Mangaka: Rumiko Takahashi
My rating: 5 of 5
Welcome to Maison Ikkoku, home to aspiring college student Yusaku Godai and a handful of other less-than-ideal boarders (who think his room is the ideal place to hold a party–while he’s trying to study!). Add a new apartment manager–the young, beautiful, recently-widowed Kyoko Otonashi–and you can imagine the chaos that ensues. While Yusaku and Kyoko fall in love practically at first sight, they are such a fumbling, indecisive, jealous, wishy-washy pair that it’s debatable whether they’ll ever actually get together. Not to mention that the other boarders aren’t about to make it easy for the awkward pair.
This manga is not for the impatient–seriously, the romance takes a good 6 years of the characters’ lives to get on its feet! For all that, it’s a cute story. The humanity of the characters is both maddening and endearing. And while the plotline is meandering and episodic, it has enough direction to be enjoyable. I must admit, it’s also a pleasant change to read a manga featuring utterly normal, working-class adults. No magic, no aliens, no kids with superpowers, just the everyday joys and struggles of life to which I can relate. Maison Ikkoku is definitely a recommended read.
Note: I would say this is probably for a 16+ audience at least, partially for sexual reasons, but even more so simply because the themes featured are ones that an older audience will appreciate more than a younger one.