Hikaru no Go Review

Hikaru no Go vol 1

AKA: Hikaru’s Go, HikaGo
Genre: Sports/Coming of Age/Drama
Year Released: 2001-2003

Distributor: Viz

Origin: Japan
Running Time: TV Series, 75 episodes, 23 minutes each

Rating/Recommended Audience: All Ages
Related Films/Series: Hikaru no Go: Road to the Hokuto Cup, Hikaru no Go (2020 Chinese Live-Action Remake)
For Fans Of:
March Comes In Like a Lion, Chihayafuru, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Queen of Katwe, Go Player, Cardfight!! Vanguard, Shion no Ou, AlphaGo, The Surrounding Game
Notes:
-The Japanese language track was used for this review, but I’ve seen parts of the English dub.

-Hikaru no Go is streaming for free on Viz’s website.

-Only the first 45 episodes were released on DVD when it came to Viz’s release.

Fun Facts:


-Hikaru no Go is based on a manga that was created by writer Yumi Hotta and illustrator Takeshi Obata. Hotta’s other famous work consists of a speed skating manga called Yuto which also ran in Shonen Jump. Takeshi Obata has a notable portfolio for his art and co-creating manga and anime such as Bakuman, Ayatsuri Sakon, and a certain little anime no one’s heard of called Death Note.

-Hikaru no Go is the inaugural Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize winner for their Creative Award category which is for the most innovative, unique, and creative manga series. Other manga that have won that same award include the baseball series Big Windup! and Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (from the same creator of In This Corner of the World).

-Hon’inbo Shusaku (birth name: Torajiro Kuwabara) was actually a real go player and not some random fictional legend that Sai was with in the story. He lived to be a 7 Dan player until his death at thirty-three years old. The Shusaku Number and Shusaku Fuseki are actual go techniques named after him outside of the Hon’inbo title in the professional go world. There’s even fridge brilliance when you consider that in the anime, the current holder of that title is the elderly go player Kuwabara-Sensei. Note how his surname matches Shusaku’s birth surname even though they aren’t related.

-Yukari Yoshihara (nee Umezawa) was the consultant/supervisor for both the anime and manga. She was a 5 Dan at the time of the series, but is currently a 6 Dan at the time of this review. Not only that, but she’s a three time Women’s Kisei Go Tournament winner where she won those tourneys years after the anime premiered. Yes, that’s her in the live action Go! Go! Igo! segments after the ending themes.

-Hilarious in Hindsight: There’s multiple elements in HNG that are funny as time goes on. In the English dub, Sai is voiced by Brad Swaile and he would eventually play another character from something involved with Obata as Light Yagami from Death Note. Speaking of Light, him and Hikaru have the exact same first name in different languages. Speaking of Hikaru, the 2nd ending theme “I’ll Be the One” is sung by HAL. Why is there a connection? That band is also responsible for the first ending theme to Angelic Layer “The Starry Sky” and Misaki’s angel has the same name as the title character of this anime! Oh, yeah. “Misaki” shows up in the Japanese version as Asumi Nase since she’s voiced by Atsuko Enomoto. Also, the Chinese go player Yang Hi brags that there will be a computer to beat pro players. Yang Hi, England would do that with AlphaGo in 2015. Just saying.

-Hikaru Shindo is voiced by the late Tomoko Kawakami in the Japanese version. Some of her biggest roles included Soifon from Bleach, Misuzu from Air, and the title character of Revolutionary Girl Utena. In the dub, he’s voiced by Samuel Vincent. He has also been the voice of Krypto the Superdog, Specs from Pocket Dragon Adventures (anyone remember that cartoon?), and even Edd from Ed, Edd N Eddy. Yes, Double D himself became a go player.

-Gamer Bonus: There are two game companies that are named after Go terms. There’s Tengen who are named after a move playing close to the center of the board, but the biggest one is Atari! An Atari is equivalent to putting a king in check in chess to compare terminologies.

