After decades of waiting, Tekken 8 finally decided to develop Jin Kazama and Ling Xiaoyu as a couple while bringing the long-running main storyline concerning the Devil Gene to a conclusion (for now).
Spoiler Warning: This article about Tekken 8 focuses on the relationship between Jin Kazama and Ling Xiaoyu. It contains certain spoilers. Consider yourself warned!
With Tekken 8 being promoted as the final chapter in the saga focusing on the Mishima family, I was hoping for Xiaoyu to play a considerable role in supporting Jin Kazama as he faced his father Kazuya Mishima for (what’s been said to be) the final time. After all, Xiaoyu decided to accompany Claudio Serafino at the end of Tekken 7 (2015) to think of a way to help Jin’s struggle with the Devil Gene. And I’m happy to report that the latest installment of Tekken more than met my expectations when it came to developing a romantic relationship in an action-heavy fighting game.
After losing his battle against Kazuya at the beginning of Tekken 8, the narrative had Jin struggling to access his Devil Gene’s power again. Jin’s story arc had him realize the strength of friendship and love. There was no need for him to face Kazuya’s evil on his own. He had friends and comrades willing to put their lives on the line to save him as well as the rest of the world.
Xiaoyu entered the picture after seeing Jin’s performance during the latest The King of Iron First Tournament and learning about the prophecy Zafina shared with Claudio. According to Zafina, Jin was Earth’s only hope for survival. He had to reconnect with his origins to access a new power. The journey was going to be perilous and Xiaoyu would need to step in to protect Jin. As someone who has loved Jin for years, of course, Xiaoyu was ready to do what she could to ensure Jin’s survival.
However, what made my inner fan happy was how the writers handled Xiaoyu’s relationship with Jin. I think everyone would agree that their past interactions have come across as a one-sided crush from Xiaoyu’s side with her story arc basically having her chase after Jin around the globe as he continued his quest for revenge. We haven’t really seen Jin ponder his feelings toward Xiaoyu. Fortunately, that changed in Tekken 8.
Due to Jin needing to return to the Kazama Sanctum, deep in the forests of Yakushima, it’s Xiaoyu and her pet Panda that accompany the hero to the site. The main storyline had a scene where Xiaoyu told Jin about her childhood dream of building an amusement park so she could bring happiness to everyone. It meant a lot to Xiaoyu when Jin acknowledged her dream and stated that he would support her even though it was an ambitious goal to have.
Not only that but after Jin shared how he used to spar with his mother Jun in Yakushima, it’s Xiaoyu who suggested the two have a sparring match of their own as, according to Tekken logic, fists are capable of telegraphing a person’s true emotions. I mean, as far as this video game’s lore is concerned, that sparring match was Xiaoyu and Jin’s first official date. Jin even complimented her skills.
The match ended with Xiaoyu stating that while she feared Jin might have lost himself due to the Devil Gene because of his past actions she was relieved that he was still the Jin she loved. Hearing Xiaoyu tell Jin she loved him… my heart!
@thegeekiary #tekken8 #tekken finally handles #jinkazama and #lingxiaoyu as a #couple #couplegoals #videogame #jinkazamaandlingxiayou #jinandxiaoyu ♬ original sound – The Geekiary
With Jin traveling to the astral plane to face his demons and unlock a new power, after promising Xiaoyu that he would come back to her, it fell on Xiaoyu and Panda to face off against a whole bunch of Jack-7s, and Tekken fans know that’s no easy feat. I get that the rest of the fighters were also facing a flood of enemies because of Kazuya’s war, but there’s a difference between fighting humans in technologically enhanced suits as part of a team and a group of Jack-7s by yourself while you try to protect the love of your life, with your only backup being your trusty pet.
I was relieved when Jin’s uncle Lars appeared to give Xiaoyu a hand. She needed the assist. Now, don’t get me wrong, that’s not a diss against her fighting ability. She’s a formidable fighter. Having the camera pan out to show how many Jack-7s she had defeated proved that. But, when it came down to it, the odds were stacked against her. The mass-produced Jack-7s weren’t going to stop coming and it was only a matter of time before Kazuya appeared.
Jin returned after striking a balance between his Devil Gene and Pure Side to have a rematch with Kazuya. But before he flew away for said battle, he had a little heart-to-heart with Xiaoyu where she accepted Jin’s new form (horns and all) and asked him not to die on her.
Though the video game didn’t have Jin declare his love for Xiaoyu the way she voiced it, the creative team still made it very clear that Jin loved her back. During his intense battle with Kazuya, we have Jin realize the importance of staying alive instead of sacrificing himself to defeat Kazuya. The mental resolve to ensure such a victory was provided through him remembering the support from his many comrades as well as the love he shared for his mother and… drumroll… Xiaoyu.
Jin’s story concluded with him leaving the battlefield after defeating Kazuya and reconnecting with an excited Xiaoyu on the highway. As far as the story’s concerned, the two will continue to be together.
Also, I have to point out how Xiaoyu got herself an orange-gold motorbike while everyone else’s was silver. Loved that for her!
Xiaoyu’s “Alternate Ending” also offered romantic development with Jin showing up after her speech about ensuring global peace and Xiaoyu finding the strength to finally reveal her true feelings to him. Panda and Claudio offering support (they ship those two!) added a comedic touch.
As someone who has been rooting for Jin and Xiaoyu since my introduction to the franchise via Tekken 3 (1997), I can’t begin to explain how happy I am that the two were officially made endgame in Tekken 8. That was surely a long wait and just like Xiaoyu I didn’t lose hope.
Released on January 26, 2024, have you played Tekken 8? What did you think of it?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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