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October 15, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Hikaru no Go vol. 21

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Hikaru no Go
Author: Yumi Hotta, with art by Takeshi Obata, supervised by Yukari Umezawa 5 Dan
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Volume: Volume 21 (of 23), $9.99
Vintage: 2003 by Shueisha in Japan, out November 2, 2010 from Viz Media
Genre: Supernatural, games, psychological

Check out my review of volumes 19 and 20 for some background information.

When we last left our young go players, two games were nearing their completion that would decide the final two players to represent Japan in the upcoming Hokuto Cup (along with young teams from China and Korea). Hikaru was playing a fierce and wild game against Yashiro, while Ochi and Waya played a more traditional game nearby. The big cliffhanger of volume 20 said that a winner was pretty much decided based on the plays on the board, but did not mention said winner. Right away it’s revealed that the winner is Hikaru (and Ochi wins the other game). Ochi, looking over Hikaru and Yashiro’s game, decides that after such a strong game, he is no longer confident that he is really the stronger player, and asks that he be allowed to play Yashiro in a bonus match to determine which of them will represent Japan in the tournament.  The result creates a formidable team of Hikaru, Yashiro, and Akira Toya. Even Mr. Togari, the man behind the tournament with no interest in go, is starting to becomes intrigued by the power the Japan team has. His previous interest was purely business in nature, but he seems to be getting pulled into the spirit of the competition as well. Meanwhile, the older pros are getting ready for their own tournaments. The holder of the Hon’inbo title will soon be defending, and Akira’s father is putting himself into a tournament, looking to keep his skills sharp and searching for new blood in his quest to find the god of go. As he positions himself between the four go corners of Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan, the world wonders what the retired Toya could be up to.

As the tournament draws near, bumbling journalist Kosemura travels to Korea to interview their Hokuto players. A poor translation quickly creates tension between Korea’s Ko Yong Ha and Hikaru, which could prove distracting during the upcoming tournament. To prepare for the tournament, Yashiro and Hikaru go to Akira’s house for an intense practice and study session. As the volume ends, the players arrive at the hotel where the Hokuto Cup will be held.

Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata continue to make the game of go as exciting as any action scene you’d find in shonen manga. This particular volume is filled with some wonderful dynamics between the young go playing main cast. Ochi continues to be an arrogant brat, nearly rubbing his victory in Waya’s face. Yet even so, it’s obvious he really respects the game and player skill, as he immediately challenges Yashiro, dissatisfied with the match results, determined that only the absolute best players battle in the Hokuto Cup. The amusing rivalry between Akira and Hikaru makes several appearances, as they continue to respect each other’s skill, but bicker like children over the strength of every move on the board. They even argue over who will heat the next batch of water for tea. Yashiro is welcomed into the fold immediately, and fits in well with Akira and Hikaru’s established dynamic. His personality is more subdued, and he falls into the role of intermediary from time to time. Their furious practice battles are entertaining, and again they have been written well as 15-year-old boys.

Another solid book from Viz, but oh man, the editors must have been asleep on this one. Just in the first chapter, Yashiro’s name is wrong twice (once he’s called an entirely different name, and the other time it’s misspelled). There are a couple other small mistakes throughout the volume, but getting a character’s name wrong is one of my biggest pet peeves. Look for the next volume in January 2011.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.


One Comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New #manga review: @viz_media's Hikaru no Go vol 21 https://comicattack.net/2010/10/bbbhikarunogo21/ […]

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