What parts/beats need to stay in the Shenmue Animation?

Benwahwah

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So, now that the Shenmue anime has been announced, I thought it would be fun to try and plan what should be in the animation.

As we know it will be a 13 episode series and will cover content from Shenmue I and II at least.

In my opinion, it should start where the game started. If we are going to cover so much content in just 13 episodes then it doesn't seem sensible to start any earlier. I also think that ending somewhere in Hong Kong / Kowloon could be a good idea, maybe at one of the points where Ryo is captured to build tension for a second season.

Anyway, what do you all think needs to be included?
 
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Aug 9, 2018
Starting at the same place as the game seems a smart choice. That opening confrontation between Lan Di has always been very cinematic. Even a straight up beat for beat recreation of Shenmue 1's opening would still look great.

The ending though, that's a much trickier part. Personally, I feel that scene on the boat between Ryo and Wong, after Ryo gets beaten up by Ren would make a great way to end the season. There's something very poignant about Ryo getting back up again after getting injured, with those sweeping views of Hong Kong's bay as the music swells. I've always found that scene is the perfect example of Ryo's determination in the face of impossible odds. Now that's how you get the audience interested in a second season.
 
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I’m really glad they’re covering parts of S2 as I don’t think S1 has enough to stretch out over more than 6 episodes.

I can see them covering up to the point where Ryo leaves Kowloon in the first season (perhaps with the boat chapter between 1 and 2 included) and then a second season (if we get one) covering meeting Shenhua and the events of S3 and S4. Maybe they could wrap season 1 with Ryo heading to Kowloon instead

I suppose it’s possible there’s plenty that was cut from the first two games that they could add back in.

As for story beats, I’d probably rearrange or even drop some of them just to help the flow of the story a little.
 
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Agreed with starting where the first game starts, but maybe it would make sense to have about 5-10 minutes to establish a small slice of life bit in Dobuita before Ryo heads home to witness Iwao get killed. Or maybe it even starts at the Hazuki residence with Ryo speaking with Fuku-san, Ine-san, and Iwao before heading out for the day. It could be one of those situations that fits better in telling the story in a video format instead of a game. But regardless, the first episode is when Lan Di should kill Iwao, whether that's near the beginning or end.

To end the season, it seems the most logical points are the end of Hong Kong leading into Kowloon, or the end of Kowloon leading into Guilin. I think it would depend on what would be the better cliff hanger to lead into the 2nd season. I think ending after Hong Kong might make the most sense, because it might be hard to build momentum to a full season starting with Guilin and the "Shenmue 2" ending might not work well if it happened near the beginning or middle of a season 2. I also agree with @Kintor that the boat scene after getting beat up by the Heavens could be a good stopping point as any if we're talking about where to end the season while mid-location. I think a lot would depend on what they would want to fit into a prospective 2nd season.
 
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Agreed with starting where the first game starts, but maybe it would make sense to have about 5-10 minutes to establish a small slice of life bit in Dobuita before Ryo heads home to witness Iwao get killed. Or maybe it even starts at the Hazuki residence with Ryo speaking with Fuku-san, Ine-san, and Iwao before heading out for the day. It could be one of those situations that fits better in telling the story in a video format instead of a game. But regardless, the first episode is when Lan Di should kill Iwao, whether that's near the beginning or end.

To end the season, it seems the most logical points are the end of Hong Kong leading into Kowloon, or the end of Kowloon leading into Guilin. I think it would depend on what would be the better cliff hanger to lead into the 2nd season. I think ending after Hong Kong might make the most sense, because it might be hard to build momentum to a full season starting with Guilin and the "Shenmue 2" ending might not work well if it happened near the beginning or middle of a season 2. I also agree with @Kintor that the boat scene after getting beat up by the Heavens could be a good stopping point as any if we're talking about where to end the season while mid-location. I think a lot would depend on what they would want to fit into a prospective 2nd season.
I feel like each episode needs to start and end with a bang or a pivotal plot point being introduced and the season needs to end with a proper ending (of which I think there are only a handful in the first 2 games).

