Arcane Season One Review

Creators of the popular game “League of Legends” teamed up with Netflix to make their own animated series, how did it turn out?

by Allie Taschner, Copy Editor

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  • Promotional art pieces of Mel, Vander, Jinx, Vi, Caitlyn, Viktor, Jayce and Silco (in order from left to right) for “Arcane”

  • Promotional art of Silco, Jinx and Vi for the Arcane Immersive Experience by Secret Cinema

  • “Fortnite” adds Jinx for the promotion of “Arcane”

  • InnerSloth announces “Arcane” collaboration for “Among Us”

  • Splash art of Jayce’s Arcane skin in “League of Legends” and “Wild Rift”

  • Splash art of Vi’s Arcane skin in “League of Legends” and “Wild Rift”

  • Splash art of Caitlyn’s Arcane skin in “League of Legends” and “Wild Rift”

  • Splash art of Jinx’s Arcane skin in “League of Legends” and “Wild Rift”

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In early 2019, Riot Games celebrated the tenth year anniversary of their popular game League of Legends. The gaming company showcased other projects they had been working on up to that point, most of them closely relating to their game. One of these projects was the now newly released show, Arcane, which began releasing episodes on Netflix on Nov. 6, 2021, and ended it’s first season on Nov. 20, 2021. The announcement of the show was expected, but still quite a shock to many League of Legends fans. Riot Games was already known for their beautifully animated videos and music videos, with their most popular video having almost 500 million views. Now fans are trying to see, does Arcane live up to Riot’s standards? 

To start off with, Arcane is a series about the lore of League of Legends. The show mainly focuses on the conflicts of Piltover and Zaun, and the characters within them. Zaun, also known as the Undercity, and Piltover had always been one city, but became divided. This divide would not only lead to a divide among the people, but also an imbalance in the quality of life of both cities. Arcane shows the multiple perspectives of both the people of Piltover and Zaun, and has many protagonists because of it. Ranging from a scientist duo trying to make the world a better place to two sisters just trying to survive in the Undercity, this show covers many bases in terms of perspectives. The other aspects of the show, however, is what gives life to these characters.

Vi looking over Zaun (Riot Games, Netflix)
Powder and Vi looking over Piltover (Riot Games, Netflix)








The animation of Arcane, as expected, was marvelous. As most popular media now, it was made with 3D animation, but it separated itself through having its own particular artstyle. I would relate the animation to the movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, where it had a kind of comic book feel while having its own spin on both the comic book style art and 3D animation. However, unlike the movie, Arcane had a bit more of a realistic artstyle. Overall this was one of the best pieces of animation I have seen.

Powder, Imagine Dragons and J.I.D. in Enemy music video (Riot Games, Vevo)

Arcane’s soundtrack was another masterpiece within the show. Riot was already known for their music and their collaborations with other music artists to create them. Popular pop-rock band Imagine Dragons returned to Riot to help create the opening theme of Arcane. Enemy was also sung by rap artist J.I.D. The lyrics and feel of the song matches and reflects the theme of the show very well. The other soundtracks helped to immerse the viewers into the world of Arcane, and lyrical background music highlighted scenes where you just take in the surroundings. Riot also included many references to Jinx’s theme song, Get Jinxed, which not only excited fans but also gave a deeper look into her character.

Now, the most important part of the show is of course the story, and Riot delivered it well. Each episode of Arcane drew me deeper and deeper into the show. It felt almost impossible to just watch one episode at a time. The story itself also not only stayed on track with League of Legends’ lore, but also went deeper into the characters. The greatest part about the story overall is actually that mostly anyone can watch it. Whether it is someone who plays the game or someone who has never even heard of League of Legends, Arcane has everyone starting at relatively the same level as one another.

Overall I was pleasantly surprised about how Arcane turned out. Video game related shows and movies tend to have a bad reputation due to their poor execution by producers. Despite this, Arcane stood out from the rest and showed others that media like this can be executed well with the right amount of care. I would highly recommend Arcane to anyone who appreciates shows driven by world building, and that provides deeper thought and feeling into the morally grey.