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Quan Zhi Gao Shou – The Fictional Rise of eSports


Lord Grim, the legendary unkillable demon king, alongside some allies

I suspect that Quan Zhi Gao Shou would have flown under my radar this season, had it not been for its focus on eSports. As an avid follower of the eSports scene in League of Legends, I was very open to the idea of watching Quan Zhi Gao Shou, not to mention reading Chinese web novels used to be one of my hobbies. Quan Zhi Gao Shou follows a formula that I have noticed in many Chinese web novels. The protagonist gets terribly wronged and is cast into an extremely disadvantaged position. From humble beginnings with grievance in their hearts, they will work their way up to enact the most magnificent revenge. Those on the receiving end get their comeuppance since they failed to have eyes for Mount Tai, and these kind of stories usually hit the spot where justice is concerned. Although the execution is crude, there is definitely no shortage of extreme hype.

Would you like this show?

I think Quan Zhi Gao Shou would appeal to many with an interest in video games or those with a keen appetite for action sequences. You’re essentially watching someone be good at a video game, setting speed run record for MMO style dungeon clear times, and fighting off other players who may bear some kind of grudge or ill-will in exciting PvP skirmishes. A much greater focus on eSports will happen in the second season, once Ye Xiu throws together a new team, so stay tuned if that is what captures your interest.

Strive for the Summit

Along the way, Ye Xiu becomes acquainted with various skilled beginners. It wouldn’t take a genius to piece together the puzzle, and figure out that he fully intends to eventually start up a new team. Gathering together a ragtag bunch, watching Ye Xiu teaching them how to get better at the game while fostering their talent makes for a satisfying experience. Maybe not a good comparison, but think of Ash training his Pokémon across the series, going through many trials and tribulations before finally challenging the Pokémon League.

What are the characters like?

Lazily cocksure with the ability to back it up, Ye Xiu is much like Oikawa Tohru, who is one of my favourite characters from Haikyuu. To be honest, I only really liked two other characters in the show and that’s because they were pretty much your token joke characters. Bao Rongxing for being a kindhearted idiot. When I say idiot, he looks stupid, sounds stupid and is stupid. He truly cannot be helped. Huang Shaotian on the other hand fires off words at the rate of a machine gun, which sounds pretty annoying. But seeing him piss off other people, as well as his extraordinarily potent trash-talking abilities, made for some really hilarious moments. If you think Doublelift fires savage shots in his interviews, wait until you see this Huang Shoatian guy.

eSports Underdog Narratives

Everybody loves a good underdog story. Ye Xiu is not an underdog if we look at his abilities, but he is an underdog because of circumstances forced upon him. In the final episode, I thought the depiction of Ye Xiu’s rivalry with Han Wenqing hit the mark. It was a pretty good choice, since the entertainment of eSports is often framed around narratives – KOO Tigers’ Cinderella Story, EG’s comeback from three racks down against EHOME, Origen going from promotion to the World Championship Semi-Finals in half a year. Dynasties may rise and fall – KOO Tigers have disbanded, while Origen have been relegated. But these moments of overcoming the odds continue to remain immortal.

Silver Lining on a Dark Cloud

Traditionally, Chinese production companies are usually subpar compared to the standard in current Japanese animating industry. Although Tencent are nowhere close to the likes of KyoAni or Production IG, they managed some really impressive work in Quan Zhi Gao Shou. I was pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous the aesthetics and character designs were, and the voice acting wasn’t half bad.

Unfortunately, in what seems like the publisher’s attempt to completely monopolise profits, they have taken on the production of Quan Zhi Gao Shou’s second season now that popularity has been established. Chinese companies often go for the obvious cash grab, instead of letting the goose lay its golden eggs. With a chance that the second season might be disappointing, for those who can’t decide whether to wait or not, I would recommend that people go and read the webnovel translations. Shoutout to Gravity Tales, where these can be found.

Concluding Thoughts

You won’t catch me screaming Ye Xiu, the way I do it with Faker’s name when the madman pulls off absolutely insane plays. But I can guarantee there is far more emotional investment in Ye Xiu’s quest for vindication and vengeance. His story far from being finished, I look forwards to Quan Zhi Gao Shou’s second season gaining a focus on competitive eSports, as Ye Xiu’s newly formed team goes on the rise.

