- "Tell Master Dou Niu... that I found two rats. Too bad, isn't it? You aren't getting away!"
- ―Yuan approaching Ryo and Ren with a chainsaw.
Yuan (ユアン Ewan) is Dou Niu's right-hand partner who is an high-ranking executive of the Yellow Head gang that operates in Kowloon. Yuan often blackmails Kowloon's shopkeepers, as they are all afraid of Yuan and Dou Niu.
Yuan's gender status depends on the version of the game. In the original Japanese version, Yuan is a stereotypically effeminate gay man who has a relationship with Dou Niu. He is also a transvestite (someone who enjoys dressing in clothes primarily associated with the opposite sex.) In the English version, Yuan was localized to be a woman, was given a woman's voice and female pronouns are used to refer to Yuan. Yuan is still a transvestite in this version. Due to both versions, it is both acceptable to refer to Yuan as male and female. For the sake of internal consistency, and consistency with Yuan's character profile on the official Shenmue III website, this wiki uses male pronouns. For more information see gender status.
Yuan is first encountered in the Lucky Charm Quarter, when the Yellow Heads capture Yuanda Zhu's aide Shuqin Zhang. He was about to hit Ryo Hazuki with a pipe, but he dodged the attack by tripping him. Yuan then orders the Yellow Head members to attack Ryo, but then sees them on the ground knocked out, not knowing that they were beat up by Xiuying Hong.
Later in Aberdeen, Wuying Ren tricks Ryo into following him into interrupting a deal between Yuan and Gangfang Lin. Ren interrupts the meeting and escapes with the money, leaving Ryo to deal with Yuan and the other Yellow Head members.
Once Ryo and Ren are handcuffed together in the Dancing Dragon Building in Kowloon, after they sleep on the roof and try to escape at sunrise, Yuan comes out of the elevator door armed with a knife. He threatens them and attempts to cut them with his knife, until they both stop him. After this, Dou Niu comes out of the elevator and threatens to kill them for stopping his partner Yuan and attempts to do so by chasing them as they run away. Once Ryo searches the last of Huang the Wiretapper's tapes, there is a conversation with Yuan, his talking bird, and Dou Niu about how he captured Zhang and was going to torture him for information.
After realizing that Zhang is in danger, Ryo and Ren look for him. There are two alternate paths in finding out where Yuan is. One is through the Moon Child Orphanage in the Moon Child Building where Ren is or through asking at knife shops where Yuan is a frequent customer at. Either way, they'll find out that Yuan will be at the roof of the Three Birds Building at dawn, where he usually gets bird feed for his talking bird.
Ryo and Ren end up following Yuan throughout Kowloon, as he does odd things like drinking tea elegantly, being compulsively disgusted at filthy creatures, and checking at a knife shop to see if his new knife for his collection is delivered to his room. After following him, Yuan enters his room in the Golden Flower Building. Ryo ends up knocking on his door and once he opens it, he kicks him and they enter his room and rescue Zhang.
After Ryo and Ren find Yuanda Zhu in the Ghost Hall Building, Yuan, Dou Niu, and other Yellow Head members were following them and they capture Zhu.
At the Yellow Head Building where Zhu is held, Yuan at one point comes out a door armed with chainsaw and chases Ryo and Ren with it attempting to kill them. Once Ryo and Ren stop him, Yuan and Ryo fight hand-to-hand for the first time. After the fight, Ryo kicks Yuan into the elevator. Ren then handcuffs him and blackmails him with a can full of trash if he does not tell them where Zhu is. Yuan ends up telling them that Zhu is on the 40th Floor. Even after he tells them, Ren kicks the trash can into Yuan with him being compulsively terrified and disgusted.
Yuan hates filthy things and compulsively cleans anything dirty, messy, or smelly. He is also clumsy when flustered which results in him tripping.
Yuan enjoys collecting knives and has a wall full of them in his room. He is also skilled at using knives and other weaponry such as metal pipes and chainsaws in combat. He is a practitioner of the Mantis Dagger Fist, but is weak in hand-to-hand combat.
In his room, he has a closet of men and women's clothing, and a picture of Dou Niu can be seen on a table. He also owns a talking bird.
Yuan seems to be fond of the color purple, as he thought the color of his refrigerator being purple would be perfect for his room, complaining to the apartment staff that it needed to be replaced because it wasn't said color.
Yuan is also sadistic and shows signs of being mentally unstable. An example of this would be when he was willing to torture Zhang for information on Zhu. He even claims that he was going to make him "spill his guts." Finally, the chasing chainsaw scenario.
In the original Japanese version of Shenmue II on the Dreamcast, Yuan was an transvestite or "okama" (オカマ okama) as they would use in in Japanese slang. However, Sega of Europe thought this was unsuitable, so for the PAL Dreamcast version they re-recorded his lines with a Japanese female actress and made him a female. They also changed all of his references from "he/him" to "she/her" in the subtitles, however if you know Japanese, you should be able to hear they are indeed saying "he" when referring to Yuan. In the original Japanese version when Dou Niu says "What the hell did you do to my partner!?"(referring to Yuan), he is actually saying "What the hell did you do to my cute love thing!?" Yuan's gender change was still kept in the English version of the game on Xbox.
As revealed in a 2015 podcast with Yuan's English voice actress Lisle Wilkerson on the SEGAbits fan site, Yuan is still a transvestite in English version of Shenmue II, but SEGA Of America wanted the voice to be ambiguous as possible, to not anger western fans. They were actually having a hard time deciding whether to make him have a female voice or a male voice like the original version.
Yuan's gender change could be considered censorship.
When selecting Japanese voices in Shenmue I & II, the game uses the uncensored Japanese audio, meaning Yuan has a masculine voice instead of a feminine voice. When free battling Yuan with the Japanese voices on, the game initially used the Japanese female voice during that fight, but this has been patched to use the uncensored Japanese male voice with a update on all platforms. Also when Japanese audio is selected, the English subtitles use male pronouns when referring to Yuan (Although in some instances it uses female pronouns, but this is most likely an error).
Also in Shenmue I & II, when viewing the information of a snapshot taken of Yuan, the game no longer uses female pronouns in Yuan's profile. It instead labels Yuan as "The executive of the Yellow Heads" instead of "She is the executive of the Yellow Heads" leaving Yuan's gender androgynous. Ryo's notebook also does not use gender specific pronouns when referring to Yuan, no matter which voice option is selected.
- Besides Yuan's voice and references being modified between regions, there is another thing that was censored regarding the character. When Yuan chases you with the chainsaw in the Yellow Head Building and the QTE's are failed and he kills you with it, the screen originally faded out to red like blood. However, in the European Dreamcast release, this was changed to fade out to white. This change was kept in the English dubbed Xbox release. The change is also still intact in Shenmue I & II.
- Yuan's Japanese name (ユアン) actually translates to "Ewan", which suggests that he is European. In the localization, his name was either poorly translated or was made into a more effeminate name since he was changed to be a woman.
- Yuan is the first transvestite character to appear in the Shenmue series, with the second being the Flower, Bird, Wind & Moon bookie in Bailu Village Song Qun from Shenmue III.
- Yuan's zodiac sign is Aries and he has a AB blood type.
|Shenmue Wiki has a gallery for Yuan.|