A new report confirms the Shenmue anime series has unfortunately been cancelled, within a year of its first season premiering.
The first season of the series included thirteen episodes retelling the story of Sega’s iconic adventure games of the same name. The series has apparently been cancelled though, news confirmed by Jason DeMarco, a senior VP of action and anime at Warner Discovery.
“Sorry guys,” DeMarco said. “This happened. You can still watch all of the anime on Crunchyroll and it will still be available as digital downloads. And yes, it’s looking like no S2 of Shenmue, even though sadly—it did well enough that we were gearing up for S2. Maybe one day…”
Despite the Shenmue anime series doing well enough for them to start prep on a second season, it seems like the higher-ups decided to pull the plug anyway.
The series revival for Shenmue via the surprise crowdfunding campaign for its third game was extremely successful, despite most fans generally agreeing there wasn’t much hope for a conclusion to the series. As such, the Shenmue anime series was also a surprise for fans that generally didn’t expect much.
While the Kickstarter for Shenmue III was successful, it pales in comparison to the whopping $70 million Sega dumped into the first and second games – a massive budget even for a major title back in the 1990s.
Furthermore, even before the third game finally released, series creator Yu Suzuki noted the third game combined with the first two would only cover “40%” of Ryo’s story, hinting there was quite a lot more that has to get made.
The biggest issue here is the level of detail and production in the first two games required a massive budget and studio, something his team probably can’t do to scale with crowdfunding. Perhaps if the Shenmue anime series was allowed to continue, it could at least finish the story with a smaller production.
The third and final game in the series, Shenmue III, has been available for Windows PC (via Steam and the Epic Games Store) and PlayStation 4. In case you missed it, you can find our review here (we highly recommend it!).