Shenmue the Animation – Episode recaps coming soon! (and trailer thoughts)

Something I haven’t covered on this blog as of yet is the imminent anime adaptation of the series, Shenmue the Animation – due to start on Adult Swim/also streaming on Crunchyroll on February 6th (this week!!). However, this is due to change as I am pleased to announce that I will be posting episode recaps/reviews following the airing of each episode every week!

I am very excited for this series, as the trailers have been incredible and show that a lot of care and attention has been put into the art and design of the series, and the animation quality generally looks superb. There is already an indication that the series will also expand on the story as we know it from the games, with one trailer showing Ryo winning a karate tournament representing his school, before heading home to then witness his father’s death at the hands of Lan Di. Speaking of Lan Di, it appears he may have more of a role and appear more often if the trailers are any indication (and possibly already have more dialogue than he does in the 3 games so far combined!)

With 13 episodes planned, which will seemingly cover Shenmue I and the majority of Shenmue II, it remains to be seen just how closely it will follow the plot and structure of the two games, with presumably some content being cut down or omitted altogether. I am confident that it will be a quality adaptation however and I am looking forward to seeing what changes and adjustments are made (for better or possibly worse).

I should note that living in the UK, I do not have access to Adult Swim and thus will not be able to watch the US dub of the series (there is seemingly no way to do this outside of the US), however I can access Crunchyroll and will be watching the Japanese audio with English subtitles (this is the only option on this platform). Should the US dub later become available in these shores however, I will be sure to watch again!

Please see below for the two most recent trailers released for the series, along with my thoughts and initial reactions I had on first viewing (first posted at the Shenmue Dojo forums):

English trailer:

  • I like that we get to see what Ryo was doing immediately before returning home: provides some much needed context and its in character for him to turn down going out to celebrate
  • So it sounds like they didn’t get Corey to reprise the role – to be honest I’m not too disappointed by this, it will be interesting to hear a different take on Ryo.
  • ‘YOU BASTARD!’ – gave me chills! Touches like this are appreciated as it would be a natural reaction in the situation, and improves the somewhat dry dialogue of the game.
  • The fighting and hit impacts in general are BRUTAL, some terrific animation here.
  • ‘What do you really know about your father’s past?’ – I think this works well as a general ‘hook’ for the series, and glad to see the photo of Iwao and Zhao.
  • Charlie with the soccer ball appears to have been moved to take place in the harbour…
  • A biker confronting Ryo outside his house? Interesting…possibly how he’s lured to the harbour to rescue Nozomi in this adaptation?
  • The line about threatening Ryo that he’ll meet the same fate as his father – who is speaking here?
  • Tony and Smith are freaking huge!
  • Chai fight in the Dojo, as we’ve already seen. Will be interesting to see what the circumstances of this happening are.

Japanese trailer:

  • Backgrounds and lighting are beautiful
  • Terry saying ‘You’re trying to get mixed up in some dangerous stuff’ – it really does seem like the anime is stressing the point of how reckless Ryo is acting…
  • Where is Lan Di in the scene of him looking out the window? Chi You Men HQ?
  • ‘One mirror remains’ is an interesting line – perhaps confirmation that they are indeed only two?
  • Can’t wait to see the 70 man battle with Gui Zhang!!
  • Clip of Mark is a bit random – but does confirm the forklift job will happen.
  • We’re getting young Ryo flashbacks.
  • Payphone!!
  • Virtua Fighter in the arcade!! Great touch. Yes doesn’t make sense in 1986, but then neither does capsule toys of the series existing…
  • Very surprised to see Ryo practice the Double Blow with Yamagishi-san – how many of the optional scenes will we see in this I wonder?

If you’re wondering how exactly you can watch the anime, please see this handy FAQ prepared by the good folks at Shenmue Dojo 🙂

Expect to see a recap of Episode 1 shortly after it airs!

-Stuart/Miles

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