Picking up Go/Baduk/Weiqi and Eventually, ヒカルの碁 [Hikaru no Go]

Several months ago, I was thinking of some board game apps to pass the time just to get them gears running in all cylinders again. I downloaded some common and not-so common ones to try them out – Reversi, Mastermind, and finally, Go. I am already acquainted with Mastermind beforehand so I enjoyed playing it again. Then, I initially wanted to practice Reversi (otherwise known as Othello) and although there are some strategies required, I didn’t quite enjoy the game as much as I had expected it to be.

Then comes Go, also known as Weiqi in China and Baduk in Korea. As a quick background, this game originated in China some 2,500 years ago and the rules have basically remained ever since. What got me to playing are the descriptions I have read online, such as “The game is noted for being rich in strategy despite its relatively simple rules”, “Its simple rules and deep strategies have intrigued everyone from emperors to peasants for hundreds of generations”, and especially this one as well, “Go is a hugely engrossing game of great elegance and astonishing depth and richness. It will handsomely reward your efforts in learning the game.”

As I read along some basics, I remembered there was one anime/manga that tackled this game and that is Hikaru no Go. So I watched the anime while I try to learn the game in parallel and it was indeed very rewarding. So let me try to put up here just a very quick review on the anime/manga and the game as well.

Needless to say, Hikaru no Go is about a young boy named Hikaru who stumbled upon a Go board from his grandfather’s dojo. This is the event that changed Hikaru from being a boy who had zero interest in the board game to a professional. The manga and anime actually contains a sizable content of Go games and problems which made it all the more interesting.

Even though Hikaru no Go first aired on 2001, the animation itself wasn’t bad at all, though they did leave out some small details like lip movement, environment, etc. The background music though are top-notch! It matches up really well during the critical moments of the series to the point that I can hear them even though I’m just reading the manga! 🙂

The series also did well to touch on the development of the not only the main protagonist, but the other supporting characters as well. It makes following the series that much more fun! 🙂

On the other side, the game of Go has an extremely easy set of rules to understand but mastering it is another thing altogether. I’ve been reading and learning in for about two weeks now and I’m still probably considered an absolute newb to this. However, studying it is very enjoyable for me as I want to understand and fully grasp the commentaries of some games I’ve replayed.

All in all, this game and anime package is definitely a treat! Hopefully, more people would learn Go so we can all learn together and play this beautiful game. 🙂

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