By Braheim "Comic Boss" Gibbs
League of Legends, Riot Games’ most prized possession, has just received one of the most refreshing fantasy/sci-fi animated series to date. The nine episodes long Netflix series chronicles the best story set within the world of League of Legends. This is something truly spectacular, as this is one of the first and only times that a video game has been adapted into a television series in a way that isn’t disappointing. In fact, Arcane is a one-of-a-kind show that screams originality.
Arcane is by far one of the best series that has come out on Netflix, it is without a doubt the best-animated series to release in 2021. I cannot believe how precisely they’ve adopted the characters, as well as how wonderful the story and world that they’ve created has turned out. Let’s talk more in detail about this wonderful show and every aspect of it that truly makes it special.
This is a story of two sisters caught amidst a war between two very different nations. They find themselves on opposing sides of the spectrum, as the chaotic tension and unrest between the utopian land of Piltover, and the pitiful city of Zaun begin to reach unprecedented levels of angst. Vi and Jinx find each other on opposing sides of these ravaged lands. The perspective of these characters takes the center place of this show, as they get further surrounded into the political, and magical anarchy of this world. They must figure out how to further their agendas while keeping their relationship as the core of their motivations.
The futuristic utopia of Piltover is what lies above the Undercity, also known as Zaun. The former is the best place to live, at least in the lands of Runeterra, while the latter is a dystopian, violent fuelled land, full of gang violence, brutality, and crime. In the games, there isn’t any complexity to these worlds. It’s just a concept of good and bad. However, the show paints a different picture. It showcases how the upper class of Piltover, have been keeping the undercity of Zaun beneath them for their own gain.
The characters in the show are the main meat of the series. Their stories are engaging and dynamic. The series focuses on two parallel storylines; one is based in Piltover, while the other is based in Zaun. It manages to provide a deeper story for every single one of these characters to accommodate the wider audience while keeping the lore and the world of Runeterra that is beloved by fans of the game intact.
The incredible art direction adds depth and complexity to this world. It has some of the best animation and an ensemble cast of actors to do the voices. It’s a testament to how much Riot Games have grown. The artistic style and the way the characters look within the games are present here. The characters have their personalities drawn out just by the way they look, the way they speak, their mannerisms, and their expressions. What pushes it even further past the expectations is an incredible animation, which is especially prevalent throughout the fight scenes and all of that action goodness that we expected.
This series has by far some of the best action sequences that I’ve ever seen animated on a screen. It looks even better than the live-action trailers that Riot Games has constantly been known to create for their games, and that is part of the reason why this show has sold massively. If you’re in here for the story, the world-building, the lore, and the characters. You will love the life out of it. However, if you’re just here for some good old-fashioned action, then you’re going to love it just the same.
The series keeps a constant aura of mystery regarding its world throughout all nine episodes and leaves things unanswered for the already green-lit second season. The one thing that I really enjoyed about this show was that it constantly kept me on the edge of my seat, whether it was through the ever-evolving plot points, the highly emotional character moments, or just the fun parts like the action and the comedy.
The voice acting in this series is absolutely phenomenal, with some of our absolute favorite Hollywood darlings featured within it. Hailee Steinfeld in particular as Vi is a stand-out. She has an adorable personality and keeps the character's colder mannerisms intact through her voice acting. Kevin Alejandro as Jayce, Harry Lloyd as Viktor, and Ella Purnell as Powder, also gave notable performances. These performances elevated the quality of the show even further, making it seem like an insanely large production rather than a television series.
The scope and scale of Arcane are unimaginable without the outstanding soundtrack at the hands of Alexander Temple and Alex Seaver. Who mash together with a soundtrack that isn’t just orchestral, but also filled with intimately crafted slow tunes and some ecstatic synth-driven tracks. The music gives that cyberpunk feeling a kick! It’s also filled with a huge selection of wonderfully curated songs by Pvris, Pusha T, Curtis Harding, Imagine Dragons, Woodkid, Denzel Curry, and many more! The soundtrack and the music just enhance the experience. It makes sure that the audience constantly has moments to look forward to that they’ll remember for ages.
Arcane is a classic in the making, a show for people of all ages that manages to remain brutal and funny, yet still keeping everything under the PG-13 banner. It’s not a show made for children, but it’s something that they should be able to watch without their parents getting too mad about it. It’s a complex story of political intrigue, two divided worlds, two sisters on the verge of separating from one another due to lingering moralities, and a whole lot of mystery. Arcane is an action-packed roller coaster ride that you just need to be on board with. This show has got plenty to keep you entangled in its web, whether you are a fan of the game or not.