After being thrown off a cliff as a child, Kazuya Mishima enters the King of Iron Fist Tournament to extract revenge from his father, multi-billionaire Heihachi Mishima. Meanwhile, WWWC operative Jun Kazama and Hong Kong detective Lei Wulong also enter the tournament to investigate on Heihachi's illegal activities involving cloning and genetic engineering. A handful of other skilled fighters are also in it merely to win the grand prize of $1 billion, not knowing of the true purpose of the tournament and fate that awaits them.
Imagine if some Chinese company wanted to cash in on the popularity of Tekken, and made a bootleg anime ripping it off. How would that anime turn out?
Most likely, it would look as cheap as chips, be starved of quality action, and have characters and story that exhibit an uncanny valley quality, where they're recognisably taken from the game, but something feels off. Of course, it can't be called "Tekken" (which literally translates to "iron fist"), but probably something similar like "Sekken" (meaning "stone fist" ... or "soap" if you use the wrong kanji).
Funnily enough, an atrocity like that already exists! What's more,
it ain't even a bootleg - it's the official "Tekken" anime! But while it bears the official name, I'm just going to call it "Sekken", because the thought that this anime is an approved adaptation makes me want to weep.
[Note: I write this review mostly from the point of view of a fan of the games. Those unfamiliar with Tekken may not get all the references I make to the games.]
As a huge Tekken fan, I went into this anime rather excited, despite reading review after review that ranked "Sekken" amongst the worst anime ever made. For me, the gold standard for fighting game to anime adaptations has gotta be "Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie". While I harboured little hope that "Sekken" would get anywhere close to the quality of the SF2 movie, I nevertheless found myself unprepared for the level of crappiness that assaulted me. Watching "Sekken", I get the impression that the makers struggled a lot: they struggled coming up with great fights; they struggled staying true to the game ... heck, they even seemed to struggle deciding which game to set the anime in.
Let's start with the action. An adaptation of a fighting game should in the very least feature great fights. Also, seeing some special moves would be nice cos let's face it - all we want out of these adaptations is a good fan wank. But "Sekken" is the exact opposite of fan wank material - it's a gigantic cock block. Most of the lame battles only span a couple of blows, with the problem exacerbated by Kazuya, who's so overpowered his fights aren't worth watching. The battle between the Williams sisters - fueled by their legendary rivalry - started off promisingly, but gets rudely interrupted by uninvited guests (the closest "Sekken" got to being upgraded from cock block to cock tease). Besides any semblance of excitement, something else missing from this adaptation is the signature moves of the characters: where is Nina's "Blond Bomb", or Paul's "Phoenix Smasher"? And in the case of some regulars like Paul and Law, you don't even get to see them fight - you only see them as part of a crowd during a pan shot.
Admittedly, the personalities of the characters that do feature generally stayed true to the game, with the notable exception of Lee Chaolan. I didn't like the change with Lee's personality, but even faithfully portrayed characters did not come off well. At the time, I'd thought perhaps the personalities in Tekken do not translate well to screen, but the more recent Tekken anime "Blood Vengeance", while also not great, showed enough promise to suggest that isn't the case.
Then there's the story. The anime claims "Tekken tournament is a tournament that's held every year" ... what bullshit is this? At the time of "Sekken" coming out, the game franchise had three games released and even the closest two tournaments were set a couple of years apart. "Sekken" then proceeded to mix and match the plot elements from all three games as if buying pick 'n' mix. The result was something pretty shit, and if it were going to be shit anyway, I'd rather they'd stayed faithful to the storyline from the games.
"Sekken" doesn't deliver on the technical front either. The background music features distracting and intrusive rock tracks, but what's more damaging to the anime is the visuals. One huge problem is that the characters look different from the game. Even with Kazuya, one of the few that looks about right, something's a bit off about his character model. Most of the other characters are barely identifiable from their facial features alone - I had to guess the taekwondo guy is Baek, and the guy in the Chinese outfit Law, because they look nothing like their game counterparts. It's hard to fan wank off characters that you barely recgonise, so once again, "Sekken" has delivered a giant cock blocking punch straight to your groin.
