Arcane (TV series)

Arcane (titled onscreen as Arcane: League of Legends) is an animated action-adventure-drama series created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee for Netflix. Produced by Fortiche under the supervision of Riot Games, it is set in the League of Legends fictional universe,[1][2] and primarily focuses on sisters Vi and Jinx. The series was announced at the League of Legends 10th anniversary celebration in 2019,[3] and first released in November 2021.

Arcane
Arcane intertitle.png
Also known asArcane: League of Legends
Genre
Created by
  • Christian Linke
  • Alex Yee
Based onLeague of Legends
by Riot Games
Written by
  • Christian Linke
  • Alex Yee
Story by
Directed by
  • Pascal Charrue
  • Arnaud Delord
Voices of
Opening theme"Enemy" by Imagine Dragons and JID
Composers
Country of origin
  • France
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9
Production
Executive producers
  • Christian Linke
  • Marc Merill
  • Brandon Beck
  • Jane Chung
  • Thomas Vu
Running time39–44 minutes
Production companies
  • Fortiche
  • Riot Games
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format1080p HDR widescreen
Audio format5.1 surround sound
Original releaseNovember 6, 2021 (2021-11-06) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Arcane's first season was released to critical acclaim, with praise directed at its animation, story, world-building, characters, emotional weight and voice acting.[4][5] Some have noted the series' appeal to both casual viewers who have never played League of Legends and to longtime fans of the game.[6][7][8] It also set the record as Netflix's highest-rated series so far within a week of its premiere, ranked first on the Netflix Top 10 Chart in 52 countries, and ranked second on the chart in the United States.[9][10][11]

On November 20, 2021, following the conclusion of Arcane's first season, Riot Games and Netflix announced that a second season was in production for a post-2022 release.[12][13]

Premise

Amidst the escalating unrest between the rich, utopian city of Piltover and the seedy, oppressed undercity of Zaun, sisters Vi and Jinx find themselves on opposing sides of a brewing war over clashing convictions and arcane technologies.[14]