June 21, 2017 at 10:41 pm
30 comments »
  • June 21, 2017 at 11:14 pmsouma

    “do you even gaming bro?” the anime

  • June 22, 2017 at 4:14 amShahir

    I actually saw this and man it was damn good. This needs a second season

  • June 22, 2017 at 5:05 amDude

    I’m worried about the second season, because its no longer the same studio tackling the project. They may retain the same voice actors, but the director, script-writer and the artists and animators would be different.

  • June 22, 2017 at 6:50 amlebleu

    some pretty nice animation aside, was actually kind of a terrible series IMO. overpowered protagonist made fights kinda boring, lots of pointless melodrama (esp with his ‘revenge’), and overall rather poor storytelling / plot progression.

    and maybe this is just me, but i find the voice-acting in chinese to be very harsh and grating, somewhat off-putting even, after being used to japanese VA – just my personal opinion.

    • June 22, 2017 at 7:43 amSABERKK

      You are not the only one. I also felt the voice acting really needs improvement.
      Main Character is pretty overpowered but rhis is quite common among chinese web novels which I was quite a heavy reader for a couple of years. I toned down quite a bit after seeing too many new series which are practically cut and paste from one another.
      To be fair, the animation is quite good and King’s Avatar is already considered one of the better chinese gaming web novels I have read. So all in all, it is adapted better than I expected.

    • June 22, 2017 at 9:19 amZaiden

      This isn’t even the best of what Chinese web novels have to offer. The day that ‘I Shall Seal the Heavens’ receives an anime adaptation…

    • June 22, 2017 at 3:52 pmap1001

      I would argue that he is not OP as much as strong, they already listed a bunch of people who are his rough equal. QZGS is actually very realistic in its approach, in that it doesn’t believe in a total underdog climbing to the top, because there is this magical thing called “Experience” and “Newbie Wall” exists, its not like the other teams are working any less than you, hardwork is a minimum requirement not a strength. Tang Rou functions as the usual newbie, while Ye Xiu function as her mentor.

      Ye Xiu is strong, but that doesn’t make his path back to the top easy. Newbies need experience, and they are still way too weak to face a pro team. They are facing regular players right now, and if they are struggling with new players on a new server, joining the pro league is a delusion.

    • June 27, 2017 at 8:22 pmKaleRylan

      I had a variation of this issue. Overpowered protagonists are one thing. Overpowered protagonists in a game type that exists to stop people from being overpowered protagonists just broke it for me.

      OH, his APM allows him to break all the game rules, as though every MMO ever doesn’t have freaking cooldowns for this exact reason. And oh, if you’re as awesome as him, you don’t actually need tanks or healers, just go in with all your big guns. What, it doesn’t work that way? Maybe you’re just not good enough.

      This basically was an MMO story by someone who’s never played an MMO, whereas something like Log Horizon was an MMO story by someone who loved MMOs. And Shiro was an incredibly overpowered protagonist. But not because he just got to magically ignore the rules; rather he understood the rules better than anyone and used them.

      If you want to do a super-overpowered protagonist, just do an actual fantasy story. Don’t set it in a setting where it is actually impossible.

      • June 27, 2017 at 9:15 pmZaiden

        I’m not sure if you actually follow eSports, but it’s not that farfetched. Have you ever heard of Faker? He’s far and beyond the best League of Legends player, pretty much unrivalled after four straight years. Anyone who seems like they might give him a fight for the crown always fall miserably short when Faker beats them silly at Worlds. I used to think Faker was overrated, but he keeps on doing things that you’d think were not possible. So eventually, I had to admit he was without question the best player in the world. For me, what you’re saying is entities like Faker who are far and above beyond the rest are impossible, which is completely untrue.

        Log Horizon is a poor point of comparison too. It wasn’t competitive, and had little dependence on mechanical skill. So your point is pretty moot there.

  • June 22, 2017 at 7:04 amBai Zuo embracing Russia Hysteria

    The series was definitely worth watching. It flew under my radar but after hearing good things from a friend, I gave it a go and marathoned through the 6 episodes that were out in one sitting.

    While the plot is hardly inspiring and trods down a well beaten path of cliches, a wronged protagonist fighting back against the corrupt system is a trope I quite enjoy. I wasted many hours playing and following SC2 and its eSports scene so the eSports element was something I could appreciate. (But c’mon, only 200apm? Granted, it’s only controlling 1 unit.)

