Hey guys, as promised I am back to write my final impression review about the live-action adaptation of The King’s Avatar starring Chinese superstar Yang Yang as Ye Xiu – the Textbook of Glory. I have to say this no matter what, but the entire 40-episode experience of the live-drama had been a fun ride, a dramatic journey, and an inspiring story. As a reader of The King’s Avatar novel, and a fan of its anime adaptation – I am quite critical about this adaptation before it started. However, the live-action really owned it after just a few episodes after it premiered on July 24, 2019 and eventually turned into an astounding e-sports drama independent from the glory of its counterpart from different media such the novel, the manhua, and the donghua.
Alright, so let’s proceed directly since I have so many things to say about it and I felt like I contained it and may forget some of it.
Table of Contents
The King’s Avatar live-action series had seriously break boundaries and it never fails to surprise the viewers both the novel readers, anime watchers, and new viewers. Yes, they made some revision and I couldn’t complain about it because I felt like they’ve done well in executing some changes. In fact, I am screaming for a sequel right after the 40thepisode finished. Yes, we could actually get a season 2 of The King’s Avatar live-action since they only covered Team Happy’s championship in the Challengers League on which we still have plenty of materials left for adaptation if we will take a look at the original The King’s Avatar novel. On my end, I am actually wishing for it since I want to see Team Happy compete in the actual Glory Professional League fighting against other teams such as Team Tyranny, Blue Rain, Tiny Herb, Samsara, and more.
The King’s Avatar Live-Action Trailer
The show finished pretty quick and I think it’s the advantage of releasing it as a web-series on which fans like me were pretty satisfied since 6 episodes were released every week which is really amazing. As the first Chinese series to be released globally at WeTV app, and with how the production team give us an epic show of the in-game world of Glory and the different flavors of our favorite characters from the novel, I could say that The King’s Avatar live-action series had been a successful one cementing itself as a great adaptation of the novel.
CHARACTERS AND ACTING
In general, I believed that the show gives us an exemplary set of characters that were vital to the story’s plot. Though, they had cut some characters and combined some in one portrayal such as Chen Yehui and Liu Hao, Wei Chen and Sun Zheping – I am really fascinated by how they did this cleverly and flawlessly.
The acting skills of the cast members for The King’s Avatar live-action were truly convincing and I am really glad that they gave a fresh and new flavor to the portrayal of their respective characters. I ended up liking some of the characters that I used to hate from the novel because of the actors’ personification of them. Furthermore, I really love the emotional touch that they gave to the characters and giving them life with such a positive ambiance as opposed to a more serious mood that I imagined them when reading the novel and even watching The King’s Avatar anime adaptation which premiered last 2017.
Now, I’ll gonna discuss which actors really did a pretty good job with their characters in the breakdown that I did below on which I have divided them into three groups:
GROUP 1: GREAT CHARACTER PORTRAYAL THAT I TRULY ENJOY
Yang Yang as Ye Xiu/Ye Qiu – I have to say this but I used to think that Yang Yang is just all pretty face but I have finally realized that he is such a versatile actor with so much potential behind his handsome looks. He really did a good job portraying the main hero in our story with a light-hearted approach giving us a Ye Xiu with different facets – funny, fragile, overwhelming, serious, playful, and so many more which goes beyond what we could imagine from the novel.
Lai Yumeng as Su Mucheng – my favorite girl really did a good job here in the live-action. Lai Yumeng really gives Su Mucheng a cute and adorable portrayal of the fierceness and strong will. She really shows so much feminine power, simply proving that she’s a flower that stands among the thorns and she could prick anyone who dared to mess up with Ye Xiu. So far, I truly enjoyed the way Su Mucheng interacts with Sun Xiang here in the live-action.
Fan Jinwei as Qiao Yifan – if there’s anyone in the series that gave us a satisfying dramatic scene other than Yang Yang, and then I’ll give that recognition to Fan Jinwei. He really nailed his portrayal as one of our cinnamon rolls in the series. Though, I have to admit that his Qiao Yifan here in the live-action is quite lame compared to the novel but he really melted our hearts with those melodramatic scenes.
Yu Yonghai as Huang Shaotian – The best portrayal for me right after Yang Yang’s Ye Xiu, the Huang Shaotian in The King’s Avatar live-action is so adorable and funny to watch. I even liked this Huang Shaotian compared to the one in the novel and with so much positive ambiance that he exudes every time he is on the screen, Yu Yonghai truly did a magnificent job.
Gao Hanyu as Yu Wenzhou– I am quite critical with this portrayal especially that Yu Wenzhou is one of my personal favorite characters from the novel but Gao Hanyu didn’t disappoint and gave us a different flavor of the Blue Rain’s team captain. In fact, he showed us a more lenient and positive Yu Wenzhou but still with so much calm and good manners which the character is known for.
