One of the world’s most popular multiplayer online video games, League of Legends, introduced the first animated series set in its universe—Arcane, a Netflix-produced steampunk fantasy show.
Riot Games, the creators behind League of Legends, have everything from cinematic shorts to music videos, to esports tournaments, all promoting the League of Legends world and its distinct characters. However, Arcane is their first fully immersive show. Riot Games has now more than delivered by providing a cinematic experience of the complex universe. With the incredible character development, storyline, and concept art, Riot Games proves they listen to their fans. Even better, you do not need any prior knowledge of the League of Legends universe to enjoy this captivating series.
Arcane is an immersive action-packed show, critically praised for its blend of computer-generated imagery and hand-drawn animation. Taking place in Piltover and Zaun, the series tells the origin stories for some of League of Legends’ most popular characters: Vi (Hailee Steinfeld), Jinx (Ella Purnell), Jayce (Kevin Alejandro), and many more. In addition to a well-known cast, the show features familiar artists like Imagine Dragons and Bea Miller on the series’ soundtrack. Arcane is currently number one in 37 countries, with a 9.4 IMBD rating and a 100 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score. The show even dethroned Squid Game, which was Netflix’s number one for two months.
Unlike other shows, Arcane is separated into three acts with three episodes each. Every act focuses on a certain time period for these characters. The early episodes introduce Vi and Powder (aka young Jinx, voiced by Mia Sinclair Jenness)—orphaned sisters living in Zaun, the Undercity, who steal gadgets with their gang for a profit. The show explores Powder’s emotional turmoil of living in her sister’s shadow and the dynamics of the Undercity. The perspective then shifts to a pair of scientists, Jayce and Viktor (Harry Lloyd), who try to revolutionize the world with their Hextech technology. After years of Piltover’s mistreatment toward the Undercity’s inhabitants, destruction begins, led by Silco (Jason Spisak)—the villain who dreams of overtaking Piltover. While the first act focuses on Vi and Powder’s childhood, act two covers the evolution of Hextech and Silco’s plotline. Lastly, act three brings their stories to an end.
Some notable aspects of the show include the fight scenes. They are amazingly choreographed and have the right blend of unique angles, slow motion, and fighting styles. Additionally, the characters, scenery, and props are all intricately designed, showing the minutiae of the universe. Matching the art of League of Legends, Arcane’s style remains true to the game’s design, with slight alterations to fit the expressive storytelling of animation.
The choice to focus on a few distinct characters gives Arcane the opportunity to explore these character arcs in depth—each one unique yet seamlessly tied together. The basis of the plot revolves around the fight between good and evil. It is a trope that people have seen before, but with added fantastical elements packed with thrilling action scenes, this basic plotline transforms into something so much more.
While the series is descriptive and informative enough to let viewers who are unfamiliar with League of Legends understand the story, it also gives multiple nods and easter eggs to longtime fans with the appearances of Caitlyn (Katie Leung), Heimerdinger (Mick Wingert), and Ekko (Reed Shannon). A show that can create two separate experiences, both wonderfully achieved, makes it all the more impressive.
League of Legends always hinted at the complexity of its universe but never properly conveyed it until now. With the fully-produced animated series of Arcane, fans can gain a deeper understanding of the world they love, and new audiences can be seamlessly introduced to the enchanting world of League of Legends.