A girl sings as fire burns all around her. She is surrounded by death, yet clings to her sister’s hand, covering her eyes from the devastating scene. She slips her hand away from her eyes and looks at her sister and then looks at the ravaged world. Her sister tightens her grip, comforting the little girl in the midst of an unknown future.
Netflix’s “Arcane” is an animated television series set in the “League of Legends” video game universe.
“Arcane” was produced by Riot Games and animated by French studio Fortiche productions, who also worked on other “League of Legends” animations such as “Get Jinxed,” “RISE: 2018,” “Seconds,” and “WARRIORS: Worlds 2014.”
The show took six years to make and it seems that it was worth it; the show is currently rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and dethroned “Squid Game” as Netflix’s number one show in the US within days of its release.
“Arcane” tells the story of two sisters, Powder and Vi, and their involvement in the conflicts of the nations Piltover, “the city of progress” and Zaun, “the undercity.” The turmoil between the wealthy and aristocratic Piltover and the dark and drug-ridden Zaun fuels most of the plot. The story is split up into three parts, each part spanning three episodes.
I watched “Arcane” when my video game-addict brother monopolized the tv and binge-watched the entire nine episodes in almost a day. My knowledge of “League of Legends” is limited to: 1) It is very popular, 2) It is a battle game involving “champions,” and 3) my favorite k-pop idol rapped to the “League of Legends” song “RISE” at a tournament.
As I watched the show, I had no idea who the characters were and who they would develop into. Many “League of Legends” fans (including my brother) had a general idea of the plot and knew which characters had plot armor. In the beginning, it felt like I was supposed to be familiar with the world and characters, but by the end of the first episode I was invested in Powder, Vi, and the two nations. As a viewer new to the “League of Legends” universe, I was able to fully experience the character development and plot twists.
The thing that impressed me the most was the cinematography. Fortiche Productions perfectly combines 2D and 3D art to make each scene visually stunning. The effort and detail in each panel is astonishing and kept me glued to the television screen. Although the game’s plot is slightly cliche and predictable, it stays entertaining and exciting. There is not too much of anything; the fight-scenes, politics, and character development is well balanced. The ending feels a little rushed, but it closes the show rather nicely.
Overall, I would recommend “Arcane,” whether you are a “League of Legends” fan or not. The show does not make me want to play the game, but it definitely makes me want to see season two.