The LPL is the first League of Legends esports league to kick off 2021.
With a total of 17 teams, it’s the largest league currently underway, with a single round-robin regular season and the top ten qualifying for a double elimination playoff bracket.
After Invictus Gaming won Worlds in 2018, FunPlus Phoenix in 2019, and Suning taking it all the way to the finals last year, there’s a lot at stake for LPL teams as they set their sights on the Summoner’s Cup once again.
The 2021 Spring split theme song “Break The Silence” captures this theme and made waves in the community upon release due to its anime-style cut.
After the silent opening credit, we are greeted by a sunny bright blue sky, fluffy clouds, and a still water reflection that stretches beyond the horizon.
TheShy combines Tokyo Ghoul and Angel Beats
In the middle of this serene setting is Invictus Gaming’s Kang “TheShy” Seung-lok dressed in full white playing a matching grand piano, because he actually does know how to play it in real life.
The backdrop is a reference to the iconic Tokyo Ghoul opening “Unravel”, which shows Kaneki sitting the middle of a setting that’s made up of — you guessed it — a sunny bright blue sky, fluffy clouds, and a still water reflection that stretches beyond the horizon.
Clearly this typical screen saver display isn’t exclusive to any one anime, for Sakamichi no Apollon’s (Kids on the Slope) opening theme entitled “Sakamichi no Melody” by YUKI has a very similar scene.
After a brief pause, the sole instrumental piano opening starts. Anime fans are instantly brought back to their Angel Beats days, where the original opening song “My Soul, Your Beats!” performed by Lia opens with a keyboard arrangement.
Bin brings back Death Note
The next character introduced is Suning’s Chen “Bin” Ze-Bin, who is placed in a totally contrasting environment from TheShy. From an expansive natural landscape, we are taken to an urban concrete jungle illuminated by soft rays of the setting sun.
Presumably standing in a private library within a skyscraper on a very high floor, Bin is first seen reading a book, exuding intellect.
Later in the music video, there’s a shot of him throwing an apple into the air. The title of the book is also revealed, which translates to “Quickly learn the methods to pentakill”, a citing to his historic first-ever pentakill in a Worlds final last year.
The books, apple, and the nod towards killing are an overall reference to the all-time classic anime, Death Note. If you’ve been living under a rock, Death Note centers around a supernatural book given to Light Yagami, where any person’s name written in it will be killed. Ryuk, a god of death, gave this book to the human, and has an obsession with eating apples, a forbidden fruit in the bible.
knight fits in perfectly in Fate/stay Night
Staying within the cityscape, we then see Top Esports’ mid laner Zhuo “knight” Ding walk on the ledge of a rooftop before stopping at the edge overlooking the orange-lit city bathing under the setting sun. It puts viewers in his shoes, as we too look over the vast metropolis from this vantage point, reflecting on life as another day comes to an end.
This outlook evokes the same feels as Fate/stay Night. In its opening song “Disillusion” performed by Sachi Tainaka, the lyrics speak about unfulfilled dreams that turn into illusions. The first line of the song fits knight’s frame perfectly:
The shadows of that day
That I saw in my dreams
My cry could not reach them
You can find this shot in other genres too of course, especially in superhero stories like Spider Man and Batman where they traverse above rooftops and survey the city they inhabit.
Clearlove and Zoom have a knack for Naruto
Following the wide landscape shots, we zoom into a representative of the old guards of LoL esports. Edward Gaming’s Ming “Clearlove” Kai is not only a pro player turned head coach turned pro player again this split, here we discover he’s also a master of “Kage Bushin no Justu”, a ninja technique in Naruto Shippuden where the person is able to create a copy of himself. So pro!
He’s not the only one who’s able to pull off such an advanced technique. EDG better watch out because JD Gaming’s top laner Zhang “Zoom” Xing-Ran also demonstrated his prowess in cloning, the only other player to do so in the video. Maybe he picked it up from playing lots of Wukong.
Bin, knight, and TheShy pull a Code Geass
The next section is marked by an epic animated and real life crossover transition featuring Bin, knight, and TheShy as their faces overlap with each other as they very slowly look up towards the camera.
It’s an extremely anime-esque effect, which throws us back to Code Geass R2’s second opening “Worlds End”, sung by FLOW. Just after the ten second mark, the faces of each character flash across the screen, melding into each other in a flurry of overlapping colors in dramatic effect.
There are as many LPL players as there are Bleach characters
From there, “Break The Silence” ups the anime ante by ten. In a following shot featuring various players from different teams, they utilize a forward camera motion. Here, each player turns their head to look at the camera determinedly as it pans over them.
At the end of the tail, LNG jungler and former Griffin LCK player Lee “Tarzan” Seung-yong even uses his right hand to lift his glasses. How much more anime can it get?
A common anime opening trope, Bleach’s fourth opening “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” by BEAT CRUSADERS showcases the exact same formula when the camera pans over the Visoreds.
LPL is basically Kuroko no Basuke
The last most impressionable anime reference towards the end is the use of silhouettes. For one, we see a full team standing in the shadow of a stadium, looking up at the night sky as three shooting stars fall from the heavens that represent their faith, hopes, and dreams. It builds up anticipation, as viewers imagine that this LoL team is going to step out into the light to compete on the big stage.
In the final shot, we see only one player — Clearlove — whose silhouette contrasts greatly with the blinding floodlights of a rounded open air sports stadium packed to the brim, similar to Worlds.
It leaves a viewers with so many questions — Will Clearlove be able to fulfill his dream of qualifying for Worlds again in what could be possibly his last year as a pro player? Representing the LPL, could this be a foreshadowing of the Worlds 2021 final? What is going through his mind as he stands there facing his home crowd who are depending on him to bring glory to their region?
Pick any sports anime like Kuroko no Basuke and you’ll see the same lineup. Competitive players look upwards, tilting their heads towards the light, peering into the unknown future, with desire, with ambition, with confidence, and even a little fear because that is what it means to be alive.
If you feel inspired, sing-along to LPL’s 2021 Spring theme song, “Break The Silence”:
Stuck in this boring mistake
Lying in a limbo and can’t get away
Now it’s the chance you should take
Don’t turn back as you will regret
I want the crowd to never cool down
I want the party to never wind up
I know the answer of fate
Like veterans know the blade
What should I care for
I will swipe my sword
What am I starting at
Why do I feel like
The one who will rise
Impulsive heart and fever blood
Where should I chase the legend
So go back anywhere or anyplace
Break the silence make it louder
We are the giants that never fall
Choosing the way that’s worth our soul
I’m always there
As my own faith swears
Carrying my word to the end
Shouting to the future unpredicted
All we want is to bring it back