Naming Red Snakes

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently working on a Shenmue III Character Database project, much like the one I previously released for Shenmue II.

However, a slight issue arose with the names of the Blue Spiders and Red Snakes members, as the game mentions their names but doesn’t make it explicitly clear which is which. Both gangs have a leader whose name is divulged in-game, but both have two henchman who aren’t fully identified by name.

In the previous post I attempted to clear up the confusion around the two Blue Spiders members, Gao and Li, and which one was which – and came to a fairly logical and sound conclusion regarding this.

So now we come to the Red Snakes – the gang that terrorises Niaowu, and responsible for assisting the Chi You Men by transporting Shenhua’s stepfather to them.

The leader of the Red Snakes, the large, imposing man who uses a variety of animal-based fighting styles, defeats Ryo in combat easily on two occasions, much like Yanlang of the Blue Spiders did back in Bailu Village.

His name, however, is divulged in a different way that Yanlang’s was – Ryo and Shenhua’s interrogation of Yanlang took the form of an in-game conversation, so his name appeared on-screen. There is no such interrogation with the Red Snakes leader however, as when Ryo and Ren go to confront him a third time (Ryo armed with a new move), they only find the Chi You Men leader Niao Sun (in her ‘Feng Li’ disguise) there, who informs them that she asked the Red Snakes to leave (implying that she has authority in the area of Niaowu, and it is possibly her who organised the kidnap of Shenhua’s father in the first place).

However, we later encounter the Red Snakes leader again, during the final scenario of the game at the Old Castle. After scaling those imposing steps, Ryo finds the leader there waiting for him, who he must defeat before he can proceed to Lan Di.

Once defeated and finished off with Ryo’s newly-learnt move –the Reverse Body Check-we see the following entry in Ryo’s notebook:

This refers to him as ‘Ge’; As far as I am aware, this is the only reference to his name in the entire game – this perhaps explains why most fans are more familiar with the moniker of ‘Mr Muscles’ he was christened with in posts at the Shenmue Dojo forums when first revealed in trailers during the game’s development!

However, the name is also referenced in the credits – when it lists the voice cast, revealing that his full name is Ge Longqi:

Shenmue III credits: Japanese voices
Shenmue III credits: English voices

So we’ve cleared up the name of the leader. Now what about the other two, his right-hand men who Ryo clashes with numerous times in Niaowu?

Again, the divulging of their names is similar to the two Blue Spiders – their names are revealed while you are hunting the two down, and speak to Master Hsu at Liu He Hall – who had to fight these two off when they were bothering customers at the Muren Café in New Paradise:

He tells you that ‘one was thin’ and the other ‘was as big as a panda’, and then that their names are Lu and Xiang. The question is once again, which is which? Are the names referred to respectively, in the order he gave their descriptions?

When I posted about this at the Shenmue Dojo forums, enquiring if the model filenames of these two characters would shed any light on this, I also divulged my assumption based on assuming the order of the names matches the order of the descriptions, so therefore: Lu is the thin guy, and Xiang is the one as big as a panda.

Fellow member Rydeen also informed me that the Japanese Wikipedia page for the game listed these two characters, and from the descriptions appears to agree with the above assumption.

However, Rydeen also informed me that in the Japanese voice track, while Hsu refers to their names in the same order as the English dub, the order he says their descriptions is reversed. If using the logic of them being referred to respectively in this order, it would be the other way round, e.g.:

Lu: big

Xiang: thin

Rydeen also divulged that the ‘big as a panda’ description appears to be a translation error! In the original Japanese voice track, Hsu is actually saying that one was ‘a large man with a bandana’ – which does indeed fit the appearance of the larger member.

Confusing, right? Fortunately, the situation was finally made clearer when LemonHaze came to the rescue once again. He revealed the character model names are KOU and ROO – ‘KOU’ being the thinner guy, and ‘ROO’ being the larger guy wearing a bandana:

These file names appear to be shortened versions of the Japanese pronunciations of their names. To confirm this, I asked for confirmation from Switch (author of the fantastic Phantom River Stone blog), who said the following:

‘SalsaShark wrote a post about various martial artists in S3 and Lu Shicai was one of them. Looking at his image, the Chinese character for his surname would be pronounced “roo” (or rou) so that matches. There are several possible Chinese characters for “Xiang”, but one of the possibilities could be pronounced KOU in Japanese. So I think this confirms your hypothesis’

Therefore, from this we can surmise that ‘ROO’ is referring to Lu, and ‘KOU’ refers to Xiang.

This means therefore, that Lu is the member with a bandana (and as large as a panda).

Therefore Xiang is the thinner, decidedly more ‘weaselly’ one.

To cement this further, the post by SalsaShark that Switch refers to above also shares that there is actually a secret scene the player can encounter if they go to Wu Shen Hall while Ryo is looking for these two thugs- I personally was not aware of this scene at all until I read the post! You can view the scene below:

From this, we learn that Lu’s full name is Lu Shicai – and that he was a former student at the school, achieving the rank of 6th Dan. However, much to the master’s lament, he strayed from this path and joined the Red Snakes.

While not explicitly stated, it seems reasonable to assume this is the larger of the two henchmen – I personally find it unlikely that the thinner one has that much martial arts prowess! (SalsaShark also appears to have come to the same conclusion) And the file names of their character models seems to confirm this.

As I also consulted to check the names of the Blue Spiders members, the internal file ‘CharaProfile.txt’ also lists their names, revealing that Xiang’s full name is Xiang Yun:

You’ll also notice their listing is close to their leader, Ge Longqi.

So once again, we have determined the names of these two characters with a little bit of detective work and the assistance of members of the Shenmue Dojo forums. While the names of two fairly minor characters may seem inconsequential, I was determined to figure this out for both the Blue Spiders and the Red Snakes, in order for my character database to be as accurate and comprehensive as possible, and I am grateful for the fellow fans who have helped me achieve this.

Stay tuned for the release of the Shenmue III Character Database Project, coming very soon!

Special thanks for this post goes to Dojo forum members LemonHaze, Rydeen, Switch and SalsaShark and also Peter, whose S3 playthrough videos I used to source the images.

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