Famous Chinese animation The King’s Avatar picking up steam among anime fans around the globe

By Chen Fangjun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/6/6 17:48:39

Popular Chinese anime The King's Avatar attracts a wider foreign fan base. Photo: IC and Internet


Every day at about 6 pm, 26-year-old Christopher Villasana watches an episode of animation, records his reaction to it and uploads the recorded video to YouTube.

He is a professional vlogger, so routinely recording and posting videos are a part of the job. However, there are days when he is a little more excited about it. Villasana is always happiest on Friday or Saturday mornings because he would be recording videos about The King's Avatar, a Chinese animation.

The King's Avatar or Quanzhi Gaoshou is adapted from a Web novel. The story is about Ye Xiu, a top professional eSport player in a multiplayer online game named Glory, who leaves his team because of unjust treatment and starts a new game service from scratch.

Villasana said he first heard about The King's Avatar in April when he just happened to be looking at the spring season anime chart. He watched the animation and was impressed, and it soon became his "favorite anime out of all the animes this season."

He was also surprised by people's reaction to his videos, which he posts under the name ReapersAnimeReaction. His first YouTube video on The King's Avatar quickly become one of his most popular video clips and has been watched over 32,689 times as of June 6.

"I think The King's Avatar is picking up steam in the US," said Villasana, who lives in New York. "I see more and more people starting to do reactions and reviews for it."

High-quality Chinese animations encourage foreign anime fans to learn more about the culture that gave birth to them. Photo: IC and Internet

A fascinating story and setting

After its release in April, The King's Avatar was listed on MyAnimeList, the world's most active online anime and manga community and database, the first time a Chinese animation made the list. The anime now has an 8.19 rating out of 10, which is one of the highest among animations this season, thanks to positive feedback from 13,661 anime fans. It also boasts more than 69,652 followers.

For foreign animation viewers, The King's Avatar is enchanting because of its fascinating story and creative setting.

First posted on Qidian, one of the most popular Chinese websites for online novels in 2011, The King's Avatar has gained millions of fans in China and abroad. 

Ciaran Setanta, a 25-year-old special educational needs coordinator in Pennsylvania, is one of them. Besides his daily work, he is an animation vlogger known as Cuchallain on YouTube.

After seeing the preview in April, Setanta was so captivated that he searched for the series on bilibili.com, one of China's largest video-sharing platforms, and became one of the first foreigners to do a reaction video to the animation. His videos have been shared on the Chinese platform, one of which has been watched over 507,000 times.

Setanta said he was mostly drawn to the game because it involves his favorite type of game: massive multiplayer online games (MMOG).

"As a gamer, The King's Avatar is so much more powerful for me," he said. "I love how the animation combines the very flashy, intense side of MMOG action with the very human and emotional side of pro-gaming."

Apart from the storyline, The King's Avatar also stands out for its picture quality.

"The animation is among the best of any seasonal show I've ever seen with incredibly fluid movements, particularly during the choreography of a fight," said Setanta. "I end up watching each fight scene two to three times just to fully grasp exactly how the fight progressed on each side from one movement to the next."

For those who are not eSport fans, picture quality is the most important thing that attracts people. Villasana was particularly delighted by this element.

"It has the best animation I have seen, and in my opinion rivals one of the best-animated animes in Japan called Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works," said Villasana. "Even though I am not a fan of eSport, I am crazy for this animation."

Subtitles and dubbing

While the animation enthralls many anime fans, there is one thing that some fans would like to see happen - English language dubbing. The animation is in Chinese with English subtitles, but some fans argue that the translated text is very long and that they often do not get to read the whole thing before a new subtitle takes its place.

Even Villasana, who finds Chinese voice acting fascinating and sees it as a welcomed change from Japanese, admitted that he would prefer English dubbing for the animation.

"I am a very slow reader, so it's sometimes hard to keep up with subtitles," he explained.

Sloan Lester, a 19-year-old who lives in New Jersey is known as The Female Otaku on YouTube for her animation reaction videos. When she first came across The King's Avatar she knew almost no Chinese and was very surprised at how fast the language is spoken.

"It took some time to get used to listening to Chinese voice actors, as it is a faster language," she said. 

In the beginning, Lester used to pause the video to read the subtitles, but she got the hang of the subtitles very quickly.

"The King's Avatar gives many people a chance to learn and get accustomed to Chinese," she said. "A fan told me that Chinese is a one syllable language, so that's why they talk so fast."

Passionate Chinese fans

A part of the local and international success of The King's Avatar is due to its avid fans who recommend it to all of their friends.

"Chinese fans of The King's Avatar have played an important role in its becoming popular among foreigners," said Wu Shijun, a senior at Guangdong University of Technology.

As a loyal fan, he is also devoted to sharing the animation at home and abroad. Wu had transferred many The King's Avatar reaction videos from YouTube to bilibili.com and has succeeded in getting thousands of fans to recommend the anime.

"Whenever there is a great product in the Chinese anime industry, we hope it would be known and liked by more people," said Wu.

Chinese anime fans' enthusiasm for the anime has fascinated many foreign reviewers, including Lester.

"Knowing that people from China care about my opinion, feels amazing," she said. "They will try to cross the language barrier by using a Chinese-to-English translating app so that I can understand their comments."

Setanta has also benefited a lot from this communication. When he saw the first episode of The King's Avatar on bilibili.com, there was no official translation, but his Chinese friend translated the lines for him.

Setanta is also happy that he can help Chinese fans. "There are even fans of The King's Avatar in China who will use my videos to practice their English language skills, which I find amazing," he said.

In his opinion, through the transfer of videos, translation, comments and exchange of opinions, there will be fewer misunderstandings.

For example, when people first started posting 666 on his live reactions, Setanta was very confused.

"In the West, 666 is known as 'the mark of the beast,' which indicates the antichrist," he said. "However, I was told that in China it is used to show that something is either 'cool' or 'funny.'"

Seeing that his reaction videos have become so popular, Villasana has decided to watch more Chinese animation.

"I have seen another Chinese anime called Rakshasa Street which is beautiful," he said. "I feel that Chinese animations need to be given a chance!"

Newspaper headline: On the world stage


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