How on earth could anyone make a 75 episode anime about a school kid playing a 3000 year old board game? Surely there must be a lot of filler episodes. Those were my initial thoughts but Hikaru No Go had a great rating on Animenfo and I decided to start watching it.
The first thing to do is to collect the entire series of 75 episodes, the special and the Journey to Hokuta Cup before you start. One of the most amazing things about Hikaru No Go is it's ability to capture the viewer from the get go, once you start watching, it's like you don't
want to stop. Every episode except for Story Arc endings is a mini-cliffhanger motivating you to start the next episode. This perfection of editing and pacing has not been achieved by many other anime.
The story centers around Shindou Hikaru, a 12 year old school boy. He's just had his allowance cut and was in the midst of rummaging through his grandfather's garage looking for something to sell for money when he picks up a "Go" board inhabited by the ghost of Fujiwara No Sai, a genius Go player from the Heian dynasty. Sai has unfinished business in this world, he wants to achive "The Divine Hand or Hand of God" in go. He possesses then haunts Hikaru ~ all he wants to do is play Go.
Initially Hikaru lets Sai play by moving the stones for him but he starts to fall in love with the game and starts playing himself. The series is a coming-of-age, maturing of new talent, exposure to the competitive world of Go and the beauty of the game. There's a nice large cast of supporting characters, all of which are fascinating in their own right.
The soundtrack is wonderful and fits the scenes well. The animation does have some frame reuse but it's done by the same artist who did Death Note and is good. As the series continues you can physically "see" the characters growing up, they get taller and their faces change.
One of the reasons Hikaru No Go is such a good anime is because Sai is the best anime character ever created (in my opinion). He's very loveable, smart, funny, honorable AND he's a Go genius.He shows amazing patience with Hikaru's moods and childishness, not just being his friend but also teaching and mentoring him from nothing to greatness at Go. Sai is just one of those characters you'll never forget. He has a big heart.
Having dated a nationally ranked chess player in my wild and mis-spent youth, I was amazed at how faithfully the series captures the world of competitive board game sports ~ rivalry, one-up manship, jealousy, excessive obsession with the game, psychological warfare, pushy teachers, they're all there and exist in real life. Even a person who doesn't play Go can understand it as it is presented in the anime.
The series has many layers of philosophy behind it that escape most people the first time around.
* How great is a person's desire for something?
* Can one live, obsessed with a game and winning?
* To achieve greatness there is always a price one must pay, in time, or friendships sacrificed by oneself or others. How far should one go?
* How should one deal with or live with regrets from one's past actions?
* Do people care about legacy and what should one try to leave behind?
* If a goal seems "unreachable / unattainable" is it still worth pursuing?
On surface the plot seems simple but in reality it's very profound, that's one of the reasons I consider this series a masterpiece. It could easily go on for another 75 episodes and I would want them all. Even after it ended, I was still thinking about it and craving more. I even started playing Go online. The manga sparked a resurgence of interest in Go in Japan, wih some message boards featuring posts by Go professionals stating that they wish they could play against Sai. For an anime to arouse this level of interest is amazing. Hikaru No Go deserves to rank much higher than it does, it is truly a masterpiece.
Hikaru no Go is, in essence, an anime about the world of Go; about the game, the friendships and rivalries that arise in this world, the challenges, obstacles and feelings. This is a lot to actually live up to, and Hikaru no Go most certainly fills its role well.
It starts out very simle, in a way you've probably seen before. The main character, Shindou Hikaru, encounters a paranormal apparition by coincidence while stumbling around in his shed, and only he can see it. Said apparition is, in fact, the ghost of a skilled Go player from the past, Fujiwara no Sai. He really wants to
play a game of Go, and as such Hikaru brings him along to a Go salon, where he finds a kid his age which he can play. Since only Hikaru sees Sai, Hikaru must play the pieces for him. Of course, fate throws a twist by letting the opponent be a prodigy almost strong enough to become a professional Go player. Sai, skilled as he is, beats this kid, Touya Akira, to a pulp. From here, a wild goose chase after the illusion of Hikaru starts. Sai of coruse manages to get Hikaru into the game, and he eventually chases after Akira. As such we have Hikaru chasing after Akira, who again is chasing what he thinks is Hikaru. Voilá, the stage is set for an intense anime full of emotions, drama and, of course, Go.
The plot from there is, for the most part, what I said above. Through tournaments, encounters at Go salons, school Go clubs, Inseis (aspiring professionals), and eventually the professional world of Go, we see these two chase after each other, and what remains in their wake. Quite honestly, the plot is very barebones, but that is completely irrelevant, because Hikaru no Go is in each and every way a character-driven series, which makes it in many ways more riveting and inspring than a plot-driven series.
And characters, we lack not. Aside the intense, heart-throbbing rivalry that develops between Akira and Hikaru, there are bucketloads of interesting side characters, who range from Go club members to hardened professionals who gaze as these two young players lead on a new wave of young and skilled Go players. Mostly everyone gets an acceptable amount of development, for example the challengers; why they play and what's at stake for them are usually revealed in a gripping way - I surely don't think I've ever rooted for ten characters when all of them posed as adversaries to the main character. The professionals and newspaper people's reaction to these up-and-coming kids, it all seems so real you kind of experience their surprise and excitement at this.
But of course, I can't get lost in the characters only; even though the characters are so good it's easy to forget the artistic qualities of the show, one must not at all forget the music and animation, which both play an impressive behind-the-scenes role in making this series what it is.
Let me ask you one question: When you were a teen, or if you're one now, have you ever looked at a picture from when you were two-three years younger? If so, the reaction "Holy mother of love, did I look *that* young?" is probably a familiar one. And when you watch this series, you'll probably end up thinking the same. For this is indeed a coming-of-age anime, following Akira and Hikaru from sixth grade through ninth grade, or three years. Their growth, while seen mostly in their Go playing and their personalities, is also very much reflected in the animation. Towards the end of the series, I asked myself: "Did they always look like that?". When they showed us flashbacks to the beginning, I realized, they did not. While you can recognize them, it is actually impressively easy to spot that they were different. Their faces, so much more child-like, and their stature lower. Much lower. I commend Pierrot for doing such a great job of reflecting their growth physically, too. It was so smooth that I couldn't say from one episode to another that, "hey, he looks older!", but on an overall basis, by skipping, say, twenty or so episodes at a time, I see that they gradually change.
Apart from that, the animators did an outstanding job. The next thing on the list is probably how they made the Go matches very interesting to watch. Just pain watching the stones being placed could've been very deterring, at least in the beginning. So instead they throw in a heap of special effects; lights, shadows, camera angles, intense effects when placing stones, even changing the background to make the game more in the center of attention, or even make a symbolic scape, for example the universe itself, symbolizing the "world" that is the Go board, and even the so-called Divine Move.
In general, Pierrot did an awesome job of making the show pretty to look at. Now, even in 2002 you had better-looking series, but it does not change the fact that it looks really nice. And they improve as they go on. It looks only mediocre in the first episode compared to the final episode. Among the stronger points I can mention clothes, backgrounds and effects when playing Go. The weaker parts are a bit annoying, but are mostly fixed upon as they go along, creating a most aesthetically enjoyable series. One problem is faces, which look a bit weird - at times some details are a bit misplaced -, but they do a nice job of expressiions, while not going overboard with them either, keeping a fairly serious tone. And later on, when I saw the sheer intensity in their eyes, I just thought "whoa!" and had to let a drop of sweat run down my cheek. The other problem is that sometimes when they placed stones on the board, the perspective was done entirely wrong, when the rest of the stones already there looked real nice. This, too, improved very much as the series went on, and in the latter stages I noticed very litte to none of this problem.
