ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition VOlume 2

Beloved mangaka Rumiko Takahashi‘s breadth of skill has been on full display the last few months. Yashahime re-introduces audiences to her beloved feudal fairy tale world of Inuyasha, and horror fans got a taste of the darker side of her work in the re-release of Mermaid Saga. English manga publisher VIZ Media brings another collector’s edition of her work this month, the second of her romantic comedy Maison Ikkoku. The story follows the eccentric residents of the Maison Ikkoku, specifically young student Godai as he falls in love with the new building manager, Kyoko. Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 is translated into English by Matt Treyvaud, and features touch up art and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant. It is edited by Nancy Thistlethwaite.

A year has passed since Kyoko moved in as the new manager. Godai is now a college student, and working up the courage to ask her on a date. Of course, nothing is ever simple as the other residents are planning a one-year anniversary celebration for Kyoko at the same time. Miscommunications abound in this largely episodic series. It is endearing and will certainly put a smile on one’s face. Godai and Kyoko are so earnest that it makes it all the more hilarious when chaos ensues. While many events in Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 are exaggerated for comedy, there is a relatability across the board as Godai constantly stumbles in his attempts to court Kyoko.

Godai also shows growth. While he still selfishly gets frustrated that Kyoko is attached to her deceased husband, that has eased up significantly from the first volume. He is actively trying to better himself, rather than blaming others for his faults. It makes you want to root for him, especially when his rival, tennis coach Mitaka, is on the scene. More often than not, however, the two both comically ruin their chances in the chaos.

The residents are a blast to read and follow as they interact with Godai. Mercilessly teasing both him and Kyoko (as they can sense her growing feelings); the found family is growing. Mrs. Ichinose can sometimes get annoying given her complete disregard of personal privacy and love of gossip. However, it is hard to hate her when she completely embodies that gif of Marie Kondo saying “I love mess.” That is what a lot of reading Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 felt like: basking in endearing chaos.

The highlight of Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 was the overarching storyline between Kyoko and her parents. The series is episodic, but there are plot points that come up repeatedly. This time around, Kyoko’s parents are consistently scheming to bring her home and have her remarry. The extremes they go to would be uncomfortable if the slapstick comedy of the series wasn’t so apparent. Takahashi brilliantly has Kyoko mirror her mother in panels to illustrate the hysterical family resemblance, even when they are on opposite sides of a fight. There is a tender, serious through-line through all this comedy, however: a commentary on society’s pressure on a woman to get married before she is “too old.” Kyoko is only two-years older than Godai. She comments on losing out on a college experience, however, she doesn’t regret marrying her deceased husband. As much as the series is about Godai trying to court Kyoko, it seems to be about giving Kyoko space to grieve.

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 is honest even when its slapstick comedy results in characters busting through walls. Every single character has an earnestness and heart that permeates the pages. The best part: Godai actually matures. Between hysterical miscommunications and thoughtful commentary on societal pressures on women, Takahashi’s rom-com series should be on many holiday gift lists.

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 is on sale December 15th, wherever books are sold.

Maison Ikkoku Collector's Edition Volume 2
4.5

TL;DR

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 2 is honest even when its slapstick comedy results in characters busting through walls. Every single character has an earnestness and heart that permeates the pages. The best part: Godai actually matures. Between hysterical miscommunications and thoughtful commentary on societal pressures on women, Takahashi’s rom-com series should be on many holiday gift lists.