Saturday, November 21, 2020

Niaowu Confidential Part 2 - Wu Shen Hall | Guest Post by Dave Matthews (SalsaShark)

Niaowu Confidential Part 2 - Wu Shen Hall

Hi everyone!  It's been a little while (again...sorry about that), but I'm back with another Shenmue 3 post.  Thanks, once again, to Switch for graciously providing the opportunity to share with you!  As I did previously for Martial Hall in Bailu Village, today I'm going to take a deep dive into who the name plaques posted on the ranking boards at Wu Shen Hall represent.

If you missed my previous Niaowu Confidential post highlighting Ma Jialing, you can find it here:

Also if you are interested in checking out who's who at Martial Hall, go here:

The Wu Shen rankings initially present a somewhat more daunting task than did those at Martial Hall due mainly to the addition of 5 extra Duan rankings, and a higher number of name plaques per rank.  Also to be contended with are the greater size of Niaowu in general over Bailu and the lack of a convenient in-game way to translate those name plaques (à la Man Yuan Temple).  

Nevertheless there is a logic to who is included here that makes it much easier to handle than you might think.  First, we do still have all of the trainee monks occupying the left-most positions at each rank. Second, it turns out that the Rose Garden fighters are also all ranked members of Wu Shen Hall!  This effectively cuts the number of not easily translatable names in half.  

The first curious thing to mention is that Wu Shen instructor, Hu Guitong, is not actually listed on the boards at all!  Very strange....

Hu Guitong is not listed... what's the deal with that?

Without further ado, let's start with the board on the left wall (the master and novice board):


Surprising probably no one, Grandmaster Bei tops the lot. A suitably stoic and cryptic individual, his family name is all you really need as evidently his reputation precedes him.  The scene in which he spars with Ryo while imparting some ancient history is one of the best scenes in the game in my opinion.  The choreography is fantastic, as is the camerawork!

Novice Rows:

The novice rows at Wu Shen Hall contain a varied mixture of younger and older initiates:
Top Row: Lang Baodong (Lion Smartball - QTE girl), Jiao Pingha (Niaowu Pharmacy), Wang Shangui (Funny Masks - mask kid).

Bottom Row: Shu Liu (Flower, Bird, Wind, and Moon next to Phantom's Mask), He Qingxin (Tortoise Shell), Fan Xiaoru (Nihao Flowers).

Speaking of Lang Baodong, we can actually get a little demonstration of her skills. Of course, this requires Ryo to be somewhat...less skilled:

And now to the main ranking boards:

1st Duan Row:

Next to Red Wolf (not Sekiro) at 1st Duan we have Xian Tingcheng of Shaolin Supply, and Zhang Jianchi (the uh...Big Bad Wolf) from the Rose Garden:

When Ryo is first introduced to Xian, the store proprietor mentions that he's rather new to martial arts, and his position at Wu Shen Hall confirms this.

I guess snappy dressing is about all Zhang Jianchi has going for him!  This wolf is pathetically easy even on the hardest difficulty level.

2nd Duan Row:

Along with Black Wolf at 2nd Duan we have Xiang Bomo, proprietor of Kung Fu Tustle, and Li Soonduk at the Rose Garden.

Beyond a lovely enthusiasm for puns, Bomo is arguably the most welcoming of the martial arts store owners in Niaowu, offering to be a resource for any martial arts related questions Ryo might have.

As for Soonduk, he's also a very easy fight.  His kicks are flashy, but not terribly effective.

3rd Duan Row:

Next to Blue Wolf at 3rd Duan is Wei Tianxing, the uh...mastermind(?) behind the Muren Café, and the Rose Garden fighter is Antony Perez!

I get the sense that martial arts itself might not Tianxing's primary motivation...

Doing a brisk business I see

...neither is running a successful business apparently.

Perez is a pretty slick character, but not the toughest opponent. That said, some of his power punches can do more damage than you might expect if they catch you.  A possible (if much nicer) call back to Smith from Shenmue I, Perez can be found in the warehouse at the harbor. If you talk to him when you first arrive in Niaowu with Shenhua in tow, then he will be more helpful than if you just talk to him on your own.  

Perez can be found in the warehouse at the harbor.

4th Duan Row:

With White Wolf (not Geralt) at 4th Duan are  Meng Longyun of Muren Yard, Fang Zhixue of the Promenade, and Ma Yueming of the Rose Garden and Muren Café! 

Longyun appears to have a more typical appreciation for wooden dummies than does Wei Tianxing.  Longyun is also one of the NPCs that can be seen leaving the ship with Ryo and Shenhua when they arrive in Niaowu.  I wonder where he was returning from?

Longyun can be seen leaving the ship with Ryo and Shenhua.

Zhixue can be found running the prize Lucky Hit stand next to the Smart Ball Center at the far end of the promenade. Careful he doesn't talk your ear off about the quality of his prizes!

