The protagonist of the series. He lives in Room 5. He is a poor 20-year-old ronin studying for his college entrance exams after failing in the past year. He is madly in love with Kyoko.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: In the early manga, Yusaku looks like this, not exactly bad-looking but only slightly better than Ataru's level of plain, especially with the parted bangs. However, in the anime, he looks younger and cuter◊, basically a short-haired version of Ranma.
- Babies Ever After: At the end of the series, he and Kyoko get married and have a daughter.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Kyoko. This is very downplayed compared to Takahashi Rumiko's other series, but there is still some tension between them at first, manly owed to Kyoko feeling that she must be faithful to her husband and Yusaku sometimes being unable to act on his feelings.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Mitaka's Veronica.
- Butt-Monkey: He's often teased by his neighbors. He also tends to make a fool of himself because of his indecisiveness.
- Chivalrous Pervert: He may ogle Kyoko all the time but he would never coerce her into doing something she doesn't want to.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: He sometimes doesn't realize just how good-looking he is.
- The Ditherer: To his own detriment, Kyoko's annoyance, and the great comic enjoyment of everyone else. He never grows out of it, but he does learn to take responsibility for the decisions he does finally make.
- Dogged Nice Guy: To Kyoko.
- Drowning My Sorrows: With his best buddy.
- Dub Name Change: Hugo Dufour in the French dub.
- Friend to All Children: He's shown relatively early on to be good with children when Ikuko shows up (though at first he is only nice to her to learn more about Kyoko). The only real exception is Kentaro, which is a more familiar sight in Rumiko Takahashi's works, but Godai occasionally has friendly moments with him too. He goes on to work part-time at a preschool, and eventually becomes a preschool teacher by the end of the series.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Woman!: He one time slapped Kyoko, because she was just going too far in an argument they were having, namely that she got so angry at him when they argued over a gift he received from Kozue that she refused to ask him for help when she nearly fell off the roof, and just dangled there until he noticed.
- Happily Married: To Kyoko.
- Innocently Insensitive: He can come off as a jerk, but he doesn't mean it.
- Likes Older Women: Though Kyoko is only about 2 years older than him.
- Longing Look: Many times for Kyoko. He just loves watching her taking care of her job.
- Love at First Sight: Kyoko enters the scene, he falls head over heels for her. Hard. Very hard.
- Nice Guy: The story does not shy away from the common faults of this character type, such as indecisiveness, spinelessness, and mediocrity, but it also suggests that Godai's innate kindness and decency, combined with his willingness to grow, more than compensates in the long run.
- Romancing the Widow: With Kyoko.
- Ronin: At the very start of the series. He manages to enter college about halfway through volume 1.
- Second Love: For Kyoko, although she has a hard time coming to terms with it.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Sensitive Guy to Shun's Manly Man.
- Shirtless Scene: Several times and it can be seen that he has a quite nice body all in all.
- Starving Student: Godai works to pay for his studies, but he never has money for anything. And when he has some money, he spends it on presents for Kyoko.
- Umbrella of Togetherness: Sharing an umbrella was used many times for him and Kyoko as a loving gesture.
- Unlucky Everydude: He's inept and unlucky like the hero of another Takahashi's work. However, unlike Ataru, he's also a well-meaning Nice Guy.
- Will They or Won't They?: The relationship with Kyoko was teased througout. They Do.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Happens to him SEVERAL times over the course of the story.
The female protagonist of the series. She is a beautiful, 22-year-old widow who takes on the task of managing a broken-down boarding house. She lives in the manager's room.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Due to her latent Tsundere-ness.
- Babies Ever After: At the end of the series, she and Godai get married and have a daughter.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Godai.
- Betty and Veronica: In a way she has been both; while she is the Betty to Ibuki's Veronica, she is the Veronica to Kozue's Betty.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She is sweet and polite but also has a violent side.
- Cannot Spit It Out: For all the grief she gives Godai over his reluctance to break up with Kozue, Kyoko is equally guilty in terms of her relationship with Shun Mitaka. Though it's clear that she cares for him, it's also blatantly obvious that she doesn't see Mitaka as somebody she wants to marry. However, she doesn't say anything when Mitaka breaks off his engagement to Asuna to be with her, nor does she deny a relationship when Asuna politely confronts her about it. Even after meeting his parents, and being whisked away by Shun while Godai is screaming after them, she doesn't spit it out that she doesn't feel that way for him until the very last minute.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor: Usually avoids drinking too much as a result.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Has shades of this. She doesn't like Godai seeing other girls but still bravely resists Ibuki's provocations.
- Devoted to You: Both Godai and Mitaka are so hopelessly in love with her that they constantly turn down many of their romantic prospects on the off chance that Kyoko is interested in them.
