Saturday, September 5, 2020

Official Shenmue Anime Announced | News

An anime adaptation of the Shenmue game series, called Shenmue -the Animation-, was announced on the Crunchyroll website during the Virtual Crunchyroll Expo. A single preview image below was released:

While various rumors are swirling around the net, this is what has been officially revealed so far:

  • The series will consist of 13 episodes, with a plot that is based on the existing game trilogy (more specifically: "the story of the first game and most of the second").
  • Animation production is by Telecom Animation Film (a subsidiary of TMS Entertainment which is owned be Sega Sammy Holdings), and directed by Chikara Sakurai (animation director on Naruto the Movie and director of season 2 of the animation TV series One Punch Man).
  • The game's creator, Yu Suzuki, is named as Executive Producer for the project.
  • In the US, the series will be shown on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Saturday nights in the Toonami block. It will be available elsewhere (excluding Japan & China) on video streaming service Crunchyroll. 
  • Work on it has been going on for a while as the project was greenlit "right after the release of Shenmue 3".
  • Jason DeMarco, senior vice president and creative director on-air for Adult Swim, was the one who brought the anime project about, acknowledging in a tweet that "It was me that decided to make the show and took it to our partners."
DeMarco in a statement also said, "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 art epic!"

Further details are expected to be announced during the Expo's stage presentation (Sat, Sep 5, 2020 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM PT) .

The Toonami Facebook page has also announced an upcoming interview with Yu Suzuki:
"Check out an interview with Suzuki on tomorrow, and get ready for the series coming to Toonami and Crunchyroll!"

Update: the interview is now available: 

Other Information

There has also been an interesting tweet from AestheticGamer, who teased the anime announcement in the days before the event. He shared the following information (note that this is not part of an official announcement, but included here for reference):
"The Animation will air on Adult Swim (as they're backing it) & Crunchyroll, the 13-episode season tackles the first game and part of the second game. Includes a lot of story ideas they never got to put into the game either due to budget, time, or mature rating reasons. It'll be an adult animated retelling of Shenmue 1 & 2 with lost story beats, series creator Yu Suzuki has been involved to help the adaption & to realize the previously scrapped story elements to realization."
Cedric Biscay, the CEO of Shibuya Productions and co-producer of Shenmue III, also revealed that his company has no direct involvement in the project. He also gave an assurance that the anime series will have "no impact" on a potential Shenmue IV:
"1) My company and myself are not involved , it can be considered as a « derivated product » like anime usually does with manga. 
2) There is no impact on a potential Shenmue IV game."


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  1. my biggest fear when i heard this, was that this was yu suzuki throwing in the towel on future shenmue chapters. SO GLAD YOU LEFT THE COMMENT BY CEDRIC BISCAY!!!

    i'm curious, is james demarco a long-time fan do you know?

    1. It's the ideal situation really, helping to fuel interest and awareness in the series, and being additional to, not replacing, potential games in the series.

      Yes, when James DeMarco was asked about the games: "Played all three. Equal parts fun, hilarious, maddening and sublime. My fav is Shenmue 2. I’m hoping we get a Shenmue 4!"

  2. I wonder if they will have Corey Marshall return to voice Ryo?

    1. No word yet on the voicing, but we're watching with interest!