April 15th, 2012


Manga/Anime Review: Hikaru no Go, by Yumi Hotta

A children's series about a traditional board game manages to be compelling, if uneven, and drew me into go like it did thousands of other fans.

Hikaru no Go

Shonen Jump, 1999-2003, 23 volumes of ~200 pages each in the English Viz editions

The idea behind Hikaru no Go began when Yumi Hotta played a pick-up game of go with her father-in-law. She thought that it might be fun to create a manga based on this traditional board game, and began the work under the title of Nine Stars (九つの星 Kokonotsu no Hoshi), named for the nine "star points" on a go board. She later worked with Takeshi Obata (the illustrator) and Yukari Umezawa (5-Dan, the supervisor) in the creation of Hikaru no Go. She won the 2000 Shogakukan Manga Award and the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Hikaru no Go.

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Verdict: I only got into this manga because of my old interest in go, and reading it actually made me take up the game again. Apparently I was not the only one, as Hikaru no Go was a hit across Asia and just about everyone in the go world is a fan. Yumi Hotta, despite never being a particularly adept player herself, is a go celebrity. So this is one of those series with some indefinable quality that transcends the perfectly traditional premise and the mediocre plotting. Start reading it, and maybe you'll find you want to play the Divine Move too!

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