Much like Sai at the start of this episode, it's very easy to feel sad about what's about to happen. With Sai still out of the picture and with Hikaru moping around over the loss of his friend that he had forgotten had value, Hikaru no Go takes us back a couple of years again but this time to a period before Sai existed within the framework of the story so he's not really in it all that much. The story focuses more around Akira who see when he was younger and the difference is even more stark than how young Hikaru has looked when we've gone to these past stories.
As young as Akira is here, there are still many people prodding him to move forwards taking the pro exam since he's so gifted and he has quite the lineage that is influencing it as well. But even as he does well and continues to push off the pro exams until he feels that he's good enough to take them, he's got this nagging feeling in the back of his head that something is missing from his life. Of course, even at this age, rumors swirl about him and his skills and there's a reputation building that's not entirely accurate in a lot of ways which keeps other players from approaching him. There are those that are tempted to go after him though, including Hideki who initially appears to be more of a somewhat older woman than a young boy who wants to challenge Akira.
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