Cast and characters

Main

Supporting

Episodes

No.TitleOriginal release date
Act 1
1"Welcome to the Playground"November 6, 2021 (2021-11-06)
Years before the present, rebels from the repressed undercity of Zaun march across a bridge into Piltover, resulting in the brutal pushback by Piltover enforcers. During the ensuing violence, sisters Powder and Vi find their parents dead in the rubble and are taken in by Vander, the leader of the failed rebellion, as his own children. In the present, Vi and Powder rob a Piltovan penthouse with their adopted brothers, Mylo and Claggor, after receiving a tip from their friend Ekko. Powder steals a set of magical crystals, accidentally shattering one when the owner of the penthouse returns. The resulting explosion destroys a large portion of the building and alerts enforcers to their presence, whom they narrowly escape. Returning to the undercity, the siblings encounter Deckard and his thugs; while they beat them in a fistfight, Powder is chased and loses the loot. Vander, now a barman and a de facto community leader in the undercity, scolds the children for their carelessness, and attempts to smooth things over with Grayson, the Sheriff of the enforcers. Vi berates Mylo for calling Powder a "jinx" and reassures her sister that things will get better. In the lowest parts of the undercity, crime lord Silco extracts information from Deckard and tests a new mutagen known as Shimmer on him.
2"Some Mysteries Are Better Left Unsolved"November 6, 2021 (2021-11-06)
A student at Piltover's academy named Jayce is revealed to be the one who crafted the magical crystals that were stolen by Powder and Vi, and is called by Piltover's ruling council to testify for illegally experimenting with arcane magic. As he was saved by arcane magic as a child, Jayce believes it can be a new resource to advance Piltover to greater heights, but is expelled from the academy for endangering the city, and his research is expected to be trashed. Jayce's beliefs are renewed, however, when Viktor, the disabled assistant of the academy's professor Heimerdinger, offers to help him complete his research. Back in Zaun, Vander is pressured by Grayson and her partner Marcus to reveal the true culprits of the robbery, as well as by other Zaun citizens to fight back against the enforcers overreaching their boundaries. He chooses to keep his family safe and remain neutral, although Vi does not agree with his passivity and eventually decides to turn herself in.
3"The Base Violence Necessary for Change"November 6, 2021 (2021-11-06)
A flashback reveals that Silco and Vander were once like brothers and fought together to free the undercity from Piltover. Their partnership ended in violence when Vander betrayed Silco and tried to drown him in the river. In the present day, Vander turns himself in (in place of Vi) but is taken hostage by Silco instead after the mutated Deckard kills Grayson and her men, sparing only Marcus. Vi, Mylo, and Claggor go rescue him but leave Powder and Ekko behind for their own safety. In Piltover, Jayce and Viktor secretly work to harness the arcane crystals under the discretion of councilor Mel Medarda and use it to invent Hextech, a new arcane technology. Back in the undercity, the siblings reach Vander but are cut off by Silco. Vi successfully fights off Silco's forces and the group almost escapes before Powder, attempting to help, detonates one of the crystals in a massive explosion. Claggor and Mylo are killed and Vander is forced to inject Shimmer; he kills Deckard and ultimately saves Vi before dying from his injuries. In her grief, Vi hits Powder, angrily calling her a "jinx" before walking away. She sees Silco approach and attempts to return to her sister but is ambushed and captured by Marcus. A grief-stricken Powder, believing Vi has abandoned her, breaks down in Silco's arms; he embraces Powder and tells her that "We'll show them all."
Act 2
4"Happy Progress Day!"November 13, 2021 (2021-11-13)
Several years after they began developing Jayce's Hextech technology, Piltover is prospering ahead and is celebrating its 200th anniversary on a holiday called 'Progress Day'. While initially hoping to reveal his and Viktor's latest and stabilized hextech gemstone technology at the ceremony, Jayce decides to postpone the announcement after a warning from Heimerdinger on the dangers it could possess. Elsewhere, Powder, now a teenager going by the name of Jinx, works for Silco and helps him smuggle materials into Piltover, most notably Shimmer. When a job goes awry thanks to the involvement of an undercity gang known as the Firelights and a brief hallucination of Vi, Jinx attempts to impress Silco by stealing Jayce's gemstone and setting off several grenades that kill six enforcers. Jayce is given a seat on Piltover's ruling council to protect their people from the stolen gemstone. Caitlyn, an inexperienced enforcer and Jayce's childhood friend, travels to Stillwater prison to speak with one of Silco's goons in order to gather information about Jinx. Instead, she encounters an adult Vi, having been imprisoned by Marcus.
5"Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy"November 13, 2021 (2021-11-13)
Due to Vi's expertise of Zaun and her knowledge of the symbols left behind by Jinx from her explosives, Caitlyn releases her from prison and works with her to find Silco. Arriving in an underground brothel, Vi encounters an old colleague and learns of her sister's relationship with Silco. Meanwhile, Marcus, who is now the sheriff of the enforcers, is coerced by Silco to allow Shimmer to be smuggled in return for his rise up the ranks of Piltover's military, and is forced to put the blame of the Progress Day bombing and hextech robbery on the Firelights. When Jinx refuses to work on the new Hextech gemstones out of fear of seeing flashbacks of her family dying from her first successful bomb, Silco takes her to be "reborn" in the lakes of Zaun, beginning the process of Powder truly accepting her identity as Jinx. Back in Piltover, Jayce partners with the other councilors upon realizing that he risks becoming a target of their corruption and starts a romantic relationship with fellow councillor Mel Medarda. All the while, Viktor grows drastically ill as he attempts to learn more about the potential of Hextech technology.