The only thing "Sekken" brings to the table is that it provides visualisation for the story of "Tekken", piecing together and expanding on the bits of background info scraped from the game manuals. For example, I liked the way it interpreted the event of Heihachi throwing Kazuya off a cliff - it seemed ridiculous on paper but the anime made it more believable. Because of these things, the movie might *just* be worth a single watch for the most hardcore of fans.
At the height of its popularity, Tekken, with its "King of Iron Fist" Tournament, may have inherited the crown of being the King of Fighting Games from Street Fighter for a while. But it comes to anime adaptation of fighting games, "Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie" still reigns as King, and it ain't about to be budged by the likes of "Tekken" any time soon.
If you lived in the U.S. chances are you have heard the saying or one like it an eye for an eye. A perfect match up for those demanding revenge. This story is meant to show you both stand points on that matter. It is up to you to figure out which makes more sense.
Plain, right down to the ending. A well played out story would have you riddled in some form of emotion. Logic in character's action needs a simpler play-out. Currently is too complex.
Clear. The characters along with scenery are drawn nicely. Art matches the time period/plot.
Sound-no issues. I did
enjoy the music played. Songs used are ones aren't as commonly heard anymore.
Complexing, from character design to character skills. In terms of design how does a girl with purple hair as a child have brown as an adult. Fails at making scene. Would not care as much but that child moment is referred to a lot so why not have everything match up for an easier connection. As for skills, each character has their own special skill. While some are explained easily others still need clarification. Where did the girl get her skill from? Did it originate from the trauma event?
As a fan of Tekken I felt it was my duty to at least watch this and after watching this all I did was let out with a disappointing sigh. Here's why
This story takes place around the Tekken 1/2 period but differs a lot from the original story of both games. The main plot being Kazuya's vow to take revenge on his father Heihachi Mishima for throwing him down a cliff at a young age. Through this story we encounter many sub-plots filled within a short space of time, Jun Kazama who is an officer working for a Wildlife protection organisation has a sixth sense
that she uses to detect power or intention within people, she was with Kazuya before he got tossed down the cliff and thought he was dead. 16 years later she again meets with Kazuya after searching for Heihachi during the Tekken tournament and can sense a dark power within Kazuya known as Devil, at this time she is accompanied by a police officer named Lei. Another sub-plot being Jack's (A Massive Humanoid Robot) mission to save a young girl named Jane using the tournament to get to a secret lab, he is also accompanied by Lei later into the story. Basically the story and it's sub-plots are simple, which can work at times, but in this case, it was a miserable failure. It just didn't work, you hear all of this talk about fighting spirit near the beginning, yet in the end that stuff isn't important the tournament isn't even the actual highlight of the movie as it should have been.
Pretty, no, very dull characters I'm afraid, if you have never played Tekken you probably wont remember anybody's name. Kazuya tries to act like the hardass living for revenge, Jun is one of those caring, yet terribly irritating characters that talk of love and crap, Lei is the one with all of the jokes, Jack is your typical robot character with a somewhat dead personality, and the others are barely worth mentioning as they add very little colour to a dull cast that fail to develop.
::ANIMATION & ART::
The art is probably the worst thing about this OAV, from the horribly textured backgrounds to the poorly drawn characters to their poorly drawn clothes, it's just poor. The least they could do is match all the clothing to the actual clothing they have in the games, but they didn't even do that, the artists just designed their own horrible clothing and splashed in some effortless background images. The art just suffers, most anime if poor, is credited for its decent art, yet this actually pulls off having bad art as well.
The animation itself isn't awful though, not that anything in this OAV would have been significantly hard to animate, much of it is simple running or basic fight scenes, there aren't as many fight scenes as you'd expect since this is based off of a fighting game, but when the fights do come around they come off looking pretty stiff, sluggish and very simple. As an avid fan of good fight scenes AND Tekken, I was harshly disappointed with the simple uppercuts and body blows used in this anime, but overall there is just about enough action throughout the movie.
I only watched the dub of this but the voices weren't horrible, if you've played the game you might have been annoyed with a few voices, maybe Kazuya and Heihachi are slightly too deep, but all-in-all it wasn't as bad as dubs can get.
The opening and ending wasn't anything special I have trouble actually remembering the themes but as they come to me I see its because they aren't worth remembering, basic rock here.
