Shenhua's Powers In Shenmue 3

ShenSun

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Shenmue 3 is all about Shenhua. Many of us who enjoyed Shenmue 3's story did so because of the subtle changes in her character throughout the adventure. From the start of the game to the end, you get these very small snippets of her "power" which is very, very easy to miss. Let's go through them.

Shenhua & The Blue Spider Boss

I've seen people say this is a tongue and cheek "anime" moment but I didn't think so at all. I immediately thought Shenhua used her powers on the thug when he was tied up.

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She went from lovely innocent Shenhua to somewhat menacing.

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Watch the scene again and notice the sound effects, tone and shading take a very brief dark turn.

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From then on, the thug is pretty much paralyzed with fear when he see's Shenhua.

Some people may view this as comic relief, so let's look at a few more examples of where the same pattern repeats itself.

Shenhua & Chai

When Chai takes the scroll at the end of Bailu, Shenhua goes from sweet and innocent to menacing. Her dialog completely goes out of character and the tone of her words take a more darker turn.

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-

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Chai then instantly changes his behavior/mind and jumps down to fight.

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Some people may say he's just being baited and I would agree if it was anyone else other than Shenhua doing it. Personally i think she's using her powers on him, which affects the way he behaves. But let's go to another example

Shenhua & Ren

Ren and Shenhua first meet in Hotel Niaowu. Ren is his usual cocky self but then his behavior instantly changes when Shenhua looks at him in a slight menacing way.

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If you watch the scene again, you'll see Shenhua's facial expression slightly change from sweet to slightly menacing.

From

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To

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Much like Chai and the Blue Spider thug, Ren's behavior changes drastically.

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-

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His cocky attitude completely disappears and his facial animation shows a slight concern. Some may say, this is another tongue and cheek moment, but I think Shenhua used her powers here again.

More Evidence Of Shenhua's Powers In Shenmue 3

Shenhua Conversations At Night


If you speak to Shenhua at night, you start to get a few small details of her special abilities.

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Shenhua states she can communicate with animals.
Shenhua also says sometimes she dreams of her ancestors and when she wakes up its like she's lived 1000 birthdays

This matches up to an earlier interview with Yu Suzuki about Shenhua

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--

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Shenmue 3 Trailer

In one of the earlier trailers we saw Shenhua manipulate the environment similar to what she did in Shenmue 2. Probably just a recreation of the Shenmue 2 scene but it still does demonstrate more of her abilities.

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Yuan's Message To Shenhua In The Temple In Shenmue 3

I missed this in my playthough, but James managed to pull it up when he was recording for his youtube channel.

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Yuan leaves a message about Shenhua in the temple, referring to a particular day. At this stage, we have no idea what he's talking about. Is it the day she met Ryo? Or is it a day in the future that we have not seen yet.

Personally, i think its referring to a day in the future where she realizes her full power. We've seen a brief glimpse of such a day in the Shenmue Online trailer.

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Now admittedly, Shenmue online isn't cannon, but that dress is very significant. It was featured on the original ost cover and in the promotion for the original Shenmue

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Lan Di And Shenhua

In the Shenmue 2 bad ending, Lan Di states that he is taking Shenhua's power for the Chiyou, again demonstrating she has special powers which we are not yet aware of.

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Project Berkly Trailer

Some may say if Shenhua is using her powers in Shenmue 3, then why didn't she use them on the chiyou men when she got captured. that's a very good question. I would personally answer by saying, she isn't in complete control of her powers just yet.

I say this based on the way she speaks to Ryo about her powers in the evening conversations, along with her father's message that was left at the temple, and also based on the project berkly trailer.

The project berkly trailer shows very early footage of the series. It shows Shenhua getting beaten up by Lan di. it then shows her struggling to break free from Lan di's men.

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Eventually, she uses her power to destroy them.

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Once she learns this ability in the trailer, we see her actively focusing her energy to strike. A look of fear is then shown on Lan Di's face before she destroys the place.

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This scene could be "That day" which her father referred to in the temple in Shenmue 3. Either that, or the Shenmue online scene, or a combination of the two. Who knows at this point. Are they both non canon scenes? Or are they showing us something that could potentially happen down the road?

