Hikaru no Go

English Title: Hikaru’s Go
Also Known As: HnG
Genre: Drama
Format: 75 Episodes
Allegiance: Studio Pierrot
Director: Jun Kamiya, Tetsuya Endo
Vintage: 2001 – 2003
Intelligence Agency Report by: Orax
While Shindou Hikaru was searching through his grandfather’s attic, he came across a bloodstained go board, and accidentally awoke a thousand year old spirit named Fujiwara no Sai as a result. A famous go player back in the Heian period, Sai manages to convince Hikaru agree to play go to satisfy his insatiable lust for the game. As Hikaru lets Sai play go games for him, he slowly realizes he wants to learn as well. This begins Hikaru’s journey to become a go player with Sai guiding him.

Field Agent Report by: Orax 
Overall 8.75
(not an average)

Actually, it really doesn’t take a fan of Go to like Hikaru no Go. Even now, I’m still not sure how the game works except that one person needs more territory than the other. My point is that regardless of how much or how little you know of the game itself, the engrossing, dramatic characters alone are enough for everyone to watch and enjoy this show.

As I mentioned before, someone who knows nothing about go can still enjoy Hikaru no Go. The actual go games hardly ever drag, and because episodes build up to certain matches, most games prove to be entertaining and exciting. Yet the main reason why the games are fun to watch is because the great cast of characters. It doesn’t take long for the show to portray the passion and love that even some of the younger players have for go. As I watched characters shed tears in frustration, I found myself sympathizing with many of them. Hikaru no Go is successful at showing the growth of characters, especially that of Hikaru himself. To watch him grow as a player and see him progress and persevere is something not often seen in other anime, such as Prince of Tennis, who give their main characters innate abilities and thereby render them unable to lose. One of the reasons why Hikaru no Go kept holding my interest for 75 episodes was because of Hikaru’s drive and the great supporting cast around him.

Because of the sheer size of Hikaru no Go’s cast, a lot of time is spent on character development. Yet the anime still manages to ignore characters for up twenty episodes or more. This gap was far too long, especially when twenty episodes meant that almost a year had passed by in the series timeline. At least the art and animation maintained continuity, for when the series finally got back to these neglected characters, they showed a drastic change in terms of design, mainly due to aging. Furthermore, gradual changes in the main characters that appear every episode were also noticeable.

A very dramatic series, Hikaru no Go owes its success to its cast of characters. Throughout the 75 episode series, there were very few slow spots in terms of plot, a feat not easily achieved. If you watch this, not only will you experience a great anime, but you’ll also learn a little bit about go in the meantime.