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Hikaru no Go / ヒカルの碁 Vol. 5

"Hikaru no Go" DVD & Manga by Amazon

Regarding "Hikaru no Go", the Main Characters are as follows.

Hikaru Shindo (進藤 ヒカル, Shindō Hikaru)
- Protagonist who is assisted by Sai. At the beginning of the series, Hikaru is a sixth grader in elementary school.

An important factor in the development of Hikaru's passion for Go is an encounter early on where Hikaru becomes the rival of Akira Toya.

At first, he thinks that Go is just for old folks and he is annoyed at Sai's demand to play, but little by little his passion for Go increases as he plays more and more. From being a member of a school Go club to becoming an insei and finally a professional Go player (at 14 years old) a year after Akira, Hikaru matures throughout the course of the series.

(Hikaru Shindo (進藤 ヒカル, Shindō Hikaru) )

Throughout the series, Hikaru gradually gets taller as both the manga volumes and animated series follow him from 6th grade to high school. Hikaru is often portrayed wearing clothing having the numeral "5". This is a pun on the Japanese common name for five: go. His birthday is September 20th. Part of his strength is his ability to read far into the game very fast, and to make seemingly stupid moves. These moves in fact lure the opponent to playing what looks like the obviously correct move, which Hikaru then uses against them.

"Hikaru no Go" DVD & Manga by Amazon

Fujiwara-no-Sai (藤原佐為) - A spirit from the Heian era of Japan and mentor of Hikaru Shindo. Once the Go instructor to the Emperor, Sai continually plays Go in attempt to one day play the divine move (also known as the Hand of God or Kami No Itte).

(Fujiwara-no-Sai (藤原佐為))

In the manga and anime, Sai's ghost had possessed the real-life figure Honinbo Shusaku who became a renowned Go player. Sai holds a rivalry towards Koyo Toya (a.k.a. Toya Meijin) and through Hikaru persuades Toya to have a game with him. His wish is realized when Toya accepts the challenge and plays a game through the Internet. After the legendary match that ends with Sai's triumph, Hikaru discovers another move which would have turned the game around. While witnessing the maturity of Hikaru, Sai comes to feel that his one-thousand-year time in the world is going to end and he won't fulfill his wish of obtaining the divine move, but that perhaps his place in God's plan was to teach Hikaru, who might obtain it in the future.

A few days after the game with Toya Meijin, Sai suddenly disappears, neither terminating his last match with Hikaru nor saying goodbye to him. Sai is gone, leaving Hikaru depressed and wanting to quit go. Hikaru then realizes that he will continue to play go for Sai lives on in Hikaru's go. Extremely effeminate by today's standards (as is appropriate for a high-born Heian man), Sai is often drawn with traditionally feminine features and mannerisms. Yumi Hotta has joked about fans mistakenly calling him a "she" in the "intermission" pages of the manga. Sai's extremely emotional behavior is also proper for a Heian male; he sometimes cries copiously in chibi style (usually in an episode introduction), soaking his long sleeves with tears, which in his own time would be respected as a sign of intelligence and sensitivity. His name Fujiwara suggests that he is related to a noble family of extremely high prestige in the Heian period, the Fujiwara clan.

Akira Toya (塔矢 アキラ, Tōya Akira) - Hikaru's biggest rival and Kaio Middle School student. The son of Koyo Toya, Akira is already a very strong go player when Hikaru first begins playing.

touya8.jpg Akira Smile image by Akiratoya03 
(Akira Toya (塔矢 アキラ))

Akira is amazed by Hikaru's seemingly impossible strength and becomes obsessed with discovering the secret behind Hikaru's strength. Meanwhile, Hikaru is impressed with how serious and focused Akira is for being only a 6th grader like him when they first meet.

As the series goes along, the plot brings these two characters together to play each other under many circumstances, each time adding to the mystery. Like Hikaru, Akira also gets taller throughout the series. His birthday is December 14th.

Toya Meijin (塔矢 名人, Tōya Meijin) - Akira Toya's father. His real name is Koyo Toya (塔矢 行洋, Tōya Kōyō); Meijin is one of the titles he earned.

(Toya Meijin (塔矢 名人, Tōya Meijin))

He rivals Sai and like Sai he also pursues the divine move. Later he retires from playing go because Sai beats him. He has an interest in Hikaru and requested to play him in the Beginner Dan series after Hikaru becomes a pro. He is always pictured in traditional Japanese dress.

"Hikaru no Go" DVD & Manga by Amazon

By A.S. on Jun 25, 2009

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