Other Worthy Mentions

Shenhua Shows Up In Ryo's Dreams


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Shenhua Is Connected To The Shenmue Tree

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Shenhua And Then Prophecy

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Overall, we all know Shenhua has special powers, but this is why I personally liked Shenmue 3. it gave me these small glimpses into Shenhua's potential power and also let us communicate and spend time with her to build a solid relationship for the future. A future where she will play a very significant role in.

As Spud has said. Who is Shenhua really? Where does she come from? Why is she in Bailu? Who are her ancestors? etc etc. All very important questions that lead to more mystery.

Thanks for checking out this thread. It was very hard for me to articulate this in a single post in the other threads, so i thought id make a detailed topic, breaking it all down and explaining my thought process as i was playing. I also wanted to get everyone's opinion on Shenhua's power in general

What do you guys think of Shenhua's powers? And will it play a big part in Shenmue 4?
 
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spud1897

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Love the thread man. Some good thoughts in there and definately food for thought.

My personal take on it is within the next game we will see some of that power unleashed. We know her powers will come to the fore just from the Berkley videos and the various snippets we've seen.

My interest lies, not only in her powers, but her lineage. Where does she come from? Who were her real parents? How did she end up in Bailu? What link is there to previous dynasties?

We know that the name has been carried through generations judging by (IMO) the small snippet we saw in Shenmue II. What we don't categorically know is where or when that scene even was. Was it a flashback to many years ago, was it a flashback to her actual birth? We know there's more than one Shenmue tree so it could be possible it was a different place other than Bailu.

Lots of really good questions!
 

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Thank you. I thought I was alone in thinking this. I think that the first thug could be seen as rather comical depending on your viewpoint, but I definitely noticed it with Ren.

It's frustrating, because I want to know *now*. Part and parcel of being a Shenmue fan I guess :p
 
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So, I thought I would keep this for myself, but :
I'm getting strong (Yami)-Yugi vibes from Shenhua in S3.

The focus on her eye in the thug interrogating scene
reminds me of focus on Yugi's eye when Yami breaks through.
(The thug lost the shadow game, folks!)

For anyone knowing Yugi-oh, there is also reincarnations and past lives plot points there.
Icing on the cake that made me think this was Yugi-oh's author being a guest at a Magic.
(There is also a lot of character development for Yugi and Yami in the manga/anime.)


Wild theory, I know, but, if one could create an animation of Shenhua
morphing from her small Sh2 model to her taller Sh3 model,
we could enjoy a neat image of a yugi-oh transform recreated.


Get your game on, I end my turn.
 
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Google translate shows most of (it doesn't detect the first two columns) Yuan's message to Shenhua as "Until the day when the water is not enough". Like a flood? Something to do with nature like the Shenmue tree perhaps?
 
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I was a bit miffed they managed to tone back the glimpses we saw in the two hours of game time we had with Shenhua in Shenmue 2. I wanted to find out more about Shenhua, and just wound up confused as to whether or not what we saw her do in Shenmue 2 meant anything.
 

xatruio

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The glimpses we saw in Shen2 were nothing compared to her real power. Good tease for a reveal of her Berkley powers later. Shen2 were accidents/subconscious for her, if we're led to believe how much bigger her gift truly is...
 

Sergeynest

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Shenhua is by far the most intriguing and misterious character in the Shenmue series.
These small glimpses we get of her psychic powers in Shenmue 3 where great and gives me hope that Yu Suzuky hasn't cut off the mystical elements from the Shenmue series.
I believe that her name in Chinese mythology was what inspired Yu Suzuky in the creation of her character.
There is definitely some connection between her character and the meaning of the name Shenhua in chinese mythology.
Here are some links that may shed some light on her character or raise even more questions about her !?



I've also talked about Shenhua and her powers in several episodes of the Shenmue talk series in my channel.
I'm going to leave the links to the videos below in case someone is interested in watching them.



 
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At the end of the day, Hiwao´s murder is only part of a big story, not the begining. Since when is the power of Shenhua acting to do its purpose? And what and for what is the final purpose of this "plan"? Has to do with Land Di´s father murder too, to "start" the story?
 
