Just because an anime is doing something fairly unique doesn't mean it can't bore you straight into your grave.
Reviewby Allen Divers, Apr 17th 2002
VHS 20: Present From The Past
Meet Godai, an average broke young man living in a run-down apartment building. Just to make matters worse, come the nosy and nosiest neighbors anyone could have. To top it all off is the beautiful manager of the building, Kyoko. Godai finds himself in love with this lovely widow, but can't find the words to tell her.
Kyoko discovers a memento left by her former husband, Soichiro. When she asks Godai to help her find out what it is, it has him second-guessing himself and her feelings. Now Sakamoto has accidentally lost the memento on a train, and Godai must find it before Christmas Eve ends!
Maison Ikkoku Vol 20 Present from the Past presents a 2-part story arc that challenges Godai's feelings for Kyoko. The emphasis this time around is on the romantic aspects, with occasional bouts of trademark Rumiko Takahashi humor.
The animation and art is the standard fare for this series. Being set around Christmas, the characters are dressed warmer than usual. The setting of snow covered Japan adds to the emotional impact of these episodes. While still light in tone and color, the overall effect adds to the impact of Godai's internal struggle.
The translation stays true to the original intent of the dialogue. Because of the more serious tone of things, it would have been easy to change the script a bit to keep it from becoming gloomy. Fortunately, the translation flows well, without hampering or pulling away from the actual dialogue.
The story arc presented in these episodes takes a step up in terms of the romance aspects of Maison Ikkoku. While not nearly as carefree as the previous episodes, humor remains an integral part of the script. A lot of the drama comes from Godai coming to terms with the strange memento left to Kyoko by Soichiro. Godai remains the ever-faithful hero as he struggles with his own feelings while trying to do what is right. There is a lot of character growth on the part of Godai and Kyoko as they both move through these episodes.
Present From the Past throws a bit of a monkey wrench into the stability of things at the apartment building, specifically the lives of both Kyoko and Godai. The romantic and emotional aspects of this series take centerstage, with the humor coming along for the ride to keep things from becoming too tiresome. Maison Ikkoku has come to a major turning point for the characters, and continues to be a solid romantic comedy.
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : N/A
Story : A
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ A solid turning point for the romantic aspects of Maison Ikkoku
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