I thought I’d go through and list some of my favourite episoides and moments from this very, very long series. Most of them are moments of real character development, which is done wonderfully in this series. Of course, there are also some which are just enjoyable to see.
Episode 8 – This is the episode where Godai (drunk) rather loudly declares his love for Kyoko to the entire street. It’s painfully embarrassing to watch, but becomes even worse when he picks her up and carries her to his room. Naturally, Kyoko is frightened of what is going on but Godai, drunk as he is, falls asleep immediately. Aside from being fairly amusing, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss this as this is sort of exemplifies the childishness of Godai’s early crush. He has just found out about Souichiro and he doesn’t really understand the depth of what that part of Kyoko’s history means, and thinks that she can just “move on” (to Godai). The age gap is also very evident here – Godai is very much still a kid and Kyoko an adult. Their relationship is not on an equal level yet, and Kyoko is still so attached to her former husband that she does not even consider Godai as anything more than a particularly dispruptive tenant.
Episode 14 – This is where Godai asks Kyoko to meet for dinner. Kyoko assumes that he is asking to celebrate one year passing since she moved into Maison Ikkoku and so agrees, but Godai doesn’t know this. For various reasons, they are delayed significantly, but when Kyoko finally finds him, hours and hours later, she is overcome with guilt when she realizes that he has actually been waiting there for the entire time. Not much to say about this one except that it is a very important step in the growth of the two characters.
Episode 23 – Where Kyoko’s mother tries to force her to quit her manager job. I don’t think anyone can deny not grinning a bit when Godai, slightly drunk, buries his head in Kyoko’s lap and cries with relief when she announces that she hadn’t really quit. It really shows how much Godai’s life, which was sort of miserable before Kyoko came in (he was a poor student living with disruptive tenants in an old house), has been brightened up by her presence.
Episode 25 – Mitaka makes a clear proposal to the Kanrinin, much to the annoyance of Godai. I think this is where Godai starts to a grow up a little, and what used to be a childish crush becomes a little more serious. He’s confronted with the fact that there is a tangible and important difference in maturity between him and Mitaka (and also Kyoko). At the end of the episode he asks Kyoko to “wait three more years”, when he thinks that he can become a “socially acceptable” adult.
Episodes 39 & 40 – I think most people would agree that these two are both major episodes in the series. For once, the dramatic side of the show takes a much higher precedence than the comedic side, and in a way this entire plot line is dedicated to Godai’s character growth. Up until this episode, he has a very sort of simplistic one-way affection for the Kanrinin, it’s here that he really begins to realize what the fact that she is a widow really means. That there is a whole side to her that he does not anything about at all, and that he can’t just tell her to forget about it (as he did before).
At the same time, Kyoko is having a very confused response to having to wait for Godai to arrive, and their talk at the end is very ambiguous, but clearly there is a deeper connection developing between them by this point…..If I had to chose a favourite episode or story from the series, it would definitely be this one regarding Souchiro’s “rock” present to Kyoko. Although many other episodes have some of my favourite scenes in them, these entire episodes are favourite scenes to me….
Episode 42 – This is a really well-conceived episode. Godai returns home, after trying to “let go” of Kozue (but can’t when he receives a sweater as a gift) and acts distant because he feels resentment towards the Kanrinin for not being direct enough (which would help him be able to be more decisive)…which eventually causes the chain of events leading to his hospitalization. This all leads, of course, to their embrace in the gardens which was a perfect moment where all the tension that had been built up in the episode was released (and naturally, a big step forward for the plot). Of course, until Mitaka shows up (a hilarious touch).
Episode 45 – This is where Kyoko makes her first tangible confession of sorts, promising to “wait an extra year” for Godai. Though there is a significant amount of guilt coming into play because of the fact that she caused him to “miss” his exam. When they discover that he hasn’t missed anything, she gets up and storms off, most likely feeling embarrassed to have said something so directly over nothing, but the viewers catch a glimpse of a smile of relief on her face as she does so. This is a pretty big moment for Kyoko’s character development because up until this point she has never really given any overt signs of any love for any character (due in part, obviously, to her attachment to her late husband).
Episode 48 – There is a really amusing scene near the end of this episode, where Godai, who is asked to bring a pillow to Kyoko’s parent’s house, takes this opportunity to dress up and impress her parents. When seated, Kyoko’s parents ask him if he has a girlfriend, to which he heavily, heavily hints that there is someone he has in mind (someone older than him….who is a manager…). While both Godai and Kyoko are almost fainting with embarrassment, Kyoko’s parents are too dense to understand the heavy hints he is dropping. One of the most amusing moments in the series, also for Kyoko’s expression as Godai stutters his “confession” right beside her.
