Tekken: The Motion Picture
Steeped in the tradition of Fatal Fury and Street Fighter, Tekken is yet another anime based on a wildly popular fighting game series. Mishima Heihachi, weapons magnate and martial artist, trains his son, Kazuya, to be his successor, by throwing him into a ravine. Kazuya survives on the strength of his rage and hatred of his father and seeks revenge. Can Jun bring the good, gentle boy she once knew as a child back from the path he has created? And will any of the warriors survive Heihachi's hellish tournament, with dangers unforeseen by even the strongest character?
Here we go again. Another video game anime. Each time some major company (this time ADV) releases the Next Big Hoohah, we all hope solemnly that this next one may actually be decent.
Friends, stick to Street Fighter II, or better yet, find another genre to play with. This so-called motion picture is definitely not up to the hype it's created for itself. We should all have known it when ADV decided to not even bother releasing a subtitled version, as this is not a release for diehard anime fandom, but panders to the mainstream audience. And pander it does. Having a -bit- of a plot (enough to keep things mildly interesting for a while), it focuses, of course, on Kazuya's plotting revenge on his father Heihachi (whose name is mispronounced as Haihachi over ninety percent of the time in the dub ... which is really not very professional). The subplots are very heavy-handed and predictable, and the battles are, well, almost as exciting as the video game.
The big problem I had with this film was the animation itself. The animators of this film used no -real- cels, but produced it all by CG, which, if done well, can be used to great effect. Instead, we get treated to only a few decent effects, with really bad scenes of, say, boats bobbing on the water's surface in a harbor (funny, I don't -see- any waves...), and very glaring light effects. It was an early attempt at being revolutionary that really didn't work. The fact that it's being used for such a pedestrian story only adds to the "ain't-all-that" factor.
The most amusing things in this anime were actually quite secondary to the story itself. The first was the dub voice actor for Kazuya, who sounded exactly like the Maxx (remember him from MTV? Angst monster!). He probably wasn't quite right for the part of Kazuya, but he was amusing all the same. Secondly, and I somehow forgot to mention this before: martial arts kangaroos and dinosaurs! Yeehaw!!! However, I had a really good laugh when the songs from Stabbing Westward and (yes) the Offspring were played in the background and in the ending sequences. After a while, I was starting to wonder if this was really anime.
Which is why I really can't accept this release of anime as anything truly worthwhile. Like last year's theatrical release of Godzilla, they tried to make something that was clearly Japanese in origin as American as possible. And it just felt .... wrong. If this OAV had been any indication of anime's future as a mainstream medium in American pop culture, as a fan of anime, I would have been truly ashamed. Thankfully, it wasn't.
To this OAV, I'll have to quote The Offspring's "Meaning of Life", used in the "motion picture"'s end credits:
"Thanks, but no thanks!"
It's barely entertaining enough to avoid the turkey bin. I still don't recommend it, though. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Violence, as per the genre, with one very gory scene that happens just off-camera. The uncut version has some brief nudity. Best for older teens and up. The video game crowd might love this anime ... or then again, maybe not.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Tekken: The Motion Picture © 1997 Namco Ltd / Ascii Corporation / Sony Music Entertainment (Japan)
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