    From a visual perspective, the 3D CGI was very bad at times but apart from that, the overall look of the series was quite impressive. I suppose having absolute behemoths for sponsors helps with that. Tencent and McDonald’s?! Japanese animation studios can only dream. A holy pilgrimage to the McDonald’s store in this series certainly shows how they’re embracing the advertising they get – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDD8odQvA4w

    P.S. We need more scenes glorifying keyboard rape
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yfMoIVTilo

    And of course, the underdog story of eSports growing while traditional media mocks it is also quite gratifying.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMZ2QFLrLvk

  • June 22, 2017 at 8:29 amGuile

    Did he ever even work at that job he lucked into at the internet cafe, or was that just an excuse to let him game all day?

    Also, no one looks that good and is that coherent after a 20 hour game session. Nobody.

    • June 22, 2017 at 7:28 pmZaiden

      Same could be said of any anime, where the storyline conveniently falls into place. And Ye Xiu does work in the internet cafe. I guess it’s a mix of what you said, and it being a comfortable environment for a hardcore gamer like him.

      Same can also be said about any anime, where pretty much no ugly character ever appears. And when they do, they’re pretty much in a minority of the few, while everyone else looks far above the general average. I guess that’s what it means to be protagonists.

  • June 22, 2017 at 11:58 ambakato

    Slight correction. This isn’t about vindication or vengeance. He’s not doing all this just to get back at his old team. He’s doing this for the glory. This game is his passion.

    • June 22, 2017 at 1:21 pmZaiden

      I guess I got too wrapped up in that aspect. Ye Xiu definitely has a lot of passion for Glory, and it’s definitely what drives him later on in the series once he achieves his vindication. But I do think that vindication and vengeance are definitely low hanging fruits for the time being.

  • June 22, 2017 at 12:39 pmYanDaMan

    This is like, the best anime i’ve seen in a long long time.

    I’m 100% sold on Chinese Anime from this show alone. The quality is so damn good and the character design and facial features looks beautiful. Not to mention amazing soundtrack and fight choreography.

    • June 22, 2017 at 1:26 pmZaiden

      Prepare to be disappointed. This is still the outlier, and donghua has a long way to go. However, I definitely think there’s promise, and Ani ni Tsukeru is proving to be a decent short this season.

  • June 22, 2017 at 3:02 pmShinwinds

    The first time i watch “The King Avatar”, i know for sure this Chinese Anime is good. Both literally and figuratively. The art is pretty,the story is especially hit me as a gamer myself. But the one thing i enjoy is the character. They all have cardboard cut trait but the way they talk and act in game is just like how we gamer in real life. Especially the trash talk man Huang Shaotian.

    For the couple of years we got bad chinese anime. But King Avatar give a glimps of hope. When Japanese Anime using the same old tired trope harem,ecchi,moe every season. I hope that some of the chinese anime like The King Avatar bring some alternative for us to enjoy. I personally like some of the Chinese web manga and it have pretty darn entertaining premise.

    • June 22, 2017 at 7:25 pmZaiden

      Tell me about it Shinwinds. Nothing above and beyond, but it spoke to my heart, though I watch eSports more often nowadays than actually playing games themselves.

      I still feel that Chinese donghua has its own subset of tropes and cliches which can be complained about. However, I’d say it’s overall better than the current situation that Japanese entertainment media find themselves in, although a lot of work needs to be made on the execution.

  • June 22, 2017 at 4:34 pmChromeNova

    I’m happy this show happened, because it proves that a chinese production can still compete with japanese productions. I feel like King’s Avatar was chosen as the adaptation because of the whole E-Sports/Tencent owning League of Legends, which makes sense since E-sports is steadily rising in popularity and viewership, and this can help bolster that even more. I do hope this paves the way for other chinese novel adaptations, like Desolate Era, Against the Gods, etc.

    • June 22, 2017 at 7:21 pmZaiden

      Against the Gods probably has too much rape and explicit content to make it onto TV. Chinese government hate that sort of stuff :/

      Excellent point by the way. Didn’t catch the point about Riot being owned about Tencent, but damn it makes a lot of sense now XD

  • June 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm5ofSpades

    FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF change of studio next season? Finally China made something remotely good for animation, and they may just screw it up again. Not sure if another studio will handle the action sequences right. And with all the character development and politics they’ve already cut out, the action shots were what made season 1 somewhat interesting to watch.

