Tekken is home to some of fighting games’ most interesting characters, and Yoshimitsu ranks highly amongst them for me. Yoshimitsu is one of the series’ most iconic characters despite largely being story-irrelevant, and he also has some of the games’ best (and weirdest) costumes. Let’s rate them.
Let’s establish the ground rules: for structure’s sake, I will rate costumes on a game-by-game basis, and I will also include the Tekken Tag Tournament games even though they are spinoffs simply because they are developed by Tekken staff and accompany the mainline series on consoles and arcades. In cases where costumes are just color swaps, I included basic customizable or DLC costumes to fill up the roster appropriately. (Credit to the Tekken Fandom wiki for the uploads of these pictures!)
As you can see, the weirdness starts off not quite as weird as it could have been. Both of these costumes are at least interesting to look at and definitely stand apart from every other character in the game, but are still extremely simple and a bit too blocky. Considering the year Tekken first released, these pixel graphics looked pretty great for a first attempt, but it still falls a bit short for me. Both of these costumes would be about a 5 out of 10.
With the graphical upgrade comes a bit more detail in Yoshimitsu’s costume design. Both retain a sort of knight-armor torso with shin-pads that aren’t the same, but similar in design. His P1 costume is a bit more inspired by a ronin, while his P2 costume looks more as though he’s a military man, which is kind of odd given that he’s from a ninja clan? The P2 design is also very gray with beige accent pieces that aren’t very pleasing to look at, but his sword is unique and red to really stand out. Yoshi’s ronin design feels more coherent and smooth, and definitely advances the concept rather than simply retaining it. I’d give the P1 costume a 6 and the P2 costume a 5 out of 10.
Another graphical upgrade, but this time with much more visual nuance. It almost doesn’t even look like Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 were released on the same console. Yoshi’s P1 costume here is easily one of the best in the entire series, and one of his most iconic costumes of all time- perhaps one of the most iconic fighting game costumes of all time. The mix of gray armor, red flesh, black pants, and glowing green sword just scream style at the player. His P2 costume is more tame, but still very stylish with a red sword, black armor, and sleek blue pants. Both have a lot of intricate detailing on the cloth pieces, while the P2 armor has a bit more on it to cover more of his body. Both of these costumes are excellent, but the first sets itself apart from everything else as though it took no effort. It’s amazing. I’d give his P1 costume an easy 10 and his P2 armor a solid 9 out of 10.
Tekken Tag Tournament
It’s almost disappointing that these are just simple color corrections and changes to his Tekken 3 costumes, but they’re still great. However, both don’t bring anything new and even take away certain charming traits from Tekken 3 rather than add to them. Was the higher detailing worth it? I’d argue no, especially removing the intricate cloth detailing from his P2 costume. Therefore I give both of these a 6 out of 10.
A lot of things went wrong in Tekken 4. Yoshimitsu’s costume design was certainly one of them. While both of these costumes are definitely weird, the only selling point of both are his glowing eyes of differing colors. The graphical tech just wasn’t good enough to give him a larger amount of visual flair, I suppose, because these costumes don’t really seem to work right, with his wig/hair in his P2 costume just zooming straight back instead of flowing. Both are pretty monotonous, and being simply weird is not the same as being weird and interesting. His P2 costume is definitely better at least in theme than his P1 costume, so I give his P1 costume a 3 and his P2 costume a 4 out of 10 here.
This is where the Tekken team got back on track. The first two costumes are exactly what I’d envision a proper evolution of Yoshimitsu’s design would be- a combination of Japanese and weird alien influences in aesthetic design to complement his unusual playstyle. Neither his P1 or P2 costume quite reaches the same height of his Tekken 3 brilliance, but these two are probably my second favorite game appearances of Yoshimitsu in this series. Everything about both oozes style and weird flair, with plenty of color and glowing eyes/swords/techniques to accompany them. His 3rd appearance is just weird and not really of importance to me, personally. Both his P1 and P2 costumes are an easy 8 out of 10 for me.
Now, if we’re speaking graphics, the detailing on these two costumes is simply fantastic for the PS3. There is a whole assortment of intricate detailing on both costumes, down to individual lines on armor and stitching on his silken pants. My issue with his P1 costume is that it is really only minor changes from his Tekken 5 P1 costume- everything new is minor additions to his helmet, armor skirting, shoulder armor, greaves, and boots, without really altering his silhouette in substantial fashion. His second costume is certainly more unique, but its design is sort of… nonsensical? The wheel is too far up for his body, being right on the back of his head for some reason? And most of the shawl that covers his skeleton armor is either too loose or baggy in areas that look more awkward than cool. P1 is gonna get a 5 and P2 is gonna get a 7 out of 10 from me here. There was potential, but it’s largely wasted.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
This armor at least makes more sense in that the wheel is sort of not supposed to be weighed upon his character model, and its design implies that it’s supposed to float behind his head. The Japanese inspired armor looks pretty cool, but everything looks kind of puffy instead of solid. His helmet is my favorite part, and everything else largely matches the overall design, but it’s just somewhat flat and not nearly as “out there” as we have been accustomed to. His bodysuit under his fudonshi actually looks sleek and stylish in a very weird way, and is much more in line with the alien concept to be expected. I give both of these a 7 out of 10, but for fairly different reasons.
Tekken 7 is in a bit of an odd position because there’s only one “legitimate” preset (at least when it started in arcades), but there are multiple customizable set options, so I just included these three. His main one is just… insanely weird. It’s also incredibly sleek and fits a more fluid playstyle. It captures his essence perfectly well. On the other hand, his first customizable costume is a weird deity inspired one, and his sword even changes for it. And then you get his ultimate goofy costume, with him just looking like the mascot for a random aquarium in Las Vegas or something. All three of these are amazing costumes in their own rights, but none of them feel as iconic as some of his older ones. Justifiably so, I feel an 8 out of 10 across the board works for them, since they all look amazing, but in different ways and for different reasons even if none quite match his Tekken 3 look.
What’s the point of rating all of these costumes? Mostly to just show off how great of a character Yoshimitsu is. You should play him in Tekken 7. Right now.