Tekken: The Motion Picture
Video game anime always does well, no matter how unbelievably horrible the anime is. Case in point: Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture.
The reasons for this are obvious: Video game fans are mostly around 12-15 years old, spending their parents' money like there's no tomorrow, and willing to buy anything for the brand name. This is slowly changing, as the nature of the market matures, but for all intents and purposes, this rule still applies.
Tekken, of course, is the latest forray by ADV Films into this market. (Their last was Samurai Showdown.) These are the only films ADV has ever released without a subtitled version, knowing that real anime fans really couldn't care less. In other words, this anime is crap and we all know it.
That's being a bit harsh in Tekken's case. Unlike lots of other fighting game anime out there, no attempt is made to cram in ridiculous and slightly incompatible plot lines for every single fighter. Tekken actually has a well-defined plot, and although it's preachy and it's corny, it's a plot nonetheless! The plot focuses around powerful businessman and fighter Heihachi Mishima and his son Kazuya. In front of his childhood friend Jun, he drops his son down a cliff, muttering, "if you're really my son, you'll live." Whatta role model. Jun can't find him, and assumes he's dead. Years later, Jun is an international secret agent, who, along with a Chinese fighter, is invited to an international fighting tournament, and is assigned to investigate it. She later finds out that it's Heihachi that's hosting the tournament, and Kazuya is not only still around, but living exclusively for the sake of killing his father.
There are all sorts of sub-plots, but they're all somewhat laughable. Jun, for example, has ESP and a sixth sense for fighting auras, and there's a giant warrior who must find a scientist to save a sick girl he drags with him everywhere. The anime takes all of these plots seriously, and actually manages to keep the plot straight throughout the hour-long OAV. (Yes, it's a OAV, despite ADV's insisting on calling it "The Motion Picture.")
Even more odd is the style in which Tekken is animated. One of the first purely digital anime made, the digital painting has the visual look of Tokimeki Memorial, or some other such computer game. No film, no cells, and no classic animation visual "oompf" either. To make matters worse, the direction relies heavily on pans and layering, which is done at a full 60 fields per second (where film is usually 24 frames). The resulting shimmering effect is incredibly annoying and very cheap looking. The fake cel animation itself ranges from well-done to jerky.
While there's nothing wrong with the art itself (although it is a bit simple), Tekken lacks the visual impact of... well... just about any other anime, fighting or otherwise. Maybe I'm just being easy on the plot out of relief that it isn't directed by Masami Ohbari.
The dub is surprisingly well-done, achieving professional quality with all but a few characters. (The kids sound too young and adult Kazuya is WAAAY too low-pitched), but ADV's desire to replace some of the music with American metal and rap artists doesn't turn out quite as well as Sony's did a few years ago with Street Fighter II movie. While some songs match the action very well, others don't go at all, and at times the mixing is somewhat off.
Overall, Tekken is oddly mediocre in a genre filled with utter crap. So, if you like fighting anime, you'll probably love Tekken too.
Overall : C+
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