“Arcane is one of the most impressive animated projects ever made, without any doubt the best series of 2021. It’s a complex story with layered characters and mind-blowing visuals.”
Arcane is Netflix’s latest hit and has already been renewed for a second season, which is now in production. It’s set in the universe of League of Legends. But, you don’t need to have played that game before watching the series. I had only heard of League of Legends by name and I understood everything that was happening in the series. There is no prerequisite. So, is Arcane worth watching as everyone is saying?
AN UNCOMMON RELEASE
Netflix usually releases their series with every episode all at once. It gives you the freedom to watch the series the way you want. For example, you can binge-watch the season or you can watch one episode at a time. However, for Arcane, they made something different. Indeed, season 1 was released in three acts of three episodes each. It’s an uncommon way of releasing a series for Netflix. Nonetheless, I think it worked. It made me really excited to look forward to the next act each week. In fact, it does build more hype and creates more discussion on social media.
So, I wouldn’t mind seeing Netflix follow that release pattern more often because I like it! And I think I’m not the only one who does. Besides, this model prevents you from getting spoiled if you don’t binge-watch all episodes at once. In a week, you can easily watch three episodes of forty-ish minutes. That being said, let’s dive into the story of Arcane.
Arcane takes place in the world of Piltover which is divided in two. On one side, you have the upper city which is rich and has all the power. That’s where Jayce, Viktor and Caytlin live. The two men aim to revolutionize the world through technology. While, Caytlin is more trying to find her place in this world as she becomes an enforcer. On the other side, you have the under city Zaun which is a place of danger and misery. That’s where Vi and Powder are from. They’re two sisters who try to survive in this world. Then, there is Silco, a troubled man trying to take control of Zaun.
The story focuses on these six characters. So, it’s a complex story with several plotlines that all converge together in the third act. Firstly, act one establishes the different characters. It builds up to the moment their lives are all going to change forever. Then, act two focuses on the lives of the characters in this new world order. Finally, act three is the culmination of all the tensions building up since the beginning. I love how each act challenges the characters by changing their world. And I have to say I’m pretty excited to see what comes next!
I think layered characters are important for a great story. And Arcane delivers on that front as well. Everything isn’t right or wrong, there is a lot of in-between with these characters. And that’s exactly what I find so compelling about them. For example, Viktor’s time is limited because of his illness. So, through the Hextech he tries to save his life. But what will it cost? And is he ready to pay that price? The show explores the dilemma of this character in a meaningful way. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters.
Vi and Caytlin are my two other favorite characters. They come from opposite worlds but somehow they find each other. They are two characters who want to make things right and fall in love along the way. It’s a beautiful love story.
Then, there is a character I do hate – Powder/Jinx. She is the exact contrary of her sister Vi. Indeed, she does everything wrong and she never learns. But it tortures her so it’s sad seeing how that character evolves throughout the season.
The animation was made by the French company Fortiche Production. And I have to say I’m impressed. It’s the best animated work I have seen for any Netflix production. They have their own unique style with a blend of hand-drawn and CG animation. Right away, the first episode transported me into this universe. And that’s not only because of the story but also because of the visual aesthetic of the series. From the design of the characters to the design of the scenery, it’s a genuine work of art.
Alexander Temple and Alex Seaver composed a beautiful score. Though, people will mostly remember the songs. Indeed, Netflix and Fortiche have gathered a great number of artists for the soundtrack. Imagine Dragons made the opening theme. And I can tell you that song will be stuck in your mind for some time! For the final song of the season, they even brought the one and only Sting. I have to say his song is my favorite. It fits perfectly with what is happening in the final scene and it does carry a lot of emotional weight.
Arcane is one of the most impressive animated projects ever made, without any doubt the best series of 2021. It’s a complex story with layered characters and mind-blowing visuals.
All episodes of Arcane are now streaming on Netflix.
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