- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Viz Communications; 1 edition (Dec 1 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1569310440
- ISBN-13: 978-1569310441
- Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2 x 20.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 413 g
- Average Customer Review: 60 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,667,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Maison Ikkoku, Vol. 1: Welcome To Maison Ikkoku Paperback – Mar 1 1995
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Poor Yusaku Godai. He's a struggling college student and resident of the dilapidated apartment building Maison Ikkoku. What's more, he's madly in love with the new manager of Maison Ikkoku, the lovely Kyoko Otonashi, who isn't all that unattracted to Godai. It's just that she's trying to deal with the recent death of her husband. This romantic tension sets the stage for all subsequent volumes of Rumiko Takahashi's charming and funny comic book soap opera and is propelled forward by both Godai's and Kyoko's inability to express their honest feelings to one another. In this first volume, readers are introduced to most of the major characters of this series, including Coach Mitaka (Kyoko's would-be boyfriend), Kozue (Godai's would-be girlfriend), and all the crazy, drunken folk who reside in Maison Ikkoku. This is the story of a young man learning to love for the first time, a young widow learning to love again, and the drunks who interfere with them. --Jim Pascoe
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After a disastrous trip to a spa and more conflicts with Kyoko's obnoxious parents, Yusaku finds himself presented with a unique opportunity -- a chance to find out what Kyoko's mysterious late husband looked like. And Kyoko has a talk with her late husband at his gravesite, unaware that Yusaku is listening. But then a new person enters the mix: Nozomu Nikaido, a wealthy teenager who has just entered college, and whose bubble-brained mom accidently sent him to the wrong apartment building.
Like Yusaku, Nikaido immediately becomes a target for the crazier tenants: the dignified pervert Mr. Yotsuya, sexy waitress Akemi, and drunken housewife Mrs. Ichinose. But unlike Yusaku, he isn't going to take it lying down -- he's going to fight back. And when Nikaido encounters Yusaku's platonic girlfriend Kozue, he throws a few more monkey wrenches into the might-be relationship between Kyoko and Yusaku.
With any series like "Maison Ikkoku," there's always the chance of things getting stale. So in this volume, Takahashi gives us some new characters, complications, attractions and problems. And, fortunately, it gives this funny little comic drama a bit more of both.
Takahashi doesn't take her gaze off the interlocking love triangles for long, although it is fun to see Yotsuya and Nikaido trying to one-up each other in the revenge game. And there's a new source of comedy as Nikaido naively sabotages poor Yusaku's love life, as Yusaku silently rages against the younger man's incredible denseness.
Nikaido's a fun addition to the cast -- he's a weird mix of craftiness and naivete, trying to cut the apron strings from his rather annoying mom. Kyoko and Yusaku hit new snags in their possible relationship, as Kyoko remembers her late husband, and Yusaku tries to find a way to disentangle himself from Kozue without breaking her heart. His rival Shun Mitaka only makes a brief appearance, but it's a funny one -- which involves Yusaku giving Kyoko a diamond ring.
New blood enters the mix in the eighth "Maison Ikkoku" volume, but things have more or less stayed the same. A fun and romantic read, with plenty more hijinks to come.
The hapless college student Yusaku Godai is still trying to win the heart of the widowed manager Kyoko -- and a hunky, wealthy, charming rival called Shun Mitaka doesn't help his case, since Mitaka is as enamored of Kyoko as Godai is. Nor does the kitten he catsits, which happens to be called "Kyoko Baby," or the comical sports injuries he gets.
But things take a nasty turn when Kyoko's parents begin nosing in her personal life -- her mom wants her to quit her job and remarry, and doesn't care that Kyoko likes her job and is still mourning her husband. Her dad doesn't want her to remarry at all. And when Kyoko encounters Godai and his sort-of-girlfriend, her jealousy begins to spin out of control.
"Maison Ikkoku" is the only one of Takahashi's long-running series to not include a fantasy/SF element, so it's more like a witty sitcom. The slapstick tone of the first stories has been toned down a little, and the more dramatic, intense stories start to shine through, like Kyoko saying that she wants to stay a part of Soichiro's family a little longer.
Takahashi's artwork has become more polished by this point; it's not as polished as it now is, but the "Maison Ikkoku" style had settled firmly into its groove. She relies a little more on intentional comedy (a drunken Godai hugging Kyoko) than on slapstick, although she doesn't shy away from stuff like having Kyoko Baby wet Godai's bed.
Godai's one of those young guys who are a little bit hapless and pathetic. He's nice and generous and loving, but a mildly wimpy type. He dreams of Kyoko, but isn't yet mature enough for her. Kyoko herself has experienced a lot more -- true love, loss, and now she's starting to love again. Previously-introduced characters like the pleasant rivals-for-love Mitaka and Kozue return, and there are a few new ones like Kyoko's pushy, obnoxious parents.
"Maison Ikkoku" starts to really blossom in the third volume, with more dramatic character tension and quite a few surprise twists. Highly recommended.
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