And now, the soundtrack, which was done quite nicely. No, that's an understatement. It was inspiring and evocative, all the while not taking over the series, doing a nice job behind the scenes to build up and strengthen the emotional impacts of the show. The intense feelings of the games, the sad feelings that happened occasionally between characters, it was all done with music that reinforced those feelings and made it enjoyable to the point where I felt this tingling feeling in my stomach. The opening and ending themes are quite nice, too. The first opening, "Get Over" by Dream, especially; its synth-pop rythms and lyrics are very inspiring, but it doesn't completely outmatch the others; they were all very strong candidates for favoritism and defnitely a worthwhile watch. Not to mention the final ending theme, which is a ten-minute half-instrumental, half-original mix of Get Over. That was a masterful piece of music.
All in all, Hikaru no Go provides sufficient character-driven, intense and emotional entertainment, which most people would find interesting. And don't let the pretense of a baord game like Go deter you from watching; it is hhgly enjoyable, and though I didn't really care for the Go, it remained interesting throughout the whole series. And the more enjoyable aspects of the show will definitely overshadow it if it comes to that. And for new and seasoned Go players alike, this is a very interesting ashow to watch!
This is somewhat of an anomaly. If you had told me that one of my favorite series was going to be a show about people playing go, I would've laughed and told you that you clearly don't know me. Yet, here it is.
Admittedly it's been a few years since I watched Hikaru. Working in the time to rewatch a 75 episode series isn't feasible when there's other anime to watch out there. However, that doesn't matter much as I will explain below.
Let's talk about the story first:
I rated Hikaru no Go an 8 on story because I felt like while it's exceptional, the story is
pretty simply about Hikaru playing go. You might be wondering how a story can be exceptional with something so basic, but it isn't about the go games themselves (which I'll talk about in a few paragraphs) Rather it's about Hikaru and the people he meets as he learns to play Go. It's about his relationships with them and how he grows into manhood.
The fact this series takes place over several years is nice. In my opinion, there's no better time to see a characters development than when they're children. It's something we can all relate to in some regard. Also, kids tend to be more expressive of their emotions which makes it easier to know what they're thinking, which really helps in character development.
The number one reason you should watch this show is the character development. That being said, you might be curious to hear about the go aspect of the show.
Go is the primary focus of 90% of the characters you'll meet. If you have no idea how to play go, let me give you the absolute minimal stuff you need to know.
Go is a game about territory. You place down stones to create territory and the goal is to have the most territory in the game. If someone surrounds a piece (or pieces) they take those pieces and gain more of the board's territory.
That's all you really need to understand about the game to enjoy the series. While you're watching, I can almost guarantee you'll want to learn more, but as the series goes on, you'll find that it becomes too difficult to keep up with. Due to the fact that the game involves a deep sense of strategy once you move past the basics. But you don't need that knowledge to enjoy the tension. You don't need the knowledge to understand the joy of victory or the shock of defeat.
Give it a try if you really like character driven anime.
Hikaru no Go is a pretty old series at this point. 2001-2003 was over 10 years ago and obviously it wont compare to modern day animation. Nothing really bothered me about the art though, and so I don't think my rating here should matter. But I'll give it a "good" just to say that I had no problems with it.
Sound: The music in this series was always great for creating the right atmosphere. To emphasize this, I sometimes experienced a fuzziness through my body whenever I started hearing the ending music start playing when the episode was wrapping up. It was like they were pumping me up and making me excited to see the next episode.
Character: Like I mentioned in the story section, this is why you should watch Hikaru no Go.
Enjoyment: If you're wondering if you'll enjoy the series at this point, then let me offer a piece of advice. Watch the first opening (try to find the best quality you can) If that doesn't convince you to at least watch an episode, then maybe it wont be your thing :x
An anime about a grade school boy playing a board game. Sounds intense, huh? *cough*
That's what I thought when I first heard about Hikaru no Go. But how about something like this: A young boy is introduced to a board game unchanged through nearly three millenia by the spirit of a top player still yearning to complete what is called the "Hand of God." But then again, everything sounds good when you throw in big words.
Hikaru no Go is essencially the story of Shindou Hikaru as he is inhabited by Fujiwara no Sai - a genius go player from the Heian Period. As Hikaru is
inducted into the world of Go as Sai's 'hands,' he sees for himself that an entire world built on the base of a board game exists almost secluded from reality.
As he watches Sai play, Hikaru develops a want to play himself. What makes this story reach out towards you is that not only do you watch on as Hikaru's will to play increases, but you yourself also want to play.
At times you'll be watching two players put down stones while dramatic music plays in the background. To an outsider, this may seem a bit odd and lame but when you truly watch it, everything feels correct. Hikaru no Go is not just the story of Shindou playing a game. Throughout the anime, Hikaru matures eventually realizing that the world of Go isn't just built on a game but the emotions -for the game- each player possess.
The animation proves to hold very consistent through the entire anime, peaking towards the end as Hikaru becomes older. There isn't much flash or bang to each episode but there's always a well done scene when needed.
Too many openings and endings to count. There'll be at least one that you enjoy - not to mention the OST is half decent, with a few tracks standing out (Honda vs. Izumi!).
You'll be introduced to a huge cast with only a handfull being quite important to the plot and even then a smaller handfull remaining important to the plot after their 5 seconds.
If you're interested in a story about a young boy pushing through the world as he experiences that you can't always do what you want and make the best situation of things, check out Hikaru no Go.
I will begin by saying that do not let the length of this anime turn you off. Although watching 75 episodes is not an easy job for any given anime, I cannot once remember the act of watching Hikaru no Go being a pain. In fact, every single episode was a pleasure to watch and the entire experience was nothing less than spectacular. I will not go into the plot since there are countless places on the web where you can find the plot outline (including myanimelist lol). This review is therefore strictly to do with the elements that make Hikaru No Go such an
awesome anime to watch. For starters, although this anime is about Go, you do not need to have an understanding (or even liking) of this game in order to enjoy it. The driving force of HnG is a combination of excellent character development, brilliant plot, fantastic music, and an overall gripping presence to the show. All you have to do is to watch the first episode of this anime and I will guarantee you that you will crave for the next episode. Yes, it is THIS good. Another noteworthy aspect of this anime is the emotional impact it has towards it's viewers. I found myself laughing, smiling, upset, angry, and almost in tears at specific time points throughout my experience of watching this anime. You will really be putting your emotions through a roller coaster ride, which is quite rare for a lot of other animations. I strongly suggest you all to watch this one. It will not disappoint you.
Story: I know that I mentioned that I will not talk about the storyline but since this is part of the review, I will provide a brief outline. HnG is based on the ancient strategy game called Go (similar to chess or checkers) and it journeys into a student's (Hikaru) self discovery when he begins to play Go under the influence of an ancient ghost called Sai upon being possessed by it. At first, Hikaru is compelled to play Go on behalf of Sai but as he begins to play more and more, he begins to develop a personal liking to the game, especially when faced with a genius rival of the same age (Akira). This leads to his aspiration of becoming the best Go player that he possibly can. 9/10
Art: The art was fantastic and colorful. It complemented the theme of the anime very well and the overall art was generally perfect. I cannot imagine the art being any different to what it was. 10/10
Sound: Another amazing addition to the anime. The sound was simply outstanding, which really leaves an impact on the viewers. Bokura No Bouken (ending theme of the first dozen or so episodes) was breath-taking and gave a lot of character to the anime. The other themes were equally fantastic. 10/10
Character: Each character was portrayed in a realistic way and fortunately there was not a single character who was "over-the-top" or irritating. Unlike naruto for instance, where certain characters are too silly or juvenile, the characters in HnG were unique in their own ways without acting overly stupid. This gave an interesting flow to the anime overall. Even the comical aspects of some characters were extremely well developed. 9/10
Enjoyment: For me personally, Hikaru No Go was extremely fun to watch and I was seriously addicted to this show. After watching the first episode, I just knew that I had to complete this anime asap because it substantially increased my confidence that I would not be wasting my time. The only thing is, I was sad when I finished it and felt this strange void instantly after I watched the final episode. I think it is remarkable that some anime can have that effect on you. It is as if they become a part of you. 9/10
I am quite strict when it comes to scoring anime, so I give this a 9/10 overall. If you have not seen this anime yet, I suggest you add it to your "plan to watch" list. It really is a fantastic show.
