Show Review: Arcane Season 1


Opening with a tune sung by the chilling voice of a young girl, two bright colored haired sisters walk through the dust-filled air and body-littered path hand in hand.

The backstory of two characters from the popular PC game, League of Legends (LoL), is portrayed in the recently released Netflix show, “Arcane”, created by Riot Games and Fortiche. Premiered on November 6th of 2021, this action, science fantasy, and drama series made waves on Netflix with an estimated 72.5 million views . 

The film takes place in the League of Legends (LoL) universe, Runeterra, where many characters of the game originate from. People who have been with the LoL franchise can easily recognize the two sisters, Vi and Jinx, that made an appearance in the opening of the show.

The scene cuts to the opening theme, “Enemy”, sung by Imagine Dragons and JID. This isn’t the first time Riot Games has worked with Imagine Dragons. Back in 2014, the music video for Warriors by Imagine Dragons was also released for a LoL event for Worlds 2014. “Warriors” received over 345 million views, while “Enemy” received 61 million views. 

When it comes to the collaboration between Imagine Dragons and Riot Games, their Indie Pop genre works extremely well for a game like LoL. With their numerous amounts of deals and partnerships, it’s no wonder why Riot Games decided to pair up again with Imagine Dragons to create the opening song for “Arcane”.

The future is portrayed with clear blue skies across what seems to be clean and polished steampunk buildings. The sisters in the beginning, now slightly older, are jumping across the skyline seemingly more cheerful and playful compared to the wreck they faced in the beginning.

We’re introduced to this bright, luminous setting right after the opening of the show. In the world of Runeterra, Piltover is the city of progress; a place of laws, trade, and technology. 

The animation team does a great job of making their setting as detailed as possible. Before the show, League of Legends players only had access to experiencing the city of Piltover through character lore and artwork. As someone who’s been with the franchise for a while, seeing the City of Progress come to life in film was exciting to see. On top of that, it makes long-time fans wonder what Zaun, the counterpart of Piltover, would look like.

Every character in the show is animated so that they don’t seem cartoonish. Even though we see creatures such as Yordles (spirits that appear as mammalian bipeds) in the show, the animation team does a fantastic job by portraying them as if they lived alongside humans.

 The characters also show many emotions throughout the show such as crying. Watching the characters cry in certain scenes doesn’t seem fake, they’re in fact animated like real people. Their crying seems really genuine and realistic, which almost makes us feel bad for seemingly “awful” characters.

This unique animation of Arcane stands out from other animated series as it uses a combination of both two and three-dimensional animations. The character models can easily be seen as 3D animated, but the way they’re colored and textured make it seem as if it was 2D. 

This animation may seem fresh and new for people just starting to be introduced to League, but some may recognize the animation style from something back in 2018. 

In 2018, Riot Games had taken a big risk by releasing music completely different from what they usually make. KD/A came before “Arcane” and used the same animation style under Fortiche. With over 480 million views today, K/DA making it their highest viewed video under the League of Legends Youtube channel.

After finishing season one of Arcane, Season two’s release is highly anticipated. Riot Games is slowly and progressively taking greater risks over the years. Perhaps what this company is doing may influence other game companies into doing new things for their community and long-time fans of LoL.