The only really important thing that happens in this volume is.. Hikaru finally plays Akira, in a professional match. It's their first real game since they first became obsessed with one another, their first game since Hikaru truly set out on the path of go, and their first real game ever, really, since it was actually Sai playing for most of their first game.
Surrounding this match, there is a lot of
chatter from the journalists of Go Weekly
talking about the "rising tide" of new go players, some catching up with older characters (Toyo Sensei signs a contract to play in the Chinese league, and Hong, the Korean go prodigy Hikaru played several volumes ago, is now a rising pro in Korea), and there's even a cute scene in which Hikaru almost sort of flirts with Akari. (He invites her back to his house to play a game of go. What a smooth ladies' man...)
And the volume ends with a dream, in which Hikaru meets Sai one last time.
If this were the end of the series, I'd say it was a pretty nice conclusion. In fact, it read as if Yumi Hotta actually planned to end the series here.
But, I know there are actually six more volumes. So, will the rest be anti-climax? We'll see.
4.5 stars, because the filler was filler, and because the emotional build up to a final resolution seems kind of wasted when the series actually continues on.