The entire Shenmue story explained (so far)

shenmue iii 3 story so far lan di
shenmue iii 3 story so far lan di

It’s been a staggering 19 years since the first Shenmue game came out, and with Shenmue III due out in November this year, we decided to take a look back at the series’ story so far.

So whether you’re new to the atmospheric series or you’re a Shenmue martial arts master already, sit back and relax as we recap the whole of Ryo Hazuki’s story for you in one handy place.

shenmue iii 3 story so far logo

It’s been a staggering 19 years since the first Shenmue game came out, and with Shenmue III due out in November this year, we decided to take a look back at the series’ story so far.

So whether you’re new to the atmospheric series or you’re a Shenmue martial arts master already, sit back and relax as we recap the whole of Ryo Hazuki’s story for you in one handy place.

Shenmue

The year is 1986, and teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki is on his way home to his family dojo in Yokosuka, Japan. But what should be a happy family reunion quickly turns sour as Ryo discovers his father Iwao in the midst of a ferocious battle with the villainous Lan Di.

Ryo’s attempts to intervene result in Lan Di easily overpowering him, and he threatens to kill Ryo if a mysterious artefact called the Dragon Mirror is not handed over. Desperate to save his son’s life, Iwao reveals the location of the Mirror, which is buried under a cherry tree nearby, but Lan Di attacks him anyway. He then leaves with the stolen Dragon Mirror, leaving Ryo to tend to his dying father in his final moments.

shenmue iii 3 story so far iwao

Determined to avenge Iwao, a grieving Ryo starts to investigate the mysterious Lan Di. Despite his best efforts, the trail appears to run cold… until a letter arrives from a man named Zhu Yuanda. Following the advice in this letter, Ryo heads for Yokosuka Harbour, where he meets the manager of the Yokosuka Trading Company, Master Chen, and his son Guizhang, who are able to tell Ryo more about the mysterious Dragon Mirror.

The Mirror, as it turns out, is one of a set of two. The other one, which is called the Phoenix Mirror, has been safely hidden all along beneath Ryo’s family dojo, and Ryo heads there next to retrieve it.

Thanks to Master Chen, Ryo learns that Lan Di is on his way to Hong Kong, and being a teenager without a lot of money, he is forced to turn to a dodgy-looking travel agency in order to get his hands on a ticket quickly. There he encounters another villain: Chai, who is a member of Lan Di’s team of lackeys called the Chi You Men. After a fierce fight, Chai destroys Ryo’s plane ticket, leaving Ryo back at square one.

shenmue iii 3 story so far forklift

All hope is not lost, however, as Ryo is able to get a job as a forklift driver at the harbour (though he spends rather a lot of time racing them instead) while he saves up for another plane ticket. He hears rumours that a local gang of miscreants called the Mad Angels may have links to the Chi You Men. Ryo’s persistent investigating backfires when his friend Nozomi is kidnapped by the Mad Angels, but Ryo is able to save her by agreeing to a shady deal: if he beats up Master Chen’s son Guizhang, he will be guaranteed a meeting with Lan Di.

Of course, Ryo isn’t stupid enough to believe that, and with Guizhang’s help, he’s able to beat up the Mad Angels instead. Master Chen and Guizhang then help Ryo get a boat ticket to Hong Kong instead, but they are accosted by Chai as they are about to leave. Ryo finally defeats Chai, but with Guizhang injured, Ryo is forced to head for Hong Kong alone. Just as he is about to leave, Master Chen advises Ryo to seek out a talented martial artist named Lishao Tao. Only with the help of Lishao will Ryo be able to find Zhu Yuanda, the author of the original letter that led Ryo to Master Chen in the first place, and who may be able to help him further.

shenmue iii 3 story so far master chen

Shenmue II

One year on from the death of Iwao, Ryo finds himself in Hong Kong as he searches for news of Lan Di. In order to track down the villain, Ryo first seeks out Master Lishao Tao, who turns out to be a female martial artist whose real name is Xiuying Hong. She is unimpressed by Ryo’s desire for revenge, however, and no closer to finding Zhu Yuanda, let alone Lan Di, Ryo continues on his way alone.

He soon teams up with some new friends: street gang leader Wuying Ren, street urchin Wong, and motorcyclist Joy. Together they head for Kowloon Walled City, where Ren has heard that Zhu Yuanda is in hiding. Sure enough, they manage to find Zhu, but the villainous Yellow Head organization appear and kidnap Zhu, Wong, and Joy. After a series of battles, Ryo rescues all three of his allies, but misses Lan Di by moments as his arch-enemy escapes by helicopter.

shenmue iii 3 story so far ren

Back at Ren’s hideout, Zhu reveals the truth about the Dragon and Phoenix Mirrors. These are supposedly capable of resurrecting an immensely powerful monster called Chi You (and if you remember, Lan Di’s lackeys are called the Chi You Men). Zhu also reveals that Lan Di believes his father was murdered by Iwao, leading him to murder Iwao in revenge. As Ryo digests this shocking revelation, Zhu points Ryo next towards the remote mountain village of Bailu.

Upon his arrival at Bailu, however, Ryo has no time to take things easy. Rescuing a girl from nearly drowning in a river, he soon discovers that she too has a family connection to the two Mirrors. The girl’s name is Shenhua, and she is named after a tree named Shenmue (and yes, that’s where the name of the game comes from). Ryo and Shenhua head to a nearby quarry to speak with the girl’s father, only to discover that he has vanished, leaving behind only a sword and a mysterious letter. The Phoenix Mirror and sword then combine, revealing a giant version of the Dragon and Phoenix Mirrors in the wall of the quarry.

shenmue iii 3 story so far mirrors

Shenmue III

For now, Shenmue III’s story remains largely shrouded in mystery, but we have a few clues to work with from the trailers we’ve seen so far. The story picks up just after the end of Shenmue II, with Ryo still in Bailu Village in Guilin, China. Chai, a major antagonist from the first Shenmue game, is slated to make a reappearance, so Ryo can’t take it easy just yet – and with Lan Di also on his way to Bailu Village, the two Mirrors may finally be reunited.

You can find out more about Shenmue III and what we know so far here. In the meantime, Shenmue III is available for pre-order here, or if you’re looking to get your hands on your very own Dragon and Phoenix Mirrors, among plenty of other treasures, then the Collector Edition is available for pre-order here.

shenmue iii 3 story so far companion

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