NOTE: This post will contain plot SPOILERS for both games in the series, so it is highly recommended you only read if you have completed both games. It also assumes you have basic knowledge of the two games and the series in general.
As all fans of the series will know, towards the end of Shenmue II’s Guilin scenario (Disc 4 of the Dreamcast version), there is a pretty significant plot reveal – namely, that ‘Shenmue’ is actually the tree outside Shenhua’s house in Bailu Village, and that she herself is named after the flower of the tree. I remember being surprised by this reveal on my first playthrough of the game – it works so well because I had never really thought to question what ‘Shenmue’ meant before that point, or even if it was relevant within the series’ own story and mythology. And obviously for any players who had been eagerly awaiting an explanation, I expect it would have been satisfying for them as well. The other really great and clever thing about it is that there are actually several hints and foreshadowing to this reveal before this point – some admittedly not within the main narrative, but they are there nonetheless – and there are many examples of trees and nature being used as symbolism before Ryo even sets foot in Guilin – which I will be exploring in this post.
As I stated at the end of Part 1, Shenmue IIfelt like where the saga’s story was truly beginning, the hints that it was more than a simple revenge story becoming a lot more apparent. As Ren might say – things were ‘getting interesting’…
So then, welcome to Shenmusings! This introductory post serves to give you an idea of what to expect from the blog, as well as a little about why I am so passionate about this series, and how I first discovered it and became part of the fandom and online community (surely there can’t be a more persistently hopeful fanbase than ours?). I honestly consider both Shenmue games to certainly be up there as among some of the best games of all time (and criminally overlooked and underappreciated), and as writing just happens to be another passion of mine, I thought it high time to express my love of these games, and offer a blog that explores thematic discussion of the story, little known facts and tidbits from both games, and also posts like this one, about my own personal history with the series.