Now that Hikaru is a professional go player, his first pro game is against... drum roll... his long-time rival, Akira Toyo.
And I am knocking a whole star off for the heavy-handed plot device of having Akira's father, Toyo Meijin, have a heart attack just before the game. I mean, are you really going to do this until the last volume, Hotta? Just how many times can you postpone the big grudge matches that the series has been building towards?
So, now that the Meijin is in the hospital, he is playing a little Internet go to occupy his time. Hikaru finds out, and arranges a game with Sai, who has been begging for a chance to play the Meijin again since they first met.
After some negotiating, Meijin agrees. So we actually commence one of those epic battles the series has been building towards: Fujiwara-no-Sai vs. Toyo Koya Meijin. And with the mysterious "Sai" back online, the entire go world ends up watching this online game between the two legendary players.
Yeah, everything about this volume was kind of contrived. Still a good story, and the art really carries the "cyberspace" confrontation between two epic figures over a virtual go board, but Hotta needs to find a new angle to the story. You can only spend so many volumes on one or two climactic games. Speaking of which, this volume ends mid-game.
So, next volume has epic potential, but it also has jump-the-shark potential if Hotta pulls another artificial plot device out of a hat to avoid a resolution in the Sai vs. Meijin match.