Sun Ning as Luo Ji – adorable, yes but with a very serious tone, that’s how I could describe our genius Luo Ji in The King’s Avatar live-action series. I am really happy that he did play a more vital role in the show on which he is acting like a tactician or the main researcher of Team Xing Xin. In the novel, we all know his genius-level intelligent but it wasn’t really shown that much, so having a unique and strong portrayal of Luo Ji’s character in the show is truly amazing and Sun Ning did a great job there.
Liang Yimu as Sun Xiang – I used to hate the character in the novel and I have to admit that it’s just his childish and immature boastful behavior that caused it. However, it really feels good that Liang Yimu used that pretty face of him and adorable aura to make a light-hearted approach in the portrayal of one of the series’ antagonists. In fact, Sun Xiang is too far from being a villain and Liang Yimu indeed gives us not a villain but an adorable character who could do wrongs but also correct his way and accept defeat which is a major character development that reflects the novel.
Leng Jiyuan as Xiao Shiqin – I love the character of Xiao Shiqin in the novel and I love him even more now that I had seen him in the live-action. Intelligent and positive, he’s just too pure of a great leader to exist and really a good-natured one too.
Li Junchen as An Wenyi – Here we have my favorite The King’s Avatar character from the novel, An Wenyi had always been my topped cinnamon roll and the guy that I wish I have some of his mental fortitudes, to begin with. I love the character confidence ever since in the novel and I am glad that we still have it here in the live-action and what’s more is that An Wenyi here really has that aptitude that really suited to be among the thinking heads in the team. I’ve always believed that he is among the most brilliant, confident, calm, and logical characters in the novel and I am glad that I have seen some of this feature in the live-action.
Di Zilu as Qiu Fei – I am quite caught off guard with the portrayal of Qiu Fei in the live-action as it is really different from my expectation from the novel. Nevertheless, Qiu Fei, I think have the most handsome actor after Ye Xiu in the live-action of The King’s Avatar and I am pretty satisfied with that. On a more positive side, I am glad that he played an antagonistic character against Sun Xiang here which I think is both cute and funny, to begin with. Imagine that Su Mucheng, Xiao Shiqin, and Qiu Fei seems to work together to irritate Sun Xiang and eventually turn him into an adorable character in the show.
GROUP 2: CONSISTENT PORTRAYAL
Jiang Shuying as Chen Gou – As much as I love the Chen Gou in the live-action compared to the novel, I think some revision in the character’s aura isn’t simply working. Nonetheless, our Chen Gou this time is more of a good sister to be with and I am really fascinated with such positivity and Jiang Shuying exudes in her character. Though, Chen Gou is quite soft in this portrayal and more like a cinnamon roll which I personally liked.
Li Yuhao as Tang Rou– In the novel, Tang Rou is undoubtedly one of my favorites and with so much strength in her personality, she’s a woman with so much feminism that I truly admire. Li Yuhao’s Tang Rou is quite low-key here and more like an ordinary character behind Ye Xiu. I felt like Qiao Yifan overpowered her existence here in the live-action but nonetheless, the portrayal is pretty good and on the safe side.
Liu Qiushi as Xu Boyuan – my Blue River is here and I felt like I am not expecting this kind of portrayal but I have to admit that Liu Qiushi did a fun character personification to my first ever cinnamon roll from the novel. I just can’t accept sometimes though that he ended up like a clumsy and unreliable character in the series though I have to admit that I did ship him with Ye Xiu here, well, even in the novel they are among my favorite ships to begin with.
Gu YuFeng as Wang Jiexi – I actually loved the WJX in the novel more but what we have here in the live-action is a pretty decent one with so much positivity brimming around him. Gu Yufeng definitely did a good job portraying the alliance best team captain.
Gu Youming as Han Wenqing – Personally, I felt bad that we had only seen Han Wenqing on few occasions in the story but that’s reasonable since he had been constantly mentioned in the novel but does not really appear in most of the scenes. When it comes to portrayal, Gu Youming’s Han Wenqing is quite soft-hearted here and doesn’t exude the tsundere aura that I am looking for. Hence, I felt like it’s lacking but if we won’t really dig deeper, I am quite satisfied with how this portrayal of Han Wenqing went on. My favorite part is definitely, the one in the ALL-STAR competition.
Lai Yi as Bao Rongxing – Always unpredictable but fun to watch with, that is the signature feeling that I always get when having Bao Rongxing on my screen. Lai Yi did a decent job of portraying him here and giving our Steamed Bun with so much personality.
Song Hanyu as Wu Chen – I am not happy with some revisions on the character of Wu Chen but I have to say this that the actor really did a good job of portraying the former captain of Everlasting.