So how does one make a 75 episode anime about go, let alone a good anime? Simple, you don’t, instead you make an anime about people that play go. While Hikaru no Go can be classified as a sports anime it does not follow the typical sports anime structure. That structure is characterized by train, fight/play, train, fight/play, etc. One can call Prince of Tennis an anime about tennis and Hajime no Ippo an anime about boxing. However, it would be incorrect to call Hikaru no Go an anime about go. Before I start this review let me just
say one thing. I was once a nationally ranked chess player back in high school so I have first hand experience of many of the things the characters goes through.
Hikaru no Go is 75 episodes long yet it has this uncanny ability to keep the viewer sitting wanting more. I attribute this partly to the seamlessness nature of Hikaru no Go as well as having constant cliffhangers. Virtual every episode ends on some sort of cliffhanger. If I really think about it, I have a very hard time really breaking down the story down into multiple arcs, this only shows how each episode seems to blend with each other. Wait, actually I can, the first arc is over 60+ episodes long though. Around this time the seamless nature breaks down a bit and loses much of its focus but, it does get back on track in the end. However, if one looks objectively the dip in quality spanned around 7-8 episodes, that’s around 10 percent of the entire series. It like saying a 26 episode anime series was bad because of 2-3 weak episodes. So I can forgive Hikaru no Go for its slight dip in quality, especially considering how good the other 90 percent was.
As I said in my introduction, Hikaru no Go is all about the characters. Shindo in particular goes through a lot of change in the 2 years the anime covered. However, the change the characters go through is so gradual and natural that one won’t realized it unless you go back to the first few episodes. Also, as I mentioned in my introduction, Hikaru no Go doesn’t follow a typical sports anime structure. Shindo does lose, and he loses plenty of times. No matter how good one at something, they are bound to lose. This isn’t because one needs to lose to grow. While this is true, sometimes your best isn’t enough. Sometimes no matter how hard you work you’ll still fail, what matters is that you keep going. This is far more realistic than most other sports or shounen anime. Where the protagonist is so perfect they’ll always win or at the very least push a far superior opponent to their limits. For those titles, I often get annoyed and even start to hate the protagonist or at the very least get bored by its predicable nature. Shindo on the other hand is far more human and likable when compared to other sports/shounen anime leads. Also, I can’t forget about the other characters. Sai in particular is a lovable character, with plenty of depth and complexity to compliment his fun nature. Ok, I’ll stop now, because if I don’t I’ll probably keep going on and on about how awesome a character Sai is. In fact, most if not all the characters are likable to some degree. I find it really hard to not like or at least understand anyone as they do a good job fleshing the characters out.
Music is another one of Hikaru no Go’s high points. The many pieces they use really bring out the intensity of some of the games as well as accent some of the more emotional scenes. In addition, I’m fond of most of the OP and ED, in particular “Get Over” by Dream.
As for the art I much rather like the style they used (same artist that did Death Note) and I really like the female designs. Too bad there were so few female character. Sighs, oh well I guess its realistic in that sense too. In addition, I really like the fact that the characters actually ages realistically over the course of 2 years, especially considering the fact that they’re going through puberty. However, what makes me really like art is the fact that it was extremely consistent. For something this long one is bound to have some weakly animated episodes, thankfully they didn’t, or at least I don’t remember any. As for the actual animaion, I felt that they got a bit cheap in this regards. Sure Hikaru no Go doesn’t need extremely smooth animation, but it can get annoying when we’re constantly viewing panning shots.
As someone that has played tournament chess, I must say they did an excellent job in portraying the life of a tournament player. If an outsider looks in on me playing a chess match, they’ll probably think its boring. Well chess or go isn’t a spectator sport and its definitely not boring to the people playing. When I’m playing a chess match, I go through a wide spectrum of emotions as well as playing with an extreme amount of intensity. Hikaru no Go perfectly depicts this intensity and the emotions of the player perfectly. In addition, to game play the tournaments as well as the life of a professional player are depicted in a true to life manner.
Hikaru no Go features nearly flawless pacing and strong character development. The flow of the story does get a bit weak in the mid 60’s but that’s only 10 percent of the entire series. Furthermore, the characters are realistic and extremely likable. Music is used to great effect as well as featuring some very nice OP and ED songs. Hikaru no Go is not a very deep or complex anime, for the most part its pretty light but, it is nevertheless fun to watch thanks to its very likable cast of characters. Also, make sure you marathon Hikaru no Go as the story structure and light nature lends it to be marathoned.
I've never really been a person to watch sports, or game animes. Why watch a game when you can go out there and play it? But wow... Hikaru no Go captured my attention in a way that I would not have thought possible. Every part of the storyline had me watching until I could no longer keep my eyes open. Believably intense and even inspiring, Hikaru no Go is an anime, that will have its place in my library of goodies. Story for Hikaru no Go gets a 9.
Art - 7
The art is nothing spectacular and yet nothing could I imagine changing
too much. Just your average anime here. There was one segment that I liked tremendously, where the Go stones left a trail of light in their wake, but unfortunately it was never used again. Also the blurring of the hands to show motion was well done. So the art gets an average score of 7.
Sound - 8
Sound seems to be a very heavy influence in Hikaru no Go, with a soundtrack that plays matching the mood of the current events. The soundtrack was not bad at all, with an opening and an ending theme that have found their way into my list of random anime music. The sound of the Go stone hitting the wood of the board could not have been cooler. It was extremely fitting and almost looked forward to, especially in the intense game sequences.
Characters - 10
The characters in Hikaru no Go are definately the strongest point. You will find yourself completely in synch with Shindou's reactions to other people, (unless its a storyline mechanic) and even then you completely understand Shindou's reasons. The characters in Hikaru no Go are as real in my mind as it is possible for any anime character to be. Well deserved score of 10.
Enjoyment - 9
Throughout this anime series I have laughed, cried, cheered, and gotten downright disheartened. I admire any animes that can control my emotions that much. I watched this 75 episode anime in 2 days with 2 eight hour work shifts. I would say that I enjoyed this anime alot.
Overall - 9
A great storyline, with near-perfect characters to enact it, and a soundtrack that is in synch and catchy, makes for an anime worth watching.
Hikaru no Go is one of those animes that seems to push the bar for other animes to follow. In almost every aspect, this anime provided entertainment, thought-provoking ideas, great comedic moments, and the eternal drive for the better game that exists in some fashion in every sports/game orientated anime. The character-driven action and emotional resonance creates one of those gems of anime that would have culminated into an anime classic except for a single glaring aspect that prevented stardom. I enjoyed this series so much that I made a marathon of it and the hour and fifteen minute special within a three day span.
Thank goodness I decided to pick this anime up on spring break, or I think my brain would have melted trying to balance the want to watch this anime and the need to study. :)
This area of the anime is one of its strongest, yet weakest, features. Most sport/game animes have a pretty basic plot that any watcher of this genre can catch, eternal drive to better a game, head for the *insert title here* championship, and grow as a result of playing. HnG has this in spades; yet, it has so much more. I actually started to understand the game of Go by the end, but that is definitely not the reason I stayed watching. Hikago delves into the character's motivations for playing and shows very deeply how those motivations affect the player's game, inner self, and the world/relationships around them. I think that's one of the prime driving forces of this anime, relationships, be they rivals, friends, or the occasional romantic (though there's really not that much there). I kept watching episode after episode, hour after hour, pretty much because I wanted to see how far Akira and Shindou pushed each other closer and closer to the top of the professional Japanese Go world.
