To me, this is more of a problem with game systems that don't have some sort of 'motivation' aspect to characters. If you've got rich Shadowrunners still doing jobs, even if they have enough to retire, why haven't they? You can get some pretty interesting character specific adventures going on if you answer that question.
Even if it's "They killed my dog."
Absolutely, and a fair point. Getting to what that motivation is at the heart of so many good stories, but having something written down or at least expressed by a player is key to character-driven action.
I also would like to put in a vote for an "Appendix N", if possible. Most of my players and I imagine most of the audience for the game have pretty limited exposure to Asian thrillers that could be real choice reference points for Pan-Pacifica. I think Train to Busan is a clear one, as are Hard Boiled and most of the '90s John Woo canon. How about Infernal Affairs or Cold War? Those seem like good examples of the twisty, turny sorts of stories that seem likely in the realm. And, as batshit as they get, the Metal Gear Solid games are more familiar.
I have a habit of bringing this up all the time - apologies - but it still bugs me that the core rulebook's frame of reference is often stuck a decade or three past - Black Rain (1989) is, like, not a great representation of either the genre or Japan. It honestly makes 1975's The Yakuza feel nuanced. I don't want to diss the authors who we can thank for bringing our precious Torg back, but there's so many better and more "authentic" examples to draw from that modern dorks will know better.
On a related note, any time I read about the Electric Samurai I cringe a little. I know, I know; its got cool gadgets and is a clear symbol of Japanese culture. I just think its corny in ways that don't quite jive with contemporary imagery or design. If it was a bit more "designed by Shirow" and less "1980's Oriental Adventures with lasers" I'd like it a lot more. I don't need it to be straight up mecha or even powered armor to sell me on it better, just, I dunno - cooler
. Are there variants out there? How about Korean or Chinese twists on the design? I tend to think of that whole look as ceremonial rather than cinematic samurai, anyway - the classic master swordsman in Chanbara flicks gets around just fine for his sword-work without a lot of wicker most of the time.
I like the idea of there being some positive or at least less greed-driven examples of how the Social axiom can influence people in the setting. While qigong kinds of esoteric martial arts powers are often viewed as Magic or Spiritual things in roleplaying games, their rooting in self-improvement and Asian medicinal tradition really DOES feel like a Social thing. And, yes, I did complain about the samurai armor being corny, but this opens up the doorway to the wonderful colorful world of Shaw Brothers and wuxia kung fu powers - albeit in a contemporary setting full of spies and mercenaries (I have such nostalgia for Ninjas, Spies and Superspies, despite my many issues with Palladium).
If the Priests of Palan make a return (or there's a new equivalent) perhaps their philosophy of self-denial and public good can be a nice counter to the crass commercialism and avarice of Kanawa. Its a classic contrast and one that is a common theme in endless examples of martial arts and crime stories that come out of Asia.