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Can We Expect an eSports Anime in 2018?

"esports" (CC BY 2.0) by sam_churchill

Over the last couple of years, anime enthusiasts around the world have been calling out for a show based on the up and coming world of professional gaming. After all, it isn’t like playing video games is a subject that anime actively avoids. Log Horizon, No Game No Life and, urgh, Sword Art Online are just some of the releases that explore the modern landscape of gaming. Meanwhile, almost every mainstream anime in history seems to include at least one tournament, some are even built entirely around the idea of competing. So why is eSports yet to inspire an anime series and should we expect one to appear soon?

What Are eSports?

For those who don’t know, the term eSports refers to the professional competitive gaming industry. Much like more traditional sports such as football or tennis, professionals come together to compete, but instead of balls or rackets, pro gamers’ apparatus is a gaming PC or console. The most popular games played at these events are CS:GO, League of Legends and Dota 2, though the list is constantly expanding. Professional gaming tournaments have become so popular over the last few years that streaming sites such as Twitch provide millions around the worlds with streams to popular tournaments, while sites such as bets.io allow enthusiasts to bet on their favourite teams and players. Needless to say, eSports is a pretty big deal.

The King’s Avatar

Of course, some fans will know that there is already an animation that focuses on the rising popularity of professional gaming tournaments. While most would argue it is technically donghua as opposed to anime, The King’s Avatar (Quan Zhi Gao Shou) is a Chinese animation that explores the tumultuous eSports career of Ye Xiu. Despite being only twelve episodes long, The King’s Avatar is already being praised as a “trailblazer” that could inspire future eSports anime shows.

World renowned as a top-tier pro-player, Ye Xiu has spent most of his adult life competing in the online multiplayer game Glory. He’s so talented that he’s known more commonly as the Battle God, with thousands celebrating his innate gaming skill and immeasurable contributions to the world of eSports.

Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that his team decided to fire him for a number of ever so slightly suspicious reasons. Following his departure from the world of professional gaming, our protagonist becomes a manager at an internet café but it isn’t long before Glory’s tenth server is launched. With a wounded yet triumphant competitive spirit, Ye Xiu decides to get back in on the game with a decade of experience, a secret weapon and plenty of memories to hand. Oh, and an appropriately ironic new username Lord Grim. We won’t give too much away, as chances are you’ll want to watch The King’s Avatar for yourself, but Ye Xiu is competing for more than a title in Glory.

What About a Japanese Anime About eSports?

Alas, while The King’s Avatar is undoubtedly a good show worth watching it isn’t regarded as an anime by most of the community. Yes, this may be the chunk that doesn’t watch anime that isn’t from Shonen Jump, but it remains a cold hard fact that no Japanese animation studio has released an eSports anime. Worse still, it doesn’t look as though there are any planned for 2018.

This really is a shame considering how inspiring anime tends to be when it comes to representing even the strangest of hobbies. Plus, we can’t think of any other medium that would explore the world of eSports better depending upon which studio tackled the subject.

What do you think? Have we missed a show that explored the world of eSports? Does The King’s Avatar count? Let us know in the comments below.