I mentioned that this is one of the strongest features, yet sadly, one part of it is the only reason I'm not giving this anime a perfect ten. In the mid-60's range of the episodes, the forward momentum of the plot almost crashes to a halt with about 5 to 6 straight episodes of fillers. There's even about two episodes where the main character makes cameos. CAMEOS!!!!! I'm sorry, this story is about Hikaru's drive towards pro, the perfect Go game/move, and Akira's acceptance as a rival. It is NOT about a side character's training out of country and his re-finding of the game. Now this little plot twist and deviance I might have been able to accept if it hadn't completely taken over the story and moved the anime in a different direction. Thankfully, this little weird direction change only lasts for about 6-7 episodes and then we're back on the track of Hikaru vs. Akira. I can enjoy the advancement and growth of other characters just fine, but it's the rivalry and relationship between these two main characters that provides the main incentive for me to keep watching.
This is actually what caught my attention in the first place, though probably not in the way one would expect. The first time I saw Akira's and Hikaru's children faces, the first thought in my mind was "Fushigi Yuugi eyes!!!". That was enough to make me do a bit of research on this anime called Hikaru no Go that looked so much like an anime from my nostalgic past and put it on my to watch list. While the animation part of Hikago isn't going to be leaving you awe-inspired, it does the job beautifully and actually gets better as the anime progresses which I find very refreshing as more often it goes downhill. The characters faces are all completely distinct and wonderfully rendered; the background settings and surroundings are all unique to their individual places. I don't think I saw any repeated footage, but then I don't really notice that unless it's blaring.
I actually enjoyed watching the Go matches as well since the animators created some unique ways to make watching Go interesting, from light shows to picture layering to computer screen simulation. Something was always done to make a tad bit more interesting for us viewers who may not know the game that well and couldn't possibly remember all those moves and definitions we were provided with (I personally only remember the names to about two moves and don't ask me how they would relate to an overall strategy and placement. ^_^;;).
Another little aspect of the animation that helped the story flow so seamlessly was how the animators created the differences in ages of the characters. Since they grow over four to five years (through puberty no less) in the anime, the art reflects this with the faces and bodies of the characters growing up with them. And this is done so seamlessly that I almost didn't notice. It was like my eyes just followed their growth naturally as I was living their lives with them.
The music in Hikago fits it perfectly where in another anime it might be a bit melodramatic. There were a few times in the beginning where I raised an eyebrow and wondered why the heck I was listening to music I thought more appropriate for an epic siege or swordfight between two samurai when these two kids were playing a board game. It wasn't until I got used to the huge musical score that everything dropped into place to flow seamlessly with the story and the emotional ambiance that the music portrays. Now I can't imagine Hikago without the musical score that puts Lord of the Rings in the shadow. ^_^ The actual sound effects of an anime is something I don't really pay too much attention to. As long as I hear the sounds where I should, I'm good and don't really notice them. However, the sound of the stones hitting a Go board started to become a symbol for the game itself. It became so much a part of my watching experience that I expected the sound and actually listened for it.
Like I pointed out in analyzing the story, the characters are what drives this anime and is it's other extremely strong point; they are the heart and soul of the entire thing. The anime demands that the viewer feel for the characters and to understand why they do what they do. How the characters portray their thoughts and feelings and interact with the world around them is pretty much how any real person would, given the same situation. This especially becomes apparent when the emotional pitch of the story reaches one of its highest points in the late 50 to early 60 episode range. I could understand exactly why characters reacted the way they did; I probably would have done the same. So overall, the characters are extremely fleshed out with past stories revealed and motivations that can echo with a viewer's emotions beautifully.
I think this can be a given since, like I've already mentioned, I devoted a three day marathon to this anime just because I couldn't stop myself. ^0^ My hand had a mind of its own when it clicked that "next episode" link. I found myself captivated by the characters, the story, and the game itself. I probably prompted a few thoughts in my neighbor's brains about how they wished I was quieter when I was cheering for my favorite player and yelling at the screen "WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT MOVE?!?!" even though I really don't know what the moves were. ^_^;; I just couldn't sit still for this anime; I constantly moved, wiggled, cheered, and cried. This anime, as evidenced by the many actions I mentioned, pulled at all my heartstrings and reached emotional depths in me that definitely makes it one of those animes I'll need to keep for future viewing.
So all together, with a very strong story, depth of emotion, very fleshed out characters, a musical score epic enough for a Peter Jackson movie, and animation that got better as the anime progressed, this is one of those shows that everyone should give a try. You WON'T regret it!
Hikaru no Go was a long running manga written by Hotta Yumi in the late 90s, early 2000s. Of course, it got an anime adaptation. I'll be honest, it's an anime based off of a board game. I don't see much possibility of it being good or interesting. Will it surprise me? Let's take a look at the anime and find out.
Our story begins with a boy with ridiculous, multi-coloured hair, Shindou Hikaru, going through his grandfather's garage. He comes across an old Go board with a stain that only he can see. The ghost of a Go player named Sai from ancient times
emerges and inhabits a corner of his mind. All Sai desires is to play Go and, being unable to do anything on his own, he quickly drags Hikaru into the game. Hikaru quickly gains an interest in playing and decides to become a professional Go player. The story is pretty boring. There are no real stakes and it lacks any real tension since all they're doing is playing a board game. They try to make up for it with absurd levels of melodrama, but that only makes the story stupid in addition to being boring. Everything also moves far too slowly. I nearly fell asleep on several occasions while watching episodes just because nothing remotely interesting was happening. They could have finished the series in half the time without all the bloody padding.
The series could have been interesting if the characters were capable of carrying the premise. Unfortunately, the characters are really flat. You don't know anything about most of them aside from one or two minor pieces of information. Most of them rely on cliche personalities and just come across as stale. To make matters worse, Hikaru is an insufferable brat and Sai spends a great deal of his time whining. Neither one is well fleshed out or even sympathetic.
The art ranges from fine to sub-par. Most of the time it does its job but characters tend to have borked faces and random motion lines get added to the Go games in a failed attempt at creating excitement. Frankly, the art looks more like it was done in the late 80s than the early 2000s.
The voice acting is pretty standard. No one does an outstanding job but there's no one who does horribly either. The music is the best part of the series and even it isn't great. It's just decent.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There are some female characters in minor roles but you barely see them interact and they certainly don't have developed enough relationships to be able to identify what kind of relationships they share aside from a very general "friendly."
My final rating for Hikaru no Go is a 4/10. You might enjoy it if you're a massive fan of professional Go, but even that's unlikely given the boring story, bland characters, dull art and uninspired voice acting. You'd think that watching the games might be enough for Go fans, but you don't even see enough of the Go games to get invested in them or to be able to tell how they went aside from knowing who's winning. The end result is a sub-par series.
A TV series about GO?
Must be boring hm?
No must not!!!
Hikaru no Go is one of the interestings Sports Series you'll find
at the moment.
The difference between other Sport Anime is that Hikaru is not
the guy who's only winning every game.
No he has first to learn the game and he will lose many times.
Its much more interessting to see how he grow up
unlike Prince of Tennis who the Protagonist is only Winning.
A series about go? Can that be made interesting? For 75 Episodes???
Well, it definately can.
To be honest, I was a little sceptical, as a friend recommended me this series. But this scepticism dropped drastically. Watching the first episode I thought to myself, oh, it's that kind of anime. See one and you'veseen them all, so to speak. But the further I watched on, the more I got sucked intothe story, and I realized, thet it goes beyond the clichés.
