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I should not have slept on Shenmue: A Shenmue The Animation Review

I'm an entrepreneur with a variety of interests that range from comics to anime.

One of the few posters made to promote this show.

One of the few posters made to promote this show.

Introduction, and overview...

The title speaks for itself, as I’m wondering why I slept on Shenmue. Well that’s rhetorical, as I know why. I wasn’t interested in that video game series. I was under the mistaken impression that it was merely akin to Grand Theft Auto. i.e. a game more grounded in reality in execution with no high fantasy of sci-fi elements. And while this is true, had someone told me is was a martial arts revenge tale with gameplay that was a cross between RPG and a beat’em up, I’d’ve wanted to play Shenmue.

This is because I’m a fan of martial arts movies and series. I’m also a fan of RPGs despite how tedious the explorations elements can be. And with Shenmue combining both, I would’ve loved it as a teenager, if I had a DreamCast and Xbox.

That’s where the anime adaptation that collaboration between Crunchyroll and Adult Swim comes in. Because the series showed me the kung-fu revenge story of Ryo seeking to avenge his father by beating his murderer Lan-Di. To do this, Ryo earns money to travel to Hong Kong, which causes him to catch the eye of a martial arts teacher, Lishao Tao, who sets him on the right path.

After learning principles called the “Wu Da,” Ryo grows as a martial artist and a person. As a result he goes from a path of vengeance to seeking the truth about who his father was. This leads him to face Lan Di, who escapes after besting Ryo.

Aside from all of that, there was the fact that Lan Di sought a phoenix mirror and a dragon mirror. Ryo’s father had the phoenix mirror, as Lan Di sought both mirrors to unlock an untold secret.

Wait,did Shenmue beat Kingdom Heart in having a sword that doubled as a key?

Wait,did Shenmue beat Kingdom Heart in having a sword that doubled as a key?

Ah, another "will they, won't they" relationship.

Ah, another "will they, won't they" relationship.

The Positives and Negatives...

One of the positives was that the cast was an interesting set of characters. This is exemplifies in the interactions Ryo has with the supporting cast, and supporting cast with each other. The growth of characters like Ryo, Wong, Joy, and Ren. Another positive was the pacing was a reasonable as it wasn’t too fast or slow.

The negatives are how cliche this is aesthetically. The revenge plot would leave some predicting the outcome of each episode. How quickly Roy picks up martial arts techniques and learns the wu da, and how he’s able to win people over easily. that and the beating up of underlings might get tedious for some, because of the ease Ryo knocks them around.

Ryo was taken aback by this.

Ryo was taken aback by this.

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Your first exercise? Punch this tree.

Your first exercise? Punch this tree.

The Conclusion...

In conclusion, I thought Shenmue The Animation was a good introduction to Shenmue. And really it made me want to play the games, as again I love a good martial arts story. I’d say I’m eager for season 2, but word has it that Shenmue was cancelled. Meaning the fate of this series is up in the air, leaving new comers like me in the same shoes as Shenmue veterans. At least now the Shenmue games are on my bucket list of games to play.

Question about Shenmue The Animation...

Shenmue The Animation Teaser Trailer

Shenmue The Animation Official Trailer

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