• NEWS! We're adding in #ShenmueAnime2 to the tweetathons from May 4th so make sure you tag in @Crunchyroll and @SEGA each month to help get us that 2nd season!
  • We've fixed the issues with Outlook/Hotmail email address not getting emails from us. If you get a backlog of emails please delete them and then continue use as normal

Shenmue The Anime - Final Ratings

What number would you give the anime out of 10?

  • Total voters
Feb 3, 2019
Sydney Australia
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Tekken 7 (always Tekken 7)
Alright now that the series is completed. I guess I'll give full thoughts.

I think it's somewhere around an 8 out of 10 for me.

The pros? I love the way it further fleshed out some of the side characters. That to me is its biggest advantage over the games. Anime Nozomi is a million times better than Game Nozomi. Same can be said of Joy to some degree. I mean the anime actually made me give a crap about Goro - outside of just being that goofball, they actually gave him a little bit of sympathetic character. In that regard, the anime is great.

I loved the fact that the anime allowed us to get outside of Ryo's head to further tell other perspectives. As much as I love the games and how much they commit to you roleplaying as Ryo. I will say it does come with a shortcoming in terms of story telling as we are maybe a little too slavishly attached to Ryo. I liked that the Anime took a much more conventional storytelling approach and allowed us to get outside of Ryo's perspective from time to time.

In terms of actual storytelling? I think it does a very good job condensing the main story beats. Even if it is a little too fast in pacing. I didn't mind the pacing in Yokosuka as I felt it was appropriate to burn through Yokosuka pretty quickly.

But I did feel Shenmue II was a little too rushed at times. Especially Kowloon. Kowloon may be the biggest disappointment for me of the entire anime. I just didn't get that same feel I got from Kowloon in Shenmue II. I think the lack of fights was a huge disappointment. Especially the Baihu fight. The Baihu fight was the biggest disappointment for me in the entire series and really underscores how I would have much preferred this to be a slightly longer series. I don't know. I just thought Kowloon was way too condensed and lost something in the process.

Wan Chai was mostly okay and the search for WUDE was fun but I just felt once we got to Kowloon it kind of suffered for me from being too abbreviated.

Still, there are some pretty epic moments. The Lan Di fight actually being included at the top of the Yellow Head building was something pretty special.

I guess it does hit all the major beats and that's really what you want from this. I mean in many ways this does serve as something of a glorified advertisement for the video games. And I don't mean that as a put down, but it is something of a condensed version meant to spark further interest in this series for newcomers and hopefully it did that for some people.

I think the only other thing I missed were the slice of life elements. I understand given the time constraints and all but I really did miss some of the small slice of life elements. It would have been nice to see Ryo playing Lucky Hit. Or even just a hint of the gambling in Hong Kong (even just a brief shot of duck racing could have been a nice little nod.) I felt like once we got out of Yokosuka, some of those cute little nods dried up. Again, I get it, time constraints and all but yeah. Slice of life is such a big part of Shenmue and I did kind of miss that element here.

Overall? I really liked it. I downloaded the entire series in English over the weekend so I'm gonna go through it again with the complete English dub in one sitting. But I thought the Japanese dub was great. I thought Masaya knocked it out of the park as Ryo.

8 out of 10 for me. Sometimes suffers from just being rushed in general. But I think overall they did a pretty good job condensing the two games.

But what say you, Dojo? What were your final thoughts on the series as a whole?
Last edited:
Nov 21, 2019
I gave it an 8/10, based on how much I enjoyed the anime at face value without holding anything too sacred. I also don't watch anime besides a few of the Miyazaki films (though those are really in their own category), so I can't really comment on how it compares to other series.

I think the biggest takeaway from reading threads each week is that it's really tough to "unlearn" the story of the first two games, so I think a lot of your enjoyment will depend on how much you wanted the anime story to match the games 1:1. I was pretty open to changes going in, so I wasn't too phased whenever story beats were truncated or appeared in a different order but there were definitely a few times where things felt weird because they were "different", but I wouldn't necessarily say that means it was "wrong". It would be interesting to see how newcomers enjoyed the story and if they were able to follow everything that was going on. Like you mentioned, I definitely think they took advantage of the fact it's a film medium and were able to tell multiple stories from multiple character perspectives, which I think worked really well.