GROUP 3: SATISFYING CHARACTER PORTRAYAL BUT COULD BE IMPROVE
Yang Tingdong as Mo Fan – I loved our Deception player from the novel and he is among my cinnamon rolls too. I felt like the character in the live-action is missing something or maybe too quite but showing that kind of emotion that I am not expecting to see from Mo Fan based on my own expectation of the character from the novel. The acting is average and I think it could be improved tremendously. Maybe, I am really looking for that mysterious anti-social ambiance that Mo Fan had in the novel.
Bai Xiang as Wei Chen – I am sorry but I am not quite convinced by the actor behind this Wei Chen character. Or maybe, I just did have a different expectation of the character from the novel. Maybe, it is the lack of delving deeper into his back story here in the live-action but I think it’s not really that bad.
VISUALS AND CINEMATOGRAPHY
I have to say this once and for all; The King’s Avatar live-action series had set a new standard for a live-action adaptation and is breaking boundaries on what we had previously seen from any other shows.
The visuals and the entire scenery of the series are truly amazing. From its beautiful cast which perfectly suits most of the characters assigned to them, into the dramatic and amazing storytelling which makes is quite independent of its source material, and the pacing of the story is actually fast but was done efficiently. Yes, there are tons of deleted scenes from the original source material but what really matters are the important emotional aspect of the story which was perfectly shown and even intensify in the live-action. Visually, the series removed some descriptive fight scenes but gave us satisfying actions and adventure of our favorite characters inside the game and in the professional arena.
I was really impressed with every camera angle in the series. It really captured the story perfectly which makes me like seeing some of the most important parts of the story in novel the way I imagined it while reading it.
Though I have to admit that among the weaknesses of the live-action are those some crappy hand movements of the mouse and inadequate/inappropriate keyboard hitting which making us all think that the characters aren’t actually playing but simply acting. This has been the criticism that the series received when they released the first official trailer for The King’s Avatar live-action last 2018. Nonetheless, they had fixed some of it in the actual show but still, some scenes captured it.
Ye Xiu’s Avatar – Lord Grim
Another issue I think is the shaky scenes when we are in Glory’s in-game world or in the professional arena. It really lacks the creativity that the anime had given to us but reflects a more realistic presentation of the in-game world which we could usually see in real-life MMORPG games. Though, fans including myself had simply wish if they could make the in-game characters a little bit customized so it is easy to distinguish them and also give more radiant and colorful visuals to the viewers. As the in-game characters in The King’s Avatar live-action series were quite bare and almost have the same appearances.
I am giving thumbs up though for the 3D aspect of the in-game world, especially the fact that they used 3DCG on the characters based on the actual cast of the shows too.
I have previously said this but the setting of The King’s Avatar live-action show is so advanced and modern. Yes, I felt like even the real-world setting of the series is captured inside a computer with a super-advanced robot doing all the work.
Imagine the Xing Xin internet café; I wouldn’t dare to call it an internet café. It’s huge, with beautiful interior design – I felt like it is some kind of a headquarters for some anti-alien invading forces. What’s even more amazing is that everything in it is so damn clean, spacious, and modern which is really far from what I imagined in the novel, or maybe my imagination simply sucks. Nonetheless, even the other areas in the show including the headquarters of the professional teams such as Excellent Era, Tiny Herb, Blue Rain, and Tyranny is really looking great.
The stage of the professional alliance is also amazing, though it is still quite hard to believe that e-sports could be so popular which people could fill the whole arena, isn’t it? But that is the reality inside the story of The King’s Avatar and I am perfectly satisfied with it. Though I felt like they may have got some ideas about it from the ALL-STAR COMPETITION which was shown in The King’s Avatar (2018) OVA.
The structure of the alliance though had been quite simple though and it seems that most of the captains from the different teams have a huge say in the decision-making.
In the novel, professional Glory players were big-time celebrities and it’s quite hard for them to outside as they’ll definitely attract the attention of the public and fans. However, this is the big difference in the live-action which I think makes the series a little bit more realistic and acceptable. Glory players could go outside in the public normally without hiding their faces (except for Huang Shaotian I may say). We all know that even in the novel and anime, Su Mucheng had to go commando in order to visit Ye Xiu in Happy Internet Café as people might recognize her if she simply visits him without hiding her identity and a commotion will surely take place. This really makes me remember that time when Tao Xuan, Sun Xiang, and Xiao Shiqin visited Ye Xiu in Happy Internet Café, and all thanks to Yifan their undercover had been blown off. So, in the live-action, they could go to the public without attracting people’s attention, they could even blend in with the crowd while watching a match. Remember when Su Mucheng, Xiao Shiqin, and even Sun Xiang watched Happy’s final match before their face-off. Furthermore, in the finale of the live-action series, we did have Han Wenqing, Zhang Xinjie, and even Wang Jiexi randomly sitting among the crowd to watch the match.
