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Maison Ikkoku (めぞん一刻 Mezon Ikkoku?) is a Japanese seinen manga written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi and serialized in the manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 1980 through 1987. 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 blossoming relationship between Yusaku Godai, a poor student down on his luck, and Kyoko Otonashi, the young, recently-widowed boarding house manager. The manga has been translated into English and fifteen volumes spanning the series are available from Viz Media.

The manga was adapted into a ninety-six-episode TV anime series which ran on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. The anime included some story arcs not covered in the manga, and is notable for being the only one of Rumiko Takahashi's four long-running series wherein the television series ending corresponds to the manga ending. A Final Chapter movie, three OVAs (one original story and two summaries), and a music special were also produced.

A live action movie was also made by Toei in 1986, though it deviates significantly from the story in the manga and anime. A TV special aired in May 2007 on TV Asahi starring Taiki Nakabayashi as Yusaku Godai and Misaki Ito as Kyoko Otonashi. The finale to the special aired in July 2008.

Plot

The story takes place in Maison Ikkoku, a worn and aging boarding house where Yusaku Godai, a 20 year old college applicant 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. As he is about to move out, he is stopped at the door by the young and beautiful Kyoko Otanashi, who announces she will be taking over as manager. Godai immediately falls in love with her and decides to stay.

Later, Godai and the other tenants find out that despite her young age, she is a widow, as she married her high school teacher, but he died shortly after their marriage. Godai empathizes with her 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 like that a relationship between them might actually appear… until Kyoko meets the rich, handsome, and charming Shun Mitaka. 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 this though, Kyoko and Godai clearly have feelings for each other, and their relationship slowly develops.

Godai eventually manages to get into college, and with the help of Kyoko’s family, 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 Ibuki Yagami, who immediately begins pursuing him. Her outspoken approach stands in stark contrast to Kyoko, which helps Kyoko to come face to face with her own feelings for Godai.

Meanwhile, Mitaka's endeavors have been hindered by his fear of dogs, as Kyoko owns a large white dog named Mr. Soichiro. With the help of the other Ikkoku tenants, he finally overcomes his fear. Just 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 from his family, Mitaka begins to pursue Kyoko with increased aggression, but he slowly realizes that she has actually already decided on Godai, and is just 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, resulting in her getting pregnant. Taking responsibility, he proposes to Asuna, but finds out too late that it was her dog that was pregnant, not she.

As things begin to really go well for Godai, Kozue Nanao makes a reappearance in Godai's life. Kozue tells Godai and the other Ikkoku tenants that she agreed to marry another man, even though Godai had proposed to her (another misunderstanding). Kyoko, feeling foolish and betrayed, slaps Godai and demands 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. Once she calms down a bit, Kyoko comes back to check 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 she doesn’t want him. She later tells the other tenants that she only said that to threaten Kyoko into coming back. This backfires though when Godai is later spotted leaving a love hotel with Akemi (he was only there to lend her money).

As Godai confronts Kyoko about this, she slaps him and says that she can’t trust him. He replies that despite all the girls (Kozue, Ibuki, Akemi, etc.) she never considered something: Godai’s own feelings. He passionately tells her that he loves her, and only her. From the first moment he saw her, and forevermore, she is the only woman in his eyes.

Having cleared that last barrier, Godai proposes and with the blessings of both families, they finally get married.

The story ends as they arrive home with their newborn daughter, and they tell her that this is the place where her parents first met, Maison Ikkoku.

Production

Takahashi created Maison Ikkoku as a love story that could occur in the real world.[1]

Characters

All of the tenants' names involve a pun on the character's room number:

NumberCharacterKanji of family name and meaning
0Kyoko Otonashi (born Chigusa)音無 (not a sound)
1(一)The Ichinose Family一の瀬 (first ford)
2(二)Nozomu Nikaido二階堂 (two-story temple)
3(三)Shun Mitaka *三鷹 (three hawks)
4(四)Mr. Yotsuya四谷 (four valleys)
5(五)Yusaku Godai五代 (five generations)
6(六)Akemi Roppongi六本木 (six trees)
7(七)Kozue Nanao *七尾 (seven mountain ridges)
8(八)Ibuki Yagami *八神 (eight gods)
9(九)Asuna Kujo *九条 (ninth avenue)
1000(千)Mr. & Mrs. Chigusa (Kyoko's parents) 千草 (thousand herbs)

(* Not residents of Ikkoku-kan.)

In the English version, main characters tend to refer to and address each other informally with their given names, with the exception of Mr. Yotsuya. Yusaku, while usually referring to Kyoko by her given name, almost always addresses her with her job title of "manager". In the Japanese original, Yusaku addresses Kyoko as "kanrinin-san," meaning manager.

Media

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Manga

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Anime

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Maison Ikkoku was adapted into a ninety-six episode television series animated by Studio Deen and aired on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. The series was directed by Kazuo Yamazaki for episodes 1 through 26, Takashi Anno for episodes 27 through 52 and Naoyuki Yoshinaga for episodes 53 to the end. Maison Ikkoku was later licensed for a North American release by Viz Media in 1994, and was put on 2-episode VHS dub releases, but Viz dropped the English dub after 36 episodes. The remaining sub-only VHS releases went on until volume 32, without finishing off the series. In 2002, Maison Ikkoku was given a second chance when Viz re-established the English dub with a partial new voice cast, released in its entirety on DVD.[citation needed] In the new dub, Godai was given a new voice actor, as Jason Gray-Stanford was replaced by Brad Swaile. Fan reception of the English dub version has been mixed.

Theme songs

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All of the opening and ending theme songs are contained in the Maison Ikkoku CD Single Memorial File box set, and on various other singles and soundtracks.

Opening Themes
Ending Themes
  • Ashita Hareru ka (Takao Kisugi, ep.1-14)
  • Ci · ne · ma (Picasso, ep.15-23, 25-33)
  • Get Down (Gilbert O'Sullivan, ep.24)
  • Fantasy (Picasso, ep.34-52)
  • Sayonara no Sobyō (Sayonara no dessan) (Picasso, ep.53-76)
  • Begin the Night (Picasso, ep.77-96)

Live action movie

TV Drama

Soundtracks

Video games

  • Maison Ikkoku: Omoide no Photograph (1986, adventure game, Microcabin, released for PC-9801 and PC Engine)
  • Maison Ikkoku: Omoide no Photograph (1988, adventure game, Bothtec, released for Famicom)
  • Maison Ikkoku Kanketsuhen: Sayonara, Soshite...... (1988, adventure game, Microcabin, released for PC-9801 and MSX2)

References

External links

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