Sunday, December 29, 2019

You Know You're in Dobuita When... | Dobuita in Real Life

You know you're in Dobuita when you spot a sign like this:

If Ryo had found such helpful guidance in Shenmue, it might have saved him a lot time in his investigations!

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Shenmue 3 Guizhang Call Dubbed by Eric Kelso

If you enjoyed the recent revoicing of Ryo's telephone call with Fuku-san in Shenmue 3 by the original voice actor, Eric Kelso, then don't miss this second treat in the form of a telephone call with Guizhang that has also been revoiced by Eric.

The arrangement of the recording work by Eric and the redubbing of the video was carried out by James Reiner, who comments in the video description: "The BGM and subtitles are done in post edit. I also changed the script a little so it is not canon."

As James alludes to, he has made some changes to the wording compared to the Shenmue 3 lines: the phrasings of the spoken password sequence accurately reflect those from in Shenmue 1, and Guizhang has regained his usual gruff tone and attitude towards Ryo from the first game. Plus - he now makes mention of the accident that befell him at the end of the first game!

It has been amazing to see what has been achieved by fans together with Eric generously giving his time freely to carry out these recordings so we can hear these characters chatting with Ryo just as they sounded in the first game.

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Eric Kelso Voices Fuku-san! Shenmue 3 Telephone Conversations | Guest Post

We welcome guest contributor Patrick Fuller back to the blog with something special that's sure to bring a smile to the face of players of Shenmue III who have fond memories playing the English dub of the first game.

As a fan, one of my most anticipated features of Shenmue III in the build-up to release was the ability to contact characters from the previous two games with an international phonecard.

However, anyone who has reached the Hotel Niaowu will have noticed that the payphone in the lobby has some technical issues. Long distance calls are fine, but often the people on the other end of the line will sound slightly different than expected.

Rather than wait for Ma Jailing at the front desk to have this fixed, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

I met Eric Kelso earlier this year in Japan, and whilst I was too drunk to remember any of it, luckily, he remembers me and has been kind enough to record the script for Ryo’s phone calls with Fuku-san.

For anyone who wants to hear what Ryo’s conversations would sound like with the original voice actor, get ready to bathe in some nostalgia and enjoy the video.

About the author: Patrick (Paddy) Fuller
I’ve been a Shenmue fan since back in 2002 and have not been able to get this series out of my head since. The world has so much depth and presents something new with every playthrough.

I’m @patrickjfuller on Instagram and @paddyjfuller on Twitter if you want to follow me for pictures of Japan.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

[Part 3] Shenmue Discussion with Yu Suzuki & Developers | IGN Japan

This is the third and final part of our summary of a video interview with three key members of the development team for Shenmue III who were also core project members in the earlier titles: creator and game director Yu Suzuki, animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi and second director Keiji Okayasu. The interview was held by IGN Japan's Esra Krabbe.

If you haven't yet read the first two parts, you can find them here:

Shenmue I & II's Drink Machines

Okayasu recounts that the thing that surprised him the most when he was working on the first two Shenmue games was when Suzuki wanted to put in drink machines. "They didn't have any meaning with respect to the gameplay, you see. You put your money in, the can drops down, you drink it... and that's all."

However, he saw the sense in Suzuki's thinking that drink machines are a common sight for a town, and buying a drink from one is something you might do if you had some pocket change.

"There needs to be consumption in order to create a cycle," explains Suzuki, making a circular motion in the air. "My intention when I created them was to form a cycle by connecting several such small elements together, although in practice I wasn't quite able to reach that point".

Were the winning cans a part of this?

"To some extent, yes, as motivation for players to continue buying cans," Yu nods.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"Kiss Off Twit!"- Insults in Shenmue | Translation Analysis

This topic was selected by the Phantom River Stone blog patrons via our monthly poll on Patreon and was available for early access.

One of the things the Shenmue games are particularly known for is the believable world they portray, with no detail too small to escape attention. It is also a world populated by hardened gang members and even delinquent schoolgirls who waste no time in cutting Ryo down to size if he attempts to interact with them, with a number of offensive retorts to Ryo's polite queries.

A smile will have sprung to the lips of many a player after seeing a tattooed biker grimace menacingly at Ryo before snarling: "Kiss off twit!" There is at times an apparent disjoint between the character's appearance and their choice of language. Is this something that was present even in the Japanese version of the lines?

To answer this, we will compare a selection of lines and examine their original Japanese translation.

Insults & Tough Talk: Japanese vs English

It is interesting to note that the Japanese language has a somewhat different approach compared to English when looking to insult someone or talk tough.

