“Shenmue” was released in 1999 when it was Yu Suzuki’s Dreamcast masterpiece, the most costly video game ever made. Its two sequels, published in 2001 and 2019, respectively, is a spacious epic that combines RPG processes, transparent 3D areas to discover, and social simulation aspects to create a compelling story, reports IGN.
“Shenmue” has made another type of premiere, this time as an anime series co-produced by Adult Swim and Crunchyroll. Its first episode includes a few errors, but overall, does a fantastic job of conveying the games’ characters and story.
“Shenmue” is a long series of games with detailed intricacies and a storyline, and it’s already been announced that the first season of this adaptation would consist of 13 episodes – it’s unknown if there will be more seasons. The first episode rushes over the game’s early explanatory components, introducing the Hazuki kin, Ryo (Austin Tindle), and Ryo’s quest for vengeance.
Nozomi is virtually unrecognizable in the animation, which is a little off-putting, and Ryo’s fight with Chai is underplayed in comparison to the character’s prominence in the gameplay, but a lot could be forgiven in the interest of moving the tale along in 13 short episodes.
It starts quickly, covering a lot of area in a short amount of time, then it slows down to explore a short moment where Ryo regroups, hangs out with buddy tussles with Chai, Nozomi Harasaki, another member of the Chi You Men led by Lan Di – all in search of the same mirror that killed Iwao.
Fortunately, all of the elements are there and correct, such as the new voice cast again for the English dub, which is the subject of this review. Austin Tindle does a great job on the part of Ryo, taking over for the English Version game dubbing actor Corey Marshall in a far more fluid, laid-back rendition of the character.
Similarly, Natalie Rial performs an excellent job as Shenhua’s voice, a crucial element as the main Shenmue plot progresses. Shenhua doesn’t spend much time in the first episode and doesn’t receive a good introduction, but she does have plenty of opportunities to shine like that of the narrator, with some fascinating foreshadowing.
And, as with many game-to-anime series adaptations, the animation isn’t up to par. Character and environmental detail and crispness are lesser for a short season than, say, much more recent shows like My Dress-Up Darling, which is presently running. Nonetheless, it does a good job of converting these well-known gaming characters into a 2D style.