For me there are three points on which the season could be ended.

1. Ryo leaves Japan. Not enough happens in Japan for it to be stretched out over 13 episodes so I don’t think this would work.

2. Ryo beats Dou Niou and leaves for Guilin. I think this would make a fitting ending.

3. Ryo and Shenhua arrive in the cave. This could also work, but cramming all of this into 13 episodes might be difficult.

I think if they want to end it anywhere else they’d have to add new elements to the story to give viewers a feeling that something has been resolved. I wouldn’t mind the series covering up to the docks with Wong or Ryo leaving for Kowloon, but without a moment of triumph leading up to it I think it would feel a little disjointed / incomplete.
 
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I do kind of wonder whether the show will start off with Ryo walking up to the Dojo after Lan-Di's arrival, or if it potentially begins with little Ryo training with Iwao.


I was sort of thinking how the show might break down by episode:

ep. 1, 2, 3 - Shenmue disc 1, 2, 3 respectively.

ep. 4 - Boat chapter, perhaps.

ep 5 - Arrive in HK, and get swindled, etc.

ep 5 - Four Wude, and learn Xiuying's identity.

ep 6 - Training at Man Mo Temple.

ep 7 - Ren and the Heavens.

ep 8 - Move to Kowloon and work up the ranks in the arenas.

ep 9 - Dou Niu, Yellow Head Building, and Yuanda Zhu.

ep 10 - Train.

ep 11 - Suzhou?

ep 12 - Meet Shenhua in Guilin, and traverse the path to Bailu.

ep 13 - Bailu (maybe up to a point of finding out Yuan is kidnapped).


I think things will probably move pretty briskly through Yokosuka. It's not a particularly eventful part of the story. I doubt the plan is to go through a whole season without having Ryo come in contact with Shenhua, also. I guess the only thing I really wonder about is if something like Suzhou (moved somewhere else) makes it into the travel from HK to Guilin, which I feel like will at least have a train section to it.
 
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I feel like each episode needs to start and end with a bang or a pivotal plot point being introduced and the season needs to end with a proper ending (of which I think there are only a handful in the first 2 games).

For me there are three points on which the season could be ended.

1. Ryo leaves Japan. Not enough happens in Japan for it to be stretched out over 13 episodes so I don’t think this would work.

2. Ryo beats Dou Niou and leaves for Guilin. I think this would make a fitting ending.

3. Ryo and Shenhua arrive in the cave. This could also work, but cramming all of this into 13 episodes might be difficult.

I think if they want to end it anywhere else they’d have to add new elements to the story to give viewers a feeling that something has been resolved. I wouldn’t mind the series covering up to the docks with Wong or Ryo leaving for Kowloon, but without a moment of triumph leading up to it I think it would feel a little disjointed / incomplete.

Yeah good point. When considering this, I do think that ending at Hong Kong could work, because in Shenmue II that chapter ends with the chase sequence between Ryo and Ren and it could probably be embellished in the anime. The cliffhanger would be the anticipation to finally meet Yuanda Zhu to find out more about your fathers death, and your new shady partner, Ren, who you're not sure you can trust. I'm also just going by the fact that from what we understand, the anime would cover "part" of Shenmue II, so I would be very surprised if we see Guilin at all. And if the plan is to re-add cut story beats I imagine it would be stretched out a bit longer.

Maybe trying to map out the episodes to chapters in games might give us a pretty good outline? When I tried to break down S1->S2 Hong Kong -> S2 Kowloon it seemed like it would move really quick. Not just the story coverage, but consider how many characters would come and go throughout the season. Here's a quick example (this is mostly arbitrary and just for demonstration and you can give or take 1 episode per chapter)

If it ends after Hong Kong:

Episodes 1-6 covers Shenmue 1
Episodes 7-13 covers Hong Kong

If it ends after Kowloon:

Episodes 1-4 covers Shenmue 1
Episodes 5-9 covers Hong Kong
Episodes 10-13 covers Kowloon

Maybe it sounds much bigger since we're familiar with the games and how long it would take to get through these story beats, while they'll flow perfectly fine in an anime?
 