- Drives Like Crazy: When she's upset.
- Dub Name Change: Juliette Rozier in the French dub.
- Dude Magnet: Unwittingly.
- First Girl Wins: Though it's the first case of this in a Rumiko Takahashi series.
- Happily Married: To Godai.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: In regards to Godai.
- Her Heart Will Go On: By the end of the story, Kyoko marries Godai and they have a child together, even though she still fondly remembers Soichiro as her first love. In an early chapter, when Kyoko, her parents and Soichiro's father, Mr. Otonashi, go to the cemetery to pay their respects to Soichiro, Mr. Otonashi urges her to do this. He tells her that although he loved the fact that the time she and his son were married was the happiest time of Soichiro's life, and doesn't want her to forget him, Mr. Otonashi implores Kyoko to move on since it's not healthy for a woman as young as her to be so obsessed with a dead man, and he wold gladly give her his blessings if she fell in love with someone else.
- The Mourning After: Has a hard time letting go of her late husband.
- Nice Girl: She's normally kind and caring to everyone.
- Secondary Character Title: In the Italian and French adaptations, the anime is named after her, even if Godai is the main character.
- Silk Hiding Steel: The only thing keeping Maison Ikkoku from descending into chaos.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: She doesn't like jerks, something both Mitaka and Godai know and use in order to get her to choose between them.
- Stepford Smiler: Despite her sunny disposition, she's still mourning her late husband.
- Teacher/Student Romance: She met her late husband while he was working as a temporary teacher at her high school.
- Tsundere: A Sweet type that only gets mad with a good reason. Kyoko is normally bright and pleasant, until Godai (usually) inadvertently does something to her displeasure.
- Widow Woman: One of the main issues keeping Kyoko from acknowledging her feelings for Godai is the fact that she's still mourning her late husband.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Godai. They do.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Subverted. Her perfect Japanese housewife persona hides her repressed Tsundere nature and it's a way to cope with the loss of her husband.
A wealthy, educated young man who hails from an elite family. Mitaka works as a ladies' tennis coach more out of love for the sport than any need for financial support.
- Ambiguously Brown: He is very tan-skinned in both the anime and the manga.
- Babies Ever After: With Asuna.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Godai's Betty.
- The Casanova: Known for his romantic conquests, he actually has to convince Kyoko that he isn't all about sex.
- Cock Fight: Whenever Godai and him meet, you can be sure this will happen if Kyoko is around. In fact, this is one of the driving forces behind the series.
- Comforting the Widow: Often accused of doing this.
- Expy: He's a less arrogant and more kind-hearted version of Mendou.
- Happily Married: To Asuna.
- If I Can't Have You...: Feeling that he was indeed losing to Godai, he briefly delved into this.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Does have a slight tendency to go from this to Jerk with a Heart of Jerk.
- Ladykiller in Love: For Kyoko.
- Meaningful Name: "Shun" means "twinkle".
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: His arranged fiancee Asuna is head over heels in love with him and after proposing to her due to a misunderstanding, he warms up to the idea a bit more, and eventually falls in love and marries her.
- He actually thought he could really like Asuna if he hasn't already set his sights on Kyoko.
- Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Although not an idiot, and with a stable career as a tennis coach, it is clearly implied that he's so freaking loaded that he doesn't need to work.
- The Rival: To Godai. He's considered the primary threat to Godai's relationship with Kyoko.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Godai's Sensitive Guy.
- Shotgun Wedding: After a previous drunken night with Asuna, Mitaka hears that "she" is pregnant. He assumes that he got Asuna pregnant, and vows to marry her to set things right. After he proposes and everything is set in stone, he discovers that her dog is the one who had actually been knocked up by his dog.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: The best-looking male character of the series, which at first strikes quite some insecurities in the more plain-looking Godai.
- Thanks for the Mammary: Happened one time when he tried to prevent Kyoko from falling.
- Twinkle Smile: Iconic of his character. This seems to run in the family, even with the pets of said family. He even passes it down to his daughters.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Hilariously dog-phobic! He gets better.
A short, middle-aged woman who is rarely seen sober. She lives with her husband and her son, Kentaro, in Room 1.
- Accent Adaptation: In the English dub, she sounds like a stereotypical Jewish Mother. Given her gossipy and meddling nature, this seems appropriate.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: She's overweight in the manga/anime but thin in live action adaptations.
- Alcoholic Parent: Much to Kentaro's embarassment.
- Apron Matron: She's a housewife, so she's often seen in an apron.
- Embarrassing First Name: Her first name means: "flower branch".
- Fat Girl: She's much heavier-set than most of the other women in the series.
