The King’s Avatar Anime Review
The King’s Avatar (Quanzhi Gaoshou) is an adaptation of the original Chinese web novel series written by Butterfly Blue (蝴蝶蓝). The first chapter of the web novel was published on Qidian in February of 2011, and became a finished work in April 2014 with 1728 chapters. The completed series has over 530 million words with more than 2.3 billion views in total. It is in the process of being translated into English by Nomyummi and published on Qidian International. The King’s Avatar currently has 670 chapters fully translated, and is continuing to translate chapters at a rate of one chapter a day.
Synopsis: Ye Xiu is a top-tier professional player in the MMORPG “Glory,” and is dubbed the “Battle God” for his skill and achievements over the years. However, the owner of his club “Excellent Era” believes that he is too old for the competitive scene and replaces him as the captain; forcing him into retirement. He then gets a job at a nearby internet cafe. There, he creates a brand new character when Glory launches their 10th server. Possessing expert-level game knowledge and experience, he immediately catches the attention of the top players and guilds. With new friends and teammates Ye Xiu, under the name “Lord Grim,” again dedicates himself to reaching Glory’s summit.
Review: Let’s get this out of the way now. So many people have been calling this show the “Chinese Sword Art Online” and I just think that is ridiculous. Sure there are some similarities, but those are easily outweighed by the dissimilarities. These two shows are extremely different, and let’s just leave it at that. One of the main reasons this anime became popular before its first episode even aired, is because of it’s Chinese origin. Yes, this show technically isn’t even “anime.” Personally, I was surprised to see the hype around this show as anime fans aren’t usually all that open to Chinese animation and voice acting. I am however, glad that I learned about this show when I did, because it ended up being one of the better shows this season.
The story itself isn’t too unique, but the setting is something that hasn’t really been touched upon before in anime. The King’s Avatar is first and foremost about an MMORPG, but more specifically the competitive “e-sports” scene. Although in this season we don’t see a whole lot of professional play, it uses these e-sports elements to explain why Ye Xiu is so damn good at video games. He has been playing the game for nearly 10 years, and because of this knows more about the game than anyone else. On top of that, he appears to be a natural born leader, with great teamwork and leadership skills. One of the best qualities about The King’s Avatar is that, rather than sticking to either real-life or in-game, the series splits screen time between the two, and they did a surprisingly good job at keeping the two balanced. One thing that seemed to be lacking in the anime was explanation of the game itself, but considering how much content they condensed into the 12 episodes, it’s understandable.
Most of the characters aren’t anything special, but it is nice to see that they all have different personalities and quirks. Comparatively speaking, Ye Xiu isn’t a very fleshed out character, and with the exception of the last episode, The King’s Avatar almost never explores his past. Su Mucheng appears to be a longtime close friend of Ye’s, which is evident in their exceptional teamwork. Music wise, the opening song “Xin Yang” by Zhang Jie is amazing and extremely catchy. It’s use in the final episode was perfect, and really set the mood. Other than that, the sound effects were average, and the closing song wasn’t anything memorable.
Besides the premise, the animation is the other part of The King’s Avatar that was done extremely well. The show uses an interesting mix of 2D and 3D, but overall it was used well. Specifically, the battles and weapon/skill effects were superb. The in-between scenes and rain were also visually appealing. One scene towards the end of the last episode that stood out to me, where Ye Xiu puts his hand out into the rain, was gorgeous.
The King’s Avatar wasn’t even on my radar at the beginning of the season, and I don’t think I started it until around the time fifth episode aired. With a lot of people talking about how Chinese animation usually can’t compete, I wasn’t expecting much either. Because of this, the series easily surpassed my expectations. Ye Xiu’s carefree style is extremely entertaining to watch, and being a MMORPG player myself, I was very interested in the story. If you are a fan of over-powered MC’s, competitive gaming, or action combat, this is a show you should definitely check out. Also, if you have never seen a Chinese animation project before, this is one of the best available, so try it out!