Whenever something was changed, I tried to think of it as if it was changing gameplay quests or story beats. So for example, if finding information on sailors, finding info on birdseed, ghost hall building, etc was condensed, then I think that's kind of inconsequential to the story. It's removing extra steps that existed for gameplay purposes that don't really add anything to the story in the grand scheme and would be pretty boring to watch. If something is shortened that feels like it changes the story a bit (Baihu being a pushover, Guilin/Baihu village travel removed, etc), then I think those are more legitimate criticisms. I don't have an official scoreboard or anything, but I'd say for every 10 changes I liked 9 of them.

I also enjoyed how many of the side characters were fleshed out, like Nozomi, Goro, Joy, and Wong. A few others have said that Ren's depiction could have been handled better in that he becomes a trusted friend pretty quickly, and I'd probably agree with that but wouldn't say that I had any major issues with his character. I'd honestly say I liked the anime depiction of those first four characters more than their game counterparts, and anime Ren was slightly under game Ren. I'd probably rate Xiuying close to the same from the game and anime counterpart, but she's my favorite character in the series so that's not exactly a negative.

I liked Kowloon and others have argued that it kind of makes more sense for it to feel combined with Hong Kong, since it's a 10-15 minute drive away in real life (just according to what others have said in each episode thread if I'm remembering correctly). But yeah, it doesn't feel like an entirely new chapter and location like in the games, more of an extension of Wan Chai.


10 years early.
Feb 26, 2021
The good ol' US of A
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Daytona USA Iraq version

Would've given it a 10 if they did the yellow head building section decently and didn't make Baihu a jabroni.
Dec 19, 2019
Just repeating what everyone has already said, but the anime was never going to be the best way to experience what the games can produce, so I'm not exactly surprised by how quick the story was sped through.

The first half of S2's story needed to slow down with a few of the game's tranquil moments (i.e. leaf catching, old guy in the park, xiuying parts) and it never felt that Ryo slowed down ever, even down to how fast Matsukuze-san delivered his lines.

Environmental storytelling is also hard if you can't 'hear' the environment without a sped up version of the shenmue theme song playing on top of it the whole time.

In terms of the animation I wanted to see more of the 'wind kick' effects that we saw near the beginning of the anime, and thought that would have been especially great in the fight against Dou Niu. Otherwise, the beginning and end of the anime was great and they added depth to all the important characters.

Also, why did Shenhua have to repeat the poem so many times? :ROFLMAO:

Jul 11, 2019
I gave it a 9/10 overall, which is probably a little generous but I just love this story and these characters. I'll try and keep my thoughts simple but my takeaway is outside of a few shaky episdoes, mostly in the Kowloon arc, I really enjoyed it.

  • Original music is really good and the opening is great
  • Shenmue I arc, was handled really well and had the best fight scenes.
  • Extra scenes with Lan Di were very welcome
  • When they used heavy hits in the fights (especially early on) they really sold them with the SFX and hit reactions
  • The fleshing out of Yamagishi and Zongquan was excellent
  • Nailed the counter elbow assault
  • Covered most of the plot points in both games
  • Wasn't expecting to tear up twice
  • The establishing shots are beautifully drawn and lit
  • Almost complete lack of Tom in the Shenmue I arc
  • No two ways about it Kowloon was rushed and outside of the rooftop had the worst action and sense of adventure. Five Stars Corp, Baihu and Yellow Head building were all dissapointing.
  • Second half has poorer rushed fights and few establishing shots. Kowloon suffered because of this
  • Ryo being taught the double blow and never using it
  • I already said it but Baihu was a proper jobber.
Favourite three episodes any why

2 - All the scenes with Yamagishi, the Charlie standoff, and the fight scene at Heartbeats was great.
7 - The Zongquan / Wude episode was the one perfect episode IMO. Great pacing. Ryo using the Iron Palm. Excellent music especially in the letter scene.
13 - Rooftop confrontation was excellent and the Guilin stuff was about the best 10 minute digest version you could hope for.

