Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Shenmue The Animation Episode 8: Aspiration - Summary/Review

Ryo is now living with Xiuying (Lishao Tao) in an attempt to learn about Yuanda Zhu. At the same time, he still has 2 more Wude to learn. How will this play out? Click "read more" and let's take a look.


The episode begins with Ryo having a dream about Lan Di meeting Shenhua. This was the bad ending in Shenmue 2. When he wakes up, he is told by Fangmei to meet Xiuying at the Man Mo Library. Once there, he is given the task of airing out books from the library in order to "pay rent" because he is living in her apartment now. She refuses to help Ryo meet Yuanda Zhu.

It is not uncommon for Martial Arts training to involve doing chores. But, this is actually Xiuyings attempt to give Ryo something to focus on and calm him down because she does not support revenge and wants to get Ryo off of the dark path he is on. 

One theme song later, Joy learns that Ryo left the Hotel she helped him find and Ryo finishes his book task for the day. While he is obviously frustrated, Ryo is lectured again by Monk Liu about being patient and that Ryo should learn all the Wude.

Cutting away, Ryo is in the city where is rushing back to Man Mo Temple to make his promised time for chores when he runs into Guixiang Lee from the Yan Tin Apartments

Ryo knocked Guiziang's package out of her hands but catches it before it hits the ground. But, since he almost broke it, Guiziang makes Ryo deliver the package to a Tea Shop. The box held a very old Tea Set that is not valuable but has "value in the eye of the beholder" according to Guiziang. I have a feeling this is foreshadowing something.

A couple character relationship shots later, Ryo is found my Wong and Joy who help him find more Martial Artists that can potentially teach him the remaining 2 Wude. They direct him to a lady in Pigeon Park.

This is a surprise. She is Eileen, an extra character needed to unlock the Duck Racing and if you explore further, you learn she is a friend of Fangmei. I did not expect to see her in the anime. There may be hope for Izumi now.

Eileen can tell Ryo is a martial artist can asks for a sparing match. Ryo declines, but Eileen attacks him anyway; Ryo dodges her attacks. Sadly, Eileen does not know about the Wude, but thinks "she" might know. This takes Ryo, Wong, and Joy to a "Super Market Food" store where the cashier can instantly tell Ryo is Japanese. Her name is Izumi who is also a martial arts and throws a punch at Ryo that he stops. 

And there is Izumi, the second opponent that Ryo has to defeat in order to unlock the Duck Racing and the stronger of the 2 girls. I am both thrilled to see the two on them made it into the anime but a little salty that they didn't keep the name "Tomato Convenient Store".

Cutting away, we see Xiuying rescue a boy and his younger sister from some thugs. The boy wants to get stronger so he can make the thugs pay but Xiuying advises him against it because it will lead him down a dark path. She has a flashback of her brother. More foreshadowing.

Elsewhere, after 2 dead ends Ryo continues his search for martial artists that know the Wude. He is at a restaurant with Wong and Joy when he sees a landshark harassing someone to move out. Ryo is about to rush out and save him when Joy and Wong stop him. They explain that this is just the normal of Hong Kong and that landsharks are harassing people to leave so they can buy out the old beat up buildings and have them torn down to be replaced with new ones. To my surprise, Ryo does not rush out anyway but instead realizes he is late for his book job. That is out of character.

Back at Man Mo Temple's library, Fangmei gives Ryo a scolding for being late and making her do all the work. Xiuying overhears this and tells Ryo that both  the same type of person and he should not dislike her. She tells Fangmai something similar and asks her to close the gate where she overhears a conversation between Ryo and Monk Liu.

To summarize their conversation, Ryo is frustrated about being stuck in his quest, the monk lectures him on a lack of discipline and being close minded. This reminds Ryo of one of his Father's lessons when Wong and Joy show up to tell Ryo that Guiziang is a master martial artist, something they overheard in a restaurant, and Ryo rushes off to see her. Upon arrival, Ryo sees landsharks harassing Guiziang and he intervenes. 

Ryo gives them a lecture on ignoring the current scenery, then beats them up when they ignore him and attack. These landsharks are no match for Ryo's martial arts. This action, reflects one of the Wude, Yi. Ryo also learns that this old lady is Guiziang. Was that supposed to be a secret?

YI - Always act without hesitation to do what you perceive is right.

I'm glad she remembered the name in this version.

That was the last Wude Ryo learned in the game. All he needs now is a hair cut.

Ryo quotes YI to Xiuying and asks if that is what she thought he was missing. Xiuying points out that she sees the "fires of revenge" in Ryo's eyes and that killing in the name of vengeance is murder just the same. This is something that Xiuying wants no part of.

This is a bigger deal than in the games. While revenge was something that Ryo was always open about in the games, in this anime he never actually stated that was his intention. So far, all he said was that he wanted to learn the truth about his Father's past and kept any thought of revenge a secret. But, Xiuying sees right through that. Honestly, this is a much better way than the games which I already loved. I always thought Ryo could have gotten further if he kept his intentions a secret.

Ryo and Fangmei apologize to each other. Also, Fangmei tells Ryo about a book about a book that Yuanda Zhu has written. He finds the book as the episode ends.

Final Thoughts

This was a good episode and a necessary one, but probably one of the less interesting ones despite the fanservice. It mostly served as an information episode in order to move the story further and give several characters some development. Eileen and Izumi make cameos which I liked, and one thing I am really starting to appreciate about this anime is that it is having the clue's and other important information that Ryo learns come from his friends rather than random people in town. Doing that is a great way to cover their arcs while moving the story along at the same time. Only one Wude is left, it is interesting that they changed DAN to last considering it was easily the least interesting event in the game of the 4. I imagine that one will get a big change.

Overall, this episode was needed and while it did not do anything really wrong, it was a little boring. Most of the episode was just the characters talking, and the few fights were short at best. Regardless, the story and this episode covered enough important points. So, no re-watch, but no regret from watching. 3/5

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