Posted by psgels on 21 September 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




I would like to thank Hikaru no Go for some of the most riveting opening episodes of any long series that I’ve seen in a while. The first arc of this series, encompassing episodes 1 to 14 is masterfully written and an emotional highlight in the way that it toys with its characters. It plays out unlike any other shounen I’ve seen in the way that it throws its young protagonist in a world that he totally doesn’t belong in. With a simple, but extremely chilling soundtrack, it really is a roller-coaster ride that combines an excellent build-up with powerful and gripping drama that really blew me away.

In the rest of the 75-episode run of this series, it calms down a bit and it turns into more of a classic shounen set-up, emphasizing slow and gradual development. It’s a bit repetitive, but said development is still more than worth it to continue with this series until the end. 75 episodes is a lot of time for characters to change, and the creators really make use of this by making not just Hikaru change, mature and grow up, but a wide variety of different characters are portrayed growing throughout the series.

This show doesn’t just look at the Go game itself and its various layers of strategy, but what’s possibly even more important is the place of Go in Japanese society, ranging from how simple amateurs play it to the world of professionals of all kinds of levels, with even a few international side-stories: this series explores the full spectrum here.

Shounen series usually have this tendency to drag out their matches, but Hikaru no Go is a big exception here as well: I don’t think I recall any Go match that took up longer than one episode. Instead, the thing that bothered me that there may have been a few too many matches that simply looked like each other, which are played against similar characters with similar premises that play out in similar ways. I mean, 75 episodes is a lot of time here for things like these to get boring, and especially around the middle there just are a few too many Go matches and characters that look like each other for my tastes, despite making full sense in the story.

Nevertheless, this series still is chock full of interesting twists and tons of well written Go matches that put you to the edge of your seat. It especially sets itself apart with its development, which makes excellent use of its long airtime. At times it takes a bit too long levelling up its lead characters’ Go skills, but it remains a very detailed look in the world of Go, with especially the rivalry between Hikaru and Touya standing out as memorable.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Really knows how to make Go matches exciting, and really likes to toy around with emotions.
Characters: 9/10 – Has 75 episodes and makes excellent use of them to show half its cast change and mature.
Production-Values: 8/10 – I can only imagine how pain-staking it must have been for the creators to draw hundreds of different Go-matches, but what especially catches your attention is the hard-hitting soundtrack.
Setting: 9/10 – An excellent portrayal of Go in Japan. Pays attention of the wide variety in which it gets played.

Suggestions:
Glass Mask 2005
Nodame Cantabile
hunter X Hunter

15 Responses

  1. Anca says:

    How come you didn’t like this 90+? It doesn’t lack anything and it keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat.

    I liked the go matches. Maybe because I have some history with chess and how interesting a good game can be to watch, so the matches resonated with me, even if I didn’t know anything about the game the first time I watched it.

  2. Roldan says:

    @Anca you should probably look at the things he criticized and the scoring he gave the show and you’ll notice why it never got 90+

    i really like this show and it’s one of the few anime where the cast grows but also the main character grows without having like a x year time-skip. to bad they never got to the final tournament, i know they made a OVA about it but really it’s a great arc which really takes the go matches to another level.

  3. Matt says:

    My friend doesn’t understand how i can like this anime. I tell him, Characters, its all about the characters. They are realistic, each have great personalities, and they really work well together. I enjoy the whole series, i might now watch it again, haven’t watched it in a few years. I just like it alot.

  4. AKI says:

    Finally. You have watched one of the gems of the anime industry!

  5. Frost says:

    So how would you compare this to Akagi? Better/Worse/Different? Do you need knowledge of Go to enjoy it?

    I loved Akagi even though I dont know jack about Mahjong Lol, but I doubt any other anime is on the same level

  6. psgels psgels says:

    Frost: let me get back on that when I actually watch Akagi.

    I went into this series without any knowledge of Go whatsoever, and I really enjoyed it, but I know too little of Go to really determine whether or not any knowledge of the game will increase or decrease the experience of this series.

    As for the reason that I don’t consider this to be 90/100, material, it’s like I said in the review: 75 episodes is a lot, and there were a few too many matches, characters and episodes that looked a bit too much like each other.

  7. Nyitora says:

    I’m so happy that you reviewed HnG! I love this series so much. And yeah, you really don’t need ANY Go knowledge to enjoy this series. My knowledge certainly didn’t increase at all, even though my brother plays go.

    And Studio Pierrot, you really need to animate the rest of the manga! There’s some really great scenes that deserved to be animated!

