Posted by psgels on 8 July 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



96 episodes. I know that it’s a huge task to watch this series, especially when it’s filled with slice of life. But heck, who cares? This series deserves every inch of its status as a classic. Heck, it’s by far the best romance I’ve ever seen.

I mean, the big danger with these incredibly long series is that they spend too much time dragging on, or repeating themselves. That’s not the point of Maison Ikkoku, though. It’s here to really deliver the every day lives of its lead characters, and we follow them through EIGHT YEARS of their lives. We start at the point at which the lead character (Godai) tries to get into college, and we get to see the progression of him and the ones around him through his college years, up to the point of him, trying to find employment. There is a HUGE amount of character-development in this series, and you know what? It’s handled even better than Touch.

Along with the every day lives, this is a series that continues to tug against the characters and their relationships with real and identifiable problems. At times it may go a bit overboard with the misunderstandings, but it always finds very down to earth methods to solve them. This series also masterfully uses the cultural norms and standards of Japan in the 1980s in its drama, like the desire for women to be ‘pure’, the focus on marriage, or the tight job market. There’s always something going on in this series and when it drags out, it really drags out to get the best out of the characters, rather than stalling for time.

Some of the characters of this series are hard to get into: they’re the types of unlikable bastards who leech off others and enjoy the misery of the easy victims. Flawed as they are though, these people also have the charms that grow with you as the series continues. They’re all portrayed real people, rather than the usual stereotypes who only can live off their gimmick. Throughout the entire series, they’re annoying, but for once they’re annoying in a lovable way.

But what really blew my mind about this series was how well it was technically executed. I mean, this series has the best animation of any Studio Deen series I’ve seen so far, and that for a series with nearly a hundred episodes! Animation is smooth and detailed, characters move as life-like as possible and there are less still frames than in most 24 episoded series nowadays. The way that the series portray all of the different feelings and emotions, from anger to love to hangover, is done very realistically. And it keeps this standard up throughout its entire run, with only a few noticeable hiccups.

Rumiko Takahashi… yeah. She really is a genius when she wants to. This series even blows series from Mitsuru Adachi out of the water with its depth and execution. I wouldn’t call it perfect, though. There are times when it uses coincidences too much in order to get two characters at the right place at the right time, and its characters can be quite dense at times. But even there: it’s a pretty realistic portrayal of denseness. It’s not like we have characters like Hanamaru Youchien here: characters here have trouble getting romantic hints, but they’re in no way stupid enough not to notice the obvious signs thrown in front of them. In fact, everyone in the series has his or her moments of stupidity and intelligence. Either way though, if you want the best romance anime out there, then I really believe that this is the series you should check out.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Makes excellent use of its 96 episodes, it’s really good at building up, really succeeded in bringing the source material to life. Sometimes it uses too many coincidences, though.
Characters: 10/10 – Absolutely fantastic. Wonderfully portrayed, fleshed out and developed.
Production-Values: 9/10 – For its time and length… very impressive. Detailed in its movements, and surprisingly few corners are cut.
Setting: 9/10 – This series has ton of slice of life, but exactly because of that it’s able to offer a very detailed portrayal of what people in their twenties, more than twenty years ago must have gone through.

Suggestions:
Touch
Saiunkoku Monogatari
Victorian Romance Emma

16 Responses

  1. Etrangere says:

    aaah that series. I was way too young when I was watching it to properly appreciate it and I had a sort of hate/love relationship to it (especially because the French dub voices were SO annoying for the leads), I remember I mostly liked the annoying free loaders as a kid they were fun ^^; but it’s definitely one of those 80s series I’d like to re-watch some maybe and your review certainly encourage me in this direction ^^

  2. Kim says:

    I have not seen the anime (well except for a random episode when I was in Japan) but the manga is one of my absolute favorites.

