Shenmue the Animation Episode 6: A New Phase

In this episode, Ryo arrives at the city of Hong Kong. So what better way of exploring a city and getting to know it other then having his stuff stolen by some kids and having him wander around for a place to stay. It feels like a cliche, because it is a cliche, but there is a reason for it. It gives our character a main motivating device of learning about the people around him. The mostly cg people around him and some other characters who are drawn and animated like him. But still, it all works as our Ryo Hazuki wanders from place to place with specific people with his Cantonese to Japanese booklet.

The plot of this episode is once again very video gamey with Ryo moving here to do this thing to unlock this thing leading to him unlocking the goal that he wants. Yet, the way its told is much more natural then the last episode which felt video gamey. I think that has to do with the fact that it involved learning more about martial arts and just interacting with people. Two things which work really well. The old man practicing Tai Chi in the park was a very fun character. Same with Joy or already pre-time skip Nami, our poor boy who has to steal and survive, and then what happened at the Temple when Lishao Tao appeared. All characters that are very well characterized very quickly. Also, Ryo just doing that shonen hero thing in gaining friends :).

Just some really good looking action too. The street gang attacking Ryo randomly and ruining his translation book was just so good looking. The animators did not have to go so hard in showing all the pages break like that, but it was awesome before the fight occurred. Same with so many of the details of the leaves falling from the tree Ryo learned to punch after the very quick but simple fight with Ryo just owning but not hurting the street urchins. It all connects and it all looks generally great. Well, besides the once again cg crowds which walk that show’s Earth which is just a reality that we have to deal with.

If there was one off putting thing about this episode which neither the Japanese or English version would probably fix besides accents, were people talking in their native languages but acting like they speak or do not speak Cantonese very well. Clearly, there are probably some accents going around but all the dialogue are in Japanese or English depending on the version that is watched. Languages when expressed that feel kind of weird thing in a way that English dubs usually do because the Japanese version usually hires actors who speak different languages so there is double subtitles. That clearly didn’t happen here. So interesting.

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