Thoughts On Shenmue 3 Antagonists?

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So if I claimed that Megumi would beat Lan Di in a fight... you would validate that statement as an opinion?
Yeah, that's pretty much the definition of an opinion right there. Another example that might help you see this: Butterbean would beat Muhammad Ali. The question is how well you could support that opinion. If you told me that Megumi is actually Pan from DBGT, then I think you might be right. If you told me that Megumi is just a normal little girl, I'd think you might be mistaken, but I couldn't say absolutely that you're wrong. That's where investigative methods of proving a hypothesis in math and science come in.


I should preface this by saying I generally enjoy reading your posts but your defence and comparison that Shiling and Nozomi are comparable in terms of pure characterization and impact on story is bizarre to say the least.

So let me be clear no matter how much time player attempts to invest by talking to a Shiling, outside a meagre sidequest, there is no meaningful interaction. Yet with Nozomi there’s hidden cutscenes, a fight sequence, a ton of hidden dialogue that provide little details on Ryo’s life prior to his fathers death. It’s not even a fair comparison!

Better yet there’s a clear story arc of her character and she’s used as a foil to express Ryo’s tunnel vision for revenge and how that has eroded his relationship with his family and friends. Tell me what was Shiling arc? From your initial meeting with her, what progress did her character go through before deciding to join Ryo and gang to go to the Old Castle? I’ll wait for an answer, because the truth is the characterization is paper thin for most characters in Shenmue 3.

Now I’m not saying you have to like Nozomi as a character. You think her as a love interest is melodramatic. The truth is it completely is (didn’t you get inference from sappy love song after Ryo rescues her from harbour?). I mean after all we are talking about romance between two high schoolers. Of course it’s going to be silly, full of missteps, infatuation and unrequited feelings. However her character served a purpose, drove the story and had a clear arc. The same can’t be said for Shiling.
By investment, I don't mean time invested, per se. I'm talking about emotional investment. It's the same sort of investment one might have in a character with minimal character development, such as a macot character of the 80s and 90s. I will say that, in terms of time investment, I feel that if one periodically checks in with Shilin throughout Niaowu, in the same way one might talk with Nozomi regularly, the conversations provide similar characterization, and lend to the characters in similar ways. Possibly even more than their respective story cutscenes.

Without more specifics, I don't really agree that Nozomi has a clear arc. Like I mentioned, she starts off worrying about Ryo, and she basically ends worrying about Ryo, the only difference is that she maybe (miraculously) comes to some form of resolution about it on her own. I don't find it very believable that she should just suddenly come to terms with her place in Ryo's life, considering the aforementioned trajectory in her story sequence. So if a character has an arc, but it's not really believable, what would it add to the character? How would it matter that a character has an arc, if said arc doesn't really do anything for her, or her place in the story? Along those lines, how important is having an arc to a character, really? At the current point in the story, Shenhua doesn't really have an arc to speak of, but certainly has much more development, meaningful interaction with Ryo, and even a better rapport, than Nozomi. If Nozomi has an arc, even if it's functionally unimportant, would that be something that makes her a better character than Shenhua, in your mind? I'm genuinely asking your thoughts.

For me, it's not about the romance being 'messy,' or characterized by their youth, it's about how truly superfluous it is. It's abundantly clear to me that Ryo is not romantically interested in Nozomi, potentially even under the best of circumstances. Aside from possibly filling her with false hope by asking her not to leave for Canada without saying something, and dashing out to the harbor after she was kidnapped, it's presented as completely one-sided. There's no indication that her feelings have any real meaning to Ryo, until retroactively with a phone call in Shenmue III that likely wouldn't have been there if the game hadn't been kickstarted by fans. So it has an appearance of an even more selfish and vapid story thread. Do you not see that as problematic for two people who have supposedly been somewhat close for approximately six years? Then there's the point where, considering who Ryo is, would it have been uncharacteristic for him to respond the same way if it had been almost any other character who was kidnapped? Mai? Hisaka-nee? Chen? Tom? Mayumi? Fukuhara? Ine? Miki? Hell, Bob? Sure, some of those would be more head-scratchers than others, but my point is that Nozomi isn't that significant to Ryo's response. The bike ride might not have the same level of romance associated with it, but that's another issue I have: That scene is incongruous with the general resolution of their relationship in just remaining friends. I'm not saying Nozomi doesn't get placed into the narrative at various points, I'm saying it's tacked on, and not meaningful to the narrative. At the very least, it doesn't add significantly to what is already established by other characters around him.

I hate to beat a dead horse about this, but again, what do you actually learn about Nozomi? What do you know about her character--particularly from a minimal interaction standpoint, where you just see her in the main story? I don't see how a character could be "fleshed out" if you really don't know anything about her outside of a couple vague details, and a clue or two about how she responds to romantic situations.

