Video Game Inspired, Artfully Created: A short, non-spoiler review of Netflix’s “Arcane”

This is Arcane’s World now; we all just live in it, and I for one am fine with that. In case you haven’t heard, the Netflix series “Arcane” has exploded in popularity, gaining both general and critical acclaim. On the popular film and TV review site, Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 100% Average Tomatometer score, indicating the scores compiled from critics, and a 96% Average Audience Score, indicating the scores from everyday viewers. Additionally, the series won nine Annie Awards, which celebrate excellence in animation, on March 12; the episodes that won the most awards individually were episode six “When These Walls Come Tumbling Down” and episode nine “The Monster You Created,” who both won three awards each.

Originally, I was skeptical of the show. The show acts as a prequel story for the video game “League of Legends,” and I’ve never had much interest in the video game. However, I started to hear more and more about it; my side of Twitter was loving it, particularly a scene in which one of our main characters, Vi, leans in and tells the enemy she’s reluctantly working with, “You’re hot, cupcake.” I saw people screaming over the character designs, which diverged from the original “League of Legends” art in ways that made the characters more artistic than sexy. But Twitter alone wasn’t enough to convince me, though it piqued my interest.

No, it was our resident “League of Legends” expert and esports captain, Zack Wilson, that finally convinced me. I figured that if he and Twitter agreed on something, it must be exceptional, and boy was that right. 

Originally, the episodes were released in batches of three; since I was tardy to the party, I could binge-watch them all. I watched two episodes on the plane ride back to Arizona for spring break, and I mourned my lack of foresight in not downloading the entire show. I was hooked. I’ve never seen a TV show with such aesthetic appeal; the art is amazing, the music and soundtrack is addictive, the characters are gorgeous and well-crafted and absolutely bonkers, and the plot will keep your brain screaming long after you’ve finished (Exhibit A: me). 

I watched seven 40-45 minute episodes in one airplane ride from Arizona to Pennsylvania. And then I came home and started it all over again so I could show my roommate.

Watch Arcane. Do it. You won’t regret it.

If you’re concerned about jumping in with no knowledge of “League of Legends,” don’t worry. According to aforementioned Zack Wilson, “You don’t need any background to enjoy the show, or so I gather from those who have no background and subsequently enjoyed it. The show does a good job of not being for players only, but delivering an experience players and non-players both enjoy… for example, I get excited about Singed, since I know he’s a character from the game and know his deal, but to non-players, he’s just a creepy minor character.” 

For those already hooked, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re definitely getting a season two, and that you can watch the teaser on Twitter from the official Arcane account; the bad news is that we probably won’t see it until 2023 at the earliest. The first season took six years of hard work to make, so cross your fingers that season two won’t take that long. Art of that caliber takes time, unfortunately, but I for one am pretty convinced that the wait will be worth it. 

And in the interim, I can always rewatch it just one more time. 

Sources: Dot Esports, Rotten Tomatoes, Collider