Maison Ikkoku (Editor's Choice Edition) Vol. #07 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Translated by:Gerard Jones and Mari Morimoto
What They Say
Yusaku ends up in the hospital and has two unexpected visitors. His cute cousin comes to nurse him and Kyoko's other suitor, Mitaka, ends up being his roommate. Yusaku's problems aren't over when he's discharged - he has to deal with Kyoko and his school absences.
Once again, we get an absolutely gorgeous cover - and it's the second to feature Yusaku alongside Kyoko. While once again this isn't one of the wideban covers, it is still gorgeous - featuring Kyoko and Yusaku from the scene in this book that tilts the series on its axis. A smaller reindition of this scene is on the back of the book and the shades of purple that outline it are just gorgeous. My one complaint is that they stuck a "From the creator of Inuyasha" sticker on the book. It took forever for me to get off, and I still have some sticky residue. My advice, as was given on the forums, is to take the sticker off in the store or have the sales associate do it for you. That way, if it's damaged, you can get another book.
We've now fully settled into the art style that Takahashi utilizes for this series, and it focuses heavily on the characters and their actions and reactions to events. The layout is clean and easy to follow, but the pages themselves have a lot of action going on. The reproduction is good on the original black and white pages, but the color pages come out a bit dark.
We get a pair of new (yet familiar) translators on this issue and the result is what I feel to be a better job than volume six had. The modernization error that occured there is gone in this volume and the book retains its charm.
Content (may contain spoilers):
Volume six was very light-hearted and fun as the Maison Ikkoku gang entertained Grandma Godai, the baseball game and the "Lost Episode" chapter. While there was focus on the Kyoko/Yusaku relationship, most of the entertainment came from the other apartment dwellers.
In this volume, that changes as things between Kyoko and Yusaku intensifies. This is also where fans of the anime will notice that things start to really deviate. Though there was some omissions and rearraging of manga chapters in the anime prior to now, this is where the first of a series of glaring omissions occurs.
First though, we send Grandma Godai back home with a hilarious chapter surrounding her train being delayed and everyone partying while waiting for it to depart - with Kyoko pretending not to know any of them. This was a chapter that got moved to later in the anime and serves to spread out her influence through the entire series rather than just a concentrated area. It's something similiar to what will happen in the Ranma 1/2 anime with Happosai.
We then move into a nice, but brief, series of chapters featuring the Ichinose clan and the little-seen Mr. Ichinose. The strengths of this chapter lie in that it transforms Mrs. Ichinose from a mostly-stereotypical character with some depth to a character that has has a lot of different layers. You begin to wonder why she drinks and realizes that maybe it's her way of coping with her lot in life. One thing is for certain - she loves her husband and she loves Keitaro as well. It's these little side stories that endear the rest of the cast to me and I wish Takahashi had done more of them.
The rest of the book shifts back to the Kyoko/Yusaku relationship with some splashes of their rivals, etc. thrown in. An argument and accident lands Yusaku in the hospital with a broken leg and Kyoko with a ton of guilt because it's her fault. The emotional impact of these chapters is lost in the anime, I feel, instead focusing more on the comedy of the entire situation. The anime version of this event makes it seem more like everything was Yusaku's fault while the manga puts the blame squarely on Kyoko's shoulders. This works out better because it forces Kyoko to examine her feelings a lot closer. The weakness of the other version is that there's no real sense of why Kyoko wouldn't visit Yusaku in the hospital and the culmination of everything into the couple's first geninue physical show of affection toward each other is a lot more touching. The events at the hospital also lead up to Kyoko making an important declaration to Yusaku - giving him the time that he needs in order to finish his schooling without pressure.
As part of the series of events leading up to Kyoko and Yuasku's big moment is the introduction of Yusaku's cousin, Akira. Kyoko believes Akira might be making the moves on Yusaku, but instead, Akira is using the situation to try and get together with her fiance - who her father is against. This modern-day Romeo and Juliet of sorts is absolutely hilarious. It's also not in the anime and is well-worth the read.
While looking at the copyright page, I noticed that this edition of the book was released 20 years after it was first published in 1984. This story has really held up through time and it's amazing to see how much better it is than a lot of modern works. There's a definite shift in this volume in the relationship department and I'm eager to see how it works out and where exactly Kozue and Mitaka will wind up fitting in. Reading this book, then seeing the corresponding episodes of the anime shortly thereafter, made me appreciate the manga series even more - though Takahashi does have the somewhat infuriating habit of returing things to the status quo after progressing her characters. Or maybe she's simply trying to show us that lasting change doesn't always happen immediately.
Mania Grade: A+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left