-Language Bonus: Hikaru usually has the number 5 on multiple shirts he wears. Anyone who knows a bit of Japanese should get the pun since the word for 5 in that language is “go”.

-The third director of Hikaru no Go is Tetsuya Endo who was an assistant director for My Neighbor Totoro and also directed two parts of Saiyuki (Reload and Gunlock).

-Film buff bonus: When Tsubaki introduces himself to Hikaru, he says his name is like Sanjuro Tsubaki from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sanjuro movies. Hey, I reviewed those!

-The game of Go was invented in China roughly 2500 years ago. To put this in perspective, this board game predates chess by centuries and it’s still played all over the world. Other names are Igo, Paduk, or Baduk. Hikaru no Go is the first anime to use that game as a major plot element. Other stories that reference Go would be A Beautiful Mind and Tron: Legacy.

-Hikaru no Go was animated by Studio Pierrot. Besides animating Yona of the Dawn, Fushigi Yugi, Urusei Yatsura, and countless works involving Shonen Jump, that company was founded in 1979 by ex-animators from Tatsunoko and Mushi Pro/Tezuka Productions.

-The song “Days” is sung by Shela who would also provide another theme song for another Shonen Jump series. What song and what series? “Tsuki to Taiyou” from One Piece.


Huzzah! I have reached a big goal for Iridium Eye! I have reviewed an anime series that is longer than fifty-two episodes. Oh, yeah. That actually happened. I binge watched this whenever I could and made multiple notes on it. Before this post, the longest anime I’ve ever reviewed was Kimba the White Lion at fifty-two episodes. There’s a new long anime that’s getting coverage on here and it’s been a really long time coming to watch this particular work. I didn’t think I could do this, but I did.

That’s enough of the self-congratulating preamble. Now here’s the review proper.

Despite reviewing several anime projects since 2017, I haven’t covered as many series associated with the biggest brand in manga to date: Shonen Jump. Sure, I’ve reviewed the obscure Hunter X Hunter Jump Festa Pilot OVA and Angel Densetsu, but nothing much else. No, I’m not counting the two examples of Cyborg 009 (Vs. Devilman and Call of Justice) because most of the manga’s serialization happened outside there. The point is Shonen Jump is crazy popular even outside of Japan. Even non-anime fans can name at least one series that was based on a manga serialized in that magazine franchise. I guarantee you some random Joe Schmoe could tell you about the Dragon Ball series (most likely DBZ), Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh!, or most recently My Hero Academia. When the Shonen Jump brand got imported over to America, the slogan became “The world’s most popular manga” and there’s certainly a ring of truth to it given how well-known most series are in manga or in their anime adaptations. It’s also gotten a reputation of rampant commercialization, formulaic stories, or reused character archetypes. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Shueisha’s most profitable subsidiary is like Disney in a way with branding, story types, and the mega merch associated with several titles. Originality and creativity isn’t something associated with Shonen Jump, let’s be honest here.

However, there’s one series out there that breaks the mold even though it’s slept on even by the biggest shonen anime fans.

Hikaru no Go takes place in Tokyo and it involves the life of a boy named Hikaru Shindo. Him and his friend Akari Fujisaki are at his grandfather’s house on a rainy day to check out a few things in the attic. They find random antiques, but they stumble upon an old go board. Hikaru sees bloodstains on the board which Akari couldn’t. He then awakens a ghost named Fujiwara no Sai who was a go teacher from the Heian Era that enters a part of Hikaru’s mind. Hikaru is the only person who can see and hear Sai, so people assume he’s crazy when he’s talking to that ghost out loud (they can also talk to each other telepathically). Sai wants to play go again much to Hikaru’s chagrin especially since he doesn’t know how to play this ancient game, nor does he care initially. This all changes when he goes to a go salon after he can’t stand Sai’s sadness which inadvertently causes the protagonist to vomit. He then meets a go prodigy who’s the same age as him named Akira Toya who’s the son of a high-ranking professional go player Koyo Toya Meijin (Context: Toya is the family surname and Meijin is a title). The ancient go spirit tells Hikaru where to play and is able to defeat Akira in what is his first match. This sets up a back and forth rivalry between the neophyte Hikaru and the much more experienced Akira. In addition to this, Hikaru and Sai discover the world of modern go through school clubs, tournaments, internet go, the media, and studying to become a pro on a quest to improve at the game and to potentially obtain the Divine Move.

