Maison Ikkoku 7 by Rumiko Takahashi: A

From the back cover:
Godai ends up in the hospital and has two unexpected visitors. His cute cousin comes to nurse him and Kyoko’s other suitor, Mitaka, ends up being his roommate. Godai’s problems aren’t over when he’s discharged—he has to deal with Kyoko and his school absences.

This volume is truly excellent, with many classic moments and even some movement on the relationship front.

I like the appearance of the hitherto unseen Mr. Ichinose, and find the chapter where both parents compete in an event at Kentaro’s school to be sweet and wonderful right up until the end when it’s revealed that Mrs. Ichinose has participated not for her kid’s sake, but to win some sake. That kind of ruins it a bit.

Several chapters feature Godai in a hospital after he broke his leg rescuing Kyoko from a crumbling bit of roof. Some of these aren’t so hot—I didn’t particularly care about the elopment of Godai’s cousin—but it’s about here that Kyoko begins to seriously ponder what her feelings are, and even comes close to smooching him. Anytime we get something from Kyoko’s point of view, I like it.

As good as these bits were, they can’t top my favorite chapter in the volume. Mitaka and Godai, upon running into each other for check-ups at the hospital (Mitaka ended up breaking his leg too), commence hanging out together and eventually drown their Kyoko-related sorrows in some booze. They stagger home, fully determined to tell her off for being stubborn and harboring a grudge against them for being idiots. That is, until they run into her. She says, “Let’s go home” and they both meekly go, “Okay.” Hee.

I haven’t talked about Takahashi’s art lately, but I’ve really been enjoying it. Background details continue to be excellent, and I’m particularly fond of little realistic touches, like a plane flying by in the background of one panel. It’s such a small thing, and yet I’m not sure I’ve seen it done before. The storytelling is also excellent, and though I do tire of the neighbors spoiling things, there were enough satisfying moments in these chapters that I didn’t come away annoyed.

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