Ryo Hazuki's quest for revenge will take on a new form in the newly revealed Shenmue the Animation, an anime adaptation of Sega's console-spanning cult-classic video game series.
The first trailer and art from the new series was revealed during a virtual panel at this year's New York Comic-Con. The new show will be directed by Chikara Sakurai, who previously worked on One-Punch Man, the Naruto Shippuden movies and Sailor Moon Super S The Movie. Like the recently released Fena: Pirate Princess and the upcoming Blade Runner: Black Lotus, the new series is being developed as collaboration between Adult Swim and anime streaming company Crunchyroll. Additional details about the show, including its voice cast and its release date, were not announced at the event, but the first image from the series was shown, which depicts Ryo Hazuki fighting the man who killed his father, Lan Di. The series was previously announced in 2020, but the panel featured the first look at the show, which will retell the events of the video games.
Shenmue was originally released for the Sega Dreamcast in Japan in 1999. The game was directed by Yu Suzuki, the creator of arcade hits such as Hang On, Outrun and Virtua Fighter, who was widely regarded as one of Sega's top game designers at the time. An action/adventure game with a at-the-time unprecedented level of detail and interactivity, Shenmue was reportedly the most expensive video game ever developed at the time of its release, with some sources claiming that the game cost Sega over $70 million USD to produce. While the game sold over a million copies, it wasn't enough to recoup its development costs, or save Sega's Dreamcast console, which was discontinued due to Sega's increasing debts and renewed competition from Sony, Nintendo and then-newcomer Microsoft. Despite that, the series did receive two sequels; Shenmue II was released in 2001 and was one of Sega's last Dreamcast games, and also one of the company's first Xbox games. The third chapter of the series arrived was announced in 2015, with its development being crowdfunded through Kickstarter. The game was finally released in 2019, and despite poor sales and a mixed reception, Yu Suzuki says he still has plans to produce a fourth entry in the series.
The trailer for the new anime suggests that the show will primarily adapt the events of the first game. A final release date for the series has not been announced, but it is expected to premiere sometime in 2022.