The Idiot Box: ‘Arcane,’ emotional depth and action-packed thrills

Breaking the video game to TV curse, ‘Arcane’ captivates audiences


The Arcane title card that bursts onto screen after the mesmerizing title sequence of each episode. The striking visuals set the tone for the viewers journey through the series. (Image Courtesy of Netflix. Graphic created by Ryan Ascalon.)

Ryan Ascalon

I don’t use the word “perfection” lightly. 

As “Into the Spider-Verse” revolutionized animation for the big screen, “Arcane” is the platinum standard for serialized television stories and animation. 

Based on the popular multiplayer online battle arena video game “League of Legends,” this show takes viewers on a journey into a magical steampunk world. 

The animation studio Fortiche, responsible for “Arcane,” put a lot of time and energy into making a visually spectacular series, being in production for six years. 

Story continues below trailer.

The visual design of “Arcane” is a fusion of 2D and 3D animation, giving it a fresh and energetic feel. The beautiful and elaborate cityscapes of the two central locations of the series, Piltover and Zaun, are a testament to the meticulous work that went into every frame.

The animation’s use of color and light adds depth to the various settings 

The color scheme is rich and dynamic, with a different style for each location. For instance, Zaun’s underworld’s gloomy, industrial tones starkly contrast to the bright, golden colors of Piltover’s streets.

The show’s use of camera angles and special effects is also impressive. Every action scene in the program has a cinematic quality because of the fluid camerawork and tracking shots. 

The special effects, from explosions to powering up the magical “Hextech,” are stunningly executed, heightening the intensity. 

The soundtrack ranges from classical concertos to industrial pulse-pounding beats. Love them or hate them, Imagine Dragons is responsible for the opening theme of each episode and it adds to the artistic talent of the show.

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The series’ writers have created a sophisticated, character-driven and exhilarating narrative that makes the show stand out from any other. 

“Arcane” delves into topics like belonging, betrayal and atonement. Each episode builds on the previous one to tell a gratifying and unpredictable story.

One of “Arcane’s” finest qualities is how it includes references to the “League of Legends” canon without making the tale inaccessible to non-fans. The show does an excellent job of world-building, establishing a detailed and interesting setting that feels familiar and fresh. 

As a viewer, I could tell that the authors and animators crafted this story to appeal to the game’s newbies and die-hard fans.

The series’ principal characters, sisters Vi and Jinx, played by Hailee Steinfeld and Ella Purnell,  are the core players in this story. Even though their relationship is plagued with tension and struggle, they care for one another. 

Vi, a former criminal deputized by Piltover’s law enforcement, is torn between her devotion to her home and her desire to protect her sister.

Conversely, Jinx is a tragic character whose spiral into insanity is shown in a captivating way.

The portrayal of Jinx’s mind flashes makes her such a fascinating character. Her deterioration into insanity is not sudden or unexplainable but rather the result of a buildup of pain and the accompanying feelings of abandonment. 

“Arcane” is a work of art in terms of animation and plot. It’s a show that will appeal to both “League of Legends” enthusiasts and newcomers. The series wants to be viewed and admired for its magnificent aesthetics and characters.