Thursday, February 19, 2015

ShootFighter Tekken: The Tough Anime Review

ShootFighter Tekken - The Tough
Koko Tekken-den Tafu
Central Park Media/U.S. Manga Corps
Complete Collection - 3 discs
135 mins. - 3 episodes
$29.95 (2004)
$19.99 (2004) Vol. 1-3/ea.
ISBN 719987244122
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Yukio Nishimoto
Studio - AIC

Synopsis: Kiichi Miyazawa is heir to the Nanshin Shadow Style of martial arts and is put through grueling training by his father.  The style is brutal and ruthless, intended for efficient assassination.  Despite his incredible skills and training Kiichi is a regular high school student and has an easy-going nature.  He keeps his deadly skills in check and uses them to defend others.  His father is a stoic man, but appears to have a good heart (which has rubbed off on Kiichi).  He's diminutive in stature, but an adept fighter with a fearless attitude.  Every night he trains to surpass even his father's prowess at Nanshin Shadow Style!
Kiichi is a goofy high school kid despite being skilled at a deadly martial art
Many years ago the greatest pro wrestler, Iron Kiba, sought to fight the best martial artists and prove pro wrestlers were the toughest in the world.  One by one he defeated them all in no-holds-barred underground matches.  The only fighter to defeat him was Seiko Miyazawa, Kiichi's father, using the Nanshin Shadow Style.  Not only did Kiba suffer defeat, but he also lost his left eye in the match.  He forever bears the mark of his defeat and relives the horrific battle before every subsequent wrestling match.  Then he destroys his next opponent in the ring!
Iron Kiba is the world's greatest wrestler and a fearsome opponent in the ring
Kiba harbors an intense hatred and desire to destroy Nanshin Shadow Style.  When Kiichi and his father inadvertently run afoul of a pro wrestler, Kiba is waiting for his chance to ensnare them.  Seiko is careful not to enter fights carelessly because he knows what his own devastating power can do.  Kiichi is not so hesitant and his brash youthfulness causes him to rush headlong into any challenge.  Kiba wants to goad Seiko into fighting him again to the death and he'll use Kiichi's inexperience to get what he wants.
Years ago Kiba and Seiko had a vicious match which left Kiba scarred
Kiichi must fight grueling battles as Kiba sends wrestlers, brawlers, and martial artists after both he and Seiko.  Kiichi's training continues under Seiko and becomes tougher than ever.  Will the father and son survive the revenge of Iron Kiba?  Can Kiichi's never-say-die and positive attitude win out over impossible odds?
Nanshin Shadow Style targets vital organs to incapacitate enemies
Pros: Some cool fight scenes (especially the grappling moves), menacing villains, wrestling drama, Kiichi has a good attitude and his father seems like a good man (while being the master of an assassination-focused martial art is questionable), some funny moments too
Iron Kiba sets up his revenge match with Seiko
Cons: Kiichi is ridiculously small compared to some of the fighters - no way he could handle them, character designs are pretty bland (so are their personalities), pro wrestling as the ultimate fighting style is highly dubious, Kiichi is a total goof and his plucky attitude can get annoying
Kiichi executes a flying grapple move
Mike Tells It Straight: No, this short anime OVA is not related to Tekken the video game franchise.  It's based on a long-running manga series by Tetsuya Saruwatari which has highly detailed art.  The anime in comparison is not as detailed (although the DVD covers are by the author).  The covers are what attracted me to the series in the first place.  I was a little disappointed that the animation and character designs were so simple.  The story is really simple too with Kiichi the young heir to a martial arts legacy.  He retains his youthful exuberance and is good-hearted.  His father remains caring even as he puts his son through brutal training each night.
The original manga for Shootfighter Tekken: The Tough
Kiichi is this tiny kid compared to his opponents and especially Iron Kiba.  It's ridiculous that he could take them on with his diminutive stature (seriously, he's like half their size).  Seems implausible.  The characters and dialogue are bland with no real personalities.  The plot was pretty weak, but I did like how Kiba and Kiichi's opponents had decent backstories.  I must say Kiichi's positive attitude and consideration towards his enemies were silly, but mildly endearing.  There were a few decent fight scenes and some okay comedy (to offset the serious fights).  I haven't seen Baki the Grappler and can't say how similar these two series are (been meaning to watch that series for years).  Overall this short anime doesn't do justice to the elaborate manga it's based on.  It's too simple and the animation is weak.  Despite it's many flaws I did find some good moments and okay fight scenes.  It's mediocre at best, but you can find a copy for fairly cheap.
Kiichi throws a flying kick - check out how small he is compared to the wrestler!

TO BUY and Recommendations: