It's time to check out an amateur festival to see what's going on out in the Go world, but Hikaru never expected forgeries to be the theme of the day.
What They Say
Feeling the need to cheer up a depressed Sai, Hikaru takes him to an Amateur Go Festival, where they expose a local merchant selling counterfeit Go merchandise and meet Atsushi Kurata...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the flashback material out of the way and Sai and Hikaru's relationship essentially repaired, the two start moving forward again. The match against Meijin Toya was pretty intense all around for a lot of reasons but Hikaru is looking like he's handling things well and bouncing back from the defeat with a renewed sense of purpose, but not arrogance or intense pressure. For the most part, he still views everything as fun but has the passion to want to win and the skill to do it. Yet it's not become a chore or something difficult to deal with in an emotional sense. With so many kids becoming too involved in their passions, it's definitely an area he could easily fall into.
The two spend some quality time together at an Amateur Go Festival and it's almost endearingly cute watching the two. While the go around the game tables, they watch the amateurs at play and both cringe at seeing the way games are being played and the moves they consider obvious being ignored or unseen. It's a nice little nod towards earlier in the series where Hikaru was essentially in the same position, though he wasn't being laughed, even internally, like this by those he played against or those who watched. The show takes an amusing twist when they visit the dealers section and run across a merchant who is selling all kinds of counterfeit things, from Go tables to ones signed by famous people that aren't really signed by them. His accusations don't go over well across the board and it's amusing to see Hikaru being treated like a total amateur about all things Go related.
The episode turns into a match between Hikaru and Gokiso, the man who sponsored the merchant, due to the way he treats those he's playing against in the festival. It's an amateur festival after all, and we've seen plenty of teaching games going on so it's natural to expect that here. Instead, Gokiso is the type to play cruelly, being mean towards those he's playing against instead of helping them along. Even worse, he does it in order to pitch the merchant's goods as a means to getting better instead of staying at the terrible level they're at. To say it infuriates both Sai and Hikaru is an understatement and it leads them to take up his challenge mid-game to turn it around and show him who's really good at this game. They're both pros, but Hikaru is clearly being condescended toward since nobody knows it. What's really good though is that Hikaru lets Sai play and he ends up schooling Hikaru as well, making him realize that there are many things he still has yet to learn.
Though this material takes up the bulk of the episode, the main focus of the show is the introduction of a pro named Atsushi Kurata. Attending the same festival, he comes to watch how things play out after Hikaru's match and takes up his side of things in regards to the forgeries that are going on. He's your usual unkempt kind of player who is confident in himself in a humorous way and is shocked when someone doesn't know him, but not hurt or insulted. The two are likely to match off against each other at some point so it's a simple introduction piece, but actually felt a bit weak in comparison to everything else in the episode which I enjoyed a lot more. Hikaru's growth is solid and it's fun to see Sai is still able to show him what's what when it comes to Go.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.