Netflix’s Tekken: Bloodline Is Great for Newcomers to the Fighting Game Series

As someone who has exclusively played Tekken Tag Tournament 2, I’m not especially knowledgeable about the series’ story. I know about the Mishima family, that they enjoy dropping each other off of stuff, and that Lars was in a Naruto game. That’s about it. So the prospect of a Tekken anime based on the games intrigued me, as it seemed like a breezy way to get into the wild lore of Tekken. Family conflict, devil genes, and intense fights were all bountiful throughout the series, and I was impressed by how accessible it was to a near-total newcomer.

The history of the Mishima family is presented clearly, or at least as much as the viewer needs to know. As someone who didn’t know much about them, I quickly got the gist of things and enjoyed seeing the complicated relationships that the members of the family have. It’s a fairly standard story of training and revenge, but it works well and kept me from ever getting bored.

The series truly picks up when the King of the Iron Fist tournament begins, which brings in many of the eclectic fighters from across the Tekken series. I’ve read that the roster of fighters isn’t necessarily accurate to Tekken 3, which the series is primarily based upon. Still, implementing more recent characters into classic lore can be interesting if done well – which is the case here.

The action is fun to watch, with the electric shocks and impact effects from the games making appearances here and there. The beatdowns feel genuinely brutal at times, and Jin’s early training with Heihachi stands out quite a bit in this regard. Big fans will be able to tell whether combo strings from the games are present in the show but even as inexperienced as I am with the franchise, I found the fights to be more than satisfying.

Coming away from Bloodline, I found myself more invested in Tekken than before watching. It’s a bit short at only six episodes, but if anything, that makes it easier to commit to if you aren’t already a series fan. Not only is it short, but it feels like its own arc, rather than set up for later seasons like the first few episodes of Castlevania did. If it can reach the incredible heights that Castlevania did, then Tekken: Bloodline may become one of the best game adaptations around.

I don’t know where Tekken goes in future games or which characters will show up, but I’m definitely going to watch whatever comes next. I’d love to see more series like Street Fighter and King of Fighters get the modern anime treatment, as fighting game lore can be completely over-the-top and a blast to follow. Until such a thing happens, though, I’d be content with another season of Tekken: Bloodline.


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