The Cel Shaded report, 6/9: Tekken it to Dole (in 3-D!)

June 9th, 2011

Ahh, Tekken. Ever since the first installment of the King of Iron Fist Tournament hit arcades in 1994, gamers have beaten one another silly using humans of all nationalities and sizes, cyborgs, kangaroos, giant lizards, grizzly and panda bears, wooden dummies, and … umm … whatever the heck Azazel is (aside from “that guy I always have trouble beating in Tekken 6 even on super-easy mode”). Heck, even Gon — yes, the tiny dino-star of Masashi Tanaka’s manga, heading to its third manga imprint stateside in Kodansha Comics this summer — has joined the festivities in the past, getting the only ending that technically could go on forever in the process.

Those people who actually care about the stories behind the characters (besides “Hello, opponent, I will taunt you, now let the exchanging of blows commence”) have had quite a bit to digest over the years. In its simplest form you have the dysfunctional Mishima/Kazama family dynamic — Heihachi, the host of several tournaments, first leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu, founder and commander of the Tekken Force and a father who’s thrown son Kazuya and grandson Jin Kazama off their fair share of high points; Kazuya, who’s been killed and resurrected several times and understandably hates his father enough to throw him off a cliff; Jin, the devil-possessed guy who hates granddad Heihachi for trying to kill him and dad Kazuya for … well … being Kazuya, a not-very-pleasant person to be around in the first place. Things start getting complicated once you introduce people like the assassin-put-into-a-deep-freeze Nina Williams and her rivalry with her vain sister, Anna. Then you get the plain goofy plot points, like Kuma’s never-ending quest to date Ling Xiaoyu’s pet, Panda. And anything beyond that? Sorry, but you’re going to have to study Wikipedia’s character profile list. I gave up trying to figure out the history of tiger-masked wrestler King a long time ago.

(Also, no Tekken commentary would be complete without mentioning, and linking to, the Tekken 6 sheep stage with yodeling background music. You’re welcome.)

But any discussion of the games themselves will have to wait for GameType, where tag-team partner in fandom Wilma J. and I occasionally surface, contribute something and then promptly disappear again for months at a time. Here at Otaku Ohana, we concern ourselves with talking about adaptations of favorite games into anime, manga and other media. And more often than not, they’re incredibly average or worse adaptations. Tekken, of course, is no exception to this rule; it’s had an adequate OVA, released in 1999 by ADV Films, and a blink-and-you-missed it live-action American film in 2010 that joins Street Fighter and Dead or Alive in the Fighting Games That Never Should Have Been Turned Into Live-Action American Films Hall of Shame. When the long-running director of the video game condemns the movie, you’re in trouble.

Now a new contender has entered the fray: Tekken: Blood Vengeance, a computer-animated feature that will be shown at theaters across the country in glorious 3-D for one night only … including the Regal Dole Cannery18 here in Honolulu, in case you were wondering where exactly this Cel Shaded report was going … at 7 :30 p.m. July 26. Tickets, at $15 each, recently went on sale online at Fandango; the evening will also include a 20-minute interview with the aforementioned director, Katsuhiro Harada, and screenwriter Dai Sato (whose credits also include episodes of Ghost in the Shell: Stand-Alone Complex and Cowboy Bebop, as well as the Halo Legends short “The Package”).

If nothing else — as this official Bandai Entertainment trailer shows — it’ll look really, really pretty. As for what the actual movie is about? That’s a good question. NCM Fathom’s description says the movie “will give fans a look into history and motivations of the fighters who join the King of Iron Fist Tournament.” The film also is “taking place in the world and true to the characters and history of the Tekken franchise,” according to a Namco Bandai press release. And information pretty much falls off the map after that.

I have to admit, in spite of the lack of information, I’m a bit intrigued about seeing this movie. It is rather pretty CGI animation, after all. It could be all this film needs to succeed and make millions of dollars, first in theaters, then with home-video releases. I mean, look at Square Enix and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children!

… umm. Or maybe not.

Library of clarifications

Soon after last week’s post about several summer library programs, librarian Diane Masaki offered a few notes of clarification and updates on some of Aiea Library’s upcoming events. Combined with her updated Facebook note, here’s a fresh look at what’s coming up at the library:

  • It’s Thursday, which means the Harry Potter movie marathon is continuing apace. Today’s offering: Chamber of Secrets.
  • Also continuing apace: The Aiea Library Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Program. Coming up next Wednesday is the Father’s Day gift-making session. That will be followed by the “pizza garden” program on the 22nd, offering instructions on how to grow herbs and vegetables for pizzas, and a program on the 29th teaching babies how to do sign language to relay their needs to parents.
  • Irish storyteller Niall de Burca will perform at 2 p.m. June 25, while Plenty Saimin author Feng Feng Hutchins will stop by to read her book at 3:30 p.m. July 7.

Once again, the library is at 99-143 Moanalua Road; call 483-7333.

Anime around town

>> MangaBento: This group of anime- and manga-inspired artists meets from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Academy Art Center, 1111 Victoria St., Room 200. Visit

4 Responses to “The Cel Shaded report, 6/9: Tekken it to Dole (in 3-D!)”

  1. AniMatsuri:

    Still, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was at least more watchable than the multi-million dollar flop that was animated right here in Hawai’i.

    Also, most of the Street Fighter anime(OAVs & movies) are pretty watchable too.

  2. Faerie34:

    Was Spirits Within THAT horrible??? I never got around to watching it, but the animation looked REALLLY nice…

  3. Jason S. Yadao:

    @Faerie34: Gotta agree with AniMatsuri on this one — the animation was gorgeous, and I like L’Arc~en~Ciel’s closing theme, “Spirit Dreams Inside,” but the story was a hopelessly muddled mess.

  4. AniMatsuri:

    As I’ve said before about FF: The Spirits Within was more Final than Fantasy. The animation was nice as they had some top animators working on it. But, the over all colors and feeling on the movie were dark and gloomy. Not at all what you would expect from a movie based on the video game.

    I was able to get a sneak peak at the studios while it was being made and said about as much and they acted like I had no idea what I was talking about and should just shut up. Since they used most their own money, when the movie flopped it sunk the Hawai’i studio and almost took the company down with it. Maybe they could have listened to outside comments a little back then…

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