Top 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Hikaru no Go

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Here’s a change up for my Top 7 lists. I already have some more serious reviews planned for this month, but I can’t just ignore the more lighthearted parts of this blog. It’s also been a while since I’ve done an anime-based Top 7, but this time we’re focusing on one particular anime series: Hikaru no Go!

Ever since I rediscovered it and finally got a chance to review this series back in April, I have been finding a newfound interest in that anime. This is also the longest series I’ve critiqued as I analyzed all three seasons and watched the full total of 75 episodes for this goal. Hikaru no Go is an extremely creative series, has a great story, and even subverts shonen tropes which is huge considering how it’s a Shonen Jump work. I wish more anime works would have this kind of creativity, originality, and innovation regardless of the genre. I thought it would be cool to have a Top 7 list just specifically for Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata’s story involving this story with Hikaru Shindo and company. I also have to applaud Hikaru no Go for getting millions of people into this ancient board game as well as exposing it internationally. It’s certainly more constructive than having people spend a fortune on tournament-class decks for trading card games and you don’t have to invest as much into playing Go. Just saying.

One rule I’m going to use for this list is that I won’t repeat any of the fun facts in my original review. Then again, the review had the most fun facts compared to literally any post I’ve done.

Onegaishimasu!


7: The origin of this manga and anime started out with a Go game. Also, Hikaru no Go wasn’t the original name planned.

How the game Go is played - The Verge

Writer and co-creator Yumi Hotta came up with the idea when she played a random game with her father-in-law of all people. She realized that there was never a manga series that involved with this game, so she would write the first ever series involving Go. The working title was a very interesting one. Hikaru no Go was originally going to be called “Nine Stars”. Anyone who’s played Go would recognize the significance because it refers to how many star points there are on the board. Maybe this also explains the line of Hikaru talking about “making constellations like a god” as he starts to get a feel of the game by his own merits.

6: Hikaru no Go actually got played on Toonami (sort of).

Toonami GIF - Find on GIFER

This actually happened and I would’ve never guessed it could’ve been a thing. Did this actually get airplay on TV alongside Naruto, Pokemon, or even DBZ reruns? Well, there’s a BIG asterisk to that. The thing is Hikaru no Go was an exclusive for Toonami Jetstream which was an online streaming branch of Cartoon Network’s premier anime block. Other shows that were featured on this short-lived service were Eyeshield 21, Kiba, and The Prince of Tennis. It would’ve been awesome if this was played on TV for real because that would’ve exposed so many people to this underrated anime. Maybe if it was played on Toonami proper, you’d have Go clubs all over schools in America. Oh, the dictatorship of “what if?”…

5: There were HNG video games made for Game Boy Advance, Playstation, and Gamecube.

Hikaru no Go 3 - Dolphin Emulator Wiki

Hikaru no Go is an anime that doesn’t bow down to commercialism and focuses on selling a story instead of merch. I still stand by that statement. With that being said, I’m surprised that there were video games for multiple platforms. You can actually play Go as one’s favorite characters in these games which is minimalistic, but just fine since one is still using legitimate strategic abilities to play the game just like on a real Go board. Outside of those video games, Hikaru and Sai also got to make a cameo in the Nintendo DS fighting game Jump Super Stars. Just don’t expect them to be beating up Goku, Luffy, or Ichigo though.

4: Takeshi Obata was a hardcore Cyborg 009 fan.

Cyborg 009 | Cyborg anime, Anime comics, Awesome anime

Takeshi Obata certainly gets far more credit and recognition for his post-Hikaru no Go works especially when he teams up with the mysterious writer Tsugumi Ohba. Case in point: Bakuman, their current project Platinum End, and oh yeah…Obata is literally half the reason why Death Note exists. However, he’s been in the manga game for decades now. What got him into that scene was Shotaro Ishinomori’s Cyborg 009 series. He was passionate about drawing and he re-read the entire manga series during his younger years. That drawing and immersion of Ishinomori’s work lead him to a very successful career as a manga artist.

3: Someone involved in the group Dream was the Gazelle in the Japanese dub of Zootopia?!

Gazelle | Disney Wiki | Fandom

Dream was a pop group that was responsible for most of the theme songs from Hikaru no Go. They sang “Get Over”, “Sincerely ~Ever Dream~”, and their mostly Japanese cover of Samantha Gilles’s song “Music Is My Thing”. No, this is not the same girl group that P. Diddy managed in the early 00s and did that “He Loves U Not” song back in the day. When I looked up info about the members, I found out that Ami Nakashima wasn’t just successful in this group, E-Girls, or as a solo artist. She also does acting and managed to be the Japanese dub voice of the Gazelle from Zootopia. I can’t make any of this up to save my life. She even made a music video singing a Japanese cover of “Try Everything”!

Yeah, that actually happened. I never thought there would be any connection between Shakira and someone involved with one of my favorite SJ works. Side note: “Get Over” is one of my favorite opening themes from this anime.

