Hikaru's future is so bright that even Sai might have to wear shades.
What They Say
After running into Kurata 6-Dan at Ramen Shop, Hikaru challenges him to game of Go...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shuffling the story of Sai and Meijin to the background, along with the issues involving Ogata and Akira, Hikaru no Go shifts back to more mainstream playing as Kurata returns to the show after a brief absence. Meijin and Ogata are back to playing their matches and everyone else is keeping things in the back of their mind as they try and move forward. Kurata continues to be an amusing player because of his style and his general manner, but he's one of the friendlier pro players out there as most of them come across as too intense. Kurata has his moments as well when it comes to the game directly, but he doesn't live life as seriously as everyone else seems to.
Hikaru spends a bit of time with Kurata over a bowl of ramen and he gets a mild education about the professional world of Go as they talk about Meijin's latest game and what it means overall. Kurata's friendliness is fun to see but he's definitely a self absorbed person when it comes to life in general and he's not all that interested in playing against Hikaru when he suggests it. Thankfully, Hikaru has recognized his nature and is able to tweak him into playing a game in a way that appeals to his sense of pride and self importance. Kurata's approach to life is largely mirrored in his game as well which is a bit disconcerting for Hikaru since so many people play so seriously.
When the two do play, it's a pretty severe show-off moment for both players as Kurata arranges it so they both use white stones. It's the kind of match that forces them to really remember their moves and to remember which stones are their own as they build out the shape of their attack and defense. There have been a lot of difficult games shown in this series so far, but this has to be one of the most difficult if not the most difficult way to play overall. Hikaru's talent certainly shines throughout this match and it's the kind of play that it doesn't really matter if he wins or loses as it signals to Kurata just what kind of player Hikaru really is. And for Hikaru, that's an important thing since he's still finding that he's being ignored or condescended by others at times throughout his Go career. He doesn't have a chip on his shoulder, but he won't just take it either.
Watching the balance of the players in the games overall is proving interesting. While Ogata an Meijin fight at the top spots, Ogata's not looking back while Meijin plays as he always plays. When you have the lower ranks, they have to fight upward while defending downward against those wanting to gain rank as well. And for the newer players like Hikaru, they're taking every shot they can and they're hugely threatening to players like Kurata until they can suss out which ones are the true threats and work to deal with them.
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.