Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Unused Assets: Mr. Yukawa Business Card Variants | What's Shenmue

What's Shenmue is the name of a playable demo that was released in Japan in August 1999, shortly before the full release of Shenmue. It took place in Dobuita Street and involved a short quest in which Ryo has to to locate Mr. Yukawa (a real-life former senior executive at Sega) before a deadline at the end of the day.

During the quest, Ryo visits the You Arcade where he obtains Mr. Yukawa's business card...


The business card Ryo receives of Hidekazu Yukawa

Details on the front of the card include the SEGA logo, Mr. Yukawa's full name and title (Hidekazu Yukawa, Former Senior Managing Director), his company (Sega Enterprises) and a link to the Shenmue.com website.
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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Photo Report: Shenmue The Animation Promotion in Yokosuka

For the last two months, a promotion to celebrate the release of Shenmue The Animation has been running in Yokosuka. I went down to check out each of the eight stores participating in the promotion. This post has a selection of photos from the visit.

Four of the participating stores were on Dobuita Street itself:

  • Dobuita Station (tourist center)
  • MIKASA Vol.2 (Sukajan jacket store)
  • Taisho (embroidery & patches)
  • KANMANIA Yokosuka (souvenirs & cafe)
  • Kakita (military clothing)
While the others were located nearby:
  • HONEY BEE restaurant (on Route 16)
  • MIKASA Cafe
  • Hanamatsu flower shop

Inside each participating store, Shenmue-related artwork and sketches were on display, and they also had Shenmue anime postcards to give away with a purchase of 500 yen. The owners were all very friendly and welcoming to Shenmue fans, and I managed to persuade some of them to strike a pose for the blog photo!

Arrival in Yokosuka

I arrived at Yokosuka-chūo train station, on the Keikyu line, handily located about a 5-minute walk from the Dobuita Street area.

East Gate of Yokosuka-chūo station

The Yokosuka city tourist information center can be found immediately to the left as you exit the East Gate of the station (it has moved in recent times from "THE PRIME" shopping center building). With the newly-updated Shenmue The Animation themed version of the Sacred Spot map, and a leaflet detailing the current campaign, we head in the direction of Dobuita Street.

Left: the cover of the Shenmue Sacred Spot map. Right: a leaflet about the current promotion, known as the "Anime Celebration Project"

Main road near the station
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Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Famitsu Interview with Yu Suzuki, Masaya Matsukaze & Yu Kiyozono | Shenmue Anime Release Commemoration

Shenmue the Animation commenced online distribution in Japan in weekly episodes from April 2022, and on the TOKYO MX television channel in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area from the beginning of May.

To commemorate the anime's release, Famitsu.com conducted an interview with YS Net's Yu Suzuki, creator of the Shenmue series and supervising director of the anime; Yu Kiyozono, producer of the anime; and Masaya Matsukaze, the voice actor who plays the main character Ryo Hazuki in both the game and animation.

The interview was held on 29th April 2022, on the day of the livestream talk event that was held in Yokosuka. Our translation of the interview starts below.


Yu Suzuki's Supervision Started With the Roof...


This was the first time I had spoken with Suzuki and Kiyozono since our online interview about the announcement of the anime adaptation.

Kiyozono: So we meet at last in real life! [laughs]

Q: Matsukaze-san, how did you hear about the Shenmue animation adaption?

Matsukaze: If I calculate backwards, the anime project must have already been in the works since the production of Shenmue III, but I didn't know about it when I was working on the game.

Thanks to the fans, and the efforts of Yu-san, Shenmue III had been released at last. Just as I was reflecting how lucky I was to be alive, and that it was truly a miracle, I was approached about the anime adaptation. It was well after the project was underway.

Following on from the release of Shenmue III, I was thrilled that the miracle of Shenmue was not over yet! I was thrilled.
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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Photo Report: "Xuhe Hall" Restaurant Closes Its Doors

15th May 2022 sadly marked the closure of a restaurant that will have special meaning for fans of Shenmue as having been a potential stop on any "Shenmue the Animation pilgrimage" for a few short months.

