Yūsaku Godai (五代裕作, Godai Yūsaku) is the main protagonist of the series. He begins as a poor 19-year-old rōnin studying for his college entrance exams after failing in the past year. He eventually gets into a third-tier college (with Kyōko's help). He is kind-hearted and handsome, but indecisive and spacey. Yūsaku is often 'played' by the other tenants of Ikkoku, who habitually take advantage of him (e.g. they use his room for frequent drinking binges and steal food from his care packages). He falls in love with Kyōko at first sight, but lacks the courage (when sober at least) to tell her how he feels. Instead, he daydreams a lot and does numerous silly things. During the course of the series Yūsaku matures into an honorable man who becomes worthy of Kyoko, as his love for her grows from an infatuation to a lasting and devoted love. He lives in Room 5 (Go).
He is often described as handsome, is tall, and has a lean muscular body. Godai sports a simple hairstyle with bangs covering his forehead and hair that covers the back of his neck. His hair is depicted as brown, as well as his eyes. He is often seen wearing a jacket with "Boy's An Non" written on the back and left breast.
Initially Godai is described as a typical boy his age, particularly being called a pervert by Yotsuya. He can be dedicated when he puts his mind to it (or when his neighbors aren't distracting him). Godai grows to become a very mature and responsible person worthy of Kyoko. Even though there are multiple times where he wants to make a move on Kyoko, he refrains because he doesn't want to taint her image of him as a perfect gentleman.
The opening scene of the series shows Godai fed up with the obnoxious tenants of Ikkoku and ready to leave--that is until he meets Kyoko, the new building manager, and falls in love with her at first sight. He starts off as a ronin in the beginning of the series. He eventually gets into a college where he studies to become a teacher. He often tutors Kyoko's niece Ikuko.
Godai is smitten with Kyoko since he first meets her. Through many years and trials, he eventually marries her.
He meets Kozue on a day where he is supposed to have a date with Kyoko. Kyoko runs into Mitaka and ends up missing her date with Godai. Godai, however, still has movie tickets and decides to take Kozue, a former coworker at a liquor store, in order to make use of them. Kozue gets the wrong idea and thinks that Godai likes her and she begins to pursue him. He is too nice to say no to her and she continues to be his steady date. She complicates his ability to confess his feelings to Kyoko, as both Kozue and Kyoko think she is his girlfriend. There are multiple times where he tries to break up with her, realizing he should stop leading her on, but Kozue always misinterprets and continues to date him.
Godai's "rival in love." They both tirelessly pursue Kyoko which causes them to constantly bicker.
A student who falls in love with Godai while he's student-teaching at an all-girls' high school, coincidentally the one that Kyoko attended as a girl. She continues to pursue Godai even after his period teaching there is over.
Godai's best friend.
- He is among the major characters whose name involves a number. His family name Godai means "five generations", therefore he is representative of the number 5, which match the number of the room he lives in.
- In the 10th Anime Grand Prix, conducted in 1988 by Animage, Yūsaku Godai was voted the sixth best male character.
- His voice actor provided the voice of characters from 2 other anime adaptations of Rumiko Takahashi's manga series: Chibi from Urusei Yatsura and Hikaru Gosunkugi from Ranma 1/2.