The return of Anna Williams and Lei Wulong in Tekken 7 is a big deal to many fans, let's have a look at why

If you're unfamiliar with these two classics Tekken fighters, worry not — you won't be for much longer

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • August 11, 2018 at 8 p.m. PDT

Tekken 7 launched back in June of last year, and after its release, we were treated to two additional characters in the form of DLC.

These two fighters were guests from other franchises, namely Geese Howard of Fatal Fury and King of Fighters fame, and Noctis Lucis Caelum from the latest entry in Square-Enix's most prestigious RPG franchise, Final Fantasy 15.

Since the release of Noctis, we'd heard some rumblings about additional content coming our way, but nothing had been showed yet, until EVO 2018 last weekend.

The big headline that hit everyone with shock was that Negan from the popular TV shows and comic book The Walking Dead would be joining the playable roster, but before his reveal, there were two other characters shown.

The two characters we saw prior to Negan's surprising appearance are two true Tekken classics that people have wanted the return of for quite some time, Anna Williams and Lei Wulong, both sporting new looks, in a similar vein to how the rest of the classic cast got updated clothing and design in the updated arcade version called Tekken 7: Fatal Retribution, which turned heads when it was announced that it would include Street Fighter's Akuma back in 2015.

The fact that Tekken 7 is getting some non-guest characters for the first time since prior to its console release is big enough, but why are people so excited about Anna Williams and Lei Wulong? Let's delve into these characters and find out why.

Anna Williams

Anna Williams is one of the most classic characters in the Tekken series, originating way back in the very first game in the series. She doesn't have perfect attendance, having missed the heavily-revamped roster and direction of Tekken 4 back in 2001, but besides that, she's been around for every title.

The younger sister of other series mainstay, Nina Williams, Anna has a vindictive grudge against her sibling, which is reciprocated, as both of them blame each other for their father's death.

With perhaps the most enduring rivalry between two female characters in fighting game history, it's never felt entirely okay to have Nina present without Anna there, since they're such a meaningful part of each other's backstories and personal motivations.

Anna fights largely with Aikido-based techniques, which she learned from her mother, in contrast to Nina's more assassination-based fighting style that was taught to her by their father. While the two sisters are intricately tied in fighting style and story, the key difference from the very beginning between the two was this split in fighting approach, though Anna also has some assassination-style moves at her disposal.

Although there wree always differences gameplay-wise between the two characters, they've become more and more separated from each other in fighting style for every game they've appeared in. If you're not too familiar with Tekken, it might be easier to understand by likening it to other rivals such as Ryu and Ken from the Street Fighter series, where the two characters have a similar origin point but continuously keep diverging.

Storywise in Tekken 7, it's hard to say what role Anna will play, though it's likely she will be on Kazuya's side in the upcoming conflict between him and the rest of his bloodline, as she has typically worked for Kazuya both in Tekken 2 and Tekken 6.

Much like the other characters in the Tekken 7 roster, who got new costumes with the Fated Retribution update in arcades in 2016, Anna comes with a brand new design, and some really fashionable clothing.

Perhaps the best part about her gorgeous new outfit is the contrast with Nina, who wears a white bridal gown in her new design, whereas Anna's new threads seem to represent the theme of a "black widow", further mirroring the stark opposition between the two.

Her new costume is another in a long run of homeruns we've seen, at least in my opinion, for new designs of classic characters in Tekken 7, and I'm awestruck at both it, and the fact thta she brings out a bazooka in her Rage Art. Her reveal really blew the roof off the building — Namco Bandai hit it out of the park, to put it bluntly.

Anna's return in Tekken 7 is due to her great popularity within the series, which is in no small part because of her long-time attendance. As earlier mentioned, she has only missed one game before — this puts her attendance record on equal footing with Kazuya Mishima, Lee Chaolan and a certain jolly fighter we'll be detailing futher below...

Lei Wulong

Lei Wulong, one of the characters I personally associate most heavily with Tekken, originally joined the series back in Tekken 2 which appeared in arcades in 1995, and since then he hadn't missed any proper Tekken title until Tekken 7... Though that fate has thankfully been changed for our favorite Hong Kong cop, now.

