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Review of Arcane

Previously published May 24. 2022

Previously published May 24. 2022

Warning: Spoilers!!

Since Riot Games made League of Legends, they have released numerous cinematics for the champions. Each character had an interesting story and background. The company kept most of the backgrounds a mystery so that players could infer what happened, creating lore of the champions in the game. Due to the high quality and consistency of the cinematics, many people anticipated the release of the show. However, Arcane was more emotional and layered than anyone expected.

The most captivating aspect of the show were the complex relationships between the characters. For example, Vi and Jinx/Powder bonded through many depressing events together. They watched their parents die and robbed the Kirammans’ house together. The iron connection between the sisters seemed to be unbreakable. However, watching her parents die was very traumatic for Powder since it felt as if they were abandoning her. Vi triggers her sister’s PTSD whenever she abandons her. The cinematics team did an exceptional job with evoking each person’s feelings with color. Jinx’s flashbacks tend to be very colorful and visibly appealing. Caitlyn and Vi’s relationship tested the strength of the sisters’ bond since Jinx felt jealous of the enforcer, who appeared to be stealing her sister away from her. As expected, the complexity of the feelings between Vi and Jinx were the deepest and most emotional.

The amazing character development in Arcane shows the consequences of people’s actions and the effects of time. Initially, Powder was afraid to fight and would rather use her gadgets. Her blue hair represented her shy and passive personality, unlike Vi’s red hair. After she was alone, Jinx learned to fight to survive because she didn’t have the protection of Vi anymore. While we see Jinx become more destructive and reckless, Vander became the peacemaker after fighting the topsiders and leading his people across the bridge. He learned that nobody wins in war so he cut a deal with the Enforcers which established their boundaries. Meanwhile, after being released from jail, Vi had to understand that people can change. It was surprising and heartbreaking to see Ekko and Jinx fighting to kill each other. The shocking development of each main character made the show special.

These aforementioned characters are not the only ones that have been detailed with realism. Not even the supposed villains such as Silco have flat personalities; rather, every character and person in the show has their own motives, their own backgrounds, and their own ideals. It is the relationship between each of these characters, both main and side ones, that make Arcane as compelling as it is.

Not only is the plot and character design intricately created, but the artistic aspects of the show are carefully made as well. Due to the integration of 3D and 2D styles, the backgrounds and people are all incredibly beautiful, with a good balance between realism and cartoon. The stark differences between the luxurious and technologically-brilliant Piltover and the poor and dark Zaun are only accentuated by the brilliant musical compositions and setting. In fact, the directors of Arcane made it so that each episode of Season 1 would have a “music video” component, adding a unique but immersive experience to the world. From Bea Miller to Imagine Dragons, it is clear that Riot has spared no expense to making the Arcane soundtrack as catchy as it is. Besides the art and music, Arcane also showcases wonderful voice-acting. Personally speaking, none of the voice lines sounded awkward or off-putting at all; rather, the raw emotion the voice-actors were able to recreate really made the show feel real. For example, when Jinx screams and cries from her pure child-like anguish, the audience is able to instantly empathize. All in all, Arcane reflects some of the best voice-acting, animation, and music in a long time.

From the plot to each artistic component of the show Arcane, the reason for Arcane’s numerous positive reviews is clear: it is just that good. Riot has exceeded numerous critics’ and onlookers’ expectations, proving that a show adapted from a controversial video game can be just as brilliant as any other.

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Aprille Xi, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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