- Generic Cuteness: Deliberately averted.
- Gossipy Hens: Her and the neighbours.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: She's a bit older than most examples, but she's definitely fold of her booze and enjoying herself.
- Hidden Depths: Underneath the above exterior, she really is an experienced woman, wife, and mother, and often dispense advice on Kyoko.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While Akemi and Yotsuya may occasionally do a Pet the Dog scene or two, Hanae does this more often as she is very much a Team Mom in the show.
- The Matchmaker: At the start of the series, she tries to get Kyoko to try an arranged marriage.
- Team Mom: Of the tenants. Between her, Yotsuya and Akemi, she's the most responsible of the three. It probably helps that she's an actual mother.
- Your Size May Vary: She may be around shoulder-height to the other characters...or she may barely come up to their waists. This seems to depend on Rule of Funny.
A mysterious man who finds enjoyment in mooching, voyeurism, and generally tormenting his next-door neighbor Godai. He lives in Room 4.
- Accent Adaptation: Yotsuya's formal way of speaking is adapted into English as a quasi-British accent.
- Age Lift: While he was of a Vague Age in the manga/anime, in live action adaptations, he tends to get played by clearly middle aged actors.
- Covert Pervert: Has a voyeuristic streak a mile wide.
- Enemy Eats Your Lunch: He's a chronic food thief.
- Expy: Rumiko Takahashi's Rumic World manga "Dust Spurt" has a secret agent character named Mr. Sekhoi who looks exactly like Yotsuya. This is the source of some fan speculation that they are the same person.
- Four Is Death: Stays in room 4, his name has a four in it, and he's easily Godai's most disruptive neighbor.
- Identical Grandson: He looks exactly like his grandfather, causing a bit of confusion when his likeness appears to show up in old photos, adding to the mystery who he is and what he does.
- Only One Name: His given name is unknown.
- Porn Stash: Early in the series he was caught trying to leave a store with one until all the porno magazines were falling out of his coat though.
- Secret Agent: Highly suspected of being this. See the Expy entry above.
- There Was a Door: One time used a log to break into Godai's room and spy on him.
A boozy bar hostess who is usually known to lounge around wearing skimpy lingerie clothing while hanging around Ikkoku. She lives in Room 6 and works a short distance away in a bar named Cha-Cha Maru.
- Brutal Honesty: When she has a point to make, don't expect her to be diplomatic, especially when she's sober.
- Deadpan Snarker: Likes to snipe at Godai and Kyoko for her own amusement.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: A variation. She isn't a hooker but a late-night barmaid which is regarded as somewhat similar in Japan (even though sex isn't necessarily involved). As for the heart of gold, it shows up later in the series when she decides to step in and trigger Kyoko's jealousy and force her to be more honest with herself with regards to Godai.
- Ms. Fanservice: A shapely young woman who spends most of her time in a negligee.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Akemi lays a brief but huge one on Kyoko after Kyoko's ultimate hissy-fit towards Godai.Akemi: I can't believe you. Crying and carrying on over a guy you won't even let hold your hand. What's wrong with you? You think I'm so desperate I'd bother to steal a man from a neurotic twit like you? Grow up!
- She's Got Legs: And they're often on display.
- The Tease: More than being actually promiscuous, she is more about teasing than actually doing it.
- Urban Legend Love Life: Despite her sultry demeanour and her job, she hasn't been with as many men as people think.
Hanae's son. He is a grade-school-aged brat, generally seen trying to get between his mother and her bottle.
Originally intending to move into an upscale establishment called "Rikkoku-kan", a typographical error on the lease papers brings him to Maison Ikkoku relatively late into the story as an accidental tenant. He led a relatively sheltered life before entering the story, and he moved into Maison Ikkoku as he started college against the wishes of his protective mother.
- Adapted Out: He does not appear in the TV anime.
- Back for the Finale: Appears in a Missing Episode, right before Godai and Kyoko's wedding.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: His main character trait; he seems pleasant enough on the outside, but can be amazingly vindictive towards perceived slights.
- Foil: To Yotsuya whom he dislikes a lot.
- Out of Focus: After the volume that introduces him, he mostly fades into the background.
- The Unseen: A manga-only character.
Godai's steady date and generally serves as an obstacle for him in his pursuit of Kyoko.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Kyoko's Veronica.
- The Bus Came Back: For the epilogue where we see that she has moved on to a whole new life.
- Demoted to Extra: During the middle of the series when Ibuki was becoming more of a recurring character she only occasionally appeared. This was even given a little bit of a Lampshade Hanging near the end of the series.
- Happily Married: She ends up marrying a co-worker, Kentaro, at the bank she works at and moves away to Nagoya with her new husband.
