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AKA: Φなる・あぷろーち (phi-nal Approach), ふぁいなる・あぷろーち (Final Approach)
Genre: Harem show / romantic comedy / crap
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 15 minutes each
Distributor: Currently unlicensed in North America
Content Rating: 13+ (slapstick violence, brief nudity, adult themes)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Comic Party, Love Hina
Notes: Based on a dating sim from Princess Soft. BIG SURPRISE.
Rating:
 

Final Approach

Synopsis

High schooler Mizuhara Ryou lived alone with his little sister Akane ... until the day she arrived. Parachuted through his window, to be exact.

A crash and flying glass heralded the girl who was to change his life forever -- her name was Shizuka, and she was his fiancee, sanctioned by the Japanese government (backed up by a whole lot of men in sunglasses and black suits).

Now, every day, he is subdued (physically and mentally) into accepting Shizuka as part of his life ... never mind that he might possibly harbor ambitions of his own! (And he's supposed to accept it anyway, because, well, he's Japanese.)

In the meantime, there's a bunch of other, uninteresting, mildly vapid girls that also compete for Ryou's attention. Isn't life swell?

Review

This all sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Here we have the "fiancee as government conspiracy" schlock of the horribly sexist Rizelmine. Couple that with the girls-on-guy violence of Girls BRAVO (though it's really just one girl who happens to make Narusegawa Naru look like Gandhi).

Welcome to Final Approach, a television series that proves conclusively that combining two one-star shows does not guarantee two stars.

From the beginning, we knew this could not bode well, largely because the characters simply can not be taken seriously. The main lead, Ryou, is constantly either fretting or daydreaming over his little sister Akane, in ways that seem a little more than merely overprotective. (Shades of Sister Incest Princess anyone?) For her part, Akane sounds suspiciously like a nonstop car commercial. "Nissan. Nissan? Nissan!"

Then there's Shizuka, the kind of girl that we here in the States would call "a real piece of work". She and her Men in Black (who are, in all honesty, the only redeeming thing about this show) are constantly causing collateral damage, and when she's not being violent, she's a cute, demure wannabe housewife straight out of Stepford. Creepy and psychotic, with a giggle that could break glass. If this is Japan's best answer to their population crisis, then I'd suggest moving to Canada. (Because, you know, every refugee is welcome in Canada.) In the first two episodes, she goes so far as to knock Ryou unconscious, with the concluding line beginning with, "In the fading moments of his consciousness ..."

As if these three characters weren't enough, the folks behind this show throw you a bunch of other cute, vapid, largely forgettable girls. Miki is a wannabe voice actor who looks disturbingly like a high school Card Captor Sakura and calls everyone distinctly cute irritating nicknames. (Did someone just set off my Comic Party rip-off alarm?) Emiho is a straightforward rich-girl who is in an arranged engagement of her own. Of course, the writers of this show squander their chance to challenge the topic, instead using her to reinforce the morality of accepting arranged marriages even when the engagement is done with someone you don't even know. WHAT?

Therein lies the biggest problem with this series - every single time it tries to do anything, it falls on its face. The comedy is at best contrived, at worst agonizing. The animation is at best mediocre, at worst, no better than the cardboard cutout dating sim game it was based off. Even fan service is thwarted, as the network standards demand that nudity is reduced to superdeformed butt shots.

Just as you think Final Approach might actually pull off a safe landing, it veers right back into its death spiral. Honestly, folks, Final Approach is terminal. It may be as irresistible to watch as the last seconds of a doomed airliner, but you would be better served doing something truly worthwhile. Like, oh, taking a shower. Or drinking your liver into oblivion.

In the fading moments of his consciousness, this reviewer realizes that he should not have turned Final Approach into a drinking game with Captain Morgan and raspberry schnapps. Ow.Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: There is mild nudity in the hot springs episode that isn't worth the price of admission. Otherwise, lots of slapstick violence in the forms of explosions and various martial arts moves performed on the male lead. There's also the constant underlying theme of Ryou and Akane being excessively intimate for being blood siblings. Ew.

Theoretically, it's fine for teens and up, but I honestly can't recommend this to anyone.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Partial (5/12)
Final Approach © 2004 PrincessSoft / Final Approach PARTNERS