Once upon a time, a legendary game was born to be played on an equally as legendary console called the PlayStation. In December of 1995, a 3D fighting game called Tekken rose in popularity not only in arcades around the world but at home where gamers live. Various gaming publications scored Tekken very highly, quickly making it a fierce competitor to its counterpart from Sega, Virtua Fighter 2. Its popularity has carried it through the generations, developing a story for each of the characters that players would come to care for and eventually leading to an animated movie in 1997.
Tekken’s main story focuses on a character named Kazuya Mishima and his rise to power through a tournament called “The King of The Iron Fist”, which was created by his father Heihachi Mishima. This tournament was designed to test Kazuya’s strength and value to Heihachi’s family empire. Even though this particular storyline has been the focal point, there’s an ensemble of memorable characters that have their own stories and agendas which you could learn once you play as them and beat the game. All of these stories are in a way intertwined with each other – serving as a catalyst to something bigger.
38 years later, Tekken is in its seventh generation of games and has landed an animated series on Netflix. To my delightful surprise, Tekken: Bloodline is executed very well. The animation style is somewhat interesting because there are moments where it feels like a shonen anime, and there are times when it doesn’t due to the 3D aspect of it. It’s similar to another Netflix title Kengan Ashura. I personally don’t like when anime adopts a 3D style but I was able to overlook this with Tekken due to some of the cool fight scenes that took place between all of the different characters.
Bloodline really shines with the pacing of the story and some of the classic characters from the games who are brought to life in a different way than the game does. Their personalities and relationships with each other, whether bad or good, aren’t fleshed out and leave you wanting more. The anime introduces characters that you’d recognize instantly from the various generations of Tekken, but we still don’t know why they’re at the tournament. I would have loved to see some of my favorite characters such as Lei Wulong or Yoshimitsu be mentioned or be more than just a simple fighter’s card highlight.
Although there is currently only one season of this series thus far, it would have been more beneficial to adapt the anime to the game’s story starting from the very first game instead of time-skipping to when Jin Kazama is introduced. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jin, he is the son of Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama, and his origin story takes place in this anime and starts off rather quickly, so it won’t take you long to learn more about him. The anime tells us what happened to Kazuya through a retelling of the past by Heihachi, but given what’s known about Kazuya and his power, it seems to miss the mark on making him relevant to the overall story.
Maybe there’s a reason why the anime does not start the same way the video game counterpart does; it’s quite possible they are taking this into a new direction that is only somewhat loosely based on the game. If you’re a fan of the franchise, you would already know what’s going on and who all the major players are, and if you are like me, left wondering why some iconic characters are left out or just not given the time they deserve. If you’re new, the anime leaves you wanting to know more about the franchise, who the characters in the tournament are, why they are here, and ultimately hopeful for a renewal.
As a fan of both the games and the anime, I would love to get a second season that includes some of the characters they included as easter eggs and expound upon them some more. Despite some issues that I had with how it was done, Tekken: Bloodline is still a great anime to watch on Netflix, and with only six episodes, I was on the edge of my seat every minute!
Tekken: Bloodline is currently available to stream on Netflix.
Hey! I’m Lais a.k.a. Chipz-N-Stix and I love video games and nerd culture overall. I typically do reviews and impressions on video games as well as offer some helpful tips and tricks to enhance your gaming experience. From time to time I tend to touch on certain topics that get you thinking – things that would matter to the individual. I’m also a self-proclaimed Pokemon Master but that doesn’t mean you can outright challenge me. I have to “motivate” my team for that!