piranha: red origami crane (hikago)
ok, so i've made one entry about this already, but i wrote that after i had watched only a part of the entire series.

now that i've watched the whole thing (many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bookshop), pretty much non-stop (except for death note in between, which i can't recommend -- oh, i recommend DN, but please, not to be watching it interspersed with HnG), where was i, oh, now that i've watched the whole thing i am utterly in love with it. completely flibber-de-gibber over the moon twitterpated goo-goo-eyed in love.

i got addicted in no time and now i am sad that it's over, except i can watch it again! no anime has ever made me cry, and i certainly didn't expect to do so over an anime about a damn board game. but of course i didn't cry over the board game, and the show isn't just about the game, it's about those kids with all their passion, and about love in such unexpected and odd ways, it takes a while to even recognize. (and no, i am not talking about the slashy subtext. go away. :) though really, i don't know that "subtext" is the right word. hikaru/akira are so totally _the_ canon OTP, forever best might-as-well-be-married bickering friends with emo boy love everywhere, except no sex, and that's ok by me.)

come back, sai. i'll reserve a spot for you at any go tournament i can arrange.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
since i am caught up with BSG, and rewatching it doesn't fill all my waking hours, i've tried to find some entertainment that plays in a completely different realm, so as not to lose my attention automatically. other drama can't hold it right now, i've watched a couple of movies and i just could not get interested.

so, i'm watching hikaru no go, which is an endearing anime about a 6th grader, hikaru, who finds an old go board among his grandfather's things. when he inspects it, he discovers an old blood stain -- but his friend akari can't see the stain. trapped inside the board is the spirit of sai, a go expert at the heian court 1000 years ago, who committed suicide because he was falsely accused of cheating. and because hikaru can see the stain, sai can attach himself to him.

as far as anime goes, that's not particularly far-fetched. and it is in fact the only fantastical element. everything from then on out is perfectly normal. hikaru is a somewhat immature and not particularly serious boy with a bit of a punk attitude. sai is utterly passionate about go, and hikaru gets him to help with social studies and history homework in exchange for going to places where go is played and letting sai play through him.

the central conflict of this season is provided by another 6th grader, touya, whose father is the best go player in japan, and who has been trained from a small child to play go himself -- he is very good, just about ready to play at the pro level. hikaru comes across him in a go salon, sai plays and wins against him, and that leaves touya obsessed with beating hikaru, since it is unthinkable how he could have lost against an opponent who doesn't even know how to hold the stones properly, and who is completely non-serious about the game.

because touya and sai are so passionate about the game, hikaru gets drawn into it, and wants to learn to play himself, and eventually get as good as touya (i expect that in the end sai will probably be the ultimate rival though). and so we follow his growth and adventures. and learn to play go, if we're do inclined (i am). it's basically a quiet coming of age story, with a lot of go play and history.

that doesn't sound too thrilling, but amazingly enough, it actually is. takeshi obata does a great job making long bouts of go play look interesting. the characters are well developed (for a kid anime), i can even tell them easily apart. and they grow up; it's now a year later than at the start of the series, and i can see a difference in the way they behave -- and in the way they are drawn. the art is detailed and eyecatching; many of the backgrounds are quite beautiful. the animation moves very slowly, which is alright by me. the writing is tight; the dialogue fairly realistic and only occasionally klunky; long periods of time pass in silence only "interrupted" by thought -- i like it a lot (yumi hotta is the writer). the voice talent is ok, once again i can easily tell the characters apart.

negatives: mostly just the gender stuff. i basically roll my eyes at gender in anime in general, and i guess i can consider myself lucky that there is so far no romance here (and i fervently hope it stays that way). female characters don't matter much; akari, hikaru's neighbour, seems to moon somewhat after hikaru who is completely oblivious, touya has a girl chauffeur him around -- basically all the female characters do here is make food for our go heroes and run after them adoringly. *sigh*. and if this anime is realistic about the state of go play in japan, then i'd like to voice a loud "you fuckwits" in the general direction of japanese go associations: gender segregation in a game where it's all about one's mind? can we please move beyond that sort of crap? please? (i am even more annoyed about the way gender is handled in this world now than i was before watching BSG.)

the music is so-so; i don't care for the title song, but then i find jpop insipid in general. during go play the music sometimes overdramatizes, but most of the time it's inoffensive.

overall this is good fun. considering how much highly-recommended anime bores me stiff this is a nice find.

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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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