‘Tekken: Bloodline’ Review: Netflix’s Original Series Brings Justice to the Fighting Game Franchise

Tekken: Bloodline

This is the review for Tekken: Bloodline, the new Netflix original anime series that shows that the video game industry is really the king when it comes to the entertainment industry. Video games have achieved such great potential that they basically dwarf the profits of every other branch of the entertainment industry. It makes sense that video games are trying to expand even more by adapting their stories to other media. The efforts in this regard have had mixed results, but lately, it seems that the formula has finally been cracked.

Tekken is one of the biggest IPs when it comes to the fighting game genre. Recently, the latest entry in the franchise, Tekken 7 reached the amazing number of ten million copies sold, something some games can only dream of achieving. The franchise has also recently teased the next entry into the franchise, which would be the first game of the franchise in the new console generation. It seems Tekken is getting ready to go as big as it can, and a video game adaptation seems like the right step toward consolidating the brand.

This isn’t the first Tekken adaptation. In 2009, the video game was adapted into a very awful film with poor production values and even worse writing and acting. Thankfully, Tekken: Bloodline takes the animation route to adapt these larger-than-life characters and to make sense of the sometimes convoluted lore that has accompanied the series since its inception. The result is an enjoyable fighting anime that boasts quality CGI visuals and a classic storyline.

Tekken: Bloodline

Tekken: Bloodline focuses on the character of Jin Kazama, one of the most popular characters in the series. Jin became a fan favorite during his apparition in Tekken 3, which would become one of the most successful entries in the franchise. Jin is the perfect shōnen protagonist, and he also makes for the perfect fighting game protagonist. He is cool-looking, has some amazing moves, and his lore is all filled with drama and conflict.

The creators of the show decided that of all the characters the series has ever introduced, Jin is worth having a series around it. The “bloodline” in the title makes reference to Jin’s bloodline, which makes him part of the Mishima family. The Mishima family is also one of the most important organizations in the game’s lore, and here serves as the foundation for a story about legacy, honor, and identity.

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The show does an excellent job of adapting this complicated story of family issues into a comprehensive narrative that takes Jin from an innocent teenager to a hardened fighter. Sometimes the Tekken lore can become a bit overly dramatic, and it can also fall into very campy territory. However, the show balances out these two extremes in tone very well. It becomes apparent that going with Jin as the main protagonist and with his family legacy as the main conflict was the right choice.

When it comes to the visual style of the show, the series uses 3D graphics for the creation of the main characters. This use of CGI in anime has caused a lot of controversy. Purists hate the use of CGI in the medium and propose that a classic drawing style should always be the result. However, as there is more demand for new shows, CGI becomes a tool that makes the show easier to produce. The crunch makes using the old, classic drawing style too much for some animators.

Tekken: Bloodline

The classic drawing style will always look better. However, the techniques used to give these 3D characters the feeling and look of classic anime have improved a lot in the past few years. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, for example, managed to bring the Dragon Ball Universe to life in a very impressive way. Other studios must be catching up with Toie because Tekken also makes great use of 3D. In terms of budget and time, the Tekken series is way behind the Dragon Ball movie, but it is on the right path.

The series focuses on Jin’s conflict as he finds himself learning different fighting styles that contradict his own values. This main conflict is quite compelling, but when the series goes into fighting mode is when it really shines. The 3D techniques allow for great fluidity and excellent camera work when it comes to the fighting scenes. The battle sequences have a great impact, and they are as exciting as they can be in this type of show.

There is also a lot of fan service for all Tekken fans out there. Each episode is filled with references to moves, scenarios, and much more. Most of these references are focused on the Tekken 3 era, but being that that game is so pivotal in the lore and in the franchise overall, it feels like the right choice as well. Both dub versions, the original English and the Japanese dub, are great ways to experience the series, so whatever you choose is great.

Tekken is right now in the best shape it has ever been in. The franchise keeps getting bigger and bigger with each new game, and the anime series will surely bring new fans to the fight. The series boasts great visuals, and a compelling story, and serves as the perfect introduction to the Tekken universe for those who have never played the games. So, grab your snacks and get ready for the next battle.

SCORE: 8/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.