Page count: 311
Last checked: July 15, 2017
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, a 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 where 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 Company in 1986, though it deviates significantly from the story in the manga and anime. A TV special aired in May 2007 on TV Asahi. The finale to the special aired in July 2008.
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, Kyoko is a widow who had married her high school teacher, but tragically her teacher died shortly after their marriage. Godai empathizes with Kyoko 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 as if a relationship between them might actually appear. However, Kyoko meets the rich, handsome, and charming tennis coach Shun Mitaka at her tennis club. 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, he 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 eventually 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 her. 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 (which is another misunderstanding). Kyoko, feeling foolish and betrayed, slaps Godai and demands that 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. After 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 Kyoko doesn’t want him. She later tells the other tenants that she only said that to threaten Kyoko into coming back. This backfires, however, 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 again and says that she can't trust him. He replies that despite all the girls (Kozue, Ibuki, Akemi, etc.), she never considered one important thing: Godai’s own feelings. He passionately tells her that he only loves her, and that 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, Haruka, and tell her that Maison Ikkoku is the place where they first met.