Let's start from the beginning. The main character Hikaru is in one way a very typical main character, being sometimes overconfident, nonchalant, sometimes mean and disrespectful to
women, and still his female counterpart sticks with him. She is being sort of dropped out a little later on, being only in very few episodes, which is a relief, cause she's quite to naive.
But the focus is clearly on the main character, or is it? Well, yes and no. He is certainly the main lead and takes up the majority of the episodes. But the episodes also focus on other characters as well. There is Sai, his partner from the other side, who is helping Hikaru grow and overcome his weaknesses until the point, where he is realizing, Hikaru is starting to surpass even him. He get's his fair share of episodes, even though he is just a spirit and, well, can't act on his own, so to speak. still he gets his fair share of matches. I won't go deeper into the roll and interpretation of this character, though. It won't be possible without spoilers. Then there is Akira Touya, the counterpart and rival to our lead. It's his struggle to find someone who's on par with him and also in his age span. He finds Hikaru, his play still being controlled by Sai. He starts to follow Hikaru, but let's be honest, at first he stretches out more for Sai. Than we have Izumi, a fellow Insei, i.e. a student to become a pro-player, of Hikaru. He also has his fair share of dilemmas, which he has to overcome. Aside from those charakters there are a bunch of other interesting charakters, which aren't ignored but get there fair share of sreen time. It's not your typical "we have a bunch of charakters, which are only there to support or oppose our main lead". On the contrary, there are a bunch episodes, which have almost no Hikaru at all. And also very important, we have no real antagonist. There are people, that are likable and there are people who are not. It's just like real life, and every charakter is drawn out more human and show sort of all nuances and sides imaginable. That makes those charakters so good, there are human. Even Hikaru can be really nasty at times.
The story is very basic. But why should it be different, if it is not the focus to show some new twists and turns but to flash out a bunch of colourful charakters. And still it's not predictable from beginning to end, what will happen. We have a lot of struggles and miseries to overcome. And you know, they'll eventually overcome them, because we wouldn't be satisfied if not. But the duration is certainly unclear and there are a lot of twists and turns on the way. One very important aspect, that these series tend to often do wrong, is, that our main lead can lose. Actually everybody can lose, and more often than you think. Hikaru has a natural tendency towards go, but it's a long process until he overcomes his dependency on Sai. The other characters show also there weaknesses and it's focus of the series to overcome those weaknesses. And in that aspect, the series does it right almost all the times. There are certainly some issues with Sai and his supremacy, but that's just nitpick. The story is on the surface a little predictable, but the route which it will take to get there is on the contrary very unclear and exciting. The filler episodes, from which there are few, but they excist, are a little distracting and unnessecary. But it's just a few of them, so it's okay. The episodes that focus mainly on go are quite similar, and the score makes it seem, we are in an exciting action sequence, so it becomes more hillarious than exciting. Yet the majority of the games are constructed very well and build up tension as they go on.
Overall it was a very good series I'm happy to have seen. It pulled me in the more I watched it and it's certainly rewatchable as well. So I highly recommend it and to all you sceptics out there: an anime about go can be very complex and exciting, but see for yourselves ;)
"Hikaru no Go" is an anime that took me just a week to blitz through, but months to get over. It's the second long shounen series I've seen recently, the first one being "Hajime no Ippo". Even though they both look like the same type of show at first (long running shounens in which the hero goes from a complete n00b at something to being immensely strong... I'm sure you know the kind of stuff I'm referring to here), in reality, they're as different as chalk and... er... chimpanzees.
Whilst "Hajime no Ippo" never really broke free of the stereotypical image of its genre, "Hikaru no
Go" does, and thus has the potential to appeal to far beyond its primary targetted audience. Both are coming of age stories, but "Hikaru no Go" emphasises this factor like no other - for the first time ever, the true meaning of this coming of age theme hit me full in the face. It may not break any obvious barriers (with tournaments, rivalries, and all the rest of the usual ingredients that's on the standard shounen recipe, it's certainly doesn't have the originality of "FMA" or "Death Note"), but the quality of its writing and profound character development that underpins it set it apart from its brethrens in a subtle but firm way.
Shounen this may be, but I'm almost reluctant to call it that because I just know people will mentally file it away in the same category as some of the more shallow anime around... in fact, at first glance, "Hikaru no Go" reminded me of "Yu-Gi-Oh", with Hikaru's unusual hair style and the whole possessed by spirit who's good at the game kind of thing. I was all for having a dig at "Yu-Gi-Oh" for copying ideas from "Hikaru no Go", but having checked the dates, it seem more likely to be the other way round. But that's okay, because thankfully, the resemblance between the two ends with the superficial character design and settings. Yu-Gi-Oh went on to become a repetitive show reminiscent of "Pokemon" whilst "Hikaru no Go" grew into... well, lets just say something far more substantial.
"Hikaru no Go" begins much like a run of the mill shounen... except it's about go, a board game that originated from ancient China (think chess, but a lot more complex). Not the most exciting of subjects, right? I bet you're already visualising people playing a boring game of go that's decorated by over the top shounen style production such as lightning streaked backgrounds and BGM so epic it wouldn't have sounded out of place in a Gundam anime... and you would be right. Unfortunately, because the subject is a board game, all these age old gimmicks seem not only cliched, but also out of place a lot of the time. (Okay, I'm probably not making the anime sound great so far, but bear with me...) However, by the end of the series, they no longer seem so out of place, because "Hikaru no Go" actually manages to build up into something that fits the epic score and production, and *that* is a testament to the tremendous growth of the series.
For anyone even remotely interested in Go, "Hikaru no Go" is a must watch. I read somewhere that it's been estimated that this anime single handedly caused the size of the go community worldwide to triple - the impact it's had on the game has been nothing short of phenomenal. The anime used a Japanese pro go player as a consultant during production, and most, if not all the matches shown in the anime are taken from real games played by both historical and modern go players. The games are drawn in painstaking detail, allowing go enthusiasts to freeze frame and examine each situation thoroughly. It's a treat for anyone that plays go - almost everyone at my local go club has seen some of the anime or read some of the manga, and yes... that includes the old men... believe it or not one of even buys the manga (this is even more incredible when you consider the fact that I live in the UK, where go is not a very well known game)! More than this though, the matches can be very exciting even if you don't really understand go. One thing that particularly impressed me is that Hikaru doesn't just lose games, he loses quite a few despite his astronomical progress as a player. In fact he loses at the most unexpected of times, often at critical moments when I expect him to dig deep and come up with the win. This makes Hikaru seem far more human than most of the shounen anime heros, and because you just don't know who's gonna win, it gives the matches that extra spark of excitement that is missing in anime such as "Hajime no Ippo".
But as good as the shounen aspect of "Hikaru no Go" is, it could have been better. Normally in this kind of show, too much time is spent on the main activity central to the theme and not enough focus is given to the story and character development that makes up the flesh and blood of the anime. With "Hikaru no Go", a good balance is struck, but I feel there could have been more exciting matches. With a series this long, you would expect to get quite a few memorable matches, but there are actually only a couple of really good ones in "Hikaru no Go". I'm not saying the anime did not feature enough games, just that the ones they did feature could have been better. In quite a few of the matches, they did not show the match properly played out to the end, but instead revealed the results in a round-a-bout way from post-match perspectives. I can see the novelty of this idea when used a couple of times, but it happens so frequently that it gave a lot of the key matches in the series an anti-climatic feel. Don't get me wrong though, there are still many more positives than negatives in this department of the anime.
