Tuesday, January 7, 2020

2020 Season's Greetings Illustrations from Yu Suzuki & Team

Yu Suzuki and the Shenmue III team have sent out some whimsical Shenmue-themed seasonal greeting illustrations over the past few weeks, celebrating the end of a year in which the historic release of Shenmue III took place, and welcoming in the year ahead.

Season's Greetings Illustration

The first illustration shows Shenhua, Ryo and Ren playing in the snow. Shenhua holds a gift-wrapped box marked "Shenmue III", out of which pops a jack-in-the-box puppet of Yu Suzuki - a Yu-in-the box. Ryo, like Shenhua, is dressed in a red-and-white Santa suit, and in place of his backpack he carries a white sack over his shoulder and winces as a well-aimed snowball from Ren catches him on the head (as to be expected, Ren hasn't changed costume for the festive season). Completing the featured cast are Chai at the left, who is up to no good as he prepares a huge snowball - but he has made the effort to dress up in a Santa hat and coat!

Lastly, at the far right is Chobu-chan as a snowman. I wonder if that was Ren's handiwork...

Season's Greetings from the Shenmue III team! (source Tweet)
Illustration detail: Chai rolling a snowball, a strike on Ryo, "Yu-in-the-box", and a Chobu-chan snowman.

New Year's Greeting

The second illustration is a greeting for the New Year, and was sent out on Twitter with the following message:

Happy New Year!

Thanks to everyone again for making 2019 "The Year of the Shenmue"! 
New Year's Illustration (source Tweet)
This illustration is filled with symbols commonly associated with the New Year in Japan.

At the top of image, behind the Shenmue III logo, is part of a large orange circular shape representing the first sunrise of the New Year.

The large kanji at the bottom are 迎春 meaning "Arrival of Spring".

Shenhua stands at the front dressed in a kimono, which is often worn by women for their first visit to the temple or shrine in the New Year. She wears hair decorations, called kanzashi in Japanese, which often accompany the kimono for festivals or rites of passage and are often made of silk. In her hand is a wooden paddle for the traditional New Year's game of hanetsuki which uses a shuttle like in badminton but without a net. The paddle has 2020 written on it, along with"Shenmue 3" (using its kanji representation).

Illustration detail: hair decorations, plum blossoms, Chai holding a wooden paddle, and an unexpected visitor.
Behind Shenhua, Ryo and Ren are batting the colorful shuttle to and fro. Chai watches enviously from afar. Looking closely, we can see he has a paddle in the hand, waiting to be invited to join in! The pine tree in which he is balanced is a symbol of rebirth, renewal, and a bright future.

The plum blossoms that are are scattered around the image also signal the arrival of spring.

And "chibi" Yu Suzuki makes an appearance at the top right, carried in by not one but three Chobu-chans!

...and a Happy 2020 from Phantom River Stone

I would also like to wish a very Happy New Year to all Shenmue fans and readers of this blog. We hope to continue to bring you many more Shenmue articles and translations this year.

Hopefully the Shenmue III development team has been able to take a well-deserved break over the holiday period. May there be many exciting Shenmue surprises and updates in store for us this year!

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