It's like Brokeback Mountain but with Hikaru and Sai as the main characters.
What They Say
Hikaru goes through old game records to find past matches with the great Hon'inbo Shusaku...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching Hikaru going through the old game records to see how Shusaku played all those years ago is amusing. He's taken to a mysterious room where he expects to find ghosts of all things in his child-like way only to discover that all that's there are piles upon piles of records. Very valuable records that haven't been transcribed elsewhere or photocopied even which is highly amusing and frightening considering the value placed on some of these by Go historians. It's the kind of odd little moment that can take you out of the show. As Hikaru starts to go through the old records though, he starts to understand the real strength that Sai has as a Go player.
It's interesting that his reaction is that he's highly critical of himself since he was just a naïve player who hadn't even truly picked up the stones before. Having someone like Sai, a true master player, enter his life and being able to offer guidance to him is just cruel in a way upon reflection of the treasure that he had and that he's lost it. The loss is of an even greater magnitude now and he's willing to throw away everything in order to bring Sai back into his life. It's a highly emotional outburst that resonates well with the way the Hikaru has so clearly and finally understood the depth of loss through this. With the way their relationship had been as Hikaru had gotten better and better, especially after gaining entry to the pro level, the realization of how much he owes to Sai has him now moving away from Go entirely as he'll do anything to bring Sai back into his life.
While Hikaru's life becomes devoid of Go, others are continuing their hard work and training to become better pros. Waya in particular has moved out on his own, though it's a very limited form of being on his own, so he can spend more time focused on just playing go. In a tiny apartment that he now has, it's lacking in just about everything anyone would need except for space to play Go. That's all he claims he needs or wants out of life right now and intends to have others over, pros and friends alike, to play against regularly in order to build up his skills. With friends like Komiya coming along for the ride, he gets a good set of challengers to work with, learn from and to take pleasure in playing against. It's a good contrast to see when paired against Hikaru's sudden withdrawal from the world.
Hikaru's life has taken a most surprising descent into near madness in a way as the complete and utter loss of Sai has finally hit him. He's not taking it well and while he doesn't lash out at others, he's beating himself up horribly and has forsaken just about everything as he's in a funk to end all funks. Watching him go through this is certainly hard to watch considering how much of what he did was natural skill being drawn out by Sai's teachings, but it's also hard to watch because so many others are trying their hardest to continue on against the odds. It's not that he's being selfish, he's just coping with the loss, but it's disheartening to see him fall so far so fast after losing Sai. Go itself takes a bit of a back seat this time around but watching everyone deal with their love of the game in Waya's group helps to ease some of that loss. The show is closing in on its finale with just another dozen episodes and it's set itself up for a difficult challenge to overcome for young Hikaru.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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.