|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Maison Ikkoku sticks out from many of Rumiko Takahashi's typical works in that it lacks a fantasy-based element to its storytelling like Inuyasha and Ranma ½. Rather, it takes a more believable approach in its focus on college ronin Yusaku Godai who struggles with college enrollment exams while becoming attracted to his new apartment manager and widow, Kyouko Otonashi. Mixing romantic comedy and drama, the development of Yusaku and Kyouko's relationship is complicated by several suitors who become interested in one of our leads romantically and the meddlesome apartment tenants of Ikkoku-han causing trouble for Godai for their own amusement in many instances.|
Maison Ikkoku has its fair share of ups and downs in the development of Yusaku and Godai's characters, but let us focus on what the series does right. For the most part, the series does a pretty solid job with developing its major characters and exploring their developments throughout the span of the series. With Maison Ikkoku passing over a period of 4 years throughout its 96-episode run, the characters undergo varying degrees of growth and development with Godai eventually enrolling into college and determining his career path and Kyouko growing conflicted over her feelings for Godai as she is still melancholy over the loss of her husband. Life doesn't always go the way that others would like and this is reflected through the challenges that Godai and Kyouko face as they determine what both would like best for one another. Supporting characters also get their focus as we see the apartment tenants, Godai and Kyouko's family members, and the suitors for both have their likeable traits that the series takes time to exploring at points when the spotlight isn't on our main pairing.
This said, the series did have its issues for me. Outside of Godai and Kyouko, the remaining apartment tenants are mostly defined with their obsession to have drinking parties and tormenting Godai, which can make their characters seem selfish and obnoxious at a number of points in the series. A later character introduced in the series, schoolgirl Ibuki Yagami, also has her issues with her obsessive crush on Godai pushing her to commit to stalker-like behavior that made her actions seem more selfish and self-absorbed in spite of her concerns for him. Also, the series relies on creating misunderstandings for drama a wee bit much at points, especially in regards to Godai getting into enough predicaments that are misunderstood by Kyouko and the other apartment tenants.
Still in spite of the title's age, Maison Ikkoku is still one of Rumiko Takahashi's better works in exploring the developments of Godai and Kyouko's relationship, while overcoming the daily ordeals of their lives and the romantic shenanigans they face with their admirers. While I find it to be somewhat overhyped by old-school anime fans after finally seeing the full series in all its glory, it is still a solid recommendation if you are able to get your hands on the series.
Last updated Saturday, July 23 2016. Created Monday, January 04 2010.
|Unevaluated 4||Devil Doll||[series:417#752]|
I once tried to watch episode 1 of this show, found the sidekicks annoying to no end and both supposed leads boring, and aborted the project.|
Having read the whole 160 chapters manga now (within a few days), I am positively surprised. While relying on embarrassing misunderstandings for many jokes and Godai's co-lodgers being a plague throughout the whole show, this show does have its good elements: Compared to Kimagure Orange Road (TV), it has no unnecessary fantasy stuff (and thus no filler material, the focus on the leads' romance is always there), fewer stunts that obviously can't work, more true romantic competition and more character development for all characters (even those co-lodgers in the end).
If the 96 anime chapters really match the manga then this show might actually be decent despite its ancient visual presentation. I guess I'll have to give it another chance.
Last updated Saturday, September 06 2008. Created Saturday, September 06 2008.
