Arcane League of Legends Is Another Win for Video Game Adaptations (Review)

Credit: Netflix

League of Legends is one of the most popular video game franchises out there, and it has contributed to growing the world of esports; for example, the League of Legends World Championship 2019 has a record-breaking esports event with over 100 million viewers. Developer and Publisher Riot Games has been branching out to reach more fans by working with music artists (Imagine Dragons, Madison Beer, etc) for original songs and even creating a virtual girl group, K/DA.

Next up on the list is Arcane, a Netflix animated series featuring voice talents by Hailee Steinfeld as VI and Ella Purnell as Jinx. It’s set in two worlds, the rich city of Piltover and the underground city of Zaun. The champions will collide with each other for the future of their home. We’ve had the chance to watch the first four episodes, and Arcane is a compelling tale that we think will delight both fans and newcomers.

ARCANE: HAILEE STEINFELD as VI in ARCANE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

The Champions

League of Legends contains many champions, but in Arcane, it focuses on a few including VI, Jinx, Jayce and Viktor. VI and Jinx are kids from Zaun, the seedy underbelly, and they are brought in by a bar owner named Vander. The two are joined by their friends, Claggor (Roger Craig Smith) and Mylo (Yuri Lowenthal). Together, the kids try to make a name for themselves. One of their plans is to loot a Piltover resident’s place for valuables, but this has led to increased tension between Zaun and Piltover. One special tech at the center of it all is hextech, which was created by Jayce. It has the potential for people to control magical energy.

ARCANE (L to R) : HAILEE STEINFELD as VI, ELLA PURNELL as JINX in ARCANE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

Arcane has a unique design for its characters, and the animation is one of the best we’ve seen on Netflix. The characters’ facial animations are excellent, and the different worlds are breathtaking. The city of Piltover is a love letter to retrofuturism, and it is reminiscent to games like BioShock and Dishonored. Zaun is an underground world that is gritty but with its own charms.

ARCANE (L to R) : ELLA PURNELL as JINX, J.B BLANC as VANDER, HAILEE STEINFELD as VI, in ARCANE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

Vi and Jinx Are the Heart of Arcane

The heart of the series in the episodes that we’ve seen is the relationship between Vi and Jinx. These two have been through a lot in Zaun, and they try to look out for one another, even if their methods are different. Vander, the bar owner, is a prominent character, and he is more fleshed out as an empathetic father figure to the group. And then there’s Jayce, a young genius who’s trying to make Piltover a better place through the hextech technology. He encounters resistance to approve his project as he tries to convince the Piltover council.

JASON SPISAK as SILCO in ARCANE Cr. NETFLIX © 2021

Arcane introduces a new character, Silko, a villain that is sinister in appearance and actions, and he has a drug that can transform humans into monsters. With this, it helps him on his path to becoming a powerful figure in Zaun. As an antagonist, he is formidable and calculating, and it’s intriguing to see how the champions will try to get out of his clutches.

Arcane’s Original Songs

Of all the things that have gotten us excited for the series, the music and original songs truly stand out. The title song, “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons & JID, is a great way to start the episode. Bea Miller’s “Playground” brings the edgy atmosphere of Zaun, “Goodbye” by Ramsey is haunting and beautiful, and “Dirty Little Animals” by Bones UK is a fun and energetic track.

Final Reaction

Arcane is a riveting animated series from Riot Games and Netflix, and it’s another win for video game adaptations. The music and animation are superb, and the story and characters are captivating. The series format allows the creative team to flesh out the story, giving us some emotional drama. The format also allows for some really dark moments and hard-hitting action, which kept us on the edge of our seats.

Score: 4.5/5 Atoms

About Arcane: League of Legends

The series is created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee. It’s executive produced by Christian Linke, Marc Merrill, Brandon Beck, Jane Chung and Thomas Vu. Co-executive producers include Pascal Charrue, Arnaud Delord, Jerôme Combe, Alex Yee, Melinda Wunsch Dilger, and Ash Brannon. The series is directed by Pascal Charrue and Arnaud Delord and written by Christian Linke, Alex Yee, Conor Sheehy, Ash Brannon, Nick Luddington, David Dunne, Ben St. John, and Mollie St. John.

The series features the voices of Hailee Steinfeld (Vi), Ella Purnell (Jinx), Katie Leung (Caitlyn Kiramman), Kevin Alejandro (Jayce), Harry Lloyd (Viktor), Mick Wingert (Heimerdinger), Brett Tucker (Singed), JB Blanc (Vander), Yuri Lowenthal (Mylo), Roger Craig Smith (Claggor), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Grayson), Remy Hii (Marcus), Toks Olagundoye (Mel Medarda), Jason Spisak (Silco) and Mia Sinclair Jenness (Powder).

The series will be spread out in three weeks, with 3 episodes per act.

Act One – Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:00 pm pt (episodes 1-3)
Act Two – Saturday, Nov. 13 at 12:00 am pt (4-6)
Act Three – Saturday, Nov. 20 at 12:00 am pt (7-9)

You can watch Arcane now on Netflix at https://www.netflix.com/title/81435684.

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