Review of Maison Ikkoku (1986)

Moving picture, 40 hours

A young man struggling to get into college gets a room at an old two-storey apartment complex in Tokyo, the Maison Ikkoku. The place is infested with nosy, hard-partying cynics, but is also getting a new manager: A gentle young widow.

Romantic comedy based on one of Takahashi Rumiko’s flagship manga. More realistic than Urusei Yatsura (1981). 96 episodes. Cheap but solidly crafted animation. Surprisingly little pure filler, but some unlikely, slow-moving complications of the kind that weakened Urusei Yatsura more severely. These get interesting resolutions, and the central romance gathers appropriate gravitas. The war story in episode 3 has some very nice haunting nostalgia, but little relation to the plot. The female author’s “voice” is fairly strong, giving even the brief nudity a non-exploitative air that’s sorely missing in the anime mainstream of 2010. This makes it one of relatively few anime that a non-geeky girlfriend would be likely to watch, in my experience.

References here: Gestaltning i A Silent Voice, World Apartment Horror (1991).

animation fiction Japanese production moving picture series