotta and Obata spend less and less time focusing the game. Instead, the perspective turns to the spectator's view of the match at hand. It's all soliloquy. Characters get wrapped up in thought over the smallest things, but we never see the action. The game is lost in all that and as a reader I have become lost.

I do not understand the reasoning. Hikaru has shown brief flashes of brilliance. But those could/should have been considered moments of luck. The young man also rarely showed the drive for competition shown here. So these two changes came very dramatically and they changed the tone of this series greatly. Moreover, as the go world takes notice of Hikaru's progress, I am left wondering... Is it that easy? Hotta's notes say it could be, but that's not what her story says at all. She contradicts herself all the time. At one side she has Insei struggling for years and then she has a "prodigy" who has been playing for almost a year. It is possible, but why aren't there more like Hikaru around in this manga? Too many questions for me too ask. So as the focus moves away from the board, I lose touch with the most important part of this story - the game. Maybe, Hotta wants to make the players more important. Then why not show how they grow up through the game (personal feelings are not good for any game).

Just a bit on the presentation. Viz has ramped up the QC for this series. Nice cover art and trim dress utilizes go elements everywhere. The print is better than most Shonen Jump titles. And the notes throughout the series are very good. All well deserved by this unique title.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 7.99
Pages: 206
ISBN: 1-4215-0641-6
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left