Film Friday- Maison Ikkoku

Film Friday- Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku was adapted into a ninety-six-episode anime television series created by Studio Deen that ran on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. A Final Chapter movie, three OVAs, and a music special were also produced, with a live-action movie made by Toei in 1986. A live-action TV special aired in May 2007 on TV Asahi, with a finale aired in July 2008. Both the manga and anime have been released in North America by Viz Media. Maison Ikkoku has been both critically and commercially successful, with over 25 million copies in circulation.

Maison Ikkoku was adapted into a ninety-six episode anime television series by Studio Deen and aired on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. The series was directed by Kazuo Yamazaki for the first 26 episodes, Takashi Anno from episode 27 until 52 and Naoyuki Yoshinaga for the remainder of the series. The production staff had previously worked on the anime adaption of Takahashi’s previous work, Urusei Yatsura. After production of that series was completed, the team moved straight onto Maison Ikkoku and the series took over Urusei Yatsura’s timeslot. A new HD remaster of the series has been created and released on two Blu-Ray boxsets in Japan. The first box was released on December 25, 2013 and the second box followed on April 23, 2014.

A animated theatrical film titled The Final Chapter was released on February 6, 1988, as a double feature with Urusei Yatsura Movie 5: The Final Chapter. On September 25, 1988, an original video animation that summarizes the story was released. A video titled Karaoke Music Parade and collecting all the TV anime’s opening and ending animations was released on November 1989. Shipwrecked on Ikkoku Island was released on January 31, 1991 and adapts a story of the manga, while Prelude Maison Ikkoku: When the Cherry Blossoms Return in the Spring utilizes all the flashbacks of Kyoko’s life before she moved to Maison Ikkoku and was released on June 25, 1992.

The anime was licensed for a North American release by Viz Media in 1994, and was put on two-episode VHS dub releases, but Viz dropped the English dub after 36 episodes. The remaining subtitled-only VHS releases went on until volume 32, without finishing the series. Viz released the series as 8 DVD boxsets from June 1, 2003 until June 4, 2006, with the latter episodes newly dubbed. In the newer episodes, Godai was given a new voice actor, as Jason Gray-Stanford was replaced by Brad Swaile. Other characters such as Kozue and Ikuko were also recast.

Yusaku Godai

is the protagonist of the series. He begins as a poor 20-year-old rōnin studying for his college entrance exams after failing in the past year. He eventually gets into a third-tier college (with Kyoko’s support). He is kindhearted and handsome, but indecisive and spacey. Godai is often “played” by the other tenants of Ikkoku, who habitually take advantage of him (e.g. they use his room for frequent drinking binges and steal food from his care packages). He falls in love with Kyoko at first sight, but initially lacks the courage (when sober at least) to tell her how he feels. Instead, he daydreams a lot and does several silly things (for example, he runs into road posts). But Godai is an honorable man who is worthy of Kyoko, as his love for her is a lasting and devoted love. He has, several times, tried making a move on Kyoko, but couldn’t bring himself to do so; such actions make Kyoko think of him as a perfect gentleman. At the end, the married Godai and Kyoko finally found happiness and have a daughter, which they give the name Haruka Godai.

Kyoko Otonashi

is the second protagonist of the series. She is a beautiful, 22-year-old widow who takes on the task of managing a broken-down boarding house. She is sweet and polite, but also has a violent, frightening side that emerges when she is jealous or angry, or dealing with her meddling and equally stubborn parents. She soon develops affection for Godai, and has a tendency to dote over him (with the other tenants teasing her for acting like a “good wife”) and becomes jealous over him (though she lies to herself and denies that it is jealousy). However, it is hard for her to forget about her late husband Soichiro (who died just six months after their wedding), and her memories of her husband sometimes put her in a melancholy mood. Kyoko’s love for him is sometimes reflected in dialogues with her dog, who bears the same name as her late husband. She believes Godai to be pure-hearted and not a pervert, unlike the other tenants, who try warning her about him. At the end, she is happily married to Godai and a new mother to their daughter Haruka. Otonashi literally means “without a sound,” but is also a pun on otto-nashi, or “without a husband,” in reference to her status as a widow.

Shun Mitaka 

in sharp contrast to Yusaku, is wealthy, educated, and hails from an elite family. Mitaka works as a ladies’ tennis coach more out of love for the sport than any need for financial support. To everyone’s surprise, he is revealed to be 31 years old by his parents, which would mean he was 26 at the beginning of the series. Nevertheless, he is remarkably handsome, and his teeth have a trademark sparkle whenever he smiles. Kyoko begins to take tennis lessons from him early in the series, and Shun begins to court her. His biggest obstacle in the beginning is his morbid fear of dogs, which makes it difficult for him to be with Kyoko when her dog, Soichiro, is around. While very interested in and devoted to Kyoko, he is very popular with other women and has a reputation as a womanizer, a reputation not entirely undeserved (most of his more grievous actions have innocent explanations, but Shun has admitted to dating many women). Kyoko’s mother strongly approves of him as a potential future husband for Kyoko (to Yusaku’s chagrin).

Shun recognizes Yusaku as a rival for Kyoko’s affection (and vice versa), and the two are usually antagonistic towards each other. Shun’s actions towards Yusaku are somewhere between magnanimous and condescending, depending on if Kyoko is around, and he is not above trying to position Kozue as a wedge between Yusaku and Kyoko. But while Shun and Yusaku are rivals, they both share moments where they bond over their mutual frustration over Kyoko’s reluctance to fall in love with anyone. Kyoko generally likes Shun and regards him as a suitor, but is apprehensive about his forwardness and occasionally feels pressured by him (Shun does not want to force a relationship with her, but will often “bend the rules”). It can be unclear whether Shun is interested more in Kyoko herself or in “saving” Kyoko from what he sees as a degrading life as a widow in Maison Ikkoku, putting him in the stereotypical role of the “knight in shining armor.”

Shun marries Asuna Kujo, a girl from a wealthy, important family whom his parents want him to marry, after thinking he drunkenly slept with her and got her pregnant. However, it was actually his dog whom got one of her dogs pregnant. While to him it came about as a shotgun wedding, he does not seem to fully regret it and at the end of the series they have twin girls, Moe and Mie Mikata, and another unborn child on the way.

 

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