"Hikaru no Go" is a very popular manga, that was until recently published in the weekly Shounen Jump Magazine in Japan, and reached an impressive number of 23 tankoubon paperbacks.

This manga can be categorized as a sports manga, if you are willing to call go a sport, but unlike many of it's brethren, it is highly addictive and features an exciting cast of interesting characters, with ample amounts of character development.

The art of the manga is also remarkable, the backgrounds are very detailed and realistic, and the characters are also very well detailed, showing changes as they age. Most of the settings really exist - I was thrilled to see the Go-Salon where I regularly play in volumes 8 and 9 of the manga.

The story begins when the title character, Hikaru Shindou, finds an old GO board on his grandfather's attic. When he tries to wipe some blood stains off the board, he hears a strange voice, and then passes out...
...when he wakes, he comes to realize, that his mind is now inhabited by Sai Fujiwara, an old GO teacher from the Heian era, who killed himself after being falsely accused of cheating.

All this chap wants is to play GO, but Hikaru isn't quite interested, at least not at first thinking of GO as a boring game for the elderly. Still, he wants to do Sai a favor, and goes into a GO salon to play a few games, with Sai directing the moves. But when he is pitched against Akira Touya, a boy of his age, he/Sai beats him, not realizing that to Akira, GO is more than a game, since his father is a GO Professional, and he has been learning the game since he was two years old, and is set to become a professional player himself. Being beaten by an admitted beginner, who never played a game before, is terribly humiliating for Akira. At first, he is obsessed with playing (and beating) Hikaru, as he thinks he is close to the Hand of God.

After a while, Hikaru begins to enjoy the game himself, as well, which is a bit of a problem for Sai, as he feels that when Hikaru gets too good, he, Sai, won't be able to play anymore. When Akira and Hikaru meet in a school tournament, Hikaru wants to play himself, and Akira notices the difference of strenght at once. Thinking Hikaru is making fun of him, he gets very annoyed.

And as Hikaru is getting better, he in turn is getting more and more obsessed with following and finally catching up with Akira himself. So Hikaru sets out to become a professional Go player himself.

The Manga, which has recently come to a close, was drawn by Takeshi Obata and written by Yumi Hotta. The 23rd and last paperback will be published in September 2003. The Anime series ran for 75 episodes, or three seasons, started last fall, and has been very popular so far. There is also a CCG and a series of games for the Game Boy Advance, as well as loads of other merchandise. There are scanlations available, but with them being nothing more than theft, I won't provide a link.

Well, this node can only be a short introduction to Hikaru no Go, but if you want to read more about this series, visit this web site:

  • http://www.geocities.com/thegoinstitute/guide.htm

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