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Watch & Learn: HIKARU NO GO #1

1 2 3... GO!


 Wait a sec... that's a map of the universe. Does this turn into WAR GAMES?    
Wait a sec... that's a map of the universe. Does this turn into WAR GAMES?    

Stepping back some, I realize that this sampling of shows might as well have been an experiment specifically designed to test the width of my open mind. I’m sorry. I’m sure this show’s all honky-dorry for the kids it was intended for. I’m sure great, unexpected depths of drama, theme and character await in the later episodes. But I’m not going to watch a whole series about a kid who goes to the same hair-dresser as Yu-Gi-Oh and competes in intense board game matches with a three-hundred-year-old ghost coaching him. There’s just no doing there.

Maybe it was a little educational to learn a little about the rules of go, here, but still, as an arena for intense, dramatic confrontations with all sorts of zooming, speed-lined close-ups, a Go board is maybe only slightly less lame choice than a chess or Stratego board. I will say that I got some oddly-sadistic, maybe even bullying, enjoyment out of seeing little Akira’s balloon get popped with his defeat. For some reason, he reminds me of some really pretentious kids I knew back in first or second grade. Come on, you just knew he challenged Hiraku so he could school the kid and rub in it in the novice’s face. Serves him right that it just blew up in his face like that.

I’m going to presume that Hikaru’s going to go on SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER journey after this where he’ll get catapulted to Go superstardom as everybody marvels at this prodigy. I guess the question is whether that ghost will ever play enough games to be satisfied and rest in peace, or if his appetite for Go is so bottomless that he’ll just never, ever be satisfied. If the latter proves to be the case, it reminds me of something a kid in high school said about the rumors our campus was haunted. “Of all the places to haunt, they come back to a high school. Those are the dorkiest ghosts in history.” Well, I figure a spirit who came back to play a board game, after committing suicide over it, would have to be dorkier.

Watch this episode "Eternal Rivals" below and decide for yourself.

Check out my thoughts on the other shows I've sampled below...  

  

 Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk

AgentJon May 11, 2011 at 3:03 p.m.
This is another case where the manga bends the anime over and shows it who's boss. Hikaru no Go's english print run just ended, and while the ending was far from fulfilling, the pacing and intensity are top-notch. The artist is Tsugumi Ohba, whose next project was Death Note

"Hikaru" is actually quite unique among Shonen shows for a number of reasons. The characters grow up and mature at a reasonable, meaningful rate. You get to watch Hikaru learn to love a game that has slowly been dying due to lack of interest from young people. His interest becomes powerful enough that he becomes able to walk on his own two feet eventually. 

Its understandable that the subject matter doesn't appeal to you, but the Hikaru no Go manga is one of my all-time favorites. 
Lurkeroon May 11, 2011 at 3:10 p.m.
At least Yugioh and Beyblade have some kind of action to go along with them. I could never get into this one though.
Onrackon May 11, 2011 at 7:34 p.m.
Hikaru sticks out to me for two reasons: it did an exceptional job of character development, maturing Hikaru at a natural pace. At one point the viewer will realized how much Hikaur had grown, but can't point at specific moment for the changes.

The other is that Hikaru no Go has probably one of the best examples of an individual moving through the Five Stages Of Grief. Each stage, from denial and bargaining to acceptance, is played out realistically.

While this is a shonen title, the focus is more on the intellectual rivalry between Hikaru and Akira, much more like Death Note's Kira and L than action titles.

Also the part after the end of the show with Go instructor explaining the rules helps a lot.    
Daemonon May 11, 2011 at 7:37 p.m.
I'm with AgentJ's opinion on this in that I never really fully warmed up to the anime of the series but man oh man did I love the manga. It was weird how excited I would get every time a new volume came out  especially considering how uninterested I was in general to the game of Go.
Psychotimeon May 12, 2011 at 10:25 a.m.
@AgentJ: TAKESHI OBATA, not Ohba. Ohba's only been a writer (at least under that name).

I plan on getting into Go one day, just because of I'm a massive Obata fanboy.

The thing that held me back is the fact that before Death Note, Obata drew in a very generic style, despite his mastery still showing through..
AgentJon May 12, 2011 at 11:55 a.m.
@psychotime said:
" @AgentJ: TAKESHI OBATA, not Ohba. Ohba's only been a writer (at least under that name).I plan on getting into Go one day, just because of I'm a massive Obata fanboy.The thing that held me back is the fact that before Death Note, Obata drew in a very generic style, despite his mastery still showing through.. "
Ah, you're right. Had the two mixed up...
crusader8463on May 12, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.
Back when I got Shonen Jump this was one of the manga in it, and I always thought it was interesting. Always meant to take a look at the anime, but I just never seem to get around to it.

Dig Deeper into Hikaru no Go

A boy is haunted by a ghost who is an expert Go player. The two begin entering tournaments together.

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