MUSIC AND SOUNDTRACK
The King’s Avatar Live-Action Theme Song – One of the most redeeming factors of the live-action and strength is its music which really gives life, and so much emotion and power to its story. So far, the four (4) officially released soundtracks of the series were really catchy and emotional, and what’s even more amazing is that those songs were played in the most appropriate moments which make the entire experience of watching The King’s Avatar a heartfelt and exciting moment.
R1SE – they sang the series ED Glory Battlefield
The opening them of the song is titled Light from the Ashes by CaiWeize. It definitely set the mood on watching the whole series and the e-sports experience. What’s even more amazing about it is when played if Ye Xiu and Team Xing Xin were about to do something epic both in the in-game world of Glory or in the professional scene. I have to say this but sometimes, just hearing Light from the Ashes at the most crucial point in the series gave me shivers and goosebumps.
Next, we have Standing on the Peak by Mao Buyi. It is kind of melodramatic but inspiring song and was played in some of the most dramatic scenes in the series. This is the song that made me cry big time during some of the flashback scenes in the series involving Ye Xiu, his father, and even Su Muqiu. This just really sets the mood for a heartfelt experience and to be honest, that scene in the 30thepisode where Ye Xiu returns to his home and meets his father just breaks my heart big time. And with this song playing in the background, it even made the entire experience melancholic and heartbreaking, giving emphasis on Yang Yang’s heartfelt acting in that scene.
A cute and another heartfelt song in the series is The Best of You by DuanAojuan. Su Mucheng and Chen Gou are usually the characters that come into my mind immediately when hearing this song. The song seriously thrives in its simplicity and sentimentality partnered with piano playing in the background. In some of the most crucial and sentimental scenes in the series, I can’t avoid but think that it’s actually Su Mucheng singing this song only for Ye Xiu and it’s really romantic (though no confirmed romantic affairs had been shown between the two characters even in the anime and novel). Though, I have to admit that the live-action really gives us a satisfying portrayal of almost every character from the novel.
The fourth (4th) song is my personal favorite or maybe it’s just my insane neurons were saying. It’s titled Glory Battlefield by R1SE and somehow, I felt like it could be the very own theme song too of Yu Alexius Anime Portal team (j.k. but possibly). What’s amazing about it is the feeling it exudes when a group of people was working together to reach their goal and I felt like it could really apply to any group of people who really wish to reach their own peak of glory. This song is simply dedicated to Team Xing Xin and to almost every team in the Glory professional alliance. It’s motivating, catchy, and provoking – simply enough for me to like it and it’s even the first song of the series that I heard when its promotional video had been released few days before the actual release of The King’s Avatar.
IMPACT & LEGACY
I have said this before but The King’s Avatar simply sets the boundary even higher for any live-action series. I am really fascinated with how much effort, investment, and creativity were exerted on this project because this is a quality show that I hope every Asian drama series could have.
Unlike with historical live-action adaptation of any anime or novel in China, The King’s Avatar is set in modern-day which makes it more relatable and enticing to the eyes. In fact, it really gives a breath of fresh air for anime-based live-action series. Though the in-game aspect of the series still has some flaws and definitely could’ve been improved, it’s already satisfying.
At some point, before the series premiered, some people are saying that The King’s Avatar live-action cast was only all pretty face but it has been proven wrong since the actors could definitely act and give a really interesting and fresh portrayal of the characters. They exerted every single effort to own the character and even surpassed some of our expectations and imagination about the characters which I felt like most of today’s live-action series usually failed at.
No matter what happened, I strongly believed that The King’s Avatar will be one of the most well-received live-action series from an anime or novel. Any upcoming live-action series could definitely learn from it and also strive to surpass its impact on the community of viewers, not just the anime viewing community, but also the novel readers and the drama watchers.
Alright, let me wrapped up this post with a short and obvious question. Will there be a season 2 of The King’s Avatar live-action drama? That is the question that I believed most of us were asking especially with how it concluded at its 40th episode. Though it was actually a great finale, novel readers know that it’s just the start of a battle for the higher glory. There are still enough materials from the novel that could be adapted into the 2nd season but it’s quite hard to expect knowing how great and conclusive the finale had been. Nonetheless, I am also hoping that The King’s Avatar live-action series season 2 will be realized in the near future and obviously, we need to meet the other teams in the alliance especially Team Samsara, Team Misty Rain, Team Hundred Blossoms, and Team 301 which were among my favorites too.
Let me ask you guys, which part of the series did you enjoy the most? Who are your favorite characters and portrayal in the series? What are your favorite songs of the show and would you like for the series to have a season 2? I am excited to learn about your thoughts too on the series and I’ll be more than happy if you can write it down in the comment section below.
Code name: Yu Alexius is an ambiguous entity who loves to talk about anime and Chinese animation in general. An insatiable soul from the Pearl of the Orient, a frustrated writer and a Houtarou Oreki wanna-be. He is a piece of a lunatic and everything crazy.