Arcane (Season 01)
SYNOPSIS: The animated series based on the League of Legends follows the origin of two League champions in the prosperous city of Piltover and the underground district of Zaun.
Even though knowing so little about the ‘League of Legends’ world and haven’t played the game much, Arcane as a TV Series still blew our minds.
Arcane takes place in the prospering city of Piltover and the underground slums of Zaun. We primarily follow Vi and Powder, two sisters that have to overcome several hardships that cause a fissure in their relationship. That fissure extends from Zaun to Piltover, causing further tension between the two sides.
The first three episodes set up the main characters and their personalities perfectly and set them on a course for growth. Apart from Vi and Powder, Arcane also primarily follows two scientists, Jayce and Viktor. These scientists’ goals are to utilize the power of “magic” to better the world. The choices they make were probably some of the more fascinating decisions. All the stories and characters are intertwined in such a magical and emotional way.
Arcane is one of the best videogame adaptations to date!
The political and social issues at work here are beautifully balanced with the drama and thriller elements, managing to both develop the worldbuilding for this fantasy land and also perfectly contrast our own capitalist world. There’s a rich/poor divide, substance abuse and even mental health disorders explored. The pacing is outstanding here too, and it’s helped that Arcane has a pulsating score and soundtrack to boot. The BGM when accompanied by the adrenaline-pumping action sequences rendered in the stunning and unique 2D+3D art style will make us just go “Wow!”.
Arcane doesn't feel like the sloppy game adaptions we used to get in the past with a plot that required you to know about the game to understand it. Arcane presents itself beautifully before the viewer, explaining everything you need to know about the setting and characters. Unlike other adaptions which need you to have an understanding of the source material to enjoy the show, Arcane is universal and easy to get into, you don’t have to know anything about League of Legends to get hooked and enjoy this show. There are still a ton of shots and references that people who know about League will enjoy and make them go “Yeah! I know this, I have seen it in the game”.
Normally videogame adaptions mainly focus on the main characters that appear in the game and the other background characters add close to nothing to the story but Arcane feels different. The supporting characters who are not Champions in the game also have an appealing story and role in the show. The show makes you empathize with them and grow an attachment to the other characters. As someone who has played League in the past, the show made me think that why they aren’t an actual Champion in the game. The show doesn’t entirely revolve around the main characters and gives more than enough spotlight to the supporting characters as well. Each character adds something to the story.
These characters are brought to life by absolutely stellar performances. Standouts are Hailee Steinfeld (VI), Katie Leung (Caitlyn), Mia Sinclair Jenness (Powder), Jason Spisak (Silco), and Ella Purnell (Jinx). Although every voice actor does a great job, these performances stood out due to the emotion they brought to their characters.
Arcane (S01) is the best TV Series of 2021 for us and easily, one of the best videogame adaptations of all time. It’s a great example of how, with the right planning, these videogames can be adapted and brought to life for both fans and newcomers alike.
TSHC SCORE: 9.8/10
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