The first sign that Tekken: Bloodline will not unravel the long line of failed anime adaptations of the popular fighting game series is the fact that it is almost impossible to watch at normal speed. Some fights need to be accelerated to 1.5x for each episode, although this isn't intentional.
Bloodline does attempt to reproduce many of the Tekkengames in anime form. They just arent the right elements. Among all the big fighting games out there, the Tekken games have always been the slowest. This requires players to master the art of stringing together simple movements to unlock each individual character's full potential and unique fighting style.
If Bloodline had interesting characters, the slow animation might be a problem. It's a young fighter Jin Kazama being trained by his grandfather, Heihachi Mishima, to win a fighting tournament that will attract an immortal green god of fighting.
Only one of the three characters has a real personality. Aztec Hulk isnt that interesting to watch, but Heihachi is. Even though he may seem at first glance like the same hard-ass martial arts master archetype weve seen time and time again, the show faithfully paints Heihachi as both a fighter and a CEO of a large corporation. Other, objectively more interesting Tekken characters, like Leroy Smith's white-haired black man in
The Tekken games' roster of funny, out-of-left-field characters might not have worked in the Bloodlines story, but there was no need to introduce American judoka/MMA fighter Paul Phoenix and then do absolutely nothing with him. You cannot show us a guy who looks like he styles his hair with Viagra and then tell us his fight with a bear (Kuma, a real Tekken character who is actually a martial arts bear) off the screen. How absolutely dare you?!
Reducing the fight to a non-visual anecdote not only robbed the show of a valuable promotional opportunity for the anime for years to come, but it also sabotages the darker tone Bloodline creates. While the Tekken franchise has its fair share of funny-looking characters, theres often a dark, bloody drama underneath them, which is really one of the keys to the franchise's success: a kind of reverse-mullet tone.
While watching Bloodline, fans may be surprised by how different the characters' fighting styles are. Those aren't included in the anime as well.
The problems with Tekken: Bloodline are far beyond the scope of the current anime series. Tekken: TMP is mostly based on Tekken and Tekken 2, with just a handful of actors, including Heihachi, who are all played in the movies. All of the other cool characters in the franchise are relegated to the background and heavily toned down, as they are in Bloodline.
The most frustrating part about Tekken: The Motion Picture is that Ryota Yamaguchi and Seiichi Ishii initially understood that the games were a great marriage of silly fun and serious drama, but then turned it all backward. The anime does it the other way around, like when Jun and Kazuya are talking about a tragic event from their childhood when a lady enters the theater carrying a bazooka. It's more frustrating than just not understanding the assignment from the start.
A Tekkenanime should be a continuation of a scene from the 2011 CGI film Tekken: Blood Vengeance. A robot assassin dressed like a pastel clown stripper who is equipped with wings and chainsaw hands talks about her and another character who was experimented on having bodies that defy nature. She wonders what she and another character who was experimented on have.
Blood Vengeance takes advantage of the original game's impressive cast of characters, while neglecting to highlight their individual fighting styles. There was such a lot of potential for fun style in the Mandalorian when the IG-11 droid stands in one position and swings parts of its body to shoot all of the people around it.
Dwight H. Little's 2010 live-action Tekken film is one bit right. All of the different fighting styles look different, including capoeira, boxing, and so forth. Everything else about the film, though, isn't Tekken. It's way too serious about its premise, it ignores the memorable character backstories, and it ends up ruining Heihachi (played by Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa).
What would make a perfect Tekken adaptation? Itd be logical on the surface, given the vast roster of colorful characters, but itd be able to find the drama and heart in their fights and interactions, as Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series The Legend of Korra are, though like both of those shows, it would need to take audiences on a journey thatd replicate the feeling of mastering a Tekkengame.
Unfortunately, that's just the definition of Netflix's Cobra Kai, a series with its own pedigree, backstories, and fandom. Tekken fans will just have to keep waiting for an adaptation that takes the games' strengths seriously. At the very least, they will have a long and varied series of video games to keep them busy.
Bloodline from Tekken is currently available on Netflix.