Maison Ikkoku

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Maison Ikkoku
Maison Ikkoku vol01.jpg
Volume 1 of Maison Ikkoku released by Viz Media on October 2003.
(Mezon Ikkoku)
Genre Romantic comedy
Written by Rumiko Takahashi
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher United States Viz Media
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Big Comic Spirits
Original run 19801987
Volumes 15 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Directed by Kazuo Yamazaki
Takashi Annō
Naoyuki Yoshinaga
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by Canada United States Viz Media
Network Fuji Television
Original run March 26, 1986March 2, 1988
Episodes 96 (List of episodes)
Live-action film
Apartment Fantasy
Directed by Shinichirō Sawai
Studio Toei Company
Released October 10, 1986
Runtime 97 minutes
Anime film
The Final Chapter
Directed by Tomomi Mochizuki
Studio Ajia-do Animation Works
Released February 6, 1988
Runtime 66 minutes
Original video animation
Through the Passing Seasons
Studio Kitty Film
Released September 25, 1988
Runtime 90 minutes
Original video animation
Shipwrecked on Ikkoku Island
Directed by Kenichi Maejima
Studio Magic Bus
Kitty Film
Released January 31, 1991
Runtime 23 minutes
Original video animation
Prelude: When the Cherry Blossoms Return in the Spring
Studio Kitty Film
Released June 25, 1992
Runtime 27 minutes
Live-action television film
Directed by Katsuhide Motoki
Released May 12, 2007
Live-action television film
Directed by Akabane Hiroshi
Released July 26, 2008
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

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 gradual developing relationships 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. 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.


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 beautiful Kyoko Otonashi, 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, who tragically 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 the misunderstandings, Kyoko and Godai clearly have feelings for each other, and their relationship grows over the course of the series.

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 come face to face with her own feelings for Godai.

Meanwhile, Mitaka's endeavors have been hindered by his phobia of dogs, as Kyoko owns a large white dog named Soichiro in honor of her late husband. With the attempts to help of the Ikkoku tenants (Godai's neighbors) and his own perseverance, he eventually overcomes his phobia. 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 insults him, tells him that she hates him, and runs away. Godai follows her to see her home and they have a serious conversation. He tells her that the problem is that she doesn't trust him and that despite all the girls, she never considered one important thing: Godai’s own feelings. He passionately tells her that he loves only 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 to Kyoko and with the blessings of both families and they finally get married.

The story ends as Godai and Kyoko arrive home with their newborn daughter, Haruka, and Kyoko tells her that Maison Ikkoku is the place where they first met.


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


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

Number Character Kanji of family name and meaning
0 Kyoko Otonashi (née Chigusa) 音無 (literally means "soundless")
1(一) The Ichinose Family 一の瀬 (first ford)
2(二) Nozomu Nikaido 二階堂 (two-storey 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 ridges; the second character is "tail" but "Nanao" itself is a name from Ishikawa Prefecture)
8(八) Ibuki Yagami * 八神 (eight gods)
9(九) Asuna Kujo * 九条 (Ninth Avenue; the name is an old Japanese aristocratic name)
1000(千) Mr. & Mrs. Chigusa (Kyoko's parents) * 千草 (thousand grasses)

(* 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.



The manga almost exactly has the same stories as the anime, however, the order was changed slightly. The manga was originally released in America as "Maison Ikkoku: Where wacky hi jinks can't stop a great romance!" This original release was collected into a 14 volume flipped version series by Viz Media. However, some chapters were out of order and some were completely missing. Following the revival of the anime TV series, Viz Media reprinted the series in an unflipped edition, spanning 15 volumes with all chapters contained and in order of original Japanese serialization. The first edition is becoming harder to find. In the second edition, some volumes are out of print and becoming increasingly hard to find, specifically volume 9. The second edition is under Viz Media's "Editor's Choice," now known as "Viz Signature," imprint.


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. It was separated into 8 volumes each containing 12 episodes. 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 released the show in its entirety on DVD, and the English dub resumed with episode 37 and continued on until the end of the series.[citation needed] In the newer episodes, Godai was given a new voice actor, as Jason Gray-Stanford was replaced by Brad Swaile. Other characters, such as Kozue and Ikuko, were also recast with new voice actors. Fan reception of the English dub version has been mixed. The North American DVD release has since gone out of print, with certain volumes becoming very difficult to find.[2]

Theme songs[edit]

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[edit]
Ending Themes[edit]
  • 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[edit]

Released on 10 October 1986 by the Toei Company.[3]



TV Drama[edit]


Video games[edit]

  • 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)


  1. ^ "Rumiko Takahashi Interview." Viz Media. March 2, 2000. 3 Archived March 2, 2000 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on October 2, 2009.
  2. ^ "" [1].
  3. ^ "Mezon ikkoku". Japanese Cinema Database. Retrieved 22 June 2011. 

External links[edit]