|Rent 4||8||6||9||8||10||8||Anonymous #1377||[series:417#1377]|
Over 2000 reviews and I still have to chime in! I spent a two years following this series as Viz was issuing the last of the Manga one comic at a time, only to fall in love with it again when I got the Anime. My wife, who refuses to watch or read any comic or cartoon, absolutly was absorbed by the characters in this series. As she told me, "It's just like a soap opera", and sure enough, it is. I'll not review the rest since 2000+ other have, but I will say this recommendation is to buy the Manga and rent the videos. I originally started with the videos from Viz only to have them stop with the dub part way in. In my dissapointment, I refused to buy anymore from Viz. I recently was in Hong Kong and caught a copy of the whole series (a fan sub, no less) for a good 50 dollars on DVD and I must say I was impressed. This is a series much better seen in Japanese. Having lived in Japan for the better part of 3 years I can say that this is a pretty true slice of life, albeit a slice from about 30 years ago. But the conventions and mannerisms are still around somewhat and you'd be suprised what carries over. You will root for Godai, you will get mad at Kyoko, and you will laugh your sides silly at the chaos the rest of the crew generates. It's much better taken in doses, rather than one long sitting. And dont spoil it for yourself....the ending that is. You know what's coming but the fun is getting there. Enjoy. Oh, and enjoy the music too. The series is a good encapsulation of J-pop in the 80's. There is a good site to catch all the music at, as well as some of the opening and ending titles. In particular, "Cinema" strikes me as one of the best end titles I think I've seen in Anime.
Last updated Sunday, May 09 2004. Created Sunday, May 09 2004.
Maison Ikkoku is a romantic comedy from Rumiko Takahashi, you can see the workings of her later series here. The animation is dated, but still good, I wouldn't want to listen to the series music very often. This is a good series that was far from spectacular, but still enjoyable. After so many episodes in this series, things start to get stale, but the series ended just when it needed to.
Last updated Wednesday, April 28 2004. Created Wednesday, April 28 2004.
I have only seen the subbed version of this series, twice now, (all 96 episodes, or is it some 30+ hours of anime. BLAH .. long!) and I think that I may be harboring a quiet urge to watch it again sometime in the future. While I have to honestly admit that this is not a <top rated * buy * type of series>, I fear that I might have a weakness for a type of anime series which allows one spend some time with the stories characters and lets one learn about their adventure. As a point of reference my opinion is that the Marmalade Boy moved toooo slowwww, and that that Kodomo no Omacha (Childs Toy), while being entertaining, never took the romance between Sana and Hayama seriously, (and in the end, the two never did manage top find their way to be together growl!). While this series is very long (prolonged?), it does succeed in telling a personal slice-of-Japanese-life story of two people, who over several years time and their difficulties in being honest enough to admit that they feelings for each other. During their journey, they come to enjoy each others company, have a lot of adventures and somehow manage to be together in the end. |
Lets be honest, there is no magic or monsters, or fight scenes or even grand adventure in this series. This might best be considered an urban-domestic story of romance. Godai, a young college student is living in a shabby older boarding house, when a very attractive (but slightly older) woman moves in to be the new apartment manager. Godai is immediately smitten and falls hard for Kyoko. While he is too shy to be able to speak his feelings, he is someone who is very good hearted and sensitive enough to quickly understand that something is not right or at peace with Kyoko. And with assistance of the inept, but very honest, support of the pack of other apartment tenants, the two start a slow adventure of understanding as they try to find their way to being together.
This series can only be considered on par with a true afternoon soap opera. It tells the story of a group of people living in an extended family in an apartment building, of how strange their relationship is and of how they enjoy meddling in each others personal affairs. I will admit that there are many very silly and absurd situations in this story that I just had to accept (however improbable)and I had to over look them to enjoy the story line where ever it might lead me. The other tenants of Godais apartment are at best absolute loons, (or at worst, seriously disturbed people.) but they do serve as a comedic relief to an otherwise serious romantic series. There are three primary tenants of the apartment complex are; a man who is Godais ever-so-mysterious apartment neighbor and the ultimate mooch. An older woman (married with a son, and an absent husband) who loves to drink and party till the morning hours. And a very slinky (perhaps, lonely) sexy bar hostess who takes full advantage of Godais innocence, teasing him with her shear night garments and insisting on sharing the Godais bed, if only as a way to trouble him and to have someone warm beside her. . They all take a special joy in tormenting the kindhearted Godai by partying in his room till midnight with only the slightest excuse and take joy in meddling in his private affairs with the best intent and worst results. But despite the troubles of the other tenants, there is a measure of charm and smiles when Godai and Kyoko have to team up to find out what they are up to that week There is a (very-Japanese-culture-based) love rival to Kyoko's attentions, who appears as Yagami, a high school student of Godai's whom he met as he was working as a student teacher. Yagani becomes fixated on Godai, decides that she will be his girlfriend, and in an act of rebellion against her parents moves in with Godai, (much to the concern of the other tenants.) And Kyoko has her attentive fans, and she finds herself charmed and entertained by a pampered playboy of a tennis coach, who decides to set his heart on her as an escape from an arranged marriage.