  • June 22, 2017 at 11:33 pmGinobi47

    This show was actually a surprise for me.

    The animations were good. That was the main selling point of this show. The action was fluid in most cases, aside from the usual recycling and the occasional swan dive of quality.

    I give this one a 5/10 with the animation as its sole merit.

    Story wise, it fell into the typical xanxai flow of the story. Overpowered characters that will steamroll over most opponents most of the time.

    I despise China’s anime industry for the garbage adaptation of Tales of Demons and Gods (it only has one episode and it is CG garbage at its worst) and the second season of Spirit Blade Mountain. Those were the half decent ones and they fuked them up!

    Quan zhi gao shou is probably the best chinese anime in my book…. though that isnt much considering the crap that its compared to

    • June 23, 2017 at 12:02 amZaiden

      As for Tales of Demons and Gods, it does contain sex or the implication of sex, which means that stuff would be omitted in a donghua adaptation. One episode sounds pretty damn terrible though, but I can’t imagine them adapting everything that’s been released so far.

      I reckon Ze Tian Ji received a pretty meh anime adaptation, which was pretty disappointing. It’s got a top notch premise as far as Chinese webnovels go, so that’s kind of gone to waste.

      Hopefully the industry levels up enough, so that I can eventually anticipate a decent adaptation of ‘I Shall Seal the Heavens’. The dream would be a Japanese studio picking it up, but I would settle for an upgraded Tencent.

      • June 24, 2017 at 9:45 pmGinobi47

        If there is one thing that I’ve learned about anything made in China is that anything that they produced that is GOOD will ALWAYS degrade in quality at a disturbingly fast pace.

        Im quite terrified for Quan zhi gao shou future to be honest. China will fuk it up in one way or another

        By the way, I dont remember Tales of Demons and Gods having any form of sexual scenes. I think you mean Against The Gods?

      • June 27, 2017 at 12:08 pmZaiden

        Nie Li does reminisce about doing the deed with two female characters in his past life. And quite often at that. I think it would be pretty easy to avoid including it.

  • June 27, 2017 at 12:15 amkmuse

    YES!! Finally, a series in which we won’t have to put up with annoying shrilly characters screeching in the ears. Hoping the next season would be as good, if not better.

    • June 27, 2017 at 7:59 amlebleu

      highly unlikely. but we shall see

  • June 28, 2017 at 7:56 amanonymous

    I saw this post 2 days ago and I ended up marathoning this. It only took a few episode to make me feel uneasy.

    Ye Qiu reminded me a bit about my gaming days. The way the story glorifies gaming is unsettling as I now regard gaming as a collosal waste of time and potential. I used to play 12+ hrs a day, led server raids, 1v10 people in mmos, and I can’t help but to feel disturbed at how Ye Qiu’s prideful arrogance stayed as a recurring theme.

    I hope this type of show doesnt catch on. The youths of tomorrow don’t need to be robbed of their potential by looking up to this lifestyle.

    • June 28, 2017 at 3:07 pmRedRocket

      I understand very well the feeling I could have been doing this instead of that and I like my current task better.

      You must consider the Profesional sports and the arts a blight on humanity. If not why do you consider eSports, not a Sport or an Art?

      You should have developed people and planning skills from your gaming days that will help you in the future.

      But if your thinking about your current activity is it is important and the other activity unimportant you might be on the path to total burnout, heart attack or stroke. A totally serious life always devoted to a serious realistic job that like everything else is probably to be totally forgotten in the next thousand years your work affecting nothing in the long run. Vacation and time off are needed for everyone, and when a person goes into serious work mode is not critical as most people cannot take the strain of an always serious life. Those who are best at needed serious tasks often are those who are the serious task interests them as much as gaming.

      A life cannot be for most totally serious. And gaming contributes to the economy as someone earned to pay for it. Your comment has been used to attack all artistic and sports activity going way back. The show has made clear that for most, just like music and the arts, people will reach their peak and then get a real job with plenty of time to put in a 40 year effort which is all society should expect from anyone.

    • June 28, 2017 at 4:15 pmZaiden

      He may be pridefully arrogant, but he is passionate about ‘Glory’ and has strong compassion. After all, he spent all of his tournament winning on helping impoverished pro players who didn’t make it. So I wouldn’t exactly be too critical of Ye Xiu. He has traits that are certainly worth looking up to as a human being.

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