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Maison Ikkoku: Collector's Box set 1

1 rating: 5.0
A movie

Rumiko Takahashi followed her first success, the sci-fi farceUrusei Yatsura("Those Obnoxious Aliens," 1981), withMaison Ikkoku(1986), a romantic comedy inspired by a shabby apartment building she once lived near. "Ronin" (a student wannabe) Godai finally … see full wiki

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1 review about Maison Ikkoku: Collector's Box set 1

"Maison Ikkoku" Is Something Special

  • Apr 10, 2008
"Maison Ikkoku" is unlike anything I've ever seen. There, I said it. I was debating whether or not that would be too much of a set up, but after hours of arguing with myself on how to review this wonderful show I threw all my notions of how to write a review out the window. Despite what some people think, writing a review really is a process. You want to make your review entertaining and informative, but you are supposed to hold onto your final recommendation till near the end of the review to maintain the readers interest throughout. This is a normal review. However, "Maison Ikkoku" is not a normal show. Oh sure, when I tell you what it's about it may SOUND like a normal show, but trust me; it's not!

"Maison Ikkoku"is a one-of-kind. A show so smart, so beautiful, and so joyful to watch, that a typical review would be pointless as well as a complete disgrace. For this show I have to be up-front: "Maison Ikkoku" is one of the best shows I've ever seen. It's one of the best shows I've seen in the past ten years. And if I were to sit down and look at every show I've ever seen, from prime time to Saturday morning, from animated to live action, from American to Japan, I'd say "Maison Ikkoku" would very likely be in the top five (and if not there, then it would definitely be in the top ten). While the show has minor nitpicks one could complain about, they ultimately don't matter, as THIS is as close to perfection as television can possibly be!

There, now that I've laid out all the cards, I'm going to now have faith that my readers will stay here long enough to let me explain why I feel so strongly about this show. "Maison Ikkoku" revolves around a young college student named Godai, who is attempting to get into a high college in Japan but failing miserably. He lives at the Maison Ikkoku, a run down apartment complex that has few tenants and seems to be hidden in a back ally of some sort. Then one day the apartment complex gets a new manager in the form of Kyoko, who Godai falls instantly in love with. Yes, this is a romantic comedy. Yes, there is nothing particularly new or daring in this concept. In all honestly, I could give away every story twist this show throws at you, and unless you actually watch it you would find the descriptions fairly uninteresting.

Therefor, discussing the storyline beyond this point would be pointless (hey, I managed to squeez a bad pun in there). However, the journey for this show is one that will take your breath away. Maybe not instantly. Very few shows start out with a bang and keep the energy going. Instead, "Maison Ikkoku" begins as a fun little comedy that evolves into something much deeper then you could possibly imagine. Seeing that the basic storyline is about two people falling in love, the show mimics real life in that the relationship develops slowly and realistically. Though Godai is smitten with Kyoko right off the bat, Kyoko has no interest in a relationship. Particularly since, despite her young age of twenty-one, she is a widow.

Still fresh from a tragic event that took her husbands life six months into their message, Kyoko is suffering some trust issues of her own. It doesn't help the that three other tenants, Akemi, Yotsuya, and Ichinose, tend to be loud mouth drunks who tend to get in the way of the relationship (though, to their credit, they usually don't mean to). But...man, I'm already doing this show a disservice. There is just NO way to review this thing! Some romantic comedies are considered "a slice of life," but this show is the whole pie. The transition and change in this show is amazing. The character development is stunning. There are several characters that look like RC stereotypes, until you spend time with them and get to see their true colors. In a strange way, you develop your own relationships with these people.

Alright, I'll say it in a way everyone here will understand: You come to care for this cast as much as you come to care for the cast in the Harry Potter books. Yes, it's THAT good! "Maison Ikkoku" was written by Rumiko Takahashi, who is the richest woman in Japan. She has written popular series that have become famous worldwide, including "Ramna ½" and "InuYasha." Trust me, this show blows all those other shows out of the water. More epic is story then the aforementioned but with a more subtle tone, "Maison Ikkoku" is something that any fan of good storytelling will just eat up. The TV format gives a life to this story that even the books couldn't match. That life would be time.

At 96 episodes, "Maison Ikkoku" is not short. It takes its time telling the story and developing the relationships. During that time characters age, seasons pass as do holidays, and the economy goes from stable to unstable. It's a living, breathing world that a single movie (to some extent) the books couldn't properly display most of the time. I'm going to share my personal experience of the ending of this show without giving the ending away. When the final episode was finished I starred at the TV. And I looked at it. Then I cried. I cried a lot. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Go ahead, laugh all you want, you don't know what this show is like. It's not that the ending is sad or tragic per se, it's just so fitting and beautiful. With just a few simple images, a couple lines of dialog, and the memory of the show behind you, it left me feeling truly happy I spent my time watching it.

I've only done that two other times, and for lesser shows might I add. Like I said, this show is not perfect, but it comes as close to perfection I've ever seen. What's even more amazing is that this is the first I've seen the show. The show premiered in Japan in 1986 and it is now 2008. This show is over twenty years old and it feels more fresh and originally then any RC I've seen made all year. That fact that such an old show can have this much of an impact in the modern world solidifies it as a classic. Now then, here's the bad news: The show is currently out of print from Viz Media. Most of the sets can currently be found in stores, but volumes five and (more importantly) eight are close to impossible to find for less then $100. Considering volume eight contains the moving ending, this could be considered a serious blow against the show.

Rental stores may have the show for rent for awhile, but soon those copies will be too worn to rent as well. This makes finding the show a difficult task, but one that's well worth involving yourself in. While no written review can do justice to this show, for those with the patience to watch it I can promise it will be a treasure. Something you'll remember forever. In fact, if I know me, I'll be taking the journey again many times throughout the years.

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