Friday, January 21, 2022

Dobuita St: Shenmue Anime vs Real Location

One of the pages on the official Japanese site for the Shenmue Anime contains a superb background of Dobuita St. These comparisons shows just how closely it portrays the real-life location by combining elements from both the present day and from the time in which Shenmue's story is set in 1986.

In our first comparison we can see an almost perfect match on the shape of shop fronts including and around the iconic military clothing store Kakita (on which the Kurita Military Surplus shop is based in the game) to shop light fixtures, the shape of the downpipe, position of the electric pole and even the wording of "HONCHO YOKOSUKA" on a shop awning.

Dobuita St: anime vs real life (2014 photo)

Next, let's see how the anime scene compares to the way Dobuita St looked when Lan Di turned up in Yokosuka in 1986. The photo below shows how the street looked in 1986. In particular, note the decorative internationally-themed flags strung between the buildings, and the prominent hobby shop at the front right.

Dobuita St in 1986 (photo: Koe Sato from an IGN Japan article on Yokosuka)

If we compare the two, we notice immediately that the colored flags strung overhead in the anime artwork recreate the country flags of the time.

There is also a nod to a well-established hobby shop that was a popular point of call for children (although it no longer remains today), with the shop awning matching the echoing the design of the original closely. The style of the red lettering and images of a model helicopter and airplane are easily recognizable, although amusingly the name has been changed from "Hobby Ace" to "Ace Hobby".

The similarities can be clearly seen in the comparison below:

Finally, here is a larger image of the anime background by itself (lighting and contrast have been adjusted from the darkened version on the official website to bring them to normal levels):

There are several other backgrounds used on the website, and we will be posting up further real-life location comparisons if more can be identified.

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