Shenmue ~ The Manga ~
In the initial post of this series discussing Shenmue's potential in other forms of media, i explored the idea of a Shenmue Live Action adaptation. Now, I'd like to delve into how a Shenmue Manga adaptation might take shape. I'll be sharing my vision for the storyline in this manga version, the artistic style it would employ, the number of volumes it might span, and the exciting possibilities it holds for conveying the narrative in this unique format.
~ Story ~
Many Shenmue fans are aware that Yu Suzuki originally conceived the Shenmue story as an 11-chapter narrative. In my opinion, a manga adaptation would be a wonderful way to tell Ryo's journey. Manga is a medium that doesn't demand substantial financial resources to become a reality.
In this adaptation, Yu Suzuki could take the helm of the storytelling, possibly enlisting one or even two artists to handle the artwork. This approach would allow Yu-san to bring this version to life without requiring a substantial budget. He would have the creative freedom to include all the locations and details he envisions, expanding the story in a manner similar to what we saw in the anime.
In the anime adaptation, characters like Joy, Wong, Guizhang, Shenhua, Lan Di, and many others had their stories expanded upon. We witnessed scenes that were not present in the game, enriching the Shenmue narrative.
A manga version could offer a captivating opportunity to tell the story at a more leisurely pace. For instance, it would be delightful to see Ryo attending Suka High before the events of the first game in his school uniform, the complete Karate tournament, Lan Di's past, Joy's Past, her relation with Guizhang, Iwao's past and much more. The possibilities for this version are truly captivating.
~ Art and Volumes ~
Regarding the manga's artistic style, if the manga was official i envision Kenji Miyawaki creating the arts for the Shenmue Manga. Kenji Miyawaki is a Japanese manga artist, Kenji is the character designer of the Shenmue Series.
I envision the Shenmue manga spanning at least 21 volumes, but I believe it would be perfect to have 30 volumes or perhaps even more. I suggest even more because a Shenmue manga holds tremendous potential to delve deeper into the Shenmue universe and its characters. Even characters like Naoyuki and Ichiro could receive more extensive development in the manga, allowing us to see their friendship with Ryo in greater detail. I picture the Shenmue manga comprising over 200 chapters. It would have a deliberate and unhurried pace, while still delivering moments of action and high intensity.
~ Shenmue manga volumes in Shenmue III? ~
In certain locations within the game, we come across books that resemble manga volumes. This is akin to how i envision the Shenmue manga volumes.
~ Shenmue Manga Side Story ~
"Shenmue Side Story" is an official manga consisting of just four chapters with the art by Kenji Miyawaki, with each chapter containing only four pages. While these chapters do contribute to the story, they are rather short. Hopefully, in the future, we might receive an official Shenmue manga with
a more extensive chapter count.
~ Shenmue Manga Fan Project ~
Back in 2017, Sebastian Riera, also known as SebasRD82, was actively engaged in the creation of a Shenmue Manga. At that time, he had even set up a Patreon page to support this endeavor. However, it seems that he has since removed or deleted his Patreon page.
His last update on this project, which was provided in September 2017, conveyed that he had discontinued his work on the Shenmue Doujinshi project. He explained this decision on his Patreon page, stating, "I don't have any other option but to temporarily halt the Shenmue project because I'm currently managing a comic/merchandise store while simultaneously working on manga projects for my publisher."
Sebastian's artwork is truly remarkable and complements the Shenmue universe exceptionally well. When envisioning the art style of a Shenmue manga, one could easily imagine his art for the Shenmue Manga.
~ Doujinshi ~
Doujinshi is a Japanese term used to describe self-published printed materials, including magazines, manga, and novels. On the internet, we can come across a wide variety of Shenmue-themed Doujinshi.
~ Kenji ~
Kenji is a manga series written by Ryuchi Matsuda and illustrated by Yoshihide Fujiwara. The series follows Kenji Goh, a practitioner of the Chinese martial art Bājíquán
Kenji is a manga about a Japanese teenager named Kenji, who practices the martial art Bajiquan, and his encounters with other martial artists, some of which are from real life, e.g. Adam Hsu and Liu Chia-Liang. This series primarily features Baji Quan, but also gets into Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Bagua Zhang, Chen Taiji Quan, Pi Quan, Xingyi Quan, Xin Yi Liu He Quan, Shaolin Quan, Hung Ga, Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu, Shotokan Karate and numerous other styles. Kenji's nemesis is a gangster named Tony Tan who practices Hung Gar and later Xinyiliuhequan.
Kenji was serialized in Shogakukan's Shōnen Sunday from 1988 to 1992, totaling 21 volumes.
To the best of my knowledge, Kenji manga had a significant impact on Yu Suzuki. Kenji is also a martial arts tale with a Japanese protagonist who practices Bajiquan and embarks on a journey, much like Ryo, who is also Japanese and follows a similar path, learning Bajiquan techniques and steadily improving as a martial artist. It's evident that Kenji served as a substantial source of inspiration for Yu Suzuki in the creation of Virtua Fighter and Shenmue.
Someday i will make a blog post talking about Shenmue and Kenji in more detail.
I read only the first two chapters of Kenji but i already saw the striking similarities and the profound influence Kenji exerted on Yu Suzuki's work, i
will continue to read Kenji, it is a beautiful martial arts manga with many things in common with Shenmue.
I highly recommend the manga Kenji for all the Shenmue fans around the world.
~ Final Thoughts ~
A Shenmue manga adaptation would be a fantastic addition to the Shenmue series, further enriching the story and characters in a way similar to what the anime accomplished. In the manga version, Yu Suzuki would have the creative freedom to meticulously depict locations and intricate details without compromising his vision for the story. While I believe that continuing the Shenmue saga through video games remains the best approach for numerous reasons, a Shenmue manga would be a beautiful complement, much like the anime. The idea of having a collection of Shenmue manga in my room is truly appealing.
What are your thoughts on a Shenmue manga adaptation? Are you excited about the possibility of having one? How do you envision the story unfolding in this format? Please share your opinions in the comments below. Thank you all for reading, and remember to cherish your friendships and loved ones, keeping them close to you. See you in my next blog post! bye bye. ~ Hikari ~ (Hiki)
Art by Mappy