Shuffling the story of Sai and Meijin to the background, along with the issues involving Ogata and Akira, Hikaru no Go shifts back to more mainstream playing as Kurata returns to the show after a brief absence. Meijin and Ogata are back to playing their matches and everyone else is keeping things in the back of their mind as they try and move forward. Kurata continues to be an amusing player because of his style and his general manner, but he's one of the friendlier pro players out there as most of them come across as too intense. Kurata has his moments as well when it comes to the game directly, but he doesn't live life as seriously as everyone else seems to.
Hikaru spends a bit of time with Kurata over a bowl of ramen and he gets a mild education about the professional world of Go as they talk about Meijin's latest game and what it means overall. Kurata's friendliness is fun to see but he's definitely a self absorbed person when it comes to life in general and he's not all that interested in playing against Hikaru when he suggests it. Thankfully, Hikaru has recognized his nature and is able to tweak him into playing a game in a way that appeals to his sense of pride and self importance. Kurata's approach to life is largely mirrored in his game as well which is a bit disconcerting for Hikaru since so many people play so seriously.
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