This anime and manga series go way back for me as I read and watched it during my high school years. I wanted to revisit this regardless of my challenge, and I was certainly glad I did. Hikaru no Go to me represents what anime can be when you use a unique topic. Before this series existed, go was unknown in the West and in Asia this was considered an old people’s game. That perception was even shown in universe as various child characters think or say that even with the multiple adolescent characters who are training to be pros. Hikaru no Go shattered that perception as it made go a lot more mainstream in Asia and exposing other continents on what this board game is like. I use the term the “Hikaru no Go effect” when I talk about anime that uses an original subject like how Sound! Euphonium does with concert band competitions, Yakitate!! Japan when it comes to bread making/bakeries, or even Eyeshield 21 for covering football of all things. I’m sure newer anime like March Comes In Like a Lion and Chihayafuru are influenced by this series even if they cover different games (okay, you do have Tetsuo Kaga as a shogi player in HNG, but that’s besides the point). Learning about the cultural impact this had was fascinating even then and I still think it’s one of those anime that might be more influential than people give credit for. Having just a story about go would be boring, but it’s anything but. There’s a large cast of fascinating characters, engaging storylines, and there’s even an educational aspect with the plot and the “Go! Go! Igo!” live action segments at the end of each episode. The biggest thing that I really respect about Hikaru no Go is that this series (especially for a Shonen Jump work) doesn’t feel like a commercial. I’m sick of shonen series feeling like the characters are screaming “buy our toys!” like that Johnny Bravo episode that parodies Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon in one scene and sacrifice storytelling for marketability. That is an unintentional deconstruction in itself given the genre and aesthetics.

Let’s talk about some of the characters. Hikaru does start out as a brash and bratty preteen who could care less about go or school, but he does develop into a more likable character in a good amount of time. He is willing to learn how to play and to try some new things even though he is oblivious to various aspects of the game that his peers already know about. It was an interesting personality trait because it’s like the viewer is learning alongside Hikaru in a non-didactic way, Hikaru becomes much more mature over time and becomes more relatable especially after having a massive depressive episode late in the series. He’s not some invincible protagonist who uses Sai to cheat much like how Yugi does with Yami in Yu-Gi-Oh!, so that was great. Akira has to be one of the best rival characters I’ve seen in any kind of story. Any other person would turn him into some go prodigy version of a Gary Oak or Neji Hyuga, but he’s nothing like that. He works really hard at his craft and is polite around others, but he takes go extremely seriously even to the point where he gets angry at Hikaru for not getting things. He’s not some villain or hardcore jerk, but he feels like a normal being who happens to be talented with his passions. There’s a great dynamic of Akira “chasing” Hikaru while he’s actually chasing Sai and Hikaru is chasing after Akira to be an adept go player. That is great writing and very unique particularly in the sport/game anime genre. Sai was a quality mentor figure. Even though he’s certainly the most talented go player in the series given his thousand years worth of experience (living and in the afterlife), he tends to be silly at times, clueless about modern technology, and Sai can even be selfish much to his detriment later in this anime. I also have to say this about those who have preconceptions about his character design and some of his mannerisms: SAI IS NOT A GAY GHOST! He’s from the Heian period where he would be considered manly with his look, emotions, and mannerisms. No, that’s not purple lipstick, that’s there to represent that he’s dead since he doesn’t have it in the few flashbacks when he’s still alive. Alright, moving on now. One underrated character that I thought was an ensemble dark horse was Shinichiro Isumi. He’s the big brother figure in the Insei Arc since he’s older than the other Insei trying to pass the exams to be pro and it’s his last big shot to be pro at that age since he’s eighteen and it’s the cutoff year for that program. He’s serious and calm, but has elements of self-loathing to him. As an adult, I find him more relatable in hindsight because I’ve felt like I’ve been too old to do something great and my shot has already passed me by (wow, I sound older than what I actually am). It was great seeing him improve, telling the arrogant prodigy Kosuke Ochi to shut up in one of his matches, and he plays a major role in helping Hikaru battle with his depression in season three which I won’t talk about lest I spoil the biggest plot twist in the series. Those were some notable characters, but there are still dynamic ones out there such as Tetsuo Kaga, Yuki Mitani, Yoshitaka Waya, and so much more that could take me much longer to explain.

