Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Maison Ikkoku Collector's Box set 1 |
Actors: Ellen Kennedy, Jason Gray-Stanford, Daphne Goldrick, Gerard Plunkett, Janyse Jaud
Genres: Comedy, Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Rumiko Takahashi followed her first success, the sci-fi farce Urusei Yatsura ("Those Obnoxious Aliens," 1981), with Maison Ikkoku (1986), a romantic comedy inspired by a shabby apartment building she once lived near. "R... more »
An International Masterpiece of Romantic Comedy
Paul | New Orleans | 07/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A superb romantic comedy, "Maison Ikkoku", Vol. 1, kicks off this uniquely Japanese story; but the appeal of this timeless classic is universal. Heroine, Kyoko Otonashi, ranked this year as one of the top 5 heroines of anime by a poll of 10,000 adults taken by a major Japanese newspaper. Which is saying something considering that this show ended 15 years ago.Maison Ikkoku is a run down apartment building in Tokyo. Living there is struggling and wishy-washy college student Yusaku Godai, who falls head over heels in love with the beautiful, young manager of the building, Kyoko Otonashi. Kyoko has some feelings towards Godai, but she's a widow, and still is not over the death of her beloved husband, Soichiro. Complicating matters between the two are rich, suave, hysterically dog-phobic, and handsome tennis coach Shun Mitaka, Godai's rival for Kyoko; and Kozue Nanao, a sweet, cute, and naive girl, who accidently becomes Godai's platonic girlfriend. Kozue is clueless that Godai is in love with Kyoko.The crowning touch is the 3 other residents of the apartment building: hard drinking, hard partying and hard gossiping Mrs. Ichinose, who lives with her young son Kentaro; Akemi, a sexy party animal who is the bar hostess at local hangout ChaChaMaru, wearing her see-through negligee around the building; and then there's the mysterious Yotsuya, who gets his kicks out of peeping, and breaking through Godai's wall so that he can mooch food from Godai. These characters would be at home in "A Confederacy of Dunces".All 3 regard Godai as their personal toy, and they get their kicks from teasing him and holding their drinking parties in his room. They also discover that Kyoko is also fun to tease.The only problems with this DVD release is Viz. Viz has long mishandled MI, and the DVD release is no exception. No subtitles for the opening closing numbers (the opening number is quite nice, too), no extras other then textless versions of the opening and closing, but most of all, no cultural notes whatsoever. ADV and Animego would've done proper justice to this show. Maison Ikkoku is set in Japan in the 1980s, the actual time that the 15 volume manga which was the basis for the anime; the result is one of the best examinations of regular life in Japan. MI is so quintessentially Japanese, that a number of anime reference books use the series to highlight aspects of Japanese culture.However, the humor and romance will appeal to anyone with a sense of humor, or romance. The comic usage of misunderstandings is straight from Shakespeare, and any fan of screwball comedies will be rolling on the floor with laughter. But the characters are grounded in reality, and moments of drama and romance will often take you by surprise. Godai matures as the series progresses, he's only 19 when the series starts, and we see Kyoko overcome the massive loss she suffered.The only major bone to pick with the series is the dub version. Viz did a horrible job casting Ellen Kennedy in the role of Kyoko: her voice projects Kyoko as being tough cookie - it's not the voice of someone 21-22 years old. Sumi Shimamoto, however, is perfect, sweet, innocent, the perfect lady - which makes her shows of strength, stubbornness, jealousy and anger all the more effective. The English VA for Godai is not as bad as the English version of Kyoko, but he's not as good as Issei Futamata, who makes you understand why the gals are interested in him, while also playing the klutz quite well. The rest of the voice cast, English and Japanese, are excellent.Despite these problems, the result is a DVD release which is vastly superior in every detail to the fansubbed versions which are available. The restored print is great, and the subtitles are both clean and a good translation. But the heart of any DVD is the story itself. By any standard, this 12 episode release for a retail price of $49.99, is reasonably priced, especially when it can be obtained for less. The first 12 episodes introduce the important characters, and are a great example of the natural story-telling style of Japanese cinema: Where an American show would introduce all the major characters in the first episode, as well as the major plot issues, these are effectively spread out over this DVD, introducing the key characters. These episodes came out in 1986, and the age is noticeable, compared with more recent releases. However, due to the nature of this show, it does not age badly, and some of the background art is stunning.A few notes: Godai's hiding in the closet in episode 1 is a parody on Japanese creation mythology: the sun goddess hid in a cave, only drawn out by the party caused by another goddess striping outside. The dog, Soichiro. Listen, and you will hear him called "Soichiro-san". The Japanese honorific "-san", is used only for people, and equals at that, never on a pet dog, which is why the name produces curiosity from cast members.A great series, this DVD set is a must have for anyone interested in Japan, any fan of creator Rumiko Takahashi, (Ranma, Inu-Yasha), as it is her best work, IMHO, or any lover of comedy, romance or the combination thereof."