Least favourite three episodes and why

9 - Ryo the jobber getting hit with not one but two pipes. Nothing here really ventured from the realm of the game but it was all done worse
10 - Not a bad episode but the cutting out of the ghost hall bldg and the five stars corp mystery was not good
12 - Baihu the jobber, might have mentioned this already :ROFLMAO:
Last edited:


I didn't read Hamlet but i do know Hamtaro.
Jul 30, 2018
I don't think they could've done much better to fit two games in just 13 episodes to be honest (a proper adaptation would've defintely needed double of that), and most of the anime's problems stem from the choices they had to make due to the low showtime and budget it got, like the super short fight scenes, the exaggerately fast pacing and the extreme cut content. I would've also liked way more music from the games.
The changes they made to some characters' personality and actions were arguably for the best, i liked how Nozomi and Wong were way more active and had more to do, but on the other end they maybe softened Ryo a bit too much shifting his focus from pure revenge to just wanting to know more about his father.
In the end, i think a 7,5 or even a 8/10 may be the most fair and balanced score for this series overall.


Today is a Diamond
Jul 28, 2018
Madrid, Spain
Favourite title
Currently playing
Virtua Fighter 5 Ultimate Showdown
Voted 8, but easily 8.5
Aug 14, 2018
Voted 9. Objectively if I knew nothing about Shenmue it's a strong 8. However if can't be understated how good it is as a video game adaptation. It's up there with the Street Fighter II anime movie. Only thing that stopped it from being a 10 is some rushed story elements and animation on some episodes that were clearly at a lower budget than other episodes.
Aug 19, 2018
I voted 8. Honestly, I had very low expectations going into the anime but the quality of the first few episodes assuaged those concerns and really built up confidence in what they could accomplish. I actually think the Kowloon arc contained a handful of missteps which prevented me from giving it a higher score.

I think the strength of the show was fleshing out ancillary or side characters, giving them more depth only hinted at by optional dialogue or from their bio's in the Passport. The show also looked great for the most part, with key art drawn very well and some of those backgrounds looked amazing. While I wasn't expecting animation to be of the quality of Akira or Ghost in the Shell, I actually felt the fighting animation and scenes outside the rooftop sequence got noticeably worse as the show went on (budget being stretched?). The other negative was the overuse of flashback scenes, even if that sequence was just shown moments ago, another hallmark of a limited budget.

It has shown Shenmue can be successfully adapted to another medium and with it's success I hope we can get a second season and thoroughly flesh out and add to Shenmue 3's storyline.
Aug 2, 2018
I went for 9/10. I personally think that following issues with Shenmue 3 satisfying the Shenmue fanbase, anime fans and other gamers is an almost impossible task. Yet they absolutely nailed it.

From personal perspective, could certain bits be better? of course they could but those are just items I'm aware are missing that were in the game. To be fair some things needed to be different otherwise why bother watch the animé as we know the storyline already

It was really good and deserves plaudits
Jul 29, 2018
6 - it was fun and had some extra scenes over the game bit. However, the poor fight scenes were pretty unforgivable in a shenmue based series and I don't think Yokasuka was given time to breathe.

Will instantly resubscribe if S3 gets the anime treatment but would much prefer S4 proper and never want to see the story finished outside of the games.
Aug 20, 2018
I bought a Japanese Dreamcast on launch day in 1998, along with the Shenmue 3 preview disc bundled with VF3tb. I imported the Japanese version upon release in 1999. So, like many others here I've been in it for the long haul.

After recently suffering from watch Halo the TV series, I realize just how badly this could have gone.

While it wasn't perfect, it is easily the best videogame adaptation of all time. It stayed as close as possible to the source material in the timeframe it was given. Especially for a franchise like Shenmue, a franchise that I love that has been an emotional struggle for over twenty years.

I gave it a 10/10.


Nov 12, 2019
Vice City
Favourite title
Shenmue II
Currently playing
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
9/10, not much i'd want changed - humanized ryo plenty, great pacing/development/animation quality etc, didn't manage to overwhelm new folks with wide cast & varied settings. really hoping for more!
Mar 6, 2019
Definitely not an anime masterpiece but a solid and entertaining translation of a gaming masterpiece. I think a 7.5/10 is accurate.
Jul 21, 2020
6/10 for me, entertaining but 13 episodes I don't think quite did Shenmue 1 and 2 justice. Some of the most memorable characters were cut, the beautiful catching leaf scene was cut and the journey to Bailu Villlage. I know some things had to be changed for an adaptation but too many of my favourite parts were missing.