ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition,’ Volume 3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The miscommunications continue in Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3, and while Kyoko and Godai grow closer, the supporting cast may grate on the readers this time. The romantic comedy is from award-winning mangaka Rumiko Takahashi, creator of series Inuyasha, Mermaid Saga, and RIN-NE, among others. Maison Ikkoku follows the eccentric residents of the Maison Ikkoku, specifically college student Godai who has fallen in love with the building’s new manager. The manga is published in English by VIZ Media. It is translated by Matt Treyvaud, features touch-up art and lettering by Inori Fukuda Trant, and edited by Nancy Thistlethwaite.

A fair amount of events occur in Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3, including a Summer Festival, Christmas, and New Year’s. Godai is looking forward to trying to move things forward with Kyoko, since at all of these events last year he “failed.” Naturally, things will never go as planned. At one point, a miscommunication so large happens that Godai actually moves out, but into a much worse living situation. Overall, the volume contains multi-chapter misadventures, but aside from the slow progression of Kyoko realizing she might have feelings for Godai, there isn’t as much forward momentum.

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3 is very enjoyable, let’s make that clear. The manga is a consistently fun and entertaining read. Unfortunately, because the previous two volumes set a rather high standard, this volume just didn’t quite live up to it as some story arcs were more misses than hits. Overall, this is likely due to the age of the series, where the less favorable moments are because the humor has not aged well. Namely, any time a character tries to blame Kyoko for “leading Godai on,” or when characters (mostly Yotsuya) try to peep on women changing.

Previously, I had mentioned that one of the stronger elements of this series is Godai’s growth. This is why it is frustrating that he is still dating Kozue while in love with Kyoko. At first, it was a comedy of errors as always, but at this point, even Godai admits that he needs to break up with Kozue because it is cruel to lead her on like this. The problem: Godai is too scared. Since the comedy of this is played up more than any thoughtfulness, it leads to one wanting to yell at Godai and stop rooting for him briefly. He isn’t the only character that frustrates in Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3. Godai is also on the receiving end of a lot this volume. The other residents have established themselves as menaces, but there tends to be an endearing side to it. This volume is a lot of them taking advantage of Kyoko and Godai and failing to have any accountability. Additionally, Godai’s new “roommates” are absolutely infuriating, and one can’t help but wish someone would tell them off.

Takahashi’s artwork, as always, nails both the slapstick and the intimate. The standout moments are the more dramatic ones between Godai and Kyoko. Fukuda Trant’s lettering work shines especially on the page where a loud train speeds by, obscuring Kyoko’s words. This, paired with Takahashi’s bold black lines and a close-up of Godai’s heartbroken face, really sends the scene home. Not only does Godai misunderstand, but the readers are given an on-point visual parallel of Godai’s audible misunderstanding. The other noteworthy moment is done by Takahashi without words. When kissing is on the brain of multiple characters, multi-panel sequences cut from eyes to lips, showing what is on their minds. It is painfully relatable, showing realistically how people start taking notice of certain features in others that they normally wouldn’t (ex. lip gloss).

Overall, Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3 is still very good, but it doesn’t quite have as many endearing, thoughtful moments as its predecessors. The supporting cast is more aggravating this time around, as are a few of Godai’s choices. Regardless, it is still a joy to see Kyoko and Godai slowly (finally) realize that there might be more between the two of them.

Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3 is on sale March 16th, 2021, wherever books are sold.

Maison Ikkoku Collector's Edition Volume 3
3.5

TL;DR

Overall, Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition Volume 3 is still very good, but it doesn’t quite have as many endearing, thoughtful moments as its predecessors. The supporting cast is more aggravating this time around, as are a few of Godai’s choices. Regardless, it is still a joy to see Kyoko and Godai slowly (finally) realize that there might be more between the two of them.