The Phantom Teahouse Lady (And Other Devious Guidebook Lies)

dontfeelsogood-teahouse
Has Thanos’s wrath reached the Shenmue universe as well…?

So today we will be looking into an unused/seemingly removed character from Shenmue II. This is a particularly strange case, as there doesn’t seem to be any apparent reason for the character’s removal, and her existence is only known due to her inclusion in Japanese guidebooks for the game…

To begin with, let’s take a look at a certain character’s profile from the Shenmue II Perfect Guidebook – that of Wen Hua Chun:

 

wenhuachun

Wen Hua Chun

Birthday: 19th July, 1916

Age: 70

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

Blood Type: O

Gender: Female

Height: 157 cm

Weight: 58 kg

 

 

And where does one find this character? Well, as the below image demonstrates, the guide claims that she can be found at the Luck and Virtue Teahouse, (and is presumably the owner) which is on the 6th floor of the Tea Break Building in Kowloon:

luckandvirtueteahouse
Also notice the unfortunate error on the other (orange) sign – ‘Tea Teahouse’ indeed…

However, if you go there in the game to take a look for yourself – or indeed, check out Bluemue’s ‘Tea Break Building Room Raid’ video (one of a brilliant series where he explores each Kowloon building room by room) – you will see that she is nowhere to be found in the shop. In fact, the shop does not have anyone at the counter at all (and yes, I’ve tested all versions of the game – JP Dreamcast version, EU Dreamcast version, and the Xbox version):

emptyteahouse

The Perfect Guidebook is not the only guidebook that refers to this phantom character – the Shenmue II Complete Guide includes her in its character list as well, and also provides a (very small) body shot:

huachun_completeguideprofile

This guide also lists the Notebook entries that can be unlocked by each character – which is what those numbers are referring to. While the guide is in Japanese, I was able to determine that the entry it refers to is, in fact, the very last page – which is within the ‘Money’ section, rather than the main storyline part of the notebook. Basically, it seems that if you were to ask her about pawnshops nearby, she would tell you of the ones in the Great View Building, thus unlocking that note (if you hadn’t got it already). Many thanks to Peter Campbell and his fantastic Shenmue II 100% Notebook Guide for allowing me to check this nice and quickly!

So why on Earth was this character seemingly removed at the last minute? It does seem odd that her character profile would make it into the guidebooks, only for her to be nowhere to be seen in the final game. She isn’t of any particular importance, granted, seeming that she is just one of many shopkeepers in the game (or would have been), but it does seem very strange.

However, this is not the only example of the guidebooks providing erroneous information about the characters. The Perfect Guidebook also claims that Baihu can be found in the Tiger Gate Building – a building that is not accessible in the final game – which we will talk about in more detail in a future post! (however long time fan LanDC discovered the building’s loading screen in the game’s files, as pictured below):

baihu-tigergate

In the final game, of course, Baihu is found in the basement of the Big Ox Building. So it would appear that they were working off an earlier build of the game when putting the information for the guides together, given this mention of the Tiger Gate Building and the inclusion of a seemingly removed character. Of course, her removal meant that I did not include her in my Shenmue II Character Database, which otherwise uses information from both the Perfect Guidebook and Complete Guide – but I thought this post would be a good opportunity to cover this phantom character.

A character I did include, however, was Tao Paikun – however, he very nearly didn’t make it due to, once again, the Perfect Guidebook providing erroneous information. Simply put, I could NOT find this guy in the game for the life of me at first – and was very nearly ready to consider him an unused character as well:

taopaikun

 

Tao Paikun

Birthday: 16th August, 1944

Age: 42

Zodiac Sign: Leo

Blood Type: A

Gender: Male

Height: 172 cm

Weight: 62 kg

 

The profile describes him as a ‘harbor labourer’, which is the exact same way as two other characters are described. Chong Lang Xun is the guy you see losing to Jimenez Garcia at arm wrestling at the beginning of the game, while Qin Xiang Duna is seen spectating in the crowd.

So what about Tao Paikun? Now, in both guidebooks he is listed within the ‘Worker’s Pier’ section, so he must be in that area somehow, right? Well, no. I looked all over Worker’s Pier trying to find this guy, seeing if he was in the crowd watching any of the arm wrestlers as well, or if he was hanging out in any of the gambling spots, but nope – he was simply nowhere to be found.

You’ll notice, however, if you click the links for Lang Xun and Xiang Duna’s profiles, that it mentions they can be seen watching in the crowd when Ryo has to break the rock for Zong Quan in the Golden Shopping Mall. I was about ready to give up looking for Tao when I noticed that he is in the crowd during this scene as well!

taopaikun-mall01
There he is! (The guy in white, standing just behind Lang Xun)

 

taopaikun-mall02
Standing behind Ryo, to the left.

As far as I can determine, this is the only time this character can be seen in the game at all. So basically he only appears during one cutscene/event in Wan Chai, and cannot be found in Worker’s Pier, or indeed in Aberdeen at all, as the guidebook seemed to suggest. Because of this, for the database I opted to place him in the ‘Event Characters’ section instead, as this is how other characters who only appear once/or only in certain situations are categorised. (including Baihu in fact).

I point this out simply to provide another example of inaccurate information in these guidebooks – not that I am aggressively criticising the authors for this! (the title of this post is in jest, I assure you). I simply find it of interest because, as mentioned, it seems to show that they were working from an earlier version of the game, and that it was likely too late to change these little details in the book before publication. Maybe hackers out there would be able to determine if there is anything left of our poor Hua Chun in the game, be it her character model, dialogue lines, voice clips etc? It would be interesting to see if any trace of her remains…

Stay tuned for future posts on Shenmue II oddities/ removed content, including more detail on the sadly sealed-off Tiger Gate Building!

Thanks to:

Bluemue for the Tea Break Building shots, captured from his video

The Shenmue Fans channel for the Golden Shopping Mall shots, captured from their video library

Peter Campbell for his Notebook guide, very useful as a quick reference.

And thanks to Mooncalf Studios for the Shenmue subtitles font, used to create the mock-up image at the beginning of the post.

Until next time,

Stuart/Miles

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “The Phantom Teahouse Lady (And Other Devious Guidebook Lies)

  1. Great analysis! It must have been a race against time for the guide publishers to try to capture the latest state of the game despite last-minute changes prior to release.

    Liked by 1 person

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