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Tekken: Blood Vengeance DVD Review

8 min read

Long in the work manipulations are all brought to bear through lots of force.

What They Say:
The stage for a final showdown is prepared as Anna Williams and the G Corporation set a trap for her sister Nina, who works for Jin Kazama, head of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Both Jin and his father, Kazuya Mishima of the G Corporation, seek to possess and control the M Cell that will unlock the destructive supernatural powers buried within the Mishima bloodline.

Kazuya dispatches Ling Xiaoyu to a prestigious international school to spy on Shin Kamiya, a victim of secret genetic experiments and may hold the key to the M Cell. While investigating Shin, Xiaoyu befriends Alisa Bosconovitch who also shows an interest in Shin. Their new friendship is put to the test as they are caught in the middle of the Mishima family feud.

The final battle explodes in a three way battle. Who will claim the M Cell and unlock the full power of the Devil Gene?!

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release is pretty solid as it contains both the English and Japanese language tracks in 5.1 encoded at 448kbps. The feature utilizes the soundstage well with some good action and sound effects thrown to the rear channels while also having a very strong forward design. The feature moves well between action and straightforward dialogue but it obviously showcases itself better with the big action sequences. And those do come across well here with some good bass to it and a sense of impact where appropriate. The fights vary in intensity as one can imagine but when it goes big for the finale in particular, it doesn’t hold back. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released in 2011, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. While one mbps is given over to the audio side of the program, the rest of the DVD bandwidth is given over to the video as it sits pretty much in the middle eights throughout the majority of the program. And it works well in doing so, though you want to see it in high definition as well, as the animation looks great here with a lot of vibrant colors that hold together well with only some standard noise in some of the softer backgrounds. There’s a lot of detail to the feature that really does wow and it’s very well captured here, making it a fun show to experience. Outside of a very small instance of cross coloration, the transfer here is generally problem free.

The packaging for this release has a tough road to hoe simply because the size of the cast of the games in general means someone will feel slighted. The single sized keepcase goes for the interesting approach of pairing up Xiaoyu and Alisa against the setting sun but it’s got them at the darkest before the dawn when you get to their expressions and demeanor. You’d think they’d go for something a bit more outgoing and almost happier in a sense. The other main characters of the feature do get a showing on the front cover with a strip along the bottom that’s decent but a bit too dark, which is what you can say about the cover in general. The back cover doesn’t hold back with an all black background with a mixture of shadowed character artwork and an equally dark strip of shots from the show itself. There’s a lot of small text to cover the plot idea and a decent listing of the discs features. Add in some basic production credits and a solid technical grid and you’ve got all the right elements here. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

The menu design for this feature definitely goes for the obvious but frankly, if they didn’t it would be more of a problem. The menus all use the standard video game match-up style screens for the layouts and when you make different selections, such as in the language menus, it changes up which characters are there. It fits in well here overall with some good motion to it all and definitely goes to the shows origins in the game world with the loudness and general intensity of it. Submenus load quickly and everything is laid out well in an easy to access manner. The discs didn’t read our players’ language presets though and defaulted to English.

The only extras included in this release are a pair of trailers for the film.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
My experience with the world of Tekken is definitely rather varied, good and bad, which does color my experience with this feature. I had played the original Tekken games in my local theaters when it came out as it was revolutionary and different. But I never really got into them. My re-exposure to it came from the Tekken anime feature in the late 90’s, which was a hard watch even though I wanted to be into it. I’ve dabbled in the games a bit since, but the only one I ever bought was Dark Resurrection. With this feature taking place between the fifth and sixth games, it likely means a lot more to those who’ve played them than me, and part of the problem with the film, the only problem in fact, is that it doesn’t make certain things clear. It’s a little too aimed at just the fans. Though I agree that they need to be pleased.

The feature deals with a relatively small cast, though it brings in some fun little supporting roles that should make people happy. The central focus is on the character of Xiaoyu, the outgoing and problematic teenager from China who gets into lots of trouble and and causes of property damage at her school. So much so that it’s used as an excuse to expel her, though it’s part of a larger plan by Anna, who wants to use Xiao to go hunting after her target. Anna, as part of G Corporation, is hunting up some important data related to immortality and they think they can use Xiao to ferret it out since the target is a high school boy that was caught up in experiments performed on him.

The plot of the film is pretty much the weakest point here, especially considering it’s written by Dai Sato. There’s a lot of things going on here that ties to the games themselves with who is looking for whom, family problems and then the corporation side as well. Some of it makes a basic sense but there is also a sense at times that there are a lot of things that aren’t really connecting for me. But what helps is that the main characters of the film definitely make it accessible and fun on a base level. Xiaoyu certainly has that potential to annoy some with her attitude, but I liked the way she bounded to and fro with things but also knew when to slow down. When she pairs up with Alisa in her search for Shin as directed by Anna, the two click really well in an almost odd couple superhero kind of way. Alisa, being the unusual character she is, has a very fun feel to her and as she’s explored, as little as any character in this feature is explored, definitely is dealt with in a fun way. She’s the naïve and innocent type with the heart of gold but under the thumb of others.

When it comes down to it though, there are two things that I wanted out of the Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie. The first is that it should have a strong visual design and going the CG route was the right choice compared to traditional anime. I still feel like the odd man out in enjoying CG films like this since most anime fans seem to despise them. But from Appleseed and through quite a lot of OVAs and other features, I continue to dig them a lot. But the majority of them tend to be very dark and violent pieces, going for the action. While Tekken has plenty of action to it, it’s also filled with a lot of bright locales and settings for the fights. And this makes a huge difference. I love the settings and all the detail that’s there in them. It also has a sense of fun most other CG efforts tend to forget because it doesn’t fit with the story. Xiao and Alisa carry that well and there’s a few other little nods along the way as well that add to it just right.

The other thing I wanted out of it was some fun fight sequences, and I got that at pretty regular intervals without it being far too much or constant. The only downside to it is that the trademark moves are a bit weaker in some ways, mostly with Xiao, as she uses the move a couple of times when she goes into her defensive slide. But beyond that, it was simply fun as the variety of fighters involved go at it. The big fight at the end has a few story reveals to it but I really enjoyed the brawling aspect of it as everyone just went at it. It’s not thick with story or anything, at least with any real meaning for me since I’m not invested in the games, but I enjoyed the way it all unfolded and hit all the right notes. It’s not epic, but it’s definitely engaging to watch.

In Summary:
Tekken: Blood Vengeance was just a straightforward bit of fun for me, a guilty pleasure where I had no real expectations but came away pleased. Back when anime hit DVD in the late 90’s, the bulk of shows were fighting shows and it was just far too much. The last few years to say the least have not had much of it, so I’m not quite so resistant to it as I once was. I went into Tekken: Blood Vengeance with an open mind and enjoyed the characters, the animation and the settings as well as some very fun fights. It’s not a deep feature, it won’t set the world on fire, but it’s another solid CG entry that was an enjoyable viewing experience.

Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Trailers

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Release Date: November 22nd, 2011
MSRP: $19.98
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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