TITLE: Maison Ikkoku Issue #2
COMPANY: Viz Comics
Story and Art by Rumiko Takahashi
English Adaptation by Gerard Jones
For many fans of Rumiko Takahashi, many know of her work from series such as “Ranma 1/2”, “Inuyasha”, “Urusei Yatsura” and possibly her most recent work, “Rin-ne”.
But there was one series that dealt with no supernatural powers, it focused on human relationships among those who lived in an apartment known as “Maison Ikkoku.
The series which began in 1980 and serialized in “Big Comic Spirits” from November 1980 through April 1987 and was collected in 15 graphic novel (tankobon volumes) from Shogakukan.
And while the series would lead to a 96-episode anime adaptation, a live-action film adaptation, an animated film, two OVA’s, and two live-action television films, the series remains popular among fans of Rumiko Takahashi today. As every series is endearing and for the most part, are popular works from the well-known mangaka.
While the graphic novels were released in the United States, back in the early ’90s, the series was released in comic book format courtesy of Viz Comics with English translations courtesy of Gerard Jones. And unlike the Japanese manga which is read from right-to-left, the comics were read like American comics via left-to-right and the images were flipped, causing the art to be mirrored. So, some chapters from the comic book series were out of order or not included. It wasn’t until a decade later that Viz would re-release the series in its original format.
The series revolved around 22-year-old widow Kyoko Otonashi who manages a broken-down boarding house known as Maison Ikkoku and the residents living there.
The residents of Maison Ikkoku are Yusaku Godai, a 20-year-old ronin who is studying for his college entrance exams and keeps failing year after year. Yusaku falls for Kyoko but because he’s not really that smart, nor does he have much money, he’s often a person that doubts himself and has a creative and at times a perverted imagination. But despite his clumsiness and the fact that he’s always trying hard for Kyoko’s sake, he hopes that one day he can profess his love to her.
Also, living in Maison Ikkoku is the unusual and mysterious voyeurist, Yotsuya, who has broken a hole through his wall to Yusaku’s wall in order to peep into Akemi’s room.
Akemi is a bartender at the bar Cha-Cha Maru, often drunk and often wearing skimpy lingerie; Hanae Ichinose is a wife/mother to her boy Kentaro. Ichinose is often gossiping and has fun trying to stir something up between Yusaku and Kyoko.
In issue 2, Godai has passed his college entrance exam, grades that are good enough for him to get into a third rate college. While walking with Kyoko (who is walking with her dog, Mr. Soichiro), Godai comes close to putting his arm around her but doesn’t. Mrs. Ichinose and Kentaro tease Godai for not doing anything yet and it unnerves him.
Meanwhile, Kyoko gets a call from the landlord of Maison Ikkoku and that the two are to meet. Everyone is not sure why but the landlord turns out to be her deceased husband’s father and accompanying him is his niece, Ikuko.
When Kyoko’s father-in-law hurts his back, Godai offers to help him by taking the three to the destination they were going to.
It turns out the destination is the cemetery where Kyoko’s deceased husband is at. Godai didn’t know that Kyoko was a widow and now is bothered that he can’t tell her how he feels about her because her heart belongs to her deceased husband.
Meanwhile, the second story revolves around Ikuko asking for Godai to be her tutor and Mrs. Ichinose makes Kyoko worry even more when she tells him what if Godai tries to make a move on the young Ikuko or isn’t smart enough to tutor Ikuko. This leads to Kyoko to worry about things.
The issue was no doubt entertaining and Rumiko Takahashi’s artwork is wonderful. With this issue, Rumiko is able to establish a love triangle between Kyoko, Godai and her deceased husband. And Godai has nightmares of telling her that her husband is dead and to move on but she doesn’t want to.
For those who really want an entertaining comedy/drama comic book series, you’ll definitely want to give Rumiko Takahashi’s “Maison Ikkoku” a try!