In the Beginning
Everything started in 1996, when Dylan first discovered Maison Ikkoku. Dylan's brother Harley was already collecting Ranma ½. Thinking he should have his own favorite Takahashi series, Dylan chose Maison Ikkoku, right when the anime series was beginning its run in America.
Soon, Dylan and Harley received their first home PC and were able to surf the web. Back then Ranma ½ was the most popular Takahashi series on the web, shown by hundreds of Geocities fan sites then available. In contrast, Maison Ikkoku, still fairly unknown compared to Ranma ½, had few dedicated fan sites.
In 1997, with Harley already hard at work on his first site, Dylan decided to create a website dedicated to his favorite series, Maison Ikkoku. On August 17th, "Maison Ikkoku" was launched at Geocities under the address http://www.geocities.com/tokyo/temple/2144.
Dylan updated Maison Ikkoku regularly. However, the website received little feedback, which frustrated Dylan.
On April 11th 1999, Dylan decided to completely revamp his website, changing its name to Yusaku Godai's Life at Maison Ikkoku. Most of the old pages were completely rewritten, and the site shifted from a character shrine created in the voice of Yusaku Godai to a site focused on general Maison Ikkoku information:
April 11- I've changed quite a bit of the site around to reflect a big change in my life recently...whether thats positive or negative is for you to decide, I guess. I changed the index again (no more midi), and my drawings are gone. I've changed most of the fonts to Arial, and updated the Cover section and the Anime/Manga section. Oh! And I changed the name of the site. I hope everyone enjoys it.
After the renovation, Dylan's site finally received the recognition he had always hoped for, and the site became livelier. On May 10th the site had its 6,000 visitor and on December 28th its 10,000th guest. In May that year, Dylan even received a letter from Janyse Jaud, Akemi's English voice actress.
Not all was well in 1999. On October 13th, Viz announced the cancellation of the English dub of the Maison Ikkoku anime after only 36 episodes of the 96 were released, and the subtitled version was put on hiatus. In response, Dylan created a petition project called "Along Again, Naturally" to raise awareness, collect signatures and put people in touch with Viz. The project would continue on for many years before it would bear any fruit.
March 2- I was lucky enough to be one of five winners in the Viz Valentine's Day Homepage Contest! I added my award, and a new tracking system to the index.
In February of 2000, Viz conducted the "Valentine's 2000 Webpage Creation Contest," where entrants had to create a webpage about one of the series published by Viz. Needless to say, Dylan entered the contest. In the end, Dylan's Maison Ikkoku site became the first runner-up in the contest, and Dylan was given the fantastic prize of the Light & Magnifier for the Game Boy, which...he never used.
On March 13 2000, Yusaku Godai's Life at Maison Ikkoku received another complete redesign, this time with tons of new sections and information added.
On June 17 2001, Viz cancelled the Maison Ikkoku anime completely, including the subtitled VHS release. While there were rumors of plans for Maison to begin on DVD (which was then becoming the main media of choice), fans were left without any Maison fix to satisfy their hunger. Naturally, the "Alone Again, Naturally" project perseveres.
The second half of 2001 marked a major event in Dylan's personal life, as he had to move away from home for college. According to Dylan, thinking about Maison Ikkoku helped him go through the difficult transition. As a result of the move, Yusaku Godai's Life at Maison Ikkoku did not receive any update for almost half a year. The site sat still from August 21 2001 to February 3 2002. When Dylan finally updated the site upon his return, Dylan promised that "I'm back!!! And I swear that this site will never go so long without and update again!"
2002 began not looking so well for Maison fans. It still wasn't certain whether the Along Again Naturally project would be successful, and Maison fansites were dying one after another:
February 24- Made an update to the "Alone Again Naturally" project (yes thats still going!). I also did some "Late Winter Cleaning" of the Links Section, and I'm sad to report that it looks like Maison Ikkoku sites are going the way of the DoDo bird. Let's say goodbye to The Image of Maison Ikkoku, Memories of Maison Ikkoku (two of my faves, the first inserted manga character drawings into photos, and the second had a great webmaster that wrote about his thoughts on MI really well), along with The World of Exodus, Be-da Anime's Maison Ikkoku (run by Yotsuya), U-Phi's Ikkoku-kan, and Chee-Kan's Maison Ikkoku Homepage. I'd like to thanks these websites for their dedication to the series, and the time they took in building their (too) short-lived websites. In happier news, two of our fellow Takahashi webmasters have purchased their own domains! Congrats to The Sunny Spot and Ranma ½ Perfect Edition.