The restaurant's exterior and interior served as models for the venue seen in Episode 3 of Shenmue the Animation called "Xuhe Hall", which is visited by Lan Di in order to extract information about the whereabouts of the mirrors from the owner.

Xuhe Hall exterior (Shenmue the Animation)

Xuhe Hall interior (Shenmue the Animation)

The real-life restaurant's name is Heichinrou and was the flagship store for the chain throughout Japan. It was the oldest existing restaurant in Yokohama Chinatown, and is closing after more than 130 years in business.

News outlets initially suggested that plans for a possible relocation were being considered, but a more recent news item has reported that this main branch of the restaurant has filed for bankruptcy after struggling through the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so reopening would appear unlikely.

However, to capture the last days of the restaurant while still in operation, I went along just before opening time on the last day to take some on-location pictures. The manager (I don't think he was the one in the anime!) kindly granted permission for me to also take some of the interior.

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Monday, June 6, 2022

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for June 2022

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 that has been voted this time is:

"The Secret of Miao Village: Shenmue II Game Jam prototype"

Recently, a previously-unseen Shenmue II prototype was successfully purchased at an online auction and, thanks to the generosity of the group behind the purchase, it was shortly afterwards released to the community. This discs were marked "Game Jam," which was the name of an event that occurred in April 2001.

Initial analysis showed that the prototype contained numerous interesting differences in textures, cut scenes and gameplay (including the hilarious discovery by LemonHaze of a character model for Yu Suzuki, leading to his release of a special version in which the player controls Yu Suzuki in the place of Ryo).


But perhaps one of the biggest questions at the forefront of the minds of many fans was whether the prototype would help reveal anything more on the topic of the legendary Miao Village that had been cut early in development - and this proved to be the case!

The discovery of a wealth of Miao Village related subtitle content was announced on the Shenmue Dojo forums only a few days after the prototype's release  to the community by veteran Shenmue hacker LanDC, who extracted and translated several key conversations and pieced together from the clues the likely sequence of events that were to have taken place.

This amazing finding has at last allowed confirmation of what had only been theories and suppositions until now on the topic of Miao Village, Miao Guang Temple and the bicycle quest with Xiaoqin. With contributions from others in the community, further relevant conversations were also found, building an even more comprehensive picture of the cut story content.


In this upcoming post, as an extension to our existing Secret of Miao Village series, we will walk through the many pieces of dialogue found to highlight the story progression that had once been planned for this part of the game.

Watch for it to come on the blog.



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Former Sega Executive Hidekawa Yukawa Has Passed Away

It has been reported that Hidekazu Yukawa, a senior Sega executive during the Dreamcast era, passed away last year from aspiration pneumonia. He was 78 years old.

An iconic figure to Shenmue fans for his promotion of the game, he starred in the What's Shenmue demo and had an easter egg cameo in the main game as well (see here for more details). Fans were even able to meet him in person at the Shenmue Premiere event that took place before the game's release.

News article (Japanese)



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Saturday, June 4, 2022

Air Twister: New Shooting Game from Yu Suzuki Releasing 24th June, 2022


Yu Suzuki and YS Net are back with the imminent release of a 3D shooting game called Air Twister, which is scheduled for release on 24th June for Apple Arcade.

A spiritual connection with Yu Suzuki's own 1980s arcade hit, Space Harrier, can be felt in the trailer and promotional screenshots, with the player flying through a fantastical world, shooting at swarms of attacking enemies.


At times, she rides on the back of a giant swam, evocative of gameplay from Sega's Panzer Dragoon franchise.

Alien enemies revealed in the trailer include those shaped as giant toadstools and the Moai statues of Easter island (both of which resemble objects that appeared in Space Harrier), flying dragon-like skeletons and spiky metallic orbs.

Giant toadstools also featured in Space Harrier
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Friday, May 20, 2022

[Part Six] The Secret of Miao Village: Original Plan for Miao Village in Shenmue II

Welcome to Part Six of our analysis of cut-content screenshots of the mysterious "Miao Village" and temple that were revealed in 2002 on the Shenmue.com website by AM2, Yu Suzuki's development team at Sega.