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Yeah good point. When considering this, I do think that ending at Hong Kong could work, because in Shenmue II that chapter ends with the chase sequence between Ryo and Ren and it could probably be embellished in the anime. The cliffhanger would be the anticipation to finally meet Yuanda Zhu to find out more about your fathers death, and your new shady partner, Ren, who you're not sure you can trust. I'm also just going by the fact that from what we understand, the anime would cover "part" of Shenmue II, so I would be very surprised if we see Guilin at all. And if the plan is to re-add cut story beats I imagine it would be stretched out a bit longer.

Maybe trying to map out the episodes to chapters in games might give us a pretty good outline? When I tried to break down S1->S2 Hong Kong -> S2 Kowloon it seemed like it would move really quick. Not just the story coverage, but consider how many characters would come and go throughout the season. Here's a quick example (this is mostly arbitrary and just for demonstration and you can give or take 1 episode per chapter)

If it ends after Hong Kong:

Episodes 1-6 covers Shenmue 1
Episodes 7-13 covers Hong Kong

If it ends after Kowloon:

Episodes 1-4 covers Shenmue 1
Episodes 5-9 covers Hong Kong
Episodes 10-13 covers Kowloon

Maybe it sounds much bigger since we're familiar with the games and how long it would take to get through these story beats, while they'll flow perfectly fine in an anime?
I think Shenmue 1 could be condensed down quite a lot with plot points like Charlie being scrapped, but Shenmue 2 has a lot of meat to the story and would require quite a lot of screentime.

1. Arrive in Hong Kong. Lose bag. Regain bag. Joy takes you to guest house.
2. Look for LT, arrive at man mo temple, told to learn about the Wude.
3. Learn 2 wude.
4. Learn 2 wude.
5. Temple service. Learn about Wulinshu. Obtain Wulinshu.
6. Learn about Chawan signs. Meet Zhang and get told about Ren.
7. Infiltrate heavens hideout. Get ass kicked.
8. Wake up on the boat with wang. Find / chase Ren. Leave for Kowloon.

9. Arrive in Kowloon. Look for Zhu. Get taken prisoner by DN.
10. Escape. Follow Yuan. Free Zhang.
11. Learn about Ghost Hall Bldg. Meet Zhu. Zhu gets taken.
12. Try to enter YHB. Learn about scout. Impress scout.
13. 2 fights.
14. 3rd fight and get told to meet scout the next day.
15. YH building upto Baihu.
16. YH building upto rooftop.
17. Defeat Dou Niou. Learn about mirrors from Zhu. Leave Kowloon.

18. Arrive in Guilin. Rescue Shenhua. Sleep in cave.
19. Continue on to cave.

Looking at all of that, I retract my earlier prediction that they will finish Kowloon in the first 13 episodes. I think the most likely point would be after the Ren chase scene.

Maybe season 2 will cover Kowloon and Bailu?
 
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Would episodes typically be 22-23 minutes (like a half hour tv show in the US with commercials) or closer to 45-46 minutes (like an hour TV show in the US)?
Most anime tends to run for 20-30 minutes each episode. So, I can only assume that same will apply with Shenmue. Particularly since Shenmue’s sticking to the 13 episode 'one cour' length of the typical seasonal anime.
 
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A filler episode with Ryo wasting a day playing Space Harrier, Hang On, Darts and so on, while waiting for his ticket to Hong Kong ;)

In all seriousness, I kind of hope they don't go heavy on fan service and keep the tone of this somewhat serious. I'm so tired of overly fan serviced anime and am yearning for something that isn't just fan service. I imagine there will be some fan service and I'd be fine with it if they don't go overboard. There will probably be some cute capsule toy reference or arcade reference for the fans (I could imagine).

I'm actually curious to see how they develop the story. Will it keep the odd slice of life tone? Or will it be moving forward at a more rapid pace?

