Tom (Webmaster)

Based 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 about!).

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.

Back To Reviews Archive