Manga By Volume: Maison Ikkoku V. 1


Genre: Romantic Comedy

Creator: Rumiko/Takahashi

Publisher: Viz

Suggested Age: 13+

Summary: Yosuke Godai is a struggling student who lives in an apartment complex called  Maison Ikkoku with 5 other tenants: Yotsuya (a lech who clearly doesn’t know the meaning of the word privacy), Akemi (an immodest barmaid), Mrs. Ichinose (a busybody housewife), and her bratty son Kentaro.  Now there’s also the new landlady Kyoko Otonashi, who’s managed to catch his eye. What’s her story? Will Yosuke be able to win her affections?

Review: I’m betting most of you associate the name Rumiko Takahashi with Inuyasha, one of Adult Swim’s biggest hits.  But I’m betting you probably aren’t aware of her earlier titles.  Ranma 1/2 has still maintained popularity due to its wackiness, but I believe Maison Ikkoku deserves some attention.

Artwork-wise, it’s easy to tell we are early in Takahashi’s career.  The artwork is great, but it has some overdone shading in some pages. (either that, or it’s the age of the artwork) However, I still like what I see.

The characterization is great.  True some people like Mrs. Ichinose and Yotsuya seem one-dimensional, but they’re still funny characters. (I love the scene where Yotsuya barges into Yosuke’s wall with a log just to peek in on Akemi).  Yosuke has some great depth. At first, he seems like a typical loser college student, but when he becomes attracted to Kyoto, we see him in a different light. I love the scene where he meets Kyoko’s in-laws and offers to pay his respects to her late husband, even though they never met.  To me, this makes it seem as if there may be a hidden gentlemanly side to him.  All in all, I think this is a great start.

Violence: (1/10)Slapstick is all you get here.

Language: (3/10)Some mild swears, mostly from Mrs. Ichinose.

Sexuality: (5/10)Yotsuya and Godai are both lecherous, but Godai isn’t as extreme as his neighbor.

Nudity: (1/10) Yusuke has a dream sequence involving a nude Kyoko. There are also some panty shots when Kyoko plays tennis.

Religion: (1/10) In one scene, Kyoko and her in-laws pay their respects to her late husband by praying over it and lighting incense.  This is a common religious practice in Japan.

Related Media: There is also an anime version from Viz as well.

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