Shenmue: The Baihu Theory (Norris W Girdy)
From Partner-site: (http://www.wispartantotalgames.co.uk/totalgames/Shenmue-the-baihu-theory)
Hello Shenmue fans. In this blog I’m basically going to discuss in detail “The Baihu Theory”. If you are a frequent visitor of Shenmue 500k on facebook then you have probably seen those two words quite often and maybe even seen a couple of discussion videos. This article is meant for those who don’t quite understand the theory or are actually new to it. There are many levels to this theory so please bear with me.
To start off, let’s discuss a bit about the Chi You Men leadership. What is known to most Shenmue fans is that there are FOUR Chi You Men leaders that act as generals in the organization. These leaders are Lan Di, Niao Sun, Ziming, and a currently unknown 4th leader and each also represents one of the four heavenly beasts (The Azure Dragon of the East, The Vermilion Phoenix of the South, The White Tiger of the West, and The Black Snake/Tortoise of the North respectively). Standing above these four generals is the actual true leader of the Chi You Men, Tentei, and he represents a fifth beast representing the center, The Yellow Dragon.
Now whenever most Shenmue fans see the words Yellow Dragon, they instantly think of Chi You. The story that Master Chen tells Ryo is that Chi You will resurrect if the mirrors meet. The dragon itself is even seen in the Shenmue Online CGI trailer. This however might not be the case. Looking back at Chinese folklore and other fiction, Chi you is depicted in a few different ways. But the main depiction of him is that he is a humanoid ox with several arms wielding a variety of weapons. There is a chance Suzuki could be leading us to a huge plot twist regarding who Chi You really is. For those of you who don’t know where I am going with this……THE DRAGON MIGHT NOT BE CHI YOU. So who is the dragon? In one of the Chinese folklore stories about Chi You, he had a pretty sizable army. And one of the generals was (drumroll) A WEATHER MANIPULATING DRAGON! Now you are probably wondering, “If the dragon isn’t Chi You……who or what is”? Well take a look at the two images below……
The first one you see is Chi You as depicted in the Japanese RPG “Megami Tensei” and in the second image is Chi You as depicted in Chinese folklore. Do these two pictures sort of remind you of a certain character from Shenmue 2? That’s right, BAIHU!
Looking at this comparison picture of all three, you can see Baihu closely resembles Chi You, specifically his outfit resembling Chi You’s armor. This gives him a sort of ox theme. Baihu was always a mysterious character being that very little info was given about him. But as more research is being done, it is now assumed that Baihu could be the Chi You himself. Here’s how the core of the theory goes…..
Master Chen stated that “if the dragon and phoenix meet, the gates of heaven and earth will open and Chi You will resurrect itself on earth.…” . What if the true leader of the Chi You Men, Tentei, does not exist yet? What if the goal of the Chi You Men is to resurrect their “heavenly leader”? That leader being Tentei…..Tentei being Chi You……..Chi You being Baihu…….
Another clue pointing to Baihu being Chi You/Tentei is that when he is first seen, he is in the Big Ox Building in Kowloon. While the name itself is a clue, the layout of the building is another. The way the Big Ox Building is set up is that there is a lower portion to the building underneath the Yellow Head Building and an upper portion above the Yellow Head Building. Why is it set up like this? Maybe Yu Suzuki is using mythology and is using the lower portion of the Big Ox to represent something dying and then being born anew on top of the Yellow Head? Maybe this is his way of saying Chi You is not the Yellow Dragon? It is also believed that Baihu is being kept in the lower portion underground as if to be kept hidden from the public……..(I’d like to give James Reiner credit for theorizing this portion)
Another clue that gives evidence of Chi You not being the dragon is Shenhua’s prophecy and the story Yuanda Zhu told about the mirrors. Earlier I talked about Chi You having a dragon in his army that was also his general. But that dragon could also NOT be the dragon being referred to in Shenmue. Shenhua’s prophecy states that “A dragon shall emerge from the earth”. Most people will think that this will be a Chi You dragon emerging from the earth (or the general after reading above.) But if Baihu turns out to be Chi You then this might not happen exactly how it sounds. Yuanda Zhu stated that when the two mirrors meet the treasures of the Qing Dynasty will be revealed. So how do these two stories/prophecies relate? If you look below you will see the Qing Dynasty flag.
As you can see, the flag is that of a dragon. Shenhua states that a “dragon” shall emerge from the earth…….Maybe dead Qing Dynasty warriors? Keep in mind the concept of ghostly enemies would have been touched upon in Shenmue Online where certain enemies are in fact ghosts. There is also speculation by some fans that a Terracotta Army will somehow come into play in the future…….Maybe they are possessed by Qing Dynasty spirits? So to sum up this portion……The dragon emerging from the earth could refer to dead Qing Dynasty warriors. And the treasures of the Qing Dynasty could refer to an actually treasure, or again the Qing Dynasty warriors..…..or both for Ren’s sake.
And lastly, how does Baihu know the Tiger Swallow style? The theory to answer this is actually pretty recent…..Let’s assume that Baihu really is Chi You. From the Chinese folklore, it is said that Chi You had died. So how did he get here? Someone had to have revived him. That someone might have been Lan Di’s father, Sun Ming Zhao. However, while Zhao managed to summon Chi You, he only managed to revive him in a weak form; that form being Baihu. But what happened to Zhao? Did he die summoning Chi You? Did Chi You possess Zhao? Did Chi You take Zhao’s body and that is why Baihu knows the Tiger Swallow style? Maybe Lan Di’s goal is to finish his father’s work and complete the Chi You/Baihu revival? And also, did Baihu even WANT to be revived? (I’d liked to give credit to Bertie Wiseman and Shenmue Stare for assisting me with this last portion of the theory)
Well that is basically the infamous Baihu Theory. Please keep in mind that this is a THEORY and not facts. We will not know for sure until the day Shenmue 3 is released. So in the meantime speculation is the life force of the community. Again I’d like to give a shout out to James Reiner for theorizing the Big Ox Building portion as well as Bertie Wiseman and Shenmue Stare for helping me summarize the last portion regarding the Sun Ming Zhao possession.