Shootfighter Tekken Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: C+
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 45
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Shootfighter Tekken

Shootfighter Tekken Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     December 02, 2004
Release Date: December 07, 2004

Shootfighter Tekken Vol. #3
© Central Park Media

What They Say
The bone-crushing finale!

When it comes to martial arts, Kiichi Miyazawa has always been the best. But when his father is hospitalized, it's time for the teen super-star to become a man and take on the big time. Kiichi must take his father's place in the ring against the champion of World Pro-Wrestling, the legendary Iron Kiba!

Will he survive and triumph in his father's name? Or will his family's arch-nemesis terminate his martial arts career... and his life?

The Review!
The series comes to a conclusion by bringing things to the big fight but in the end it all seems to just fall short.

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 OVA is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback, unlike the first two volumes. The transfer for this third volume comes across better than the first volume of the series and a bit sharper than the second volume. The blockiness problems in the previous two volumes are all but eliminated this time around, presumably due to the increased resolution and quality of the source material. Though there's still some of it evident, it's much reduced here. The print looks to be free of cross coloration and very low on aliasing.

Using what looks to be one of the illustrations from the manga from which the show is based, we get a basic shot of Kiichi with the flames of power surrounding him against a black background. 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 close-up of Kiichi 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 bland backgruond 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)
Over the course of the last year or so I've found myself coming full circle in a way with fighting series. When DVD first started up, all that was offered from what few companies were releasing titles tended to be of the fighting variety and there was not only a bit of an overload with it but they weren't exactly screaming quality titles at that. But then the market began to shift, we got a wider variety of things and the more "manly" titles fell to the wayside for a few years. With their resurfacing in these newer titles, they're not quite what we were getting in the mid to late 90's as they're much more violent, they tend to avoid some of the usual female complications and there is a rawness to them that moves them beyond the gimmicky and often video-game-like atmosphere.

Shootfighter Tekken, which is based off of the manga called Tough (and I think would have been a better title here anyway), falls into that category. The opening volume had surprised us with some of its strident brutality and unflinching view of violence being struck upon another person. The concept of the underground matches certainly aren't new, not in anime or elsewhere, so as usual the draw has to come in the characters. Shootfighter brought an interesting dynamic with three lead characters; the mysterious enemy named Kiba, the tough punk rogue Kiichi and his almost too-powerful father Oton. Over the first two episodes we watched their violent dance around each other as father and enemy once more started to bring their pasts into the present and Kiichi had to grapple with his own lack of power in his fathers shadow while also facing the reality of where his future may lie.

The first two episodes did a good job of bringing a lot of this to bear and then provided a decent if formulaic setup for the final episode. The rematch between Oton and Kiba was a given for some time, especially as we've seen that Oton certainly hasn't lost any of his power over the years but rather gained a great deal but is able to keep it suppressed, even under that ordinary salaryman suit of his. With the biggest fight of his life coming up, he spends a good deal of his time with his son and spends it by training him with an amusing device that he affectionately calls Power-chan One. This goes against everything Kiichi can think about since he doesn't understand what his father is doing but he still does his best to try to surmount the training. But all of this is really geared towards the final bout, which as you can guess just based on how a formula episode like this will go, will not be between Oton and Kiba but Kiichi and Kiba.

And that's where the disappointment comes in. With a bit more than half of this forty minute episode spent on training Kiichi and bringing him to the next level both physically and mentally, the second half with the fight of the series turns out to be rather, well, dull. Most of the earlier fights had this real edge to them and the violence in them was brutal, but when he goes up against Kiba it just doesn't feel like it has any of the power or oomph that you'd expect. This becomes more and more apparent as we figure out that Kiba isn't even really fighting against Kiichi but his own ghosts of the past with Oton. The disconnect that's there is supposed to make us see that Kiichi is at his father's level presumably, but it just feels very weak to me especially towards the final few scenes of the fight.

In Summary:
Though the ending is weak, the series overall was fairly interesting and done with a different enough style than most series out there these days that it earns some points just for that alone. With many people unable to handle shows that use designs that are even slightly different than what's considered the norm, or a series where there's practically no real female characters of note, Shootfighter Tekken certainly has a hard market to work with. But for those that are looking for something to counter the shojo heavy material out there lately and want some good men beating the snot out of other men anime, this one isn't a bad route to go.

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

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 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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