Riot Games has always had strong marketing for their game League of Legends. From promotional videos to music videos, LoL has remained one of the most popular games played around the world. The addition of “Arcane” only emphasises the fact that LoL knows how to market their games to fans and non-fans alike.
The trailer for their new Netflix show “Arcane,” in collaboration with Fortiche Production, was released on Sept. 25. The teaser had me asking where this show would go, as this has never been done by Riot before. While Riot has always been spectacular when it comes to their animation and art, would their storytelling ultimately fall short?
The story takes place in two different cities: the city of Piltover, being known as the city of progress where the rich live, and Zaun, the undercity known for the black market and shady deals. The politics between these cities ultimately drive the story of the characters and creates conflict between them.
There are two different main stories in the show. The first follows champions Jinx and Vi, who are sisters torn apart when their world crumbles beneath them and are separated because of disaster. The next main plot point follows champions Jayce and Viktor, who struggle to understand how to deal with their new invention hextech.
Hextech uses arcane, which is another word for magic, to power tools and help non-arcane users wield the power of arcane that doesn’t come naturally to them. Jayce and Viktor come together to hone the power and study it, which helps regrow the city of Piltover to the importance that it once held among other regions. This power becomes important in the story, as everyone can see the potential of arcane and want to use it for their own good or evil.
Without spoiling the story, the conflict between the two sisters is intriguing because it also ties into the power struggles between the two cities, which brings about their own internal conflicts between family and doing what is right. Jayce and Viktor also have conflicts with figuring out what to do with hextech and how to deal with the two cities slowly separating from each other. The only quarrel I have with the plot of the story is how it ended. I truly feel as though this season is incomplete and needed one more episode to round out and set up the new season better. However, with season two announced on Nov. 20, I am willing to set my differences aside due to how swiftly it was announced.
The animation of the show is perfect. Viewers can grasp a sense of the game animations with hints of a classic comic art style as well. Each character has an individual design, and it is easy to see that even the background characters have a lot of thought put into them to give them their own singular personality. The best way to grasp the animation style is to view the promotional video for the song “Enemy,” which shows off the many different techniques they use to highlight characters' actions. Not only is the animation for the characters spectacular, but the art for the cities is also a sight to see. Piltover has a sleek and refined style to not only the city, but also the residents living there. Zaun is emphasized with dark colors and rugged buildings all compacted into the underground.
Voice acting is another strong suit to the show. Each voice actor fits their animated counterparts extremely well, embodying the character to their fullest. I am glad to see that they didn’t back down and truly gave it their all when it came to the voice acting, as that can really break or make an animated series for me. The voice actors’ dedication to diving into the role of their characters made me more invested in the story by the emotion in their voices. Toks Olagundoye voices one of my favorite characters, Mel, who helps Jayce and Viktor promote hextech in Piltover. The poise in Olagundoye’s voice emphasizes who Mel is because she has the weight of not only the city, but also her past resting on her shoulders, so she has to maintain her poised stature so that nobody can see her weaknesses and use them against her.
To conclude, if Riot didn’t release the teaser for the second season of “Arcane,” I would have been upset at the ending, but because they announced it very shortly after it ended, I am more than happy to say that it is worth watching. This series is not only for fans of LoL, but it is also for anyone wanting to add a well-animated fantasy story to their arsenal.
Editor's Note: This article was updated on Nov. 23 at 4:03 p.m. to correct the second references of League of Legends to be LoL.