Although it's a common occurence for fighting games to have characters who fill the Bruce Lee archetype, Lei Wulong is the much more rarely seen Jackie Chan-based fighter, who switches stances freely in battle, making him quite the tricky opponent to fight since you never quite know what kind of moves he'll bring out next.

As for the story, Lei is an Interpol Detective from Hong Kong who has earned the title of "Super Police" among his compatriots. Although he has a carefree and jolly personality on the surface, he is very serious about his job and lives for justice and virtue, and his dedication to his work is the central driving force of his character.

In the story, Lei's main connections currently in the Tekken 7 cast are Bryan Fury, his former partner who Lei currently aims to apprehend for his murders of various members of the Manji ninja clan, around the events of Tekken 3. Besides this, Lei also has a strong connection with Steve Fox, whom he helped in discovering his mysterious past.

The new design for Lei is one I personally like, but it's quite curious as well, and has earned him the distinction of being called "Hobo Lei" across the internet, obviously referring to his quite unkempt appearance, which is quite the contrast to the fancy qipao Lei has traditionally been identified with.

In the Tekken 7 trailer, we definitely get to see the more joyous and carefree side of Lei, which his current costume reflects well too, though the inclusion of police gear in it suggests that he's still working as a detective and would imply that he's still a serious law-abiding fighter of virtue.

An interesting part of Lei's trailer is that we can clearly see that he has different Rage Drives depending on which stance he is currently in, which opens up a lot of possibilities for the character to be even more tricky to fight than ever before, and he should be true joy to see in tournament play in the hands of the most skilled players.

What Lei will be up to in the story of Tekken 7 remains to be seen, but given his obsession with bringing criminals to justice for their crimes, there's certainly no shortage of characters in the current cast that would be good fits for him to get entangled with.

It opens up more possibilities for old favorites

While Anna Williams and Lei Wulong definitely carry enough clout to make many a Tekken fan happy, perhaps the biggest reason why people are rejoicing now is because of this very simple, yet very powerful fact — the floodgates are now open.

Since a while before the console launch of Tekken 7, there'd been no actual indication of any more returning characters appearing, and for a whole year after launch, all we saw were guest characters in the form of Geese Howard from Fatal Fury and King of Fighters fame, as well as Noctis Lucis Caelum of Final Fantasy 15.

Returning favorites were always brought up in interviews yet never committed to, leaving their possible inclusion in a ocean of ambiguity, with fans uncertain if there was even any point in hoping any more or not.

Thankfully, given the huge success Tekken 7 has been relative to its expectations for Bandai Namco, we can see that more substantial downloadable content has been greenlit, with not only big balance changes and shakeups to the game formula being made, but a whopping 6 characters — including the shock reveal of Negan from The Walking Dead — being added in this season, though the exact dates it encompasses haven't been specified yet.

The statement from series producer Katsuhiro Harada at EVO 2018, as translated by Michael Murray, led that "we still have characters we haven't announced, so maybe your favorite character is coming back", and that's the hope people are now clinging on to, because with returning characters up for grabs, there's no telling what will happen.

Although it was never explicitly stated if The Walking Dead's Negan was the only guest character for this Season 2 of Tekken 7, or even if he's the only new character coming, the implication seemed to be that the remaining three question marks in the pass will indeed be returning characters that people have been missing.

In the end, both Anna and Lei are characters who were included because of their strong popularity and the heavy presence they've had throughout Tekken history. It's no coincidence that these were the two characters Bandai Namco decided to lead with for returning classics, since they're definitely the two people expected the most, if we were to get any.

While you could argue that certain characters such as Julia Chang, who is of similar pedigree to Anna and Lei both in popularity and in series attendance, are on the likelier side of potential inclusions, it's not as easy to call anyone a lock anymore. It's undeniable that from here on out, it's going to be more of a scramble.

Thank you for reading this piece, and I hope that it was informative, or at the very least, enjoyable. Please look forward to more articles in the near future detailing some of the old favorites currently missing from Tekken 7's roster, and what their chances of inclusion as DLC in the upcoming year might look like.

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