Many Shenmue fans know that in the early days Shenmue was called Virtua Fighter RPG, and that the
main character was not Ryo, the main character was Akira, also many Shenmue fans know that Yu
Suzuki wrote the story first with the name The Legend Of Akira.
In this post i want to share my thoughts about the many common things between Akira and Ryo, and
if Akira and Ryo are the same character. This post will have spoilers of the games and the anime.
In the early 1990s Yu Suzuki spent two weeks in China, Yu-san spent these two weeks in
China gathering material for his upcoming game Virtua Fighter II, also what Yu-san saw
in this trip influenced his creation of Shenmue.
1996 was the year of Virtua Fighter RPG, the concept arts, in this image we can see the chapter
cards for all the 11 chapters in the story, the complete story that Yu Suzuki wrote at that
1998 was the year that Yu Suzuki decided to change the title of the game series, VF RPG became
Shenmue, and Akira Yuki became Ryo Hazuki.
Yu Suzuki changed the name of the game series and the name of the protagonist, but Yu-san decided
to continue with the same story for the protagonist, so because of this decision Ryo have many
things in common with Akira.
In the interview 64 Rapid-Fire Questions the interviewer did this question for Yu Suzuki.
Interviewer: Does Shenmue takes place in the same universe as Virtua Fighter?
Yu Suzuki: That's tough.
With Yu Suzuki's reaction i understood that is really tough for him to explain if Shenmue takes
place in the same universe as Virtua Fighter. Yu-san didn't answer if Shenmue takes place in the
same universe as Virtua Fighter, he just said that's tough. With this i understood that it is tough
for him to explain everything about this.
In the anime and in the game Shenmue II Ren say Junnen Hayai da yo
many times, Junnen Hayai da yo is one the phrases Akira Yuki say when he wins a fight in
Virtua Fighter, this is another beautiful connection with Virtua Fighter, and this is one of the things about the
theory if Ren will die, to learn more about this connection and theory you can see my blog post about that.
Now i will make a list of the common things between Akira and Ryo.
1. Ryo is physically very similar to Akira. Both are japanese, brown eyes, hair is really similar,
the height of Akira in the first Virtua Fighter is 176cm, Ryo have the exact same height.
2. Akira and Ryo were born in 1968, but Akira's birthday is on September 23 and Ryo's birthday is on
3. In Virtua Fighter V we can see Akira with a scar in his face, as far as i know Virtua Fighter V is the only game that have Akira with
this scar. Ryo have a scar in the face as well, the difference is that Akira is not wearing a bandage to cover the scar.
4. Ryo is learning Bajiquan moves in the journey, Ryo learned with Xiuying the Counter Elbow
Assault, Ryo learned the Body Check with Master Sun, and he learned the Reverse Body Check with
Grandmaster Bei, all these moves are moves of the fighting style Bajiquan, Akira's fighting style
5. In Virtua Fighter we can see that there is a Dojo called Yuki Dojo, in Shenmue is
the Hazuki Dojo.
6. When Akira Yuki was a kid he learned the Bajiquan fighting style from his grandfather in Japan.
Iwao Hazuki was a practitioner of Bajiquan, Iwao trained Ryo about martial arts since Ryo was seven
7. Akira and Ryo share many of the same moves.
If i remember other things in common between Ryo and Akira i will edit this post.
Akira and Ryo are the same character? to me Ryo is the counterpart of Akira in Shenmue and Akira
is the counterpart of Ryo in Virtua Fighter, Ryo complements Akira and Akira complements Ryo.
I know that a lot of things changed since VF RPG days, but in my opinion when Yu Suzuki changed
to Shenmue he didn't changed the main journey of the protagonist.
Yu Suzuki changed the name of the protagonist but the main journey of the protagonist remained
This is the reason we see Ryo learning Bajiquan moves, Akira's fighting style is Bajiquan, this is the
reason Ryo have similar things with Akira, this is the reason why it looks like Ryo is a younger version
This is the reason why it feels like we are seeing Akira's development as a martial artist trough Ryo as well, because
Yu Suzuki didn't changed the main journey of the protagonist, Yu-san just changed the name of the protagonist
but didn't changed the main story of the character.
The main journey of Ryo is the same story since VF RPG days, the journey that leads Ryo to become
knowledgeable and skilled in the Bajiquan fighting style, this is how i feel about this.
In Shenmue when we see Ryo improving as a martial artist in some way we are seeing how Akira improved
as well, how Akira trained, improved and became skilled in the Bajiquan fighting style.
In my opinion is not wrong to say that Ryo is like a younger version of Akira, i personally like
to look about the situation this way, the characters complement each other, and it makes a lot of sense
to think this way because of the reasons i said above.
I love Shenmue and Virtua Fighter so the connections between these two games series are
beautiful, both series created by Yu Suzuki and his team.
You see Ryo and Akira as totally different characters or Ryo for you is like a younger version
of Akira? share your opinions in the comments below. Thank you all for reading and remember to keep
friends... those you love... close to you... see you all in my next blog post, bye bye. ~