6"When These Walls Come Tumbling Down"November 13, 2021 (2021-11-13)
After Viktor collapses in the lab from his illness, he and Jayce begin to study the secrets of a new Hextech machine, the "Hexcore." They discover that it reacts to organic matter and can potentially heal him of his illness. However, Heimerdinger attempts to have the Hexcore destroyed due to its potential danger, prompting Jayce to betray him and convince the other councilors to unanimously vote him off the council. Viktor approaches Singed, his childhood mentor, to help perfect the Hexcore. Marcus is blackmailed by Silco into eliminating both Caitlyn and Vi. He takes charge and, knowing this conflict will lead to a battle with Zaun, prepares Piltover's defenses. Underground, Vi and Caitlyn find a safehouse so Vi can recover from the injuries she received from Sevika (Silco's second-in-command) but Silco finds them after bribing the locals with Shimmer. The pair escape by destroying the safe house, during which Vi spots Jinx using a flare she gave her in their childhood. Having recently learned about Vi's return, Jinx uses the flare to find her. The two sisters reunite, although it is short-lived due to Caitlyn's presence and the sudden appearance of the Firelights, who steal the gemstone and kidnap both Caitlyn and Vi.
Act 3
7"The Boy Saviour"November 20, 2021 (2021-11-20)
The leader of the Firelights reveals himself to be Ekko, who has become gruff and battle-hardened ever since he was forced to grow up by himself following Vander's death. He explains to Vi that Powder is gone and only Jinx remains, dedicated to Silco, while he's been at the forefront of keeping Shimmer off the streets. Jinx almost turns against Silco for hiding Vi's return from her, but he persuades her into continuing to do his will. Following the growing unrest and violence between the two cities, Mel convinces Jayce to work on Hextech weaponry. At Singed's suggestions, Viktor uses Shimmer to enable the Hexcore to modify his failing body, in the process growing distant from an untrustworthy Jayce. Ekko and Caitlyn seek to return the Hextech gemstone to Piltover, meeting with Marcus on a bridge while Vi returns to look for Jinx. After Marcus betrays Caitlyn, Vi heads back to help her, convincing an onlooking Jinx that she has betrayed her for Caitlyn. Jinx detonates a massive swarm of robotic insects on the bridge, killing Marcus and the enforcers and wounding Caitlyn. Ekko holds Jinx off as Caitlyn and Vi retreat to Piltover; he successfully beats her, but finds himself unable to deliver the final blow, allowing Jinx to detonate a grenade and wound them both.
8"Oil and Water"November 20, 2021 (2021-11-20)
Silco finds Jinx in the aftermath of her fight with Ekko and discovers that she managed to steal back the Hextech gemstone. He takes her to Singed to heal her wounds. As Jinx endures the treatment for her wounds, she hallucinates that it is Vi and Caitlyn inflicting the pain, and her eyes turn violet when Singed injects a massive amount of Shimmer into her body. Meanwhile, Mel's mother arrives in Piltover following the assassination of Mel's brother and attempts to prepare her for the brewing war with Zaun. After being forcibly retired from the council, Heimerdinger visits Zaun to help the struggling locals and encounters Ekko, who broke his leg from Jinx's grenade. Viktor's efforts to heal his body through Hextech allow him to heal his leg and run for the first time, but also results in the death of his childhood friend and assistant Sky. His guilt almost drives him to suicide before Jayce intervenes. After her testimony to the council fails to convince them that Silco is a threat, Vi partners with Jayce to take down Silco's Shimmer factories. Armed with Hextech weaponry, they fight an army of Shimmer-enhanced soldiers, but in the process Jayce accidentally kills a child worker. Abandoned by Vi, who claimed the two were "like oil and water," Caitlyn is kidnapped by Jinx.
9"The Monster You Created"November 20, 2021 (2021-11-20)
After their disastrous raid, Jayce realizes the potential cost of intra-city war and resolves to broker a peace treaty with Silco instead, offering Zaun's independence in exchange for Jinx. Ekko reveals his hideout to Heimerdinger and they begin working to help the undercity together. Silco laments his predicament of choosing between Zaun and Jinx to a statue of Vander, where Jinx is secretly listening. Vi defeats Sevika but is subsequently abducted by Jinx. Vi awakens at a table where Silco and Caitlyn are also restrained. Jinx gives Vi a pistol, telling her to choose between Caitlyn and herself. Caitlyn frees herself and attempts to kill Jinx, but the latter knocks her out. Both Vi and Silco appeal to Jinx, causing Jinx to suffer a traumatic attack. Silco breaks free and almost shoots Vi before Jinx, in a manic fit, guns him down. Comforted by Silco in his last moments, who reaffirms his love for her before dying, Jinx finally accepts her new identity and acknowledges that she and Vi have diverged. Having successfully weaponized the Hextech gemstone into a rocket launcher, Jinx fires the weapon at the Piltover council chamber right as the council approves Jayce's proposal to grant Zaun its independence.

