The upside and downside of this series is that it is 40 episodes. Anything of that length is likely to have its ups and downs. King's Avatar is no exception. To its credit-- and the reason I give it 9 stars instead of 8-- is that the large percentage of its episodes are very good, with lesser episodes countable on one hand. Even the poorest of its episodes are still pretty good.
In this case, the downsides first:
First the #1 peeve: English captioning.
The worst part of the series is the English captioning, which is very poorly done. The captioning is tied to actual spoken timing rather than readabiity, which doesn't give viewers near enough time to read what is said. Very often the captions merely flash on and off the screen. I found myself constantly keeping my finger on the pause button and was regularly forced to rewind just to see what the blazes they just said. Not the worst captioning I've ever seen, but pretty close to it. I didn't discount the series because of it, but if I did I'd have given this 4 stars based on that alone. The captioning is that bad.
Reviewing the show itself: At times it can be a bit slow and emo-bound. On rare occasions the plot leaves the viewer wondering what just happened. Although strings are mostly tied up and revealed later on, sometimes the timing is poor, creating a weak story line. This was rare, but confusing when it happened. (No details on that: spoilers.) For the most part though, the story held together.
On the plus side: just about everything. Excellent sets, interesting characters without cliche, and top-notch game-emulation animation. They did go a bit overboard sometimes in that area, putting player emotions into the game character's actions (such as the game character sighing when the player was unhappy) but we can cut them some slack for dramatic license.
The general plot and story was interesting, if perhaps a little sappy toward the end. The series retains its momentum. One thing I did like about it is that the featured game team was not invincible; as would be the case in real life, they had their wins and losses. That bit of realism added to the show. People sometimes complain about the "unbeatable heroes". No worry on that score here.
The individual characters, acquired on the team person-by-person, gave viewers time to become acquainted with each and to be involved in their singular stories and personalities. We could feel the concept of team-building and the difficulty in overcoming obstacles... as well as individuals making blundering mistakes. This kept the viewer a bit off-balance so we didn't take anything for granted... and added to the drama.
It wasn't a perfect presentation; thus the general ratings of 8-9 stars. But for a series of this magnitude and length, 8 to 9 stars is a sure win. I binge-watched the whole thing on Netflix in just a few days, and pretty much enjoyed the whole thing.
I would have enjoyed seeing a more imaginative ending, which is why I didn't give it 10 stars. Would have given it 8 for "needing a more creative final episode"... but it was good enough up to that point to deserve the extra credit of well-done overall.
The King's Avatar has a rather unique presentation and story line. As a bonus, it presents (or so I imagine) a decent inside look at professional eGaming, even if a bit of drama-com was thrown in. Good series, well worth watching.
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