What They Say While in Innoshima, Mr. Kawai stumbles into a Go Salon where, as a result of a misunderstanding, he finds himself owing a lot of money to Shuhei, a formidable Go player who is enormous both in size and talent.
The Review! Hikaru's journey to find Sai leads him to a number of discoveries about Go itself and someone quite formidable in Hiroshima.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers) Hikaru's time in Hiroshima and its areas hasn't gone anywhere in terms of actually finding Sai, but he's found some interesting bits of history there and made something of a friend in a man named Kawai, someone he hasn't seen in quite some time. Kawai's got his own issues since he's kind of a shady character to some extent with a lot of gambling issues. Those issues have landed him into a bit of trouble with a highly ranked amateur Go player who is very aware of the pros. He's very intrigued by the arrival of Hikaru and offers to forget about Kawai's loss, and money owed, if he gives in to a game with him and wins. Shuhei's the kind of player who loves a challenge and the word spreads of a pro there taking him on adds to the excitement.
Though Hikaru doesn't exactly want to get into this game, it definitely has an advantage for him as he learns a bit of history for the area by discovering that there's a grave in Tokyo for Shusaku. Because of his renown back in the day, some of his disciples made such a thing there for him back when he died and that's giving Hikaru a big idea as to where Sai may have ended up after disappearing. As soon as this bit of news comes across the Go table, Hikaru plays the game with such incredible purpose that it's a very striking moment when he changes into full on game mode since he now has a real purpose and a need to finish so he can head back to Tokyo.
With the goal now shifted and fully in mind, it's rather sad to watch Hikaru racing so hard to find his friend. With the realization now fully on him for what's happened and trying to do his best in order to find him, he's understanding the loss of someone who has been close to him for, what, a couple of years now? Sai became such a familiar thing to him, a close confidant and friend, that now that he's gone he's lost something huge and is feeling that hole in his life. Though he does get to be a little too much like a puppy in some ways with the way he pursues things, it fits well for his character and the situation itself, making it all very much work well.
In Summary: As the Sai-less episodes continue on, we're getting a good luck at Hikaru and the differences in him. In a lot of ways he's really grown up, becoming more of a man and more confident in himself. At the same time, the loss of Sai has really hit him hard and he's trying his best to cope with it and not doing all that well. With the trip to Hiroshima now over and having learned some important things, while also getting in a killer game of Go, Hikaru is back in Tokyo and trying to unearth where his friend may be. You can feel the emptiness in him and in the city as he goes through everything and it's pretty strong while not going over the top, making the arc definitely enjoyable in a bittersweet way.
Features Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Review Equipment 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.
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