Arcane: Riot’s masterpiece of animation.
EVERY GAMER’S DREAM
Do you know this feeling when you are watching a cinematic trailer made for a game, like World of Warcraft expansion trailers, SWTOR cinematics, or Riot’s champion trailers and music videos like “Get Jinxed”, “Seconds”, “Kin of the Stained Blade” and other, and think to yourself: “Why wouldn’t they make a full show out of that? They are clearly good at it.”.
Well, Riot Games also had this idea, and thankfully decided to give it a green light. And that’s how Arcane, arguably one of the best animated shows ever, came to be.
So, today we’re going to review Arcane – Riot Games’ magnum opus in terms of visual content. The part you are reading right now is a short and spoiler-free summary of my own thoughts and general facts about the series.
Arcane is based on League of Legends and the story takes place in the city of Piltover. It is a 3-acts show that was released on a weekly basis. Each act consists of 3 episodes with a runtime of 45 minutes each. Each act feels like a full-on movie and can be watched and enjoyed by everyone, whether if you played LoL or never interacted with it whatsoever.
Arcane is most clearly a product of love and dedication from Riot, and definitely not just a promotional material for League. Arcane is fully out on Netflix and honestly, you should watch it if you haven’t already. It’s a great character-driven story with mind-blowing visuals and sound-design. Just keep in mind that this show is very mature and it touches such subjects as emotional trauma, death, corrupt politics, drugs and more.
And that’s it for the spoiler-free part.
Closer look. Spoiler ahead
Let me just start by saying that all the main characters in Arcane are amazing. They feel like real people. Each of them has their own problems that they try their hardest to overcome and yet, not always succeed with that. Like Powder, trying to do her best to help her friends and family accidentally brings complete emotional devastation to her sister, and to us, the viewers. It really hurts to see Vi snap at her. We know it’s wrong, and so does she, yet at the moment she was just a vulnerable teen who just witnessed a tragedy unfold before her eyes, and we can relate to her – no way anyone would have a clear mind at that moment. Then there’s Viktor, a brilliant scientist and inventor whose only goal in life was to bring progress and prosperity to people, facing off against his own dying body. That leads him to betray his ideals and act out of selfishness, which also goes off the rails bringing even more pain.
I could go on like that about every major and even some minor characters of Arcane for hours, but to spare you the read I’ll just sum it up with the following conclusion.
Characters in Arcane are incredibly well-written, making you sympathize with them, no matter if they are good or evil. Not like there are some clearly good or evil characters to begin with. Arcane really deals with gray moralities, as in every good character is well-capable of doing something horrible willingly, and evil characters might have a very clear, understandable, and humane motivation to their deeds.
Arcane’s visuals are truly something else. It’s a perfect blend of 3-D models, cell-shaded look, 2-D effects and oil painting-like textures. Closest thing that comes to mind when thinking of Arcane’s art style is Sony’s “Enter the Spider-verse”, which is a masterpiece on its own. I’ll just say that if you are a fan of pretty pictures, then you are in for a treat with Arcane, because it is simply amazing to look at.
Music in Arcane is also on par with everything else. From opening’s “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons (which got a cameo in the show) to the incredibly well-placed “Guns for Hire” by Woodkid. Score is simply unbelievable. And even if you might not like some of the songs’ genres you still have to admit that they start playing at the best moments, and lyrics, even if not specifically made for the series, often tend to amplify the mood of events.
And let me just say this about voice-acting in the series. It’s phenomenal and it’s better than League’s. Just compare the cartoonish voice and lines of Caitlyn from LoL to Caitlyn’s voice full of emotions like care, fear, confidence and agony from Arcane. These two Caitlyns feel like different characters, with one being far more real than the other.
Arcane is a very dark and very real show, considering it is set in a magical world of Runeterra. Its story is harrowing and painful at times, yet you grow fond of it very fast. Characters of Arcane are very complicated, morally gray, and feel like real people with very real problems. If you are looking for a show that could make you feel some new and mixed emotions – I can’t recommend Arcane enough.
Arcane Season 2 release date?
We already got confirmation that Arcane is getting season 2, to hopefully tie up all those loose ends we got in season 1, but unfortunately with no dates. Best guess one might have is that season 2 will air in around a year from now, but considering first season took 6 years to be perfected – it’s anyone’s guess at this point. Personally, the only thing I don’t want to see in the next installment is confirmation that Warwick is in fact Vander. That would devalue his tragic death so much, in my opinion. What I hope to see next though, is look at a bigger world of Runeterra. I’d love to see stories of same caliber as Arcane season 1, but set in Ionia, Noxus, Shadow Isles or even Freljord.
Written by Marshall V.