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Hikaru no Go Vol. 1 (Story by Yumi Hotta/Art by Takeshi Obata) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 31, 2004 by  



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The award winning manga series finally arrives in the U.S. and what an addicting manga “Hikaru no Go” has turned out to be!  Volume 1 is highly recommended!

© 1998 by Yumi Hotta, Takeshi Obata. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Hikaru no Go Vol. 1

STORY BY: Yumi Hotta

ART by: Takeshi Obata

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: A for all Ages

RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2004

 

Hikaru Shindo is like any sixth-grader in Japan: a pretty normal schoolboy with a two-tone head of hair and a penchant for antics. One day, he finds an old bloodstained Go board in his grandfather’s attic – and that’s when things get really interesting.

 

Trapped inside the Go board is Fujiwara-no-Sai, the ghost of an ancient Go master who taught the strategically complex board game to the Emperor of Japan many centuries ago. In one fateful moment, Sai becomes a part of Hikaru’s consciousness and together, through thick and thin, they make an unstoppable Go-playing team. Will they be able to defeat Go players who have dedicated their lives to the game? Will Sai achieve the “Divine Move” so he’ll finally be able to rest in peace?

In 1998, writer Yumi Hotta (“Yutto”) and illustrator Takeshi Obata (“Cyborg Jii-chan G”) began their successful manga series “Hikaru no Go”.

Known for creating the “Go” fad in Japan, the manga would win a “Shogakukan Manga Award” in 2000 and the “Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize” in 2003.    Supervised by Go professional Yukari Umezawa (5-dan), the manga lasted for 23 volumes and the anime adaptation would be published in 2001 and would last 75 episodes.

And now, the popular manga series will be released in the U.S. in May 2004.

The story begins with Hikaru Shindo and his childhood friend Akari Fujisaki inside his grandfather’s shed.  When Hikaru finds an old Go board, he is unaware that it is haunted by the spirit of Fujiwara-no-Sai, a Go player from the Heian era.

Immediately, Hikaru is possessed by Sai and the two are able to communicate  through their thoughts.  At first, Hikaru thinks it’s creepy to talk to a ghost but Hikaru realizes that he needs Sai to help him on history homework and Sai needs Hikaru to play Go.

We learn that Sai’s goal was to attain the “Divine Move” and the perfect game.  He had once possessed the player Honinbo Shusaku but hasn’t played for awhile, so in order to stop Sai from complaining or whining, Hikaru participates in a competition at a local parlor and immediately with Sai’s help, he is able to beat people.  And one of those people is Akira Toya, the son of Koyo Toya, an excellent player who is also in pursuit of the “Divine Movie”.

But for Akira, his loss to Hikaru/Sai has driven him to the point that he becomes obsessed with wanting to play against Hikaru and how someone who just started playing can be so good.

And because Sai is always wanting to play Go, Hikaru must find a way to satisfy his Go needs or else he will never get some peace and quiet

I first discovered “Hikaru no Go” through the animated series back in 2002.  I absolutely loved the series, for it’s competitive nature but also humor and the growth of the characters.

But it’s great to finally read the manga series and fall in love with the series once again as the artwork of Takeshi Obata is detailed and well-done, while the writing for the series is excellent.

I would never expected to see an anime series about “Go” to be great, but the whole concept of a kid possessed by a master Go player and going against other professionals is very intriguing!

The first volume of “Hikaru no Go” is literally character driven stories and introducing us to Hikaru, Sai and Akira but also adding the first matchup between the novice vs. the pro and seeing how a defeat can really set one off.

But for now, I can say that “Hikaru no Go” is one of my favorite manga series of 2004.  Addictive and highly recommended!

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