Ma Yueming, the Azure Queen Bee, is the Rose Garden fighter at 4th Duan, and she can otherwise be found working at the Muren Café.  I wonder how she deals with her manager's eccentricities? She seems to handle it well enough by focusing on training only.

5th Duan Row:

At the top of the first board next to Gold Wolf are Shun Doujiao of Heaven's Fist, the shop where Ryo ultimately purchases the Reverse Body Check skill book (I'll leave it to the reader to decide if Doujiao's prices are reasonable or not...) and Muay Thai expert Samart Somchai from the Rose Garden.

Somchai is the first fighter in the tournament that really gave me trouble.  His extremely fast combos will annihilate your health bar if you aren't careful, and he always seems to have one more move in the combo than you expect.

6th Duan Row:

We're into the Dragons now.

Next to Red Dragon is Rose Garden fighter Chris Bellinger, the Mach Fist!

Interestingly, Bellinger is the only harbor worker that Ryo is unable to speak to.  I guess he's just too busy checking out his chiseled jawline to be bothered with idle chit chat!

Next to Bellinger is Lu Shicai.  

This is (most likely, as far as I can figure) the elder, and tougher, of the two Red Snakes that Ryo first deals with together at the Bustling Diner.  If Ryo visits Wu Shen Hall while searching for these two, he'll get a scene in which Wu Shen master Hu Guitong explains that Lu was formerly a student who abandoned the path.

7th Duan Row:

Next to Black Dragon on row eight is none other than Hong Dejing along with Long Liangren of Guan Yu Martial Arts in the Promenade and Tai Shilie (the Great Benevolent Bear?!) representing the Rose Garden fighters!

Yep! Dejing makes sense as a 7th Duan. Evidently on first name terms at Wu Shen Hall, Delin's big bro might just have something to back up that ludicrous Brawler's Uppercut 2 after all!

I always feel a little bad whenever I speak to Liangren (outside of the animal styles quest) because he's always so disappointed when Ryo doesn't want to talk about martial arts!

Tai Shilie is again someone that will destroy anyone who gets caught up in his combos. Thankfully he telegraphs them heavily, making it relatively easy to dodge out of the way and counter attack.

8th Duan Row:

The only name at 8th Duan next to Blue Dragon is Riff Tamblyn, the Mad Eagle!

Riff seems to be of the opinion that Ryo would be better served working as a dock hand, and he might actually be right! He's got quality taste in jackets I'll give him that!

Riff is also the fighter that Ryo will face in the main story if he asks at the Rose Garden about arcane move scrolls.  He's much easier in the main plot than he is as a normal part of the tournament.  Maybe he had a bad hangover?

9th Duan Row:

White Dragon kicks off 9th Duan followed by a familiar face:

It's Mr Hsu! I'm a little surprised he's not up at 10th Duan, but 9th is plenty respectable for someone who trained under Bei directly.  He sure is a master at throwing his weight around at least!

The Rose Garden fighter at 9th Duan is Masa Tsukamoto, another Japanese martial artist! Kicks are the thing to watch out for with this guy.  They're both fast and pack a hefty...punch? (heh)

10th Duan Row:

The top and final row on the board begins with Gold Dragon and then we have three Rose Garden fighters:

Bailu represent!  Wandering Warrior Chen Wuling's first in game appearance is actually in Bailu Village.  He's the martial artist practicing up on the posts in the village square.  Looking at his family name, is it possible that he traces his lineage to the Chen family that originated Chen Tai Chi?

Next is the Buffalo Baron of Jiangnan.  Now the game doesn't really get into the back story on this guy, but I imagine it's got to be pretty nuts with a name like that! 

Sun Yongchaun is the final single fighter at the rose garden, and he's really tough (on hard mode at least).  Pretty much anything he does can deplete a full health bar in a few hits without a snake tonic, so be careful!

And that's everyone!  In hindsight a lot of these names are probably easy to guess, but I do hope that there are enough surprises included to make this an interesting read.  Thanks again for reading and let me know if you spot any errors or have any burning questions about Niaowu that you would like investigated in the future! 

About the Author

Dave Matthews aka SalsaShark has been an avid Shenmue fan since he first bought the game on Dreamcast (incidentally the first console he ever bought with his own money) back in 2000. 

To this day he's still working out the right words to describe just how much the series has impacted his life and philosophy for the past two decades. A long time lurker on the Shenmue Dojo forums, he has recently started actually posting, so feel free drop in and say hi!  He currently lives in Chicago, IL USA with his girlfriend and two friendly cats.

A huge thank you to Dave as always for contributing another fun and in-depth look at the world of Shenmue III. A lot of this detail, and special cut scenes, would be easily missed on a casual play-through. Today's article again shows that taking the time to explore the world rewards with insight into the rich backdrop of characters that inhabit it.

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  1. glad you finally got this done! thanks for writing!

    1. You're welcome! Hope you like it!