Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 9, 2011
EDIT/UPDATE: Oh Chew, you are the slowest Go player. I want to pat your head and feed you chocolate milks.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Just finished the second book in the series. I will say, I enjoyed this episode quite a bit more than the first one. I’ve adjusted to the drama, I think, so it’s really not such a big deal to see everyone froth over Go. It remains a fascinating study in contrasts, however, as Chew is more likely to concentrate quietly, without a single, delicate sweat drop forming on his brow, or suddenly having his eyes grow in size. Regardless, the drama isn’t quite as noticeable as it was in the first episode.
I’m glad Akira is developing as a character. Seems like he got over the snit about Hikaru beating him (snit has negative connotations, and I think Akira had a fairly good reason for being morose, but it’s the best word I can think of) and is now attempting, in the best way he knows how, to be normal-ish. But if he’s been “Go-ing” for years, since he was little, even, I wonder how “normal” he can be. Go, from what I’ve seen, is a very logic-driven game, and childhood behavior completely lacks logic; forcing the former into the latter seems like it would force Akira to grow up very fast. So, while the trio at the end of the episode seem intent on his destruction for wholly sophomoric reasons, Akira probably expects them to recognize his talent and aspire to be better. But they can’t do that, because they are just in middle school and frankly, middle schoolers tend to be idiots. So, I hope nothing horrible happens to him, and perhaps he and Akira can end up being friends and suchlike. Also, he has fantastic hair; wish my hair was that awesome.
Tetsuo is a fascinating counterpoint to Akira, and I wish he was in the rest of the series more. He was a Go kid as well, pushed much more into the game by his father, and grew up resentful and hating Go and playing Shogi instead. Which makes sense to me, as I tend to be more spiteful about that sort of thing (What?! You want me to do BALLET!? NO I REFUSE GET ME INTO TAE KWON DO ASAP), and thus sympathize with the character much more. Even if, at first, he seemed to be a bit of a dick. I did get a laugh when he ripped up that book, though. I guess his behavior at the Go board is probably less than proper, what with his stabbing people at fans and suchlike, but it sure does make me giggle.
Hikaru is becoming more interesting as well, though he remains the only character in the book who acts genuinely his age and seems to have no major childhood trama, though I suppose being possessed by Sai counts. His treatment of Akari is less than stellar, but pretty typical for a boy his age. He wants to play Go on his own, without Sai interfering, which I can understand but seems like a monumentally bad idea. Turns out it is, but Sai is pretty sweet about it, and the two forge a partnership of sorts. That’ll probably be the standard for the rest of the series, with Sai and Hikaru working together and Hikaru slowly becoming better and better. I’m sure Sai’s rival possesses one of the opposing characters, and the series will end with a super dramatic face off between the two. Then Sai will go away forever (to heaven, or something equivalent?) and Hikaru and Akira will live happily ever after.
Regardless, Sai was pretty cute in this book. My favorite part was when he told Hikaru off for his thought that Go wasn’t a girl’s game. In fact, Sai treats Akari better than anyone in the series, with the exception of perhaps Tsutsui. What with the Calvin and Hobbs parallels I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, as Hobbs was known to have tea parties with Susie where there was some serious Calvin gossip, but the strength of Sai’s response was awesome.
The treatment of the female characters in the series, so far, is interesting. Akari’s attempt at Go made me laugh. Of course if someone was about to capture your piece you’d get it out of danger by taking it away! It’s logical. It makes sense. And for someone who didn’t know ANY of the rules, well. I thought it was clever. Hikaru especially has no room to judge her, what with his: “derpderp I have a ghost inside my head” complex. So far, though, we’ve only seen females as secondary characters at best, either needing instruction from males (all the girls gaggling around Akira) or failing at Go (Akari). Sai, the oldold ghost, is the only one to break that mold, as he educates Hikaru on all the famous female Go players. Makes me like Sai more and more; he’s swiftly becoming my favorite character.
As an aside, I realize as I read this that I’m heavily Westernizing it. I know next to nothing about Japanese culture, so when I read specific elements of the story (read meaning to critically consider, here), I’m sure I’m interpreting them through a Westernized ideological perspective. For example, the clubs after school and the freedoms the children are given are, to me, an example of particularly adult children or neglectful parents. Some research, however, shows me that this isn’t an uncommon situation in Japan—I was reading it wrong.
So, I look forward to continuing to read the book, and watching the characters develop. In particular, I’m watching Sai—I really enjoy the little conversations he has with Hikaru about the world around them, just the little touches to remind you that yes, Sai is from a totally different time period. A time period where they had neither umbrellas nor astronauts.