Hikaru no Go 12 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata: A-

From the back cover:
Hikaru’s career as a professional go player begins! In his first game, he must face veteran player Toya Meijin, none other than Akira’s father. But to Sai, this round is personal. Then Sai attempts to teach a cheating go player a lesson he’ll never forget… Will Hikaru’s ghostly master do him proud or make him look like an amateur?

Parts of this volume are so difficult to read. Sai and Hikaru have a number of semi-arguments, Sai wondering whether he’ll ever be allowed to play a game again and Hikaru maintaining that such a demand is selfish and would deprive him of opportunities for his own development. It’s like watching a couple who wants different things from the relationship, but neither wants to break up. It bugs me especially when Hikaru ignores Sai, though at least by the end of the volume he’s actively trying to cheer him up and give him opportunities to play.

Hikaru plays one of his first games as a pro, with Toya Meijin as his opponent. Or, rather, Sai plays it. Sai has been looking forward to this since day one, and though the build-up and tense atmosphere were awesomely done, I was kind of disappointed that the game itself was so brief. I could’ve happily read a couple of chapters focused just on the details of that game. It looks like a rematch is on the horizon, though, so perhaps that will satisfy Sai and me.

This series is definitely one with reread potential. I can already picture myself—unfortunately several years hence—happily devouring all 23 volumes in a marathon. Until that day, I’ll take the little nibbles I can get.

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