Hikaru Shindo is just a normal 12 year old boy, but one day he's rumaging through his Grandfather's things to see if he can find something to sell and pulls out an old Go board. A ghostly apparation appears out of the board and tells Hikaru his sad story. His name is Sai Fujiwara, a man who was a Go instructor to the emperor of Japan a thousand years ago. However, because of bad sportsmanship of his opponent during a game, Sai was accused of cheating and banished from the city. With no livelihood or any other reason to live, Sai commited suicide by drowning himself. Now, he haunts a Go board, and wants to accomplish the perfect Go game, called the "Hand of God" which he hopes to do through Hikaru. If Hikaru will be able to do it or not (or even wants to) will have to be seen.
Hannah's comments: Finally I took myself together and saw this animé. The reason why it took so long time for me to watch it, might be that the series is long and is about a game/sport that I´m not at all familiar with. Anyhow, slowly, episode by episode I enjoyed the Hikaru no Go. I enjoyed it because of the story and the series showed the excitements and pressure of yourself in a competition good. The animation itself, well, so-so, but the animation of the computers and the internet is good. A good surprise, that they take in the internet and internet-Go as a complement to the physical Go. Also the animation how all the boys and girls grow older are quite good. But haven´t they done any haircut during the years? As for Hikaru, it seems like that. The best parts, were when they showed the gameboards of Go and all stones. Hmmm.... even if there were small short lessons for you as a watcher, to understand how to play Go, I was completely lost after the third lesson (showed after the end of the first episodes). After some episodes they skipped these small lessons and concentrated on the actual story. The more "Hikaru no Go" went on, I decided for myself that I wouldn´t care so much of HOW they played, how they put the stones on the board, I more concentrated on the actual story and results from each game.
Hikaru must have a great talent to be a Goplayer. From no interest at all, to a great player within 2-3 years. Of course more and more hard training, but never the less. I also think that it was his positive attitute to win and train that made him such a good player. Also fun to watch that you can´t be a professional player just to play within a school for the top Goplayers. You must train and compete to others as well, all kinds of people, in all kinds of places and environments. I understand that Go is big and common in Japan (well, at least what the animé showed), since there are many Goplaces, where you can play Go. Compare it to English pubs, where you take a beer and chitchat. Here in the Goplaces (what I can imagine from the animé) you take a game and discuss it afterwards, maybe over a cup of tea. I can´t compare the rankings totally to chess. I think it´s quite different even if you in Go also got a watch to take your "Gotime" and there are tactics of how to play. I can say, according to Hikaru no Go, when you got more and more titles and come higher and higher up in the levels, you get more and more profits and can act more "as a king" compared to a beginner or a lowlevel-person. The best way to understand how the levels are, are to compare them to judo or karate or any other asian (Japan) sports when your belt shows what level (dan) you have.
Anyhow, the end is quite unexpected and of course there are some "deep-thoughts"-episodes as "Hikaru no Go" continues. Especially after episode 55-60. I disliked that the series looked back in the past in some episodes, quite hard to understand why and keep track on nowadays and then. Hikaru no Go is in general a good animé, quite odd for western persons and if you understand how to play Go, even on a beginners level, you should definitely watch it. Maybe you can yourself see if they play bad and see if they place the stones bad or wrong?