Maison Ikkoku is widely regarded, in fan circles, as one of the best anime series ever created. It is basically a love story between Godai, a student always bordering on failing all of his classes, and Kyoko, the manager of his apartment. The story itself spans approximately five or six years and is rich with characters, relationships, and problems. Tonight's Maison Ikkoku: Through the Passing Seasons is an attempt to summarize this story, which in its entirety consists of 96 episodes, an OAV, and a movie. As such, many things are left out. I would like to detail some of the characters, relationships, and general tidbits.
In the first twelve episodes, almost all of the major characters in the series are introduced and established. We first meet Yotsuya, a resident in the same apartment as Godai. (He is the one who trips Godai down the stairs.) He is a very mysterious individual with no apparent occupation. He enjoys pestering Godai through a hole in the wall (which he formed) between their two rooms. Next on the scene is Ichinose. She is a homemaker and mother (we do not get to meet her son in MI:TtPS, unfortunately). The last apartment-mate we meet is Akemi. (She is the one in the transparent teddy, which she wears throughout the series.) During Godai's entire stay at Ikkoku-kan, the name of the apartment, these three pester and cajole him nonstop. Almost every night, they get drunk and throw parties in his room. (Is it any wonder why his studies may be lacking?) As if this was not enough, Akemi, Ichinose, and Yotsuya also do everything in their powers to foil, bungle, or just plain screw up Godai and Kyoko's every interaction with each other.
Soon after, the tale's main antagonist is presented. He is none other than the dashing tennis coach, Mitaka. Almost every female character in the series falls for him because he is intelligent, handsome, athletic, rich, and cultured. He, however, has set his sights on Kyoko. His role in the series is misrepresented in MI:TtPS, where he is shown as having a passing "thing" with Kyoko. If you notice, MI:TtPS goes from clips of episode 12 to clips of episode 53, skipping half the story! Basically during this time, we watch Mitaka take Kyoko out often and constantly vie for her affection. All the while, Godai repeatedly receives a scolding of some sort from her. In fact, throughout most of the series, it is quite unclear as to who will win her heart.
Also during these missed episodes, Kozue, a coworker of Godai's, dates Godai. Though Godai completely loves Kyoko, he is unable to refuse Kozue. As one could guess, this further complicates matters between Godai and Kyoko, drawing her closer to Mitaka as Godai appears to be with Kozue. Even through the episodes featuring Yagami (the high school student enamored with Godai), Kozue occasionally dates Godai and even tries to persuade him to propose to her. Like Mitaka, Kozue is a character whose role is integral to the story yet is not correctly depicted here.
All in all, I enjoyed Maison Ikkoku: Through the Passing Seasons; it brought back the memories of a lot of great scenes in the anime. Its fast pace, however, will probably leave many a viewer quite unfulfilled, as so much of the plot is missing. Please do not, however, judge the rest of the series on this representation. Maison Ikkoku is one of my personal favorites (enough to the point where I own all of it, in addition to some CDs, the graphics novels, and miscellaneous paraphernalia), and I highly encourage everyone to experience it. Maison Ikkoku is currently available on video, in comics, and in graphic novels. All formats are distributed by Viz Graphics and can be readily purchased (at Comics for Collectors, the Campus Bookstore, online, and many other places).