Besides having unique characters and a very creative premise, Hikaru no Go has so many other amazing things going for it as an anime let alone just as a story. While tournaments play a big role in HNG, they never stretch out for long periods of time. Most matches last an episode or two if even that. There are also no unbeatable characters as even some of the top players lose clean from time to time. Besides the existence of Sai in Hikaru’s consciousness, the environment and plot is quite realistic and believable regardless if the viewer knows anything about the world of go. One thing that HNG has going for it which is almost deconstructive to Shonen Jump or the perception of anime (AKA the perception from most ignorant Americans) is that there’s barely any violent content and there’s no sexuality in it. If anyone thinks all anime is just constipated power charging action, ki power blasts, and/or loads of fanservice, then have them watch this right before you slap them (oops!) upside their head like you’re The Gap Band.

Seriously, I’ve seen way more violence, death and sexuality from Saturday morning cartoons or even G-RATED DISNEY MOVIES than I have with Hikaru no Go. People can be such idiots when it comes to judging what Japanese animation can be. If you’re a parent who wants to let their kids watch an age-appropriate anime that isn’t fueled by action or a commercialized agenda, then I would certainly recommend this series. Who knows? Maybe they’ll play a game that involves brainpower and real strategy while also learning about Japanese culture or some vocabulary in that language. Dou itashimashite, minna (You’re welcome, everyone)!

As much as I want to keep praising this work from Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata, Hikaru no Go could shape up some stronger territory (go pun!). For starters, the animation is mediocre to average at best. Pierrot may have animated some of the biggest anime series out there such as Naruto or Yu Yu Hakusho, but they’re not the go-to place for sakuga-quality production. In Pierrot’s defense, at least Hikaru no Go is an anime series that doesn’t need stunt doubles if this were done live action, but they could’ve at least tightened up on character movements, not rely on stills/reused footage, and not have background characters freeze up in almost every episode. The music is to be desired. The background music is very generic and can be quite repetitive. It’s a bummer because I like most of the opening and ending themes of Hikaru no Go, but the composer really phoned in a lot of that stuff. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the final opening theme “Fantasy” especially with how good “Get Over” and “I’ll Be the One” were in the first two seasons respectively. Speaking of the theme songs, Viz botched up big time by not putting the ending animation for the second ending theme “Hitomi no Chikara” by reusing the animation from “Bokura no Bouken” without even mentioning Alisa Mizuki’s song in the ending credits. What’s up with that? Here’s the original Japanese animation for “Hitomi no Chikara” if you only saw the DVDs or the stream on Viz or Hulu.

