King’s Avatar has the formula on how to present an anime about gamers giving it their all on playing this game they enjoy and as a hardcore gamer myself, I appreciate that immensely. Despite this, I don’t think it will reach the amount of success that I think it truly deserves. The reason is because King’s Avatar doesn’t capitalize on what it’s targeted audience wants and as such may end up being forgotten as just another anime. A Chinese one which probably doesn’t help because I can imagine a lot of people being turned off by the Chinese voices which admittedly did come off as a bit disruptive to me at first but I got over it.
The problem doesn’t stem from it being a bad anime or even a forgettable one. It’s just from being the wrong story. The idea of an e- sports anime and why it was something that people wanted for quite awhile is because of current e- sports success. A game I’ve actively played for more than I cared to admit: “League of Legends” has an emotional fandom that’s continually growing because of it’s dramatic and thrilling pro scene that is filled to the brim with controversial and intense players.
Even though it is joked a lot about how e- sports League of Legends can be scripted, it’s just interesting that there are so many stories from team rivalries to solo stories that make the sport that much more interesting. It’s a self- creative narrative that takes the competition between teams and makes it a competition between fans.
And the basic gist is that this same audience that happens to love MOBA games also love anime. I mean, gaming and anime almost go hand in hand down the lines of otaku culture so it’s pretty normal. They wanna see an animated and scripted story of an e- sports team that takes part in this seasonal tournament until they eventually reach the world championships and face off against the best of the best around the world.
King’s Avatar just isn’t that. It’s about a 25- year old man named Ye Xiu which is a name i’m going to butcher for the rest of this video. but he is not only one of the oldest and longest standing pro players to ever exist but has consistently been regarded as one of the best. Once he’s kicked out, he settles in a net cafe to which he works the night shift mostly to just play Glory till morning, then falls asleep and repeats. But I think that’s exactly what makes King’s Avatar so appealing to watch. If we had a MOBA e- sports anime, chances are it would either just be a scripted version of what we already have in real life thus making it a mediocre copy or a faithful adaptation that is just as interesting but not bring anything new to the table.
E- sports doesn’t need to be animated because of the interests we have seen in real life. We need a story of something that hasn’t been translated to us before. Something we don’t see from behind the monitor. King’s Avatar tells the story of a veteran pro player who got kicked out due to his age and believe it or not, it’s something that actually happens. Current players retire or even get kicked off the team because they aren’t as good as they were when they initially joined the team and we don’t see those people on a personal level. That’s the story King’s Avatar presents us with. It tells us how this guy, Ye Xiu, thought to be out of his element is still very much at his prime and he continues to play the game with as much love as he did when he initially started it 10 years ago! He can’t play professionally anymore because when his contract was terminated he was forced to retire meaning he can’t join the pro scene until a year after. But he doesn’t let that get him down. he plays and hones his new characters’ skills until he is allowed to jump back into being a pro. He does it all with a carefree smile that says “take my account, my skills and my weapons. I’ll just make new ones and still be better than you.”
Following Ye Xiu’s story is a hell of a lot more interesting than watching a team of pro league players who are just trying to replicate real life e- sports and it’s not like we’re not going to get to a similar story line in King’s Avatar. In fact, it looks like that’s where it’s heading because Ye Xiu has met players who, while they aren’t very good compared to Ye Xiu, they are mechanically good enough that with a little training might even be the future pro players that will be part of Ye Xiu’s new team! And when that team debuts, I’ll be very happy. Because I genuinely find these characters adorable to watch and how they interact with one another would be even cooler if they all finally met in person. I really love that blonde brick guy even though he’s still yet to get a proper character arc. He’s just unbelievably stupid and seems like he drinks too many energy drinks.
I think the only thing I’ve found strange about this anime which has been present in other Chinese animated films I have seen is how they use “bro” and “God” in their dialogue. Characters often use “God” kind of like addressing a talented person who they also admire greatly. Bro feels like another way of addressing a person but I think it’s more so that they are addressing said person as an equal.
Regardless, The main intrigue of King’s Avatar is just how unique it’s setting is and the melancholic tone strikes a feeling that leaves you intimately connected with the characters, especially Ye Xiu and how methodically detailed it’s aesthetics are from the characters to the background. I hope this has at least convinced a few people to watch King’s Avatar because so far, it’s a fucking brilliant show and deserves a hell of a lot more attention than I think it’s getting. I’ll keep watching King’s Avatar for as long as it wants to go, feel free to join in or forever die alone.
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