Shootfighter Tekken Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 45
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shootfighter Tekken

Shootfighter Tekken Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     August 21, 2004
Release Date: August 24, 2004

Shootfighter Tekken Vol. #1
© Central Park Media

What They Say
High school student Kiichi is on the fast track to martial arts super-stardom. An expert in the deadly Nanshin Shadow Style, he faces the challenge of his life: the long-awaited grudge match with his father's arch-nemesis, the champion of World Pro-Wrestling! Fists fly and blood spills as a new breed of fighter takes to the ring!

The Review!
Secret martial arts techniques against the biggest pro-wrestlers in the world make up the opening installment of this rather entertaining fight fest.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo mix works really well for this show in a couple of areas. The fight sequences in general have a good presence about them with some oomph to the hits that land. The other is the raining sequences where it fills the entire soundstage nicely. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we listened to both tracks across two different systems and had no issues with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released to video in 2001, the Shootfighter Tekken is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen letterbox. The transfer is decent overall but it has some small noticeable problems. The main issue that crops up throughout the print is that the blacks don't maintain a really solid feel throughout and some of the other colors, such as one of the purples from a characters suit, don't either. It's not macroblocking heavily but you can see a fair amount of blockiness during panning sequences across backgrounds and one of the characters. There's a general softness to the backgrounds which makes it a bit worse as well. The print looks to be free of cross coloration and very low on aliasing. The blockiness tends to be the real offender here but depending on your setup and how you're connecting everything it may be less than what we saw.

Using what looks to be one of the illustrations from the manga from which the show is based, we get a simple image of the lead character in a fighting pose with a bland background of blue and what looks to be some kind of electric shock or lightning strike near him. The show provides what I guess is a close approximation of an English language title while also providing the Japanese logo, which has the English piece of "Tough" on it. It's on the lower end of covers that we've seen even for a show that deals in fighting and pro-wrestling. The back cover has another illustration of the lead character which is fairly indicative of the shows character designs and has a summary of the premise and the usual feature listings. Some of the technical and copyright information gets a bit too small here though and hard to read. The reverse cover has a shot of the lead in an action moment while the other panel has the bilingual cast list, chapter listings and the mixed production credits.

The menu is a very simple static piece that uses the character artwork from the cover against a desert colored backdrop with the action oriented ending theme playing along to it. With no animation or transitional pieces, the menus are quick to lead and easy to access and navigate. Access times are nice and fast and the disc played according to our language presets.

The only extra included is a video art gallery showcasing stills from the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga series Koko Tekken-den TOUGH by author Tetsuya Saruwatari, Shootfighter Tekken is a three episode OVA that is split across three volumes. The first forty-five minute volume opens up the world of deadly martial arts techniques that are kept secret from the world and how it all relates to a pro-wrestling group both in the present and in the past. Shootfighter is a straightforward bloody action fighter that doesn't hold back from what it's trying to show. It unfortunately has to deal with some of the most basic trappings of shows of this kind of genre.

The show revolves around the father and son pair of the Miyazaw family. The son, Kiichi, has been training and working under his fathers tutelage for years to learn the Nanshin Shadow Style art of fighting. It's a secret technique that has been kept from the public at large for most of its existence as it is something that would be horribly abused by "those without hearts". In fact, one time many years ago, Kiichi's father (who is referred to usually just as Otan, which is a familiar way of saying father I believe) had fought against one of the premier pro-wrestling champions of the time but the contest had ended without either side really winning. The pro-wrestler, Kiba, lost an eye to Otan during the match and has termed it the only embarrassing defeat of his career. He's never lost the desire to learn the Nanshin Shadow Style and the opportunity has arisen for him to get it now.

This comes in the form of Kiichi who while out about town ends up coming across a couple of pro-wrestlers who have their own troubles and he ends up getting involved before they nail a couple of people who were giving them grief about their performance in the ring. Kiichi's father is nearby and rescues him from it but the wrestlers are managed under Kiba so it's not long before he becomes involved and the matches change from a simple one on one at the docks to a full on fight that will determine who really lives and dies and what happens to the Nanshsin style of fighting.

For the most part, there really isn't anything terribly original about the show. It's a very capable and well done OVA that showcases the plucky young son eager to prove his way to his father and to the world that he's earned his place to fight and it mixes both secret techniques and older enemies in a rather good way. The character designs for the show, while still owing something to the traditional designs of anime, is to the left of normal with much blockier and angular designs. These really aren't all that outside of the norms but it's enough so that it could turn some folks away. They have an interesting feel to them and they're all consistent within the world that's created here. I liked them as something different from what I'm used to seeing and wouldn't have any problem with a longer series like this, but the shows content would definitely have to better than this.

The first OVA in the series is definitely violent as well, with lots of blood flying throughout the various matches that come up. From limbs being twisted and torn different ways to eye-balls being plucked, we get to see a lot of nasty moves throughout this. It's not incredibly graphic but they do play up the special move scenes by showing how the resulting impact resonates through the opponent's body, so we see an invisible skin and more just the organs and bones as they deal with it. Again, it's not a new technique but it's very well done here.

In Summary:
Shootfighter Tekken is a very capable series that plays by the usual rules of the fighting genre and has most of the obvious trappings. There are some neat bits throughout it and the characters energy is infectious while the fight sequences are pleasantly violent and bloody. The show definitely has some appeal, particularly within the genre, but with the three OVAs being split to individual releases, even at a lower price, it's still difficult to justify these on an individual basis. For fans of the fighting genre, it's definitely worth the price of a rental though and worth snaring the box if you like it enough after that.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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