Hikaru's win against Murakami was pretty much a given since it wouldn't be good for the lead of the series to lose after just getting his mojo back. With his win out of the way, he's set for the next round of competitions with a bit of energy to his step and the potential for playing against Akira again coming up in the very near future because of it. A lot of people are eager to see how he will perform, such as Kuwabara, but there are some that don't seem to consider him a real talent in comparison to Akira. Akira is considered the gifted prodigy, but there's something about Hikaru that sets him apart since he really just dropped into Go because of Sai and his start at a relative late age for everything.
While Hikaru has been playing on his own for awhile now without the assistance of Sai, it does feel very unusual to not have Sai sitting at his side observing the games and talking about what's going on, or thinking about how the play itself is going in relation to other things. Hikaru's skill is definitely shining and, like Isumi, there is a new kind of confidence to his play that wasn't there before. Neither young man is playing in a way that's cocky or overconfident or even aggressive in a certain manner, but they're playing to win and they're doing so with more calculation and skill than before. The new wave of students that's coming up is having an impact on the older players as well as the psychological impact of being taken down brutally by youngsters takes its toll on them. Culturally and socially, it's an interesting area to examine and I wish it got more time instead of moving on to the next match.
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