And so the series goes, as all the secondary characters try to help or hinder Godai and Kyoko's adventure, (usually with opposite or inverse results), as the two some how manage to nurture the flickering flame of their romance. This a type of series which has moments in which you might find yourself screaming, Oh, Godai!! You idiot!!, (or even harsher words at the antics of the other characters). But it quickly becomes apparent that Godai is one of these rare nice guys who feels compelled to do the right thing and somehow manages to behave properly no matter what the situation is, or how painful or problematic his path might be. And with every new troublesome event, emergent difficulty and painful misunderstanding, one can easily find oneself rooting for the two to overcome the situation and find a way to stay together. (Does this sound like a soap yet??)
At first, the relationship of Godai and Kyoko are purely landlord and tenant, and evolves over time to be one in which Kyoko is openly supporting and nurturing the struggling college student, Godai. In a moment of honesty and kindness, Godai asks for (and Kyoko silently accepts) an agreement in that they each accept that they need more time before committing to any serious relationship. Time for Godai to finish his studies and time for Kyoko to accept the past changes in her life. And for a while, they find some some measure of happiness in being together. (say one or two episodes). But this is a soap opera in which troubles are destined to appear in any calm and Godai reaches a point where he has to escape from the chaotic and disruptive influence of the other tenants if he is going to succeed in his studies. And so the secrets, misunderstandings, and drama ramps up again and the story carried forward for another fifteen episodes. But the story does move along, and with every success of either Godai or Kyoko, the two manage to crawl a bit closer to having a true relationship with each other. Can you be surprised at how many times two people can misunderstand each other or how many simple misconstrued situations can sabotage a potential relationship, but for two hearts to be together, certain challenges have to be overcome.
Sigh .. I think that I might be a bit of a romantic, and I might have to admit that I have experienced (or learned) first hand as to some of the problems and lessons that Godai and Kyoko share in this series. It is a slice of life story of two people who chance to meet and have to work to be together. Using a soap opera story line with a number of (very Japanese) twists and turns along the way, Maison Ikkoku does offer a special reward in the last few episodes in that Godai and Kyoko do manage to find a way to be together (but not quite as per their dreams and definetly not as was first described during the first half of the series.)
In any event, I enjoy this series, and would recommend that it is worth wasting a weekend to watch, if only to find a smile in Godai and Kyoko's impossibly entangled and troubled romantic misadventures, with an ending that makes the entire experience a bit more special.
Last updated Saturday, March 27 2004. Created Saturday, March 27 2004.
Read the manga 16 years ago and always wondered what the anime is like.|
After 96 episodes, I was glad that most of the storyline stay intact comparing the manga. And it's as good as I remember it and may be even better now that I'm older.
I watch the show in Japanese dialogue and voice acting is good. Every character is exactly what I imagine to be. I've heard some reviewer said the Yotsuya's has an English accent in dubbed version. I don't know if that's a good decision since Yotsuya always describe situation in Japanese poems. I can't forsee how that can be done in English without sounding wierd. The Japanese voice acting anyway is always good.
Art direction over all is typical late 80's style. It's improved over the series. Kyoko's appearance does change a bit from time to time. Sometimes she looks like Ayukawa from Orange Road and sometime she looks more Takahasi's work.
Everyone doesn't stray too much from the manga version except Kyoko. There's an attempt to make her too sweet in the anime to attract viewers. And the absence of Nikaido while disappointing, doesn't take away a lot from the series. But the loon squad is there for a single purpose, make trouble for Godai. Amusing at first but wearing out after half way through.
The misunderstanding is sometimes too difficult to watch but I guess all these turbulence is what make the ending satisfying.