And the background music, well they aren't that bad themselves, but mixed in with Tekken, which thrives on having smooth, eclectic beats in the games, doesn't suit it at all. Mostly you'll hear overly-generic hard rock tunes that someone will throw on to their AMV thinking that it's original. This is the case with every fight scene.
Don't even bother, unless you really feel the need like I did, just don't watch, if you are a Tekken fan but you aren't a fan of Kazuya, Jun, Heihachi, Lei, Jack 2, Lee, Nina or Anna and possibly Michelle don't bother watching because you'll be disappointed most of all, especially fans of Law, King and Paul because they barely get more than a minute of screentime, and they'll mostly be standing there with expressionless faces, actually even if you are fans of those characters, don't watch this. You'll be doing yourself a favour and could be doing something productive in the hour you'll be wasting by watching this. As an adaptation, this is bad but as an anime, this is just pathetic. Not worth watching
Tekken: The Motion Picture is an adaption, of sorts, of the ever so popular fighting game franchise. I say "of sorts" because it makes no effort to follow the game's storyline at all. I'm actually a pretty big fan of the Tekken games and decided to try out the anime "adaption". Pretty big mistake...
Kazuya Mishima is your stereotypical "tough guy" who met one Jun Kazama, the token "weak and defenseless girl" as a child. Kazuya's abusive father, Heihachi, then proceeds to throw Kazuya into a ravine. Yes, really. Fast forward to the future and Jun is working for Interpol and has gotten the assignment
to infiltrate the King of Iron Fist Tournament hosted by Heihachi's little family business, the Mishima Zaibatsu. Accompanying her is Lei Wulong, a bored Honk Kong policeman. And that's where things stop making (somewhat) sense. Characters from all over the Tekken canon are crammed into this movie with no real purpose or consistency. What we have here is a complete incomprehensible mess that tries to be deep and psychological but comes of as pretentious and idiotic.
Just what am I supposed to be looking at? The crudely drawn locales seem to have been sketched in a hurry, with islands looking like big green blobs and cities looking completely gray and stony. The characters also look pretty odd with the males being unrealistically muscular behemoths and females all being super-bouncy, super-skinny bimbos who do pretty much nothing but die or plead for help. Sexual equality in action here! (sarcasm) And what's up with the eyebrows? Seriously, some of the eyebrows look alive! The animation is also pretty screwed up, with characters lurching across the screen with wood-like movement.
Now, I've only seen the dub so I can't say for sure if the Japanese version is any better, although it has to be. Music consists of horrifying niche metal that irritates more than anything. The voice acting also leaves everything to be desired. Voices are either too deep (Heihachi is the main culprit here) or too high piched (every female character) plus the voice actors mispronounce the names a lot. So Heihachi (Hey, hatch, ee) becomes "Hi, hatch, ee" and Anna (Ann-ah) becomes "On-nah". Scripting is also relatively poor and the sound effects are stock, basic and boring. Tekken isn't exactly music to my ears.
Tekken: The Motion Picture is filled with people who suffer from incurable trauma and tough choices throughout the movie. So why is it that everyone is exactly the same from beginning to end? "Character development" are naughty words here. As if that wasn't bad enough, all the characters are one-sided and boring. Nothing about these cans of testosterone (or helpless girlies) is remotely interesting or fun to follow. Kazuya remains the pretentious tough guy throughout, Jun does a great doormat impression, Heihachi is the all-powerful corporate villain and Lei Wulong is the cliché sarcastic skeptic. Everyone else are useless stock characters with little to no plot importance or personalities.
But is it any fun to watch? In short: No. Fighting scenes have none of the excitement and flare of the game series and instead opts for a more brutal, realistic approach. That means fights drag on aaaages with the conclusion either being brief and unsatisfying or overly violent. The few fights are linked with equally long scenes of hilariously awkward dialog where characters either yell at each other or explain their "tragic pasts" which leads them to fighting/joining a secret syndicate/murdering someone/etc. I found myself yawning throughout the movie, wishing it'd be over sooner.
With terrible artwork, wooden animation, dull fight scenes and characters lacking any depth or substance, Tekken: The Motion Picture is not recommended for anime fans, fighting game fans, Tekken fans, or anyone in general. This is pure bottom-of-the-barrel material here and should be avoided at all costs.