For anyone who's not at all interested in go, "Hikaru no Go" is still a must try. I started watching the anime without any knowledge or interest in go, but I was hooked pretty quickly. This is because it's not go that carries this show along, it's the characters. It's rare that a main character steals the spotlight in a show, and I've heard a few people say that this is no exception - that the main protagonist Hikaru is nothing special. I can't disagree more - there are plenty of interesting side characters for sure, but Hikaru outshines them all. He starts off with this brattish streak not too dis-similar from Yutaro's from "Rurounin Kenshin"... not exactly the perfect hero. But it's this same characteristic makes him such an infectious character. Even as I wanted to frown at his antics, I often found myself grinning instead. It's a great starting point for a character, but what really sets him apart is the terrific development he undergoes in the duration of the series - it's something that really underlines "Hikaru no Go"'s credentials as a coming of age anime. The depth and magnitude of his development is on a similar scale to those found in "12 Kingdoms" (that is to say: of epic proportions), but "Hikaru no Go" manages to take it to a higher level through its subtlety. I remember constantly being aware of the characters' change process when watching "12 Kingdoms", but here the changes were much more natural and it didn't really occur to me how much Hikaru had changed until the end. This is probably the pinnacle for character development because it's the kind of thing that occurs in real life - if you know someone over a couple of years, you might not notice the gradual change in them until you think back to what they were like when you first met them, and this is exactly what Hikaru's development feels like. It's a neat trick for an anime to pull off, and I only picked up on it because of the artwork. There's this point near the end of the seres when a flashback towards an early part of the series took place, and upon seeing the young Hikaru in the flashback I nearly choked... how the hell did he manage to change so much without me noticing?! I originally found the character designs somewhat childish with all the chubby faces, but those have all disappeared, and Hikaru in particular has a more serious look in addition to being a lot taller and having a more adult physique by that point. The contrast is breathtaking, And THEN it occurred to me that Hikaru growing up is not only evident in his change in appearance, but also in his change in personality - he hasn't just grown in stature, but also in confidence and maturity (though the brattish streak doesn't disappear completely, thankfully). In that moment when those two revelations hit me almost simultaneously, I finally saw how far the anime had progressed, and perhaps for the first time, truly appreciated it as the extraordinary work it really is.
If I have one major gripe with the anime, it'd have to be the fillers. Up until about episode 60, the anime had done pretty well in terms of fillers. And by that I mean there are none. As far as I can think of, every episode had a connection to the overarching storyline, which is pretty damn good for such a long anime. And then at around episode 60, the story reaches a dramatic turning point... and during the resolvation of this crucial part of the story, the series inserted not one, but TWO blatent fillers. AAAGGHHH! What were they thinking??? If they had to put those two episodes in, it would have made waaay more sense to have them in a lot earlier, as they're like flashback episodes that had no relevance whatsoever to the core storyline at the point where they appeared. But nooo, they had to put it in during what is arguably the most emotional part of the series! A lot of people have complained about the episodes between 60 and 70 being slow and boring, but I think a lot of the blame can be attributed to those fillers. Yes, Hikaru did take a long time to snap out of his piteous state of mind, but I think his behaviour is extremely believable, and is also justified considering the cause of his depression. Recovering too soon would have undermined the turbulent emotions that he must have been going through at the time, and what it all meant to him. Those episodes are probably the ones that would bore a typical shounen viewer, but I personally think that they contained some really powerful moments and are very underrated... apart from those fillers of course. Once the fillers are over, the anime gets back on track and Hikaru's transformation soon completes. To top it all off, the last episode features an incredible dream sequence set against a beautiful chopin-esq nocturne playing in the background. It's a scene that's calm on the surface, but thinly veils such deep emotional content that I was nearly moved to tears. Though not really significant to the plot, that memorable scene is not only one of the most poignant in the entire series, it's right up there as one of my all time favourites.
Despite never hitting the exhilarating heights peaked by other shounen classics such as "Rurounin Kenshin" and "Yuu Yuu Hakusho", "Hikaru no Go" is one of the best shounens I've ever watched - it's certainly one of the best anime I've watched in the last couple of years overall, and that's including jugganauts such as "Death Note". I found out after I've watched it that the person who's responsible for the story of "Hikaru no Go" is a woman, and suddenly everything clicked - in retrospect, the feminine touch is very much apparent in the anime: it has the all the usual shounen kick-assery but the "action" is heavily complemented by heart felt character development that's right up there with the best slice of life animes. In fact the attachment I feel to the characters is very much akin to the feeling I get after watching a good slice of life show. And that's not all. I started writing this about 2 months after I finished watching the anime. Since then, I've gone on to read the manga online (I hardly ever read manga, and had never previously read a manga online), joined my local go club, and learnt how to play that gorgeous piano nocturne that featured as the BGM of the dream scene I mentioned earlier. So yeah, "Hikaru no Go" didn't just leave behind an enormous legacy in the go world, in terms of lasting impressions and impact on my own life, this is right up there with the Crest/Banner of the Stars series. And that, coming from me, is saying an *awful* lot (as anyone who's familiar with my rabid obsession with *that* particular series will tell you).
Truly one of the anime I've seen out there. Just so you know I've watched this anime four times so far and it still entertains me :)
It may say it is for children which is true but it has a certain quality that makes even teenagers enjoy it.
It is great, it has a wonderful plot full of excitment and suspense and it keeps going on and on. One of the best things is that the story starts immediately without any fillers. A young boy gains a spirit and goes into the world of 'go'. A truly magnificent story
Considering the year the art is exceptionally good.
Detailed and balanced.
Probably because the producers are the same as Bleach and Death Note.
Again great job. The sound of people's footsteps and of 'go' stones are remarkable. The voice actors (seiyu) are extremely good, full of talent. What I liked the most was the music, as well as the openings and endings.
Three main characters. Two end up as rivals and the third one eventually...
disappears. Hikaru starts off as a snob, but then matures and becomes one hell of a legend. Akira chases Hikaru persistantly and they both push each other higher and higher till they become the strongest there is.
As I've said I've seen this anime four times and I still love it so I can say with full confidence that I enjoyed it. If you like seeing people rise above what is expected and see them unleash their potential then watch this NOW!!!!!!!
The only I have seen which just barely surpasses this is Dragon Ball Z. I love both anime and will continue to for the rest of my life. This is an anime you DON'T want to miss XD
Art - 9
Sound - 10
Character - 9
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 10
[Longest Review I've ever written - as originally posted on AnimeNfo.com - warning minor spoilers] -via Kyzoryn
When I stumbled upon Hikago I was shocked to see its rank as Seven here at Anime Nfo. A series soley revolving around the world of Go and not simply a theme for a plot centralized elsewhere. Though a drama at heart Hikaru no Go is a an anime that goes beyond the experience of enjoyment, it has affected me personally and the world of Go, nearly tripling the number of active players worldwide. It is a series that will remain a classic in the realm of anime as
one of the greats.
Now, though I have given much praise to Hikago, it is not flawless. With that being said, its main weakness is episodes 65-70 (fillers), plot holes, and a weakness in the core of the plot. Given the plot solely relies on Go, if you don’t take the slightest interest in Go within the first five episodes you might as well cease watching the remaining 70 episodes; however, even if you take the slightest interest, it will hook you till the very end. As for the plot holes, Hikago builds such a vast array of characters it is impossible to give each group of characters the air time that they are worthy of, this alone causes close friends of Hikaru to simply disappear for nearly 20-30 episodes and then reappear out of nowhere. However, each meeting and interactions with each group of friends serves a vital role in progressing the development of Hikaru in strength and character – afterall growing up is a gigantic theme in hikaru no Go. The greatest weakness and what prevents Hikago from being a masterpiece as a whole, is a critically horrible filler between epison 60ish to 70. Here the series deviates from the manga in attempts to give Fujiwara no Sai a final good bye, even though he never truly leaves as anyone who has watched knows.
