Sunday, January 27, 2002

Maison Ikkoku Manga

Genre: Comedy / Romance
Parental Guidance Recommended, contains nudity and delicate language
Rumiko Takahashi.

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Skysenshi's Description:
Meet Godai, the unfortunate cram school student who has difficulty getting into college. He lives in Maison Ikkoku with the worst possible neighbors that make his life almost like a living nightmare. Studying and trying to get into a good college is just not going to happen-not in Maison Ikkoku. One day, just when he decides that he's had enough, an "angel" named Kyoko appeared to make everything all right... well... almost.

(14 tankubon)

Words fail me! >>> by skysenshi (01.27.2002)
Have you any idea how hard it is to write an opinion for the manga version of an anime that you've previously written an opinion for? Well to give you a little peek at what I've thought of this title since watching the anime, I implore you to take a gander up what I wrote about Maison Ikkoku the TV series. What I said there is basically the same as what I should be writing here. So in lieu of being redundant, I might as well just spout a few differences between the anime and the manga.

My opinion hasn't changed. Maison Ikkoku is still one of the best Rumic works that I've seen despite it being an old title (released in the mid 1980s). Ms. Takahashi is best known for her character-driven works, and Maison Ikkoku showcases her imaginative story-telling in this realistic comedy of sorts.

I am a bit amazed that a short 14-volume manga could actually be 96 episodes long when converted into anime. What's even more astonishing is the fact that there are even MORE to Maison Ikkoku than what is shown in the TV series! Being the hentai webmistress that I am, of course the very thing I would complain about are the... ahem, spoilers ahead ...panels where Godai and Kyoko, our two main characters, make love. This was such a gentle moment, and I believe this was a very important part of the story that shouldn't have been deleted from the TV series -- especially after making me wait for 90+ episodes and all I got were closed curtains with closed lights. Grumble. Grumble. But then again, I guess people were still being conservative at that time, so much so that if they were to put the lovey-dovey parts in the anime, Maison Ikkoku would have been classified as "hentai".

The chronology of events aren't exactly the same as what was shown in the anime, but this is just a trivial matter. What's more important is that everyone can enjoy the humor and the irony of the characters' situations. It's also interesting to note that not only does our genius Ms. Takahashi grow in terms of story-telling, her artwork also improves as she goes along. This much is obvious in this manga. Every volume you peruse is a notch better (in terms of artwork) than the last.

Individual Rating: Art: 9; Story: 9; Characters: 9

Wish I lived there... >>> by MarkPoa (01.22.2004)

Ah, Maison Ikkoku, I've heard so much about you: Rumiko Takahashi's famous romance manga; a story with a beginning, middle, and end; and nutty as a fruitcake.

You didn't disappoint.

Maison Ikkoku follows the love story between Yusaku Godai and his landlady Kyoko Otonashi. The series starts off with Yusaku still cramming for college entrance exams and Kyoko just arriving in Maison Ikkoku to be the manager. The story continues for a few year's worth where we eventually see the characters grow, move on, have fun, and enter into more goofy situations than a geek in a teen movie.

Unlike Rumiko's other works, such as Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, and Inuyasha, Maison Ikkoku's story remains grounded in reality. Despite the apparent zaniness of the situations, the conflicts and misunderstandings that arise in the series are realistic enough that we could see them happening to people we know. They arise from miscommunication, wrong timing, wishy-washy attitudes...

...which basically leads us to the characters. In the series, you'll meet a crowd of eccentrics ranging from Mrs. Ichinose, the nosy neighbor who's surprisingly reliable at times, to Mr. Yotsuya, the peeping tom whom nobody knows anything about--even his first name. Like in any good romantic comedy, Kyoko and Yusaku are not without their requisite other angles. For Kyoko, it's the dashing tennis coach Shun Mitaka of the Blinding White Teeth, who is chronically afraid of dogs. For Yusaku, it's the ever-present not-girlfriend Nanao, the lone reason why I have a love-hate relationship with Yusaku. I mean, how could he lead the girl on like that? But I digress.

The characters are the best part of the series. Most of Maison Ikkoku's humor and conflicts arise because of the eccentricities of the cast. Once you get to know something about the characters, you come to understand how they could get stuck in those types of situations and perpetual conflicts. Because of this, few things felt forced in the series. On the other hand, nor are the situations predictable either. Takahashi throws enough clever surprises along the way... keeping you laughing and reading.

Regarding the art, those used to Takahashi's recent art style would have to tone down their expectations a bit. This is one of Takahashi's earlier works and the art here is not as detailed as say Ranma 1/2 and Inuyasha. This looks a bit dated. However, even in her early days, Takahashi's art is still clean and expressive.

Viz Comics translation of the story is a good one. You might get a weird feeling of missing something in the first few comic volumes, though. That's because Viz decided to skip a few episodes when they were making the comic. Nevertheless, I think the Lost Episodes are available now. They were last released as part of the Animerica Extra anthology book.

I haven't seen the animated series yet, though. But if it's as good as this manga, I don't think it'd disappoint.

Individual Rating: Art: 8; Story: 8; Characters: 9

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