Marketing and release

Originally set for a 2020 release, the show was rescheduled for a release in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15] It was scheduled for a simultaneous November 6, 2021, release on Netflix and China's Tencent Video,[16] with the series broken into nine episodes, with three episode "acts" being released once a week over three weeks.[17][18]

Riot Games promoted the launch of Arcane through events in their games, including League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and Valorant as "RiotX Arcane".[19] It launched promotional collaborations with non-Riot games such as PUBG Mobile,[20] Fortnite, and Among Us.[21]

On November 6, 2021, for the global premiere, Riot Games streamed the first episode on Twitch. Some content creators were allowed to co-stream the first three episodes of the series once they received permission from Riot Games, a first for a Netflix series, which also allowed viewers to retrieve in-game drops during the premiere.[22] Drops were only included in the games League of Legends (Arcane Capsule), Wild Rift (“A Single Tear” Emote), Teamfight Tactics (Gizmos & Gadgets Little Legends Egg), Legends of Runeterra (“Fascinating” Emote), and Valorant ("Fishbones" Gun Buddy).[23] The premiere received 1.8 million concurrent viewers on Twitch.

Soundtrack

On November 20, 2021, songs from the first season were released on Amazon Music.[24]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Playground"Bea Miller3:50
2."Our Love"Curtis Harding3:38
3."Goodbye"Ramsey3:51
4."Dirty Little Animals"BONES UK3:25
5."Enemy" (feat. J.I.D.)Imagine Dragons2:53
6."Guns for Hire"Woodkid3:46
7."Misfit Toys"3:09
8."Dynasties and Dystopia"2:58
9."Snakes"2:41
10."When Everything Went Wrong"Fantastic Negrito3:13
11."What Could Have Been" (feat. Ray Chen)Sting3:33
Total length:36:57

Reception

The voice performances of Hailee Steinfeld (top) and Ella Purnell (bottom), who respectively played Vi and Jinx, received praise.

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 9.10/10, based on 25 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Arcane makes an arresting first impression, combining a spectacular mix of 2D and 3D animation with an emotionally compelling story to deliver a video game adaptation that could become legendary."[5] The series also became Netflix's number-one program in November 2021,[26] setting the record as Netflix's highest-rated series so far within a week of its premiere, ranked first on the Netflix Top 10 Chart in 52 countries, and ranked second on the chart in the United States.[9]

Writing for IGN, Rafael Motamayor called Arcane's first season a "classic in the making, and the nail in the coffin of the so-called video game curse." He noted that the show worked for fans of League of Legends and newcomers, saying that "the character stories are what keep you engaged episode after episode; the lore is just icing on the cake." He also praised the voice cast, highlighting the performances of Leung, Purnell, Aghdashloo and Steinfeld, calling the latter performance the show's standout. Praising the animation, Motamayor called it the "most stunning piece of animation since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" and compared it to Invincible in terms of episode structure. He concluded by saying that Arcane "delivers a killing blow to the idea that video games cannot be masterfully adapted... with compelling characters, an endearing story, and fascinating lore and worldbuilding, as well as striking visuals" calling it a "masterpiece" and giving it a 10 out of 10 rating.[27]

Andrew Webster of The Verge praised the "fantasy-meets-steampunk world" and how no knowledge of League was needed to understand the show. Despite calling Act 1 "a fairly typical fantasy tale" he lauded the animation, saying that "each frame looks like a gorgeous piece of hand-painted concept art; in motion, it's like nothing I've ever seen" and that "it's also a world that feels lived-in and fully realized."[28] Matt Cabral of Common Sense Media called the first season "visually stunning" and that it "features the sort of nuanced characterizations, thoughtful storytelling, and rich world-building typically associated with big-budget, big-screen epics." He also took note of the blend of fantasy, steampunk and sci-fi with emphasis on how the story puts a "fresh spin on the heavily recycled premise." Cabral concluded that viewers would not need to have played or have any knowledge of League to appreciate the show.[7]

Reviewing the first four episodes of the first season, Tara Bennett of Paste enjoyed the way that "[the creators] purposefully made an adult animated drama that unflinchingly utilizes violence, adult language, and very dark storylines when needed to make the lives of the large ensemble cast resonate." Bennett favorably compared the series to Game of Thrones, Shadow and Bone, Castlevania and BioShock. She was also positive about the "nuance and subtle facial movements" of Fortiche's animation combined with the performances from Steinfeld, Jenness, Purnell and Spisak. Bennett called "Enemy" by Imagine Dragons "infectious" and that the show is "the new benchmark for what can be done when it comes to successfully translating worthy videogame universes into a different medium."[6]

Forbes noted that the show balances "being welcoming to newcomers who know absolutely nothing about the world of League of Legends, while also satisfying longtime League fans."[8]

Accolades

The series was nominated for 9 Annie Awards, the ceremony is to be held on February 26, 2022.[29]

YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
2021
Annie AwardsBest General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production"When These Walls Come Tumbling Down"Pending[29]
Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Television/Broadcast ProductionGuillaume Degroote, Aurélien Ressencourt, Martin Touzé, Frédéric Macé, Jérôme Dupré (for "Oil and Water")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionLéa Chervet (for "The Monster You Created")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionEvan Monteiro (for "Some Mysteries Better Left Unsolved")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionPascal Charue, Arnaud Delord, Barthelemy Maunoury (for "The Monster You Created")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionJulien Georgel, Aymeric Kevin, Arnaud Baudry (for "Happy Progress Day!")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionSimon Andriveau (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionElla Purnell (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down")Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television / Broadcast ProductionChristian Linke, Alex Yee (for "The Monster You Created")Pending

References

  1. ^ Palmer, Philip (October 22, 2019). "League of Legends Arcane TV series: Release date, story, characters, and everything we know". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "Riot Games Developing Animated Series Based on 'League of Legends'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  3. ^ Arcane: Animated Series Announcement | Riot Pls: 10th Anniversary Edition - League of Legends. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  4. ^ Goslin, Austen (November 6–20, 2021). "Netflix's Arcane is the best story League of Legends has ever had". Polygon. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Arcane: League of Legends: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved January 15, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Tara Bennett (November 5, 2021). "Netflix's Arcane: League of Legends Series Is a Surprisingly Vital Videogame Adaptation". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Matt Cabral (November 11, 2021). "Arcane - TV Review". www.commonsensemedia.org. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Tassi, Paul. "'Arcane' Is Still Putting Up Review Scores Like Netflix Has Never Seen Before". Forbes. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Santos, Marc (November 10, 2021). "'Arcane' Sets Record As Netflix's Best Rated Show". International Business Times. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  10. ^ Tassi, Paul. "'Arcane' Is Netflix's #1 Show In 52 Countries, But Struggling In The US". Forbes. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "League Of Legends' Arcane Is The Best Show On Netflix Right Now". Kotaku. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  12. ^ Bankhurst, Adam. "Arcane, Netflix's League of Legends Animated Series, Is Officially Getting a Second Season". IGN. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  13. ^ Laurent, Nicolo [@niiicolo] (November 20, 2021). "So yeah, we are working on #arcane season 2. The good news: you won't have to wait for 6 years (the time it took us to making season 1) The bad news: it's not coming in 2022" (Tweet). Retrieved November 21, 2021 – via Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Arcane:League of Legends". Arcane. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  15. ^ "An Update on Arcane: Creative Development and Production during a Pandemic". June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  16. ^ Amidi, Amid (September 25, 2021). "Netflix Releases 'Arcane' Trailer, Premiering November 6". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  17. ^ "Riot Games and Netflix unveil Arcane animated TV series launching on November 6". Venture Beat. September 25, 2021.
  18. ^ Goslin, Austen (September 25, 2021). "League of Legends' Arcane series gets stunning new trailer, Netflix release date". Polygon. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  19. ^ "Welcome to RiotX Arcane". Riot Games. November 5, 2021.
  20. ^ "Runeterra Enters PUBG Mobile to celebrate RiotX Arcane". Riot Games. November 5, 2021.
  21. ^ "Fortnite Gets Jinxed to celebrate Arcane". Riot Games. November 5, 2021.
  22. ^ Kelly, Michael (November 1, 2021). "Riot to broadcast Arcane premiere on Twitch, exclusive in-game drops available to all viewers". Dot Esports. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  23. ^ "Arcane premiere drops guide: How to unlock free watch rewards via Twitch". Upcomer. November 6, 2021.
  24. ^ "Arcane League of Legends (Soundtrack from the Animated Series)". Amazon Music. November 20, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  25. ^ "Miyavi & PVRIS - Snakes Arcane League of Legends Riot Games Music". youtube.
  26. ^ "Squid Game Finally Toppled on Netflix Top Ten by New Series". TV Shows. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  27. ^ Rafael Motamay (November 20, 2021). "Arcane Season 1 Review - IGN". Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  28. ^ Webster, Andrew (November 6, 2021). "Netflix's Arcane is a slick and exciting intro to League of Legends". The Verge. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  29. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (December 21, 2021). "Annie Awards Nominations: 'Raya And The Last Dragon' & 'Encanto' Lead Field For Animation Prizes". Deadline. Retrieved December 21, 2021.

External links