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Shenhua is by far the most intriguing and misterious character in the Shenmue series.
These small glimpses we get of her psychic powers in Shenmue 3 where great and gives me hope that Yu Suzuky hasn't cut off the mystical elements from the Shenmue series.
I believe that her name in Chinese mythology was what inspired Yu Suzuky in the creation of her character.
There is definitely some connection between her character and the meaning of the name Shenhua in chinese mythology.
Here are some links that may shed some light on her character or raise even more questions about her !?



I've also talked about Shenhua and her powers in several episodes of the Shenmue talk series in my channel.
I'm going to leave the links to the videos below in case someone is interested in watching them.



Bro when is your next video, I need more of your videos stat.
 
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In order to explain Shenhua’s power, I think we should know who Shenhua is first. Once that’s been established, further context to her power can be established. Till I see otherwise, I am of the opinion that her power while crucial to the plot, is more subdued then most fans think. Part of this reason is that if she is able to do what she did in the Project Berkley trailer, then why not use that power to avoid being kidnapped? Or why is she afraid of Lan-Di? I am also not convinced that she used her power against that thug in Bailu. If that were the case, then the tone of that scene would be much more serious. Shenhua’s power is one of the most critical plot elements in Shenmue. Using her powers against that thug would come across as frivolous.

So judging by what we have seen in the first two games, I think her power is due to her strong connection to nature. Basically, she is channeling Qi energy from nature, or nature is using her as a conduit from which Qi energy flows. This would explain why she can understand animals, lift dandelions without even touching them, feel the soul of the Shenmue tree, have the Seven Star dagger/sword react the way it did (which Suzuki stated was caused by a natural phenomenon, not magic) or her statement about “nature’s energy flows through everything” when Ryo was practicing Tai Chi. The only thing my theory doesn’t explain is the mysterious dreams Ryo has prior to meeting Shenhua. Though I think this was due to the Phoenix Mirror’s influence than Shenhua’s powers with one of those dreams being non-canon.

Shenhua is definitely one of the most fascinating characters in the entire series due to the mysteries surrounding her. What connection does she have to Luoyang, The Mirrors, (if this is still canon) or to Chiyou? Hopefully, if Shenmue continues into the future, we will get an answer to these questions. On a personal level though, I hope the answers given do not take away from the low fantasy vibe the series conveys.
 
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That's pretty interesting. The traditional form of the third entry ('shinwa' in Japanese) is mainly used in reference to stories of Greek/Norse/etc gods. I'm kind of curious if it's more than mere coincidence. The characters used for her name in game just refer to the flower of the nut sedge plant, as opposed to the sedge tree, "Shenmue." I really like that aspect of those names, that sort of suggests she's like a child of the Shenmue.

I can't remember where I encountered it, but I remember reading somewhere that Akira was original meant to meet a Tibetan girl, which I feel like would have married perfectly with Shenhua's propensity to reincarnate. Obviously that would have made Shenmue dead on arrival in China, but it sure would have been cool if that were the case.

I may as well share this here, also. It's pretty neat:

This person found a way to clip into Shenhua's room, and there's a bunch of things that can be examined in there. Ryo remarks at her bookshelf possibly containing the books she used to study on her own, and how nicely folded and pleasantly scented some of her things are. (I can kind of see why it was blocked off.)

In order to explain Shenhua’s power, I think we should know who Shenhua is first. Once that’s been established, further context to her power can be established. Till I see otherwise, I am of the opinion that her power while crucial to the plot, is more subdued then most fans think. Part of this reason is that if she is able to do what she did in the Project Berkley trailer, then why not use that power to avoid being kidnapped? Or why is she afraid of Lan-Di? I am also not convinced that she used her power against that thug in Bailu. If that were the case, then the tone of that scene would be much more serious. Shenhua’s power is one of the most critical plot elements in Shenmue. Using her powers against that thug would come across as frivolous.
How would it be frivolous, though? If the only person who potentially knows the whereabouts of her missing father is Gan Rou, and he won't talk, you don't think she would use her powers to coerce him into talking in this instance, if she had them? What would have been the alternative course of action? In the conversations with Ryo she makes reference to the fact that no one really wanted to play hide and seek with her when she was young, because she always knew exactly where everyone was hiding. I think there's plenty of evidence to suggest that she has psychic abilities. I suppose in theory I don't disagree that those abilities could be more muted than being able to radiate high-power electromagnetic waves from her eyes, or something, but I also don't necessarily feel those two ideas must be mutually exclusive. It feels like she would at least have to be somewhat psychic to be able to communicate so intimately with nature.
 
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@Rydeen, I'm guessing you speak Japanese? Thanks for sharing that video btw, it's a shame they blocked off that room after putting all that interactivity and detail in there.
 
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How would it be frivolous, though? If the only person who potentially knows the whereabouts of her missing father is Gan Rou, and he won't talk, you don't think she would use her powers to coerce him into talking in this instance, if she had them? What would have been the alternative course of action? In the conversations with Ryo she makes reference to the fact that no one really wanted to play hide and seek with her when she was young, because she always knew exactly where everyone was hiding. I think there's plenty of evidence to suggest that she has psychic abilities. I suppose in theory I don't disagree that those abilities could be more muted than being able to radiate high-power electromagnetic waves from her eyes, or something, but I also don't necessarily feel those two ideas must be mutually exclusive. It feels like she would at least have to be somewhat psychic to be able to communicate so intimately with nature.

Two reasons:

I). One way humor works is by subverting people's expectations. Shenhua up to that point had been portrayed as a gentle soul who wouldn't harm anyone. So seeing her do something so drastically different in my opinion goes against her character (which was the point.) There was an easier way for this scene to make more sense to me. You simply take Ryo and have him "interrogate" Gan Rou. To show how far down the dark path he's going, he starts to break his bones. Seeing how Ryo has beaten Dou Niu and Pedro Warren, its quite evident that Ryo can handle opponents bigger than himself. However, Shenhua stops him before he goes too far and Rou relents after seeing how dangerous Ryo can be.

II). If she does use her powers against him, that creates problems for the overall story. If she can read minds as the dialogue you mentioned suggests, why not just extract it from Rou's mind? Since there isn't an explanation as to how her powers work, the sky is the limit for her abilities. For example, why bother investigating anything at all if she can read other people's minds? Or why would she be afraid of Lan-Di? In other words, her powers can solve just about any obstacle going forward which greatly reduces tension. Lastly, it takes away from the low fantasy vibe the series has produced. These supernatural events are special because they're rare.

In the end, this is why I do not comment too much on speculation threads. Because it's all just conjecture with some facts mixed in but not definitive of anything.
 
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@Rydeen, I'm guessing you speak Japanese? Thanks for sharing that video btw, it's a shame they blocked off that room after putting all that interactivity and detail in there.
Yeah, for over half my life now. Well--I don't actually speak it much anymore, but I still consume of a lot of media in Japanese. It is a shame that they actually put the effort specifically into her room, and essentially cut it, but I'm sort of happy to know that it's still technically in the game.


Two reasons:

I). One way humor works is by subverting people's expectations. Shenhua up to that point had been portrayed as a gentle soul who wouldn't harm anyone. So seeing her do something so drastically different in my opinion goes against her character (which was the point). There was an easier way for this scene to make more sense to me. You simply take Ryo and have him "interrogate" Gan Rou. To show how far down the dark path he's going, he starts to break this guys' bones. Seeing how Ryo has beaten Dou Niu and Pedro Warren, its quite evident that Ryo can handle opponents bigger than himself. However, Shenhua stops him before he goes too far and the Rou relents after seeing how dangerous Ryo can be.

II). If she does use her powers against him, that creates problems for the overall story. If she can read minds as the dialogue you mentioned suggests, why not just extract it from Rou's mind? Since there isn't an explanation as to how her powers work, the sky is the limit for her abilities. For example, why bother investigating anything at all if she can read other people's minds? Or why would she be afraid of Lan-Di? In other words, her powers can solve just about any obstacle going forward which greatly reduces tension. Lastly it takes away the low fantasy vibe the series has produced. These supernatural events are special because they're rare.