While there’s only two cases of filler across this seventy-five episode series, the flow gets interrupted with episode fifty which was a shameless recap episode with very little original footage and episode sixty-four was a fun flashback filler episode out-of-context, but there was major mood whiplash after what happened in the previous episode after Hikaru bawls his eyes out while running away from everyone. Much like some of my issues with the otherwise brilliant Perfect Blue, Hikaru no Go suffers from Unintentional Period Piece Syndrome. The manga ran from 1998-2003 and the story was meant to be in real time when it was written. It’s unclear if the anime takes place the same time as the original manga or from the anime’s run of 2001-2003, but there were some obvious dated things in the story besides the animation quality. There are payphones around, the cell phones look old-fashioned compared to now, the fashion screams early 00s, and the Internet Go Arc is outdated in hindsight with Hikaru being computer illiterate and not understanding the net when he discovers that game. I’m sorry, but if Hikaru and the other characters lived in this day and age, then he’d be surfing the web with ease on a smartphone or a tablet while playing on a go app. I was certainly better with computers when I was his age and younger (Hikaru is roughly thirteen years old at the time when he’s exposed to Internet Go in the storyline). On those computers, there’s broken English seen on display which really doesn’t help. Another dated aspect is the subplot of Hikaru and a go salon owner/taxi driver Mr. Kawai go to Innoshima to check out Hon’inbo Shusaku’s grave site and museum in season three. While that town in Hiroshima Prefecture was the legendary go player’s birthplace that professionals take pilgrimages to see even to this day, Innoshima would eventually be absorbed into neighboring city Onomichi in 2006, just three years after the manga and TV series would end. One minor complaint is how this anime while being mostly faithful to the manga doesn’t animate the final storyline with the Hokuto Cup and it’s only mentioned in passing in one of the last episodes. The ending of the TV series works just fine, but I found out it’s not animated even after the movie sequel that came out a year after the TV show ended.

The two biggest issues I have are the English dub and the writing in the subtitles. This dub of HNG is terrible! Hikaru sounds way too old to be playing a character who’s in upper elementary and middle school years with how the story progresses. Sai sounds like a flaming gay stereotype which really doesn’t help those negative preconceptions of that character as mentioned above. Chantal Strand (Lacus Clyne from Gundam Seed, Cassie from Dragon Tales, Molly O! from Generation O!) did not do a good job as Akari at all. The other characters were either too wooden, didn’t sound like the right age for their roles, or overacted in different places. While the Japanese version has much better voice acting all around, I was not a fan with how certain lines were translated. Some episodes added mild profanity which wasn’t necessary for an anime series that is way tamer than it’s Shonen Jump peers. I could understand a “damn” or “hell” used on very small occasions here and there (even shows like Redwall and Even Stevens used swear words and they were aimed at kids!), but I noticed one episode of some dialogue where Waya and Hikaru use three instances of mild swearing in less than a minute after Akira shows up for a tournament which is uncalled for and even uncharacteristic of them. Seriously, Viz? I have the manga and I could count on one hand how many times profanity was used throughout the entire twenty-three volume series was (the worst word used was “ass” and it was just once when Ogata 10 Dan got drunk). You don’t need to be edgy especially when there’s less objectionable content in Hikaru no Go compared to the Shrek movies, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (the Disney version), or even the film adaptation of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for crying out loud.

Hikaru no Go is one of the most criminally underrated anime series and not just ones associated with the megalithic Shonen Jump brand. This is a good clean story with one of the most original concepts in anime, likable characters, and it averts so many cliches aimed towards the shonen demographic or fandom. The mix between story, character development, and educational elements really work as parts of a much greater whole. The cultural impact of this series may not be as obvious to the West, but it raised so much awareness about one of the oldest board games in the world as millions began to play that game and some actually striving to be professional players. I wished the animation quality would be improved and that Viz would do a better job with the dub and subtitle scripts. I liked Hikaru no Go in my teens and I still like it as an adult which is a good sign. You know you’re doing something right when you have a story that works for a younger demographic, but an adult can still take things seriously. I know Hikaru no Go might just be shonen crap to those that only like more mature/artsier anime or those that turn their nose up at Japanese animation, but at least Hikaru no Go is shonen stuff done right. Definitely recommended.

P. S. You should also read the manga, too. You can thank me later.


Adjustable Rating System:


Add 1 point if you like board games or strategy games.
Subtract 1-2 points if you prefer action in your anime.
Subtract 1-2 points if you desire stellar animation quality.

