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SEGA's 'Shenmue' will have an anime adaptation

By Gia Catimbang Published Oct 01, 2020 7:32 am

Ryo Hazuki is back on his quest for revenge, as Crunchyroll announces that they are in the process of making an anime adaptation of SEGA’s beloved classic video game, Shenmue. Produced by Crunchyroll in collaboration with Adult Swim.

As revealed from the Virtual Crunchyroll Expo, the Shenmue anime series will have 13 episodes. Piloting the animation production is Telecom Animation Film, the studio behind Tower of God and Lupin The Third: Part 5. While in charge of production management is Sola Entertainment.

Chikara Sakurai, Naruto and One-Punch Man season 2’s director, will be leading the production alongside Shenmue creator and game designer Yu Suzuki,  who will act as the anime series’ Executive Producer.

Relive Ryo Hazuki's revenge martial arts saga in Shenmue: The Animation

The upcoming Shenmue anime series will be a retelling of the events of the first and second game where you play as Ryo Hazuki, a teenage martial artist who wanders from Japan to China in the 1980s to hunt down the enigmatic crime boss Lan Di, his father’s killer.

Here’s the official synopsis of the upcoming anime from the Expo:

After he witnesses his father’s murder at the family dojo, Ryo dedicates his life to finding the man responsible – a mission that takes him from the streets of Yokosuka, Japan to the sprawling metropolis of Hong Kong, and beyond. Soon he’ll learn that larger, mystical forces are at play as he trains to become the ultimate martial artist in his quest for revenge.

This upcoming anime series is the latest to come out of the Shenmue franchise since the launch of the Kickstarter-breaking Shenmue III in 2019. This also marks the third collaboration between Crunchyroll and Adult Swim, who are also doing a joint production for Fena: Pirate Princess and Blade Runner – Black Lotus.

“The world of Shenmue is fascinating and unique, and we are so excited to partner with Yu Suzuki to bring his epic creation to anime.” according to Jason DeMarco, Adult Swim’s svp/creative director on-air.

The action-adventure video game that redefined open-world gaming

The first Shenmue game was released for the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, followed by Shenmue II two years later. Both games were considered revolutionary and are praised for their development of large environments, wealth of options, and level of detail that inspired modern sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto, Yakuza, and Fallout.

Suzuki is also credited as the inventor of the "quick time event" or QTE, a game mechanic in which the player performs actions shortly after the appearance of an instruction or prompt during a cutscene.

Despite the massive influence brought upon by Shenmue I and II to the game industry, it took 18 years before the third installment arrived. With the help of 69,320 sponsors on, Shenmue III became the sixth-highest-funded campaign in Kickstarter history after raising over $6 million from its campaign launch back in 2015.

Now on its way as an anime series, the co-produced Shenmue: The Animation will be streamed worldwide via Crunchyroll and will be aired in the US on Toonami, Adult Swim’s programming block.

“The first Shenmue video game was released more than twenty years ago and we’re so excited to be working again with Adult Swim to bring this franchise to life through anime,” Sarah Victor, the series’ head of development at Crunchyroll, said in an interview. “We’re eager to show our fans more of this action-packed adventure series as we move through production."

(Images from Sega, Crunchyroll/AdultSwim)