REVIEW: ‘Shenmue,’ Episode 6 – “Dignified”

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Shenmue Episode 6 - 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 sail for Hong Kong, Ryo now faces new challenges in a foreign land. His first goal: To find Lishao Tao. But finding this mysterious individual will bar far from the only struggle the city presents him in Shenmue Episode 6.

This week’s story manages to bring a breath of fresh air to this series. A plethora of new faces and challenges come with the series move to Hong Kong and each one manages to build up the episode’s events enough to overcome how uninteresting the show’s main protagonist continues to be. New Allies, enemies, as well as those whose allegiance has yet to be determined all arrive in Shenmue Episode 6 to shake up Ryo’s journey. From the moment he gets off his boat, almost being run over by a motorcycle, till the credits roll, the narrative manages to hold the viewer’s interest with all that is new to the show.

My favorite addition to the cast has to be the woman known only as Joy. The combination of her outgoing demeanor and the fact that there is much more to her than meets the eye is a perfect combination to pique curiosity about her. Whether this character will ultimately end up helping or hindering Ryo’s quest remains to be seen, but the mystery adds a much welcome side element to the tale.

Along with setting and cast changes Shenmue Episode 6 also looks to bring a new thematic challenge to the story. While the opening arc of this season found those around Ryo questioning whether or not he should pursue his goal, this arc seems to be shifting that concern to how he pursues it. This is a welcome and natural evolution for the narrative. The flaws in Ryo’s approach are illustrated well, and I hope the series going forward manages to build upon the groundwork laid out here.

The visual presentation handles the shift to the new setting excellently. Every locale visited by Ryo feels real and properly delivered. From the energy of downtown Hong Kong to the tranquility of the temples, every sequence manages to bring the right tone and vibe for its surroundings.

The visuals also get to expand its portfolio of martial arts styles it brings to the viewer. As one would expect, Ryo’s arrival in Hong Kong brings new styles and techniques to face. Just as with previous combat sequences, this episode does a great job of making these new approaches to martial arts always look unique and interesting.

When all is said and done, Shenmue Episode 6 is the best episode of the series thus far. The new characters, setting, and challenges set before Ryo look to be well placed to revitalize the story. Now we just have to see if they can continue to bring meaningful content to the tale, or if their newness is simply a momentary distraction from the show’s ongoing problem.

Shenmue Episode 6 is streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.


Shenmue Episode 6, "Dignified"
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Shenmue Episode 6 is the best episode of the series thus far. The new characters, setting, and challenges set before Ryo look to be well placed to revitalize the story. Now we just have to see if they can continue to bring meaningful content to the tale, or if their newness is simply a momentary distraction from the show’s ongoing problem.