13 episodes in production
I’ve often heard that Shenmue set the standard for a living, breathing open world in video games when it was released on Sega Dreamcast in 1999. It was followed by some of the most highly anticipated video game sequels ever made, and Shenmue III set a record for the most-funded Kickstarter game in 2015.
Now, AT&T’s Crunchyroll has announced that Shenmue is getting its own anime series.
According to Deadline, it’ll air on Adult Swim’s Toonami in the United States, not just on Crunchyroll itself, and will follow game protagonist Ryo Hazuki in his quest to become a martial artist and avenge his father’s murder.
Other than that rough outline, the image above, and the fact that Crunchyroll has ordered 13 episodes, we don’t have much more to share. Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki will have an executive producer credit, and it’ll be directed by Chikara Sakurai whose IMDB profile you can browse here.
Shenmue III wound up being something of a disappointment since the game’s 20-year-old reputation for innovation couldn’t carry forward to the modern day, but perhaps the story will carry itself as a focused anime series.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of what have often been dubbed Shenmue’s spiritual successors: the Yakuza games.