I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
Suyong suspects that Ko Yong Ha did not diss Shusaku and goes to him to confirm this. It turns out to have been a terrible mistranslation, but Yong Ha decides to roll with it and publicly needle Hikaru some more. Hikaru, in response, begs to be first in the match against Korea, even though he knows Akira is the more likely choice. Kurata says he'll do it if Hikaru can impress him against China - he figures this will fire Hikaru up enough to help him win. In Japan's match against China,(show spoiler)
Hikaru's mom attended the China game!
After so many less focused volumes, it was nice to have one solely devoted to a single tournament. This volume really ramped up the tension and kept the focus on the series' younger characters. I just wish
Akira was so very close to figuring out the whole Hikaru and Shusaku thing on his own. He even remembered that, in his first game against Hikaru, Hikaru used a few archaic moves. And at the end of the volume, Hikaru came so close to explaining why he got into Go and why Shusaku is important to him. Publicly, even! Akira was visibly disappointed that Hikaru was cut short. Me too, Akira, me too.
In this volume, Hotta mentions the existence of something called the Hikaru no Go Gorgeous Characters Guide. The translation made it sound like it was previously only available in Japanese but had since been made available in English. If that was the case, it's out of print and unavailable now. I came very close to buying a copy of the Japanese edition (on Amazon it's $5-8 including shipping!) but reminded myself that I'm currently at negative shelf space and don't have room for something I can't even read.
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)