Parts in the series:

  1. Village Screenshots Analysis
  2. Village Content Left Behind
  3. The House in Xiuying and Ziming's Flashback
  4. Temple Screenshots Analysis
  5. Temple Content Left Behind 
  6. The Original Plan for Miao Village in Shenmue II [this post]
  7. New Findings
In this post, we'll investigate the original intention for the Miao Village shown in the cut-content screenshots.


Note: an early Shenmue II prototype that was created for the GameJam event in 2001 has just been released to the community, and this holds a lot of potential for new discoveries. This article was completed prior to the release of the prototype but, in anticipation, an eighth part has been added to the current series, for any new findings!

Theories Over the Years


For many years since the screenshots were first made public in 2002, there has been much speculation among players as to where in the story the village (and temple) was to have fit. Some ideas discussed among posters on the Shenmue Dojo forums included:
  • Based on the village's link with the Miao people, who mainly inhabit the mountains of southern China: located somewhere in Guilin, for example on the way to Bailu Village.
  • More specifically, one area that raised eyebrows as a possible location is the transition to the Green Field area just after Langhuishan, as there is a distinct disconnect in scenery (e.g. the path's appearance and mountain shapes):
  • Located near Luoyang.
  • It might have been intended to be Bailu Village itself.
  • One location that was not given a great deal of attention is Hong Kong itself, presumably due to the rural setting of the screenshots.
For many years, little concrete information was available to back up or disprove these theories. It was not until much later, with Shenmue III going into development, that direct references were made by some of the original developers that helped to shed some light on the topic.

The highest profile comment was from Shenmue's main character design artist, Kenji Miyawaki.
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Hidden Yu Suzuki Model Unearthed in Shenmue 2 | "Game Jam" Prototype Release!

 

A Yu Suzuki character model has been discovered among the files of a Shenmue II prototype that has been recently acquired by members of the Shenmue community. He is dressed in Ryo's classic clothing - leather jacket, white T-shirt, jeans and sneakers - but is otherwise the spitting image of Yu-san. The character even has a somewhat (ahem) "girthier" look compared to Ryo!

Although the character is not available by default, after some adjustments made to the game files, it is now possible to play the game proper entirely as this hybrid "Ryo Suzuki"! The effect is hilarious, as can be previewed in the trailer below.


The existence of a Yu Suzuki character was first mentioned in a tweet from a former Shenmue developer back in 2019. It was created by the developers as a fun easter egg, but unfortunately the idea was rejected by the senior manager and did not make it into the release!
"Shenmue often features developers as general NPCs, but Yu-san actually appeared in Shenmue II as a hidden character. I had a good laugh when I was shown it late at night, but the top development manager found it and put it on hold. If it had been released as it was, it would have caused a stir. By the way, he could be discovered if you searched a certain place [on the way to] Bailu Village"
(Note: the original tweet said "at Bailu Village" but the developer clarified this as meaning "somewhere on the way to Bailu Village", which would suggest during the walk with Shenhua.)

This is just one of the findings that has come out of analysis of an early prototype of Shenmue II that is now in the hands of the community thanks to the generosity and determination of a small group of Shenmue fans: the "Game Jam" prototype.

The "Game Jam" Prototype

This prototype was listed on a Japanese online auction site in March 2022 as a set of four Dreamcast discs, and quickly drew attention.

Photos in the listing showed hand-written labelling on the 4 discs making up the set with the words "Game Jam" and a date of "4/11", indicating that it was used for demonstration at Sega's Game Jam event.

Game Jam was an event was held in Tokyo on the 14th and 15th of April 2001, some months prior to the game's eventual release in Japan in September of that year. Yu Suzuki himself demonstrated the game on stage, and was joined by Masaya Matsukaze and Takumi Hagiwara (Ryo and Ren)

A small group of fans banded together to produce a winning bid on the listing, and in this way have saved it from disappearing once more into a private collection where it might never be seen again.

Not only that, but this group has worked together to analyze the contents in detail, carry out reverse engineering to add and unlock special features, and finally to share not only all their findings but to make available the game prototype itself for all of us to enjoy.

