Shenmue, a game that first appeared on Sega’s Dreamcast, is coming to Adult Swim thanks to a collaboration between the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and anime-streaming service Crunchyroll.
A 13-episode run that will focus on the events of the game, Shenmue will follow Ryo Hazuki as he seeks to avenge his father’s murder at the hands of the mysterious and powerful Lan Di. Filled with mystery, intrigue, quirky characters, and enough martial arts action to fill several Hong Kong film sets, Shenmue should be a feast for the eyes.
Born from the creative mind of none other than gaming legend Yu Suzuki, Shenmue will feature his involvement as Executive Director of the series. He will be working with Sakurai Chikara from Telecom Animation Film studios coming on as director.
Crunchyroll’s head of development Sarah Victor said of the planned series, “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. We’re eager to show our fans more of this action-packed adventure series as we move through production.”
Riding on a wave of video-game multimedia series of late, the Shenmue production will join the likes of Castlevania, Dragon’s Dogma and possibly Nintendo’s rumored properties that are in development. Drawing inspiration from the games, these recent forays into streaming media for video games are markedly different from those in the past in that they do not shy away from the source material. Indeed, in many ways, modern video game adaptations are the video game in movie form, a long-held dream of gamers that always wanted more out of their favorite characters and games.
VP & Creative Director for On-Air at Adult Swim Jason DeMarco said of the series, “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- and make a kick-ass martial arts epic!”
Continuing from the somewhat mixed opinions of last year’s Shenmue III, the series of games continues to have a dedicated following decades in the making. But one thing that even critics of the series have always said is that Shenmue does have a solid core story, especially if you are into martial arts action and triad noir. Viewers can expect loads of martial arts action and we hope that the animation style is up to the task of conveying that in a compelling way onscreen.
Given the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog film and the Detective Pikachu movie before it, we will probably see a lot more video game adaptations coming our way in the future. That said, most of them will likely take the Shenmue route and go with a television series given that format’s much more expansive ability to tell a story.
What do you think of the planned series? Is it something you would watch? Did you pick up the latest installment in the Shenmue games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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