Yu Suzuki, the legendary online game developer and creator of Shenmue, shared his involvement within the recreation’s anime adaptation from Crunchyroll and Grownup Swim Thursday at New York Comedian Con. The panel mentioned how the pioneering open world recreation, recognized for its immersive slice of digital tourism in addition to its ponderous gameplay, was condensed right into a linear 13-episode story that might enchantment to new and youthful audiences.
Additionally on the panel was director Chikara Sakurai (One Punch Man), producer Yu Kiyozono (Lupin III), and Joseph Chou (Blade Runner: Black Lotus). The panel was moderated by author, actor and Shenmue megafan Ify Nwadiwe, who additionally had the possibility to observe the primary episode of the anime coming in 2022.
Shenmue was first launched in 1999 for the Sega Dreamcast, adopted by its 2001 sequel, though it solely got here to North America in 2002 through the unique Xbox. Each a martial arts interval drama set in Yokohama, Japan in 1986 and a slow-burning revenge story, it follows excessive schooler Ryo Hazuki on a journey to avenge his father’s dying, finally taking him to Hong Kong and mainland China.
Whereas it was thought-about a flop, the sequence nonetheless had a devoted cult following. Followers lastly bought their want with the long-overdue Shenmue III in 2019, made attainable by means of Kickstarter. However whereas that sequel was finally a creaky old-school expertise designed for old-school hardcore followers, Suzuki mentioned that the anime will likely be “extra accessible, and will be loved by young children.”
“The clumsiness is a part of the enjoyable when enjoying this recreation,” he mentioned, acknowledging that the unique recreation’s quirks that both charmed gamers or examined their persistence. “You might additionally say that the younger era now could discover it demanding. However video games must be stress-free, notably for brand spanking new gamers, in order that they’ll immerse themselves within the story to completely take pleasure in it. You do not want to function the anime such as you do the video games. You get the message right away.”
In a manner, Sakurai can be a newcomer, admitting he by no means performed the sport when it first got here out as a result of he couldn’t afford to purchase it. As an alternative, he absorbed its world by means of studying about it in magazines or enjoying briefly at a good friend’s home. He commented the way it was attention-grabbing being requested to direct an anime adaptation of a recreation he “longed to play … however by no means did.”
He additionally spoke concerning the challenges of constructing the world of the anime, particularly with portraying a setting from 30 years in the past. “If the depiction was too reasonable, younger individuals or individuals of a distinct tradition won’t perceive it,” he mentioned. “So we gave it plenty of thought. We needed to depict how the protagonist needed to battle by means of the arduous and inconvenient occasions.”
Does that imply we will count on to see scenes of Ryo utilizing a rotary phone, ready for the bus, or asking individuals about the place he can discover sailors? Concerning the latter, Sakurai talked about that they’ve integrated the spirit of the sport into a few of its scenes, saying, “We made the protagonist speak to individuals on the road … We needed to reconstruct a little bit of the environment of the sport.”
Chou touched upon how the anime will broaden on the sport whereas nonetheless remaining devoted to the supply materials and the way having Suzuki concerned on this course of was vital. “Even the tales that weren’t proven within the recreation earlier than, [Suzuki] truly had a whole lot of 1000’s of pages of backstories written so we had been in a position to reveal that within the anime itself,” he mentioned.
Kiyozono additionally mentioned that due to the “many extra enticing characters in Hong Kong,” the anime will draw on areas from the second Shenmue recreation, together with a CG recreation of Kowloon Walled Metropolis. With the season not ending like the primary recreation, as an alternative together with Ryo’s arrival in Hong Kong, we can also see the anime incorporate what occurs throughout Ryo’s voyage on board the ship, beforehand solely seen in a brief manga.
If the anime is successful, maybe we’ll see the remainder of the Shenmue saga advised by means of anime as an alternative of getting to attend for Shenmue 4. Both manner, Suzuki sounded excited concerning the potential for the anime to introduce new followers to his creation. “In case you merely wish to take pleasure in enjoying the sport, it may be a bit demanding, until you’re a actual fanatic,” he mentioned. “With Shenmue the Animation being launched quickly, those that have heard of Shenmue however by no means performed it earlier than will hopefully discover it extra approachable. The manufacturing high quality is excessive, and the characters are vigorous. So I ask everyone to please watch and benefit from the anime.”
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