I did basically expect this kind of response, though. I think people are more likely to enjoy Nozomi, than be critical of her. The really subjective part is her importance, though, and I feel she's almost completely unimportant. You may say that her relationship with Ryo establishes a part of his character as it relates to female characters he encounters throughout the series, but either way Nozomi is ultimately a footnote. I feel this is relatively common for the characters in the first game. Collectively, they contribute to the narrative well, but individually, they don't establish a great deal of their personalities, other than superficially. I think it's similar in Shenmue 3 (potentially overall worse), but with fewer 'influential' characters (without considering Shenhua or Ren).

The thing is, 20 years is a lot of time to build up the importance of a character to one's self, even if not particularly warranted by the material. I'll leave it at that, but if you wanted to continue the discussion in private messages, I'd be happy to oblige.


Broom Girl is not even anywhere near as well-written a character as Nozomi. Every argument in favor of Broom Girl has been shot down. Why are we even having this discussion, derailing an entire thread like this? This is weird.
Yeah, it was not my intention to derail the thread. I feel I've acquitted myself fairly well at this point. Whether or not you want to hear any of it is another matter. I'm not sure where my arguments were "shot down" other than primarily with unconvincing platitudes of, 'Nozomi is clearly better written,' which does nothing to support the statement, no matter how commonly held a belief it is. I apologize if I've caused you some distress in being challenged on your beliefs about this.
 
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1- I feel I've acquitted myself fairly well at this point.

2- I'm not sure where my arguments were "shot down" other than primarily with unconvincing platitudes of, 'Nozomi is clearly better written,' which does nothing to support the statement, no matter how commonly held a belief it is.

1- I would say you absolutely have.

2- Hard to disagree with this too.

Personally I enjoyed reading your post as a very insightful way of looking at things. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if Yu would agree with the majority of your sentiments.
 
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It's as easy to shot down as saying that Nozomi fulfills a role in the narrative (well, 2 roles actually), while broom girl doesn't.
 
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ShenSun

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Im liking these two more and more as time goes on. Mainly yanglang, probably because we see more of him and he's in the dlc
 
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The two main antagonists in Shenmue 3 are

Blue Spider Boss

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Red Snakes Boss (Mr Muscles)

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What are your thoughts on these two after playing Shenmue 3?
Does anybody know the Red Snakes Boss' name? Lets just call him 5 Deadly Venoms. He uses five animals style.
 
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They have no real personality to speak of nor do they have any real impact on the story outside of carrying out the Chi You Men's dirty work. They're just a couple of hired thugs paid to do Niao Sun's muscle work (assuming Niao Sun was the one who hired them.)

I get why they have no real bearing on the story. They're ultimately clueless about the mirrors and are just in it to make a quick buck. Considering Yanglang's response regarding the What-cha-ma-call it stone. But still, compared to the Yellow Head and Dou Niu, they're pretty forgettable. I did like their designs though. They were the first two character designs that I couldn't really identify with Virtua Fighter and felt new and different. Every other major character in this game has at least one tie to Virtua Fighter. These guys felt a little new and fresh so I kind of appreciated that.

But yeah, just wish they had more to do character wise...but with that said, they really are meaningless to the story. They seem clueless about the value of the mirrors themselves and ultimately are just hired thugs paid to do the Chi You Men's dirty work.
 
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ShenSun

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I really liked yanglang as the antagonist for bailu. It fitted the small country area perfectly and reminded me of them old kung fu films.

Niaowu should have been chiyou men from the get go though, raise the stakes 10 fold, especially as its a busier area.
Niaosun should have been the main villian you fight and mr muscles should have had a minor role. Chi you black suits should have been in more battles aswell like in shenmue 2
 
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Regarding the muscle heads in Shenmue III, I had a similar feeling about the two black suit guys that appear with Lan Di at the beginning of the first game. While waiting for Shenmue II, I always thought these two guys would play a major role, like boss battles. Then Shenmue II comes along and suddenly everyone is wearing a black suit by the time you reach Kowloon. Not only that, but they were all easily beaten. Instead of feeling like some elite bodyguards or something, they all turn out to be just a bunch of goons who were no better than the street gangs in Hon Kong. Disappointing, but not a deal breaker.
The muscle guys in Shenmue III though, really should’ve posed a bigger threat, only because they were really the only actual bosses for a majority of the game. Given their character design, I would’ve rather both of them be minor bosses in Bailu (although pose nowhere near the kind of threat that Dou Niu was in Kowloon). Forcing Ryo to lose against them and learn new moves in order to beat them is great and a classic Kung Fu movie device, but as others mentioned previously, it doesn’t really make narrative sense only because of who Ryo has faced before. Hell, fighting Chai was barely a few QTE moments. I may be in the minority, but I would’ve rather Ryo face Chai again as a main bad guy instead of either one of the muscle guys. It would’ve been a nice full circle sort of thing with them.
 

Truck_1_0_1_

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I will say this though; Lan Di's guys are better-dressed, DON'T have fingerless gloves and aren't as unkempt.

To quote Vesper Lynd, "there are dinner jackets and there are dinner jackets. This one is the latter." A black suit is a black suit, but the CYM guys look like professional killers, while the YH guys look like professional gang members.
 
