Hikaru no Go 18 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata: B

After the drama of the past few volumes, “the main storyline takes a holiday” (to quote the back cover) in volume eighteen and instead we get six short stories of varying quality.

A couple of stories, like those focusing on Akira Toya and Yuki Mitani, fill in some background for scenes from earlier in the series, and one revisits what’s left of Hikaru’s old middle school go club. Two others—about Asumi Nase, an insei, and Atsushi Kurata, a relatively young pro—serve to flesh out supporting characters and are the best of the bunch.

The sixth purports to be about Sai, and it was this story I’d looked forward to the most. Alas, it’s nearly the least interesting (Mitani’s claims top honors in that category), as it boils down to another case of “corrupt merchant trying to sell antique merchandise that Sai knows is fake.” I had hoped for a story from Sai’s life or perhaps from his time with his previous host, but instead we get a rehash of something we’ve seen as recently as volume twelve.

I’d be lying if I said these stories aren’t disappointing, coming on the heels of some very important plot developments, but I gather they’re meant to function as a palliative bridge between a dramatic story arc and whatever lies ahead, so I can’t fault them too much.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Review originally published at Manga Recon.

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