Anime Observations: The King's Avatar

It's Springtime, and the television airwaves of Japan are filled with all sorts of new product placement ads anime!  Now considering as of this season I'm working my way through no less than 20 different anime series (half of them older series, admittedly), I'm basically just looking for reasons to drop series at this point so I have proper time for the rest.   Does The King's Avatar make the cut?

The King's Avatar (or Quan Zhi Gao Shou) is based on a Chinese novel by Butterfly Blue.  The story follows pro gamer Ye Xiu through his adventures in the game Glory, a popular online multiplayer title.  When we start off, Ye Xiu is a member of Jiashi--one of the most famous guilds in Glory--when he's suddenly forced to hang over his character to a new pro player due to his declining skills and frequent fights with the rest of the guild.   Forced to retire in order to avoid paying back his salary as a member of the guild, Ye Xiu disappears from the pro scene and starts his retirement by working at a Net Cafe.  Only, as GLORY's tenth server opens the night he starts working there, Ye Xiu finds himself slowly delving back into the game he loves.

Now that we've gotten your basic summary out of the way, The King's Avatar is basically another "high fantasy anime set inside an MMO".  The "gimmick" this time is that there's actually no gimmick--they're not trapped in a world where if you die there you die in real life, the lead character didn't stay inside the game after they cut the servers off, and he didn't travel there from another world and lose his memories in the process; he just loves playing an MMO.

Protagonist Ye Xiu continues what at this point is basically a tradition of the protagonist in these game-focused series being OP as fuck.  Dude hands over his original character to the guild he's apart of at the start of episode one, but by the end he's decided he's going to use the brand-new character he created to solo a boss after his party gets wrecked.  By episode two he's dragging a mostly useless group of players into dungeon-diving with him, and when they run into a hidden boss he just barks a few lackluster orders at them and still accomplishes most of the job himself.   He's a perfect player capable of performing 200(!) actions per minute, a feat the show assures you is very impressive--even as it ignores things like proper mechanics inside a multiplayer online title.  While the novel goes into heavy detail on how Glory works as an MMO, this adaptation essentially ignores all that to focus on the action. 

It's a bit of a surprise, since Sword Art Online saw the UI of its various online games make frequent appearances (some things were even impossible to do without it!) and even that felt like the most basic of detail to some MMO gamers.  On the far end of that was Log Horizon, which would often go into deep, intricate detail on the way MMO techniques and tactics worked.   The King's Avatar just kinda ignores all that--there's no cool downs for techniques, and even though it should be impossble, Ye Xiu finds himself beating boss after boss without any help--managing to both whittle down these bosses' massive health bars and not get hit at the same time.

It's early enough into this show that I can say it hasn't pissed me off, and it's good enough that it has my cautious attention at the start of every week.  It helps that the animation is captivating and gorgeous, with at least one scene per episode that leave me wondering just what the budget is for a show like this.  The fight scenes are beautiful and well-animated even if a bit incredulous, so if you can tolerate the fact that there's really only one character that matters in the series right now and he's stupidly overpowered, The King's Avatar is worth a watch.


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