Takeshi Obata was born in 1969 in Niigata, Japan, and first achieved international recognition as the artist of the wildly popular Shonen Jump title Hikaru no Go, which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei "New Hope" Award and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga Award. He went on to illustrate the smash hit Death Note as well as the hugely successful manga Bakuman and All You Need Is Kill.
The board game Go, similar to Othello and with a complexity exceeding that of chess, has been played in Japan for hundreds of years. Sixth-grader Hikaru Shindo thought Go was uncool until he found himself sharing his consciousness with the 1000-year-old ghost of Go master Fujiwara-no-Sai, who is haunting the world until he can play "the divine move." After starting to play just to get Sai to stop bothering him, Hikaru becomes genuinely interested in the game. When he plays using only his own knowledge, Hikaru is just a beginner with flashes of insight; but when he lets Sai take over, he's unbeatable. Hikaru's fluctuating skill level mystifies his opponents, especially Akira Toya, a seventh grader with professional-level playing skills. Obata's artwork is strong and appealing, and the series' good humor arises from its characters-Hikaru's capriciousness and big mouth tend to get him into trouble, but his pursuit of the game has a refreshing earnestness. Running 23 volumes in total, this winning entry in Viz's "Shonen Jump" line of boys' manga is recommended for all ages. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.