Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Ep 4: Shackles - Summary/Review

We have reached the point in the story where Ryo is now seeking to travel to Hong Kong. This means the events of the first game will be wrapping up within the next couple episodes most likely. How will this be adapted? Click "read more" and let us find out.


The episode begins with Ryo having a dream where Lan Di confronts Shenhua as a way of foreshadowing her role in Ryo's destiny. Cut to intro! Really trying to keep the suspense.

One theme song later, we see Ryo looking up flights to Hong Kong and finding that the cheapest one is 150,000 yen. Combining his own savings with Fuku-sans, he still cannot afford the flight. So, he travels back to the harbor to look for a way to make money. Upon arriving, Goro returns now showing a lot respect for Ryo, calling him Bro, and helps him find a job with additional help from Mai. Now, we get to the iconic forklift.

That's Mark on the Forklift

Amazingly, Ryo didn't get the harbor job in the game to save up for the Hong Kong flight, but rather it was to attract the attention of the Mad Angels. In the games, Ryo attempted to travel cheaper by boat instead of plane but gets his money stolen. This, kind of makes more sense.

Mark only gives Ryo basic instructions off screen before leaving him to figure it out because he seems to not like Ryo. Luckily, he is a quick learning. After work, Goro gives Ryo a tour of the harbor. During which, he again learns that the harbor is Mad Angel territory.

Meanwhile, a lot is happening; the Chens decide they cannot afford to help Ryo anymore, Fuku-san informs Nozomi about Ryo's job, and Ryo is trying very hard to nice to Mark who keeps shrugging him off. After some time passes, Ryo has a heart to heart with Goro after he asks Goro why he is being so helpful. Goro gives his backstory about how his Father abandoned him when he was very young and after Mai told him about Ryo's father he was inspired by the fact that Ryo did not give up.

This conversation never happened in the game. I wish it did.

Ryo asks Goro how to meet the Mad Angels because they are connected to his Father's killer. Mark overhears the whole conversation and has a reaction. Unfortunately, Goro is too afraid of the Mad Angels to get involved. Looks like both Goro and Mark will be getting more development. 

On the walk home, Ryo is confronted by Guizhang. He charges at Ryo and the two of them get into a very short match. Ryo loses his footing and Guizhang takes advantage of that to show off a leg stomping move that lands right in from of Ryo narrowly missing him. Guizhang reveals he is there to teach Ryo this leg move The Swallow Dive because he admits that in Ryo's place he would do the same thing. 

The Swallow Dive

Elsewhere, at a bar, the Mad Angels are having a meeting about Ryo. They are not happy to hear that the same kid who beat up Charlie has gotten a job on their territory. This foreshadows more trouble.

Meanwhile, Ryo runs into Nozomi while walking home and the two have a heart to heart where Ryo tells her about his quest. We also learn in a flashback that Nozomi will most likely move to Canada to be with her parents. Sad times.

Many establishing shots follow. Nozomi learns about Ryo's conflict with The Mad Angels from Mai and Goro, Mark starts treating Ryo better, and we learn that Mark also has issues with The Mad Angels as we see them ganging up on him. Ryo sees this attack on Mark and takes them out to save Mark. At this point, we learn that Mark's little brother had joined The Mad Angels and he is there to gather information about him similar to how Ryo is investigating them. The two are finally getting along.

Nozomi begins snooping around to try and gather information on The Mad Angels in an attempted to help Ryo. However, this backfires as she gets herself captured by them. One of the gang members on a motorcycle shows up to Ryo's house to tell him to get to Terry at Warehouse 17 or else they will hurt Nozomi. Ryo jump kicks the man and steals his motorcycle to in order to reach Nozomi and Terry. Now the hunt is on.

That is very different from how it happened in the games. I like the added character traits to Nozomi where she got captured because of trying to help Ryo. However, the Ryo from the game is someone I have a hard time picturing stealing. He borrowed a motorcycle from a friend in the game and The Mad Angels called his house. But, I will say that is made for more entertaining visuals than that course of action would have. 

Upon arriving at the warehouse, Ryo is lead back to where Terry (the leader of The Mad Angels) is sitting with a tied up Nozomi and some other goons.

After a less than friendly conversation, Ryo is forced to make an agreement where he has to take out Guizhang before they let Nozomi go. In the games they did let her go and just took Ryo's word. This makes more sense. Ryo is frantically trying to figure a way out of this mess and to free Nozomi as he is taken to the place to meet Guizhang. Guizhang arrives, and Ryo pushes him into a fight with Terry and some of the other Mad Angels watching. The two Swallow Dive each other as the episode ends with both of them collapsing on the group and Terry doing an evil laugh.

This fight was cut way too short. But, I get why it was necessary.

Final Thoughts

This episode was jam packed with character moments. Goro, Mai, Nozomi, Mark, and Guizhang all mad major character development and a lot was going on in terms of moving the plot forward. They seem to be very devoted to wrapping up the first games story within the next episode. Action took a bit of a back seat. There were a few fight scenes, but all of them were cut short. However, it was necessary in order to fit all of the content. At this point, I think it is safe to say that the homeless old man who taught Ryo a couple martial arts moves will not be appearing in this anime. Still, this is one of those episodes that shows it is worth watching the anime even if you are overly familiar with the games. Learning more about Goro's backstory and having additional dialogue between Ryo and his friends are the types of things any Shenmue fan will love.  4/5

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