+ Simply a great story
+ Fantastic artwork
+/ Game of Go is very confusing
5 out of 5 · An Unequivocal Recommendation
Hikaru no Go Manga Review
Written by: Enishi
Hikaru No Go is the tale of a young boy, Shindo Hikaru who has a chance meeting with Fujiwarano Sai. What makes this meeting peculiar is that Sai is a ghost who has been trapped in the Earth realm for over 1000 years. The story follows the duo as they follow the path of the game of Go. Go is a game played on a wooden board with 19 intersecting lines. Shindo and Sai follow the path that will lead them to the divine move or "Hand of God". Along the way many memorable characters enter the scene, from Waya and Isumi to the rivals of Hikaru and Sai, Touya Akira and Touya Kouyo. Overall, this manga will be forever revered in the world of Go. It has brought together so many players around the world. The American Go Association has kept updates on the series continuation in Japan. Most importantly, this work of art delivers in every possible way that a manga/anime could. It is powerful, action-oriented, comical, serious and emotional. After my time spent with the manga and anime, I now have a new outlook on what to expect from a series. Hikaru No Go has set a benchmark in anime, and I believe it will be some time before another series will come along to surpass this benchmark.
The art in the manga starts off without catching the eye. The characters are simple and the designs seem to be lacking something. That is until you reach the insei exams in the series. The manga art starts taking a turn for the better. For starting off with such lackluster artwork, the series has done a complete turnaround by the end of the first saga. I will say this. The artwork in the latter half of the manga is absolutely the best artwork I have seen ever. Period.
The detail and character designs are superb, with wonderfully accentuated lines and the replication of the faces are perfect each frame. All of the important characters stand out on their own. As Hikaru matures, his distinguishing features along with those of the other characters seem to mature with time. Seeing as how the Sai saga takes place over two years, the growth comes slowly and is well paced. Perhaps the most notable designs and artwork go of course to Hikaru, who's unique hair style and go related outfits stand out more than any other character. The detail of that goes into everything from the hair styles to the complexities of their outfits is done with painstaking care.
What can I say? It is deep, touching upon the very essences of friendship. In every way imaginable, Hikaru No Go is a drama about the sacrifices we must make in order to achieve a goal. These sacrifices become things such as friendship, family, or even sacrifices of integrity. Perhaps the most powerful part of the manga is the finale. The bonds of friendship and family are put into a unique perspective. It is in this area, the exploration of friendship, where Hikaru No Go has truly captivated me. The emotional impact of the characters relationships is sure to touch the heart of any open-minded manga reader. This is one series you cannot pass up on.
A lot of you are probably wondering, "How can a manga about some weird board game be any fun to read?" If I knew nothing about the game, I would be inclined to agree. But after getting into the manga, I was hooked by the insei test. I won't bother with explaining any terms, just go read the manga. This wonderful series also introduced me to my roots, because Go has been the national game of Japan for many years (This reviewer is a quarter Japanese). This manga has even created so much interest in the game that I have already participated in an American Go Association tournament. HikaGo, as it is affectionately referred to by fans, may pique your interest as much as it has mine.
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