  8. Kim says:

    I have not seen the anime (besides a few early episodes) but the manga is one of my favorites. I consider it one of the best stories that focus on the drive to become better at something. And despite the supernatural aspect of Sai I felt the whole thing very realistic.

  9. reyan16 says:

    oh my gosh this anime and manga is one of my all time favorites

  10. Meep says:

    Well, here’s an anime that I knew about forever, but never ever considered to pick up.. You always do this to me, Psgels.. D: *goes to find it somewhere*

  11. Firechick says:

    I have an internet friend who’s quite a fan of this, though it doesn’t interest me. I don’t think I’ll be attacking a 75 episode anime any time soon.

  12. Tan-Tan says:

    Yay thanks for actually blogging it XD (yes, I’m Tanz XD)

    Yea, definitely my favorite next to FMA:B but I do agree it dragged at the 2nd part. I even skipped a number of episodes because of that. But the last parts and definitely the first part were pure of epicness.

  13. Momo says:

    Oooh. Psgels has finally reviewed one of my most beloved anime. The score is a bit on the low side but nevertheless I’m glad that you enjoyed it. =)

    As a 75 episode anime series, the story, plot and characters are good enough that time flies by when I watched it. The story doesn’t drags, it’s not boring and it’s seriously addicting. IMO 75 episode is not enough. There’s an ova available but even that’s incomplete. :(

  14. Apollo says:

    I rate HnG as one of my favourites. It’s shounen at its best. The starting few episodes are it’s most gripping parts. Whenever I rewatch the starting eps, they instantly remind me how addictive anime can be. Due to the characters it’s often very emotional and gets serious. Also, Sai is one of the best characters.
    The matches may seem similar but if they are drawn out most of the time it’s for a reason. It tries to educate its audience while trying to keep its entertainment value. I am sure many matches could be skipped if it was purely entertainment, but a lot of its drama also comes from the matches, with dialogues coming from spectators or the characters themselves thinking.
    Too bad they don’t hava anime or manga storylines like this anymore with the start as gripping as it is and keeps it interesting till the end.

  15. Rory says:

    You say you don’t remember any episode where a match lasted more than one episode. Sadly, there were a few. One I just watched was in episodes 35 and 36, against the Korean boy in the Korean Go salon.