Pros:

Hikaru no Go has a very original and unique story concept
-Amazing characters and character development
-Destroys stereotypes about shonen anime and doesn’t feel like a commercial

Cons:

-Mediocre animation
-Unintentional Period Piece Syndrome (especially the Internet Go Arc)
-Sloppy English dub and unnecessary language in the subtitles for a few episodes

Final Score: 9/10 points

Content Warning: The Hikaru no Go DVDs are rated All Ages which is okay, but I think older children and up would appreciate it more. Sai is a suicide victim as he died by drowning, but that action is cut away as he enters a lake in his backstory. Despite Sai being a ghost, the presentation of his character isn’t occult-like at all. Some adult characters smoke and drink casually, but one episode has Ogata-Sensei drunk after celebrating a major title win. The biggest issue I have was Viz Media’s translations in the subtitles with the usage of mild swearing in a few episodes of Hikaru no Go which was a choice I didn’t agree with when it came to that company’s end since this anime would look like a PBS Kids show next to Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Sailor Moon. There’s no violence, no sexuality, no innuendo, or anything like that.

Side note: Hulu gave this a TV-14? SERIOUSLY?! Those people have to be on drugs to give a rating like that since there’s barely anything offensive in Hikaru no Go! You mean to tell me it’s on the same level of objectionable content as Death Note or Family Guy? I can’t believe I’m going to reference one of my characters from a certain fantasy/sci-fi series, but these ignoramuses are everywhere!

-Curtis Monroe

All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Hikaru no Go is property of Viz. The DVD cover is from Amazon and is property of Viz.

11 comments

  1. Great analysis! 😀

    I’ve only barely started watching Hikaru no Go a while back, but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I remember wanting to watch it many years ago, but I just never got around to it. Tends to happen a lot with me lol

    I like the way it handles the approach to the game in a grounded manner instead of many other gaming/sports anime that tend to just go WAY overboard with how much everything in the characters’ lives and the world as a whole hinders on it. I mean, it is romanticized, of course, but I have yet to feel like they’re pushing the bounds of realism in that regard.

    I also like the dynamic between Sai and Hikaru, and I’m so glad to hear you say that it never reaches a point where Sai is being used like Yami in Yugioh. I was really worried it was going to go that direction after watching Sai basically play for him in the first match against Akira. That combined with him being a true newbie to the game, instead of an out-the-door prodigy, makes him very compelling.

    As for the rating on Hulu, I can only imagine that it suffers from ’employee marking the thing doesn’t pay attention to the thing and makes snap judgements based on stereotypes.’ In this case, considering it’s an anime that isn’t directly aimed at little kids, like Pokemon or something, they probably have all of the aforementioned fanservice and violence of anime plugged into their heads so they rate it as such. Even with the mild swearing in the dub and the implication of suicide, that shouldn’t be enough to jack it to TV-14. Besides the swearing, even 4Kids dubbed anime have implications of death sometimes, especially with Shaman King given the content. At most, it should be TV-PG.

    It’s like how animation constantly gets flagged as being for kids on Youtube now even when the content is very inappropriate for children – it’s a cartoon so it’s automatically for kids. *eye roll*

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I look forward to watching the rest of series even more now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Fiddletwix!

      I wasn’t sure if you’ve seen it before, but I think it’s amazing that you’ve checked out a little bit of that anime. Better late than never though. That happens with me, too.

      Of course! It had the right balance of educating newbies to the game as well as giving insight to more advanced players without coming off as didactic or insulting people’s intelligence. Hikaru no Go is certainly more realistic in that regard. Sure, you have a few characters who can take go way too seriously like Ochi or Akira on his worst days (even though some of it is understandable) , but they are shown as flaws instead of business as usual.

      The character dynamics with Sai and Hikaru were also great. Hikaru becomes way more independent of a go player even in the first season which was a huge positive. I won’t get into any spoilers, but Sai’s go playing is used in creative ways like the Internet Go arc, him “teaching a lesson” to those that disrespect the game of go let alone Hon’inbo Shusaku, and tutoring Hikaru by playing go games even though Hikaru has to put all the stones down for both players which starts out funny. I definitely agree with the portrayal of Hikaru being a newbie and organically growing as a player with the school tournaments and his unexpected quest to become a pro to get on Akira’s level.

