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Shenmue The Animation Release Date, Characters And Plot - What We Know So Far

New York Comic Con brought some exciting news for video game and anime fans alike. In a panel on Thursday, fans caught a glimpse of the anticipated anime adaptation of the SEGA video game series "Shenmue." First announced last year by Crunchyroll, the new series — titled "Shenmue: the Animation" — will air on Adult Swim and stream on Crunchyroll. The series will have 13 episodes, with the games' creator, Yu Suzuki, serving as executive producer.

The original "Shenmue" game was first released on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, and a sequel arrived on the Xbox in 2002. The games were known for their open-world concept, which was a fairly new idea in video games at the time, according to Polygon. The games received mostly positive reviews, leaving hardcore fans wanting more of the action. They got their wish in 2019 with "Shenmue 3," which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $6 million.

If the sneak peek is any indication, the anime adaptation will have tons of fighting action, appealing to both long-time fans of the video games and new viewers. Read on to hear everything we know so far about "Shenmue: the Animation," including its release date, characters, and plot.

When will Shenmue the Animation premiere?

As of now, "Shenmue: the Animation" does not have a set release date. However, you can expect to see the anime hit screens everywhere sometime in 2022 (via Crunchyroll). The release window was announced along with the release of a new trailer, which you can watch above. And according to IGN, the anime has been in production since before the release of "Shenmue 3" in 2019. With over two years in production, hopefully, the anime releases towards the beginning of 2022. Of course, fans will have to be patient to see if this comes to fruition.

Who are the characters of Shenmue the Animation?

Fans of the original "Shenmue" videos games are sure to see familiar faces in the anime series, especially with the series' main character being high schooler and kung fu student Ryo Hazuki. The visual teaser also revealed other recognizable characters from the video game series, so you can expect to see them in the anime adaptation as well.

Shenhua Ling, who Ryo meets in "Shenmue 2," appears to return in the anime series. Shenhua is a teenage girl Ryo meets in a small Chinese village and accompanies him on his journey to avenge the death of his father. Her family also happens to have ties to the legendary dragon and phoenix mirrors, further aiding Ryo in his mission. Also expected to make an appearance in the anime series is the main antagonist, Lan Di. Lan Di is the merciless leader of the Chi You Men gang and the one who kills Ryo's father in his search for the dragon mirror artifact (via Anime News Network).

The trailer also features a ton of fight scenes, so it's safe to say Ryo will come across many other characters on his journey.

What is the plot of Shenmue the Animation?

"Shenmue the Animation" will adapt the story from the original video game series and follows Ryo Hazuki on his quest to avenge his father's death. Ryo will encounter new friends and enemies as he travels all over Asia — from his hometown in Japan to mainland China. Just like in the video games, Ryo will have to talk to townspeople and battle street thugs in order to gain clues to his father's murder.

According to IGN, the series creator, Yu Suzuki, previously stated that "Shenmue 3" only takes the series to about 40% of the story's completion, so the anime is set to expand on the games. On Thursday's panel, Sola Entertainment producer Joseph Chou commented on the anime's expansion on the game. "Even the stories that weren't shown in the game before, [Suzuki] actually had hundreds of thousands of pages of backstories written, so we were able to reveal that in the anime itself," he said (via Polygon).

With this anime adaptation, fans won't have to wait for another video game sequel in order to see more of Ryo and his journey. But, unfortunately, they will have to patiently wait until the anime's 2022 release.