Maison Ikkoku is a wonderful show, full of awkward situations, irony, comedy, and romance, that all meld together in the day-to-day happenings of the rich, complex characters that inhabit its world. A great part of the show's appeal lies in the detailed and careful development of the characters episode after episode. One only needs to look back to the first few episodes to realize how much Godai has grown, and how much his relationship with Kyoko-san has flowered over the course of their history together. Every episode is a gem that tells us just a little more, gives us a precious peek, into the private lives of these characters, and creates a fondness for them within us.
With the acquisition of Maison Ikkoku by Viz (who also puts out the Ranma video series), we have decided to end this series by the end of this semester. Unfortunately, this has made it necessary to skip several episodes. If you recall, we ended last semester with episode #68. This semester we will begin our first meeting with episode #81, leaving episodes #69-80, in which several important developments occur, unaccounted for. I have attempted to provide a brief synopsis of each of these episodes in the hopes that they will provide a little more background information upon entering episode #81.
*The title translations are from the Arctic Animation translations. Please excuse any errors.
Episode 69: Underwater Battle. Suspicious Kiss Mark On Godai!
This episode begins with Godai and Sakamoto having a drink, and it seems that Sakamoto has just been dumped by his girl. Feeling very down, they both go to bed, and Sakamoto, in his sleep, gives Godai a kiss mark just below his neck. The next day, Mitaka invites Kyoko to go to a pool at a hotel club he has a membership to. Of course, everyone ends up going along, with the exception of Godai, who is working part-time at the very same pool but doesn't want anyone to know. Well, a series of misunderstandings occur, and Kyoko thinks that Godai got his kiss mark from some girl. At the end, Kyoko loses her bathing suit top which is returned to her by Godai secretly. Later she finds out it was him, and everything is happy (for the time being).
Episode 70: Goodbye Ba-chan. Ueno Station is Party Panic.
Yukari Ba-chan (Godai's grandmother) is preparing to go back home in this episode. Godai is still looking for a job, and Ba-chan asks Kyoko to look after him. Kyoko and Godai go shopping for a present for Ba-chan, and Godai looks at the engagement rings with longing, realizing that he can't afford anything. The next day, Godai has a bad hangover from the going-away party the night before and is sick to the stomach. Everyone goes to the station to see Ba-chan off. A variety of crazy things happen, but she eventually gets back home and calls Godai. She tells him to be persistent in his pursuit of Kyoko.
Episode 71: Mid Summer Night's Dream. Godai Already Found a Job?!
Ba-chan sends two matching Yukatas for Godai and Kyoko, and the entire gang go to the Summer Festival for lots of fun. Beforehand, Kyoko received a letter from Mitaka earlier in the day saying that he had something very important to tell her. It turns out that (are you ready for this) Mitaka has been able to conquer his fear of dogs!! Remember the little puppy he got a while back? Well, that puppy (MacEnroe is his name) has helped Mitaka get over his fear! Yagami and Mitaka meet the gang at the festival, and they talk about Godai's search for work. It turns out that Yagami's dad is the chief of personnel at a first-rate company. Yagami gets Godai to take her home and meet her dad, who seems to like Godai a lot. This makes Godai and all the folks at Ikkoku-kan happy. What they don't know was that Yagami's dad was completely drunk and doesn't remember a thing (figures!).
Episode 72: A Baby is Born? Godai's Life of Joy and Crying.
Yagami's dad thinks that Godai is trying to take advantage of his daughter in order to get a job. This makes him very angry, and he looks forward to meeting Godai so he can punish him for using his daughter. Yagami senses that things will go wrong and gives Godai, through Kyoko, an amulet for "Easy Delivery." Godai, on his way to the interview with Yagami's dad, runs into a woman going into labor in the street. He calls an ambulance and ends up, in the typical Godai fashion, getting dragged along as the husband. He misses the interview, gives his amulet of "Easy Delivery" to the woman in labor, and sees the baby born at the hospital. All this time, Yagami's dad is pretty darn angry at Godai and thinks that he ran away.
Episode 73: Ikkoku-kan Hostage Crisis! Yagami's Big Nuisance.
After leaving the hospital, Godai gives up hope of making an excuse for having missed the interview. Yagami learns of this from her dad and goes to Ikkoku-kan to find out why Godai never showed up. She becomes convinced that Godai didn't go so as to not make it look like he was using her, thus Yagami blames herself for everything. Yagami's dad comes searching for her, and Godai confronts him. Just then, the husband of the woman Godai helped comes and explains the story. Yagami's dad is convinced but can't hire Godai due to limits. Yagami gets upset and locks herself in Godai's room. She is still there four days later and refuses to go back home until her dad gets Godai a job. Her mom comes to talk to her and fails. Yagami's father is convinced that Godai is planning on marrying Yagami.
Episode 74: Change in Employment Front. Godai's Last Comeback.
