Toshiaki Toyoda’s star-studded biopic tells the true story of shogi (Japanese chess) player, Shoji “Shottan” Segawa. Despite consistent dedication, Shottan (Ryuhei Matsuda) fails to go professional by the time he turns 26, permanently forfeiting his chance according to the game’s strict rules. Shottan does not abandon his dream and continues as a top amateur until, at 35, he makes an unprecedented bid to go professional.
Informed by Toyoda’s personal shogi experience (he trained to go professional as an adolescent), this tale of late-blooming self-realization is an inspirational study of perseverance against all odds. Both a sensitive character study a fascinating glimpse into the closed world of shogi, director Toyoda’s (Blue Spring, I’m Flash) film builds to a rousing conclusion.