But watching this love triangle (a octagon really) plays out is the most rewarding part of the show. Sure, you can get all these scenes within the short 1.5h movie but slowly watching every (main) character grow is great.
The show has some funny bits at first (like Yotsuya's bit about Godai amusing himself at night while yelling out Kyoko's name) but as the relationships heats up, the comedies got tone down. And it get down right serious in the last 20 episodes - as it should be.
It's also a very good reference for Japanese life and culture in the 80's. Student's struggles, social structures, moral values as well as many relationship (between lovers, parent/sibilings) are explored and shown through the series. I'm sure many of these values are dropped by now and replaced with more westernize thinking.
Overall, this series may be slow at a couple of places. It's a fantasy based on some reality. It properly appeal to guys more than ladies because of the natural of the story (Hot chick drop the rich guy and marries the poor guy). But none of the less, it IS the greatest anime story of all time. Many try to imitate but never surpass this level of intimacy.
Last updated Tuesday, February 17 2004. Created Tuesday, February 17 2004.
Maison Ikkoku is a series that moves at very slow pace, can be very painful to watch at times, and yet I found it to be such an enjoyable title. If you have the patience to watch a classic, adult (not porn, just the themes), slice-of-life, romantic comedy series, MI is the title for you.
One of the things that sets MI appart from other romantic-comedy series is the surprising amount reality that is injected here. There isn't a harem fawning over the lead male, though three girls are ultimately interested in Godai-san. However, these three have varying degrees of interest in Godai and the relationships are all very real. The number of love-triangles may seem a bit unreal, yet these don't feel unreal. These love-triangles actually serve as tools to explore characters in greater detail.
The first and primary love-triangle is between Soichiro-san, Kyoko, and Godai. Kyoko's first love was her high school sensei, Soichiro. She married him, but he died 6-months later. As such, she is a very young widow who is in a great state of shock. When she takes over as kanrinin (manager) of her father-in-law's boarding house, she meets Godai-san, who's a 1st-year ronin desperate to get away from this place so he can study in peace. For Godai, it is love at first site. When Godai gets drunk and confesses his love to Kyoko, we know from events that immediately follow that she is at least attracted to Godai, though she makes no return confessions. For Kyoko, Soichiro-san is her only love, thus after getting over her first irritation with Godai, she sees him as a younger brother/friend-in-need. She does what she can to help him as he studies to get into college. Godai wonders if her actions mean she is attracted to him while at the same time, finds himself jealous of the boy Kentaro-kun as well as Soichiro-san.
The next two love-triangles help create additional conflicts, but also help us to see Kyoko's feelings in a clearer light. With Coach Mitaka now interested in Kyoko, Godai is forced to push himself further since Mitaka is everything Godai isn't (rich, older than Kyoko, educated, and the like). With Kozue-chan, Kyoko finds herself jealous and mad that Godai would dare go out with another girl, even though Kyoko hasn't actually stated her feelings about Godai and indeed is already dating Mitaka.
The final two major love-trianges of has the high school girl Yagami falling madly in love with Godai. While Kyoko is very reserved, Yagami is very forward and expreses her feelings for Godai very clearly. Thus Kyoko is drawn into a competition with this high school girl that Godai isn't interested in. With Mitaka finding himself in an arranged situation with the young, shy, educated, and very rich dog-girl Asuna, Mitaka finds himself in uncharted waters that threaten to sweep him away from Kyoko. Kyoko continues to weigh between Godai and Mitaka and while she never actually says, "I choose you", we know who it is that she truly wants to be with, and in many ways, why she chooses him. With these triangles in place, Takehashi-sensei begins to deconstruct things until only the original love-triangle remains.
Thus it is the journey that makes this series so special. Knowing that Godai and Kyoko end up together isn't a spoiler since the series is about them. Seeing how they get there is what is so interesting. In addition to the love-triangles mentioned above, Godai and Kyoko face a large number of problems from outside sources. There are the three partying residences of Maison Ikkoku who often provide only partial, misleading information to Kyoko or Godai which causes a huge misunderstanding to happen. I hated these characters at first, but over time, they all grew on me, especially when they would do something good to help Godai and Kyoko try to get together. Other outside influences are Kyoko's parents, Godai's grandma, Godai's best friend, and normal day-to-day problems that may happen in the course of one's life (like breaking one's leg).