Yagami is still at Ikkoku-kan. Her dad gets calls from Yagami's teachers and hears that rumors are floating around school. Yagami's mom suggests the possibility of getting Godai into another company, and Yagami's dad takes this advice and decides to throw Godai to a middle-class company. He meets Godai and confronts him, and Godai reveals his love for Kyoko to Mr. Yagami. Yagami goes home with her father after Godai gets the advance notice of employment. Kyoko even gets him a tie as a present. Later that day, Godai hears a news report that says the company that just hired him also just went bankrupt! (Can you believe our buddy Godai's luck?) It turns out that Mr. Yagami forgot this unfortunate situation.
Episode 75: Love all the way! Yagami and Asuna, Never Give Up.
Mitaka, under orders from his uncle, goes to Asuna's house and decides to settle matters and tell her he can't marry her. She is so touched and happy by his coming that Mitaka can't bring himself to bring it up and plays with all the dogs instead. This serves to make him look like an even better match for Asuna in the eyes of her parents and especially to Asuna herself. While Mitaka does this, his uncle visits Kyoko and pleads with her to give up on Mitaka. Kyoko explains that it's not like that, and the uncle leaves convinced that there is no problem. The principal from the nursery Godai worked at asks him to come back and work again for the summer. Godai accepts. When he returns home, Yagami is there to greet him, and convinced that she is partly responsible for what happened with the bankrupt company situation, she decides to stay at Ikkoku-kan once again.
Episode 76: I'll Wait. Kyoko's Sudden Announcement!
(*This is a must see. I think it is a pivotal ep.)
Episode 77: Bravo Godai! The Pride of a Man.
Godai agrees to coordinate a Sports Festival for the Nursery and works very hard to do well. Yagami creates a new plan and makes her dad miss having her around the house. Her dad finally breaks down and brings a reference letter Godai can use to get a good job at a stable company. But in a demonstration of true maturity, Godai rejects the letter and states that he would like to find something for himself without any outside help. Yagami goes home, a little confused, and Godai goes on to have a very successful Sports Festival. All the while, Kyoko watches in admiration as Godai has one of his incredibly rare moments of triumph!
Episode 78: It's a Secret! Godai's Work.
Sakamoto gets a job using the reference letter that Godai refused, and both go celebrate at a cabaret. It turns out that Sakamoto, in a drunken stupor, agreed to pay the bill with labor. Both work outside the doors trying to get people to come in and have a drink among a "paradise of girls." Then, it turns out that Sakamoto's new boss is a regular there, so Sakamoto leaves Godai to work all of the bill off. At the end of the episode, Yotsuya appears and discovers Godai working at the cabaret. He promises not to tell Kyoko if Godai pays for his drinks. And we all know where this is going...
Episode 79: I'm Sorry Kyoko-san. Guilt Trip Homemade Lunch.
Godai is still working at the cabaret, but now he is stuck in a vicious cycle. Ichinose-san, Akemi, and Yotsuya keep coming and putting their bills on Godai's tab so that he can never pay off the bill and get out of his situation. He decides he can't take it anymore and quits the cabaret. He also begins to think about becoming a nursery staff member after he graduates. Kyoko warmly encourages him. But the next day, the principal tells him that he has found a full-time staff and lets Godai go (once again, can you believe our good friend's luck?!?!). Sad and depressed, he trudges to the cabaret to pay off the bill, but it turns out he doesn't have enough and decides to work for the cabaret again, this time adding babysitting of the girls' kids to the work list. To make matter worse, Kyoko makes him a boxed lunch complete with bunny-shaped rice rolls to mini octopuses with smiley faces (kinda makes you feel all mushy and soft inside, don't it?), as he supposedly goes off to work. Godai can't bring himself to tell her he was let go and just goes off and eats the lunch in the park. At the end of the episode, Yagami catches Godai working at the cabaret and truly feels sorry for him.
Episode 80: Godai in Panic. Yagami the Bunny Girl.
Yagami feels incredible sadness at seeing her beloved teacher having to work at a cabaret. In order to help him, she decides she will work at the cabaret as a Bunny Girl to help him pay the bill off. This idea is short-lived and never goes into effect since it is illegal to hire minors. Kyoko, out with Mitaka, sees Godai from a parking lot and is confused and hurt by his not telling her about the situation. When she gets home, Yagami is there. She tells Kyoko that Godai isn't just working at a cabaret but also got let go from his job at the nursery. Kyoko is shocked, and Yagami realizes that Kyoko knew none of this. Then Yagami, in a very powerful and intense moment, yells at Kyoko and tells her to do something because if Kyoko does not, then she, herself, will not be able to let him go. Yagami will not be able to relieve the anguish she feels unless Kyoko herself does something. This is a powerful challenge indeed. Later, when Godai comes home, she reveals all she knows to Godai, but then says that he should not be too down. She tells him that although he is a reserved man who has had a lot of unfortunate things happen to him, there will come a time when he will be rewarded. Then she tenderly asks him to never again keep anything from her. The next day she faithfully gives him another boxed lunch to take along with him.
And that is where we stand in the wonderful world of Maison Ikkoku. From here on out, only the final stretch remains. And although I will be sad when the series ends for us, I look forward to every episode we have remaining and hope you enjoy the rest of the series as much as I know I will.