After taking the world by storm in its first three episodes because of the sheer quality of work put into it, Arcane Act 2 is back again to prove that not all video game offshoot properties have to be bad. Let’s see how the episodes did in this review!
Arcane Act 2 Overview
Arcane is an animated series set in the Arcane 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 and Jinx, previously known as Powder. Each act contains three episodes released weekly to be available exclusively 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. You can read our review of Act 1 here.
– Arcane Act 2 Review does not contain spoilers –
Arcane Act 2 Review- The Plot
In his 1979 book “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting”, Syd Field defined the premier model of narrative fiction that most forms of media use today. He called it the three-act structure, with the three acts being called The Setup, The Confrontation, and The Resolution. In a manner that’s not very subtle, Arcane is also divided into three acts, all comprising three episodes that follow the three-act structure to a tee.
Act 1 was about how the two sisters got separated and what drove a wedge between them. Episode 3 was a masterclass in tying the setup together, promising entertaining and meaningful follow-up acts that follow. For its credit, Arcane Act 2 does a great job at the confrontation phase of the story, setting up the characters and their motivations in just the right way for one to derive maximum satisfaction from watching the events unfold.
Arcane Episode 4 saw us getting reintroduced to Vi and Powder, who now goes by Jinx. Jayce has succeeded in spreading Hextech, essentially magic, across the upper world and has earned a lot of influence because of that. Meanwhile, the underworld is under Silco’s control, who uses Shimmer to assert his dominance upon everyone, including Powder. It was a fine episode that, while being somewhat derivative, did its job to perfection.
Arcane Episode 5 was the most forgettable episode of the show so far, focusing on Viktor’s backstory and political dealings by Jayce. Vi and her new supporter Kate are searching the underground for a trace of Powder. While the events here were important, they weren’t very interesting. There are a lot of characters in the show, and it is a given that not all of them are very good. Hence, like all stories, some parts tend to suffer because of that.
Arcane Episode 6 saw things come to a head as Silco and Co confronted Violet again, with many emotions surfacing from all parties. Magic also played a huge role in the story, acting as the backbone of the entire story. While the parts associated with it are usually the most boring in the series, it plays an important role in providing a conflict between the underworld and what lies above. The episode also ended in a foreboding manner and hinted towards an action-packed finale.
Arcane Act 2 Review- The Characters
There’s a lot to talk about here, especially the characters who have changed from who they were in Act 1. The series took a time leap of about a decade, and in that time, there were a lot of changes to personalities. The most noticeable was Powder, who went from an annoying pre-teen to an even more annoying teenager. She also suffers from mental health issues now, which adds another dimension to her character.
Violet is generally unchanged, but her demeanour has softened up now that she isn’t an angsty teenager anymore. Kate is a surprisingly decent character, one that I didn’t expect would play such an important role in the series. Jayce and Viktor are important, but their sections of the story are, without a doubt, the worst parts of the series. Silco is the only character that hasn’t changed one bit. There’s a nice variety here of some solid characters and less than solid ones.
Arcane Act 2 Review- Art and music
Arcane’s animation quality is exceptional, and Act 2 was no different. The action scenes were very smooth, and there were some very creative angles that the showrunners chose to represent the characters. The series is very colourful, and its aesthetic is one of chaos underground and serenity above ground. The blue Hextech and Red Shimmer provide a nice contrast to the powers of Good and Evil in the universe, which are also the colours of Vi and Powder.
Music is where the show loses some points, if only for animating a version of Imagine Dragons in this universe and making them sing the entirely unexceptional theme song in the middle of an episode. Other than that, the OSTs and insert themes are great and also contribute greatly to the atmosphere of the show.
Overall, While Arcane Act 2 wasn’t as groundbreaking or consistent as Act 1, it was still a great step in the phenomenal run the series is having. All the pieces are set, along with a few mysteries that are yet to be revealed.
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