All of these elements are blended so well that we get a great slice-of-life look at Japan of the 80's in addition to seeing Kyoko and Godai make their very slow journey to happily ever after. However, I wonder what the deal is with all the trains that are shown. Every episode has at least a few trains that go through! *lol*Bottom line: The slow pacing may put off folks. A knowledge of Japanese culture (or a willingness to learn it) will help a bunch, especially since Viz isn't going to be helpful. It is painful to see nice guy Godai screw up and it is frustrating to see Kyoko or Godai misunderstand. However, if you don't mind a slow journey, the payoff of this romantic comedy is so sweet that it makes it all worthwhile!
Last updated Sunday, November 14 2004. Created Friday, January 16 2004.
I first got this series by accident, I helping a friend and bought this and Mamalade Boy fansubs. As I watched the more I like the series. This is the series to watch if you want to know what it would be like if you grew up in Japan. BTW, I hate the dub because Kyoko isn't played right and she is key to the series. |
The story starts slowly with Godai wanting to move out of this insane boarding house where the other tenents consider his room as the party room. That is until the new manager comes. He fall for her a first sight. She sees him as a little brother. Then to complicate his life, there is now a rival, the rich tennis coach Mikata. The coach has his own problems with his uncle determined to get him married to the dog loving daughter of a rich noble family. The coach as a phobia about dogs. The humor in the story comes from the misunderstandings that happens in the series. Mostly they are due to indirect way things are expressed in Japanese. I enjoyed most the parts when Godai starts teaching and his interest in Soichiro leads to a miss interpretation on Yagami's part who believes that Godai is crying over dead lost love who was a student of her school. She changes her opinion of Godai from being a loser to being the most romantic ideal. She also will use any trick to get Godai, including staying the night invited or not. Her ploting and Godai naiveness works really well. This works well with Kyoko in that she is so idealistic that she can't come to terms with loving anyone other than her dead husband. The fights between Yagami and Kyoko are entertaining. At one point Yagami thinks she may have gone too far but instead of appologizing to Kyoko, she ends up calling her, "Chicken", "show off", "coward", etc. Then there is Kozue who Godai got as a girlfriend because he just can't say no nor hurt someone feelings. At one point he get the courage to tell Kozue, it's over but because of a conversion she a with Mikata, she interpretes this as meaning that Godai want to end then platonic relationship and move to the next level.
You also get to see what it takes to get into college, what living conditions are like, how people travel, the Japanese and western wedding styles in Japan, the school system, and various costumes. How are these for marriage proposals, "Join me in the grave", "clean my underware" or "make me miso soup". There is also a reference to Rika-chan, Rika-chan is a popular shoujo charater. Once I never quit understood is why the dub tried to pass the drinking as something else. You don't get drunk on tea.
This show also has one of the best lines for describing the one you love in any show or movie I have ever seen.
Godai get asked whick kind of person is the one he loves. His reply later to himself is one of the best descriptions I have ever heard/read. Sorry you just have to see it. The series does have a very nice, tidy, clean concluding episode.
Maison Ikkoku is about the interactions and life of people in and around the those living in Maison Ikkoku.
Note: The last names of the characters are location in and around Tokyo.
The series has 96 episodes and a movie that should be watched between episode 95 and 96.
Viz now is releasing the DVD sets and it seems the last of series will be sub only.
Last updated Saturday, December 13 2003. Created Saturday, December 13 2003.