Despite the filler, I still place Hikaru no Go in my top five greatest anime of all time. It builds on a young boy who starts as a regular brat that talks in slang and has no respect for elders or anyone else around for that matter. But as the series continues he depends on Sai as a mentor, best friend and a third parent - which he still gives little respect too ironically enough. As his interest in Go increases he becomes set on passing Akira Touya. This serves as a crucial catapult into his dedication to the path toward Kami no Ittoue or the Hand of God (It is every Go players dream to play this hand). As he faces many opponents he also grows as a person, learning to overcome his weakness. Towards the end, though he still harbors that bold and rash disrespectfulness, he becomes more polite, calm, and focused. But above this incredibly astounding growth, what shocks me most is the way he grows – it is so natural I didn’t realize he had grown taller and older until the first flashbacks Sai had and then the very end. Stunned, I gained a new respect for the author Yumi Hotta – no one could have carved out a better character who portrays such growth and development than her.
The fact that the author who wrote Hikaru no Go was a girl did not surprise at the least. In fact it made sense, seeing how feminine like many of the characters were drawn, for example Sai and Akira, but beyond the style in which they were drawn, the story its self was a typical “slice of life” type drama – and she couldn’t have done a better job. Each match was pieced together in such a way that the viewer could actually feel the intensity and tension between two players, if not actually understand the game of Go itself! The highs and lows intertwined and spiraling upwards in perfect combination that the ending is very symbolic and worthy of great praise, especially the moment Sai left Hikaru – this pivotal moment changed Hikaru as a person and tripled his dedication to Go. She does a great job of riding this tremendous wave to the very end when Sai hands his fan to Hikaru. As a whole, Hikago has a bit of everything, you may laugh at the brat in Hikaru, or cry at the loss of sai, or cheer him on against a tough opponent – it’s a good “slice of life.”
Beyond the 75 videos I watched over the internet, pulling two all-nighters, Hikaru no Go didn’t simply capture my heart and love for anime, it changed me as person. I now have learned to play go and play on KGS online (Kyzoryn). And if I weren’t as senior in highschool, I would have started a Go club. In the future I plan on joining a local club sponsored by the American Go Association – who knows how good I’ll become. Hikaru no Go has also left me interested in learning more about the culture and language of Japan. It has open many doors than just one and has changed the world of Go, inspiring much of the worlds youth into playing Go. Raising respect for go, this series has brought back an ancient board game to the future of many of our worlds youth and for those of you who have read the manga has “linked the far past, with the far future.”
Overall, I simply love Hikaru no Go, from the opening song, to the credits of the last episode. I have no complaints about the music, special effects, and opening and endings. There are moments when I couldn’t stop laughing and there are moments when I nearly cried. They all contributed to the series in such an astounding way. For those who appreciate anime and understand the meaning of each and every GOOD series (forget the bad ones), then you will surely love Hikago just as much as I do, but I do warn you, you must atleast take a slight liking in Go, when you do, you’ll fall in love with Hikago. If you haven’t watch it – you must! I hope my review did not give to many spoilers away and most of all I hope you enjoyed it! This is what I do when I’m not watching :)
A 75 episode anime about go (probably one of the less comprehensible board games) that is strangely addictive, regardless of whether you like the actual game. Well crafted personalities go a long way in this anime. Sai, the effeminate ghost who was a master of go in his lifetime; Hikaru, an ordinary boy who comes to share Sai's love of the game; and Touya, his slightly spoilt protagonist whose entire childhood was swallowed up by his desire to become the best.
Outstanding pacing allows this anime to grip your interest from the first episode.
Music is nothing exceptional, and the same goes for the animation.
the ending is fairly poor. Without giving anything away, the story really climaxes ten episodes before the end, and the last episode, instead of being thrilling, really leaves you with a sense of unfinished business.
Wrote this review (more like a reflection) a while ago. Thought it'd be a waste if I didn't post it. So here you go:
Hikaru no Go is a 75 episode anime series revolving around go, or as they call it in China, weiqi. It follows the journey of an adolescent Japanese boy named Hikaru Shindo, from when he first gets to introduced to the game all the way to the beginnings of his career as a professional player.
First and foremost, I’d like to point out that you do NOT need to know anything about go to enjoy this series. Hikaru no Go has a
very heavy focus on matches, and most of the time you won’t understand what’s going on, but like all great sports stories (or in this case board game stories) the matches are intense because of our attachment to the competitors. In other words, it’s the characters that drive Hikaru no Go. While none of the cast is especially unique, the way they develop and mature over the course of the series makes them compelling. The trials and tribulations presented to these people who have dedicated their lives to go feel very real and unforgiving, especially in the later half of the series when the characters begin to pursue the professional level. But as a result, watching them grow as they struggle to move forward allows for an incredibly rewarding experience. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fierce rivalry between Hikaru and Akira, which comes to mind as one of the most emotionally engaging rivalries I have ever seen.
Where this series really shines however is its portrayal of the game. In the western world, professional go is non-existent and go as a whole is generally seen as a niche past-time. So for those of us here in the U.S., this series may come off as gimmicky. But Hikaru no Go has completely changed my perspective of what go is all about. Over in Asia, go is widely played, well respected, and at the professional level, is fiercely competitive. While following the characters in their never-ending journey to improve their skills, the series explores various facets of go in Japanese society. You never really figure out all the rules of the game, but slowly you learn to appreciate its endless depth and subtly. It’s this cultural value that makes Hikaru no Go exceptional among others, and a truly worthwhile watch.
If you’re interested in watching Hikaru no Go, all seventy five episodes are on Hulu.
This is the first review that I'm writing and Hikaru no Go totally worths it.
Firstly, I will probably include some spoilers so if you haven't watched this anime yet, please be aware of that (I will warn beforte the spoiler).
The story here focuses especially on the characters in the series.
You don't have to know how to play Go to enjoy this. You get to know a bit about the moves but it's not everything.
Hikaru finds in his grandfather's old garret, an old Go board where he finds Sai. Sai is a spirit who seeks the "God's divine move". Along with him, Hikaru starts to learn
how to play Go and have the goal of beating his rival-Touya Akira.
I think that the characters are the strong point of this series.
Each character was important for the show, Hikaru's friends, rivales and other side characters. All of the characters were pretty realistic, the main characters had their good points and bad points that we could identify with.
There was a wide variety of characters-both of the genres, many ages and even residents from all of the world.
Hikaru at first was a childish and energetic child, but as the series continues, he grew and became matured, and we, the viewers grew with him. We got to like him and be happy with his accomplishments, be sad with his failures. Cheer him in moments and feel motivated along with him.
Hikaru wasn't perfect. He didn't "master" the moves of the Go at first, he had to go through a lot of phases untill he improved. (school's club activities, Insei exam, pre pro-exam and the pro-exam...) He wasn't like other Shounen typical main character-he had to work very hard to succeed.
The relationships between Hikaru and the other characters are also a good thing to mention.
Hikaru and Sai- Sai was also a character with depth, although Sai was a "genious" , sometimes he lacked patience and as the series continued, we saw that even this genious afraids of things and get jealous.
Sai was a teacher to Hikaru, he guided him in Go and in his life, Sai took a great part of Hikaru's life because Go started to be the main goal in Hikaru's life. Moreover, Sai wasn't only a teacher but also a friend of Hikaru who wanted him to get better and gave him advises.
In the end of the series, as Sai disappeared. we got to know how much big his existence was to Hikaru, as a friend and as a teacher. Hikaru also grew much more matured after his disappearance because his lost was so traumatic.
Touya Akira- Hikaru's eternal rival was Hikaru's goal trough all of the Anime.
Akira is was very emotional and even though he's reffered as "the son of the genious" he didn't get to his level without putting effort, loving Go and even HE lost in some games.
