Thursday, December 3, 2015

HERO Chapter 17

Chapter 17 of HERO is now up! In this chapter, is Ichikawa really a fake?! And will Hiroyuki be able to talk his way out of losing a finger?! Either way, we'll be taking a break from Hero after this chapter. A different manga will be replacing it, but you'll just have to wait and see which one that is.

Thanks to Tambur for the typesetting and to Crump for the cleans. I probably won't be streaming this Sunday, but the usual mahjong night will be this Saturday at 3:00 PM PST.

Chapter Link

"One's natural reflexes cannot be tricked!"

Okay so I may have jumped to conclusions a bit last chapter; it's not 100% definite that this Ichikawa is fake. It's kind of left up in the air at the end of this chapter, so even though Hiroyuki was able to talk his way into getting Hasekura to believe Ichikawa could see in the moment, he's not so sure himself. Personally, I still believe that this Ichikawa was a fake. I think he had some agreement with someone forbidding that he ever reveal his true identity even in death, and so he had to deny all accusations that he was fake, even while he had nothing to defend himself with. And just so you know, it has yet to be revealed in the rest of the manga printed in Japan (the manga is still ongoing) whether Ichikawa is real. But let's just go over the points for and against Ichikawa being real:

  • His skills are on the level of the real Ichikawa and his tactics are all feasible for someone without sight to do.
  • He did not admit to being fake, even while knowing he might soon die.
  • He was convincing enough for Hasekura to believe him, someone who was there for the real Ichikawa's game.
  • There is no word on where the real Ichikawa is or if he is still alive.
  • This Ichikawa appeared to draw his tiles with ease even while the wall and the tiles were misplaced.
  • He fell for a completely visual trick with the 2-man.
  • He caught a glass that was flying at him without being able to see.
  • It is unlikely that the real Ichikawa would still be alive at this time.
So looking over it, the evidence seems to point to his being fake, but if you can refute all of Hiroyuki's evidence then it seems more likely that Ichikawa is real. For example, Ichikawa may have caught on to what happened with the tiles being misaligned before he went to draw. He may have seen how Sasaki played a Chun against Hiroyuki's obvious Kokushi Musou and inferred from that and the atmosphere around it that something happened that ruled out a Kokushi tenpai. And he may have predicted Hiroyuki would throw his glass at him and heard the glass flying through the air to allow him to catch it. But even then, why wouldn't he just tell us how he did it instead of just saying "lol I'm Ichikawa bitch"? Even when his identity was being questioned?

So I think Ichikawa's fake, but I could certainly see the reasoning for believing he's real. And hell, if you're willing to accept that Ichikawa was actually able to see back when he fought Akagi, all the arguments having to do with his blindness go out the window. If Ichikawa was always able to see, there's no reason this Ichikawa couldn't be real. I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say on the matter.

...That said, Hero will be taking a break for a few months. This is the end of the Ichikawa arc, so there's no cliffhanger or anything. Have no fear, it will be back before you know it.


  1. Hmm.. Washizu? Bah, even if I guess you won't tell, you slimy dog.

  2. Ichikawa said he lost his sight in a gun misfire. It's not completely impossible that modern medicine was able to restore some of his sight.

    1. I don't think Ichikawa is the kind of man who would lie over something like that to gain an edge. He is the Blind Master with the Iron Guard. I would bet he would decline any kind of operation to restore even partial sight.

  3. The evidence suggests that this is not Ichikawa, but I don't know .... the last few pages of the chapter seemed to "imply" that whoever this man is, he really is blind, and he really did fight Akagi.

  4. "His skills are on the level of the real Ichikawa"

    Oh, but are they? Ichikawa was playing blind against a sighted Akagi. Assuming that this guy is a fake, he's playing sighted against a blind Hiroyuki, and canonically Hiro is not as strong a player as Akagi. I'd say that's difference enough for him to be several levels below Ichikawa in terms of skill and still yield similar results.

    One more piece of evidence is the box of pills. The overseer demands that Ichikawa tell him how he normally tells which pill is which. The pill box is divided into two compartments, one for each pill, with a hinge on one end and a latch on the other. It would be easy for a blind person to figure out which side is which by touch, so why doesn't he answer that to save his own life?