- Naïve Everygirl: The most normal person Godai knows.
- Nice Girl: She's one of the nicest characters. Her only real flaw is how oblivious she can be regarding Godai's true romantic feelings.
- Power Hair: Subverted. She does have the hairstyle but she is no leader. Even stranger for fans familiar with Tominaga's other work, you half expect her to give up Godai for her tank, or her Police Robot.
- Put on a Bus: Literally put on a train when she figures Godai is in love with someone else than her.
- Romantic False Lead: A Rare Female Example.
A high school student who develops a crush on Godai while he works as a student-teacher.
- Betty and Veronica: The Veronica to Kyoko's Betty.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Acts nice and all, but it's only a veneer that hides a much less appealing personality.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Much more than Kyoko. She's very jealous of Kyoko and calls her "the widow", which is a derogatory way to refer to someone in Japanese.
- Hot for Teacher: She gets a crush on Godai while he works as a student-teacher at her class. It's entirely one sided on Ibuki's part, but it still heavily bothers Kyoko, even if Godai doesn't reciprocate Ibuki's feelings. Probably because it reminds her of something.
- In Love with Love: She appears to be more interested in being in a tragic romance than in Godai himself.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While she is a lot less sympathetic than the likes of Kozue and is often seen as a temperamental brat who needs to learn that she can't always get what she wants, Ibuki does occasionally get some sympathetic moments and even occasionally does try to help Godai out.
- Loving a Shadow: She developed her crush on Godai after misinterpreting him as a sort of tragic romantic hero.
- Manipulative Bitch: Will do anything to get what she wants.
- Stalker with a Crush: Ibuki is a saner version of this towards Godai. While she is not a psychopath, she is still a good case for a restraining order.
- Unrequited Love Lasts Forever: At the end of the series, Ibuki goes to an all-girls college still hanging into the dream that she can be with Godai someday.
A classically demure Japanese maiden from a wealthy family. Her family and Shun's uncle have arranged a traditional Japanese marriage between her and Shun (against Shun's wishes).
- Babies Ever After: With Mitaka.
- Happily Married: To Mitaka.
- I Feel Angry: Never visibly angry. When she learns about the existence of Kyoko, she just kindly tells her that she doesn't approve of Kyoko courting her fiancé.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: After a previous drunken night with Asuna and hearing "she" is pregnant, Mitaka assumes that he got Asuna pregnant, and vows to marry her to set things right. After he proposes and everything is set in stone, she reveals it's her dog who's pregnant.
- Naïve Everygirl: Not as Everygirl as Kozue, given her family's just as rich as the Mitakas.
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: She is head over heels in love with her arranged fiance Mitaka and after proposing to her due to a misunderstanding he eventually falls in love with her and they get married.
- Prone to Tears: She looks so pure and fragile that even Godai and Kyoko where shocked when they see her pregnant with Mitaka's children. Shown in a huge way when Shun tries to break off their engagement initially. She faints on the spot and when she wakes up she immediately cries, much to Mitaka's discomfort. Shown even more when she tries to join Mitaka's tennis club and meets her "rival" Kyoko. Even though she feels anguished inside she can't bring herself to be mean to Kyoko and is instead very awkwardly pleasant to her.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: While Kyoko may be a subversion, Asunma plays it straight.
Kyoko's dog. He is a large and white Samoyed dog that was found as a stray by Soichiro Otonashi, Kyoko's late husband.
- Dead Guy Junior: He is named after Kyoko's late husband.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Often accused of being as stupid as a broomstick.
- Formally Named Pet: Soichiro Otonashi attempted to name him "Snowy", but for whatever the reason he always responded to Soichiro-san.
Akemi's boss. He tolerates Akemi's obvious incompetence as a waitress because his feelings for her are more than just that of a boss to an employee.
- Last Minute Hookup: With Akemi.
- Only Sane Man: Oftentimes misunderstandings or clarifications happen at his bar but he's the only person who gets what's going on because he's the only sober party. And since most of these happenings get more misconstrued by the drunken antics of the characters, he's often the one stepping in to clarify what everything was really about.
- Satellite Character: His character is entirely defined through Akemi and his feelings for her.
Kyoko's deceased husband and former high school teacher. Kyoko always spoke very highly of him.
- The Faceless: We are never shown his face when he is in flashbacks. It's also a Running Gag that Godai always failed to see his face in any kind of medium. Even when Godai does finally see him, the reader still doesn't.
- Posthumous Character: A vision of him did appear once in Kyoko's dream, calling her a fool for fighting with Godai.
- Teacher/Student Romance: He met Kyoko while he was working as a temporary teacher at her high school.