China has been making a push lately to join in Japan’s anime market and while I can speak of in China or commercially, in the west most of the shows (be them in the original Chinese or the Japanese dubs) have been critically panned. I pretty much gave up on ever watching these shows so imagine my surprise when a season containing 2 of the biggest sequels we’ve seen in a while and a show about memes has one of the most talked about shows being a net anime from China.
The King’s Avatar follows Ye Xiu, a pro-gamer in “Glory” who is forced to retire from his guild “Excellent Era”. He gets a job at an internet cafe and decides to return to Glory on the new 10th server as “Lord Grim” becoming an unspecialized class and forming a team of both new players and his professional friends (also using different alias) in order to destroy records for clear times on dungeons and kill stealing.
The story marks itself as being about eSports but don’t come in her expecting that. Most of the characters we meet are eSport players and we do see a little bit of inner-workings of these groups and the characters are quite competitive with each other but Ye Xiu is retired and the show states if you retire you can’t return for a year (I guess playing on your own time is fine) so the only tournament we see is a brief clip during a flashback in the finale and, while a season 2 was announced, this is likely to continue there due to how the season ended.
One thing I liked is despite Ye Xiu being labeled a god by most players and sweeping through generic baddies and players when he’s fighting named players or players we’ve seen in real life he doesn’t usually have an instant victory (unless the point of said person is to be weak/pathetic). Too often in anime in either games or game-like worlds is the main character way too strong or pathetic so it was nice seeing a little more balance.
My only real issues are just minor nitpicks. I wish it properly explained weapon classes as it seems orange is the best weapon rank and silver is the second with a blue rank I don’t recall hearing a comparison for. Unless orange is supposed to be gold this is a little confusing and feels like rank colours were just assigned but silver just happened to be the second best. The official subs (which you can watch on Youtube) also have characters swear which is fine since most of them probably would anyway but more often than not they censor it writing it as “sh*t”. While there’s no gore or uncensored nipples to make this a more mature production I still feel no one who hasn’t heard cursing will be watching this so it probably would have been fine to leave it.
Also while not a complaint I will say if you’re like me and have been watching Japanese shows for a decent period of time it was actually a little jarring to get into hearing Chinese (I believe specifically Cantonese but I’m going off someone else’s word here) although I was fine by the end of the first episode.
The opening and ending songs are pretty nice. I also liked the soundtrack as a whole. The animation was pretty to look at although whenever we see the cafe Ye Xiu works at the crowed using the computers is really poor CG. It didn’t distract from the show and was usually just used for establishing shots with the fight scenes not having poor CG to worry about.
The King’s Avatar was a nice surprise for me. Not only have Chinese anime seemed to be unpopular but I haven’t liked most of the video game or MMO/RPG style world anime so despite the popularity I didn’t have much in the way of expectations and ended up pleasantly enjoying my time. The show is free on the creator’s official Youtube channel with English subs so if you’re in anyway interested I’d suggest checking it out.