In the end, this is why I do not comment too much on speculation threads. Because it's all just conjecture with some facts mixed in but not definitive of anything.
I don't mean to litigate this with you. I think we obviously have a difference of opinion, and if you didn't want to keep discussing it, that's fine, but I think it's potentially valuable to have this debate.

At any rate, I'm not sure it's necessarily a break in character. Ryo hasn't known her long enough, up to that point, to really know how she would deal with stress or trauma. Shenmue III isn't explicit about her mental state, the same as any other character in the series (nor should it be, in my opinion). We don't really see Ryo before the opening cutscene from the first game, but with some hints in the form of concern from his friends, he's potentially a very different person after his father's death. That's likely true for Shenhua as well, with the uncertainty over the whereabouts/safety of her father. I do get where you're coming from, because I was a bit displeased with Shenhua's new voice actress: She had a bit more of a meek, timid feel to her delivery, compared to the more boisterous and steadfast delivery of her VA from Shenmue II. I felt there was enough reason to believe that she could be struggling with worry or dread over his safety, though. How many times did she talk about his health on the way to Bailu in Shenmue II? Her demeanor always changed a bit when she mentioned it. Now he has health issues, and he's kidnapped. I don't feel the interrogation scene was meant for comedic effect. YS's style has always seemed to be to leave that kind of levity to comedic fall-characters like Kyo in Niaowu, with his imitations of giraffe-style, and his (really excellent) bumpkin accent. This isn't Yakuza 2, and host-club Kiryu.

I agree that if her powers have always been too great, then it kind of breaks the whole series. I wasn't really a fan of her getting kidnapped, either. That seemed a little tacked on to artificially escalate the level of urgency at the end. I don't think it's that likely that she can just read minds, though. Otherwise she would know Niao Sun's plan, and Ryo would have absolutely no hope against her in Kao-Janken--although I did get into some loops where it seemed like I couldn't win against her, so who knows. There are likely other limitations that make it not quite that simple, but I would not be completely surprised if the extent and/or mechanisms of her abilities are never made explicit. A lot of people hate not having answers for all these things, but that's a sentiment I don't really understand, personally. A lot of the value of a work is what it leaves to interpretation, and I feel that the use of literary devices (as they pertain to video games, and specifically with regard to its themes, symbolism, imagery, mood, foreshadow, etc), throughout the Shenmue series, is really underappreciated. It's my belief that certain things in the series are vague specifically to allow for interpretation, which most media these days (especially in mainstream video games) really doesn't allow for.

That's my interpretation, anyway.
 
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I don't mean to litigate this with you. I think we obviously have a difference of opinion, and if you didn't want to keep discussing it, that's fine, but I think it's potentially valuable to have this debate.

At any rate, I'm not sure it's necessarily a break in character. Ryo hasn't known her long enough, up to that point, to really know how she would deal with stress or trauma. Shenmue III isn't explicit about her mental state, the same as any other character in the series (nor should it be, in my opinion). We don't really see Ryo before the opening cutscene from the first game, but with some hints in the form of concern from his friends, he's potentially a very different person after his father's death. That's likely true for Shenhua as well, with the uncertainty over the whereabouts/safety of her father. I do get where you're coming from, because I was a bit displeased with Shenhua's new voice actress: She had a bit more of a meek, timid feel to her delivery, compared to the more boisterous and steadfast delivery of her VA from Shenmue II. I felt there was enough reason to believe that she could be struggling with worry or dread over his safety, though. How many times did she talk about his health on the way to Bailu in Shenmue II? Her demeanor always changed a bit when she mentioned it. Now he has health issues, and he's kidnapped. I don't feel the interrogation scene was meant for comedic effect. YS's style has always seemed to be to leave that kind of levity to comedic fall-characters like Kyo in Niaowu, with his imitations of giraffe-style, and his (really excellent) bumpkin accent. This isn't Yakuza 2, and host-club Kiryu.

