When I first caught word that there was going to be a Netflix Tekken series, I, of course, pumped my fist–and electricity coursed through my very fingers. That’s because I LOVE Tekken! I’ve loved it ever since the very first game came out on the original Playstation, and I’m stoked as hell for Tekken 8. In other words, I’m deeply invested in who is going to be the King of the Iron Fist Tournament.
With Tekken: Bloodline being out for a few weeks now, I’ve finally been able to fully digest it and come up with an actual opinion on it. Because some of the animated series on the streamer I absolutely adore, like Castlevania (where I even ranked the ten best episodes), while other anime, like Godzilla: Singular Point, could use some major improvements. So, where does Tekken: Bloodline stand? Well, you’re about to find out.
Oh, and some spoilers up ahead.
Loved: The Animation Is Amazing
Here’s the thing about Tekken: Bloodline. When the characters, like Jin Kazama or Hwoarang are just standing around, their animation is nothing special. But, when they’re in motion, the animation is seriously amazing. Unlike anime like Demon Slayer, or shows like Attack on Titan, or Avatar: The Last Airbender that deal with fantasy elements like flying around, or manipulation of the elements, Tekken, like the video game series, mostly deals in realistic combat.
Does that mean that there aren’t things like ogres or the “devil gene” in the story? No, there are. There definitely are. It wouldn’t be Tekken without it. But, the animation for it all is cemented in fluid, mostly realistic combat (well, besides the lightning attacks), and when it’s all in motion, it’s really a sight to behold.
What I Hope They Improve: The Dubbing
I once wrote an article about how I prefer subtitles to dubbing, and if there’s any obvious reason as to why, then I think this show is a prime example, as the dubbing could seriously use some work. I was actually watching the anime from the very beginning with subtitles on and the Japanese voice actors speaking, but I had to do some cleaning around my living room, so I turned on dubbing for a while, and boy was I flabbergasted.
English dubbing is usually pretty bad, but this one takes it to a whole other level. It’s not that the voice actors are phoning it in, as it’s actually quite the opposite. The voice actors are putting TOO much into their performance. Especially the one for Heihachi who overemphasizes everything to an almost comical extent. So, a line like, “Stoke your Mishima fire” becomes, “Stoke your MEEEEESHIMA fire.” It’s actually pretty hilarious.
My biggest problem with this is that I fear some people won’t take the show seriously with some of this dubbing, when the clear solution is to just put it on subtitles with the Japanese voice acting. So, maybe the dubbing could be better if there is a Season 2. That would be good.
Loved: The Storyline Is Simple And To The Point
A series based on a fighting game does NOT need a convoluted plot, and thankfully, Tekken: Bloodline avoids having one. Taking place between the events of Tekken 2 and 3, we get our protagonist Jin wanting to take vengeance upon Ogre after he does something terrible to his family. So, Jin’s grandfather, Heihachi, starts another tournament to draw Ogre out of hiding since he always seems to appear when the strongest fighters are around. Pretty simple.
I love that the story is simple, because it means that we can get to the awesome fight scenes quicker, which is what I came to see anyway. Sometimes, I like outlandish movie adaptations of video games, like the original Super Mario Bros. movie. But, when it comes to movies and series based off of fighting games, well, I like them to be more like Mortal Kombat, which was centered around a tournament, rather than Street Fighter, which was all over the place. This anime nails that down perfectly. Not a lot of fluff, and a whole lot of fighting. Awesome.
What I Hope They Improve: Some Of The Best Characters Are Never Seen In Action
When I did my 10 key characters I hope to see in Tekken: Bloodline article some time ago, I actually got a lot of my wishes, as Law, Nina and Anna Williams, Ling Xiaoyu, and hell, even Dr. Bosconovitch made an appearance. That said, only two of those characters–Nina and Xiaoyu–actually had an actual match. Very few of the other characters, namely Yoshimitstu or Kuma, were even seen in combat. Instead, it was merely mentioned that they lost their matches, and this really bugged me.
Yes, Tekken: Bloodline focused on Jin, so it makes sense that all of the matches would be relatively Jin-adjacent. But, some of the best stuff about Tekken is seeing all of the bizarre characters, like Alex, a boxing raptor, fighting other characters such as Eddy Gordo, and we got none of that stuff here. I feel like if Season 2 does happen, then they should really find a way to sneak in more battles between other characters not connected with Jin’s storyline. Because I want to see Panda fight, dammit!
Love: The Characters Actually Use Moves And Combos From The Game!
Lastly, can I just say how much I love that the characters in the series actually use moves from the video game itself? In some instances, it genuinely looks like two people just playing a versus battle in the game, and I could even recognize certain combos that I could actually pull off, most notably in the sections with the character, King.
Is this an example of fan service? Yes. Most definitely. But, at the same time, it just feels and looks so right. In a lot of ways, this makes it feel like more of an extension of the games rather than being something else entirely. It’s not like the live-action Mortal Kombat movies, which are using similar characters and moves, but also taking massive liberties from the source material. Instead, this anime actually resembles the game itself, which is just another thing that I loved about the series and hope that they bring into the next season, if, that is, another season actually happens.
Have you checked out Tekken: Bloodline yet? For more news on other Netflix projects, make sure to swing by here often.
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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