About the Manga

1. Serialization in Big Comic Spirits

Unlike Takahashi's other long-running series, Maison Ikkoku did not run in Shonen Sunday, but one of its sister magazines, Big Comic Spirits. If Shonen Sunday is for the teenage reader, then Big Comic Spirits is aimed at the "over 21" crowd. Because Big Comic Spirits is a bi-weekly magazine Takahashi only had to work on two chapters a month instead of four, but she was under an increased workload as it was, because she was writing and drawing Urusei Yatsura in Shonen Sunday throughout Maison Ikkoku's entire run (not an easy feat!!). Maison Ikkoku debuted alongside series such as Naive, Rakuten Kids, Bokkemon, Headgear, and Hoketsu no Hoshi. Of these series only Bokkemon was still around 100 chapters later. This is also the only place to find the original color illustrations that Takahashi created for the series. Maison Ikkoku ran for 162 chapters from November 1980 to April 1987.

2. Tankoban

After enough chapters had been published in Big Comic Spirits Shogakukan issues a tankoban to collect them. The paper quality is much higher than the cheap newsprint used in the bi-weekly magazine. Rumiko Takahashi also provides an original cover illustration, along with a interior piece of orginal color artwork. Each tankoban usually contained around ten to eleven chapters. Maison Ikkoku was collected into a set of 15 tankoban. As time has passed, tankoban for Maison Ikkoku are becoming harder and harder to find as Shogakukan has published newer, more expensive collections of the series.

3. Wideban

In 1993 Shogakukan released wideban collections of Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku. The paper quality in wideban is even higher than the tankoban, and all of the color artwork has been transferred to gray scale to give it a much cleaner look. Once again Takahashi provided beautiful artwork for the covers, each one depicting a different daily routine in Kyoko's life. The interior of the books also feature color illustrations from the series that were not collected in the tankoban, so fans of Takahashi's color drawings should definetly look for these. Wideban are larger than tankoban, and so you get more chapters for your money. Maison Ikkoku was collected in ten wideban books.

4. Bunkoban

Bunkoban are pocket manga. Personally, I think Shogakukan was just enjoying reaping the benefits of the series popularity and wanted another way to make some money from it, but I digress. Bunkoban are smaller, square-bound editions of the series, and are perfect for taking on vacations and reading on the go. The series was released in this format in 1997.

5. Soushuuhen

The Soushuuhen (Entire Collection Compliation) is a slightly more pricey version of Maison Ikkoku that ended production in 2000. Only for the most hardcore fans, the Soushuuhen edition was unfinished in Japan, only six volumes were created, only reaching chapter 78, Nikaido's first appearance. The Soushuuhen are probably most notable for their extremely clean presentation and original color pages that look even better in this format than they did when they originally appeared in Big Comic Spirits. Although, unfortunately, not all the color pages were reprinted in this format.

6. My First Wide

Another cheap way to collect the series, this edition is by far the tallest and fattest version of Maison Ikkoku, collecting the entire series in six huge telephone book sized editions. Each book retailed for a mere 571 yen.

7. Big Comic Compact

On the surface these appear to be inexpensive magazines re-collecting the series on the same cheap newsprint that Maison Ikkoku was originally printed on in its bi-weekly format in Big Comic Spirits. However a closer examination will uncover a wealth of bonus material. Each of the 15 editions is packed with interviews with celebrity fans of the series, as well as exclusive reprints of the color pages from their original chapters. For the collector who purchases all 15, mailing in the UPC code will net them an apron just like Kyoko's!

8. Shinsoban

As of 2007, the newest edition of the Maison Ikkoku manga in Japan. The shinsobon are done in the same style as the shinsoban sets for Ranma , and Urusei Yatsura. Like the Ranma edition, these have no special content, slapdash covers, and seem to be nothing more than an attempt to make a few more bucks out of Maison Ikkoku completists.

9. Foriegn Language Editions

Rumiko Takahashi's works are published in a variety of languages. The American distribution rights are handled by Viz Media, one of the leading manga translation companies which is owned by Shogakukan and as of 2002, Shueisha. A comic book was released every month that collected two chapters from the series. About every six months, Viz collected the chapters as a graphic novel. Fourteen graphic novels of the series were released. In 2004, Viz began re-releasing the collected graphic novels in a new second edition. Although smaller in size, this new release was far superior to the old graphic novels in that the artwork was restored to its original right-to-left layout, the chapters are broken up into the Japanese count, now making the complete run available in 15 books, and most importantly, the missing chapters from the first run were translated and restored to the series, finally giving fans a truly complete look at the series in English.

10. Maison Ikkoku Art Collection

The only true art "book" of the series, this focuses on the anime rather than the manga. Don't let the garish cover fool you, this book is a must-buy for any fan of the series. The book is packed with practically every piece of production art used on the animated series, character turn-arounds for certain key episodes, original artwork used in the Sound Theater CDs and its all on high quality glossy paperstock.


An Introduction to Maison Ikkoku