Tekken - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B-

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Tekken


By Chris Beveridge     January 26, 1999
Release Date: January 26, 1999

© ADV Films

What They Say
Based on the Namco fighting game Tekken series! Get ready for the ultimate animated adventure! Tekken, the spectacular series that revolutionized how fighting games are played, is now an incredible motion picture! The awesome rendering power of state-of-the-art computers merges with the stunning graphic style and dynamics of anime in an adventure that will rip you right out of your living room and hurl you into the blood-drenched arena of the most incredible martial arts battles ever created!

The Review!
Based on the video games, Tekken (the motion picture as the opening title goes) is a 60 minute fighting anime. A surprisingly small number of fighters try to do various subplots along the way. I say surprising because on most of these types of shows, almost all the characters from the games get a showing and some dialogue. This one seems to go against that premise. More on the show itself later.

The audio on this disc is quite a surprise. In addition to the Japanese language track (which is only available on DVD, not on VHS), ADV chose to do a 5.1 English version. It's rather good, but it's not a Ghost in the Shell or Tenchi in Love kind of soundtrack. It does add a level of clarity and direction that would otherwise have been lacking. The other big surprise was the inclusion of a French audio track. Want to go one better? There's Spanish subtitles. This disc definitely covers the markets in the U.S. and Canada for anime fans.

The subtitles are presented in a borderless yellow, which some people like while others prefer white. I just want borders. My problem with the English subtitles on this disc may be very simple; it looks like it's been dubtitled and not truly subtitled. The subtitles match exactly what's being said on the English Language track. So either they did a great translation job on the English audio dub, or the subtitle fans got the short end of the stick again.

The video is a mixed bag. For references sake, before putting in this disc I had been watching the 3 hour Dances With Wolves DVD. And yes, even in what is considered a reference quality 16:9 disc, there are shimmering and the occasional moire effects. These kinds of effects simply will be present in video for a long time, unless HDTV can end its existence. That being said, I'm unsure of how to properly rate the video of Tekken. For the majority of scenes, the video is very clean and clear. The animation is typical of fighting video game anime shows, slightly better than Toshinden. But there are several instances, most notably when the camera is panning either up or down, where there is a lot of shimmering. Watch for it in the city scenes early on in the disc, or any scene where the camera slowly pans up or down. It may be over enhancement, or just something that can't be adjusted for on VHS or DVD.

Tekken is presented in another variant of the keepcase. This one reminds me of one of the early Hong Kong discs I have, where on the center button portion of the hub, there's three 'latches' that hold the disc down once you have it in. It's just a bit of a chore to get it in there! After putting it in a few times, I was still unsure most of the time whether it was actually properly seated.

For what it's worth though, this is something the entire DVD industry is working on. From reports I've read from major authoring houses such as Laser Pacific, the studios are still looking for the best variant of the keepcase to use. It's not a big issue, but it just bugged me a bit.

One thing mentioned in the forum by someone from ADV (though not speaking directly for ADV, it should be noted) is that DVD's big plus is its value added material. This is of course subject to debate among all DVD people. Many coming from the LD set just want a beautiful picture without flipping, many from VHS are looking for that and extras. With that in mind, how does ADV do with their first release?

I'm very impressed. The menu system used is very well done and as the box says, interactive. Character bios are pretty decent, the slide show has some nice picture selections, and having the English cast with actors matched is a definite plus. The lack of a Japanese cast is very noticeable after that however.

There are also a large amount of trailers on this disc. Fifteen in total. Of course, I had been hoping that on the selection screen it would say "Coming in 1999 on DVD" but it was not to be there. It's definitely nice to advertise your library, but I'm past VHS like many of you reading this review. There were definitely a bunch of titles I'd buy in a flash though, should they come out.

There's also a web connect feature on the disc. When popped into my Compaq DVD-ROM drive, the Spinware software loads up and promptly connects me to the ADV site. Hopefully there will be some online material related to the show in the future that can be found on the site to add a bit more value to it. But most Hollywood studios are still just starting to explore these options themselves, so slack will definitely be cut there.

I also decided to give the disc a spin in the ROM drive before doing the review. It looks pretty good overall, but I'm still more of a standalone player fan. But that's mostly because I'm building towards that big 65" set to have someday. :)

So, overall impressions? I think ADV can safely shirk the title of the Fox of anime and are very close to earning an analogy of DreamWorks instead. The only big downside to this disc is the English subtitles aren't really subtitles, but dubtitles instead. This may float okay with Tekken being their first disc, and not likely to be a huge gem in their library. The lack of an actual VHS sub release may have had something to do with it, but if they dubtitle titles like Queen Emeraldas or Evangelion, things'll not go well then.

Welcome to the DVD community, ADV. You're definitely a welcome addition.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Dub Subtitles,French 2.0 Language,Spanish Subtitles,Character Bios,Slide Show

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.


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