(All episodes watched):
The quality of the character designs and artwork in general has fallen off somewhat since season one, which is a pity. It's a little difficult to keep track of who's who as a result. It's also difficult to keep up with the subtitles--Chinese apparently only needs a few characters to express what would take many words in English would require many. The story picks up where it left off, with the established guilds annoyed at being repeatedly outperformed by Lord Grim and his new group. I was repeatedly giggling at the way the bad guys are made fools of--in episode one a host of volunteers joins the Happy guild on a raid, but virtually all of them are spies sent by other guilds. Lord Grim is nobody's fool, however, and can't be outsmarted. The language is sometimes colorful, like 'The spies didn't do shit'. This is a fun show and I had no doubt that I would be watching it to the end, but I can't help feeling that the overall quality has declined somewhat since season one. The animation doesn't seem quite as lavish and fluid as it used to be. No more colorful and artistic scenes of the sun racing across the sky to reflect the passage of time. I really wish everything had matched the standards of season one, because that was an awesome show. At least the plot seems to make as much sense and be as easy to follow as it used to be. There are SuperDeformed 'Short Plays' after the ED sequence, which is new. In short, good, but not as good.
The series seems less focused than season one was ...or maybe the slight but annoying alternation in the character designs is just bugging me. Episode two was fun; for one thing, we learn that Ye Qiu has an identical twin brother (it got confusing; is he really Ye Qiu, or was that his brother's name which he borrowed when he started competing in e-sports because it's pretty commonplace?). I wonder if this tension with his family will play any part in the climax of the story. The main conflict of the story seems to be the question of whether Ye Qiu will be able to become a professional again after a one year hiatus. It's not entirely clear, but what else could it be? About the only major criticism I can (sort of) offer of this show is that it is easy to fixate on what's going on at the moment within Glory and forget what the long-term goal is. Whatever the case may be, he just enjoys himself playing Glory (he shows no interest in the several attractive women around him) and is too good to be beaten. Grim sometimes gladly engages in PK ('Player Kill') and/or 'Scrapping' (grabbing valuable items from players who have gotten killed), which sometimes made me wonder how strong his ethics are. In the case of PK, he's usually just giving rivals a taste of their own medicine. When the jealous guilds put a reward on his head, Ye Qiu finds a way to get back at them, though having never played the game myself I didn't understand how he pulled it off. Nor did I understand the business with guild 'warehouses' in episode nine. Things get interesting when Excellent Era goes into a slump and basically comes crawling with an offer to rehire him as a coach. He has an undeniable skill as a leader, negotiator and persuader as he almost always gets what he wants from others. One minute he's fighting a vicious virtual duel with someone and the next he's recruiting them for the professional gaming team that he is assembling. This is just a game, after all, though it would be easy for ordinary people to take it personally. But time is running short and it looks like yet another season will be needed for Ye Qiu to regain everything that was taken from him back in the very first episode of this series. Indeed, at the end of the season his team has just met their first official requirement to become pros and has a long way to go. I'm looking forward to season three--but I wish the same team that produced season one would be rehired.
Last updated Tuesday, March 16 2021. Created Thursday, February 11 2021.