The prototype acquisition was brought about thanks to the following people. A huge shout-out on behalf of the whole Shenmue community for their generosity in procuring this valuable and historical item, as well as their hard work on in-depth analysis.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Unused Asset: A Second Letter From Iwao to Ryo | Shenmue


In the first Shenmue game, players discover a note addressed to Ryo from his father Iwao, who seemingly had some inkling that his life was in danger. Reading through this letter is a memorable moment for players of the game.

In fact, it turns out that this is not the only that letter Iwao wrote. There is a second, unused version of Iwao's letter to Ryo that can be found within the game files which we will examine in today's post, and see how it compares to the one used in the game.


Iwao's Letter #1 (Release Version)


In Iwao's letter that Ryo finds in the game, his father gives him advice on being true to one's convictions:
"Dear Ryo... those who follow the path of a warrior, must be prepared to die in order to stand by their convictions. Live for one's convictions, die for one convictions. That is how I lived my life. Ryo, it is up to you to discover your path and follow it through."
Letter from Iwao #1 (release version)


Ryo reading Iwao's letter (release version)


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Saturday, May 14, 2022

Poll Result: Patrons' Choice Topic for May 2022

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 that has been voted this time is:

"What's Shenmue Unused Assets: Mr. Yukawa business card variants"

What's Shenmue is the name of a playable demo that was released in Japan shortly before the full release of Shenmue. It took place in Dobuita Street and involved a short quest in which Ryo has to to locate Mr. Yukawa (a former senior executive at Sega) before a deadline.

During the quest, Ryo visits the You Arcade where he obtains Mr. Yukawa's business card.


Details on the front of the card include the SEGA logo, Mr. Yukawa's full name and title (Hidekazu Yukawa, Former Senior Managing Director), his company (Sega Enterprises) and a link to the Shenmue.com website.
 
The back contains a handwritten clue over the Dreamcast swirl that points him to the next location of interest ("After 4pm, Asia Travel Co.").


While this is the card that is used when playing the demo, in fact among the game files are a couple of other minor variations of the Mr. Yukawa business card that would have been produced during its development but not used, but were left behind. We'll be looking at these in an upcoming post.

Watch for it soon on the blog!

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Saturday, May 7, 2022

Ryo at Miao Guang Temple Entrance

Ryo approaches Miao Guang Temple.


This image is a composite of a screenshot showing content cut from Shenmue 2, and a model of a temple gate & wall present in the released version of the game.

The latest posts in the Miao Village analysis series have more details about the cut temple content:



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Friday, May 6, 2022

[Part Five] The Secret of Miao Village: Temple Content Left Behind

Welcome to Part Five of our analysis of cut-content screenshots of the mysterious "Miao Village" and temple that were revealed in 2002 on the Shenmue.com website by AM2, Yu Suzuki's development team at Sega.

Parts in the series:

  1. Village Screenshots Analysis
  2. Village Content Left Behind
  3. The House in Xiuying and Ziming's Flashback
  4. Temple Screenshots Analysis
  5. Temple Content Left Behind [this post]
  6. The Original Plan for Miao Village in Shenmue II
  7. Content Reborn
In this post, we will gather together any content to be found among the disc files that may have once been part of the temple location seen in the screenshots.

Name of the Temple


Just as an unused "Miao Village" loading screen was uncovered by fans (see Part Two), a second unused loading screen was also found that provides the name of this temple. If running a build of Shenmue II that has a debug menu, this can be viewed by setting the area code to SMMK:
Debug menu: settings for displaying the temple loading screen

Doing so will display the following loading screen, which has the name "Miao Guang Temple" (as with the Miao Village loading screen, it fails to continue past this point):

The Miao Guang Temple loading screen (the time and date are default values)

The area code for this loading screen, SMMK, matches the four-character prefix seen in the filename for the object model representing the red-cover version of the Wulinshu (seen in Ryo's hands in the temple screenshot), confirming that it is the same temple.