Leave a Reply

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
I can understand that. Anything less than a 3 I often dont finish/deem worthy even being talked about. In anime or movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Its too hard to give 1/5s or 2/5s.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Despite my complaints I gave it a 3/5.
Kaiser-Eoghan
....feck sorry about that. I didn't think anyone else on here would have been interested =< Thanks for removing it.
AidanAK47
Come on Kaiser, even if I didn't get anything out of it doesn't mean that other people won't. Best not to put a big spoiler on the front page of the site.
AidanAK47
Just deleting a spoiler there.
Kaiser-Eoghan
That production company tend to do quite poor trailers that misrepresent their films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I would probably punch someone for laughing/talking during a horror film though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Babadook did the grief horror better. Though honestly my favourite horrors this year weren't American ones.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Upgrade might end up being more fun, which is an action horror comedy.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: While terribly schmalzy and lacking a proper ending, quiet place had a better idea and atmosphere.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: In the end it just felt like comparisons to Rosemary's baby and the Exorcist hurt the film. I just thought it was an awkward mix of commercial and indie horror. Like a lesser version of the conjuring.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I didn't laugh but I also couldn't really feel it/connect with it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I also disliked how it answered its questions and story rather than leaving stuff unexplained and the actual exposition in the last act was quite awkward.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I saw it on Thursday, it doesn't live up to the witch or even it comes at night. On one hand I appreciate limiting the jumpscares and gore, going more for atmosphere and character drama. Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne kind of hold it together for me. But the two kids, like in most horror films were awful.
AidanAK47
Just seen Hereditary. The so called scariest film since The Exorcist.
So scary that people in the cinema were laughing.
Vonter
I've been playing Hollow Knight on Switch. It's perhaps the longest metroidvania game I've ever played. The game has a nonlinear progression with a lot of optional areas, which add wonder to the somber and mysterious tone of the game.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also like how much Nagai overstylizes, overdesigns his characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not that its abandoned its comedic elements.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Sash: The twin tailed girl got impaled and its gone in a somewhat darker direction yes.
Sash
apparently cutie honey is getting devilman vibes.. haven't watched it though so take this with a grain of salt
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Somewhere in my head is an image of Baraka from mortal combat in the same picture as Himiko Toga.
Lenlo
Hero Aca, still my favorite Shounen.
AidanAK47
Just got the Re:zero Blu-ray a whole ten days before it's officially released. Gotta be the first to see the dub.
Lenlo
Yeah. Her whole scene was terrible. As much as I loved Maho in a pando costume, it should have stopped there. We didnt need the groping.
Kaiser-Eoghan
FERRIS NYAN-NYAN OmO kill it, kill it with muh-fire, kill it with muh-fire.
Lenlo
Also, Megalobox, hot damn. I love it. I love it all. Mmmm I cant wait.
Lenlo
Partly, yeah. Im mid writeup for it. Suffice to say the fan-service was... alittle awkward to me
Kaiser-Eoghan
Filler episode of Steins; gate this week.
Lenlo
I cant wait to see it, ive heard good things
Amagi
Damn I love Megalobox so much it's my favorite series this season.
AidanAK47
I can't wear a suit to work everyday
Kaiser-Eoghan
*wotaku's
Kaiser-Eoghan
You are now aware that you un-intentionally stealth cosplay as watoki's protagonist each time you go to work.
AidanAK47
Pretty sure Psgels is paying to keep the site up but it's not a sum that one would consider significant. Site is dirt cheap.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've thought about using MPC as an extra player, while mainly using vlc, but vlc can be buggy for me sometimes in that it lags and pixelates the video often , I've used MPC on videos that vlc bugs-out on and they work better.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Out of curiosity, what videoplayer (example media player, realplayer, winamp, vlc, mediaplayer classic)do all of you use for watching anime?
Lenlo
You silly old people
Kaiser-Eoghan
lol how do you think I feel, I've been at this for 20 years =P
SuperMario
All these "confessions" just underline how old we all are; and still keep on that stupid hobby after all those years :))
SuperMario
I first visited the site around 2009, 2010 but was pretty much a lurker until I started writing for the site.
SuperMario
As far as I know, psgels gave the admin privilege for K-Off and Aidan, and it's K-Off who pays for the site now (other admins pls confirm)
Kaiser-Eoghan
Of course I have no idea how much it costs to keep the blog up, he could always end up stopping paying for it if he needed to cut costs.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm actually curious in estimating how much longer the blog has left. Obviously psgels must be still paying to keep the site up, but he is, of course only mortal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The blog began in 2005, but I started reading it in 2009, began posting on the chatbox in 2010.
Amagi
I wonder which weekly review was the first one I've read on psgels. I remember .hack//roots but not sure if it was the first one. Could very well be the case, though.
Amagi
Nevermind, despite being an old as shit reader I never actually read the whole text of the about-part.
Amagi
How old is this blog anyway? I am a regular reader since 2006 or something although it was only recently that I started talking here.
Lenlo
Oh I know all about that Kaiser. It was amazing to read about
Raggers
Wow, this is still going? Good on you guys
Kaiser-Eoghan
*wiki article
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Read the cultural impact of the original ashita no Joe on the youtube article, Japanese actually mass mourned him
Kaiser-Eoghan
Some writers just know how to get an un-explainably effective rhythm going.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I always struggle with commenting/reviewing mood pieces and slice of life mood pieces especially, even when I finish something in the genre sometimes I'll go "I don't understand why this worked so well for me, why wasn't it boring?"
Anonymous2194677
Microsot E3 Press Conference was nuts, they showed too many games.
Anonymous2189608
Hey guys, I made/edited my very first video about a show I greatly love, hope you'll give it a watch too:

