Hikaru no Go 10 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata: A-

From the back cover:
The main round of the pro test has begun. Everyone’s feeling the pressure—no one more so than Hikaru’s friend Isumi, who has failed the test twice before. Fighting off his feelings of self-doubt, Isumi faces his next opponent, who turns out to be Hikaru. But a careless mistake lands the pair in an awkward position!

This entire volume was full of pro test goodness. Placements shifted a bit throughout these chapters, but it was always clear who was ahead and who’d fallen behind. The complete chart of each player’s wins and losses was also included at one point, which was neat to see. I liked that the focus wasn’t solely on Hikaru.

Once again, though all of the pro test stuff was great, my favorite chapters were those where Akira is dealing with his “fixation” on Shindo, as Ochi (who received a couple lessons from Akira) put it. I particularly liked the last chapter, where Akira recreated his first game against Sai for Ochi to explain his obsession. Ochi was appropriately astonished.

The art was really great, too, though that’s not unusual. I was struck again, though, by the variety among the character designs. No one looked the same, but Obata didn’t need to resort to unrealistic gimmicks to distinguish between characters. This series also has a lot of just average-looking people in it, which is something I appreciate.

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  1. Yeah, I always forget how good Obata’s art is. He’s the best at character designs for series like this. Even though Death Note had its share of unique-looking characters, all the more normal secondary characters were easy to keep apart. And none of the characters in Death Note or Hikaru no Go look even a little like each other character design-wise. It’s also amazing how much his style changed between the two series, too.

  2. I was just reading about a new series with his art (http://tinyurl.com/ypddtz) but the story doesn’t look all that interesting. I rather doubt I’ll bother with it.

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