What happens when you combine the best player in the game with the smartest player in the game? Or rather, to make things easier to picture, have you ever wondered what it would be like to create a character that has the capabilities of Kirito from Sword Art Online and the tactical prowess of Shiro from Log Horizon?
Clearly, Chinese animators have. After numerous attempts at making great anime, they decided to take a shot at the ever-so-popular game genre, and in doing so, they crafted what is pretty much one of the best shows in Asian animation.
Enter, Tencent Production’s 2017 breakout anime hit, King’s Avatar.
You’re probably thinking that it’s another gaming anime that sports the main character without any form of weaknesses. Fortunately, that’s not the case in King’s Avatar. Rather than depicting the challenges present in the game, the show tackles the struggles the players experience outside of it, thanks to the inclusion of an element that’s never been used in any anime: Esports.
The show and the web novel it was based on heavily discuss esports and every aspect it encompasses: the organizations, the teams, the contracts, the fandom, and most importantly, the gaming element. This is something new, something different, and perhaps the dawn of a new trend in anime. If you’re an aspiring esports professional, King’s Avatar might be the perfect springboard for you.
At the very core of King’s Avatar is a fictional game called Glory, an MMORPG similar to Black Desert Online, or even World of Warcraft. The game had become so popular that it branched into the competitive scene, leading to the creation of a professional esports league known as the Glory Alliance. Think of it like the NBA, except that the teams fight it out through a furious battle of strategy, keystrokes and mouse clicks.
We get to see the world in the eyes of Ye Xiu, a top-tier professional Glory player who was forced to resign from his team due to his unwillingness to take part in any marketing efforts to profit the organization. Disillusioned, and with no place to go, Ye Xiu ends up finding work as a night-shift manager in an internet cafe, where he gains new friends and finds a new path that brings him back to the competitive scene, all while reigniting his passion in Glory.
Unlike other gaming anime, King’s Avatar takes great effort in explaining the mechanics of MMORPGs. In its initial episodes, the anime dwells in explaining the various features that make up the world of Glory, from its classes, dungeon battles, up to the various equipment grades that you can access in the game. The show does not waste time in allowing the viewer to understand what the game’s all about, and cruises through the task in style.
It also takes into account real-world terminologies such as PK (Player Kill), and APM (Actions Per Minute). Furthermore, King’s Avatar also depicts the toxicity and quirkiness of the gaming community. Truly, the show is something any MMO player could relate to.
As of writing, the show has already yielded an OVA special, a theatrical film, a live-action web-series, and an upcoming second season, and it’s not surprising at all. King’s Avatar came at a time where esports has been reborn anew, and surely, it will continue to take great strides on its way to the peak of glory.
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