tml lang="en"> The Anime Critic - Tekken Review
Tekken box cover


Available on VHS and DVD from A.D. Vision.
60 minutes
Martial Arts
Version I Watched: English dubbed
Objectionable Content: Violence, brief nudity

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While I've generally held the whole fighting game genre in low regard, I've harbored some hope that one of these days a fighting game anime will surprise me. It will contain an interesting and non-cliched plot, characters I actually care about, and some truly awesome martial arts that would put Jackie Chan to shame. Unfortunately, Tekken isn't it.

Tekken is another poor entry into the overcrowded and underachieving field of fighting game anime. I question the merit of these titles, but of course, a title like this isn't aimed at the hard-core anime fan. That certainly explains why A.D. Vision didn't bother to release a subtitled version. This video is targeted at the mass market audience of martial arts video game aficionados, who eagerly absorb this kind of fluff, simply proving that flash over substance sells. But enough ranting, time to review the video itself.

The story begins with Heihachi Mishima, who proceeds to throw his son, Kazuya, off a cliff. However, Kazuya survived the fall, and fueled by revenge, has come back to destroy his father, who is now the head of Mishima Conglomerate. The company has sponsored a martial-arts tournament in which the winner gets to do battle with Heihachi himself. Naturally, Kazuya is quick to enter in hopes of facing his father and finally getting his revenge.

The actual introduction was a little bit artsy, and coupled with a good narrative voice (one of the few decent voices in the video, though) had me hoping that this title would actually be at least entertaining on a visceral level. And for about the first two minutes, the plot elements weren't that bad. The whole "big company sponsors a martial arts tournament and everyone's invited" bit is incredibly derivative, but it's not completely hopeless.

But then the problems begin. Characters start popping up as Tekken attempts to cram as many people from the game into the story as possible. Unfortunately, only a couple of them have any sort of depth to them, and the rest just seem to have all these grievances leading into these undeveloped subplots causing them to fight each other. Of course, you'd *think* this would at least bring about some half-decent fight scenes, but this is where Tekken really disappoints. There's only about a half-dozen fights, and most of them are over in a matter of seconds. Geez, if you're going to make a fighting game anime, at least include some decent fights!

And yet it gets even worse. The dialog is often painful to listen to, with witty lines like "You're going to hate me for this!" and "Something is very wrong here" (gee, ya think?) being the highlights. The voice-acting is generally pretty poor, with the exceptions being Jun Kazama and the opening narrator, who were the only two I could tolerate. Tekken also has the distinction of being digitally animated (as opposed to using traditional cell based animation). However, the results are average at the best of times and laughable during the worst. And don't even get me started on the boxing kangaroo and martial-arts dinos (I truly wish I were joking...).

So is there anything going for Tekken at all? Well, yes, the music wasn't that bad. Some of the instrumental pieces were pretty good, and even though A.D. Vision replaced a lot of the original songs with American versions, the results are decent.

In the end, though, Tekken is a complete waste of time. If you're a martial arts fan, there is very little martial arts here to make it worth watching. And anyone else would be hard-pressed to find another reason to watch it.

The Verdict: * 1/2 (very poor)


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