While it may seem odd to gamers of a younger generation, the original Shenmue on the Dreamcast in 1999 was a big deal. The concept of an open-world game may be commonplace, or even worn out by today’s standards. But they weren’t as common back then, nor were they as detailed and so full of features. We were still two years away from Grand Theft Auto III, so when people found out what Shenmue was trying to do, it got many gamers very excited. Now, almost 23 years later (ow, my hip) Shenmue the Animation is coming to the small screen and we have our first trailer for it.
Despite how you may feel on whether Shenmue held up to its lofty ambitions, it left an indelible mark on gaming culture. So much so that when the third entry in the franchise was announced as a Kickstarter project, it shattered records for the site. While creator Yu Suzuki still insists that Shenmue has barely begun its 10-part story, chances are high we won’t see the true end of protagonist Ryo Hazuki’s journey to avenge his father’s death. However, thanks to a collaboration between Adult Swim and Crunchyroll, the series will be receiving an anime from TMS Entertainment.
TMS has been around since the ’60s and has had a hand in many series, ranging from Lupin the Third to Yowamushi Pedal and Dr. Stone. The studio also worked on 2018’s Megalobox, which the animation seen in Shenmue the Animation‘s trailer clearly takes influence from. The fight scenes are fluid and hard-hitting, feeling like the classic martial arts movies that helped influence the series. Many of the game’s Japanese and English voice actors will return as well, along with some newcomers.
The phoenix rises in animation
Yu Suzuki is an executive producer on the show, and has been involved in the project since the beginning. The series is set to launch sometime in 2022 and will most likely simulcast on Adult Swim and Crunchyroll. But nothing on that end has been confirmed. It is also unclear how deep into the game’s story the first season will go. However, it is clear that much of the story will focus on the events of the first game and some of the second.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the first season ends just like the game did, albeit hopefully a little less anticlimactically. Perhaps this is how we can finally get to the end of Ryo’s story? Because if Suzuki has his way, we’ll be waiting for Shenmue 7 in the year 3000. If you want to check out Ryo’s latest adventure, Shenmue III is currently on Steam and the Epic Games Store.