Over the years, Tekken had its share of adaptations. There were comics, anime and even multiple movies. The problem is…well, they all sucked. Ok, the anime was kind of decent (and it was even partially set in Singapore!) but everything else was bad…Thankfully, after all these years, we finally have a new King of Iron Fist in the form of Netflix’s Tekken Bloodline.
Tekken Bloodline does a lot of things different from most adaptations…and that’s makes it work. It doesn’t bore you with character origins (except for Jin’s) because it knows who the audience is; hardcore Tekken fans.
The anime begins a few years before Tekken 3 (and then fast forwards to follow Tekken 3’s plot), Tekken Bloodline shows the previously hinted upon backstory of Jun being killed by Ogre (though she does technically return as Unknown in Tekken Tag Tournament), as well as the murder of most of Tekken 2’s cast. Oh Baek…I miss you.
As a hardcore fan, I’m honestly surprised at the little touches from Tekken 3’s plot that the anime included. Make no mistake though, Tekken Bloodline’s story is paper thin, just like the game.
It’s not a completely faithful adaptation though, some allowances (such as the introduction of Leeroy Smith and Steve Fox being in the tournament) have been made. I don’t really mind, it actually adds to the story, despite not making much sense.
However, there are a ton of essential missing characters in the anime’s streamlined version of Tekken 3’s plot. Yoshimitsu, Forest Law, Lei Wulong are shown to be in the tournament but never on-screen, while fan favourites Eddy Gordo and Bryan Fury don’t even seem to be in the tournament roster.
I’m not saying it’s worth it…but seeing as how there are only 6 episodes to the anime, it seems that sacrifices had to be made.
Thankfully, those sacrifices don’t extend to the animation or fighting.
The fights are fast and fluid and more importantly, game accurate to the characters. Each of the characters all fight with their game styles, and with their game moves. It’s a damn treat and one of the reasons Tekken Bloodline is so damn good.
You’re watching a faithful adaptation of the source material and it shows.
While the series does end on a cliffhanger (just like Tekken 3 did), here’s hoping that Tekken Bloodline is popular enough that Netflix orders a second season, which is hopefully based on Tekken 4.