Yang Yang is back in another drama about the cutthroat world of online gaming and E-Sports. So, if you were a fan of Love O2O or have a hole in your drama-loving heart where Go Go Squid once made you happy, this might be the drama for you. Read on for the unfiltered thoughts and first impressions of The King’s Avatar.
Wait…another drama about online gaming?
Yes! In this drama, Ye Xiu (played by Yang Yang) is an expert-level player of the online game called Glory. Forced from his position as the leader of his professional E-sports team, Ye Xiu leaves the world of pro-gaming behind. He becomes the manager of an Internet cafe where he seems to be a bit incompetent at pretty much everything. However, he soon begins playing Glory again, and he works to build a special weapon that he began creating many years ago. Along the way, he faces memories from his past and meets some new friends, as he begins a journey to the top of the leader board once again. This drama is based on a popular web-novel, and the writer of that novel, Hu Dielan, helped write the script.
Kdrama Jen: If you liked Love O2O, then you may see some similarities. First, the leading man is played by Yang Yang. He was also the male lead in Love O2O. The story of this drama is also told in the real world and within the game, just like in Love O2O. However, unlike O2O, it is not easy to see at this point if there is going to be a romantic OTP (One True Pairing). There are a number of strong women that interact with Ye Xiu, but it is not completely clear if there will be a love-line in this drama or not. Still, there are some compelling reasons to watch!
Clkytta: I’m on episode four and it’s very game heavy. Not that I always need romance, but I’m hoping we get some strong bonds formed soon. They are finally starting to reveal some backstory so that helps.
Kmuse: I’ll admit that I am a bit sad that there is not more of a clear romantic pairing. I’m nine episodes in and I am not sure that the gaming world is going to keep me going for another 30+ episodes.
Karie the Maknae: At 3 episodes, I’d say I’m in. Because there’s not an apparent romance yet, I’m not binge watching it. HOWEVER, I was an avid watcher when my brothers played video games lo these many years ago. I was yelling at Ye Xui about his fighting strategy in the third episode, and that’s when I knew I was hooked.
The CGI in this is pretty awesome!
Kdrama Jen: One of the first things I noticed about the drama was the CGI! Now, I often comment on the CGI in Chinese dramas, but THIS time I am commenting about how awesome it is! The world of Glory looks like a real video game. They even used Unreal technology (a game engine used in many video games). I kind of feel like I am on Twitch watching someone play, but I am more invested because I know the story behind each success or failure. As new members from the real world are introduced within the gaming world, I became invested in the quests and missions within the game because I knew what they meant to the people in real life. The world within the game is very detailed and it is fascinating to watch the expertise of the gamers as they manipulate their onscreen characters. I found myself cheering for different accomplishments within the game.
Clkytta: It’s always a nice touch when a drama can live up to its CGI promise and I’m hoping the budget holds out till the end.
Kmuse: Is this the same country that gives us horrible CGI monsters in all the dramas? I’m so impressed and I might even declare that this is the best CGI in a Cdrama to date.
Karie the Maknae: The CGI is AMAZING. I’m thoroughly impressed.
Yang Yang is…lovely
Kdrama Jen: I think Yang Yang has a certain charm that he brings to the screen. He is handsome, but he also has a confidence that manages to strike a balance between arrogance and likability. It is a quality that I think he brings to many of his roles, but it definitely shines through in this one.
Clkytta: Yang Yang looks really good here. I feel like playing the role of a gamer in the past has helped him. His character in this drama is a lot more relaxed and I like seeing him play a bit of a rogue.
Kmuse: This is by far the main reason i would continue watching. His shaggy bangs and cute puppy expressions are everything.
Karie the Maknae: I love the contrast between his current character and his more tsundere character in Love O2O. He is an adorable gaming puppy and I enjoy watching him bumble around the cafe.
Strong women are everywhere!
Kdrama Jen: There are a number of strong women featured in this drama. There is the owner of the Internet Cafe, Chen Guo (Maggie Jiang). She is a huge fan of Ye Xiu (although she does not realize the manager she hired is her idol) and she works very hard to keep her Internet cafe afloat. Tang Ruo (Li Yujie) is another strong female character. She is determined to succeed at Glory, so she dedicates many hours of time and practice to learning. And then there is Su Mucheng (Lai Yumeng). She is a professional player from Ye Xiu’s previous professional team. All of the female characters have their own kind of strength, so it is entertaining to see them as they interact with Ye Xiu and, eventually, one another.
Clkytta: There is a strong female presence in this drama and it really makes it feel more well-rounded. The love of Chen Guo of her internet cafe and esports is tangible and you want to cheer with her.
Kmuse: I’m really liking Tang Ruo and her obsessive reaction to losing. If she and Chen Guo had been combined into one character then it would make the perfect female to hook up with Yang Yang. As it is, I’m not sure if I think either really suit our genius player.
Karie the Maknae: I actually like that these women aren’t an obvious choice to pair with Ye Xiu — it gives them space to be themselves first.
This drama brings the drama to E-sports!
Kdrama Jen: It’s hard to believe that the world of video gaming could feel so exciting and dramatic, but I keep finding myself cheering for some and even yelling at my screen a bit too. They somehow have sucked me in and made me care about video game competitions! Please don’t tell my children!
Clkytta: I think Kdrama Jen is much further along in the show than I am. Right now it’s so game heavy that I’m a little bored. I need a little more bromance or team bonding to keep me invested. It’s just not interesting for me to sit and watch a game being played out.
Kmuse: I’m a bit ahead of Clkytta but it is still really heavy on the gaming. It does feel that the story is a bit heavy on the one story arc.
Karie the Maknae: Bring on the gaming! I’m enjoying watching the gamers’ strategies and their interactions with their guilds.
Kdrama Jen: If you have been enjoying the newest genre trend of dramas set in the E-sports world, then you might want to check out The King’s Avatar. It has a strong cast of characters set within the fascinating world on online gaming. While it does not appear to be a romance, it swept me into its theme of perseverance and quest for Glory (a literal quest for Glory!)
Clkytta: I’m not sure I will stick with this one, but I’ll give it a few more episodes before I decide.
Kmuse: I have so many dramas that I am trying to watch right now that I don’t think King’s Avatar will make the cut. I think it is a great show for some people, maybe, just not me.
Karie the Maknae: Like I said, I’m not binge watching or sub stalking this one. In fact, the literal translations of Chinese idioms are hurting my head a little bit! But I’m getting the main point of the story and I’m enjoying what I’m seeing so far. That was a lot of words to say that I’m in, but not dedicated.
Until the next round, we remain —
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi