I know what I’m buying… usually. And I could have sworn I passed on the new version of Maison Ikkoku until I knew what if any differences there were besides the obvious bigger format, etc. Well, image my surprise when I saw what came in the mail.
Well, heck, I have it anyway, so let’s see if I can answer questions I myself had about two hours ago before I opened this package.
Warning: image-heavy post ahoy!
Appearance and Format
Now, while I do have two versions of Maison Ikkoku now, these are actually the second and third editions. The first book version (which gathered chapters after they were being put out as American style comics) was unflipped, moved parts around, and missing chapters. So you can consider the second edition the first “real” version of Maison Ikkoku in English since it contained everything and in the right order.
Obviously, the new edition is taller and thicker, and it includes French flaps. While it’s about 100 pages longer, it doesn’t seem HUGE since the second edition was already over 200 pages long. The bigger format plus lack of border around the cover image means that more of the boarding house is seen. The coloring is also different; Kyoko goes from a peach skintone to a more pale white coloring.
The new logo is very lame, literally just the title written in some all-caps font with the words slightly curving. Poor Soichiro is removed from the logo as well as the volume number on the side. But hey, at least there’s a small but cute picture of him on the back. Again, back is minimalist, as the summary is on the front flap. But at least the second edition logo, while the actual font is not good, at least it had a little personality to it thanks to the roof, the clock, and Soichiro.
The new cover material is also textured, like a weave fabric material. It gives it a more aged look, appropriate for a series that’s now 40 years old. At the same time, kind of unnecessary.
One note of caution: while VIZ Media bills this as the “Collector’s Edition”, no where does the company use this phrase on the actual release. The closest it comes to is on the copyright page where it says “VIZ Signature Edition”. So I could see unaware stores and resellers getting all confused and just assuming it’s the same book but with a slightly different cover. I mean, the ISBN would reflect the title of “Maison Ikkoku Collector’s Edition”, but you’d think somewhere on the book itself there would be “Collector’s Edition”, “Signature Edition”, or whatever. I tried to look up because I couldn’t think of any manga rerelease that didn’t have “deluxe” or whatever qualifying marker on it, and the only one I quickly found was the upcoming Mermaid Saga. So maybe it has to do with VIZ’s contract? Or maybe they hope people won’t pass on it because readers see a special edition and assume it’s for die-hard fans?
Like any omnibus, the thickness means the Collector’s Edition has some heft to it. The smaller book is about 7 ounces (200 grams); the larger is 1 pound (450 grams). So well over double the weight. So if you find yourself liking the Collector’s Edition but not the bulkiness, the digital version might be the better option.
However, simply because of the old logo and the fact that VIZ Media didn’t advertise this as a new edition and not just a reprint…
Of course, the newer versions has brighter pages. The second edition is showing some yellowing, as it is about 17 years old. However, this series much older than that, and combined with Takahashi’s relatively simplistic style, the two versions don’t look that much different. You really only notice differences on some pages that must have been copied badly or edited to make the screentones look consistent.
Second edition uses Wild Words, Collector’s Edition has a more rounded, bubbly font.
The second edition tends to bold, italicize, or enlarge words, and I have to admit it gives the characters a little more personality and helps fill in some of the speech bubbles. The new font is daintier and can look small. Both versions edit sound effects, and of course the better technology nowadays means that erasing and replacing is better in the Collector’s Edition.
However mainly because the Collector’s Edition is over 15 years newer and improvements are barely noticeable unlike you keep going back and forth…
Neither version uses honorifics. Generally, the second edition has a lot of the cast addressing each other by their personal names when they should be using their family names like Akemi calling the main male lead “Yusaku” instead of “Godai”. This is corrected in the Collector’s Edition. However, the Collector’s Edition also removes the honorific replacements. The dog, for instance is “Soichiro-san” in Japanese, “Mr. Soichiro” in the second edition, and just “Soichiro” in the Collector’s Edition. His nameplate also reflects this change. Also, in the Collector’s Edition, Yusaku calls the lady he likes “Kyoko” but “Manager” in the second edition.
Also, I’ve never seen it written as “kidnaped” like it is in the Collector’s Edition, but some sources say it’s an American thing? As an American, I’ve always seen and written it as “kidnapped”, and when I searched, most of the articles using “kidnaped” were really old. I can’t be the only one who would have thought this was a typo, right? Don’t know if there are more of these weird spellings, as while I compared a lot of the manga, I didn’t go through every page or head into the chapters that were originally in the second volume.