A Premier Comedy Romance Anime Series
Courtland J. Carpenter | Fort Wayne, Indiana United States | 06/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maison Ikkoku is perhaps the best the genre has to offer in the comedy romance category. Decent value here getting 12 episodes on one DVD. I think the distributors are giving us this value since living depicted in the story is essentially Japanese. They worry how American viewers will take to it. Fortunately, comedy / romance generally transcends cultures and it works well here. My young cousins have seen the subtitled fansub versions, and kept begging me for additional episodes to view. A note on the dubbing since this is not released as yet, I have no idea if the dubbing was redone from the original dubbed tape releases. If it has not been, the English version pales against the Japanese voice work. I have a few of the tapes (which they dubbed only partway through the entire 96 episode series) and the dubbing stinks. Generally I prefer the dubs since I don't speak Japanese, but this is an exception. Anyone new to this series, do yourself a big favor, set the subtitles to English and listen to this in Japanese first. After a few episodes try the dubbed setting. Unless they have redone it (which I doubt) you'll most likely prefer the Japanese as well. One more good thing about this series, while fairly long it had a solid and definitive ending. Many anime series end when they either just run out of gas or fan interest. They leave dozens of loose ends, and a general bad taste in the mouth of faithful viewers. Later, if enough interest lingers they will produce, lower budget, uninspired attempts made to supposedly finish the series, (really just to make money) and they fall flat. Maison had a movie released after the series finished, but it was just a rehashing of the ending, some minor plot filler, and added virtually nothing (mainly because nothing more was needed). Takahashi has created a much different, more realistic storyline here than with the earlier Urusei Yasura, and later Ranma 1/2. This story is linear so beware, it has a beginning, procedes along a normal timeline, and it has an ending. It is not as episodic as Takahashi's other series (most of which you can view out of order without missing a beat). If you start this and get yourself hooked, you may have to buy the next seven DVDs in this series."
This is my favorite anime, and will be yours too
C. Han | East Lansing, MI | 06/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I originally watched Maison Ikkoku from the Arctic Animation fan subtitles sometime in the early 1990's, and I've been in love with it ever since. I think (and many people share this opinion) that Maison is Rumiko Takahashi's best manga and best anime, and that's saying a lot, since Takahashi has penned blockbusters like Ranma, Urusei Yatsura, and Inuyasha.
The story is about a boarding house called Ikkoku-kan where a hapless student Yusaku Godai lives, along with a hard-drinking housewife Ichinose-san, her son Kentaro, a bizarre and secretive man Yotsuya-san who is constantly frustrating Godai, and Akemi Roppongi who is a sultry hostess at a local tavern. The tenants of Ikkoku-kan continuously torture Godai: they prevent him from studying, eat all his food, and party all night long.
Into this nightmare moves in a new apartment manager, Kyoko Otonashi. She is young and pretty and Godai is instantly infatuated with her. The rest of the series is Godai trying to win the love of Kyoko over Shun Mitaka, a local tennis coach who also is in love with Kyoko. And despite the interference of the Ikkoku-kan residents!