Episode 62 – Godai has been chasing after Kyoko all over the areas she is vacationing, until they finally accidentally come across each other in the hot spring of an inn. In many other anime, this would probably end up being a fanservice-filled scene where the hot spring location is exploited to please male viewers (aka Love Hina), but in Maison Ikkoku it is a quiet and mature “resolution”. I was really reminded of how different MI was from so many of the anime series out today. And, of course, their discussion in Kyoko’s room is a wonderful moment of character development.
Episode 76 – The scene pictured above is my favourite scene in the series. If you’re anything like me, it will make you smile for a long time. Although Mitaka is pushing both his and Kyoko’s parents into getting marriage arrangements going (believing he has to push Kyoko or else she will never make a decision), Kyoko has in fact already made her decision and makes this clear to Souchiro (her late husband, at his grave). She knows by know that she’s ready to move on and tells this to her late husband – unaware that Godai is (unintentionally) eavesdropping. There is an amusing response when she notices he is there, but it all ends with a very charming affirmation by Kyoko what her true marriage plans are, which makes Godai speechless (and very, very happy).
Episode 77 – And here we see the result of Godai’s character growth. He has an opportunity in this episode to get a job easily through “connections” and be set for money – but refuses it, because he wants control of his own life, he wants to be able to achieve something without being dragged along by others constantly. Finally, Godai has become a very respectable man.
Episode 84 – After Mitaka dragged the Kanrinin away until the middle of the night, Godai awkwardly (and in an amusing way) pretends to be overtly cheerful and acts as if nothing is wrong (in reality, he is most likely afraid to ask if anything happened). Kyoko obviously notices this and feels slightly frustrated by his behavior. This culminates in a scene the next morning where Godai is sitting on the porch with Tarou (a co-worker’s son). Kyoko comes out to feed Souchiro, but then decides to sit down beside the two of them, bringing up the “elephant in the room”. There is one particularly amusing moment when Kyoko says that she and Mitaka “went to a hotel”, Godai reacts reflexively and Kyoko snaps her head towards him, as if warning him to not have such an insulting suspicion towards her (all of this without speaking). But beyond that, I just like the quiet, reserved tone of their conversation. It shows a stark contrast to the way Mitaka interacts with her, as if she is a prize to be won, always phrasing his words in a way that seems like it was taken out of the latest soap opera. In comparison, Kyoko and Godai speak in a much more humble, human manner with all the lovable awkwardness that comes with it.
It would have been wonderful, in my opinion, if the writers could have made this great scene the final resolution to the final “misunderstanding” which plagued their relationship (Because I think the “misunderstanding” can be a great catalyst for character development (like the scene I just described), but if used too much then it really starts to harm the series more than help it).
How can you not love that expression on Kyoko’s face?
Episode 89 – Ah, now this is a very charming scene (I use the word “charming” too often, I know). Godai tries to explain to Kyoko why he was “kissing” Kozue, and decides to try and re-enact the scene for her (Kozue had sort of tricked him into doing so). Of course, Kyoko is not dense enough to fall for a silly trick (asking her to close her eyes), and Godai realizes how foolish he had been (of course, now Kyoko then understands what actually happened). Then, Kyoko, through some clever trickery, manages to “surprise kiss” Godai as well, which of course makes Godai overjoyed. I just wish this episode didn’t have to be sullied by another “misunderstanding”, but I suppose it was needed to build up to the final resolution.
Episode 93 – During the second half of this episode comes the most heartfelt and close moment between Godai and Kyoko. The snow falls outside as the two watch from Kyoko’s room and the wonderful music “Bell Rings at Dawn” plays in the background…very touching moment.
Episode 94 – The proposal. Regardless if I felt the Yagami plot went on too long, or if there was more misunderstandings than I would have preferred, all of that thought dissipated during the final scene of this episode. It was a very satisfying scene (and they closed it once more with “Bell Rings at Dawn”).
Episode 95 – Yes, I’m basically just listing the final episodes in order at this point. I don’t think I have to explain what I loved about this episode. My favourite parts were definitely the ones involving Godai’s grandmother, who is a great character. Although she is often very comedic and playful, the viewer always gets the sense that she has experienced a great deal, emotionally, in her life.
Episode 96 – And again, I don’t think an explanation is necessary here. It is the final conclusion to a 96 episode-long love story which spans years. Characters have grown and so have their relationships. The early scene at the graveyard is a beautiful moment, as Godai finally accepts Souchiro for what he is and what he represents to Kyoko. And then you have the wonderful ending, as the viewer reflects upon the story that has been told, and the screen fades and “Kanashimi yo Konnichiwa”, the song which greeted us at the beginning of a great deal of episodes, is played by a string orchestra one final time.
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