We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.
Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers!
We’re so thankful to have both members of the dynamic Geek. Sleep Rinse. Repeat duo back for another collab! Will will be joining us early next month, but today we’re joined by the equally awesome Murr. Murr, you might recall, did a fantastic piece for The Games That Define Us, so we’ve been excited to have him back to talk about the protagonist of a terribly underrated Dreamcast gem.
Thanks for joining us with this great article, Murr. By all means, take it away!
Normal Happenings once invited us from GSRR to partake in a collaborative post titled The Games That Define Us. I went off the deep end a little bit and poured my true feelings out about Pokemon Red. It was easy to write about a game and a craze that took over my life when I was younger. It stuck to its title, it defined who I am… a wannabe Pokemon Trainer.
Our next collaboration is a deeper drill down than a game though, and a chance to write about a character who defines us. I jumped at the opportunity to take part in this project. Asked to provide three choices I knew straight away my first pick, but actually struggled for additional picks. As deadline day approached to provide my piece it became more and more of an interesting topic to write about. How am I defined by a character and this chosen one in particular? It went from interesting to panic…” How has a character defined me?” In the end after much thinking, I tried to strike similarities between my chosen character and myself. Once I realised how much of a goof my character is, it became easy.
“They killed my father right in front of me. I will have my revenge! I need to do this … for my father.”
Meet Ryo Hazuki, an 18-year-old student who sadly lost his mother at a young age and witnessed the murder of his father. His sole purpose from that moment was to seek revenge and regain a stolen possession that the murderous Lan-Di took on “The day that the snow turned to rain”.
Disclaimer, I thankfully don’t share the same heartbreaking backstory that Ryo does.
Once you finally take the controls and start the game, one thing I found out about Ryo almost instantly is how caring he is, and how many people care for and respect him. From being thankful to Ine-San for his daily allowance, to helping an orphan kitten regain its strength he was just an all-around good guy.
The catch here is though, you make those decisions, you are the one making that impact. You can not feed the kitten, you can choose to not pet it, not talk to it and just leave it to eventually disappear, but that’s not what I’d do, and that’s not what Ryo would do in my eyes.
A part of me has always been deeply immersed by the country of Japan, it’s definitely a bucket list item for me to visit some point in my life. Playing in the busy city of Dobuita as Ryo was again another chance for me to do something but through this avatar of Ryo if you will. I’m not saying that should I ever go to Japan I’d hang out in bars asking where sailors hang out and spending all my daily allowance on cans of drink hoping to win and toy capsule machines, but it’s just how I felt connected with Ryo in that regard, trying to put the gritty revenge task on hold for a while and enjoy the experiences in this very well crafted and frankly ahead of it’s time semi-open world that Yu Suzuki created for us.
But moving onto where Ryo and I really struck a bond. Ryo is so damn awkward in his conversations with almost all of the NPCs in game. And so oblivious to things. I can say I’ve suffered from anxiousness; I get quite panicked and anxious about even the small things like ordering coffee from coffee shops. The way Ryo responds to conversations and his awkward and at times anxious manner is something that only years later as I’ve gotten worse, I can relate to.
As for the goofy side of Ryo, it’s a case of going back to him happily spending his money on toy capsule machines and his excitement when getting a new one for his collection (“This is cool!”) or less that satisfied tone when getting a double (“This…..AGAIN!”). I find myself a bit of a collector of stuff, I’m happy to spend my ‘allowance’ on Amiibo or Totaku figures, and the obvious one being video-games. The world ticks on by, and I should be focusing on more serious and pressing matters, much like Ryo should have been, but I still find the time for collecting toys and wasting my money.
And finally, the part of Ryo that really inspired me was his first job. Ryo became a forklift truck driver on the docks for a week (you could have him work there for ages due to purposefully missing a time event cut scene, I did this in my playthroughs and worked on the docks for weeks). I can happily say that my second job when I was 18 years old was a warehouse operative in a sunglasses factory. I took and passed my forklift truck test and zipped around that warehouse on a forklift for 2 years before moving onto a new line of work.
Thanks, Ryo, for making my first serious proper job be as fun as you’d made me believe it was in Shenmue.
I tried to make sure that this content stayed on the topic at hand about the character of Ryo Hazuki and not the game Shenmue which I could ramble on for days about. At the time of writing this piece the third instalment of the saga is due to release in a mere month. Years of waiting is coming to an end. It’s been 19 years since I first met Ryo, I’ve grown a lot Since then, Ryo awkwardly won’t have, but it’ll be an absolute joy and pleasure to reconnect with him and see how much alike we still are these years later.
Adventure Map! *FINISHING UP!*