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Mr. Muscles were not threatening because he just lets you leave when you lose the first fight to him. He reminded me of the bosses from Diddy Kong Racing.... "Well done kid! If you can beat me I'll give you a special prize!"
 
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I actually liked Yanglang. I can't exactly pinpoint the reason(s) why but it's probably because: 1.he appeared in the GDC cards, so I know he was always meant to appear and that makes me happy to know that Yu was following (at least in part) his original vision of the story and wasn't just making up thug obstacles for Ryo on the fly. 2. His design was cool and 3. we actually learn something from him (his motives, who he was ordered by to raid the village, etc) during the interrogation scene. This sets him apart from Muscles, who we don't really learn anything about.

Niao Sun could have been an amazing antagonist if she was fleshed out a little bit more. A few more scenes with Ryo and Shenhua in her Li Feng disguise were needed to make her reveal have a real impact. This is just a hunch on my part but it was almost as if Yu sacrificed developing her as a character for the sake of having this huge twist that this seemingly innocent and unassuming NPC is actually the big bad of the game. This was a game for the fans, so we would have twigged that Li Feng was Niao pretty quickly if she had a more prominent role in the Choubu chapter. Maybe it's for that reason that he went with the approach of making her fade into the background for most of Choubu before appearing out of nowhere near the end.

One thing that I thought was weird was how the game went out of its way to point out how Bei and Li Feng were important characters, with Ryo eyeing them up as he got off the boat. I feel like in the old games, the importance of Li Feng would have been established by Ryo and Shenhua having a conversation with her as they were getting off the boat.
 
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Niao Sun could have been an amazing antagonist if she was fleshed out a little bit more. A few more scenes with Ryo and Shenhua in her Li Feng disguise were needed to make her reveal have a real impact. This is just a hunch on my part but it was almost as if Yu sacrificed developing her as a character for the sake of having this huge twist that this seemingly innocent and unassuming NPC is actually the big bad of the game. This was a game for the fans, so we would have twigged that Li Feng was Niao pretty quickly if she had a more prominent role in the Choubu chapter. Maybe it's for that reason that he went with the approach of making her fade into the background for most of Choubu before appearing out of nowhere near the end.

One thing that I thought was weird was how the game went out of its way to point out how Bei and Li Feng were important characters, with Ryo eyeing them up as he got off the boat. I feel like in the old games, the importance of Li Feng would have been established by Ryo and Shenhua having a conversation with her as they were getting off the boat.

I feel the same but I think it is a very fine balancing act. Have her appear enough to make the player question her importance, but not too much so that they put two and two together. I was expecting her to have some back story about why she was in Niaowu - maybe Ryo could have helped her with something?

I think more scenes with Shenhua and Li Feng socialising in Niaowu would've done wonders to explain why Shenhua was so trusting of her. "Look Ryo, I've made a new friend"

I know Shenhua mentions she saw her in town but I would've liked to see some interaction between the two of them to really show a betrayal of trust.
 
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Yeah I still like Niao Sun but they missed a good chance to make her the anti-Xiuying that has Ryo's ear. It would've been nice to see her play a central role in Niaowu and gain the trust and confidence of Ryo as Li Feng, by appearing to both Ryo and the player as a compassionate/empathetic person, but with a propensity of subtly enabling Ryo's thirst for revenge. I think we as the fans would sniff her out a Niao Sun but the twist would work for the casual fan and it would've developed her.

As for all the debate between Nozomi and Shiling lets just say it now. Nozomi is more important than Shiling, however they are both equally unimportant to the grand scheme of the saga thus far. And honestly its still not a great comparison. Nozomi is positioned as a principal character in Shenmue 1 and Shiling was not in 3. A better comparison is Tom vs Shiling. Then I'd argue that Shiling is more developed than Tom. The only thing Shiling has over Nozomi is that she's better rendered graphically and is a funnier person.
 
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Yeah I still like Niao Sun but they missed a good chance to make her the anti-Xiuying that has Ryo's ear. It would've been nice to see her play a central role in Niaowu and gain the trust and confidence of Ryo as Li Feng, by appearing to both Ryo and the player as a compassionate/empathetic person, but with a propensity of subtly enabling Ryo's thirst for revenge. I think we as the fans would sniff her out a Niao Sun but the twist would work for the casual fan and it would've developed her.

As for all the debate between Nozomi and Shiling lets just say it now. Nozomi is more important than Shiling, however they are both equally unimportant to the grand scheme of the saga thus far. And honestly its still not a great comparison. Nozomi is positioned as a principal character in Shenmue 1 and Shiling was not in 3. A better comparison is Tom vs Shiling. Then I'd argue that Shiling is more developed than Tom. The only thing Shiling has over Nozomi is that she's better rendered graphically and is a funnier person.
Maybe Yu didn’t have more scenes with Li Feng precisely BECAUSE he knew the fans would sniff her out as being Niao Sun? The game was made for the fans and not casuals so maybe this makes sense?
 
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