REVIEW: ‘Shenmue,’ Episode 7 – “Future”

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Shenmue Episode 7- 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 found Master Lishao Tao, Ryo now has to prove himself worthy of her aid. But that may be easier said than done. As his search for answers soon has him entangled in the disagreements of martial arts masters and facing local gangs in Shenmue Episode 7.

The most memorable element of this week’s episode is the treatment of Hong Kong itself. The way the story ties the traditional and the modern together to form a cohesive story is surprisingly smooth. As Ryo’s dealings take him from the training grounds of masters to modern-day malls, Shenmue Episode 7 weaves these two worlds together seamlessly.

However, even as the show takes great care to build up the world around Ryo, those who occupy it fail to stay as interesting. This is most clearly seen in the character of Joy. While her introduction in last week’s episode had me hopeful that the woman would provide some interesting character to the series, it now looks like her primary job will be to replace Harasaki as the female character who is interested in Ryo but goes unnoticed by him. Hopefully, I’m wrong. But given the time in gaming when the original story came out and it seems like this could quite likely be the character’s fate.

Ryo’s short-term goal for Shenmue Episode 7 is to learn more about the Wude. He hopes that by learning more he may be able to convince Master Tao to aid him. This quest leads him to a pair of martial arts masters he hopes may help enlighten him. Each refuses on the grounds that they feel they are unworthy to discuss the topic. This hurdle is the focal point of Ryo’s struggle in this episode.

While exploring this immediate impediment to Ryo’s quest this story also skillfully lays out the groundwork for future challenges for our protagonist. This promises a smooth transition to the series’ next challenge. Rather than an awkward start/stop rhythm where each obstacle is completed before the next can be introduced, this interweaving should allow the story to flow in a much smoother fashion.

Shenmue Episode 7 continues to showcase the combat moments in this series. Once again, Ryo’s journey brings him into contact with new styles of martial arts that the series visuals deliver beautifully. I particularly like the way Master Tao is shown in combat. Her moment highlights just how different the forms and approaches to fighting can be when compared to Ryo.

When all is said and done, Shenmue Episode 7 delivers a solid story. While it manages to deliver an interesting setting and challenge for its protagonist to interact with, the show’s general lack of character coming from its cast continues to keep it from becoming something great.

Shenmue Episode 7 is streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.


Shenmue Episode 7, "Future"
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Shenmue Episode 7 delivers a solid story. While it manages to deliver an interesting setting and challenge for its protagonist to interact with, the show’s general lack of character coming from its cast continues to keep it from becoming something great.