In the past, movie adaptations of popular video games were box office failures. Everybody over 30 remembers Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Doom, and others. The games were smashing hits, but everybody ridiculed the movie directors and actors. It seemed that a faithful adaptation was impossible.
Something magical happened during the early 2020s. Sonic The Hedgehog movie did pretty well at the box office. It even gathered admirable reviews. But the real game-changer came in the form of two animated series: Dota: Dragon’s Blood and Arcane. The shows hold 75% and 100% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively. But what made Arcane resonate with people?
For years, Riot Games’ League of Legends was a common sight in many dorm rooms. The game has thousands of students order custom writing services while staying glued to the screen. It has over 100 champions populating the World of Runeterra. Arcane takes place in the city of Piltover. It suffers deep class struggles.
Its undercity wants to be recognized as a separate entity. It doesn’t want to be ruled by those living in towers overlooking the city. Each part of the city looks distinct. This is thanks to recognizable architecture and color choices, from extravagant streets and dirty Zaun bars to places where only the damned dwell.
While the 10 episode series focuses on the city, the outside world also plays a part. Scenes from other parts of Runeterra give a feeling of a wider setting. The artists behind the show did an excellent job of using League of Legends’ lore. Both Piltover and Zaun feel like real places. Many shots from Arcane can be used as desktop wallpapers.
The artists chose not to barrage viewers with dozens of characters. Instead, the authors focus on several groups. The first is led by Zaun’s former resistance leader Vander. He is well respected and beloved by his adopted daughters, Violet and Powder. The second is helmed by the enigmatic Silco, who works on a powerful weapon that will help Zaun’s cause.
The third group focuses on inventors Victor and Jayce Talis. They have a dream of creating breakthrough technology to improve everybody’s lives. But it was proved to be a force for good and evil in the past. There are many supporting characters. Yet, the core of Arcane’s first season lies with Violet and Powder.
It seems impossible that the writers gave a compelling story for every character. But they succeeded 100%. The audience sees each character formed by their past and current choices. They struggle with questions of loyalty, family bonds, scientific progress, sacrifice, and forgiveness. There’s not a single bland character to be found here.
It’s rare that a studio sticks so closely to the videogame art style. Designers didn’t go for a generic anime style. Instead, they made it as stunning and unique as possible. They gave a lot of detail to the environment and characters. The animation works great from the way characters walk, sit, talk, and emote. Everybody has their little quirks and mannerisms.
It seems that the team spent an enormous amount of time working on each character. The creative production from Paris and Montpellier did their job to perfection. Each environment and character were painted by hand and digitally animated. Arcane feels like a moving art piece from beginning to end. It’s no wonder that the series swept the 2021 Annie Awards.
Also read: Jinx’s Height and Weight
The Fight Scenes
Fights are one of the selling points of League of Legends. Each fighter has a set of skills and weapons to fight other champions. Netflix did a great job of showing these special abilities and fighting techniques. The show has the likes of Jinx, Vi, Jayce, and Ekko. Their fighting style was seamlessly transferred into the series.
Arcane has one of the most beautiful fight scenes in recent history. They are unpredictable, fast-paced, and exciting to watch. Characters use power fists, massive hammers, robotic arms, and heavy machine guns, to name a few. Each weapon deals damage that visibly affects other characters. Even some of the more outlandish abilities were perfectly included.
The Voice Acting
Animation is nothing without talent behind the microphone. Luckily, Arcane has many talented voice actors working on the series. They give excellent performances throughout the series. Ella Purnell as Powder/Jinx lost her voice when recording the character’s mental breakdown. Jason Spisak was perfect as the sinister and plotting Silco.
Kevin Alejandro as Jayce Talis conveyed the energy of youth and the joys of inventing something new. All voice actors gave their best trying to convey emotions of joy, despair, love, and sorrow. The audience feels their emotions even though they are just animated characters.
Also read: How Many People Play League of Legends?
Music has been an integral part of the League of Legends marketing campaign. Riot created several virtual bands to promote the game. They even released several music videos with the same animation style as Arcane. The series also uses musical scores and tracks to emphasize emotional moments and pivotal events.
Arcane’s intro song “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons has viewers pumped for action. Before, the band collaborated with Riot Games on the “Warriors” song. It was used during the League of Legends world championship in 2014. Other prominent tunes on the soundtrack include the following:
- “Dynasties and Dystopia” by Denzel Curry;
- “What Could Have Been” by Sting;
- “Guns for Hire” by Woodkid;
- “Playground” by Bea Miller.
All songs create a perfect backdrop for the situations and characters. “Dynasties and Dystopia” works great as a fight scene song. Sting’s collaboration with violinist Ray Chen brings the season crushing down at its pivotal point.
Arcane is currently one of the most popular and watched series on Netflix. There’s a strong chance that its next season will pick up from the cliffhanger ending. Based on what Netflix already did, Arcane’s season 2 is going to be a raving hit. The work of writers, animators, designers, and composers shows that it will be nothing but excellent.