Just when I had started thinking that Rumiko Takahashi's various series would never really appeal to me, I gave Maison Ikkoku a try, and I found myself hooked. This was all the more surprising in that the version I first watched (just 2 episodes) was the dubbed one, which critics seem to despise wholeheartedly. My first impression was "Ah, this is just going to be a show about annoying people, that will annoy me", and I was tempted to turn it off and watch something else, but somehow by the end of the first episode I had become intrigued. Why does this Mr. Yotsuya have a British accent? What does he do for a living? What's the story behind the shamelessly immodest Akemi? How will Godai try to make a good impression on the newly arrived Kyoko? Why do the locals say you'd have to be crazy to go to Maison Ikkoku? I hoped to find used copies of VCR tapes at Amazon.Com, because I'm not particularly wealthy and highly respected series like this one tend to carry a high price tag. The problem was that apparently there are no less than 30 expensive VHS volumes of this series, each one containing only two episodes (and even that only accounts for 60 of the total 96 episodes--apparently release of the series on VHS tapes was never completed). That pretty much put it out of my reach--time to re-watch Sakura Diaries! Maybe an affordable DVD collection will be released one of these days.|
Hey, it's me again. Thanks to a fellow reviewer at Mikomi/CAR, I've learned of an excellent rent-DVDs-by-mail site, and have seen the first 20 episodes of Maison Ikkoku. My impressions at this point are that Godai no longer seems to be nothing more than the ultimate loser, which I'm glad to see. The jokes in this series don't have me rolling on the floor (very few anime comedies do), rather it's the way the story manages to remain interesting and entertaining which makes the show stand out. Each episode tells a short story which is fun to watch, but also interlocks smoothly with the plot of the series as a whole. The net result is that I'm left wanting to know what's going to happen next!
Here I am again. I could hardly believe my eyes when I stumbled across an offer on E-Bay to sell all 96 episodes and a related movie for around $15! There were very few details--it didn't say whether these were VHS tapes, or whether they were subbed or dubbed. Turns out they were CD-R discs. At the station break in an episode the message "subbed by fans for fans" came up. Ah! so these are those legendary Fansubs I've heard so much about! Also, it read "not for sale or rent". Hmm... something's not exactly kosher here. But I've got the entire series! I feel like giggling! I think my favorite episode so far involves the entire cast getting trapped in a dry well. Also amusing is what happens when Godai is serving as a student teacher and one of his students develops a crush on him! The romance between Godai and Kyoko is crawling along painfully slow, but episode 48 (the halfway mark!) just saw Godai dare to hint to Kyoko how he feels about her. See you later!
Ah, re-reading this account of how I searched for anime back in the days when "Fansubs" was an urban legend is nostalgic. Actually, it turns out I didn't have the entire series; around episode 75 a batch was missing and my watching of MI came to a screeching halt. I didn't want to watch the final dozen or so without seeing these, and I pretty much gave up. But I have fond memories of his show, and recently I tentatively started over from episode one. But I decided that even MI wasn't good enough to watch some 75 re-runs just to get caught up--practically no show would be worth that. Maybe later...
My favorite line: "My dead grandma showed up in a dream last night and told me to wear a white tuxedo" --Yotsuya
Last updated Sunday, March 02 2008. Created Sunday, August 31 2003.
|Rent 4||8||8||7||9||Kaitou Juliet||[series:417#137]|
I resisted getting into this series for a long time because I thought it sounded dull. Silly me--I denied myself a real treat. It's true that there are no aliens, demons, or superpowered martial artists here, but I don't miss them. The characters' day-to-day lives are just as absorbing as any space opera, and the boardinghouse provides a world that you can really sink into. The residents are totally real people with flaws as well as strong points, yet lovable as only real people can be.
One of the best parts is watching how both Kyoko and Godai slowly grow to be ready for a relationship with each other over the course of several years, since the series takes place in "real time." As the second Christmas episode rolls around, for instance, you can see how much things have changed since the last one.
Last updated Friday, August 16 2002. Created Monday, May 20 2002.
|Maison Ikkoku Alliance||http://mia.scatter-gun.com/|
|A site devoted to getting Maison Ikkoku released on DVD in North America.|
|Life at Maison Ikkoku||http://furinkan.com/maison/|
|A Moment of Togetherness||http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/1914/micntral.html|
|An older fansite (not update since 2002) with a lot of good stuff in it.|