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Maison Ikkoku
by AstroNerdBoy on September 9th, 2004, 3:50am

Rating - 9.4 / 10.0

User rating of this review - 5 out of 5
Story/Plot - 5 out of 5
Characters - 4.5 out of 5
Drawing Style - 4 out of 5
Enjoyment - 5 out of 5
Overall - 4.75 out of 5

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Plot/Story

Godai is a 1st-year ronin who is living in an old boarding house-apartment known as Ikkoku-kan (Ikkoku Apartments). His room is used by three other residents for parties and because Godai has no spine, he is unable to get rid of them. So he decides that he will leave and find a new apartment so that he can study and get into college. As he attempts to leave, he runs into the new kanrinin (apartment manager), Kyoko. Godai immediately falls in love with Kyoko (who's two years older than him) and as such, changes his mind about leaving.

After Godai gets into college, he learns that Kyoko is a widow. Because they were only married for six-months, Godai figures that Kyoko can't see him because her deceased husband, Soichiro-san, is the only man she can see. Getting drunk one night, Godai makes a loud, drunken confession to Kyoko in front of Ikkoku-kan. He grabs Kyoko and carries her to his room, but passes out before he can follow through. As a result, Kyoko gets pissed, but if it is from Godai passing out or from him attempting to have his way with her is unknown. However, this set Kyoko to ignorning Godai for a while and thus begins the roller-coaster ride between the two.

With hunky, rich Coach Mitaka teaching Kyoko's tennis class and falling in love for her, Godai discovers that his new rival is everything he isn't. As Kyoko begins to date Mitaka-san, Godai begins to date Kozue-chan, a former co-worker of his. Thus two additional love-triangles are formed. Godai must learn to mature as a man if he's ever going to be with Kyoko and Kyoko must learn it is OK to fall in love again if she wants to be with Godai.

Characters

    Yusaka Godai -- He starts the manga as a 1st-year ronin, then progresses to college and beyond. His love for Kyoko is known by almost everyone, but he has no idea how Kyoko really feels about him. Everytime he thinks she may be giving him a sign, things go wrong. Because he's a nice guy, he is unable to stop other residents of Ikkoku-kan from taking advantage of him. At the same time, he is unable to break things of with Kozue-chan, no matter how much his being with her may hurt Kyoko. Yet in the end, he overcomes great odds to make his dreams come true.

    Kyoko Otonashi -- She's a young widow who takes over as kanrinin of her father-in-law's apartment building called Ikkoku-kan. When she meets Godai-san, she tries to be very helpful, but his failed attempt to seduce her angered her. When Coach Mitaka begins to woo her, she has a choice between a rich guy who will take care of her and a poor guy who doesn't appear to be very reliable. Her parents are pressuring her to re-marry and the residents of Ikkoku-kan demand a lot of her. Despite it all, she manages to keep her sanity and despite everything, fall in love again.

    Shun Mitaka -- He's the tennis coach who's rich and very successful with women. Now he wants to be with Kyoko and delights in rubbing things in Godai's face. However, Mitaka's fear of dogs is his weakness and Kyoko has a big dog. If he can overcome his fear of dogs and resist pressure from his family, he will marry Kyoko.

    Kozue Nanao -- She's Godai's pretty and sweet former co-worker and she's in love with him. Being nice, Godai goes out with her on what he thinks are not dates, but for Kozue-chan, this is the start of a relationship. Everytime Godai tries to break things off, he ends up getting more involved with her. She doesn't know that Godai is in love with Kyoko, but suspects he may be attracted to her.

    Hanae Ichinose -- Ichinose-san lives with her mostly unseen husband and grade-school kid Kentaro-kun. She lives on the first floor next to Kyoko's room. Since the phone and front door are very near, Inchinose-san knows a lot of the goings on at Ikkoku-kan. When she isn't involved in gossip, she can usually be found drinking sake, laughing, and dancing along with Yotsuya-san and Akemi-san in Godai's room.

    Yotsuya-san -- He is the mysterious resident of Ikkoku-kan who lives in the room next to Godai. No one knows where he works, what he does for a living, or even what his given name is. A large hole in his closet allows him to access Godai's room at will, and nothing Godai does will keep that hole repaired. He's the 2nd member of the party-trio.

    Akemi Roppongi -- She rounds out the party-trio and also lives upstairs. She works at a local bar and when she's not working, she prances around in a sheer, skimpy nightgown.

    Nozomu Nikaido -- He's a high school grade who moves into room 2 after a mixup brings him there. He's verys slow and needs things explained to him repeatedly. At the same time, he's quick to just blurt things out that the others may be trying to keep secret.

    Ibuki Yaagami -- She's a high school student in a class that Godai becomes a student-teacher for. She falls in love with Godai-sensei and despite his lack of interest, she becomes more determined when she learns he's in love with the widow-manager of Ikkoku-kan. She goes out of her way to taunt Kyoko and even moves into Godai's room for a while to make a point.

    Asuna Kujo -- Asuna is a well-educated, very pretty daughter of a very rich family. She's very shy, so her only friends are her six dogs. She's arranged to marry Mitaka-san after his uncle decides the marriage will help his business. Her dog's positive reaction to Mitaka-san is all Asuna needs to know about Mitaka and she immediately falls in love with him.

Drawing Style

At first, Takahashi-sensei's art and character designs are not very attractive. "Maison Ikkoku" marks her change of styles to the one we are used to today. As the chapters progress, the art and character designs rapidly improve. Thus by the final chapter, Kyoko looks very nice indeed. Takahashi-sensei has an eye for details, so her cityscapes are very nice to look at as well.

Enjoyment

I really enjoyed this manga. I knew the ending, but that doesn't spoil the fun. It is the ride that is so much fun. At first, I was annoyed with the party-threesome and with all of the outside influence working against Godai and Kyoko, but by the end, I'd forgotten all that. I came to like even the annoying characters and that is saying something of Takahashi-sensei's writing abilities. Since the manga covers around 8-years, the relationship between Godai and Kyoko moves at a very slow pace. Yet I could easily identify with both characters, thus I was able to get beyond the very slow pace and the bone-headed things both characters do from time-to-time.

Overall

This is one of my favorite manga titles. Unlike Takahashi-sensei's other well-known manga titles ("Inuyasha", "Ranma 1/2", or "Urusei Yatsura"), "Maison Ikkoku" has no fantasy elements and is a realistic slice-of-life romantic series with some comedy on the side. It is sometimes very painful to read, but the payoff at the end is so sweet that it was worth all the pain and the joy as well.
 
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User Comments

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No Subject by Amber3 on September 27th, 2008, 4:45am
Rating: 5

Maison Ikkoku is the one best series takahashi has created and isn't to drawn out either. You forget all about the bad drawings while reading this, its a very touching series.
 
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