So let me start off by explaining my overall rating, why I think this show is worthy of a 10/10. I personally am a competitive gamer. I recently bought both a car and build a new computer, and I spent more on the computer than the car. I wouldn't say I'm professional or even close, but I also can't say I wouldn't love to go for that, or at least hit that level of skill.
The reason that relates to my rating for this anime is simple: it does exactly what it intends to do. Every gamer wants to be the crazy awesome solo-carry for their team, and every player wants to be recognized just by their name. It's like Leroy Jenkins for World of Warcraft or Seagull for Overwatch; that's what we all aspire to be...!
This show is about being a professional gamer and the satisfaction you can get from being the best at what you do. There is the excitement of outplaying top players with noobs just because you know exactly what to do. There is going against the meta and playing the class no one wants to, the class that is "too weak" or "unviable" in the competitive scene. That's what this anime set out to tell, and that's what it did, exactly as intended. That's why this is a 10/10.
Of course many of us would love to see more beyond the simple number-smashing of an MMO, and yeah, it certainly could have been put in, but in all reality this IS reality. Playing a Beast Mastery hunter in the Draenor expansion of WoW was completely rediculous, but by practicing and holding onto my own simple pride, really, I personally was able to hit in the top 2% of all BM hunters, and therefore was perfectly able to run mythic difficulty raids. Yes, it's repetitive to run the same raid with the same class over and over again. Yes, there are a massive amount of tiny adjustments to make in order to max out your potential. And yes, you do get a lot of hate for playing a "sub-meta" class, or hate when you outdamage other regular players, but that is the reality of competitive gaming.
Throughout the show, as other reviews will mention, many characters are introduced, and for the most part many of them only hang around for an episode or two, if that. When you're looking for a team, you pick up and drop players pretty quickly, and you have to because you can't afford to lose any time; the tighter knit your team, the better made your teamwork. The focus was on the characters, not the players.
Even with that focus of the anime, there was actually quite a bit of backstory, you just had to be paying attention to the details, because the references were quite small for a majority of them, such as the main character losing his job because he refused to play purely for commercial gain, and instead played for fun. He couldn't afford the early termination fee because he had given everything he'd earned to those gamers who were screwed over in their contracts or couldn't make the cuts. Details like that give the character a lot of depth, and make the entire experience more relatable and deep.
Very pretty. Yeah, I noticed reused animations once or twice, but all-in-all it was extremely entertaining to watch, as you'd get both the weight and power of the fight, the full intensity of the control required by these players, and at the same time you'd feel relaxed and calm, like you could really see and feel how much these players were enjoying themselves. Just looking at the main characters eyes you could see the laughter in almost every fight.
To be honest, I don't often pay much attention to sound quality in anime. Of course, as this was Chinese it threw me off quite often, but I felt every character was voiced extremely well and their personalities came out immediately and very clearly. The music went right along with the feel of mixing that relaxed yet intense enjoyment of competitive gaming.
As I've mentioned, the characters have a lot more depth than a lot of people give this show credit for. They don't go into backstory, and I believe that's where people believe character building comes from, but in all reality the feelings of the main character, the people devastated by his retirement, the growth from depression into the joy of gaming, from there the desire to begin again the right way, it was all there. Every character had growth, individually, but more importantly as a team unit.
This anime sets out to tell the story of professional gaming, and does so perfectly. If you find that interesting or play competitively yourself, I recomend it. If you're looking for lovey-dovey emotional rom-com fantasy swordfighting, this isn't the place for you, but try it out anyways! You might like it more than you'd expect!