A showdown of three generations yet to be seen in-game
Tekken, going back to its days on the PlayStation, has always provided excellent story elements and animation that show off a variety of serious and humorous characters that move the franchise along from generation to generation. Gamers now get a chance with Tekken: Blood Vengeance to see these stories unfold independent of the game, the computer generated quality unfolding in a full length film giving more story and background to some very memorable characters. Ling Xiaoyu is the star of this feature but make no mistake the Mishima boys steal the show. What’s to love Tekken fans, let’s take a look.
The Story – Jin and Kazuya continue their family blood feud as both race to investigate the M Cell, the key to their devil powers and eternal life. The target of their investigation is high-school student Shin Kamiya, a student who disappeared from Mishima Technical academy. Siblings Nina and Anna Williams take up their boss’s desires and enlist both Ling and Alisa Bosconovitch in the hunt for Shin. The two girls encounter their target and one another and form a friendship that exceeds the boundaries of their orders and forces them to question their programming and trust in their instincts. As the secrets to Shin’s past come full circle the three heads of Mishima face-off in an epic battle. The Tekken universe continues to roll and this time no tournament is needed for these battles to unfold.
Animation and Art Style – The character design carries over from the original games with familiar settings and battle styles. The CG feels much more fluid. This feels like an extension of the source material which should please fans. The battles are great with tons of action but overall the encounters are few for an anime based on a fighting game. The end sequence where the Mishima family battle make up for the overall lack of battles with one epic throw-down.
Music and Voice Work – Sadly the background music does not incorporate enough of the games fight sequences. The voice work also lacks polish with characters showing a level of emotion that is either lacking or over the top. For the franchise it’s on par with the course but would have been well served to be upgraded even at the risk of changing character known sounds. It would have also been nice to see more Japanese audio mixed in as seen in the game cut-scenes. Not horrible but it comes up a bit short for a feature film.
Miscellaneous – Where does this all fit in the Tekken canon? There are appearances by other Tekken universe characters but not nearly enough and while the story works it just does not make sense overall as tied into the game storyline.
Overall Blood Vengeance, like the Tekken comics, allows fans to get deeper into the story behind Tekken, but where is the entry? Knowledge of the franchise helps but is not needed to enjoy the film. Would have been great to see more fighting in an animated feature based on a fighting game … know what I mean?