Friday, November 26, 2021

The Shenmue Prophecy: Comparison of All English Versions To Date

We have previously carried out an analysis of the Shenmue the Animation trailer that was launched recently at New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2021. 

This time, we will examine the prophecy wording that Shenhua recites as this trailer plays, and see how it stacks up against the various other English versions that have been published to date. 

Related links:

  • Shenmue the Animation Trailer Breakdown: Part One
  • Shenmue the Animation Trailer Breakdown: Part Two
  • Shenmue the Animation Trailer Breakdown: Part Three
  • Shenmue the Animation Trailer Breakdown: Part Four

  • Prophecy Versions to Date

    Update: the prophecy that is played again at Shenmue I's ending has differences in wording compared to the one in the prologue, so I have added this version.

    Versions of the Shenmue prophecy to date have been seen in:
    • Shenmue I (the prologue that plays before the title screen);
    • Shenmue I (at the end of the game);
    • Shenmue II (before the title screen & in the Stone Pit);
    • The Shenmue III "Prophecy" trailer; and
    • This Shenmue the Animation trailer.
    However when it comes to the English translation, while the meaning is retained, they are not identical to each other in wording.

    Below, I have separated the prophecy into 10 parts. As will be see, not all parts appear in every version;  a hyphen "-" mark is used to indicate if a part does not appear in a particular game or trailer.

    For example, the first game does not include the lines that describe the dragon and phoenix, which are introduced from Shenmue 2 onwards; on the other hand it contains the line "And thus the saga... begins" which is not uttered in the subsequent games.

    To help gauge how faithful the wording of each version is to the original Japanese meaning, I have given a fairly literal translation at the top of each.

    General note: the Japanese text is written in a poetic or literary style in its use of vocabulary and grammar, as if the words were written long ago.  Hence it is fitting that the English versions also assume a somewhat a poetic turn of phrase.

    ① その者、東の遠つ国より海を渡りて現れり。

    Sono mono, higashi no tōtsu kuni yori umi o watarite arawareri.
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    Saturday, November 20, 2021

    Black Rotary Phone & Other Miniatures | Merchandise

    In 2002, toy manufacturer Takara released a "Showa Memories" series of miniature sets that recreated nostalgic items from 1950's / 1960's Japan. The theme was a Japanese hot springs inn, and in fact each of the sets was sold with a packet of bath salts.

    For Shenmue fans, a number of items in these sets are just like those found around the Hazuki residence.

    The second set shown above, which features a telephone, has items that a guest might typically encounter in their room during a stay at the hot springs inn:

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    Saturday, November 13, 2021

    Weekly AM2 Vol. 5: Interview with Takenobu Mitsuyoshi & Shenmue Theme Ringtone | 11th Jan 2000

    In this series we translate Shenmue content from Weekly AM2, the official online magazine published by Sega's AM2 development team back in the day. News and information about the Shenmue series could be found regularly within these pages from the end of 1999 through to 2001 with the release of Shenmue II.

    Compared to the previous rather brief edition, Vol. 5 was packed with content, including an interview with the composer of the Shenmue Theme, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, and a report about the Shenmue launch event at stores in Akihabara on December 29th. This edition also contains a good sprinkling of nostalgic technology, including mention of Digital Audio Tape and MiniDisc devices - even a Shenmue ringtone for entering by hand for cell phones of the day.



    Vol.5: 2000.1.11

    Hello, this is Takuan.

    I hope you guys didn't experience any Year 2000 problems*. We've had a tough time here at AM2, with people who haven't once shown up late for work in the past 5 years turning up late, people's ears bleeding from excessive nose blowing, and weight gain from overeating during the New Year holidays (lol).
    *[Note from Switch] The Year 2000 ("Y2K") problem was the general name for flaws in certain computer software that may have caused problems when dealing with dates beyond December 31, 1999. 

    This week's contents:
    • Ringtone Service Commences!
    • Interview with Shenmue Sound Director, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi
    • Shenmue Report
    • Outtrigger Event Report [omitted from translation]

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    Monday, November 8, 2021

    Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for November 2021

    Every month Phantom River Stone holds a poll among our patrons to choose a topic for the blog in the coming month. After tallying the votes (including accumulated votes from previous months), the winning topic for November 2021 is...

    "4Gamer 2010 interview with Yu Suzuki about Shenmue Gai (translation)"

    Shenmue Gai (also known as Shenmue City or Shenmue Town) was a short-lived social-network based game that was released in Japan at the end of 2010 but was discontinued the following year. In the game, each player was a student of the Hazuki Dojo. The game was released for mobile phones and a PC version was under development but was never released.

