Manga Review: Maison Ikkoku Vol. 1 (Re-Release)

In what feels like decades since the last release of Maison Ikkoku, Viz is re-releasing the manga, using the 10-volume format that the series received in Japan, instead of the 15-volume release they used for the previous version, and with a new translation. Since I didn’t get particularly far in the manga with the previous release, I figured now is a pretty good time to start over from scratch.

The first volume, which has about 16 chapters, is a pretty decent introduction to the cast of the manga – new manager Kyoko, ronin (until he passes his exam) Godai, snappily dressed perv Yotsuya, bar hostess Akemi, wine-mom Hanae and her son Kentaro. It also sets up the dynamics – the majority of the members of the apartment building are kind of assholes to varying degrees (with Yotsuya at the far asshole end, and Kentaro and Kyoko at the generally nice person end, and everyone else at varying points in-between).

The manga opens with Godai having had enough of his neighbors crap, and planning to move out to find another apartment, before he meets the new landlord and decides to stick around, because he’s got a crush on her. Hilarity ensues from there.

Because this is a Rumiko Takahashi manga from the ‘70s, it’s a little more risque than her later work – think Ranma ½ levels of on-panel upper-body nudity. That said, the manga also ran in a Seinen magazine, and some significant chunks of the plot would probably go over the heads of younger readers. It’s still pretty immature tonally, at least at this point in the story, but it has the potential to mellow out a little later on in the series.

I definitely recommend checking out this new release of the manga – I’m currently reading it digitally, but if I get the space to pick up physical copies of the series, at the moment I’m considering picking the rest of it up.

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 1 is available in a physical release from RightStuf, and in digital and physical releases from Amazon. Buying anything through those links helps to support the site.