What is Shenmue? Video Series – Part 1: Story

Posted on 01 Aug 2018 by
L Coulsen

Narrated by HazkuiRyo himself, Corey Marshall, we have the first in a video series that will introduce, and re-introduce, us to the world of Shenmue. Set to release later this month, August 21st, for the first time on the PC. This first video takes a look at the story, though it doesn’t actually go into much detail, instead expositing on the impact it’s had on fans. Basically bigging it up, and with good reason. As they say, fans like myself have been enraptured by this tale for almost twenty years. patiently waiting for the day when Ryo’s story would finally come to an end. That’s why the Kickstarter brought down the entire platform, for nine hours, when it first launched. And that’s why, full disclosure, that’s why I pledged $160 of my own money to help fund it.

So, what’s the big deal then? Well, that sort of detail is better left for a full review, but allow me to elucidate at least somewhat. The saga kicks off in the last few weeks of 1986, with our boy Ryo coming home to find his pops (voiced by none other than Segata Sanshiro himself in the Japanese dub) facing off against a chap in Chinese clothing. It doesn’t go well, and Iwao ends up dead, but not before he gets a thorough thrashing, which prompts Ryo to jump in and try to save him, promptly getting his arse beat. The chap Lan Di demands to know the location of “the mirror” whilst making it quite clear he’ll kill Ryo if he doesn’t get his way. Iwao tells him where it is, and ends up dead himself. At which point, Ryo learns that his father previously killed someone in some event linked to the mirror in question, after which Ryo spends the better part of a week recovering.

And dude, that’s just the first ten minutes!

From there, Ryo heads out on a truly epic quest to take revenge, meeting all sorts of colourful characters along the way, and constantly improving his martial arts skills as he goes. Taking him all the way from his home town of Yokosuka, to Shanghai and, when last we left him, the idlylic prefecture of Guilin. One of the most beautiful places on Earth. So much so, that I fell in love with the place just from seeing it in game. Moreover, my second child was born last year (December 17th) and I named her Nozomi, after Ryo’s love interest in the first game. So yes, if it’s not obvious, this is a series that is very close to my heart, and it is long past time we saw the conclusion.

I’m aware this has become far more of a personal piece at this point, but that should only serve to further demonstrate how important Shenmue is as a franchise. In fact, arriving on PC for the first time this very day, the Yakuza series would probably not exist if not for it. As much of what made Shenmue so powerful was carried over into them. Not least of which being the grand scale of its narrative. So please, I implore you, don’t let this one pass you by. Three weeks from now, you owe it to yourself to dive in and, like millions before you, find out precisely where it is that sailors hang out.

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