Contradictions?

(Chapters 3-6)

Contradictions?

Postby BalHan » Tue Mar 20, 2018 6:25 am

I love the Shenmue games, my favourite games of all time, but I've noticed what I think are contradictions in both games and I would appreciate it if someone could shed some light on them for me.

1. In Shenmue 1, Master Chen says Iwao and Yuanda Zhu brought back a mirror from China. However, in Shenmue 2, Yuanda Zhu says Iwao alone brought both mirrors back.

2. In Shenmue 1, Ryo says, with resignation, 'I can't believe my father killed someone'. However, in Shenmue 2, when told by Yuanda Zhu that Iwao killed Lan Di's father, he reacts with horror.

3. In Shenmue 1, Chai tells Ryo that Lan Di hates Yuanda Zhu. However, in Shenmue 2, when Lan Di is on the ladder of the helicopter and has the chance to kidnap Yuanda Zhu, he doesn't. This, perhaps, is not a contradiction but a seeming hole in the story.

There may be others that I can't think of right now but I will post them if I think of them.
PS: If there is already a thread on this, could a member kindly post a link?
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby ShenGCH » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:43 am

BalHan wrote: I love the Shenmue games, my favourite games of all time, but I've noticed what I think are contradictions in both games and I would appreciate it if someone could shed some light on them for me.

1. In Shenmue 1, Master Chen says Iwao and Yuanda Zhu brought back a mirror from China. However, in Shenmue 2, Yuanda Zhu says Iwao alone brought both mirrors back.

2. In Shenmue 1, Ryo says, with resignation, 'I can't believe my father killed someone'. However, in Shenmue 2, when told by Yuanda Zhu that Iwao killed Lan Di's father, he reacts with horror.

3. In Shenmue 1, Chai tells Ryo that Lan Di hates Yuanda Zhu. However, in Shenmue 2, when Lan Di is on the ladder of the helicopter and has the chance to kidnap Yuanda Zhu, he doesn't. This, perhaps, is not a contradiction but a seeming hole in the story.

There may be others that I can't think of right now but I will post them if I think of them.
PS: If there is already a thread on this, could a member kindly post a link?

I think at least two of these errors sit squarely in the lap of poor translation, as is quite common in Shenmue (e.g., Master Chen refers to Lan Di as the leader of the Chi You Men, when he is, in reality, one of four leaders), but, not being anywhere near competent enough a translator, I'll offer my own views to each of your concerns:

1) It's possible Zhu helped Iwao get the Mirrors out of China, or, at the very least, was something of a confidant to Iwao during this time of strife, which was never fully explained, hence the contradiction presented by Master Chen and Zhu himself

2) This one really seems like a translation error with little-to-no other explanation. In Shenmue, when Ryo states, "I can't believe my father killed someone," it strikes me as being said in complete disbelief - a more appropriate line would have been something along the lines of "My father never killed anyone. I will never believe it" - as opposed to the implied begrudging acceptance, so when it is confirmed in Shenmue II that Iwao did, in fact, kill Lan Di's father, Ryo acts on that disbelief; that the man he held so much respect for could be capable of murder

3) Zhu is very important to Lan Di, but it's possible the latter, upon seeing Ryo on the rooftop of the Yellow Head Building, realised Ryo would go to the ends of the earth to pursue him, so instead turns his attention to him as a pawn. Had Lan Di managed to kidnap Zhu, chances are he would have tortured him for information. But what if Zhu didn't break under torture and spill the beans? Lan Di would have been stuck, and his next moves would become muddied and unclear. Leaving Zhu with Ryo, however, means the former would be almost guaranteed to divulge the information, therefore turning Ryo into an asset. Lan Di might have predicted that Zhu would tell Ryo to go to Bailu Village, as that's where Lan Di is heading, so all he has to do is bide his time, wait, and keep a watchful eye on Ryo

What do you think, dude?
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby Jibby » Tue Mar 20, 2018 7:59 am

Lan Di does try to kidnap Zhu when he has the chance. In the rooftop scene, there's a bit where the blacksuits try to get him up the ladder but they're stopped by Ren who punches them and retrieves Zhu.
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby Switch » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:36 am

ShenGCH wrote:2) This one really seems like a translation error with little-to-no other explanation. In Shenmue, when Ryo states, "I can't believe my father killed someone," it strikes me as being said in complete disbelief - a more appropriate line would have been something along the lines of "My father never killed anyone. I will never believe it"

I checked the Japanese version, and can confirm you're right, the translation is misleading. His words in Japanese translated literally are "I can't think that my father would kill someone." This shows Ryo is talking about his father in general, rather than the specific incident. (And the sentence would be better rephrased to make his meaning clearer in English).
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby BalHan » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:43 am

Thank for your replies. Thank you, ShenGCH for your detailed reply, it was extremely helpful in unraveling these quasi-plot holes which I found rather confusing.

I agree completely with Ryo's resignation being lost in translation. That makes sense to me. 'I don't believe my father killed someone' would've been more appropriate.

In regards to Master Chen and Zhu's different version of events; we can assume that Master Chen was not completely in the know about how both mirrors came to Japan.
He assumed both Iwao and Zhu brought back a mirror - perhaps he was misinformed - however Zhu served only as a chaperone to Iwao in bringing the mirrors to Japan.

Thank you, Jibby, you're absolutely right, Lan Di did try to kidnap Zhu, it had just slipped my mind. ShenGCH made a good point about Lan Di binding his time to see how much he can find out about Ryo.

Other seeming contradictions in both games:

1. In Shenmue 1, Zhu's letter reads 'beware of those who seek the mirror'. If Zhu knew that Iwao had both mirrors then the letter should have read, 'beware of those who seek the mirrors'.

2. Master Chen said both Iwao and Zhu brought back a mirror from China, once again in singular sense and not plural. How, then, did Master Chen know about the other mirror if he believed only one mirror was brought back from China?
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby BalHan » Tue Mar 20, 2018 9:47 am

I checked the Japanese version, and can confirm you're right, the translation is misleading. His words in Japanese translated literally are "I can't think that my father would kill someone." This shows Ryo is talking about his father in general, rather than the specific incident.


I saw your reply after I had posted my previous message. Thank you very much, this clears up some confusion for me.
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby BlueMue » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:34 am

Yuanda Zhu seems to give out information only in fragments and depending on who he talks to.
This is already clear in the two different explanations of what the mirrors do. Yu Suzuki himself said in an interview that Zhu is holding back things from Ryo for reasons.

Some of the things however could simply be a case of story building. Information is only given to the player in chunks, just so that he learns about things as the events unfold. If for example the letter clearly mentioned two mirrors you would think too early about it, not having the effect that the cutscene with Master Chen revealing it has.
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Re: Contradictions?

Postby Miles Prower » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:09 am

Switch wrote:
ShenGCH wrote:2) This one really seems like a translation error with little-to-no other explanation. In Shenmue, when Ryo states, "I can't believe my father killed someone," it strikes me as being said in complete disbelief - a more appropriate line would have been something along the lines of "My father never killed anyone. I will never believe it"

I checked the Japanese version, and can confirm you're right, the translation is misleading. His words in Japanese translated literally are "I can't think that my father would kill someone." This shows Ryo is talking about his father in general, rather than the specific incident. (And the sentence would be better rephrased to make his meaning clearer in English).

That line did always stand out to me as strange, given Ryo's later reaction in S2 - thanks for the clarification dude (as always!)
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