Arcane: A High School Student Review

A totally immersive and captivating story, Arcane is a force to be reckoned with

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Mateo Garcia and Daniel Andrasz

With Riot Games’ deep motivation to expand the storytelling behind their games, it seemed inevitable to fans that something such as an animated series would be released to the public. Luckily for all of the fans, on November 6 of this year the first episode for the new animated series called Arcane, entirely based on Riot’s largest franchise League of Legends, was released on Netflix for anyone with a valid subscription to the service to watch. 

When I first watched this show, I was blown away. Everything from the animations and visuals to the dialogue and music, was spectacular. The best part of it all is that you don’t even have to know what the game it’s based on is about is to enjoy it.

The collaboration project between Netflix and Riot Games takes story and lore directly from the video game production company’s largest title, and arguably the largest and most well-renowned multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game in the world, League of Legends.

The project was written by Christian Linke and Alex Yee, the same duo that has been working for 10 years to produce the world that millions of people are deeply involved in because of League of Legends. Having something that so desperately requires the original minds that made the prior product so popular directly integrated into the project makes the story so recognizable to League fans.

The show follows the lives of two orphan siblings, Vi and Powder, who live in a ghetto in the city of Piltover. The city is shown as the center of science and technology with a neighboring parallel city called Undercity, which is a complete chemical wasteland with exiled citizens of Piltover living there. 

The tone for the first couple of episodes is immediately set by the first scene of the show, which reveals to the audience that Vi and Powder’s parents had been killed in a fight between authorities from Piltover and some citizens from Undercity. After the depressing scene, the pacing of the show is immediately put into full throttle and the audience is then thrown a couple of years forward to when Vi and Powder are older and are hanging out with other orphans on the streets.

The show is written in an extraordinary way where people who have never heard of or played League of Legends in their life before can easily pick up the show and fully enjoy it. This is because, instead of making the entire show based on the characters from the video game and including complicated lore and backstories, the show is entirely built on the stories of people before they become the heroes in League. This makes the show feel more like a superhero origin story rather than anything else. 

If the fact that this show is based on a video game that you have never heard of or even dislike makes you not want to see it, I highly suggest you let go of that and give the show a try— it is really good.