https://youtu.be/PdjwePOIbQA
Anonymous2187735
Yeah, and an NES prequel to Bloodstained Ritual of the Night launched a couple of weeks ago. And while easier than NES castlevanias it's quite fun. Also very cheap only $10.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Alas, I've not kept up much with the videogame scene in a number of years. I know there's a spiritual successor to castlevania being made though.
Anonymous2187735
Sorry Nightmare Creatures its what it's called.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually come to think of it, the 64 games probably had more vampires than the others I played.
Anonymous2187735
Have you played the game that inspired this Castlevania? Deadly Creatures?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Never did get round to playing as Henry though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember the garden stage being especially frustrating as Schneider because of how slow he moved.
Anonymous2187735
Also that game demands you to play on normal or higher to play beyond that nitro stage.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember having to finish the game in a day because I was saddled with constantly rubbish memory cards for my N64.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sorry, I post fast and long so some of what I say probably might get missed/skimmed over.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually I did mention it, called it the nitro stage.
Anonymous2187735
Still I think despite the flaws it's has become fun for me because I surprisingly get better each time I play it. and last time I make the game chug because of how fast I was progressing.
Anonymous2187735
Yeah. But I'm surprised you don't mention the worst part. The Nitro and Mandragora level. In which you have to go across several rooms without jumping.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: I remember the game punishes you for using the item seller guy too much aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember the mansion level being creepy back then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But the werewolf thing was pretty rad.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And then there was that crumbling labyrinth stage. I remember on hard mode you have to fight the chainsaw gardener too.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The art tower stage is also annoying if you run out of day/night cards.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also it wouldn't let you finish it properly if you took too long.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: The N64 castlevanias have so many flaws, weird controls , bad camera , the day and night feature is kind of cool but it also puts a timer on things and certain parts become a pain because of it. They had frustrating bits too like the ice castle part with the weird jump sections and the nitro carrying stage.
Anonymous2187417
Lords of Shadow was another IP the developer had to accomodate into a known IP kinda like Star Fox Adventures.
Anonymous2187417
The other Castlevanias I haven't played are Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness. LoS was ok but very long. and it's interquel Mirror of Fate put me off playing LoS2.
Anonymous2187417
I haven't played that one. Seems like a mixed bag. Like Zelda 2 or Metroid 2.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've seen playthroughs of simon's quest, but we all know why thats a notorious mess.
Anonymous2187417
Castlevania 64 and Legacy of Darkness are also my guilty pleasures. I think if Konami still made Castlevanias it would have tried aping the Souls type of gameplay.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember some very very silly voice acting and dialogue in symphony of the night.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I preferred when they were just platform games. Later ones incoperated level up elements if I recall.
Anonymous2187417
After SOTN I think the game coming closer to that greatness is Order of Ecclesia if anything it keeps the difficulty of the classic Castlevanias and puts it in the Metroidvania formula. It has a platforming challenge level that's very satisfying to play.
Anonymous2187417
I've played most of them. Castlevania 3 is a very tough game, but that also makes the journey feel long and rewarding. Rondo of Blood feels like the cornerstone of the series since it's the Castlevania that got most of it's sprite reused in later games.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reminds me, the game, clocktower is vaguely inspired by an old Italian horror film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And symphony of the night.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually feel I should have played more castlevania back in the day, I've played bloodlines, castlevania 4, Dracula X, legacy of darkness, admittedly the last one isn't a good game and is more of a guilty pleasure.
Anonymous2186526
They could still meet Grant in the Clocktower.
Anonymous2186526
I wonder if the second season will be the journey to the castle like in the game. And the third season is entirely in the castle.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Already a season 3 announced.
Lenlo
Oh god yes. I cant wait
Kaiser-Eoghan
New netflix castlevania episodes out next month.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Was going to mention that. Wish more shows would do o.
Lenlo
Yeah, a lot of plot threads are converging and I like it. My favorite part though was Iglesias and their commitment to non-japanese languages. They were good!
Kaiser-Eoghan
*his bit
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Glad that sachio gets hit bit of backstory and that its well connected to the rest of the overall plot.
Lenlo
Alright Megalo Box was pretty good this week. So much to say
KTravlos
Indeed the Alliance system is atypical of mass democracy. There seem to be no organised parties and lists. Instead administrations seem to be formed on a personalist basis(me and my chums). And the Assembly seems to have very weak powers of oversight. A very flawed institutionally system. But I digress . It is still anime and even from Tanaka I do not expect deep discussion of democratic politics
KTravlos
I mean if two of 9 ministers in an administration resigned in any current representative/competitive election system it would be a big news and embarrassment to the goverment. My guess is that they were blackmailed to stay on, or were too afraid of the war party.
KTravlos
busy weeks (finals and deadlines). Watched the latest LOGH:NT episode. It was ok. A bit dry, but so are many of the episodes of NT or the Original on their own. One think it led me to think is that neither the books , nor the OVA, nor NT explain why Rebelo/Lebello and Huang Rui (the two politicians opposed to the Invasion of the Empire) did not resign in opposition. (Turnhit also opposed but..)
Lenlo
I think its cause of Daru's voice. Hes so overt about it and his voice makes it so clear hes not really being serious about any of that, cause it completely changes when hes talking serious subjects
Amagi