Next, we'll look for models of objects or buildings on the disc. You may recall that Part Two's earlier investigation into the village screenshots turned up fragments of village houses actually included in the released game in an unexpected area: the gloomy corridors of the first couple of floors of the Yellow Heads Building. It turns out there are further pieces of scenery to be found there that relate to the temple location.
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Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Shenmue Game Yu Suzuki Wants to Make Next | Excerpts from the Yokosuka Livestream

During the recent livestream talk event to celebrate the release of Shenmue the Animation that was held on location in Yokosuka, Yu Suzuki was asked about his plans or intention for his next Shenmue-related project.

The focus of the livestream was naturally on the anime, but in this post we have transcribed extracts from Yu Suzuki that are pertinent to the topic of the Shenmue video games and any plans for a next Shenmue entry (translations by Switch).


Reflections on Shenmue III


While the focus of the livestream was of course the anime, in the latter half the topic turned to Shenmue III. The MC, Esra Krabbe of IGN Japan, pointed out that, while he had held interviews with Yu Suzuki several times in the period leading up to the game's release, there had not been so much of an opportunity to talk with him about the game in the 3 years after its release.

Yu Suzuki: Through the support of long-time players, the game [Shenmue III] was able to be realized through Kickstarter, and they rated it really highly. That's largely because I put my heart and soul into it with fans in mind, and made it just for them. Their high ratings really gave me a feeling of achievement and I was very happy to see that.

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Friday, April 29, 2022

Shenmue Anime Merchandise: Stamp Sets (with Pins or Hand Cloth)

SEGA / Shenmue Project has released a set of stamps themed on Shenmue The Animation through Japan Post. They are named "Frame Stamps" which is the registered trademark for Japan Post's customizable stamp creation service.

Each set has 5 genuine large-size stamps of 84 yen value each which depict the following characters from the anime: Ryo, Lan Di, Shenhua, Nozomi and Ren.


(During the recent Shenmue The Animation livestream in Dobuita, Yu Suzuki commented that, although he had not been aware of this merchandise being planned, he has always wanted a set of Shenmue themed stamps).
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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Shenmue x Yokosuka: Livestream with Yu Suzuki, Yu Kiyozono, Masaya Matsukaze and Esra Krabbe

Tune in 29th April at 6pm JST for a special livestream in which Yu Suzuki and other special guests will be talking about Shenmue The Animation!

Featuring special guests:

  • Yu Suzuki (anime executive producer, YS Net)
  • Yu Kiyozono (anime producer, Telecom Animation Film)
  • Masaya Matsukaze (voice of Ryo Hazuki, Japanese voicing)
and with Esra Krabbe (MC, IGN Japan) as MC.

According to the stream description:
"We have invited some illustrious guests related to the anime series to talk about what makes Shenmue The Animation so appealing, as well as details of the Shenmue ✕ Yokosuka Anime Commemoration Project promotion".

Watch: 


Note: the livestream will be in Japanese, but we plan to provide English subtitles, or a summary, in the near future after the stream has ended.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

[Part Four] The Secret of Miao Village: Temple Screenshots Analysis

Welcome to Part Four of our analysis of cut-content screenshots of the mysterious "Miao Village" and temple that were revealed in 2002 on the Shenmue.com website by AM2, Yu Suzuki's development team at Sega.

Parts in the series:

  1. Village Screenshots Analysis
  2. Village Content Left Behind
  3. The House in Xiuying and Ziming's Flashback
  4. Temple Screenshots Analysis [this post]
  5. Temple Content Left Behind 
  6. The Original Plan for Miao Village in Shenmue II
  7. Content Reborn
In this part, we will now turn our attention to the remaining four screenshots of a temple location:

The four "cut content" screenshots of a temple

Order of the Screenshots


We saw previously with the village screenshots, that the images originally presented on the Muecas page are not necessarily in time sequence order; keeping this in mind, we will consider whether any change in order may be appropriate.

Temple Screenshot 1/4: Exterior


The image of Ryo outside is clearly the first in the sequence.

Screenshot 1: temple grounds


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Monday, April 25, 2022

Shenmue The Animation vs Real Life: Kowloon Walled City

"There's this guy I know of, Yang, who worked for Yuanda."

