『星空のカラス』—彼女が石を握る理由

星空のカラス

突如囲碁界に現れた新星、アルファ碁先生のおかげで、ニュースでも碁の話題をよく見かけるようになった。囲碁の対局勝負というよりも、「人間 vs 人口知能」という構図になっていたこともあり、囲碁のことをよく知らないという人にも興味を持ってもらえる、嬉しい機会になったと思う。

で、あればこそ、今こそ碁の魅力を伝えたい!

サッカーや野球といったスポーツ観戦に比べて、ボードゲームの観戦はとても地味。ボールが動いた、選手がぶつかった、などの視覚的要素はほとんどなく、代わり映えのない盤上が淡々と映されるだけ。日曜日の午後、NHK囲碁が多くの人を眠りに誘っているのも無理からぬことだ(でもこれは、囲碁好きも同じ…)。

「ルールよりも、まずはその雰囲気を楽しんで」ということで囲碁漫画をオススメしたいのだけれど、実は漫画界において囲碁は将棋に対して劣勢気味。

『月下の棋士』『3月のライオン』『ハチワンダイバー』など、過去の名作から現在連載中の人気作品まで、将棋をテーマにした漫画は数多い。もちろんその内容も、悔しいことに将棋を知らない自分でさえ思わず熱中してしまう逸品揃いだ。

 

もちろん、囲碁漫画界の大家、『ヒカルの碁』の存在は欠かせない。これを読んでプロ棋士になった”ヒカ碁世代”が誕生するほど、その功績は大きいものだった。

 

だけれども、なかなか『ヒカルの碁』に続く作品が出てこなかった。まだかまだかと待ちわびていた時に、思わぬところから現れたダークホース。それが少女漫画誌「花とゆめ」で連載されていた『星空のカラス』だ。

女子中学生の囲碁棋士、烏丸和歌。彼女は若手の天才棋士である鷺坂総司に師事しながら、プロを目指していく。

プロ棋士の養成期間である日本棋院に入り、そこで出会った仲間たちと切磋琢磨していくという大筋の展開は『ヒカルの碁』とも重なるものがある。しかし、ヒカ碁が囲碁という競技のみならず”碁界”という特殊な世界を描き出していたのに対して、『星空のカラス』は個々人の心理描写や、対局へと望む姿勢を深堀りしていくのが特徴だ。

その見所の1つが、登場人物ひとりひとりの鬼気迫る表情。主人公である和歌の初登場も、意を決して着手するシーンから始まる。

 

星空のカラス1

 

本書でも語られる通り、囲碁はその時の心理状態が如実に反映される競技。例えば、「わずかな勝ちをリードしつつ勝利する」のはとても難しい。形勢不利な相手は失うものなく果敢に攻めてくるが、こちらはミスなくそれを受け切らなければならない。コンピュータ碁の特徴的な強さのひとつとして、心理的なプレッシャーや動揺がないことが挙げられる。

 

星空のカラス2

 

とはいえ、どんな状況だろうと時が来れば、碁盤の前に座して碁石を握らなければいけない。それぞれがそれぞれの思いを抱えつつ、苦悶の表情を浮かべながらも冷静に数十手先を読み合っていく。

全8巻に渡って、盤上で人間と人間がぶつかり合う衝撃が描かれていくのだ。

 

星空のカラス3

 

星空のカラス4

 

石の並べ方には、打ち手の性格が色濃く反映される。本書でも、対局者は相手の意図を汲み取り、またそれに応じて打ち返すことによって、”自分”という人間を主張しあう。それは、相手を理解していく行為でもあるのだ。『星空のカラス』は、囲碁が”手談”という異名を持つことを実感させてくれる。

「碁を打つしかない」という棋士としての業を描きつつも、少女漫画らしい淡い恋愛模様が混ざっているのも気持ちいい。個々の人間関係を丁寧に描き出すことで、別世界の人間である棋士たちがぐぐっとこちら側に引き寄せられる。碁石なんて握ったことはない、という人にこそ手に取ってもらいたい作品だ。

ちなみに、和歌の祖父として登場する「じじ」は、酒に溺れ、多額の借金を作り、外に愛人をつくるアウトローでありながら、碁においては破格の強さを誇った無頼漢。実はこれ、おそらくは実在したある棋士をモデルとしている。その棋士を描いた本についても、いずれどこかでご紹介するので、どうぞお楽しみに。

 

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