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Hikaru no Go

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Hikaru no Go

Postby Curt » December 31st, 2006, 1:21 pm

Hikaru no Go tells the tale of a boy, Hikaru, who stumbles upon a Go board in his grandfather's attic. Within moments, he soon finds himself befriended by Sai, an ancient Go master whose spirit has been encased into the board, waiting for the day one who is worthy to inherit his skills will pass by. The two are forcefully infused together, and everything erupts from there. The story traces Hikaru's growth from a child, exploring themes of friendship, perserverance, trust, ambition, and relationships: all surprisingly revolving around the game of Go. One might think: "Go, what is so interesting about Go?" The designer of HnG clearly thought the same thing, and came up with a brilliant, original storyline backed with a perfectly paced, marvelous execution, and indeed states, rather firmly, "This is what makes Go interesting, and more." It is more than just a game to certain individuals, it is their passion, their livlihood.

It inspires all such previously mentioned themes, and shapes a stellar cast of characters. Hikaru does not stay stale; from start to finish, one can really see a huge difference in his level of maturity, his understanding of life, his passions. Aided by Sai, a deep, emotional friendship forms, and over 75 episodes, really brings such a relationship to life. Not one such episode is wasted, as every moment develops the characters, actively tells a story, and turns an ordinary idea into something distinctly fascinating.

What struck me most about HnG's animation had to be the literal, visual growth of the characters. When comparing the end with the beginning, one notices a very distinct change in physical appearance to match the growth in personality. With overall great animation, especially for something (in theory) so boring as watching people play a board game, I must say the animation did a great job.

With an evolving, very poignant soundtrack, one finds moods are perfectly set. Though the Seiyuu boasted no outstanding qualities, it fit this background music quite nicely, and did nothing but further the series. With many great opening and ending themes to boot, one feels very much satisfied with HnG's sound score. Though the weakest apsect of the series, it nevertheless stands steadfast, and is worthy of much praise.

Perhaps HnG's greatest fault, though also one of its greatest assets, is its length. In spite of the fact I pounded out 75 episodes in six days, the rewatchability factor doesn't seem too high. Still, a single watch does HnG simple justice; see, and you too, shall observe this subtle masterpiece.

Verdict:8.5/10(Overall, Hikaru no Go is a better than above average series that will appeal to a wide range of anime fans, but will specifically be of interest to those that enjoy plot and substance over action. Highly recommended.)
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