Tekken: Bloodline is a worthy adaptation that could be the basis of longevity with a gritty storyline, impressive storyboarding, and clear character arcs.
This review of the Netflix anime series Tekken: Bloodline season 1 does not contain spoilers.
There’s almost an undeniable wave of dread when a game adaptation surfaces in the news amongst the plethora of press releases. Resident Evil on Netflix was the latest adaptation that was spat out, then chewed right back up. For some reason, the human race cannot get video games represented right, and there needs to be a discussion as to why.
Okay, Halo on Paramount+ got away with the hate; despite many fans foaming from the mouth after the premiere, the series garnered enough supporters to achieve renewal. Not following canon appeared to have benefited the Paramount series.
And now, we have a new Tekken adaptation, but if we are fairer, at least the medium is anime. If anything can adapt a videogame, it’s a brand new, shiny anime series on Netflix. And I suppose, admittedly, when I saw that was the case, I immediately looked forward to it.
Tekken: Bloodline was well worth the wait. It has a gritty, emotional origin story, following Jin Kazama from a child to adulthood, enduring the apparent death of his mother due to a demon, and then venturing out to the world to find his grandfather Heihachi Mishima for training to avenge her death. The anime series is not an immediate fly-in to characters fighting and instead teases the audience towards the King of Iron Fist Tournament. It’s a slow burner, but it’s worth the audience’s patience as the creators attempt to flesh out the world of Tekken in a serious manner rather than jumping straight into the action.
And those aware of canon, and in particular the character of Jin Kazama, will not be surprised by the story’s direction. However, delightfully, the anime series does not attempt to cloud newcomers with an abundance of incoherent references. Instead, the story is built for newcomers and loyal fans alike. There is no requirement to play Tekken 3 and onwards to understand the story. And regardless of extensive knowledge of the characters, there’s an abundance of excitement to be had knowing the story arc.
The only disappointment is that the anime series has only released six episodes – it’s not entirely clear if these are the only chapters of Tekken: Bloodline season 1, or if we should expect further parts to extend it, or if we will be treated to a new second season. With the release schedule unclear, the anticipation for news on a continuation will be waited on with bated breath.
But the good news is that Tekken: Bloodline is a worthy adaptation that could be the basis of longevity with a gritty storyline, impressive storyboarding, and clear character arcs. Let’s hope that Netflix sees sense.
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