2: A German rapper sampled the 1st ending theme “Bokura no Bouken”.

I think this might be just as strange or in some cases stranger than the last part of my list. “Bokura no Bouken” is in my top 3 favorite Hikaru no Go theme songs and easily my favorite of the ending themes. When I found out by accident that this song by Kids Alive (good band, by the way) was sampled in a rap song, my head exploded in disbelief. This guy who sampled it is Kool Savas. He’s from Aachen, Germany and is of Turkish descent. If this isn’t proof positive that some people in the rap game are total nerds, then I don’t know what is. I actually thought the sampling of the intro was quite tasteful even though I’m not used to hearing the German language used in a rapping context before. I wonder if Kool Savas’s fans know about this anime. What’s next? Are we going to see Drake sample “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” from Neon Genesis Evangelion?

1: That hilarious moment when you realize Tetsuo is also Renji from Bleach and Choji from Naruto.

tetsuo kaga | Tumblr

bankais | Tumblr
Choji Akimichi - Naruto | Cdz, Anime, Naruto

I seriously never made this connection when it came to each character having the same voice actor in the Japanese version. That’s right, HNG fans. The cocky shogi playing, too-cool-for-school, reluctant Go player is voiced by Kentaro Ito. This was too funny to me when I looked up info about the different voice actors. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why this is hilarious to me when you compare and contrast these three characters. There’s actually some commonality between these three. They’re all redheads, all of them are from Shonen Jump series, and by the way…Studio Pierrot animated ALL THREE SERIES! Yeah, that studio has been giving Ito a ton of work for decades now and that’s not even counting the other series he’s showed up for.

So what did you think? Did you know about any of these facts about Hikaru no Go? Any facts you’d like to share about this series?


All videos and photos are property of their respective owners and used under US โ€œFair Useโ€ laws. Hikaru no Go is property of Viz Media. Toonami is property of Cartoon Network. Cyborg 009 is property of Ishinomori Productions. Zootopia is property of Disney. Bleach is property of Viz Media. Naruto is Property of Viz Media.

The screenshot of Hikaru Shindo and Akira Toya is from YouTube and is property of Viz Media.

The picture of the Go board is from The Verge and is property of The Verge.

The game cover of Hikaru no Go 3 is from Dolphin Emulator Wiki and is property of Nintendo and Konami.

The picture of the cast from Cyborg 009 is from Pinterest.

The screenshot of Gazelle from Zootopia is from Disney Wiki and is property of Disney.

The GIF of Tetsuo Kaga from Hikaru no Go is from Tumblr and is property of Viz Media.

The GIF of Renji Abarai from Bleach is from Tumblr and is property of Viz Media.

The GIF of Choji Akamichi from Naruto Shippuden is from Pinterest and is property of Viz Media.

23 comments

  1. That’s really cool, I didn’t know any of that! I don’t remember seeing it on Toonami, it reminds me Escaflowne’s stint on Fox Kids! The German rapper part was really cool, too. It’s always nice to see musicians sample or take inspiration from anime! ๐Ÿ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I wanted to find the most random fun facts I didn’t mention in the original review. I didn’t even know it was on Toonami even if it wasn’t on the main programming block. Could you imagine if it was instead of just the Jetstream online service? Yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembers Escaflowne being on Fox Kids back in the day. That still blows my mind how it got airtime with Digimon and Flint the Time Detective in that short-lived Anime block they did on Fridays.

      Yeah, I never realized any of the themes were sampled until about a couple of weeks ago when I looked up information about Kids Alive. They have another song that was used in an anime with “2nd Stage” in the soccer-based series Wild Striker. When I heard the “Bokura no Bouken” intro mixed in with the hip-hop beats, I legit geeked out. Good on Kool Savas for sampling and crediting that band.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha! Suprisingly, I didn’t see any Flint the Time Detective Toys when that show was on. I’m sure there were more in Japan, but it certainly wasn’t as marketable compared to those other series in the genre. Come to think of it, multiple parts did feel like a toy commercial with the mascots and the monsters having their own evolutions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • From what I’ve observed, Yลkai Watch is the new mega-marketing franchise. I searched for Flint the Time Detective and my memory was jogged from seeing the cover, I think I may have seen it back in the day, or at least saw a commercial for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard of Yokai Watch, but I haven’t seen it. Gotcha. That’s interesting how you remember it. I think if you’ve seen Digimon back in the day, then you might have caught a little bit of that anime.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here. I watched the first three seasons when it aired on TV. Digimon got airplay on Kids’ WB? I don’t think I knew that since I remember the first three seasons being on Fox Kids. Funny enough, Kids’ WB did play Pokemon back then…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, sometimes my memory is spotty. I apologize! ๐Ÿ˜…

        With Frontier, I didn’t get into it too much because it was humans sentai-transforming into Digimon, and my fantasy was always to have a little monster friend, so the premise turned me off. I have heard from some people who really liked it, though. Seasons 2 and 3 will always the best, in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t worry about it.

