Cultural References

Love Hotel
Buildings

Love hotels are Japan's fertility chambers -- gaudy temples to Eros in the post-war era of rampant overcrowding. Designed to make copulation private, discreet and desirable in a land where several generations once shared the same tiny space, love hotels have evolved into a multibillion-dollar industry that is part-kitsch, part-cool. Twenty to 50 bucks will buy a two-hour stay at "rest" rates; after 10 p.m. prices rise to $100 or $200, with an early-morning check-out. The buildings themselves resemble castles, mansions, palaces, even cruise ships, all bathed in neon. The theme-oriented rooms (anything from S&M to tropical island) are immaculate -- a far cry from the notorious fleabags of American one-night stands. Driveways are shielded behind curtains, license plates blocked by clip-on devices. The customer feeds his bills into a computerized slot and chooses a room by pressing a back-lit panel. He never sees anyone but his partner, and no one else sees him.

Relevance to Maison Ikkoku

Love hotels come into play three different times in Maison Ikkoku. The first being when Godai is caught as he is about to visit one with an extremely intoxicated Eriko Shiraishi. The other two occurences are key plot points near the end of the series.


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