WarnerMedia’s Crunchyroll and Adult Swim will co-produce Shenmue, a 13-episode original anime series based on the SEGA game franchise, which will stream worldwide on Crunchyroll and air on Adult Swim’s Toonami in the United States.
Shenmue follows Ryo Hazuki, who witnesses his father’s murder at the family dojo in Yokosuka. Ryo seeks to avenge his father’s murder by traveling from Japan to Hong Kong and Guilin looking for clues, while training to become the ultimate martial artist and facing off against unknown mystical forces.
The series will be directed by Sakurai Chikara (One Punch Man, Naruto), while video game creator Yu Suzuki, who headed Sega’s AM2 team for 18 years, will serve as executive producer. It will be animated by Telecom Animation Film with production management handled by Sola Entertainment.
According to Sarah Victor, head of development at Crunchyroll, “The first Shenmue video game was released more than twenty years ago and we’re so excited to be working again with Adult Swim to bring this franchise to life through anime. We’re eager to show our fans more of this action-packed adventure series as we move through production.”
Crunchyroll and Adult Swim Productions are also working together on Fena: Pirate Princess, an original anime series set to debut on Adult Swim’s Toonami and Crunchyroll in 2021, and Blade Runner – Black Lotus, an animated series inspired by the film Blade Runner 2049, for Adult Swim’s Toonami.
The original Shenmue game for the Sega Dreamcast was released in 1999, with the sequel Shenmue II arriving in 2001. Shenmue III was released 18 years later in November 2019, after raising $6 million in a 2015 Kickstarter campaign, which became the fastest campaign to raise $2 million, in under seven hours. The following month, after raising over $6 million, it became the highest-funded video game and the sixth-highest-funded campaign in Kickstarter history.
Ryo Hazuki might be familiar to fans of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. In 2012, executive producer of Sumo Digital Steve Lycett conducted a poll on the SEGA Forums to determine which three SEGA characters fans would like to see in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as downloadable content. Ryo Hazuki ranked first on the list, followed by Hatsune Miku and Segata Sanshiro. In the game, Ryo rides an arcade-themed vehicle that switches between OutRun, Hang-On, and Space Harrier arcade cabinets.
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