If organizations like Cloud9 and Team Liquid are familiar to you, and gamer tags like SonicFox ring a bell, then you’re probably well-versed in the wild world of eSports.
eSports, or e-sports, however you want to say it, obviously stands for electronic sports. Just as there’s professional competitive sports like basketball or baseball, it’s possible to be pro-level and compete in PC and video games.
The organized gaming phenomenon has taken the entire world by storm over the last decade, with professional eSports teams rising up from just about every country you could think of. These international teams compete with one another to crown the best players in the world. Even traditional sports news networks like ESPN now televise eSports competitions. It would be foolish not to, as eSports is a multi-billion-dollar industry!
To give you an idea of the excitement and fast-paced action that makes such a market boom, you can check out the following video. It’s a recent nail-biting match between Team Liquid and KRÜ in the Stage 1 Masters Valorant Champions Tour 2022.
As you might expect, to be the top eSports team or eSports player requires intense training, just as traditional sports do. But the regimen is very different from the kind you find in say, soccer or hockey. A lot of eSports achievement focuses on precise and swift hand-eye coordination while using screens, keyboards and controllers. Communication between teammates, often through headsets, is also key.
Leagues separated by gender are common in traditional sports, but eSports may be the competitive world that finally breaks away from that kind of division. CNN has recently reported about the Valorant Game Changers initiative, which aims to “provide a platform for marginalized genders to compete and develop into professional players.” In a few years, the male-dominated eSports scene might not look the same.
Which brings us to the recently released Japanese manga, Guardian Angel. Now available with English translation, Guardian Angel follows a female main character Akane Hinata. Akane transfers to Tomohana High and is quickly invited to join one of the school’s clubs - the General Course eSports Society. A manga about a girls’ eSports team like this has the potential to inspire females to go professional in eSports. Or, as with the Valorant Game Changers program, real life female gamers may inspire more representation of professional eSports females in popular new anime and manga works.
Guardian Angel introduces eSports to the reader by presenting everything through Akane’s eyes. She’s completely new to the world of eSports, so the reader can learn about the phenomenon as she does. But she also proves early on to show great potential for competitive gaming thanks to her amazing hand-eye coordination. You can see this in the first chapter, available on the Manga Flip app for free. Or watch the chapters in video form as they’re gradually released on the Manga Bang YouTube Channel.