While in English there are certain words and phrases that distinguish polite from causal speech, the Japanese language has a much more regimented system to define humble, polite and respectful speech. Hence, simply not using polite language to address a stranger can represent insulting behavior in itself. (In the examples below, the characters use a very rough and slang-filled form of speech when replying to Ryo's mild enquiries).

Another pattern in Japanese slangy spoken speech is that adjectives ending in an "ai" or "oi" sound often change to "ee" (also written "e~"). This is also something that can be seen in the examples. For example, in Example 1, the biker pronounces the word "shitsukoi" (meaning persistent) as "shitsukee", emphasizing his tough-guy image.

Dobuita Bikers (Koji Yabe and Shingo Mochizuki)

These two biker gang members don't have much time for Ryo's questioning, and are quick to cut him down and send him on his way with a selection of choice phrases.

Let's see how some of their English lines compare the Japanese, translating the Japanese fairly directly.

Example 1

English: Kiss off twit!
Japanese: Shitsuke~n da yo. = You're bugging me!

In Japanese, Koji speaks in a rough / masculine manner, telling Ryo that he's being annoying with all his questioning. The English doesn't translate this directly, but instead tries to capture the intent. However, the family-friendly phrasing does somewhat take the edge off his words.
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Sunday, December 8, 2019

[Part 2] Shenmue Discussion with Yu Suzuki & Developers | IGN Japan

This is the second part of a 3-part summary of a video interview with three key members of the development team for Shenmue 3 who were also core project members in the earlier titles: creator and game director Yu Suzuki, animation producer Hiroaki Takeuchi and second director Keiji Okayasu. The interview was held by IGN Japan's Esra Krabbe.

The Boat Chapter

When asked about the legendary chapter that takes place on the boat from Yokosuka to Hong Kong, Yu Suzuki is slightly wary. "I don't want to say too much, since I may make some use of it later," he says with a smile. "During the journey various incidents and encounters take place on board.".
Official Shenmue Side Story "Chai & Ryo"
Takeuchi adds: "The scenario has been written as a base, but that won't simply be used as it is. We would then add things to it like fun gameplay elements and so on, while thinking of the overall balance".

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Friday, December 6, 2019

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for December 2019

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), there was a draw between two topics. Switch stepped in with a deciding vote, making the winning topic for December...

"Shenmue Passport Online Features (Dreamcast Magazine 2000)"

Soon after Shenmue's original release at the end of 1999, Japan's Dreamcast Magazine published a section to introduce the Shenmue Passport, a little-known but impressive feature of Shenmue that was completely contained on the 4th disc and even made use of an online connection to Sega's servers if your Dreamcast had network capability.

Shenmue Passport Feature from Dreamcast Magazine
Topics in the section include:

  • Enjoy Shenmue more online!
  • Are you set up for online connection?
  • Nozomi's Messages, Troubleshooting, Character Profiles
  • Shenmue Triathalon

We will be translating this article on the blog in the near future.

(Also don't forget you can download a modern fan remake of the Shenmue Passport for mobile devices at the Suka Pass project site. It is updated regularly with new features.)

Get early access to this and other articles by becoming a Patreon supporter!

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Shenmue III Review by Daniel Mann

Guest contributor Daniel Mann gives his thoughts and verdict on Shenmue III.

⚠Potential Spoilers!⚠

This review has been carefully written to avoid any major story spoilers, but be aware that there are brief references to some of the characters, locations and activities in the game.

If you had told me twelve years ago that I would finally be playing Shenmue III in 2019, I would have looked at you sadly and said “stop yanking my chain already.” But incredibly, here we are in 2019 and not only have I played it, but I have also completed it. Days removed from witnessing the final cut scene of Shenmue III and here I sit processing the journey I’ve just taken. After 45 hours with the game, I confess that I’m left with far more questions than answers but the one thing that holds true in my heart is this: even after 18 years of waiting, Shenmue III still retains the same charm and ambition that made me fall in love with the first two games way back when.

After 18 years dormant, Shenmue returns to prominence thanks to the help of Kickstarter and over $6 million dollars raised by an eager fanbase who wouldn’t let it die. Despite the long 18 years of waiting, the story literally picks up mere moments after the end of Shenmue II.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Announcement: Shenmue Guide Map Give-away Result

It's the 3rd of the month - Happy Shenmue Day!

It's time to announce the winner of our give-away for two Shenmue Sacred Spot Guide Maps that were picked up from Yokosuka on Shenmue 3 release day month.

A lucky winner has been chosen, and congratulations go to... Alvin T. Chan. We will be in touch with you by DM to get some details so we can get the maps sent off to you.

Thank you for all your entries. For those who missed out this time, a digital version of the map is available for download here.

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