Out Of The Game, Into Arcane

The new show Arcane debuted on Netflix on Nov. 6, 2021 with nine episodes as a spin-off from the popular video game League of Legends


Jessie King

Main character Jinx, also known as Powder, stars in the new series Arcane from the popular video game League of Legends.

The 2021 TV series Arcane introduces characters from the video game, League of Legends, and brings in a captivating story. 

According to League Feed, “[The] League of Legends player count in 2021 has reached a total number of 180 million active monthly users, mostly thanks to their TV series, Arcane.”

League of Legends, the popular video game created by Riot games, is compatible with MacOS and Microsoft Windows. It currently consists of 157 different champions to play from, such as Vi, Jinx, Singed, Jayce, Ekko, Heimerdinger and Caitlyn, who have been featured on the show.

League of Legends is a game on the map, Summoners Rift, where players are assembled in two teams of five, with the objective of destroying the enemy, Nexus. Despite the connection to the game, the new show seems to stand alone, because context from League of Legends is not needed. However, little easter eggs and references do appear in the series. 

Junior Muhammad Deway has had a positive experience with watching the show, with his knowledge from playing the video game.

“Things [did] start to add up when I connect the show and the game, although I do think it would be more enjoyable for someone who hasn’t played the game, since then it’s already kind of spoiled for people that have played,” Deway said.

The opening music is called “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons, featuring JID, and has an upbeat pop style. The lyrics  signify the relationship that falters in the show and how the two sisters, Vi and Jinx, become ‘enemies.’ This is Imagine Dragons’ second music collaboration with Riot, following their first song “Warriors” in 2015.

The show starts off in a city called Piltover, founded on the idea of innovation and progress.

A group of rowdy kids race through the streets on an adventure to break into a topsider’s home to steal materials. Vi is introduced as a strong young girl with short pink hair and a fiery attitude to match. Her younger sister Powder has bright blue hair and a more tentative approach, contrasting with her older sister’s. Later in the series we see them both grown up, and Powder goes by a new name, Jinx, mirroring her League name.

They appear to be on the lower class side of the city, as they come from a part of the undercity called the Lanes. In an attempt to steal materials to resell, Powder finds a unique artifact; a bright glowing Hextech crystal. Yet the unstable prototype ends up exploding the building which sparked the upper side of the city to blame the lower side for the mishap.

With the discovery of the Hextech crystal, a young innovator, Jayce tries to work with one of Piltover’s researchers, Viktor, to move up to the city’s government council and attempt to convince them that utilizing the magic could help make everyone’s life better and bring trade and income to the city. 

Senior Ghazall Valadkhani feels empathy for the character Viktor and what he had endured in the show.

“I liked Viktor because he was one of the only characters that were in a place where they felt like they didn’t belong. He was from the Undercity working for Piltover even though the [Undercity] had been doubted, shunned, and attacked. He wasn’t given credit for anything he did,” Valadkhani said. 

From here, the show delves into the concept of the wealth gap between Piltover and it’s Undercity in a seemingly capitalist society. This takes the action-filled fantasy story to take on more real issues.

The animation style, created by Fortiche Production, takes a realistic cartoon approach, with an immense amount of detail involved in the graphics which is similar to other popular anime art styles with a mix of both 2D and 3D animation.

The show hosts a variety of montages during fight scenes, surrounded by cinematic shots and original music to heighten the tension between different characters. It has a mix of both action and interactions to appeal to all genre styles. 

Popular Twitch streamer for playing League of Legends, Tyler Steinkamp, known as Tyler1, was surprised by his positive experience watching the series.

“I was sitting there watching on screen, just praying for their downfall but sadly it actually wasn’t bad…it was actually decent and I don’t watch cartoons,” Steinkamp said on a livestream.

He jokingly added that Riot games will take over the world with how good of television series they created.

Valadkhani voices her anticipation to see her favorite character, Viktor, in season two.

“Even his story was left out on an ambiguous cliffhanger. So I’m excited how he turns out,” Valadkhani said.

Ever since the last episode of the series ended on a suspenseful note, Riot has announced a second season is in production. Considering that the first one took six years to make, it seems that viewers will have to hold onto that cliff for a little while longer.