Anyway, here are some other examples of changes both one-off and throughout the manga:
|Second Edition||Collector’s Edition
|Mr. Flunk-Out/Mr. Ronin/the Ronin||Ronin|
|Tokyo Tech||N University|
|Clock Hill Mall||Tokeizaka Shopping Street|
Second: “You’re blaming your environment for your own lack of intelligence.”
Collector’s: “Maybe you have a bad brain.”
Second: “All he would say was… …”I’m tired.” Then he went back to his home in the country.”
Collector’s: “Well… He quit. All he said was “I’m exhausted,” and then he moved back to the countryside.”
Second: “Ain’t that nice.”
Collector’s: “She’s so pretty…”
Second: “Alone? With us around?“
Collector’s: “We will thwart you!”
Collector’s: “He’s here! Yotsuya is in here! Turning up like a bad penny!!”
Both versions also edit signs but some in the second are kept. For instance, the gravestone in the second edition just gets a footnote, Collector’s replaces the marker with the family name. The second edition ignores a second sign at Yusaku’s college and just uses lines to replace text; Collector’s Edition translates both in full.
Out of the sample images, you can see the biggest change is that scene with Kentaro about what a real man needs. The second edition basically censors the dialogue, and everyone’s reactions seem kind of off (notice Kyoko’s blush for instance). Both editions are rated OT, so a “big one” innuendo would not have raised any flags or anything. This kind of comedy is seen all the time — see Despicable Me 2 for instance.
It’s too bad the second edition takes too many liberties with its dialogue. I mean, some of the lines definitely sound better in the second edition, but pretty much every re- or updated translation is going to have some lines sound better in the old version. And out of the sample sentences, the environment quip and the “alone” are funnier, and even Kentaro’s “stupid you” sounds more his age than the “You can count on it!” in the Collector’s Edition. And “We will thwart you” sounds like the title of a really poor parody song version of “We Will Rock You”.
So while the second edition gives the characters more personality, it just isn’t faithful or consistent enough to match Takahashi’s original script.
Winner: Collector’s Edition
Well, here’s an easy one. Second edition gets a few ads. Collector’s Edition has some color pages and translation notes. The house image is seen in the front and back.
Not really sure where most of these images originated from. The small one with the umbrella was from the original 15-volume Japanese release of volume 9 as its cover. The one with Yusaku and Kyoko was used on the cover of the first edition of the English volume 1. The English cover is using the wideban covers, which is what this release is based on. (By the way, the wideban was released in 1992 in Japan, so even this “new” version is actually pretty old.) Anyway, maybe they’re just pictures Takahashi liked? Do seem to be from her later Maison years, so it’s likely.
Winner: Collector’s Edition
The Collector’s Edition will be 10 volumes long, so that means a MSRP of $249.99.
Looking on eBay, I’ve seen the 15 volume original set sell for as little as $50 shipped to about $150, although some are trying to sell it for over $250. Not too many people seem to be selling it even though this new version has come out. People who just want to fill in the gaps can still get some volumes for the original MSRP of $10 (less for used), but others are out-of-print and may cost $35 or more. If you can get lucky and get the old version for dirt cheap, go for it. That’s highly unlikely though, so most people might as well pick up the Collector’s Edition since it will be around for longer and easier to collect.
Winner: Collector’s Edition
Second Edition: 0
Collector’s Edition: 3
So, yeah. I only gave the second edition some points because I liked the logo and the weight (the latter which means nil if you go for a digital copy), and the print quality — especially at its original $9.99 price point for a series with larger-than-average volumes — holds up pretty well. Call them pity points if you must, but the paper quality itself not nearly as much of a dramatic difference as, say, Fullmetal Alchemist‘s two versions. That being said, the translation was nearly-identical while this one has significant differences. Not perfect, but it mostly fixes a lot of the original’s inconsistencies.
But the manga is a screwball romantic comedy, and so the dialogue is not exactly overly detailed or complicated. So I don’t think the improved-but-somewhat-less-lively dialogue and the color openings are worth the upgrade. It’s not like this is a release where all original color pages are included. In that case, it would be a different story. Comparing the art side by side, yes, the Collector’s Edition is better, but I doubt most people are going to be studying clothes colors to discover which are lighter and some are darker. It’s not like the whole panels suffer this color inconsistency.
So, recollecting Maison Ikkoku is not going to be a high priority for me. If you’re the type who rebuys all the movies on 4K, yeah, you might really want to invest in the Collector’s Edition. But if you don’t mind DVD-level quality, you probably will be fine if you already own the second edition.
If you still have the first edition for some reason, of course you should upgrade. For everyone else, if you don’t mind some problematic and dated aspects to Maison Ikkoku (or want to see how a Ranma/Akane or Inuyasha/Kagome-like relationship set in world without magic), then check out the series.