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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.

 

Manga Monday- Maison Ikkoku

Manga Monday- Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from November 1980 to April 1987, with the chapters collected into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. Maison Ikkoku is a bitter-sweet comedic romance involving a group of madcap people who live in a boarding house in 1980s Tokyo. The story focuses primarily on the gradually developing relationships between Yusaku Godai, a poor student down on his luck, and Kyoko Otonashi, a young, recently widowed boarding house manager.

Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, Maison Ikkoku was serialized in Big Comic Spirits as 162 chapters between 1980 and 1987. The chapters were collected and published into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan from May 1, 1982 to July 1, 1987. The series has since been re-released in several different editions. A 10 volume wide-ban edition was released between September 1, 1992 and June 1, 1993, 10 bunkoban from 1996 to 1997, and 15 shinsōban throughout 2007.

North American publisher Viz Media originally released the series, adapted into English by Gerard Jones, in a monthly comic book format from June 1993. This release was collected into 14 graphic novels. The images were “flipped” to read left-to-right, causing the art to be mirrored, and some chapters were out of order or completely missing. Four of the five missing chapters were published in Animerica Extra Vol. 3 Number 1 and Vol. 3 Number 2. Viz later re-released the series in its original format and chapter order across 15 volumes. These were released between September 24, 2003 and February 14, 2006.

Maison Ikkoku has over 25 million collected volumes in circulation. Jason Thompson claimed that while Maison Ikkoku was not the first men’s love-com, it is “almost certainly the best” and definitely Rumiko Takahashi’s best work. He also stated that because the main character is a university student, Maison Ikkoku is “slightly more sophisticated” compared to Kimagure Orange Road. Anime News Network (ANN) gave the manga an “A” for its story and an “A-” for its art, stating that the series shows off Takahashi’s skill; “with a clear cut and rather simple plot, she is able to concentrate on the characters, using them to drive the story, while at the same time ensuring the proper reader reaction intended for each scene.” They remarked that the story focuses on Yusaku and Kyoko’s relationship, with the other characters used only “to create conflicts, exposition, and comedic relief.”

Plot

The story mainly takes place at Maison Ikkoku, a worn and aging boarding house in a town called Clock Hill, where 20-year-old college applicant Yusaku Godai lives. Though honest and good-natured, he is weak-willed and often taken advantage of by the offbeat and mischievous tenants who live with him: Yotsuya, Akemi Roppongi and Hanae Ichinose. As he is about to move out, he is stopped at the door by the beautiful Kyoko Otonashi, who announces she will be taking over as manager. Godai immediately falls in love with her and decides to stay. Godai and the other tenants find out that despite her young age, Kyoko is a widow who had married her high school teacher, who tragically died shortly thereafter. Godai empathizes with Kyoko and endeavors to free her from her sadness. He manages to work up enough courage to confess his love to her, and it begins to look as if a relationship between them might appear. However, Kyoko meets the rich, handsome and charming tennis coach Shun Mitaka at her tennis club. Mitaka quickly declares his intention to court Kyoko and states that he is very patient, and can wait until her heart is ready.

Godai, not willing to give up, continues to chase Kyoko. But through a series of misunderstandings, he is seen by Kyoko and Mitaka walking with the cute and innocent Kozue Nanao. For the rest of the series, Kozue is mistakenly perceived as being Godai’s girlfriend (by Kozue herself as well). Angered by this, Kyoko begins to openly date Mitaka. Despite the misunderstandings, Kyoko and Godai clearly have feelings for each other, and their relationship grows over the course of the series. Godai eventually manages to get into college and, with the help of Kyoko’s family, he begins student-teaching at Kyoko’s old high school. Almost mirroring Kyoko’s meeting of her husband, Godai catches the attention of precocious and brazen student Ibuki Yagami, who immediately begins pursuing him. Her outspoken approach stands in stark contrast to Kyoko, which helps Kyoko come face to face with her feelings for Godai.

Meanwhile, Mitaka’s endeavors have been hindered by his phobia of dogs, as Kyoko owns a large white dog named Soichiro in honor of her late husband. He eventually overcomes his phobia but, when he is about to propose to Kyoko, his family begins to goad him into a marriage with the pure and innocent Asuna Kujo. Feeling the pressure, Mitaka begins to pursue Kyoko with increased aggression. He slowly realizes that she has decided on Godai and is waiting for him to find a job and propose. Mitaka is completely pulled out of the race when he ends up thinking he slept with Asuna and her later announcing a pregnancy. Taking responsibility, he proposes to Asuna, but finds out too late that it was her dog who was pregnant, not her.

As things begin to really go well for Godai, Kozue Nanao makes a reappearance in his life. Kozue tells Godai and the other Ikkoku tenants that she is thinking of marrying another man, even though Godai had proposed to her (which is another misunderstanding). Kyoko, feeling foolish and betrayed, slaps Godai and demands that he move out. When Godai refuses, he wakes up the next morning to find her gone and her room empty. Godai tries to explain himself by visiting Kyoko every day, even though she won’t answer the door. After she calms down a bit, Kyoko checks on the house and runs into the other tenants. They try to convince her to return.

The seductive Akemi, sensing that Kyoko is still hesitant, threatens to seduce Godai if Kyoko doesn’t want him. She later tells the other tenants that she only said that to threaten Kyoko into coming back. This backfires when Godai is spotted leaving a love hotel with Akemi (he was only there to lend her money). It results in Kozue resolving to marry the other man. As Kyoko is about to return to Ikkoku, she learns that Godai has ended it with Kozue, but she thinks he slept with Akemi. She insults him, tells him that she hates him, and runs away. Godai follows her explaining that she doesn’t trust him and that, despite the other girls, she never considered one important thing: Godai’s own feelings. He passionately tells her that he loves only her: From the first moment he saw her and forevermore, she is the only woman in his eyes. The two spend the night together. Having cleared his last barrier of getting a teaching job, Godai proposes to Kyoko and, with the blessings of both families, they get married. The story ends as Godai and Kyoko arrive home with their newborn daughter, Haruka, and Kyoko tells her that Maison Ikkoku is the place where they first met.