  3. Schmitt says:

    Ah I love Maison Ikkoku. One of my favorite romantic comedies of all time and a definite classic in the genre. Between this and Urusei Yatsura, Rumiko Takahashi shows that she can do great work when she wants to. It’s a shame she’s producing crap like Inuyasha and Rin-ne lately.

    • Miko evie chan says:

      Well, the thi ng you have to remember some people were introduced to takahashi’s work by inuyasha , ranma and rinne. Maison is the 1980s … Some of us young ones, don’t even know of her other works if it were for series like ranma or inuyashha- :)

  4. marcosv says:

    Maison Ikkoku was one of the series I was hooked on back when I first started watching anime. It still remains my personal favorite.

    It’s animation quality would dip at times, but, when they turned on the quality, it was top notched. Of course, compared to a lot of anime of today which as you pointed out use lots of stills, it was consistently well animated.

    The music was excellent too.

    Thanks for putting together this review. I pretty much agree with you. It really is the best romance out there.

  5. keizon says:

    didnt expect to see a review of Maison Ikkoku in your blog. i have watched it and it is a real gem. Rumiko Takahashi brings life to the lead characters. through the ups and downs, one could ‘grow’ together with the characters.

    Maison Ikkoku is a classic.

  6. egress63 says:

    Now that you have seen the anime, I would recommend the final volume of the manga. The differences are few, but these few differences will make you like the series (and Kyoko) even more.

  7. blah says:

    The manga was great. Also, anyone who read this and liked it should read Ranma 1/2. The 1st season of anime for Ranma 1/2 is good (as psgels has said before), but after that it went way downhill. The manga however is consistently good, aside from the Hawaiian teacher, I skipped all the chapters with him.

  8. Theowne says:

    Finally psgels watched it. Maison Ikkoku is probably the best anime romantic comedy in existence, and wipes the floor with pretty much every series in that genre done in this decade.

    I definitely agree there are one too many misunderstandings, but it is tolerable for almost 100 episodes of great anime.

    But seriously, couldn’t you have picked better pictures? Please everyone, Kyoko does NOT look that deformed most of the time!

  9. Pachael says:

    Love this series to bits – the only thing that’s missing now is the actual time period – Rumiko’s best work.

    In addition, she wrote this for about 7-8 years, meaning that the readers grew up with the characters as they read the comic on a regular basis, bringing a new personal dimension for teens at that time as they watched Godai and Kyoko grow and develop before their very eyes. Contrast it to many other series where characters seem to be frozen in time.

  10. tk007 says:

    Definitely my favorite romance anime too. After reading your review, I dug out the OST and listened to it again. They’re memorable, beautiful and filled me with nostalgic. Now I’ll have to somehow find time to re-watch it again >.

  11. Andrea says:

    I had watched the first episodes a couple of months ago and thought it was just like Kimagure Orange Road, full of those stupid misunderstandings that I really dislike, with an idiot as male protagonist and a cock teaser as a female character. Then I read your review and you say it gets better than Touch? I will give it a try again, maybe the first episodes were misleading :D

  12. Cerrian says:

    It starts to hit its stride around ep. 8 or so. When you get to the 13th ep and start seeing Kyoko’s jealous side then the series is going at full steam ahead.

  13. Sapphire says:

    I am SO watching this!

  14. Mike says:

    I’ve only seen the live action drama, but I would easily reccommend it if you havn’t seen it.

  15. Joe says:

    The best romantic anime ever. You root for Godai through the series and can almost feel his longing through every step.

    Touch is pretty awesome too. The sudden twist in the middle of the series is one of the best I’ve seen. But it starts off as a romance and ends up being a lot more than that..sort of a coming of age story. And Tachhan is way too cool.

    I’d also suggest Kare Kano – it’s a totally different anime compared to these two. But it’s got near perfect chemistry. At least the first half of the series.

