First off, I am very upset that this anime has been incorrectly tagged as seinen. The nature of the Final Approach anime does not justify such a tag, while it does touch on subjects like privacy, arranged marriage and political marriage. From first impresssions, it seems to be a run-of-the-mill ecchi harem anime. Once again, those are my least favourite genres. I will do my best to give this a proper review as every anime deserves, whether good or bad. It doesn't seem to be a harem, more of a love triangle, for most of it. Off the mark, I can tell this anime has no plot for most of it and it has the trope harem ending too. This probably isn't worth your time.
Animation is a bit bad for a 2004 anime, even if it tries to have a unique comedic style by adding chibi moments. When I first saw this anime, I thought it was made in the 90s. Such is the disappointment of the animation quality. The anime itself, appears to have some ecchi/fanservice. Especially since 15 year old girls have unrealistic proportions and theres a hotsprings episode where people freeze naked in a blizzard. At least it isn't as bad as other ecchi. Music was barely noticeable, except for the opening theme. A bad mark in my book, since it usually means the music doesn't stand out. However towards the end when things started to get emotional I started to notice the music and it was well suited to the scenes. With both animation and sound it appears dreadfully cheesy.
As for the characters I'm a bit divided actually. The main character, Ryo Mizuhara is your typical highschool student protagonist (filling in the harem protagonist trope) without parents. For the first time in any anime, this guy spoke sense in episode 1. An approximate quote "Doesn't matter what she looks like, personality is what's important." True words and I commend the writers for coming up with it. It also appears that the guy tries to act by it. They give the impression that he isn't giving Shizuka a chance to show her personality. He also believes that marriage shouldn't be arranged/political and probably believes it should be for love. Someone give this guy a medal. A surprisingly decent character, if only for his rather mature and thoughtful philosophies. On the other hand, he really doesn't give her a chance and he's is still a typical harem protagonist for the most part.
Ryo's fiance is Shizuka Masuda, a rich, powerful girl who absolutely adores Ryo, despite him hating her. She is very annoying and agressive for her love. She even drugs the guy, so that he can't complain about her staying over. Constantly abusing her power to do crazy things like move into Ryo's school and class, despite being years below. She even sets up a torturous trap at a hotspring during a blizzard, just for her own fun. If she wants the guy to like her, then she'd stop doing things to piss him off. However, you find out that there is more to this character than is apparent in the first 9 episodes.
The other character's aren't worth mentioning, though Ryo has a younger sister, who he cares about too much and he seems to like Emiho Mutsu. They seem to imply romance between the two siblings, with it wrong as all hell. Emiho has a political arranged marriage of her own, organised by her brother to his friend. I don't need to explain how much worse that one is. It doesn't help that the dude, she's to get married to is a massive dumb jerk, who instead falls for Shizuka. Oh... I should have said SPOILER.
Story is the typical harem ecchi no-plot-progression until episode 9. There is the arranged marriage of course. Things take a turn for the better (in terms of how good it is) and things actually happen in the last few episodes. The 13th episode seems to revive the terribleness with a cheesy and disappointing bait-and-switch. I was absolutely right about that ending, it gets worse and is a typical harem-ecchi ending. Maybe it might have a few points to make on arranged/political/forced marriages and love itself. It seems to suggest that love isn't something simple that you can feel at the flick of a switch. It's more complicated.
I'm really tired of this genre. This sounded like it would be OK, but it turned out worse than I expected, since the bulk of the series was pointless. Usually when a dude is engaged/married they end up living happily ever after. Despite this being half-length episodes, don't waste your time on this and just watch episodes 1, 9-12. Episode 13 takes the heartfelt ending of 12 and throws it out of the window so to hell with it.
Family-friendliness Rating: 3.5/5 Just a bit less than the usual harem ecchi (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 3.5/10
Final Approach is a slapstick comedy with little regard for developing its premise or cast. Plus each episode lasts half as normal to further make the character harder to develop or open up enough for you to like.
The story could make a fine hentai feature if it didn’t have a wimp harem lead. I mean, you are a teenager and out of nowhere a cute girl jumps on you and demands to be your obedient wife. Plus, it is your duty to your country to accept her because you are helping to defeat the problem of decreased childbirth this way. Plus, you can’t even say no because the freaking Men In Black threaten you to comply with a gun pointing your head. So ok, do you country a favor, save your life, and have fun like the teenager you are by having sex all day and all night with this gorgeous chick. Hell man, she fell on your lap; others pay thousands of euro just for a chance to bed a pretty chick and you got it effortless and free. Go for it! And while you are at it, impregnate your tomboy friend, your sister and their lesbian stalker. It is not bad; you are fighting to save the nation here XD.
Anyways, as funny as the premise sounds you don’t see anything past that. It is otherwise just plotless and aimless slapstick humor; not even successful half the time. The short episodes don’t allow any real drama to unfold and the humor is pretty standard stuff, based on chibi-mode to make it even funnier.
Said chibi-mode is overused in a cheap attempt at making the jokes look better and to save some budget. Not that the budget was high to begin with… The BGM and OST are completely average piece you are going to get bored of and forget pretty fast. As you will most likely do with the characters, for being stereotypes that don’t develop at all and are found in a similar fashion in most harem shows. The only thing that worthy to remember is actually the far-fetched premise of the story… which is left just as a premise.
Anyways, I am just stalling time here to make this text appear long; this anime has nothing worthy to check if you happen to have watched a couple of famous harems like Love Hina or Ah My Goddess. It hardly has any purpose of existing as all its elements are barely covering the minimum of an enjoyable harem show… and definitely don’t cover anything for a possible hentai one. Play the game version for that.
I may be biased on how i give my scores as i enjoyed it quite alot but this is an intersting anime none the less.
However I find it really disappointing they made it into a comedy as it had quite a good background story. Arrageged marrigges may not have been the best topic as it is a tendre subject, but if they had made it more dramatic and had developed some of the charcters more e.g. Ryo Mizuhara, they may have made a much better anime but theey didn't so neh.
Still i was disapionted by how the writers decided to ruin every single possible emotional moment with a comedic chibi scene i mean man comedy can have a bit of drama can't it.
However it was still a good anime all in all,and an enjoyable watch which doesn't take too long as each episode is short and quite entertianing but if you're looking for a serios romance stay away as this is an anime for just a bit of fun.