REVIEW: ‘Shenmue,’ Episode 3 — “Yin-yang”

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shenmue episode 3 - But Why Tho

Shenmue the Animation (Shenmue) is a Crunchyroll/Adult Swim exclusive action anime based on the video game Shenmue and is developed by Telecom Animation Film. Having set his feet on the path of vengeance, Ryo is given a lead on where he may be able to have his mysterious letter translated. But will the contents of the letter bring answers or more questions in Shenmue Episode 3?

This week’s story opens with Ryo managing to have his letter translated. And while it does give him some new information, it isn’t the silver bullet to finding his father’s killer he was hoping for. It does however give him a phone number that leads him to a local criminal organization that is willing to help him. Though how much help they can be when the next task he has before him is finding a lost mirror is anybody’s guess.

Ryo spends the bulk of what remains of Shenmue Episode 3 searching for this mirror. With his father intending for no one to find it, Ryo is hard-pressed to recover the lost antique. While Ryo’s search is the focus of this story, happily, the narrative sprinkles in enough side interactions to keep the story from devolving completely into one overly-long searching montage. That being said, this episode nonetheless feels fairly plodding at times. It seems we have hit the “long and winding” part of the program the first episode spoke of.

I feel the aspect of this series that is failing the most at this point is Ryo. While he remains a likable enough protagonist, he is rapidly becoming rather bland in his personality. He doesn’t have the charm or charisma to keep the show interesting when it slows down as he ponders what to do next. While a couple of the side characters manage to do some of the heavy lifting for him here, if this series is to work, the lead needs to grow some personality. And wanting to honor his father’s memory is not a personality, it’s a motivation. At this point, I’d settle for a quirky foible or goofy obsession. Anything to give him something more.

The visuals do what they can to keep Shenmue Episode 3 interesting. The brief moments of combat continue to deliver in the precise form and style of each character well. When not dazzling with its skillfully delivered action sequences, the visuals keep all the characters, locals, and events of Shenmue Episode 3 looking crisp, clear, and easily identifiable.

When all is said and done, Shenmue Episode 3 eventually manages to push its narrative forward a bit. However, when one considers this episode was less than 30 minutes long, it felt like it took way too long to get there.

Shenmue Episode 3 is streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.


Shenmue Episode 3 — "Yin-yang"
  • 5.5/10
    Rating - 5.5/10
5.5/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Shenmue Episode 3 eventually manages to push its narrative forward a bit. However, when one considers this episode was less than 30 minutes long, it felt like it took way too long to get there.