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Maison Ikkoku Episode 4
Kyoko-san Hara-Hara?! Godai-kun Wa Jiken Desu
(Kyoko-san's Worried?! Godai's in the Middle of Exams)

Distributed by: Shogakukan Video (Japan), Viz Video (North America)
Length: 26 minutes
Rating: NR, parental guidance suggested
Format: Original Japanese dialog (LD), subtitled (VHS) and dubbed (VHS)

Based on the comic series by Takahashi Rumiko. Produced by Kitty Film and Fuji TV. English version by Yoshida Toshifumi and Trish LeDoux, Viz Video.

[ plot summary ]

volume 1

It's February, and the university entrance exams are here at last! Godai has a master plan to get into a university -- any university: Take as many entrance exams as you can, and hope that numbers are on your side. Still, studying for these exams is no mean feat when you've got the lots of mean feet living in the same building -- and they're taking bets on Godai's chances. It's even worse that one is none other than the meddling Ichinose Hanae, and she's determined to set up an omiai meeting for Kyoko!

[ capsule review ]

We're fairly lucky over here in North America -- the pressures involved into getting into university, let alone a "good" one doesn't compare to what students face in Japan. (Japan still has a ridiculously high suicide rate for those who don't make into post-secondary education.) You really have to keep this tidbit in mind, since the humour in this episode relies on people having a grasp on the importance of these entrance exams (they pretty much determine your entire adult future.) No wonder poor Godai wants to lose his title of ronin! Sometimes, I have to wonder if Takahashi has a real cruel streak in her... how else could she come up with things like a betting pool to Godai's exam results? But typical of her stories, her characters are very human, with very human foibles. Seeing Kyoko getting drunk in the middle of the afternoon (My! What large shoes you wear!), or Godai taking the exam at his favourite university, only to walk out early because he can't do the questions. These are situations people can relate to, and that why this series strikes a chord with so many. The interesting aspect of this episode is that Kyoko at this point has no intention (or real interest) in Godai, and this misunderstanding is the central device used in the on-going gag in this episode. Not hilarious, but still pretty funny. - AN

It's February and time for the exams. Godai's taking so many of them it's not even funny, but then neither are the predicted outcomes by the other residents of Ikkoku-kan. As if the bets weren't bad enough, there's the minor distraction of the kanrinin wishing him luck in the morning. Of course, this usually ends up driving him to distraction that he can't concentrate on anything else let alone his exam. (Exam? What exam?) The story continues to be so light-hearted with the usual visual cues of how the exams are going (like when his foot got caught by the train doors as he was on his way to the exam). Still, not a heck of a lot of substance in the story, but we'll see where this thing goes. Of course, as is usual with Takahashi's work, this may take a long time before things actually go anywhere. - JYN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: 3 stars 3 stars N/R
Direction: 4 stars 4 stars N/R
Acting: 4 stars 4 stars N/R
Animation: 3 stars 3 stars N/R
Music: 3 stars 3 stars N/R
Translation: N/A 3 stars N/R
Overall Rating: 3 stars 3 stars N/R

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