Godai Yusaku is a ronin living in a shabby apartment complex named Maison Ikkoku. He wishes for some peace while studying for college entrance exams, but his rowdy neighbors are always having parties and making lots of noise. Godai is about to leave the apartment forever when a beautiful manager named Otonashi Kyoko moves into Maison Ikkoku, and he falls in love with her on sight… but he can never work up the courage to tell her how he feels about her.
summary by Eek
Highs: Genuine characters and story; seiyuu cast that clicks perfectly
Lows: Too longwinded for some
From Takahashi Rumiko (Ranma ½, Urusei Yatsura) comes a series that will undoubtedly put most other romantic comedies to shame. It may be more than fifteen years old, but Maison Ikkoku is still as powerful and heart wrenching as when it first aired in Japan.
I am almost at a loss for where I should begin. At first, Maison Ikkoku comes off as having a Love Hina–ish story and a cast of the usual eccentric personalities, but it slowly evolves into something deeper and far more meaningful. Rather than pulling out all of its aces at once and trying to stuff everything into one season, it gradually unfolds character personalities; for example, the mysterious Yotsuya and scantily clad Akemi seem to be only selfish party animals, but over time, they are shown to be far more human and intelligent than you would care to know. Despite how uproaringly hilarious or painfully sad they become, this cast of characters is quite loveable and human. The storyline also falls along the same lines; as it progresses, the seasons change, people mature, and relationships are strengthened, but it never ceases to be interesting. It single-handedly manages drama, comedy and romance without any trivializing the other and still moves each relationship and conflict along, for better or for worse. Unlike many romantic comedies created today, this series has something that a lot of them lack: maturity. Also, the seiyuu cast could not be any better; I believe that the characters would lack that certain feeling and inflection in their voices had the cast been altered any. Half of the content would not be as believable or as hilarious if it did not have the right seiyuu.
Being ninety-six episodes in length, Maison Ikkoku may lose impatient people because some parts become drawn out. At times, it can become bogged down by the rare filler episode, and parts slow down to allow for character growth. However, Godai and Kyoko’s relationship is played out properly; in real life, couples fall in love slowly, as do they here. The journeys and experiences of the characters are real and do not happen overnight, but then again, that is a part of what makes this anime so gripping.
Some people may call Maison Ikkoku a slice of life, but it is definitely the whole pie… and a very tasty one at that! If you have not seen this television series, you are missing out on a classic that truly defines the word “anime”.
Maison Ikkoku can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.