Due to his school work, Dylan had little time to spend on Life at Maison Ikkoku. However, with summer approaching, all that's about to change. Upon returning home from school, Dylan stumbled across a cache of new Maison Ikkoku midis, which he decided to post to Life at Maison Ikkoku, one a week. Around the same time, a new set of Maison Ikkoku gashapons were released in Japan, with the new midis and toys, updates at Yusaku Godai's Life at Maison Ikkoku became frequent, in Dylan's own words: "So with that, the Renaissance of my site was born." Life returned to Life at Maison Ikkoku, and on May 4, Dylan became his own 24,500th visitor at 5:40 pm.
Around the beginning of that summer, Dylan's brother Harley conceived an idea, an idea that would bring together many Takahashi fansites to create a Rumiko Takahashi supersite. The supersite, as most of you have probably guessed, would be today's Rumic World. On May 27, Life at Maison Ikkoki packed up and left Geocities after almost five years, and started its new life at Furinkan.com:
May 27- Well, I've moved into my new home here at Furinkan.com. I'm very proud to be a part of such a large, high-quality Rumiko Takahashi group. I hope everything arrived intact, but I'm sure there are lots of little things that I'll find over the next few days. I've added the new midi, "Bridge K2" to the midi section. I also hope everyone enjoys the fancy new index. Really classy, isn't it? Welcome home!
A day later, the "supersite" officially debuts as Rumic World, with Harley, Dylan, and Mason Proulx as its supreme webmasters.
The new life at Furinkan.com marked a new beginning for Life at Maison Ikkoku. On August 17th, to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the website, Dylan re-launched Life at Maison Ikkoku with a new look and a new name - "Life at Maison Ikkoku" (which Dylan though was still too long). On that same day, the site had its 28,000 visitor.
With new sites to manage at Rumic World and the burden of school work, updates at Life at Maison Ikkoku once again slowed down. Increased popularity of Rumic World would also result in numerous server and space issues. In February, Life at Maison Ikkoku's Gallery was taken down in order to better deal with the server issues. While at the time it seemed unlikely the Gallery would return, 10 days later, on February 19th, the Gallery came back after Rumic World left its old, "god-awful" host and moved to a new server.
On March 7, Rumic World broke the story that Viz would revive the Maison Ikkoku anime by releasing it on DVD. Not only would the series be finished, but the DVDs would also come with both an English language track as well as the original Japanese form. Years of petitioning did not result in vain, and the "Alone Again, Naturally" petition project proved to be a success.
In the same year, Viz also announced its plan to re-release the Maison Ikkoku manga, complete with missing chapters and a cheaper price. To celebrate all the happenings, Dylan decided to renovate Life at Maison Ikkoku once again, with all-new design and all-new information, all for the new era of Life at Maison Ikkoku.
Through out 2004 and 2005, Life at Maison Ikkoku received uninterrupted updates despite challenges in Dylan's personal life - especially around the time of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Dylan's hometown.
Despite numerous obstacles, Dylan continued to update and maintain Life at Maison Ikkoku. As both the manga series and the DVD came to an end in the U.S., Life at Maison Ikkoku also got nearer to completion as updates became sporadic. Soon the site will be completed, and join the rank of some of its colleagues on Rumic World as timeless tributes to the greatness of Rumiko Takahashi. "So while the series has reached its end here in the United States, the site will plug along as always. Thank you for nine fantastic years!" - Dylan
At the end of 2007, Life at Maison Ikkoku was once again relaunched:
Life at Maison Ikkoku Relaunch
The Maison Ikkoku site has been redesigned in line with the rest of Rumic World, completing our plan to update the site and give you the most easy to navigate, well-designed Rumiko Takahashi website on the internet. There is a lot of new information and graphics to enjoy. Also check out the new index for Mermaid Flesh, completed earlier this week.