Maison Ikkoku Kanketsuhen
Romanized title: Maison Ikkoku Kanketsuhen
English title: Maison Ikkoku The End
Broadcast station:TV Asahi
Broadcast date: 26 July 2008
Cast: Ito Misaki, Nakabayashi Taiki, Kishimoto Kayoko, Kishibe Ittoku, Takahashi Yumiko, Sugai Kin, Sawamura Ikki, Minami Akina
Synopsis: This 2nd special brings back the cast from the 2007 drama [save for Eikura Nana as Kozue]. The story picks up two years later and follows Godai as he struggles to complete college, find a job, and propose to his lovely apartment manager Kyoko who is being pursued by her dog-fearing tennis instructor.
We start off with Yotsuya recapping the first special and complaining about how not much has changed since then even though it’s been two years already. In fact, now that Godai is in college, he slacks off a little more now. Yotsuya complains about the Japanese education system in which you work hard and struggle to get into school only to loaf off once you’re there. Like always, Godai’s neighbors come into his room uninvited and completely take over and party. Now they talk about how Kyoko is on a date with Mitaka [Sawamura Ikki] and how he is a great guy. Hearing this depresses Godai. Has he lost his chance before he even made a move?
Meanwhile, Kyoko is out on a date with Mitaka, totally oblivious to the fact that she is on a date. When Mitaka asks her why she came with him, he is disappointed to hear because she thought it would be fun. Kyoko thinks it is problematic how small her world has become – limited only to interacting with the tenants at Maison Ikkoku, Thus, she accepted his offer to go out. Not what Mitaka wanted to hear at all. He even had a diamond prepared that he doesn’t give her just yet. Kyoko is just as oblivious as Godai when it come to some things. Mitaka does tell Kyoko that he sees her as a woman and that was why he invited her and this really surprises Kyoko-san.
At school, Godai is working on a puppet show for the university’s festival. He wants a happy ending, but the girl in charge hates happy endings, so the play will end in a tragedy instead. Later, Sakamoto comes up to Godai to invite his friend out to the movies. Godai, however, gets really excited and takes both tickets in order to invite Kyoko to see the movie with him. Poor Sakamoto, still getting mistreated.
Godai goes back home only to find Kyoko gone and Mrs. Ichinose is still calling him a rounin even though he is finally in college. Kyoko is still out with Mitaka. The date is really cut short when the man sees a tiny little dog and faints completely. Kyoko, at this point at least, has no idea why he passes out. While this is happening, Godai paces back and forth waiting for her to return. When she does, Mrs. Ichinose asks how the date went and Kyoko said that she has no idea what happened, but Mitaka got sick and she had to escort him home. Talk about the opposite of what is supposed to happen.
The next day Kyoko goes out to visit her husband’s grave [continuity error here as in the 1st special, it was a crowded grave site, not a lonely one-grave like here]. Godai asks Akemi where Kyoko went and she tells him that Kyoko got dolled up to go out with a guy. This makes Godai depressed as he says “again.” After Kyoko’s discussion with her husband, she sees Godai on her way home. He is sitting down watching some little kids playing. When one falls down, he helps the kid up. Kyoko really likes to see this side of him. However, she soon gets annoyed as a girl shows up. The girl is Nanao Kozue [played by Minami Akina in this special], a former coworker of Godai’s. Godai asks her out to see the movie instead and the two go off happily together. Godai, like Kyoko was with Mitaka, is totally oblivious to the fact that Nanao likes him.
Ok. So all the romantic rivals are introduced. The only thing is, they are more like roadblocks to Godai’s and Kyoko’s successful romance as neither is really interested in Mitaka or Nanao. Mitaka spends a lot of time in this series trying to overcome his fear of dogs to become the perfect man for Kyoko and Godai doesn’t see much of Nanao for quite awhile as he tries to determine his future. Should he become a ryuuin [takes longer in school] or should he find a job? What kind of job? All these questions plague him. His goal: to get a job and propose to Kyoko.
Kyoko, meanwhile, has finally figured out she likes Godai, but she refuses to admit it for a long time. Even though she gets angry and jealous all the time when Nanao enters the picture. In spite of all their misunderstandings, Kyoko still does her best to support Godai and push him forward [sometimes unintentionally in her jealousy]. Of course, we have the other Maison Ikkoku residents doing their best to stir up the pot and trick the hapless couple. This makes misunderstandings grow.
After a lot of wishy-washy-ness. Godai finally makes a decision. He will take the state exams to become a kindergarten teacher. Why it took him 2 hours to figure this out is beyond me. He’s great with kids and seems to enjoy his part-time job at the kindergarten. He also lets Nanao know that she isn’t the girl for him. This, in turn, means Kyoko has to stop being so oblivious as well. Thus she decides to go to Godai once he passes the teaching exam and gets a job.
This means that all of Mitaka’s hard work in becoming unafraid of dogs is useless [at least in him wooing Kyoko]. He does, however, help Godai and Kyoko along by making sure Godai makes it to his exam on time. Godai manages to pass on his first try. The gang goes to Cha-Cha Maru to celebrate and Godai officially proposes to Kyoko and she thanks him and accepts on one condition – even if its only for a day, Godai cannot die before her as she is tired of living alone. Godai later visits Souichiro’s grave and has a hear-to-heart with Kyoko’s dead husband. He knows that Kyoko will always have a spot in her heart for Souichiro, but he can live with that.
