Reviewer: Tom (Webmaster)
on: Complete Manga
Publisher: Viz Communications
The story is this: Yusaku Godai is a college student living at the apartment
building Maison Ikkoku. It’s not exactly luxurious, and the fellow tenants - all
drunks who ‘affectionately’ tease Yusaku - are not helping his studying. He
would move out but then a new manager for Maison Ikkoku arrives and he is
immediately taken by her. Trouble is her husband has just departed and Yuskau is
not the only one who likes her...
Touching and hilarious, Maison Ikkoku is made all the more moving by the fact it
is perfectly possible and could happen to anybody.
Still reading? Even though I’ve not mentioned any fights,
insane action, demons or people changing into things when they are drenched with
water? Did you believe the overview when you read it? Is this really by the
creator of Urusei Yatsura and Ranma ½? But Takahashi’s forte is OTT comedy
right? Well not quite…
Takahashi’s real forte is superb characterisation and that’s the reason you
can’t stop reading her other work. You connect with the characters and her best
example of this skill is Maison Ikkoku (which I shall now eventually talk
As I said Maison Ikkoku contains little in terms action. What it does contain is
fantastic story telling and I real understanding of human emotions. Read this
and you will connect with at least one of the characters, I guarantee it.
The main character Yusaku resembles anyone who is in love with someone but are
too afraid to say it. And lets face it – that’s all of us. Takahashi has
portrayed this well by showing the reader what Yusaku is thinking very often and
this allows you not just to sympathise but also realise. This helps the reader
understand the character better as Yusaku is always willing to help others even
if it has great impact on his own life. By showing his thinking you realise he
is aware of the consequences but just too nice to drop everything for himself or
the woman he loves – the manager.
The manager is Kyoko Otonashi and is a young widow who is still devoted to her
late husband and does not feel ready for a relationship. Her flash tennis coach Mitaka who resembles every aspect of success you can think of is also chasing
her. He is tall, handsome, rich and every woman’s perfect find. Surely there is
no competition between him and poor student Yusaku? Well as much as Yusaku hates
Mitaka he can’t really talk – he is dating a young girl named Kozue and just
cannot bring himself to tell her he is really in love with Kyoko. Add to the
fact that Kozue is the most naïve person imaginable and cannot see Yusaku is not
interested and well, it does not help matters.
So is it any good? Yes. Very good and one of the best manga I have read. It is
far more ‘sensible’ then the majority of manga – it has an intelligent plot and
is one of the few that manages to capture human emotion, everyday life and
great comedy all in one. It is less predictable then Takahashi’s other works too
and you can never quite see what is coming next. Trust me when I say you will be
rushing out to get another volume after finishing one. As soon as finished the
final volume and picked up number one and started reading again.
The artwork in Maison Ikkoku is Takahashi’s usual soft style but seems slightly
less exaggerated then her other works. Even when the speed lines turn up they
are not as heavy as usual.
Any fan of Takahashi will no doubt enjoy this but I urge anyone to buy this
manga because it is such a welcome change of pace from the usual fare of
completely insane happenings and fight after fight after fight. Buy it and fall
in love like Yusaku.