        I heard about that recently. That is pretty weird. Sure, they kind of did that with the fusion Digivolutions in Tamers, but it was the Digidestined merging with their Digimon. Having a Sentai-esque transformation is just bizarre to me. Digimon is better where it’s the Digidestined and their monster friends. That’s cool. It still blows my mind that Chiaki J. Konaka of Lain, Texhnolyze, and Hellsing fame worked on Tamers.

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  2. AW DUDE! I remember Jetstream! I watched Kiba on it! I think I remember Hikaru no Go being on there, but I didn’t watch it then, I don’t believe. Oddly enough, I don’t even remember what Kiba was about. lol My crappy memory at work.

    And you must be an absolute mind reader for mentioning the fact about Cyborg 009 because right at this very moment I’m writing the first of many reviews I’m making for the entire franchise (I absolutely love Cyborg 009. It’s my favorite Ishinomori series.) Starting from the beginning with the first volume of the manga. I’m really excited to get into it, even if some of the series isn’t available in English….:(

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome! That’s great how you saw Kiba on Jetstream. Kiba was an Isekai series before that term was a thing where there are magic users called Shard Casters. I heard of it and knew a bit of the plot, but I never saw it. If I knew about Jetstream, I would’ve watched HNG there instead of just the DVDs.

      Is that so, now? You’re going to review Cyborg 009? What amazing timing with me namedropping that anime and how Takeshi Obata was a hardcore fan of it. I hope you do well with those reviews. I’m not as familiar with Ishinomori compared to other creators, but I’ve seen multiple parts of Cyborg 009, some Kamen Rider/Masked Rider stuff, and of course, he DID create Power Rangers due to the existence of Super Sentai. I actually reviewed two parts of 009 with Call of Justice and the Devilman crossover on here.

      Thank you very much, Fiddletwix! I’m glad you enjoyed this Top 7 list. Now I have to think of more for the next few months.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really liked the german rap song one.. I live close to Aachen but he isn’t really well know here.. or maybe that is because I am not into german or dutch rap! Based on his texts he doesn’t strike me a a person who watched Hikaru no Go . It really works well with his song though and I immediatly know what sample you were talking about when you told parts had been used. I hope he is a closet Otaku! I really do!

    I think 9 starts would have been an amazing title it would really work with Hikaru creating galaxies and all.. yet at the same time it does wound overly Mecha or something! So in the end I think the current title is the better one. It’s funny that Go was imagined over a game of Go! I would imagine this happening like this.. but I recently imagined how this would work with Chess or checkers. I do see in the show how important Go is for her the writer so it makes perfect sense that it started out as a passion project.

    I did not know Testsuo is Renji.. but I am not that surprised either he did seem familiar. I am really oblivious to voice actors. But he had this gravel in his voice! I like it how his voice has a certain personality though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s great. Despite not knowing German, I thought that rap song was interesting. The sampling was well done as it wasn’t so over-reliant on the “Bokura no Bouken” intro melody as well as adding other sonic elements to mix it in. Aachin is close to where you live? That’s fascinating. Ever been to that city before? Isn’t that sampling great? I wonder if he is a closet otaku. If not, then one could wonder if the producer is. I thought it was so amazing that one of my favorite Hikaru no Go theme songs was the anchor for a rap beat.

      I think it works as a title. Maybe it should’ve been a subtitle or the name of one of the story arcs for poetic effect. It does make sense how it sounds more like a mecha or sci-fi show.The current title is simple, but effective. However, I have to tell people here in America that the term “no” is a Japanese possessive word and the title has nothing to do with a “no go” situation. Yeah, Yumi Hotta does have a history with that game. Makes me wonder how that would work with those games. Pinkie no Chess? Pinkie no Checkers? Hahaha!

      I didn’t know that until recently, but it does make sense given how they have similar voices in general. I didn’t realize Renji and Choji were voiced by the same person though. He certainly is a good voice actor!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] I had a really fun time reviewing this great work from the late Satoshi Kon. Reviewing with others can be even more fun and I had the honor of doing so with Australian aniblogger/author/poet Ashley Capes. Ashley is an awesome addition to the WordPress reviewing community as he makes intelligent reviews can covers a wide array of both obscure and popular media. We’ve had great discussions in the past and we even joke with each that we’re each other’s doppelgangers when it comes to taste in anime like how he was the only other blogger I’ve seen to have reviewed Kurogane Communication (that’s such an underrated anime that more people should know about) and both of us have even covered a Disney plagiarism controversy that’s associated with anime like his Atlantis/Nadia post. Of course, we all know what controversy I’m guilty of talking about. Haha! Seriously, I thought it was awesome and I would love to collaborate with additional bloggers. Ashley and I even have another collab planned soon, so watch out for it!First series I reviewed to get it’s own Top 7 list: Hikaru no Go […]

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