Hikaru is given a phone call asking him to appear in the Japan/China/Korea Junior's Tournament but he finds out he will have to take place in a preliminary tournament to choose Japan's three contestants. Upon discussing this with Akira, he discovers that Akira has already been chosen for the tournament and will not be taking place in the preliminaries. Hikaru then decides not to visit Akira's Go Salon until he takes his place on the team with Akira. That may be tougher than originally planned, as not only does Hikaru have to battle with old friends for one of two coveted spots, but he may have a new challenger, in a promising player from the Kansai Go Institute.
Hikaru no Go: Journey to the North Star Cup is a 1 hour 15 minute special, which continues from where the animated series ends. For this reason, it is important for you to have watched the complete anime series in order to appreciate this enjoyable movie. Watching this special without having watched the anime is analogous to fast forwarding the Godfather to watch the last 30 minutes of the movie. It simply will not work and you will most likely be confused and bored. Therefore, for those of you who are yet to see the anime, I suggest that you do that before watching this
movie. Now, coming to the review, this special was a pleasure to watch and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the quality was consistent with the anime. It is rare to find good specials. For instance, in my opinion the Naruto specials were mediocre and same applies to the bleach counterparts. However, HnG Journey to the North Star Cup is a rare diamond, which does a fantastic job in terms of maintaining it's quality when compared to the amazing original anime series. The general presence and feel of this movie was equally strong to the anime and the characters were just as they were in the anime. Interestingly, Akira and Hikaru's chemistry was brilliant and the entertainment value of the entire movie was definitely up to the mark. For all you HnG fans out there, this special is a must-see if you have not already seen it. As for the rest of you, I strongly suggest that you watch the anime first and then you will be in a position to enjoy this rare gem ;)
"Hikaru no Go: Journey to the North Star Cup" is a much needed fix for those of us who are suffering withdraw symptoms after the main series finished. Coming off the back of the series, I found myself settling immediately into this OVA. And no wonder - it retains much of same feel as the series, so much so that it feels more like a natural continuation rather than a standalone special, and it feels weird reviewing this separately. It re-uses the music from the series and even starts off with highlights from the last episode. It continues right from the point where the series
ended, covering the part of the story from Hikaru's purchase of a fan after having that heart wrenching dream, to the qualifications of the North Star Cup, and stopping short of the preparation and participation in the cup itself.
[Note: This review contains spoilers from the original "Hikaru no Go" series, as I'm assuming that you've at least seen the series if you're reading the review for the sequel]
I love the original series, and since the feel of this special is so similar, it probably comes as no surprise that I really enjoyed this too. For me, two things in particular stood out about this special, and it's two things that represents the two aspects that the franchise devoted most of its attention to. The first one, representative of the subject matter go, is a go match played out between Hikaru and a very eccentric player. The match, allegedly taken from a televised exhibition match between two pros in real life, opens with a few incredibly unconventional moves, which leads to an exhilarating and complex battle that spreads throughout the board, marking it out as not only the most exciting game in this special, but also one of the most memorable matches in the entire franchise.
The second thing that stood out, representative of the outstanding character aspect of "Hikaru no Go", is Hikaru himself. The main series ended soon after Hikaru recovers from the shock of losing Sai, and although his growth after that event is evident from the remainder of the series, he was still changing by the end of it. And in this special episode, we can see that he has come a long way even from the end of the series. In anime - shounen anime especially - you often get these characters with a special aura. Those characters are cool, confident and totally awesome, but they're already like that when you seen them for the first time: people like Spike from "Cowboy Bebop" and Hiei from "Yu Yu Hakusho" seem to be almost born the way they are, and you never really see the process in which they become so badass. Well, having watched this special, I felt like I've witnessed one of those characters in the making. No longer the young brat who used to get nervous during the important matches, Hikaru now looks (both metaphorically and literally, since he's now rather tall,) every inch like a young, aspiring go player confident in his own extraordinary abilities to threaten even the very best. This is probably epitomised by his fiery exchange of words with Akira, where he confidently claims that he will *definitely* qualify for the North Star Cup. It's a scene where Hikaru simply oozed bundles of coolness and glowed with a formidable, tigerish aura. It's a spine-tingling moment, and I absolutely love it.
I really like this special, but it does have a major problem. What weakens this special is not what it contains however - it's pretty hard to fault anything that's actually in it- but rather what it doesn't contain. The title may be "Hikaru no Go: Journey to the North Star Cup", but like I said, this is much less about the North Star Cup as the title may suggest than just a straight forward continuation to the series. Everything about it reinforces the impression of the latter - the fact that a lot of it would be considered filler material if we take it as a standalone meant to deal soley with the North Star Cup qualification; the fact that these same "filler" material would fit naturally into a standard continuation of the series. This makes it all the more disappointing that there are no further sequels, especially when you consider that there is so little source material remaining that they probably just needed to make another hour plus special in order to finish off the whole thing. The fact that there is no follow up hurts this special more than anything else, as it is literally left dangling, both as a prelude to the North Star Cup and as a continuation of the series. And this is a crying shame, because overall, the adaptation has honestly been nothing short of superb.
Hikaru no Go needs no introduction to this small sequel,
an anime about a kid who plays go and the highs and lows on that journey.
When I finished the 70+ episode series, not gonna lie, i was pretty disappointed that it ended so weak, plus they wasted the last 15 or so episodes on hikaru crying and random stuff that no one cared about.
But i did also understand that this was a story about the journey, instead of a story about resolutions. Still doesn't take the sting away that the story had just started to get really good.
This, being a sequel special, I had high
hopes for this hokuto tourny that they were entering, the premise is Japan vs. China vs. Korea in an under 18 y.o. matchups.
welll, theree wasn't a tourny, which i should have seen coming, it was the buildup to getting to the tourney, which will never come apparently.
So really wondering why they made this after the series left off with such weird abruptness.
Its like getting stabbed in the eye, being stabbed is no fun but you're trying to weigh whether or not it would have been better to be stabbed in the back so you didn't see it coming.
if you liked the journey of hikaru no go, then you'll like this, but for me, i didn't see the point of this special at all. if you saw this in hopes of some meager resolution, then avoid.