It doesn't sound like much to start, and surely this first 12 episode set proceeds slowly, but the storyline is well-developed, and the characters are heartfelt. My friends forced me to watch the first 8 episodes, and after that I was hooked. But I'm guessing that if you're pondering buying this series, then you probably have a good idea about the plot and story and such, and want some technical information.
The transfer is excellent. This series aired on TV in the '80's and that's obvious from the animation quality, but the job done on the DVD import is good, probably as good as you could get in Japan. The Japanese audio track is mono because that's how it was broadcast. But it has good sound quality and is very crisp.
I hate dubbing, but for the sake of this review, I watched it. I don't like it, but as far as dubs go, it's passable. I would discourage watching the dub though because this show is SO Japanese that it relies a lot on the Japanese language itself.
The DVD's have essentially no extras or features. It is just the episodes. It's still a good deal, considering 12 episodes a set for ~$45. There should be a total of 8 sets (96 eps). I own 1-5, and plan on acquiring the rest.
My main criticisms of this collection:
(1) This series is so very Japanese that you HAVE to explain some things. For example, in the American mind, a ronin is a samurai without a master. In the modern Japanese mind, it's someone who's failed the college entrance exams. This DVD set NEEDS technical notes.
(2) The DVD liners are not that useful.
(3) The English dialogue loses a lot of intricacies above and beyond simple loss of Japanese. Takahashi is a huge fan of puns and such, and this is all lost. Most notable is the loss of Yotsuya's bad poetry, including numerous attempts at haiku, often coming a syllable short or long.
Still, Viz actually did a good job with this, and I'm planning on buying the whole set. But for your sake, here are some technical notes.
Most of the cast has names with numbers.
Otonashi means "no sound" in kanji and the "no" part would be like zero, or the numberless manager's room.
Ichinose - ichi = 1, corresponding to room #1.
Nikaido - ni = 2 (he is only in the manga)
Mitaka - mi = 3. Mitaka is also a rich district of Tokyo, signifying that the character is well to do, and would never live in a place like Ikkoku-kan, thus room #3 is vacant. It would be like saying Mr Beverly Hills.
Yotsuya - yo = 4. As is room #4
Godai - go = 5. As in room #5
Roppongi - Ro (or roku) = 6. Roppongi is also an entertainment district of Tokyo, signifying her job as a hostess at a bar and her personality. Akemi means red beauty (since she's a red-head).
Nanao - nana = 7.
Yagami - Ya = 8.
Kujo - ku = 9.
Chigusa - chi = 1000.
A ronin is a term for student who have failed the college entrance exams and are trying to get in, often attending cram schools.
A love hotel is a hotel you go with a partner to have sex. It's like a hotel you'd rent a room by the hour. This is because a lot of Japanese households are extended, and you wouldn't have the privacy to be intimate at home.
The story is set in 1980's Tokyo and there are some facets worth mentioning. Most people do not own cars. This is a big status symbol for Mitaka. Many homes do not have baths, and so people go to public baths. In the bath, Japanese enjoy soaking in nearly scalding hot water. Trains are the primary mode of long distance travel in Tokyo, so it is often featured in the anime. Despite being a bay city, Tokyo has no beaches per se, and so it is a long trip to go to a beach despite being next to the ocean. Many people in Tokyo have 'home towns' and aren't Tokyo natives (such as Godai). Often, Tokyo natives had a sense of a lack of this 'home town' feeling, and a recurring theme in the storyline is how Ikkoku-kan has a feeling of home."
Wish i lived there but oh well
maison ikkoku fan | 07/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After reading the first couple of reviews i thought the dub was going to be terrible but its not all that bad. I found myself actually liking the dub after watching the first couple of episodes. This is one series that has me hooked unfortunately since well Viz is known to have release problems so who knows when everything will be released. It may take one year or longer to have everything released for this series which stinks since i am hooked and there is talk that it may never be fully released. I can only hope this is false but till then any anime fan that likes this series might want to look into Kimagure Orange Road(good series). thanks"