Monday, November 8, 2021

Hikaru no Go – Chinese drama series

Category: Chinese drama

Language: Mandarin Chinese with subtitles in English and several other languages

Format: Series, 36 episodes, ~50 minutes a piece

Access: Streaming, 7 episodes on YouTube, full series on iQiYi

I love a good movie or series about friendships. At its heart, that is what Hikaru no Go is. Enjoying the story is, for me, a great reason to watch a series to help learn Chinese, even if I don’t understand all of the Mandarin.

To be clear, I am talking about the Chinese live action series that came out in 2020. I gather there are also Japanese manga and anime series that this Chinese series is based on. I have not seen or read those. You can read the synopsis of this Chinese drama series and see the actors at MyDramaList.

I became interested in this series after seeing clips that were used as example sentences for learning Chinese. That led me to the first few episodes, which were on YouTube. I was hooked. I even signed up for iQiYi, which is the company that made the series and also streams it. It was totally worth the small cost to see the rest of the series.

Recommending series for learning Chinese is tricky. You probably have different tastes in content and language needs than I do. I have found dramas to be the most useful for me. It seems like a lot of Chinese dramas are either set in ancient times or are about a modern romance. Although it was mostly set in the early 2000’s, Hikaru no Go was released in 2020 and takes a different approach than most of those Chinese dramas.

This series has a good helping of cultural examples. You see kids interacting with parents, students interacting with teachers, students interacting with each other, and adults interacting with each other. All of these are helpful to learn in the background as you are learning the language.

I often find very young characters to be helpful to learn from, since they often speak more simply and use more words that I am familiar with. That was true at the beginning of this series. The little boy, Lu Si Yu, who plays the Shi Guang at the beginning is a really good actor! I do think the acting was pretty good by all involved.

This is, of course, a series filmed for native speakers. Although I could often understand a phrase here and there, I did need to use subtitles. The subtitles were well done.

There are a LOT of Chinese dramas out there that are set in ancient times. Hikaru no Go is not, however it does have a touch of ancient times with the Go-obsessed ghost, Chu Yin. I thought that mixture was clever. It was a unique way to combine the two. Highly recommended.

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