After conquering the entire gaming world, League of Legends has decided to take over the animation world with its new Netflix series Arcane. A prequel to the in-game canon, it promises to provide a lot of entertainment to fans of the game and non-fans alike. Let’s see how Arcane Act 1 did in this review!
Arcane Episodes 1 to 3 Overview
Arcane is an animated series set in the League of Legends Universe that acts as a prequel to the series. The series was first announced at the game’s 10th-anniversary celebration in 2019, but Covid put an end to those plans as it was postponed to late 2021. The series is directed by Pascal Charrue and Jerome Combe of Le Dernier Gaulois fame, alongside the director of the Imagine Dragons x League of Legends music video, Arnaud Delord.
It is voiced by the likes of Hailee Steinfeld and Katie Leung, who portray various League of Legends champions such as Vi, Jinx, and Powder. You can catch three episodes every week starting from this week on Netflix. If you don’t have a Netflix account, your favourite Twitch streamers might just be co-streaming it for free on their channels, so you can go ahead and watch the series that way. Don’t worry, it’s completely legal.
– Arcane Review does not contain spoilers –
Arcane Episodes 1 To 3 Review- The Plot
A disclaimer before starting this review- while I have played a lot of League of legends, most of it has been very casual, and as such, I’m not very aware of the game’s plot. I believe it is fair to go into the series as someone who doesn’t know anything about it. That way, the entry barrier for new fans doesn’t hinder people from enjoying the animated series as just that- a completely unrelated animated series.
Arcane Episode 1 is a good start to the series, introducing us to the central characters in the show, sisters Vi and Powder. While the series is a little busy at the start for new fans, it does get easier to understand with time. The dynamics between the characters are nothing new, and the initial plot beats are something we’ve already seen in several other shows and movies before. The series takes the well-travelled path of the lower class vs the upper class without doing anything revolutionary along the way. At least not yet.
Arcane Episode 2 introduces the element of magic to the show and explores the politics of the upper levels of the city. This ended up being the slowest part of the otherwise fast-paced and action-packed series. However, it does seem to play a very important role in the overall plot of the series. It introduces some fun new characters alongside continuing the story of Vi, Powder, and Vander alongside several side characters.
Arcane Episode 3 is where the proverbial s**t hits the fan as a load of things that the previous episodes set up come together into a big explosion of fantastic character moments, fight scenes, and tremendous plot developments. This episode genuinely took me by surprise. Before this, the series was heading towards a familiar and somewhat cliche territory of two siblings getting left to fight the world together. After the events of this episode, I couldn’t be more excited for the future of this series.
Overall, the three episodes were a neat little package that was a fantastic introduction to the series despite being a little too slow and info-dumping a little too much. Arcane serves as a fantastic introduction to the League of Legends universe for new fans and contains tons of Easter eggs and details for long time fans to enjoy. While the series doesn’t do anything too groundbreaking in its first outing, it is a very enjoyable series nonetheless.
Arcane Episodes 1 To 3 Review- The Characters
There are so many of them that talking about all of them would take a lot of time, which is a luxury I do not have. Speaking of the main ones, Vi and Powder are mostly the familiar tropes of protective elder sibling – useless angsty younger sibling that still works because of the twist at the end of Episode 3. Their protector Vander was also a little generic at the start, being the typical protective dad type. However, cliches are that for a reason. They are well-established and nearly always work. I have no problem with the characters being the way they are, as it works.
The dynamic between Vander and Silco, who appears to be the show’s primary antagonist, is interesting but remains unexplored as of yet. The magic developers and scientists will seemingly play a bigger role in the future. However, the screen time they got in these three episodes wasn’t enough to judge them as characters. We only know what they’re about as of now, not their motivations. Overall, there is a nice variety of characters who’ve all got their roles in the plot and fit in well with the universe.
Arcane Episodes 1 To 3 Review- Art and Music
The series was animated with Netflix’s now trademark style, which appears to be somewhere between Into the Spiderverse and a traditional anime. It is able to portray a lot of detail and expressions in the characters while being incredibly smooth and adaptable to all kinds of action. This sometimes makes the characters a little ugly, but overall is a fantastic part of the show. The animation in Arcane is fantastic, especially in the magic sections.
The music, however, is my one area of contention with the series. The Imagine Dragons opening doesn’t fit in the show’s universe, and as of now, the whole soundtrack is a bit too generic. There are no standout tracks or insert songs. The show has competent sound design, but the overall music experience is a letdown. Hailee Steinfeld is a fantastic singer who deserves a song of her own on the soundtrack in the future, as well.
Arcane Episodes 1, 2, and 3 serve as a fantastic introduction to the animated series that only looks to be moving upwards in quality as it progresses. The series has a lot of potential and should be a fantastic watch for fans of the Arcane League of Legends universe as well as people new to the series.
Arcane is streaming on Netflix.