      That explanation about the Hulu rating has veracity to it and I didn’t even think of that being a possibility even though it’s still stupid of those employees to do so. Sure, Hikaru no Go isn’t something for the Nick Jr./PBS Kids/Disney Jr. demographic range, but it would still be fine for younger audiences to watch. The worst things were the occasional mild swear word on certain episodes in the subs and dub and Ogata getting drunk in one episode. I’m sure at least 90% of the series would get a TV-Y7 to TV-G rating from an objectionable content standpoint. Very good point about Shaman King, by the way. There’s so many things with more “offensive” content than this anime. Fanservice? The Little Mermaid was WAY worse. Violence? Watch any action show on Cartoon Network or Disney XD and tell me Hikaru no Go is more violent. Swearing? The Sandlot and The Princess Bride had stronger langauge and those were PG movies! Commercialization? The rest of Shonen Jump, Disney, and Universal to name a few…I rest my case.

      I know, right? Not all animation is for kids and I can’t stand how Western animation has to be like South Park or Family Guy to be considered “adult”. Conversely, not all anime is either only for kids or hentai. I abhor those preconceptions about either form of animation.

      No problem, Fiddletwix! I’m honored to have this conversation about one of my favorite shonen shows. It’s cool how you want to watch this anime even more now. Hikaru no Go is one of the most original and unique anime series I’ve ever seen.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I really should give this a watch! Using your score gimmick it would get a 10/10 for me. I really liked the art already like when I saw your featured image. I was like… I might like that show.. and reading more about it only made me confirm that more! Now to find time for it between all the things I want to do! …. So much!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You really should. 10/10? Wow! Yeah, the art is really good. Takeshi Obata may only be famous for Death Note, but Hikaru no Go has great character designs even if the style is different. I think you would really like this show and it’s certainly one of the most creative anime I’ve seen especially in the shonen and game genres.

        Good news is that that whole series is streaming for free on Viz’s website, so you now have an excuse to watch it whenever at home.

        Like

  2. After reading your review, I can somehow understand how you related HNG with Chihayafuru. 72 episodes does seem like a big challenge, but given the amount of time I have in hand and the interesting review you put out, I don’t think the numbers will scare me off this time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read all of the manga for Hikaru no Go, but it was difficult for me to watch the anime when Takeshi Obata’s art is so gorgeous. Your review is compelling me to go back and finish the anime though, I vaguely recall the seiyū work being really good. Hikaru no Go is kind of the dark horse, that’s overshadowed by his work with Tsugumi Ōba.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sweet! Yeah, the HNG manga is great. Even though I also enjoyed the anime, I do admit that the animation could’ve been a lot better. Definitely check out the anime whenever you get the chance. Good thing it’s free on Viz’s website. The Japanese VAs were really good. Just avoid the dub at all costs! I wholeheartedly agree with Hikaru no Go being a dark horse in Obata’s portfolio especially with Death Note and Bakuman. It even gets overlooked with the other Shonen Jump stuff as well. Sure, it did have success in Japan and got millions of people into playing Go, but the mainstream appeal was nowhere near as much as whenever Obata collaborated with Oba.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Now, let’s transition to a list I was actually in a good mood writing about back in 2020! Positive Top 7 lists have been helpful with my mental health and not coming off like some person who just bashes mainstream stuff or is willing to call anything problematic (hopefully, I don’t have that reputation). Rediscovering Hikaru no Go was helpful especially when lockdown happened and I had more time to watch things. I never had a list that was specifically about one anime movie or series and HNG gave me so much to talk about with the story, characters, and creators of this innovative Shonen Jump work. I learned a ton in my research and I thought it was fantastic bringing up various trivia that no one would’ve ever expected such as the potential title, getting a bit of attention on Toonami, or even a German rap song sampling one of the theme songs! See, I do have a positive side, people! Speaking of Hikaru no Go…4: Hikaru no Go […]

    Like

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