A little more than two years ago, Riot Games announced the series Arcane, based on a game that is just as hated as it is loved: League of Legends. Of course, this news sparked a lot of skepticism in the community, both from players and casual Netflix watchers, and it was quite understandable. The main reason for that was because video games adaptations have been known in the past to be poorly made, rushed to grab some quick cash or just surf on a trend. But Arcane was different. As a matter of fact, so different that the complete opposite happened: it proved that adapting video games was not bound to be a failure, it just required hard work and a well-managed budget.

So, let us take a deeper dive into the cities of Piltover and Zaun, to try and understand what made the charm of the show!

Oh, you like it? It’s French!

Why of course it is! Riot Games worked in collaboration with the French animation studio Fortiche Production for a stunning total of 6 years before releasing the first season, that consists of nine episodes in three batches — categorized as Act One, Act Two and Act Three — that premiered on Nov. 6, 13 and 20, 2021, respectively, crafting masterful cliffhangers that maintained a fanbase hungry for more. Prior to the release of Arcane, Fortiche Production was already well-established in the industry, having been around since 2009 when it was founded in Paris.

A masterful job was down at taking Arcane’s premise and its many characters from the source material — The already existing League of Legends lore — while also delving into new territory. Thus, the viewer is by no mean required to have any past familiarity with the game, as everything you need to know about the characters and the universe is perfectly described thoroughly.

League of Legends: lore galore

Now hear me out. I know what you’re thinking about League of Legends and its community. I know it might not want to be a game you want to get into when you have never played before, but…

For all of you folks who love to dive into a game’s lore — the collective narrative/story of a fantasy universe — and learn more about its characters and how it even came to life, look no further: League of Legends is a well-documented, thriving lore mine that will provide you with countless of hours of fascinating stories, stories that get even better when they’re being told to you by people who love them. Téo my dear friend, thank you for all the time you spent telling me some lore despite me forgetting each time!
Anyways, Arcane takes place between the thriving steampunk city of Piltover and the cyberpunk hellscape of ‘The Undercity’ — also referred to as Zaun —, both being part of the imaginary world of Runeterra. This vast world is where all of League of Legend’s action takes place, especially the lives of our beloved characters: Vi and Jinx, the two sisters who also happen to be the main characters of the story, but also Jayce, Viktor or Heimerdinger between many others.   

The main antagonist, Silco — while initially introduced as a typical sinister villain — unfurls into layers of unanticipated vulnerability. He harbors very admirable motives that spur his unsavory deeds and is, in my humble opinion, the best written character. Arcane includes devastating violence and trauma, but it portrays them with elegance and subtlety.

Bar rencontre personnages arcane

Mastering everything down to the last wire

Besides its narrative complexity, Arcane charmed many with its stunning animation style. Each frame is a mosaic of vivid colors, resplendent with revolutionary swaths of light and shadow. The art style is so aesthetically pleasing that pausing every second will yield a perfectly picturesque wallpaper or poster. Everything comes together perfectly, in a very dynamic yet intelligent animation, producing a result that is both pleasant to watch and coherent with the story. Have you, for example, noticed the scratches on the camera during fight scenes? That’s right, every little detail is taken into consideration and polished to fit perfectly in the final result.
Bagarre Arcane deux personnages

For some of spectators, music often times comes in as a detail, despite it adding tons to any show — when done correctly, of course —. Every track was developed exclusively for the show, incorporating several renowned musicians including Ramsey, Denzel Curry, Sting, Imagine Dragons, Ray Chen and more. The music is tailored to every scene and synchronizes with on-screen movement and edits.

Now add all of that together, and try to guess what the result is. Exactly, a masterpiece, but for art to achieve such a status, it needs to be officially considered as such by critics and the public. Fortunately, and to the surprise of… absolutely no one, Arcane won a very prestigious Primetime Emmy Award in 2022.

THE must watch show on Netflix

With the very anticipated Season 2 having already been announced, you have no excuses left to leave Arcane in your ‘Yeah, I’ll watch later’ playlist on Netflix.

So buckle up and get ready for some never-seen-before action in an animated show. Trust me, and trust the Emmys: if it’s worth being the winner of a Primetime, it’s well worth your time!

Disclaimer: Going back to mediocre shows such as Riverdale or Wednesday is painful afterwards, so proceed with caution! (don’t, rush as fast as you can).


Carl Goiffon