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  • Ashlyn Pillai

Arcane: An animated masterpiece

Video game adaptions are a specific genre of film media that are often known for not having the best movies or television shows. Being an avid fan of video games myself, many of the films I’ve seen for video games weren’t exactly doing justice for the source material. League of Legends is probably a game you’ve definitely heard of at least once. It’s not exactly the most popular game of all time, but it’s definitely gained a loyal fan base and is known by many.

League of Legends (aka LOL) is a multiplayer online battle arena game developed by Riot Games. It is known for its amazing character designs, accessibility and production value. However, with many positives, flaws are bound to follow. Many long-time players end up finding the game itself quite boring, some even considering the game system unbalanced and the community online toxic at times.

I never really bothered looking into playing the video game myself for a long time. It wasn’t really the type of game I’d play, and it didn’t appeal much to my tastes. It seemed rather stressful, and didn’t have much time in the world to play it.

However, my interest quickly picked up again in the franchise when Riot Games launched Arcane, an animated television series on Netflix from the world of League of Legends.

Can I just say? After watching the whole series, I was hooked instantly and immediately was a fan right from the first three episodes. Arcane: League of Legends is an animated masterpiece, and it’s probably one of the freshest and most unique shows I’ve watched in years.

With stunning visuals, complex characters and a spectacular soundtrack, Arcane is currently one of the most popular shows right now on Netflix. It has a 100% rating on rotten tomatoes and a 9.3/10 on IGN, it’s definitely recommended and highly worth your time to watch. I’m sure that most of you might have even heard the name of the show before, or are quite familiar with it.

The show dives deep into the characters' lives and their relationships, revolving around the two cities, the utopian city of Piltover and the repressed undercity of Zaun. Sisters Vi and Powder find themselves on opposing sides of a war.

The best thing about watching Arcane in the first place is that you don’t have to know anything about the game itself to watch the show. Right from the first episode, it easily immerses you into the story itself. Throughout the episodes, you'll easily understand what's going on and dive deeper into the plot.

Primarily about sisters Vi and Powder, and later featuring characters such as Caitlyn and Jayce, Arcane has a great cast of characters in the show, all being integral to the plot in one way or another. The show features multiple perspectives being shown in a different episode, and not to mention some of the prettiest and hottest characters I’ve seen. With great animation and voice acting, the characters are so easily brought to life and really make an impact in the show.

The animation style was something that had caught my eye at first when I saw the trailer for Arcane. The backgrounds are digitally hand-painted, and the texture of the characters are crafted to get that graphical look that fits with the environment. With 3D animation combined with painted backgrounds, Arcane’s art style is highly praised and eye-catching, taking elements from the game itself and the animators on arcane coming up with their own ideas, with it all framing with the meticulous cinematography. Here are a couple of screenshots below from moments in the show that impacted me.

Into the series, Jinx confronts her past and demons from memories she had abandoned.

The city of Zaun, Vi’s and Powder’s home

Vi and Powder discover the genocide and loss of their home that occurred.

Jinx stand over at the bridge, ready to launch with her flare.

Looking at the voice acting for Arcane, it was a crucial part that the characters and plot blend well together. Each of the voice actors easily fit with all the characters in Arcane, delivering the storyline and making the character come to life. You may know the popular actress Hailee Steinfeld, from movies such as The Edge of Seventeen and the Hawkeye series. She voiced the character Vi in Arcane. Hailee Steinfeld killed it as Vi! Her voice matches Vi's character and aesthetic so well.

Another prominent character whose voice acting and design made the series spectacular was the show’s villain, Silco. His voice acting was so smooth that it blended well with the antagonist image they were going for, as well as giving more depth to Silco. Seeing him more than the villain he is and watching how much depth his character holds.

Not to mention, their soundtrack features incredible songs, with Imagine Dragons’ Enemy being the show's official theme song. It's such a bop; I highly recommend listening to it.

What makes Arcane so great and different from many animated shows is that everything emerges from the characters and their desire for each other, for satisfaction, for retribution, throughout the show’s now-completed first season. It’s not a show that's focused on world-building through exposition in the way that many fantasy shows are. Instead, it depicts characters creating and shattering their world around them.

The writing and animation of the show really drove the dark yet intriguing plot for me to go watch. Despite animated shows not being something everyone watches, Arcane is one show that I think everyone should give a chance.


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