Tekken: Bloodline is the best video game-to-anime adaptation in the modern era

A screenshot of Jin Kazama kicking Heihachi Mishima in mid air. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)
Yes, there is a Jin vs Heihachi fight in this show. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)

There will be no spoilers in this Tekken: Bloodline review. I would love for you to actually go on a ride with this series, as it makes me very happy as a video game and fighting game nerd.

Tekken historically has had a very convoluted storyline.

There are multiple characters with different motivations throughout the game's history, and you could never really tell who or what they were after unless you religiously play through all of the characters' arcade mode, and even then, you wouldn't know know which story is officially canon.

Although one could say that the main story from the original Tekken to the latest game, Tekken 7, just revolves around the Mishimas trying to kill each other and throw each other off cliffs and volcanoes, the fact of the matter is: even as someone who played through all the games, I still can't clearly tell you the motivations behind some of the Mishima's actions in the games.

Enter Netflix's Tekken: Bloodline.

This Netflix exclusive anime focuses on Jin Kazama, the protagonist of Tekken 3, and his journey toward becoming the martial artist that he is in the games.

A screenshot of the protagonist, Jin Kazama. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)
Jin is a very young boy in this show. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)

If it wasn't clear to you how he become what he became in the events of Tekken 3 and beyond, this anime sits you down and tells you the entire story.

It has helped me rationalise why the characters did what they did, even from the first original Tekken.

Even if you are a newcomer with no knowledge about the games, the series is easy to follow.

The pacing of the show really showcases all the characters struggles and motivations, and despite it being an adaptation of a fighting game, it is very rarely that the fights are in the story for the sake of having a fight.

Most of the fights in the show have a purpose, and it even helps to progress the story.

Some characters that I am still confused about to this day, like Paul Phoenix, get much needed character explanations, no matter how brief they are.

For example, with Nina Williams, if you know her backstory and who she is aligned with in the games, it makes the whole experience much more nail-biting than it is. But even if you don't, it's not a big deal. The reveal in the future episodes (if they do make them) will make up for it.

A screenshot of Leroy Smith from Tekken: Bloodline. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)
Why is Leroy Smith, a Tekken 7 newly made DLC character, in a Tekken 3 origin story? (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)

That said, if you do have prior experience in the games, it will make the anime much more enjoyable.

ALL moves done by the characters in fight scenes are perfectly replicated moves from the game.

There were times that I was marking out about someone doing their special move or going into Rage Mode (a mechanic from the games) or using their Rage Art super from Tekken 7.

There are a few inconsistencies in the anime however, that someone who follows the games will immediately go 'huh, that's not right'.

But it doesn't detract from the main story and far in between, which is appreciated.

One thing that I need to mention — it was severely distracting me from the whole experience — was the use of a weird triangular shadow on all of the characters.

If you pay attention, even in the trailers, there is a weird triangular shadow on each characters head.

A screenshot of King from Tekken: Bloodline. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)
I made you look. Now you will see this triangular shadows in all the pictures I've shown in this article. (Image: Netflix/BANDAI NAMCO)

The whole anime is done in 3D, and isn't your typical hand drawn anime, which is why I think this oversight was present.

Something must have been placed on all the character models to make sure they are not affected by the light present in the show, so that you are able to see the characters clearly.

Once you get over this, though, it just blends in the background and you forget that is there.

All-in-all, Tekken: Bloodline is a must-watch for any anime or Tekken fan out there.

It is very rarely that video game adaptations get a very good series (looking at you, Resident Evil and Halo), and it is one of the gems for the modern era of a Netflix-produced show.

Oh, and a side-note, if you are a Tekken fan, watch it in Japanese (the original language is in English). Jin is voiced by the same voice actor that does his voice in the games.

Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting bodied in games or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.

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