My anime education continues with my next pick of Maison Ikkoku. When looking at the whole list I realised how few of the earlier entries I had actually seen. So, instead of seeing Nana like I had originally planned, I went for this long-running romantic drama. You don’t really see many anime shows with such long episode orders anymore, unless it has been spread across multiple seasons with substantial gaps in between (like Attack on Titan and Food Wars). I guess it’s just how tastes and the market has changed.
Off the bat, I am going to raise my hand and say that I did not manage to get through all 96 episodes. I’ll go into more of why that happened later on in the post – but for now a quick synopsis. Maison Ikkoku is the name of a boarding house where our main characters Godai, a student at a nearby university, and Kyoko, the building’s manageress, meet and fall in love. There are some crazy neighbours and other love interests along the way, but this is their story.
Now, here is the issue I had – it takes so long for them to actually get together. Depending on the series this can be okay as long as there is some real progression in their relationship or if there was more serialization as the time passes – but that just didn’t happen. Part way through the second season it became obvious to me that there was no real intention of getting them together any time soon and, by that point, I was getting frustrated with seeing the same beats play out time and time again. So, I called it quits.
I get that this may be a difference in how the market has gone and how popular the original manga was, but boy this series could have stood to be half the length and gotten rid a whole lot of that padding. Then again, this is the same issue that I had with Ranma 1/2 so I’ll just chalk it up to being how things have developed in the last 30 years of the anime industry.
This is a pretty damning write-up in some ways, but I do want to put over that when Maison Ikkoku was good it could be really affecting. The episodes that reveal Kyoko’s past marriage and the pains of being a young widow are extremely well done. However, these are balanced out by a number of episodes that follow the formula of her being mad at Godai for something that the (really quite horrible) neighbours have let slip without the benefit of context. The first time or two it can be quite funny, but more than that it just shows this building to just be full of sociopaths.
I’m not entirely sure where to go from here with the anime list. It may be a while before I start the next one as I have really been neglecting the most reason season of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – and that’s nearly 40 episodes long…