I wasn’t sure if I was going to write anything about this show at first. I mean, I haven’t even played the video game when it came out a long, long time ago on a console that crashed and burned. If anything, I did watch the Team Four Star lets play of the original Shenmue Game if that counts for something. That means that I do at least know the general story of the game even if I never had the controller in my hands. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided why not? Let’s discuss the first couple episodes of Shenmue even if not as much has happened yet.
The show seems like a pretty simple kind of shonen story. A high school boy by the name of Ryo Hazuki, coming back from a martial arts tournament he owned at, comes back to immediately see his father murdered by a Chinese gang member by the name of Lan Di. In doing so, it awakens a past about his father he never considered. His father had a past he didn’t understand and actually killed some one. Suddenly, Ryo starts seeking his own revenge against this man to also find out his father’s truth and his own truth. All in the small town of Yokosaku, Japan.
So yeah, I really like this show so far. I like the way its handle its story and Ryo’s journey of discovery. All the while, he explores his town and its population a bit by going from shop to shop looking for someone who can read the Chinese letters from the last message his father never got to read. All of that means interacting with his “friend” Nozomi Harasaki, shop owners, or even just helping kids that are being bullied on the sides of the street. It not only allows Ryo to be a powerful character while fighting people twice the size of him, but a really likable and human character.
I don’t think the idea of Ryo Hazuki being 18 and almost going into college as an accident. That is the time people starting planning out their entire lives. College is one choice Ryo could have made if he wanted to live a normal life, but that is not the choice Ryo made. He wants to go another route. A route of human discovery that he can only find by going on the road and mastering himself. Something that is just as valuable or even more so then getting an education. That could be considered a true path into growing up. Maybe he will uncover what his father has been trying to tell him during the course of his younger life.
Shenmue the Animation looks really good. I mean it. I love it’s very early 2000’s but modern art style for its characters, the way the small town is drawn, and its animation is really good. Before even getting into its fighting sequences, the character animation is really good. Then there is the fight choreography which the animation time has always spent a lot of time looking at martial arts references to make them move and feel realistic. I really like it just like I enjoy these first two episodes. I can’t wait for more. See you guys next week for episode 3 where I hope it just maintains how good it is. Finally, it’s time for a much more grounded shonen (seinen?) story.