Maison Ikkoku 9 by Rumiko Takahashi: B+

From the back cover:
Godai finally gets serious about finding a job. Unfortunately, Kyoko is the only one who takes him seriously—a little too seriously—when he talks about his “future.” For the immediate future, he gets a position waiting tables at a resort, and an eyeful when Kyoko loses her top in the pool. Once he finally lands a gig student-teaching at Kyoko’s old high school, a googly-eyed student named Yagami moves into his life, and, sneakily, into Maison Ikkoku. Will she manage to get between Godai and Kyoko?

Even though I find Yagami pretty annoying, I must admit that this volume was consistently entertaining. With the previous volume, I’d gotten tired of stories about the neighbors pulling pranks, so it was nice to read a continuous storyline that had little to do with that sort of thing.

My favorite part, though, was the Christmas chapter. Godai and Kyoko were drafted by the puppet theatre club, who they’d helped a few years previously, to provide some voices for a show being given at a pre-school. Godai ended up cast as a penniless pauper and Kyoko’s character berated him for his worthless state. This lead to a nice conversation between the two of them where he lamented the state of his life. I don’t remember this from the anime, so to me it kind of felt like the first glimmer of the plot going in a more serious direction and getting the two of them together.

The volume ended with one of the most frustrating bits I remember from the anime—when Godai missed his job interview with Yagami’s dad because he encountered a woman in labor on the way and got roped into escorting her to the hospital. I suppose it’s a testament to the quality of the series when the characters’ faults make me want to shout at them, but it’s still irritating.

I’m almost up to the point where I abandoned the anime and am really looking forward to finally seeing the conclusion of this classic series!

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