Eiichi is a reclusive boy who has few friends. Trying to fit in, he begins to attend a shogi club at school. The ‘Japanese chess’ is more than just a game for fun: it teaches children a sense of strategy, respect for the opponent, and the ability to admit defeat. Over time, Eiichi finds his arch rival – Riku, another student. Having won many games, Riku aspires to be the best player in his category and Eiichi, unable to beat him for years, gives up on shogi and starts living the life of an ordinary student. His passion for the game is reignited when he gets an opportunity to develop a computer program that might beat a professional player one day. Riku is meant to be that player. Awake shows a suspenseful duel of two different characters – a genius shogi player and a man who never became a professional player but discovered a new meaning of his life in programming. In worlds such as these, losing does not mean the end of everything, instead motivating a person to perform better the next time. If you genuinely believe in what you love, one day you will find the right way to attain your goal.
The plot progresses to a completely unique shogi duel watched by all players in Japan, from amateurs to the best of the professionals. What will happen when one of the players is defeated? What will it mean to professional shogi players and to the development of computer software?
The film is inspired by an actual game between the AWAKE software and a young pro player. The full-length debut of director Atsuhiro Yamada, filmed on the basis of his own script, won a Grand Prix for up-and-coming directors from the Kinoshita Group.
Referred to as ‘Japanese chess’, shogi has been played in its current form for more than 400 years, but the history of the game dates back much deeper into history. Truly everyone plays shogi as a pastime activity, from schoolchildren to the elderly. Shogi is a specific Japanese phenomenon and difficult to compare with anything in our environment. Its rules are similar to chess, but the number of moves and combinations is much higher. The popularity of the game especially among young players got a major boost thanks to the recent success of Fuji Sota who won Meijin, one of the most prestigious titles for a player, before turning 20.
©2019 "AWAKE" Film Partners