Maison Ikkoku (Editor's Choice Edition) Vol. #05 (Mania.com)

By:Megan Lavey
Review Date: Sunday, June 06, 2004
Release Date: Saturday, May 01, 2004



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Rumiko Takahashi
Translated by:Gerard Jones and Mari Morimoto
Adapted by:

What They Say
Yusaku's New Year's fortune comes true, but he quickly learns she should be careful what he wishes for. When Valentine's Day arrives, Yusaku receives flowers from Kozue and then soon after from Kyoko - each with their own meaning.

The Review
Packaging:
This is a very pretty and attractive cover, combining the English logo for the series with the Japanese artwork from when the series was released as a 10-volume wideban set in Japan a few years ago. This features the artwork from volume five of the widebans, with Kyoko in the snow, cradling a package containing yarn and knitting needles. The border and the back of the book are various shadoes of blue while the logo is in dark and light blue this time.

Artwork:
The art maintains much of the same standard it did from the previous volumes. However, the pages that contain panels that were originally printed in color are muddy and very very dark. For example, one of the ones of a snoozing, drunk Akemi is nearly completely black. You can barely tell that it's her sprawled on the floor. It comes up again when the moving men bring Kyoko's new dressing table into her room in a later chapter - the panel of Kyoko and the moving man is nearly blacked out.

Text:
No noticeable problems for me. It was a good, clean read. SFX is translated, but the pages are unflipped.

Review:
After spending the past few volumes on arc-based stories, this volume moves back into an episodic nature. However, there is one key event that takes place in Kyoko and Godai's relationship that comes about completely by accident.

The first chapter is an epilogue to the events of volume four, where Godai copes with the cold that he got when he ran away from home and Kyoko pays to get Godai's things back from the pawn shop. It quickly moves through Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day with the usual stories of Godai balancing his relationship with Kozue against his infatuation for Kyoko.

However, three chapters in this manga really stand out and shows how far the story really has advanced since the beginning of the series, even though at times it doesn't feel like it's going anywhere in regards to the main characters.

The first is a chapter where a cheapskate boyfriend breaks up with Akemi. She comes home drunk and Kyoko enlists Godai to help drag the drunk woman back to her room. In the process, Akemi dreams about her old boyfriend and kisses both Godai and Kyoko. Godai realizes that it's really only the second time he's been kissed by someone and Kyoko begins dreaming about what it would be like to be with Godai. While the standard misunderstandings take place, the chapter ends with a major step forward for both Godai and Kyoko - even though the step happened by accident.

The second is a touching chapter where Kozue, worried about Godai, talks to Mitaka. Mitaka realizes that Kozue doesn't know about Godai's crush on Kyoko and does his best to encourage both Godai and Kozue to remain together. However, Godai is convinced that Kozue is leaving him for Mitaka. This is one of the chapters that really makes me like, and feel extremely sorry for Kozue. Poor girl really doesn't have a clue.

The final is the next to last chapter in the volume. Godai finishes teaching Ikuko for the evening and starts to head home, when Kyoko's father in law gives him Soichiro's diary to give to Kyoko. He takes it home to her and worries about her relapsing into the first days about when she pined heavily for Soichiro. However, Kyoko takes the diary with the appropriate amount of nostalgia and respect for her dead husband that she has. Although she's sad, reading the diary doesn't depress her in the way that it would have four volumes ago. This really shows how much Kyoko has matured. She still misses Soichiro, but the chapter really shows us more of Kyoko's jealous tendencies than anything.

This is how we can tell that the story is actually moving forward. The last chapter in the volume marks the third anniversary of Soichiro's death and Godai points out that Ikuko is now in ninth grade (she was about to enter the seventh at the beginning of the series.) There's some neat chapters that bring both Akemi and Yotsuya more into the story, and shows the relationship between them and Kyoko as well. And Mrs. Ichinose in her high school uniform...let's say that it takes a strong stomach to handle that one! She really hasn't changed a bit...

Comments
This volume really slows down from the fast arc-based stories in volumes three and four. However, many of the threads that were started there keep going. Kyoko's parents keep nagging and plotting for her to marry Mitaka and to have children. Godai and Kyoko grow closer, but are continuing to walk on eggshells. Kozue still doesn't have a clue and the residents are the same. However, all of the stories are extremely enjoyable and because the characters are so interesting, the series winds up not dragging. The best stories come when you become so involved with the characters that even filler is enjoyable to read. Maison Ikkoku is one of those stories.



Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.95
Pages: 248
ISBN: 1-59116-319-6
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left