The idea of an anime-themed Dota 2 tournament raised eyebrows, but the WePlay AniMajor has panned out to be the most aesthetically pleasing event in Dota 2 history.
Organizer WePlay channeled the anime aesthetic into the stage, music, personality costumes, and more. The current playoffs take place in a staged fantasy forest complete with a projected river and augmented reality draft picks. Giant stone statues of Juggernaut and Monkey King sit at the base of a simulated waterfall.
Owen “ODPixel” Davies was unable to attend the AniMajor in person, so WePlay propped up a body pillow with his image behind the caster’s desk. Post-game interviews take place in a tiny fake ramen shop complete with cooking equipment. Camera transitions are accompanied by taiko drums and a mighty kabuki “Hooo!” The AniMajor plays up its theme at every possible moment.
The biggest example of anime influence is in the analyst’s and commentator’s costumes. Loose kimono-esque robes are complemented by face paint depicting anything from Naruto’s curse marks to Tien Shinhan’s third eye. WePlay even posted a timelapse of Jorien “Sheever” van der Heijden’s anime makeup process.
Интересно как собирают наших талантов перед эфиром? 🤔
Для нас нет ничего невозможного, поэтому мы прокрались в гримерку к @SheeverGaming и подсмотрели за работой людей, которые делают и без того прекрасных людей еще красивее 🌸#WePlayAniMajor #AniMajor pic.twitter.com/70fZmjgKNf
— WePlay Esports RU | #AniMajor (@weplay_ru) June 10, 2021
The players themselves have also gotten in on the fun, too. Chinese frontrunners PSG.LGD chose the theme song from Darker than Black as their walkout music. Multiple squads have been introduced to theme songs from Naruto. Team Spirit took things the furthest when they “Naruto ran” to their playoff match.
The WePlay AniMajor is far from the first themed Dota 2 tournament. Each of The Internationals has had a special backdrop, with motifs ranging from caverns to royalty to the ocean. Events as prestigious as The International deserve a little more seriousness, but WePlay’s AniMajor makes the absolute most of its central theme.
Only three teams remain at the $500,000 AniMajor. Singapore Major runner-up Evil Geniuses sit in the lower bracket ready to challenge the winner’s final losers. Southeast Asian breakouts T1 and Chinese overlords PSG.LGD are battling for the first slot in the grand finals. The WePlay Dota 2 AniMajor finals will begin on June 13 at 12 p.m. CT.