Akira wasnt so concerned at first, but as Hikaru improved, he started to have interest in him and after all, admitted that he's his rival.
I think that their rivalry wasn't just that, but that their relationship was much more deeper than that, they were friends ,and in the last episode we could really understand that.
They knew each other from their Go and appreciated each other even though each of them wanted to win. This respect and appreciation they felt for each other held a big part of this series and also was one of the things that made this Anime so unique.
I have to point few supporting characters as well.
Akira's father- Touya Kouyou, if we search for the main typical "genious' father characters" in anime, we'll find a demanding character who has no sense of humor at all, but this time it's different.
Touya Kouyou appreciated Akira's effort -he encouraged him.
Kouyou was nice to his admires and put learning lessons in his house, he was interested in Hikaru and at the end, *spoiler ahead* retired according to his own will, but still played Go because this is the thing he wanted to do.
Even supporting characters had purpose for the story:
Ogata san was the one who made the path to Hikaru's beggining in the Insei instituation.
Kuwabara was the "wise old man" who knows everything and let the characters and us, the watchers understand things and look for the future.
Hikaru's friends- Waya, Isumi and his friends in the beginning of the Anime, all of them made the story seems much more realistic, and all of them had their motives and pupose.
You can't expect less than Obata sensei who brought great works to the world like Death Note, Bakuman and Hikaru no Go.
This anime is quite old but the Anime staff and the animation studio didn't fail in this. At the end of the Anime you can really see the differences between the beginning and the ending.
* I also loved the seiyuus who made a great job in this anime. Each of them fitted to their character and made everything seem much more real.
I didn't really like the opening and ending songs of the Anime but it didn't bother me much.
I think that the OST and background music itself was enough.
Hikaru no Go is a great anime of games and memorable characters.
The ending was open but was very satisfying.
The thing that I think that all of us need to learn from it is, going after your dream and go for it with all you've got, not give up even if you fail, appreciate your friends and remember the fact that you can learn from anyone-old and young.
I don't think that I'll forget Hikaru no Go's characters, realtionships and of course it's motivating lessons.
I hope that everyone can enjoy this Anime as much as I did.
The more anime I have watched, the more it has become that only the parts that can really differentiate it from the manga (animation, coloring and other art differences, sound...) end up mattering to me. Sometimes these combine to make a work divine, and sometimes these efforts are an abysmal low budget clunker. This anime is the latter. The manga is good, the anime is bad, save your time and read it instead!
The art is a low budget mess. I guess it does not really make sense to spend a lot of money animating people clinking stones on a table, but the art level in
this is horrible. The coloring is lazy and dim. The animation is composed of lots of slow pans and other clunky actions, and this is not only unpleasant to watch but affects how characters interact, making everything incredibly unbelievable. This series abuses slow pans (as in simulating camera movement, but as a substitute for action with no actual purpose) much more than an ordinary anime does, and it again affects character interactions or action considerably negatively. Lots of generic solid colored backgrounds (think pokemon) with lazy action lines to falsely simulate excitement are abused in any go match.
The sound is not really any better. The music is simplistic, not really suited to what is going on (for instance it never really comes across as cute despite there being lots of attempts at light humor), and repeated incessantly. Get ready to hear the same four minute long songs repeated ad nauseum for 75 episodes. Worse than this is that Hikaru has a lazy and poor sounding voice acting performance (I watched the Japanese dub, maybe he improves in the dub), and Akira is not really much better.
The ending episode was bad in a different, special way - they interspersed some various plot points with a horrible montage of every character they cared enough to focus on being ohhhh so happy with no words and the bad theme song. It was a truly excruciating ending.
Is the story still okay? Of course. Are some of the characters still interesting? Of course. The anime does not do any of them justice though, and actually drags them down quite a bit with how poorly everything is executed. The only character that got any help was Sai, who did get to be cute with his oversized sleeves flopping around and the best voice acting performance. That alone was does not make for a watchable series though.
I rewatched Hikaru no Go lately, several years after, and I love it like the first day.
Still this new viewing gave me a new perspective on Sai : he's really a big cunt.
From the start to the very end he never stopped being egocentric a second, if he left Hikaru play peacefully during his insei studies that was only because he didn't care playing against such low opponents, but as soon as a strong challenger appeared he only thought about himself.
Even on the last moments, he for sure knew what was happennig and he didn't bother warn Hikaru about it, selfish fucktard.
Anyway, it's very a
entertaining show, except the basic rules I don't understand anything about Go but when I start watching I can't stop.
The soundtrack is super great, really it have to be underlined, it's a very important point.
On the contrary graphics are not the best thing here, there's some care given to clothes, the characters don't wear the same all the time which is a good thing, but the art style is kinda old, generic and chubby. The animation is lazy and colors are very saturated, whatever.
Definitely one of my favorite anime.
So I pulled out my old monopoly set out of the basement and set everything up. I set the car (because come ON the car IS the best peice) on GO and Mr. Monopoly pops out and scares the living daylights out of me!
Has this ever happened to you?
Hikaru No Go revolves around a young boy, Hikaru who like every other Japanese child doesn't really care about his future, and has no real motivations toward much of anything except having fun. When one day he is trying to get some extra cash, he goes through his family's store house to find something to
sell, and comes across an old Go board with a bloodstain that only he can see. As soon as the go piece touches the board, a spectral form appears before him. This spirit is none other than Sai. A Go player and tutor to the emperor from an ancient dynasty. After loosing a rigged game of Go, Sai was disgraced and took his own life, but his spirit remained by his only desire to continue playing Go, and to perfect "God's Hand' or the Divine Move.
The story interweaves as Hikaru plays matches of Go for Sai to make the comaical spirit happy. Hikaru sees how hard the people around him are struggling to live their lives, and the passion they put into the game and finds himself more and more regretting his negligent lifestyle and wanting more than anything to play the game with the passion he sees in those he plays against.
Hikaru No Go is quite the interesting work of art. Revolving around a board game, in much the way (don't walk away) Yu-Gi-Oh revolves around card games, you would expect to be revolted, but the show is surprisingly well put together and enthralling the further you get into it. Each move (although you will probably not understand most of it) having its own purpose. At times becoming nothing less than inspirational. Watching this boy fighting to be the best he can be, seeing the human nature change. It is quite moving.
Story 7- It revolves around Hikaru and his rivalry with another Go player his age. It is a compelling story and fun to watch although having some flaws with the timing, it works well with itself and builds into something unforgettable.
Art 7- Although quite a bit older, the art is quite dazzling. Very fluid motions and very consistent throughout. The only flaw is that is given quite often to using still frames and moving the mouth without much else moving. It is nonetheless extremely eloquent for the budgeting and how often it was used. Null forgettable if only for the quaint speeches and thought provoking dialogue.
Sound 6- Taking into account both the dub and the sub, the sound is only fair. having a great opening music, the English dub has extremely poor, nigh, annoying voice acting making it nearly unwatchable. The sub on the other hand is beautifully done and makes, even a sub hater like me love it. Dub- 2 Sub- 9
Character 8- this is where the show shines. Building the characters, developing new personalites. Showing how each character grows. how they thrive off of each other and how they build each other up and gain new relationships. The characters themselves are all enjoyable in some way. Even the less likeable ones get development in some way. For example, there is even a character that shows up for only one episode, only a little bit, and shortly after meeting him you learn several things about his personality, and how he plays the game. If not for Sai's abilty to be completely serious and a serious loony at a moments notice, I would give the characters a 9.
All in all this show is definitely worth recommending, as the only show I have completed in sub, I must highly recommend the sub over the dub. It may take a few episodes to get into, but once you do and once you finish the show, you will not regret it. It is a ride worth taking. I hope you all enjoy it.