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.
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.