    We will translate an interview held with Yu Suzuki just before the game's official release, in which he talks about his motivation for producing the game and some of its key features.

    Watch for it on the blog in the near future.

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    Wednesday, November 3, 2021

    [Part Four] Subtle Details from Shenmue the Animation Trailer: Recap & Analysis

    This is the fourth and final part of our in-depth breakdown of the Shenmue the Animation trailer, which was launched last week at New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2021 to a widely-positive reception. Read the previous parts here:

    The analysis continues below.

    Shenmue The Animation Title

    The next clip starts with an initially-blinding golden glow of sunlight in the sky over a cityscape of tall, densely-packed buildings. A low mountain range stretches in the background.

    The camera pans down and out to reveal two figures in the foreground, standing at the top of a building: one is Lan Di, and the other Ryo.

    This is not an action scene like the others, but it is almost like a snapshot of action, frozen in time: Ryo is shown lunging forward, elbow outstretched, a grimace of determination on his face; Lan Di has an arm raised to block the attack as he fixes Ryo with his glare, his pigtail sweeping out dramatically to one side. A narrow ray of sunlight can also be noticed beaming across the screen from left to right.

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    Saturday, October 23, 2021

    [Part Three] Subtle Details from Shenmue the Animation Trailer: Recap & Analysis

    This is the third part of our in-depth breakdown of the Shenmue the Animation trailer, which was launched recently at New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2021 to a positive reception from fans and the general public. Read the previous parts here:

    And now, let's continue with the trailer analysis. One comparison image in particular is sure to astound with the attention to detail and its faithfulness to a real-life location in Yokosuka. Read on to find out more!

    Battle with Chai in the Hazuki Dojo

    The next clip opens with a strong band of yellow-red light streaming across a polished wooden floor. Its sharply-defined edges suggest sunlight coming in through the narrow opening of half-open doors. A shadow is cast as a figure approaches from behind the camera, pausing briefly after reaching the opening. The figure's speed is steady, with arms held at the side and thus does not appear to be expecting trouble or in a state of high emotion at this point.

    The camera switches to a wide-angle shot, which reveals the location to be the Hazuki Dojo, with the light of the setting sun illuminating the interior through one of the open double-doors, and two characters present: Ryo (the presumed owner of the shadow above) and Chai.

    Ryo now stands at the far side of the room in a fighting stance as Chai rushes towards him. The rays of sunlight and lens flare add nicely to the visual effect, although a slight discrepancy in the direction of Chai's shadow compared to that cast by the doorway is apparent.

    This image is clearly not sequential to the previous image, so presumably a section was skipped for the trailer edit.
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    Tuesday, October 19, 2021

    [Part Two] Subtle Details from Shenmue the Animation Trailer: Recap & Analysis

    In this post we continue with Part Two of our in-depth breakdown of the Shenmue the Animation trailer, which was launched last week at New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2021 to a widely-positive reception.

    • In case you missed it, read Part One here.
    Our analysis continues below.


    A new scene shows the figure of Shenhua standing on a mountainside in a rural location at night, facing a full moon that bathes the landscape in its glow.

    Although the scene is dimly-lit, details such as the winding path, fence at the side, rock formations, houses and outline of distant mountains can be distinguished. The biggest clue to the location is the tall tower, matching the bell tower in Bailu village as depicted in Shenmue III. Interestingly, the anime has chosen a more natural-looking moon size compared to its oversized appearance in the game.

    Bailu village at night in Shenmue III

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    Monday, October 18, 2021

    Sega Created a Shenmue Synopsis Movie for Pioneer in 2000 | Home Theater DVD

    In the days of the Dreamcast, it was common for game demos or trailers to be found on magazine cover discs, and Shenmue occasionally featured on some of these. Today we will take a look at a DVD that contains a rather special Shenmue video - one that was produced by the Shenmue project team soon after the release of the first game in Japan, especially for Pioneer. I had no idea this existed until recently!

    About the Shenmue Video

    Booklet entry for the Shenmue video

    This is the description of the Shenmue video from the booklet accompanying the DVD, translated:
    "The CG parts of Shenmue, one of the most popular SEGA Dreamcast titles, have been re-edited by the creative staff in a special version that is only for this disc. Sound has been remastered with Surround EX*, from the voicing through to foley audio such as sound effects and footsteps. Check out the dialogue and kung fu action, as well as the detailed environmental sounds placed in the everyday settings."

    Note: "Surround EX" refers to Dolby Digital Surround EX, which provides an extra surround channel for home theater systems that have rear surround speakers. 

    The instruction booklet that accompanies the DVD

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