    Would also like some suggestions from you guys for romantic series like these ones. Should be fun and also tug at your heartstrings. Not an over the top comedy though.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 10:41 PM)
    @Wicked, think you hit the nail on the head there. The characters one of the main reasons I am not too gone on it.
  • wicked
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 10:04 PM)
    Mob Psycho is well paced for a 10 minute show I think. It’s got a lot of these pseudo cliffhanger to play for jokes. The stories get better, it’s the characters that’s not as interesting as one punch man in my opinion
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 08:46 PM)
    Hmm, haven’t read Mob Psycho 100 much(just checked what its art looks like) so can’t comment on that.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 07:43 PM)
    @masky, it does have better art but a much weaker story. I get the feeling the Mob psycho anime will be a five minute show.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 07:17 PM)
    Dunno, Mob Psycho 100 does have better art than ONE’s OPMan. Its still rough, but yeah.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 03:36 PM)
    @wicked, I wonder how that will work out, as ONE’s style is a bit of an acquired taste.
  • wicked
    (Thursday, Feb 11. 2016 12:59 AM)
    ah, they decided to go with ONE’s art style instead of really pretty it up with Mob Psycho 100
  • oldyang
    (Wednesday, Feb 10. 2016 06:36 PM)
    Ajin is interesting, but the character design is weird. Everyone looks lifeless and angry.
  • wicked
    (Wednesday, Feb 10. 2016 08:55 AM)
    it’d actually be a shame for them to make it into I Wanna Be the Strongest in the World, or worst
  • wicked
    (Wednesday, Feb 10. 2016 08:54 AM)
    @Aidan, Yeah that guy tries really hard to make it more than just fanservice though. I have a weird respect for people that can play ridiculous concepts straight.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – 05

Congratulations Yakumo. You finally discovered your spark for Rakugo. And all you needed to do was dress up like a woman to do it. This may harken back to what his master said, his Rakugo is too perfect. So this play put on by Rakugo performers was really the thing he needed. By dressing him […]

Schwarzesmarken – 05

For something that definitely feels rushed, this was a pretty good episode for Schwarzesmarken. I really cannot emphasize enough at how much of a shame it is that this series looks to be cut down to fit into a single cour. If given a two cour run I think Schwarzesmarken could really shine but sadly […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 05

When it rains it pours and Boku dake isn’t pulling any punches. Hinazuki is gone and the only hint of her we see is what looks to be her dead body in front of her parents, one of whom is panicking. With this we have two possibilities. Either they happened upon Hinazuka’s dead body or […]

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – 04

Well it seems like I have to eat my words as Yakumo is quite the ladies man. Which is odd when he clearly doesn’t have any interest in interacting with women. Yakumo has a fruitful love life despite his apathy towards love in general. Yakumo and Sukeroku’s relationship has certainly gotten more easygoing as the […]

Schwarzesmarken – 04

This episode starts with a groan as we meet a new member of the cast, that being Theodor’s sister who on first sight hugs with with the ever so traditional “Onii-chan!” The sister does bring some good developments to the table, namely the machination the Stasi has in store for her, but I really wish […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 04

There certainly is a layer of dread from this episodes beginning as we see happy events unfold. Things are looking up, history is changing, Kayo is finally getting out of an abusive relationship with her mother and finding happiness. But much like Satou is feeling, there is a unease at these developments. Things are going […]

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu – 03

From the looks of things this series will be focusing primarily on the past of Yakumo as the stylish opening seems to place emphasis on the characters of the flashback. Rakugo is surprisingly abset this week as World War II causes Yakumo to be left behind as his Teacher and Sukeroku go out to entertain […]

Schwarzesmarken – 03

Schwarzesmarken remains a strange specimen of an anime, while still not excelling it is clear it has the potential to. So why is it not a great anime? Well it’s beating the same point as my last post but I do think characterisation is key here. In this episode we had two characters introduced whose […]

Boku dake ga Inai Machi – 03

When it comes to matters of time travel, it’s always a wonder to consider just what rules it follows. Time travel, much like alternate realities is one of the biggest can of worms to open when writing a story. Mainly because it demands the viewer keeps in mind a series of characters,settings and event which […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]