'Tis the season

Genshin Impact's latest controversy ties back to spring's horniest trend

Short king spring.

genshin impact xiao

In the world of Genshin Impact, Shikanoin Heizou stands out for several reasons, but his short stature is not one of them — or is it? When the Inazuman detective was originally leaked, he was said to be the new shortest male character after Xiao (Liyue’s legendary Yakusha who just wants to protect you). A height buff in the beta has apparently boosted Shikanoin Heizou above the reclusive hero, leaving fans to argue about who is taller. The passionate debate proves that “short king spring” has officially arrived in Teyvat and the world of video games at large.

Xiao has been the shortest male character in Genshin Impact since his release in February 2021. Character models for young men in the game are generally around the same height, but the fandom quickly discovered that Xiao’s model was noticeably shorter at around 5’3” (1.6 m or 160 cm). His shy yet protective nature, traumatic past, and strength have made him a fan favorite. And it helps that he’s a really solid character with great damage output. Thus, his legacy as Genshin Impact’s short king began.

The fact that Heizou was about to steal that crown from Xiao was a groundbreaking revelation in the community. However, Heizou’s height was adjusted during the beta to be taller than originally anticipated. As per beta testers, he’s now slightly taller than Xiao instead of slightly shorter based on data-mined numbers attached to their models and visual references alone. Still, it didn’t stop fans from squabbling over Heizou’s height.

Many argued that Heizou would be the same height as Xiao if they removed his shoes from the picture. In the announcement on the Genshin Mains Twitter, his geta sandals noticeably add a few inches to the otherwise diminutive detective. Aratakki Itto, resident himbo and gang leader, also famously out-talled Zhongli with his geta sandals. Fans still weren’t sure if Heizou was shorter after removing his shoes and blocking off sections of his and Xiao’s models exactly with photo-editing tools, though.

“He’s only taller by that one strand of hair Xiao has, but at least it’s something,” one photo editor wrote. A commenter complained that they didn’t remove enough of the sole on Heizou’s shoes to match Xiao’s. Others were skeptical that it mattered.

“I’m still not really sure,” another editor said after removing Heizou’s heels. In their edited photo, they put Heizou next to Xiao with red lines dictating where the shoes started and where their heads stopped. It looks like Heizou is just barely taller than him in the photo.

Meanwhile, another photo wizard declared that they were the same height. Or, if they were slightly different, it didn’t matter because the difference was barely perceptible.

If the data-mined numbers are true, then Heizou is indisputably taller than Xiao. However, some see it as such a slight difference that they might as well be the same height. Even if he were shorter, some might keep Xiao as the game’s short king in their hearts.

The fact that the Genshin Impact community was willing to hotly debate a character’s height aligns with how people are starting to appreciate short kings more nowadays. As per the New York Post, the cutoff to be considered a short king is generally under 5’8”. The hashtag #shortking started trending on Tiktok in March, enough that supporters coined the term “short king spring.” Users decided that it was time to give shorter men a spotlight with the overwhelming number of dating profiles always asking for men 6 ft or over.

Tom Holland, 5’8”, is the hottest celebrity short king of the season. Instead of bagging on him for dating his 5’10” co-star, Zendaya, fans have embraced them as an example of how height shouldn’t matter, no matter what dating apps say. Other short kings include Zac Efron, Bruno Mars, and James Cullen. There’s also Levi from Attack on Titan.

In short, there’s no shortage of short kings to love. Heizou and Xiao are merely the Genshin Impact representatives.

I’m 5’0”, which is apparently not problematic for women because of double standards. Many of my fellow “short queens” also demand tall men, and I can’t help but wonder: What are short women even doing with the extra foot? Anyways, I wish all of my fellow height-challenged compatriots a very pleasant short king spring.

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