In Episode 10, Ren gives Ryo a possible lead in Kowloon - a location which is introduced with a panning shot of a crowded high-rise blocks of apartment buildings with a plane soaring overhead.

Although Kowloon Walled City was demolished in 1993, this scene is in fact directly modeled on a location which exists today. It is an apartment tower called Montane Manion, which is located on King's Road in Quarry Bay.


Thanks to George Kitchen for identifying this location and for sharing the photos below, which were taken by George on a visit to the same location.

Montane Mansion, Quarry Bay (photos by George Kitchen)

The crowded, run-down aesthetic is certainly strongly reminiscent of the Kowloon Walled City that once existed. 


Other Shenmue The Animation vs Real Life comparisons:

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Saturday, April 23, 2022

Online Gacha Gacha Commences | Shenmue x Yokosuka: Anime Celebration Project

Today marks the official start of the Shenmue x Yokosuka: Anime Celebration Project promotion, with real-life Yokosuka playing host to a number of special activities such as exhibition of anime and game materials at certain shops associated with Shenmue.

Fans around the world can also take part in a virtual capsule toy game, which is now available for play!

Four of the collectable digital scenes that can be obtained from the gacha gacha game

Rules

Players get 20 free turns per day, and the aim is to collect a full set of 20 15 digital stills of scenes from the anime and the game.

Once you have completed the full set, you qualify to enter into a draw to win a physical greeting card.

One entry per person.

Sample of one of the 15 scenes to collect (translations added)

I Should Try It


The gacha gacha game is live now! It can be played from this page.


(Personally, I still need four to complete my set: #8, #10, #11 and #14 but I've run out of turns for today...)


Related post: an overview of what is planned for the Shenmue x Yokosuka: Anime Celebration Project promotion:


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Friday, April 22, 2022

Mirror Pouches | Shenmue x Yokosuka: Anime Celebration Project

The Yokosuka City tourism office has announced some new Shenmue merchandise that has been created for the Shenmue x Yokosuka: Anime Celebration Project promotion which starts officially tomorrow (23 April, 2022).

The items are embroidered drawstring pouches, which come in both Phoenix Mirror and Dragon Mirror designs. The Shenmue logo appears underneath, and the fabric used is special to Yokosuka, being the same material as used for the "Sukajan" jackets.

Size: 250 x 180 x 20 mm

Price: 2,420 yen each (including tax)

Purchase limit: one of each design, per person


The pouches will be available at MIKASA Vol. 2, the Sukajan jacket shop on Dobuita Street. However unfortunately, there are no online sales. But if you have the chance to visit, you won't want to miss checking them out.

MIKASA Vol. 2 information:
  • Open daily from 11 am to 6 pm.
  • TEL:046-823-0312


Related post: an overview of what is planned for the Shenmue x Yokosuka: Anime Celebration Project promotion:



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Thursday, April 21, 2022

[Part Three] The Secret of Miao Village: the House in Xiuying and Ziming's Flashback

Welcome to Part Three of our analysis into screenshots of the mysterious Miao Village revealed in 2002 on the Shenmue.com website by AM2, Yu Suzuki's development team at Sega, showing content that had been cut from the game before release.

Parts in the series:

  1. Village Screenshots Analysis
  2. Village Content Left Behind
  3. The House in Xiuying and Ziming's Flashback [this post]
  4. Temple Screenshots Analysis
  5. Temple Content Left Behind 
  6. The Original Plan for Miao Village in Shenmue II
  7. Content Reborn
In the previous post, we identified several object models from the first few floors of the Yellow Head Building in Kowloon that are likely to have once been part of the Miao village seen in the screenshots.

In today's post, we will investigate another location in detail: the setting for the flashback showing Xiuying as a child with her brother Ziming inside a house that shares many similarities with the houses seen in Miao village.

The House in the Xiuying and Ziming Flashback 


The flashback occurs when Ryo goes to bid farewell to Xiuying at Man Mo Temple, informing her that he will be leaving to follow Lan Di's trail to Guilin.

