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Maison Ikkoku II (April Fools)

by Dylan & Harley Acres

April 1, 2007

Fans have been anxiously awaiting the 500th chapter of Inuyasha ever since Rumiko Takahashi set it as a goal for herself in March of 2005. And so with the announcement in Shonen Sunday 2007 Issue 17, that the following issue would contain not only the 500th chapter of Inuyasha, but a secret "bonus" by Takahashi, fans began to speculate. Little did anyone know that our beloved mangaka planned to return to one of her past series for the first time in her 30 year career.

Thanks to a trusted friend in Japan, Rumic World was able to obtain a sneak peek at Shonen Sunday 18 days before it hit the newstands. The special bonus was the announcement that Takahashi will begin publishing Maison Ikkoku II in Shonen Sunday's sister magazine, Big Comic Spirits, home of the original series from November 1980 until April of 1987.

This image reveals the announcement of Maison Ikkoku II.

The text of the announcement says:

"Following Inuyasha START!! A beloved series returns in celebration of TV Asashi's Maison Ikkoku television drama. It is here in the 500th chapter of Inuyasha that we are pleased to announce that creator Takahashi has decided to revisit her golden romantic comedy Maison Ikkoku! The series will feature all of your old favorites as well as new tenants of Ikkoku-kan."

Below the announcement is the first official artwork from the series, which shows Kyoko sitting next to a young man in glasses. The pair are sitting contentedly inside, watching the rain fall in front of them. Two word bubbles are spoken, both by Kyoko. She says "A man that dreams about trains," "I think, is a good man."

The dark circles under the image and to the right and left say:

Right circle: "Maison Ikkoku will return to the pages of Big Comic Spirits in May of 2007. Please support this wonderful return of creator Takahashi's most beloved characters and learn the fate of their lives five years after the birth of baby Haruka!

Left circle: Even Ranma is shocked. On this, the celebration of 500 chapters of Inuyasha, Takahashi has made a surprising announcement! Along with the return of Maison Ikkoku to the pages of Big Comic Spirits in May, please also support the debut of the Maison Ikkoku television drama on TV Asashi and the brand new shinsoubon releases of the original Maison Ikkoku!

The white text in the center sheds some light on this mysterious new man and perhaps the direction of the series as well: "The mysterious new tenant of the boarding house is revealed!! The new tenant who lives in Ikkoku-kan is Tonma Bangusetsu, who much like the manager's beloved Godai is a recent college graduate who has abandoned a bright future in the business world to follow his dreams of designing trains. Successful at his job yet unlucky in love- upon meeting Kyoko's niece Ikuko Otonashi, he falls madly in love and moves into Maison Ikkoku to learn more about her. A new love is born in the old boarding house!!

How We Did It

There was actually a lot of fortuitious truth behind our first April Fool's joke. It happened to coincide with the upcoming Maison Ikkoku live action drama, as well as the fact that a mysterious present was teased in the 499th chapter of Inuyasha, which was going to be revealed when chapter 500 was released the following week. That gave us enough time to slip the "Maison Ikkoku 2" rumor into the gap as if it was the actual present. This all just happened to fall right between April 1st, so it created the perfect background for Takahashi to announce a sequel to Maison Ikkoku, not to mention the recent announcement of the new Maison Ikkoku shinsoubon.

First we took this advertisement from way back in 1996 advertising the impending debut of the Inuyasha manga. Harley did a littlegraphic work to replace Inuyasha and Kagome with a new panel of Kyoko and the mysterious new character in glasses, "Tonma Bangusetsu". He also inserted a semi-recent drawing of Kagome and Inuyasha over the one of Ranma from the original ad to make it look more contemporary.

The trick to making the idea of a Maison Ikkoku sequel seem credible was to use a drawing of Kyoko rendered in Takahashi's current style. As any fan knows, Takahashi's art style has changed considerably in the two decades since Maison Ikkoku originally ended. Finding a contemporary drawing was difficult, but thankfully we had the resources.

In September 2006, Takahashi did a guest illustration for a manga entitled Tetsuko no tabi (Tetsuko's Travels) by Hirohiko Yokomi and Naoe Kikuchi published in Monthly Ikki 2006 Vol. 7. The translation we provided for the word bubbles is actually accurate since we had to fool our Japanese readers. In this particular chapter, the train obsessed main character fantasizes about a romantic moment with none other than Kyoko Otonashi. All the pages with Kyoko were actually drawn for the manga by Takahashi. The name we made up, "Tonma (Idiot/Fool) Bangusetsu (April Fool's Day)" is actually a bit of a clever hint that this was all a big joke.

Here we see the original sources for most of the material used in the trick, a copy of Monthly Ikki, the original page of Tetsuko's Travels with Takahashi's artwork on the first half of the page and Kikuchi's on the final panel and on the far right is the cover of volume one of Tetsuko's Travels.

We generated some excitement, especially from Maison Ikkoku fans, but of course some people were able to see through our little ruse since we posted in on April 1st. We got to trick some people, and reading the reactions to the whole "Ikuko romance plot" that Dylan invented was quite fun to read. Overall it was a very fun April Fool's prank.

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