a.k.a. Maison Ikkoku: Kanketsuhen
Two days before Godai and Kyoko’s wedding, the tenants of Maison Ikkoku are loafing about and partying. As the night wears on, numerous guests come to the apartment building to visit the engaged couple. However, doubt still lurks in the back of Godai’s mind…
summary by Eek
Highs: Like hanging out with old friends; art and animation noticeably improved
Lows: Altered character designs; Nikaido Nozomu; shortage of music
For those who have never seen Maison Ikkoku before, it is suggested that you not read this review because it will only spoil the end of the series. With that said, Final Chapter is the only animated movie from this franchise and was originally released in theaters as a double-feature with Urusei Yatsura: Kanketsuhen. If you have never seen the series, then this movie will not make a whole lot of sense and would be a waste of time.
Final Chapter brings the feel of the original series and is a nice touch. There is a good bit of hilarious moments as well as dramatic ones, and this is definitely not filler. The days leading up to Godai and Kyoko’s marriage are just as important as the years before their marriage; there is one piece of drama involving Godai still not having complete trust in Kyoko, but it is understandable. While it takes advantage of that, it feels like you are hanging out with old friends. Nothing beats watching Yotsuya, Akemi and Ichinose drink sake until they drop only to get back up and urge everyone else around them to drink just as hard. Another nice touch is the beefed up art and animation; there is a noticeable difference between the movie and the television series, and while I am not one to complain about the series’ older-looking style, it is always good to see everything as clean and well-drawn.
The movie looks great, but what nearly caused me to turn it off were the altered character designs. The designs from the series fit the characters quite well, and although there were numerous character designers used as the series was in production, the outcomes were always very similar. This radical change feels unwarranted especially considering that this movie opened in theaters when the series was still airing. Another radical change is the sudden addition of the resident of room 2, Nikaido Nozomu, who would not be completely out of place had he actually been in the television series. This character from the manga is just dropped in without anyone else batting an eyelash at his abrupt appearance. Another unneeded change is the shortage of music, which was part of what made the original so enjoyable.
Seeing how it was directed by Mochizuki Tomomi, I was expecting something big because of his work with Kimagure Orange Road: I Want to Return to That Day. Final Chapter does not pack any big punches, but it is nevertheless a bit of fun with the Maison Ikkoku crew.