@Kaiser: Yeah I am watching CCS but funny enough I fell behind too, so it might be someone else you're thinking of
Kaiser-Eoghan
Always felt that Daru strikes a hit when it comes to pervy/otaku characters. Most of them tend to be incredibly annoying.
Lenlo
This episode was nice and chill while still moving stuff forward. I enjoyed it. It does seem like we are hitting the main conflict though, with Amadeus and Maho
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I feel with this episode the plot is really moving along now.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, Thats the question aint it? How to savem both? We know he does, cause of the original, but alot happens along the way. Its a great ride
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bad light novels would make for good fire and burning material =)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I think it was you who was keeping up with the new cardcaptor sakura? or may that was bokusenou? I fell behind in it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Given Japan is often thought to be a racist society.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I suppose though its saying something though, about them dropping that LN author for racism , its probably, considering its Japan, progressive that they called him out for his racisim.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Angel cop's Japanese version I think had some rant about Judaisim in its last episode too I think.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Honestly I try not to seek out stories about how awful certain creators are if I can.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Viz decided not to run Kenshin's followup/side story manga. But oddly they decided to keep going with toriko even though toriko's author also got in trouble for pedophilic charges.
AidanAK47
Looking at that Isekai anime I say we we saved from something truly terrible. Though I find it odd that it was dropped because the author was a racist not because of it well...being goddamn terrible.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I watched a random episode, laughed more than I should have.
Amagi
btw Is anyone besides me watching Tiramisu? Am I the only one that finds this shit funny?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I'd only read the ANN article title and decided I wouldn't entertain the comments by reading on.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: How do I save them both @steins;gate, how do I save both Kurisu AND mayuri, this is hurting me ;o;
Amagi
I am just reading what he liked on twitter and said (seems to be the director), what the hell
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: Man, I never heard of this. The anime was just harmless comedy, didn't expect that to be honest.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Apparently the guy who did Net-juu was in trouble for making anti-Semitic remarks, not anti-Netanyahu remarks, actual anti-Jewish remarks.
Amagi
@Kaiser-Eoghan: But yeah it's not that we lost anything or so. I am rather interested in what kind of series the studio will do now instead (inb4 some different LN isekai)
Amagi
Chinese manga fans were protesting for a while already, then one of the VAs quit and now they're cancelling the whole thing. The author also made racist posts against Chinese ppl don't know what though.
Amagi
Seems like it was hinting the MC to be a Nanking "hero" that seems to be the problem, there seem to be a lot of dog whistles in there and God rewards this guy when he died at 94, literally saying he's "ideologically sound" (just saying what I see in the threads).
Kaiser-Eoghan
*isekai light novels
Kaiser-Eoghan
A minor victory against the anti-art/anti-intellectual movement, may more light novels fall =)
Amagi
edit: LN seems to be cancelled too
Kaiser-Eoghan
*might result*
Amagi
seems like they cancelled that isekai anime LN adaption because of racism of the author and the story
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Dropping the no porn rule result however in only releasing games where they felt safer about uncensoring the content.
AidanAK47
So Steam is just going to let everything on the site now. I mena I suppose it would be good to just drop that stupid no porn rule but well opens the floodgates to some rather bad consequences.
Vonter
Man, talking about Ranma also reminded me of Ghost Sweeper Mikami, that one imo had a similar type of format in humor. It had action, suspense and wackiness. That show asked the weird implications. Like the one time a side character ate a cake that make him regress back in time being aware of the curse. Or a ghost that could control your dreams and psyche. Or a demon that make you steadily shrink
Lenlo
Well thats one Isekai down, as "Nidome no Jinsei wo Isekai de" gets cancelled. Yay?
Lenlo
Yeah. Once you remember its from 1970, it becomes even more impressive. And you can see where Megalo Box is trying to get some of the grainieness back into its own style.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I love how they dramatically used stills in these really old shows, Dezaki also did that very well. From what I'm gathering from these clips is that this is melodrama earned/deserved and well executed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Reading coments on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SRF0S3ni2g that the mangaka was originally going to have him survive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Very bleak artstyle and despite the age of the drawings/animation the show look like its strong enough to carry an impact.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: @4:40 or so, the sudden realization.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: No bother, managed to get the link working regardless.
Lenlo
*Sigh*
Lenlo
Ah dangit. Textbox messed up my link somehow.

[link src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXYbpnONnzw

That"] should work
Lenlo
[link src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXYbpnONnzw&t=353s

You"] can see how alot of the characters repeat themselves from Ashita no Joe
Lenlo
If its done anywhere near as well as Ashita no Joe, which Megalo Box is based off of, then it will be great. Joe's death is still one of the best endings ever for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I can see it getting me if done right.
Lenlo
Just sayin
Lenlo
90% chance Joe dies in Megalo Box
Kaiser-Eoghan
The idea of shampoo actually having kittens and then owning them in her human form.
Kaiser-Eoghan
This is weirding me out OmO
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually went further thinking about it, if the switches kept flipping back constantly during sex.
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Our favorite girls Hitomi and Anzu drive central plots this week, even at the cost of Hina and Mao (well, the latter doesn’t matter much, but why does she have such limited appearance?). I don’t have much of a complaint though, since stories involving Hitomi or Anzu are usually Hinamatsuri’s strongest. The humor of this […]

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