Sunday, July 17, 2011

Austin Go Club, Hikaru 5

Hello all! I'm trying to update more! And while we'll see how long that lasts, I'd like to improve with the whole timelines thing.

So, speaking of that, Austin! After the initial post, my computer died, and the coldness of Great Mountain Games lost out to a shady stoop. So, despite the heat, I actually ended up sitting outside for the majority of the day. Chew won the first game, and then lost the second one. After that, we went for lunch, which involved crossing a busy street--something I'm not used to anymore since Dallas isn't really made for pedestrians.

After that, Chew and I bought Mansions of Madness, so that I could read the rules while he finished up his last two games. Instead, I ended up walking to Goodwill and Half Price Books, both of which are fairly close to GMG, then BookWoman, a feminist bookstore right next to GMG. I ended up spending more than I perhaps should have, but omg books. And clothes. Mostly books though. Yay!

Afterward, I put my purchases in the car and headed towards GMG, only to find that my shady stoop wasn't quite so shady and that there were no seats inside the shop. So I grabbed a bottle of water and sat in the sun, reading the instructions for MoM and getting progressively more sunburned. Lemme tell you, the second I saw someone leave the shop I swooped in to snatch that seat, which turned out to be a good decision--Chew had just finished his final game, having won two and lost two. All in all, I'd say he did pretty well, and the trip was fun. We dissected the games afterwards, during the car ride home, and Chew reports that he felt like he made some pretty big mistakes, but recognized what those mistakes were and perhaps would have won without them. Additionally, all the games were very close, which I know he's proud of. He tells me he's got replays of them, which I'm sure he's posted on the forums or sent to the relevant people.

He read my blog and pointed out that, during the time that I suggested that something had changed in the game, everyone was transitioning into endgame. That makes sense, and I wish I'd figured that out on my own. Such is life, though.

After I got back, I finally read volume five! Yay! So far, I think this was my favorite episode. Hikaru is less of a brat and much more interested in go (Chew tells me not to capitalize go, which goes against all my instincts but he would know better than I), which I think makes him a much more interesting character. In the first section, you see the continuation of Sai's Online Adventures, which makes me consider what Sai would think if he went onto Cracked, or Something Awful, or (heaven forbid) 4chan.

Anyway. Sai plays go online. He fights (plays against? battles?) Akira, who is absolutely convinced it's Hikaru, to the point that he races over to the internet cafe later in the story, only to find Hikaru watching youtube or whatever. That scene was adorable, by the by, and highlights for me that Hikaru, first and foremost, is a kid--directly contrasting with Akira, who is first and foremost a go player. More on that later, but the intensity with which Akira is pursuing Hikaru becomes nearly self-destructive in this episode, as we see him skip the first game in the pro test to play online. That, I think, is a fairly significant character point for Akira--we know he's obsessed with Hikaru, and that obsession climaxes here with Akira putting his future at risk to chase a ghost. Of course, we find out later that Akira turned pro anyway, but that's not the point. At the moment, he got a black mark and lost a game because he wanted so badly to figure out Hikaru, and I'm sure that'll become important later in the series.

Now, as to what I said earlier about being a kid versus being a go player. I'm certainly not implying that the two are mutually exclusive; obviously Akira is a kid as well as a go player. But there's certainly a question of priorities, and until this episode, Hikaru's priorities are firmly planted with Being A Kid. He seems to like the socialization of the school go club, he worries about his grades (seriously, Hikaru? A zero on a test? Don't you get points for, like, putting your name down correctly? How'd you mess that up?), bets with ramen, thinks girls have cooties, and so forth. He reminds me of my nephew.

Contrast Akira. He's all about go, go, go. We never see him talk about his grades, we don't see him interacting positively with peers. In fact, we rarely see him do anything but play go. This is all well and good--Akira's stated goal is to be The Very Best Pokemon Master Go Player that he can be, and to follow in the footsteps of his dad, after all--but, like I've said before, Akira focuses on go to the exclusion of everything else ever. Now, he's specifically focusing on Hikaru playing go to the exclusion of everything else ever. In this episode, we do see that lessen a bit, but there's still the implication that the embers of Akira's Hikaru Obsession are still there, just waiting to burst into flame again.

Once Hikaru figures out that he could, theoretically, catch up to Akira, his priorities change. He's all about the competition, quits the go club (dramatically!) and takes the test. Well, starts to anyway; we're left with a cliff hanger. I suppose Hikaru could hulk out and run through the streets banging people across the head with the go board, but somehow I doubt that's going to happen. He's stopped reading manga, he requests go boards, and he risks the friendships he's made at go club--Hikaru's in deep now.

Also in this issue we get a little bit more about Hikaru's family, which I really liked. Neither his mother nor his grandfather seem to quite understand Hikaru's sudden obsession with go (hint: HE IS POSSESSED!!!!111), but they support it regardless. His grandfather buys him the implements of the game, his mother takes him to the test. Of course, his grandfather suspects that Hikaru's going to give the game up eventually, and his mother is concerned that he can't sit still for any long period of time, but both ultimately support his desires. There's also the neat little scene where Hikaru goes back to the go club and seems to be much stronger, and everyone there is super nice.

As I was reading this episode, there were a few times where I stopped and announced that xyz scene was my favorite part evarrrrr. The first one of these was where Hikaru and Sai have just finished playing a game on his new board, and Hikaru resigns. "You never show me any mercy," he says, "...but it also irritates me when you try to be nice..." It's a refrain that I'm sure Chew heard multiple times while trying to teach me go, which cracked me up. Also, Hikaru's rolling on the floor in melodramatic agony was adorable. Also, Sai's confusion over the "fake fish" was hilarious. Then at one point, Sai hugs Hikaru, and I spent, like, ten minutes wondering how that would work and whether or not it would be super cold, like I rather imagine it being.

Anyway, that's about all. This was my favorite episode. While I was typing this up Chew beat a 1 dan with a few stone handicaps. Every once in a while over my blogging music I'd hear things like: COME AT ME BRO or THOSE ARE SOME NICE LIBERTIES--IT WOULD BE A SHAME IF ANYTHING HAPPENED TO THEM. I think once I even heard a HAHAHA WHO IS ATTACKING NOW CHUMP. So for all of you who wonder what Chew is like on the other side of the computer screen, there you are, an insight into his mind.


  1. I am not really like that, ack!

    ...maybe. =D

  2. I laughed out loud when I read that last paragraph ... LAUGHED. OUT. LOUD.

    ... sorry, Chew. ;)