I would at least want the training in Shenmue II to be done with justice. Meaning I want Xiuying to be done justice.

If developed well, that whole segment with Xiuying could be just as awesome as it was playing it for the first time.
 

Revan

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Wonder if we'll see the martial arts tournament where Ryo got his scar, or see what Ryo was doing moments before running home to the Dojo, I always wondered about that.
 
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Wonder if we'll see the martial arts tournament where Ryo got his scar, or see what Ryo was doing moments before running home to the Dojo, I always wondered about that.
Somebody suggested having a section tacked on at the beginning of the show for some world building.

I kind of like the idea as it might help provide a bit more emotional weight to Iwao’s death, but in terms of viewer retention I think having him die right at the beginning would work best. A lot of people are very quick to decide whether or not a series is worth their time, so opting to start with 15 minutes of nothing probably wouldn’t be the wisest move.

If they really want to cover the events leading up to the start of the series they can do it with flashbacks.
 

Rakim

なんまいだー
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Jul 27, 2018
I was thinking about them showing stuff that happens before the beginning of the game too.
I imagine it as coming in the form of a flashback, like tomboz suggested, maybe an episode or two in to illustrate what Ryo used to be like before Lan Di came and flip turned his life upside-down.
 

Sonoshee

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Shenmue
see what Ryo was doing moments before running home to the Dojo, I always wondered about that.



😅
 
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Spain
I do kind of wonder whether the show will start off with Ryo walking up to the Dojo after Lan-Di's arrival, or if it potentially begins with little Ryo training with Iwao.


I was sort of thinking how the show might break down by episode:

ep. 1, 2, 3 - Shenmue disc 1, 2, 3 respectively.

ep. 4 - Boat chapter, perhaps.

ep 5 - Arrive in HK, and get swindled, etc.

ep 5 - Four Wude, and learn Xiuying's identity.

ep 6 - Training at Man Mo Temple.

ep 7 - Ren and the Heavens.

ep 8 - Move to Kowloon and work up the ranks in the arenas.

ep 9 - Dou Niu, Yellow Head Building, and Yuanda Zhu.

ep 10 - Train.

ep 11 - Suzhou?

ep 12 - Meet Shenhua in Guilin, and traverse the path to Bailu.

ep 13 - Bailu (maybe up to a point of finding out Yuan is kidnapped).


I think things will probably move pretty briskly through Yokosuka. It's not a particularly eventful part of the story. I doubt the plan is to go through a whole season without having Ryo come in contact with Shenhua, also. I guess the only thing I really wonder about is if something like Suzhou (moved somewhere else) makes it into the travel from HK to Guilin, which I feel like will at least have a train section to it.

This is my favorite of the proposals that have been posted in this thread so far. I would find strange for Shenhua not to appear at all in the first season. It was a ballsy move for the first game, and paid off when we met her at the end of the second game with enormous buildup, but the anime should probably be more mainstream/conventional.

I would fuse your episodes 4 and 5, because I don't think the boat will be that meaty, and you can end the episode at you losing your bag in dangerous Hong Kong. I would give that screen time to an extra episode in Kowloon showcasing the Ryo/Ren handcuffed escape. Which could be an excellent episode with action, for building the relationship between Ryo and Ren, and to present Dou Niu and Yuan as a big menace.

The last Guilin section could probably reduced to one chapter too. As much as I loved int in videogame format, all the descriptions of Bailu and the shock between the urban and the rural can be reserved and fully developed for the full second season in Bailu. It would be enough to show the chemistry between Ryo and Shenhua, and end the season with them realizing the prophecy, maybe at the cave.

That extra chapter you win could be added to the Suzhou arc, which I suppose should meaty enough if it was a full chapter originally. And that it should now include the part of rescuing Yuanda Zhu that was moved to ahead to Kownloon in the games. It was also supposed to include a full on tournament if I remember well. Maybe the train section could give some of its time to Suzhou, too, since it probably isn't as meaty just like the boat chapter.

It's really fun speculating about all this!
 
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