Manga: Hikaru No Go and GTO

It has been some time since I have read something that is really worth posting about manga. But I guess there are two series that I have just completed that are worth mentioning somewhat. I have not read other works from the same mangaku so I would not dedicate full posts to them.

The first, Hikaru No Go. I think it is supposedly the manga that sparked some Go interest when it was turned into an anime. For those who do not know what Go is, a quick search on Google reveals this link which should provide more than enough information. Of course, it is not necessary to know Go to actually read the manga which may or may not be a good thing. Anyway, the manga begins fairly well with the introduction of some spirit called Sai that possesses an old goban (Go game board). Seems like Hikaru (protagonist) is among the few who can see this spirit. So Sai goes along merrily with Hikaru and influences him to play the game of Go. Needless to say Hikaru was resistant to Sai's suggestions as first but in the long run develops a deep interest for Go. At first, I thought that this is indeed an interesting way to start a manga: have a spirit that piques the interest of a boy to play Go. Unfortunately halfway through the series, Sai has to leave the world, fo no apparent reason. That was where I got really annoyed at the story. I really dislike stories that kill off characters for no apparent reason. Worse yet, the series did not even complete the story about the Hand of God. Throughout the series there were allusions to a perfect game of Go that is called the Hand of God. Unfortunately by the time the series ended, the concept of the Hand of God seemed to have been abandoned leaving the story with a poor ending that does not do justice to the series. In other words it was a forced ending. Moreover, they are entire volumes dedicated to nothing but side stories. To me, it shows that the mangaku has already ran out of ideas and it just milking the rest out of his dedicated readers. All in all, I felt that this manga got off to an excellent start but fell short in the end. I am not sure what actually happened to the mangaku who did this series but it could have been much better.

Onto another series. GTO. Seems to be popular enough that they even made an anime out of it and even had a real drama series for it with real life actors. Though I do wonder how they toned down some of the scenes that were either very violent or just plain weird. Anyway, GTO is fantastic. Here is a story that does not rely on excellent art work but a sound story line instead. Take a gangster and make him into a teacher. (By the way, this gangster has weird (unorthodox ways) of educating problem kids, which makes for the interesting story). And then show what is wrong with the education system. Of course, it has some nonsensical behavior but it also goes to show why part of the education system in Japan is not really working. The only shortcoming that I found was the elaborate plan of the students to actually get rid of their teacher. For this they would even go so far as to plant sleeper students in the class to upset the teacher. Other than that, the story is interesting and not too long. Of course, don't really believe everything that you read in this series.

This post might seem a little out of place compared to the other posts that I have written but I still find it relieving once in a while to write about such things. After all, if it is worth reading, it is definitely worth writing about.

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