I agree that if her powers have always been too great, then it kind of breaks the whole series. I wasn't really a fan of her getting kidnapped, either. That seemed a little tacked on to artificially escalate the level of urgency at the end. I don't think it's that likely that she can just read minds, though. Otherwise she would know Niao Sun's plan, and Ryo would have absolutely no hope against her in Kao-Janken--although I did get into some loops where it seemed like I couldn't win against her, so who knows. There are likely other limitations that make it not quite that simple, but I would not be completely surprised if the extent and/or mechanisms of her abilities are never made explicit. A lot of people hate not having answers for all these things, but that's a sentiment I don't really understand, personally. A lot of the value of a work is what it leaves to interpretation, and I feel that the use of literary devices (as they pertain to video games, and specifically with regard to its themes, symbolism, imagery, mood, foreshadow, etc), throughout the Shenmue series, is really underappreciated. It's my belief that certain things in the series are vague specifically to allow for interpretation, which most media these days (especially in mainstream video games) really doesn't allow for.

That's my interpretation, anyway.

While I don’t think we’ll agree on this topic, I do appreciate your civility in this discussion. While its true that we don’t know Shenhua’s mental state, up to that point she has come across to me as a gentle person. Also for someone who is concerned about the well-being of her father, she only takes on an active role in the more important parts of the story. The rest of the time she seems rather relaxed having casual conversations with you, running errands, or playing face-off. One could interpret this as her coping, though I would counter this with us never being shown that she is just putting on a brave face. I will concede that this might just be a separation of gameplay and story though.

If I may veer off course a little bit, the whole interrogation scene reminded me of a scene from the Justice League cartoon.


This whole scene was played for the sake of comedy. There’s also the fact that in one interview Suzuki has stated that he doesn’t like his stories to be too heavy. Therefore, this might be an example of him adding levity while exploring the dynamic between men and women. And finally, while I agree that the ambiguity of Shenmue’s themes is what makes it a fascinating story, in speculation threads like these, people are bound to make their theories based on the facts presented to them. So the more accurate the facts, the stronger the theories.
 
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ys.

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Shenhua & The Blue Spider Boss

I've seen people say this is a tongue and cheek "anime" moment but I didn't think so at all. I immediately thought Shenhua used her powers on the thug when he was tied up. She went from lovely innocent Shenhua to somewhat menacing. Watch the scene again and notice the sound effects, tone and shading take a very brief dark turn. From then on, the thug is pretty much paralyzed with fear when he see's Shenhua. Some people may view this as comic relief, so let's look at a few more examples of where the same pattern repeats itself.
I didn't see it as tongue in cheek either considering the fact that the series has had a mystical undertone from Shenmue 1. It was also apparent in the second game that Shenhua was different. A few subtle (and less subtle) things hinted at that and continued to do so in Shenmue 3. That scene seemed to be a more obvious manifestation.

This person found a way to clip into Shenhua's room, and there's a bunch of things that can be examined in there. Ryo remarks at her bookshelf possibly containing the books she used to study on her own, and how nicely folded and pleasantly scented some of her things are. (I can kind of see why it was blocked off.)
When I noticed that we couldn't go inside, I initially thought that we might be able to do so later on. Maybe a cutscene depending on how close you got to Shenhua which then unlocked the room so to speak. I wondered if they maybe added a few interesting items there. Just like when you're exploring the house and basement in Shenmue 1.
 
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While I don’t think we’ll agree on this topic, I do appreciate your civility in this discussion. While its true that we don’t know Shenhua’s mental state, up to that point she has come across to me as a gentle person. Also for someone who is concerned about the well-being of her father, she only takes on an active role in the more important parts of the story. The rest of the time she seems rather relaxed having casual conversations with you, running errands, or playing face-off. One could interpret this as her coping, though I would counter this with us never being shown that she is just putting on a brave face. I will concede that this might just be a separation of gameplay and story though.
I've enjoyed the discussion, anyway, so I appreciate you taking the time to talk it over with me. Even if we don't agree on everything, I can't simply dismiss all of your points.

