Still going… still going…
As a way of counting down the time to the release of Tekken 6 for the PS3 and Xbox360, I’ve decided to begin this weekly series of lengthy, character-specific articles, each one featuring one of the 40 or so competing warriors in the latest and greatest King of Iron Fist Tournament. Hopefully, by the time we finish and reach character number 40, we’ll have the console version of Tekken in our hands already.
Part 14 brings us to another longtime character in the Tekken universe- in fact, he is probably the most long-lived fighter in the lineup. Already in his senior years when Heihachi was in his prime during the first Tekken, he has only grown even more powerful in the decades that have passed since. If wisdom and experience are measures of power, then this Old Master surely has no equal. He is the relentless merchant, the cunning gardener, the venerable grandfather of martial arts. He’s Wang Jinrei.
Distinguishing Features: An elderly gentleman with eyes full of wisdom and almost perceptible energy. Long, white moustache and beard. Dead ringer for Master Roshi from Dragonball.
Strengths: Experience from countless battles and duels has given him an almost telepathic ability to counter and anticipate enemy attacks. His inner strength and chi are second to none. Knows more proverbs and dirty limericks than anyone else alive.
Weaknesses: His spiritual strength is slowly but surely being the limitations of his ancient body. Has a great weakness for ladies- preferably young and hot ladies. Often mistaken for a corpse when taking a nap.
Affiliation: None. He enters the latest Tekken Tournament to defeat Jin Kazama and stop the long-standing Blood Curse of the Mishima Legacy.
Background: The history of Wang Jinrei extends far, far before even the first Tekken Tournament, as he was a close friend of JInpachi Mishima, the grandfather of Heihachi and founder of the Mishima Zaibatsu. A relentless merchant known for both his cunning, wisdom and power back in his youth, he eventually retired to the life of a recluse, tending the gardens of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Such was his isolation that he failed to act when armed conflict gripped the Zaibatsu and his friend Jinpachi disappeared, leaving Heihachi in command.
A message left by Jinpachi gave Wang the cryptic message that for peace to be achieved, the Mishima bloodline had to be destroyed. When the Tekken Tournament was established, Wang acted as one of the sub-bosses. The Old Master used his position to weed out the weak and undeserving- he fought Marshall Law to a draw during this time.
The tournament ended with Kazuya defeating Heihachi and gaining control of the Zaibatsu. Wang sensed the evil in Kazuya and became the mentor of Lee Chaolan, eventually convincing him to help bring honor back to the Zaibatsu. In the end, both Wang and Lee’s efforts are what enabled Jun Kazama to defeat the Devil, and indirectly to aid Heihachi in overthrowing Kazuya and reclaiming the Zaibatsu.
Wang would go into seclusion afterwards, not appearing for the next two tournaments. It is speculated that Wang was one of the fighters attacked by the Ogre during Tekken 3, though this is never confirmed. He may have been recovering during the time afterwards, explaining his absence from Tekken 4.
Prior to the King of Iron Fist Tournament 5, Wang receives a strange message apparently sent by his long-lost friend, Jinpachi, asking for help. Puzzled but sensing great danger, Wang entered the Tournament. Eventually though, Wang is defeated utterly by Jin Kazama during the closing moments of the Tournament. Wang was satisfied though, thinking that Jin would perhaps bring peace to the Zaibatsu by ending the curse of his bloodline once and for all.
Unfortunately, it was not meant to be- shortly after defeating Jinpachi, Jin took over as the Mishima Zaibatsu’s new CEO and chaos quickly overran the world. The Tekken Force engaged in various covert activities, and in the ensuing armed conflicts the Zaibatsu declared itself an independent power. Wang, lamenting his indifference and lack of action, decides to enter the upcoming King of Iron Fist Tournament 6 with a newfound purpose…
Character Analysis: If Tekken was akin to Star Wars, then Wang here would be Obi-Wan. Heck, he’d be Yoda too. As the requisite ‘Old Master’ of martial arts, Wang should be almost invincible in terms of his power and experience- and you’d think that such power would have been enough to keep the peace and stop the constant troubles from the Mishima Zaibatsu. But then, Wang is still just human, and there’s only so much a tired old man can do. The Mishima family and clan is close to Wang, and it probably tears him inside to have to lift his hand against Heihachi, the son of Jinpachi whom he considers closer than a brother. But duty and the plain truth that the evil of the Mishima Bloodlines is now almost totally out of control may soon let loose the truly frightening power being held within the wrinkled old coot.
That said, Wang’s role is surely not of central hero. He is a guide, a guardian and an aide to those whose time is now. His time is long past, but his strength is still needed by those who must bear the burden fully on their younger, stronger backs. Wang will surely lend a hand to fighters such as Asuka Kazama or his own ward and ‘grand-daughter’ Ling Xiaoyu as they seek to stop Jin’s mad quest for power. Unfortunately, that hand may also find itself giving the said fighters a not-appreciated pat on the behind…
What does the future hold for Old Man Wang? As ancient as he is, again I don’t see him retiring anytime soon- at least, not as long as the Curse of the Mishima Bloodline exists. If the Mishima drama continues- and it surely will- Ol’ Obi Wan will be around to help fight it- whether it’s in body or in spirit.
Stay tuned next week when we delve into another fighter’s story!
Tekken 6 is set for release on the PS3 and Xbox360 this Fall 2009.