We then end this special with Kyoko and Godai bringing their baby daughter home to Maison Ikkoku and telling Haruka that is where they met for the first time. Now, exactly how much time has passed since the episode opened in 1985 is really unspecified. There was a lot of “and seasons pass” in the show along with commentary from the trio of Maison Ikkoku neighbors who complained about how slow our two protagonists were. I found that kind of annoying along with just how long it took for Kyoko and Godai to officially come together and how many misunderstandings they had and just how clueless they were about a lot of things. But I did really enjoy this series.
I especially liked when Kyoko got jealous of Nanao’s and Godai’s “date” and she locks Godai out of the house. She eventually left him back in, but insisted to him she wasn’t angry at all. Another classic moment was the puppet show in which Godai and Kyoko had a great love-love moment interrupted by Nanao’s cheering for Godai which immediately made Kyoko angry and she refused Godai’s hear-felt puppet proposal. And then the broom-breaking incident and sweater incident were equally as amusing.
And now for Chani’s comments…
Wow! Another excellent new interpretation of one of my favorite nostalgic manga from my past! As I predicted when watching part one, this second part does a lot more summarizing of the series than the first part did. Well, when they followed the manga so closely in the first part, but didn’t get even one fifth through the series, I could sort of predict that if they were going to finish the whole thing in only two parts, they’d have to summarize a lot if they wanted to complete the story. Unfortunately, that means you lose some detail and certain things are reinterpreted, but I do think they did a really good job.
In contrast to part one, they left out the whole sub-plot of Godai telling his young daughter Haruka the story of when her parents first met, and again that relates back to one of my predictions from the first half. Namely, that there was an issue with time calculations. If Godai was telling his daughter the story in 2007 as part one claimed, and I am CERTAIN that the girl couldn’t have been older than ten, it meant she was born no earlier than 1997, and if the beginning of the story was set in 1983 as part one also claimed, it meant that a total of fourteen years went by from when they first met to when they had their child, and… well, I’m just not seeing that that makes any sense. Part one couldn’t have covered more than two years and that’s a stretch. Godai spent four years in college, as far as I can assume. And then there were a couple other “seasons pass” moments, so if we assume those were two years each, plus one year before they had Haruka, that equals eleven years max, which would put the girl’s birth at 1994, which is a stretch in and of itself, which would mean she would have to be thirteen and she looked more like she was six. Ten years old is a stretch to me anyway. Sooooooo, yeah… long story short it makes no sense to me either way and I think they probably noticed the continuity error and dropped that subplot because of it, but that’s just my guess. Either way, the concept of the flashback was cute and it’s a shame they had to get rid of it in the second half.
All right, now that I’ve finished with that rant I can talk more about the drama itself. Once again, the three zany other tenants are what make the story fun. Having Yotsuya, Akemi, and Mrs. Ichinose give us ‘updates’ on what’s going on in the story at various ‘seasons pass’ moments was a great idea and loads of fun. I think Mrs. Ichinose is my favorite – I LOVED her in the broom-breaking scene as briefly described above. They even followed the example set by the manga and had her husband, Mr. Ichinose, appear briefly in one of the bar scenes. In the manga as well, he only appears briefly, because he’s “just not very noticeable” or something of the sort.
I was happy to see that they kept some great scenes from the manga, including the scene after Godai and Kyoko are engaged where his grandmother, another awesome character, gives Kyoko a ring her husband had given her and then tricks Godai by pretending to be dead, terrifying him and then laughing hysterically afterwards. Ah, Grandma Godai is great. Additionally, they kept the scene at Souichiro’s grave at the end, which was excellent. The puppet show, also, was taken straight from the manga and the puppets looked a good deal like their manga incarnations.
Of course, given that it was such a summarized version of the latter chunk of the manga, they had to leave a lot of things out too. I really wish they had done some more of the romantic scenes between Godai and Kyoko, especially the moment where they first kiss and make love, which is long before the proposal and is given a lot of attention in the manga. Sadly, it was skipped entirely here. We don’t even get an actual kiss scene – though I don’t know how common those are in drama, as again I’m not that experienced with watching it yet. At least we do get to see them embrace at the very end. Either way, if we’d gotten more of those romantic scenes, it would have been more satisfying, I think, especially given how long it took them to get together, as NeeNee mentioned above. I was also sad that they left out the fact that Akemi marries the bartender at Chachamaru. But oh well.
It was nice to see the rivalries involving Mitaka and Kozue played out, but some things were left out of those bits, too. Namely, I really wish they included the fact that Mitaka ends up engaged to be married against his will to a shy young heiress who loves dogs and owns a great number of them, thus also forcing Mitaka to get over his fear of the animals. Plus, the nice thing about it is that he ends up really happy with his wife in the long run, in the manga. Here, he just ends up with… a car full of dogs. Which is hilarious, by the way. As he tells Godai… it’s a long story and you don’t want to hear it.
I was glad that they included the puppy he initially adopts, a little Pomeranian named McKenroe, after a famous tennis player of the time, who is absolutely adorable. He was in the manga, too. Strangely, it wasn’t quite clear to me when Kyoko figured out that he had a fear of dogs, because when he faints the first time she clearly doesn’t know but by the last couple encounters he has with Souichiro-san the dog, she does know. I guess that’s another thing sacrificed as they try to summarize a large chunk of story in only a short time.
One interesting thing they did here that they didn’t do in the manga (at least not that I recall) was change Kyoko’s apron. Whereas in part one it was a chick saying ‘Piyo Piyo’ (cheep cheep), here it is a full grown chicken saying ‘Koke kokko’ (a clucking sound). Very cute and original.
All in all, though this second half was less true to the manga story, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed both parts, and think they did the manga story justice. The actors were perfect for their roles, there was comedy, drama, and romance, and it was a very enjoyable viewing experience overall.
I highly recommend it! 🙂