Hikaru no Go

Vol: 23; Ch: 197
1998 - 2003
4.052 out of 5 from 1,587 votes
Rank #2,689
Hikaru no Go

While rummaging through his grandfather's possessions, Hikaru Shindo stumbles upon an old bloodstained Go board. Much to his surprise, he also finds that the board is inhabited by the spirit of Fujowara no Sai, a Go instructor to the Emperor during the Heian period... and he's going to reside in Hikaru's body! Urged on by Sai, Hikaru begins to play - albeit with no intention of playing seriously; though as Sai teaches his host about Go, he awakens both Hikaru's interest in the game as well as an innate hidden talent for it. Before long he finds himself paving his own path in the world of Go. Although Hikaru is naturally skilled, does he have what it takes to defeat his rival, Akira, without Sai's help? And will he ever be able to achieve the ultimate move known as the ‘Hand of God'?

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Like a million other people, once I read Hikaru no Go, I tried my hand at playing go. It makes a slow and thoughtful strategy game feel intense and passionate. But I can't help but feel that the manga would've been much better without the inclusion of the concepts of the Divine Move, the god of go, or destiny. The Divine Move--the idea that there's an ideal first move in a game--is a stupid hook intended to create a clear goal for those serious about go, when in actuality becoming more skilled has less to do with getting closer to some Divine Move and more to do with getting better at predicting your opponent's moves and understanding the state of the board (which the manga also talks about). Hikaru encounters Sai, a ghost of a genius go player, who basically forces Hikaru to start playing. At first, Hikaru does so begrudgingly, but fe soon develops an interest in the game. Fe learns go quickly and eventually becomes somewhat of a late-game maestro, being able to come back from nearly impossible board states. I especially enjoy the insei arc. I don't care for feir time in the middle school go club, though I can recognize its necessity storywise. And I don't care for Isumi's time in China. There's also several other overly corny chapters and moments, including the last twenty or so chapters. Though I actually tear up during the saddest part of the manga. That part hits me hard. Y'all know what I'm talking about if you've read it. The artwork in the beginning is about a 5/10, but as it goes on, the characters start being drawn more naturally.

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