Isumi's return from Japan may just be the kick in the pants that Hikaru needs to get playing again. The last episode had a beautiful moment where the two ended up face to face with Isumi forcing Hikaru's hand by putting the Go table between them so that it was a strong reminder of what's in his blood. Now that he started that much, Isumi's doing the rest that's necessary in cleaning the dust off and reflecting outwardly to Hikaru about what he learned from his time in China and how it's shaped him, and the path that he wants to walk on that's very similar to Hikaru's. The two haven't been the best of friends during their time as Insei, but there's a bond that's forming here that may be the most important on to Hikaru outside of his one with Sai.
When the two begin their game, it all comes flowing back after Hikaru stops asking for Sai's forgiveness and they go at it. Each new move becomes a key move in the match, bringing more of their desire to win to the foreground. Hikaru doesn't take long to become lost in the game and Isumi is playing to win just as hard since he expect nothing less of Hikaru. The two help to raise each other into the game, the intensity rising with each new move. It's also nicely paralleled to a game that Akira is playing in competition that will lead to who will play in the special round robin tournament, with it being his first time getting in there. Even as he plays there, Hikaru is on his mind as someone important to him that he must confront yet, though it's not as though he's realizing that Hikaru is playing once again.
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