The flashback plays just before Ryo travels on to Kowloon.

Xiuying gives him a stone that makes up half of a yin yang symbol, and after doing so, the flashback scene plays.

The flashback shows Xiuying and her older brother (Ziming) as children, sitting together on the floor of a dark interior that is illuminated by a fire that heats a pot over the hearth. Xiuying receives the stone from Ziming who tells her to keep it safe. 

Flashback scene with Ziming and Xiuying.

Due to the limited visibility during the flashback, it is hard to distinguish details of the environment. 
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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Shenmue Anime on Japanese TV from May 2022

The official Twitter account for Shenmue The Animation has announced that the anime is scheduled to be broadcast on Japanese TV!

Episodes will be broadcast on TOKYO MX, a free-to-air channel serving the Tokyo metropolitan area, from early May.

The TOKYO MX website provides the following coverage information:

Targets approximately 15 million households (as of August 2017) throughout Tokyo and part of Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Ibaraki prefectures. Parts of Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, and Shizuoka prefectures can also be viewed on cable TV.

Shenmue The Animation broadcast schedule on TOKYO MX:

  • Weekly on Tuesday evenings at 7 pm, starting 3rd May, 2022.


 

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Monday, April 18, 2022

Shenmue 2 Cut Bicycle Event Part Three: Grandfather Model Identified

Previous posts have covered a bicycle riding feature for Ryo that had been shown in promotional footage for Shenmue in the months leading up to the release, but was not kept in the final version.

As seen in the previous coverage, one of the cut content screenshots shows a little girl, Xiaoqin Liu on the back of a bicycle with Ryo, with her grandfather watching from his store, Sunny Capital Pharmacy.

While Xiaoquin and the store are included in the released game, the character model for her grandfather, Fushou Liu, differs from the one shown in the screenshot:

Top: cut content screenshot. Bottom: capture from the released game, showing a different character model for the shop's owner.

With only a single screenshot of her grandfather available, and furthermore being viewed from behind, it might be assumed that the character model may have been scrapped completely.

However, after some investigation of Shenmue II's character models, based on his features a close match can be made with a character model that exists elsewhere among the disc files:


The distinctive hairstyle and wrinkles match up exactly.

In fact, this character model is one that can be seen in the final game: it is Shi Yi Ming, the owner of Wise Men's Chemist. It would appear that the model selection for Xiaoqin's grandfather was adjusted during the development process.

In the released version Shi Yi Ming is of course is not involved with any bicycle-related event - but he is able to provide some information about Man Mo Antiques if Ryo needs it!


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Friday, April 15, 2022

[Part Two] The Secret of Miao Village: Content Left Behind

We will continue with Part Two of our analysis into screenshots of the mysterious village revealed in 2002 on the Shenmue.com website by AM2, Yu Suzuki's development team at Sega, showing content that had been cut from the game before release.

Parts in the series:

  1. Village Screenshots Analysis
  2. Village Content Left Behind [today's post]
  3. The House in Xiuying and Ziming's Flashback
  4. Temple Screenshots Analysis
  5. Temple Content Left Behind 
  6. The Original Plan for Miao Village in Shenmue II
  7. Content Reborn
In this post, we will gather together models of various objects that may have once been part of the Miao village seen in the screenshots.

Models and other data were extracted from the game discs with the excellent Wudecon converter tool created by LemonHaze. 

Content Left Behind: Miao Village


Over the years, fans have wondered if there are any traces of the village left behind in the game files, and in fact there are several pieces of content left on the disc that appear to once have been intended to be part of the original village content.

Loading Screen


The existence of an unused loading screen for "Miao Village" was first mentioned as a discovery on the Shenmue Dojo forums by LanDC way back in 2003. This loading screen was left in the game files, but is not displayed during normal play.

A simple way to trigger this to display is to run the Shenmue II US prototype that was recently released on the Sega Dreamcast Info site, through the use of its debug menu (Scene=02, Area=SM00, Entry=01):
Debug menu: settings for displaying the Miao Village loading screen

This results in the loading screen being displayed:

The Miao Village loading screen (the time and date are default values)

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