My interpretation of Shenhua's character, from the end of the second game, was that she was a very kind person, but with something very fiery deep inside of her; Like an extreme source of willpower. Even though I thought she seemed a little more passive in SIII, I still felt that she maintained that sense of self-assuredness and determination. Without necessarily just explaining away all the times in the game where Shenhua is simply going about her normal routine, and seemingly acting "normal" (mainly in Bailu, since in Niaowu, she goes out in search of clues every day) we only really see her in this game from Ryo's perspective. Doesn't she appear to act a little differently around Ryo, compared to when she's talking with people in Bailu, though? I think a lot of the villagers seem to notice this, too, based on how they treat Ryo. I feel that it's fairly clear, between the end of SII, and the majority of SIII, that Shenhua has had a profoundly calming/healing effect on Ryo, and I think that dynamic is potentially reciprocal. I think she largely places her faith in Ryo to find her father, and that it mostly gives her comfort in doing so. There is, perhaps, an indication that Shenhua is not always so put together, though: When Ryo starts to run into something of a roadblock in tracking down the thugs, she seems to give Ryo (and the player) a glimpse of her at her most vulnerable when she retreats to the tree in Saisui, and asks Ryo to meet her there. The only other time she seems to get that low is when it appears there's another roadblock being thrown up in the futility of the initial course of the interrogation.


If I may veer off course a little bit, the whole interrogation scene reminded me of a scene from the Justice League cartoon.

This whole scene was played for the sake of comedy. There’s also the fact that in one interview Suzuki has stated that he doesn’t like his stories to be too heavy. Therefore this might be an example of him adding levity while exploring the dynamic between men and women.
There is a striking similarity there, I have to admit. I can certainly see how someone would interpret Shenhua's actions in the interrogation scene as comedic, but I just don't see that as the intention, personally. It doesn't have to be one or the other, though, right? She could be relying on some aspect of her abilities to coerce him, while it also being presented in that way to subvert expectations, possibly for some comedic effect. I'm not saying that everything in SIII is played completely straight-up, either. Obviously the 'honey-pot' moment where Shenhua is luring Gan Rou out in the first Bokusen encounter is an example of some of that comedy you mention. There are also a bunch of QTE failure states that end up being pretty comical (e.g. girl falling off a ladder in Niaowu, Ryo hit in the face with a fire extinguisher, thug taking a leak in the Bokusen area of Bailu, etc). I just don't feel that the primary intention of the interrogation is to be written off as comedy.


And finally, while I agree that the ambiguity of Shenmue’s themes is what makes it a fascinating story, in speculation threads like these, people are bound to make their theories based on the facts presented to them. So the more accurate the facts, the stronger the theories.
That's sort of an example of what I mean, though. There may be new revelations in later games that codify a particle theory, but in general, there can be more than one interpretation, and none of them have to be right or wrong. Some could have more evidence to support them than others, and we can weigh/measure those together to see what seems most plausible. I see that a lot that fans think Shenmue III is poorly written, and I emphatically disagree with that. It's certainly not explicit, and perhaps it could be better, but it feels to me like the main criticism is that it doesn't present concrete and indisputable resolutions for everything. I feel like that's a bit misguided. Historically, intentionally leaving things to interpretation can be an example of something that's well written, like how none of the main character's issues find a clean resolution at the end of Hud, or how the mental faculties of one of the protagonists at the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest can be a matter of interpretation. To an extent, it's down to taste, anyway; I get that uncertainty can give people the willies, but I personally like being able to analyze a story, and not necessarily come up with the one true answer.


When I noticed that we couldn't go inside, I initially thought that we might be able to do so later on. Maybe a cutscene depending on how close you got to Shenhua which then unlocked the room so to speak. I wondered if they maybe added a few interesting items there. Just like when you're exploring the house and basement in Shenmue 1.
I thought the same thing, at first. Who knows, though. Maybe there is a certain level of affinity where Shenhua sort of gives you access to her room. I don't know. It's not as expansive as what YS had mentioned in the past, but Shenhua's mannerisms do change a bit as her affinity to Ryo grows. I believe it might affect certain story cutscenes, even. At least, I was watching a playthrough where the person playing didn't talk to Shenhua even once at night, and during the cutscene with Hou roushi (is 'Feng' the Chinese pronunciation?) where Ryo talks about Iwao, she had a very subdued expression. Maybe it's just my memory, but I talked with Shenhua as much as I possibly could, every night, and I recall her expression in that moment being much more visibly distraught.
 
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