I’m stressed because I’ll be moving across the country in a couple of weeks, so I’m taking a break from my responsibilities to talk about my current obsession: 全职高手 (The King’s Avatar.
The King’s Avatar is a Chinese “anime” about e-sports, a combination of words that I had zero interest in until a couple of months ago when this show started airing. My friend recommended it so I watched the first couple of episodes. And man, I was expecting like an even lower quality SAO ripoff but King’s Avatar is surprisingly great???? I was pleasantly surprised and continued watching and then when I caught up I went to find the novel and plowed through all 600+ currently translated chapters in a couple of weeks and now here I am.
Okay, but a more serious summary is that it’s about this guy named Ye Xiu who is like the best professional player in a really popular MMORPG called Glory. Except his team has been steadily declining in the rankings and Ye Xiu refuses to show his face publicly (so his commercial value is nil), so the CEO forces him to give his character (or avatar, I guess, hence the title) to a new transfer player. And since there’s no reason for him to stay on the team anymore without a character to play, he retires from the pro league completely. Like, he literally just leaves right away. In the middle of winter. With no backup plan or place to live or anything. … Anyways, he goes to an internet cafe across the street from the team’s building. They coincidentally happen to be hiring a night shift manager, and the owner of the internet cafe is also a Glory player, so Ye Xiu just… gets the job? After beating the boss in a PvP? The job also conveniently includes room and board, so that’s basically all the big problems solved lmao.
This summary is getting really long, but the story starts from there and follows Ye Xiu as he plays a new character in the newly opened tenth server and is completely OP lol
So this is Ye Xiu. I don’t know why they drew him so cool-looking because he’s described as a normal guy in his mid-twenties who always looks kind of tired because literally all he does is play Glory, eat, and sleep (and sometimes his actual job lmao). One of my favorite aspects of his character is his age. I’m so, so glad that this guy is adult age because as I’ve started not really relating well to younger protagonists (not that I related to them a whole lot in the first place, but you know.) Even though pro e-sports players are usually pretty young, they’re still like late teens/early twenties and out of high school.
Other things I really like about this show/webnovel:
- Tencent has official subtitled episodes for free on their youtube channel.
- The animation is surprisingly good. There’s a little 3D animation thrown in there that’s not great, but it can be easily ignored
- The character designs are pretty good.
- The voice acting is really good too!!
- The opening song is super cool and I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the past month. I don’t think the full version is released yet. Ye Xiu’s voice actor (Zhang Jie) sings it.
- Mandarin happens to be my first language, so I can watch the episodes without subtitles haha
- The translated webnovel is also available to read for free online (legally!)
- So far, no romance (I’ve heard rumors for maybe some near the end? idk). Honestly, for TKA, I wouldn’t actually mind that much if there was. The initial set up is kind of harem-y but absolutely nothing has developed yet so…
- Did I mention the older characters?
- Nice female characters too. Su Mucheng is clearly shown to be the high level pro player she is. My favorite is actually Tang Rou, who I feel is truly written in the same way that the male characters are written.
- Occasionally there will be instances where the author describes the female players in a sexist way (mostly things like the female players have less aggressive playing styles or they care more about the appearance of their equipment and stuff). On this level, it doesn’t bother me too much because it doesn’t occur often at all and it’s more microaggressions instead of explicitly offensive language. I might also be more desensitized because that way of thinking is so common in China still.
- It’s pretty funny. The characters are all human and some (many) of them are dorks lol. Zhou Zekai never speaks more than five words at a time and Huang Shaotian never stops speaking once he starts.
- There’s a good amount of e-sports politics going on, so you can’t just power through everything by being OP. Even Ye Xiu is restricted by contracts and termination fees and game rules. I mean, I don’t know a whole lot about esports whatsoever, but it’s interesting.
- There’s a character named Qiao Yifan who must be protected at all costs.
Things I don’t like about TKA:
- It’s longer than One Piece currently. I mean, it’s finished… but just under half is translated. So I’m not going to finish any time soon TT
- Sometimes I mess up pronouncing the character names. In the translations, character names are obviously left in pinyin form (English letters) but they don’t have the pronunciation accent marks on them. So there’s this one character who’s in-game username is called Jiang You. And for the longest time I assumed it was soy sauce, but then I looked at his written name and it’s not soy sauce lmao
- All the fanworks I’ve been able to find are in Chinese. While my spoken Mandarin is ok, written Chinese gives me a lot of trouble so… TT no fanfics for now
In conclusion, definitely worth checking out! Either the animation or the novel is a good place to start because they’re more or less the same (slight author-approved deviation in the latter half of the animation).
Watch it or read it go go go