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Shenmue Anime Adaption Announced For Toonami

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Good news for fans of Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue: there will be more of it, although not in the form anyone was expecting. A 13-episode anime series was just announced this evening, in advance of the Virtual Crunchyroll Expo scheduled for tomorrow.

The Shenmue anime will be directed by Chikara Sakurai (One Punch Man, Naruto) and Telecom Animation Film will handle the drawings. Sola Entertainment is producing and Suzuki will watch over in an executive producer role. Early details on the series are light, but suggest the anime will follow the story of the game series — though it’s impossible to say right now how close or loose the adaption will be.

The story of Shenmue revolves around Ryo Hazuki, a Japanese citizen living in the 1980s who witnesses his father’s murder and vows revenge. Catching his daddy’s killer, however, is far from simple…Ryo’s journey takes him across Japan, into Hong Kong and through parts of China, all the while honing his karate skills for the day he confronts his target.

Shenmue, the game version, is far from a straightforward action-packed revenge tale. Suzuki’s goal was to portray the world as realistically as early 2000s technology would allow, so a typical day for Ryo involves casually walking around and gathering information from random people. When he’s not doing that, Ryo is collecting gacha figures, playing Sega 80s arcade games like Hang-On, or driving a forklift around. We expect the anime to cut a lot of this stuff out.

Toonami head Jason DeMarco has stated that Adult Swim is co-financing several original anime productions to air on the block, but until very recently, no one knew what they were. In addition to Shenmue, faithful viewers can look forward to Blade Runner: Black Lotus, a prequel to the iconic pair of movies; Fena: Pirate Princess, directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, and Uzumaki, an adaption of the classic horror manga by Junji Ito. The former two are expected in 2021, but who the heck knows when we’re getting the long-delayed latter show — no updates have been released in over a year.

As for the Shenmue anime, a release date has yet to be announced.