Review by Josh
Hikaru no Go is a perfect example of an anime I’ve known about for a long time, yet continuously put it to the side for later. And when I finally take the time to get around to it, I fall in love with the series and beat myself up for not viewing it earlier! I am very glad I spent the time to watch this Hikaru no Go DVD #10 release.
This DVD contains four episodes, 37 to 40 in the series. The story begins at a run with the Pro Exam Finals Tournament for the game of Go. Twenty-eight participants, a round robin playing format taking two months; only 3 will pass and become pros! Hikaru Shindo is an interesting boy, he’s gained interest from many professional Go players already, yet his fellow Insei (pros in training) members haven’t been too impressed with is performance, they’re in for a surprise! After winning six straight games in a row, Hikaru is tied with three other top players for first place and his true talent is finally beginning to show.
As Hikaru’s opponents learn of his “connections” with renowned professionals, they begin to crumble under the pressure. Isumi is the first, who becomes so distraught over the new buzz and increased Go abilities of Shindo, he makes a mistake in their game and is forced to resign early. After being disheartened with such a controversial default win, Hikaru himself stumbles. Will he and Isumi be able to recover in time to be contenders in the Pro exam?
The animation and original Japanese audio tracks are both fairly average. The four episodes in this release are very slow with little background information or development, which is to be expected from a mid-series release. What does matter however is the story’s ability to pull you in with its characters. I’ve never watched Hikaru no Go or read much of the manga before this release, yet in less than two hours I was already rooting for four characters to perform well and win the Pro exam (and one to fail, ha).
That ability to pull a viewer into the story in such a short time is really amazing, and it’s what I look for in great high quality anime. After watching this one release I wanted so much more; I even went to the extent of reading 15 volumes of the manga in just a week to fulfill my desire for this series, and I’m not stopping there! The character development in all of Hikaru no Go is ahead of so many other anime series and this alone should put it on your to-buy list.
The DVD features short Go lessons after each episode, a “Know Your Go” glossary, and great storyboards and sketches. I suggest watching this release in the original Japanese language; the voices match the characters and do not sound forced during long dialogue. I recommend this release and entire series to any anime fan, especially those who enjoy watching characters grow and mature.