Riot Games has been known for making games that have become popular all over the world. Since League of Legends’ release in 2009, it quickly solidified itself as one of the best MOBA of all times and helped Riot Games establish themselves in the gaming industry. While Riot is known for its gaming repertoire which recently added popular FPS squad-based shooter VALORANT to the mixed, through the years Riot has been releasing top-notch music with hits from their K/DA, Kpop-inspired girl group, and short animations based on lore from their respective games. Anything Riot releases is oozing with quality. Arcane is no exception and is the best video game animation today.
Riot partnered with Netflix to bring this exceptional animation to a larger audience and it debuted late last year to critical acclaim.
Arcane is set across the two cities of Piltover and Zaun in the vast and sprawling world of Runeterra. Piltover also known as the City of Progress is a thriving metropolis with many technological advances while Zaun is an undercity with lawlessness and roguery at its core. The design of the two cities possess a stark contrast; the posh and modern vibe of Piltover versus the gritty Zaun where you never feel safe, and is effectively shown throughout the series. This core design philosophy is a huge reason as to why Arcane is such a visual treat.
Despite the best efforts of the beautiful aesthetics in Arcane, the stars of the show are the characters who fans of the League of Legends IP will know as champions. Arcane’s decision on focusing on just one part of Runeterra for this first season goes a long way. The other major regions of Runeterra such as Ionia, Demacia, Noxus, the Freljord, and even Bilgewater are barely mentioned and sometimes even not at all. Focusing on this conflict between Piltover and Zaun allows an intimate look into its characters and lore.
The bond between Vi and Jinx goes further than what most players know about them just being sisters. What is the mentality of why Vi became an enforcer for Piltover after she grew up in Zaun and spent years in prison? Is Jinx more than just a crazy and unhinged girl with a love for explosions in the game? How did Jayce become Piltover’s beloved Golden Boy? What was the friendship between Jayce and Victor, the Machine Herald of Zaun? How did the eccentric Yordle scientist named Heimerdinger who used to be part of the Piltover Council end up becoming friends with Ekko in Zaun? How did the time traveling Ekko come upon his powers? These questions and more are explored throughout the series with much detail.
Riot is just getting started because more seasons of Arcane have been announced. Hopefully we’d also get to explore all the regions of Runeterra and explore the stories of the champions we’d grown to love in the game. Yasuo and Yone’s relationship in Ionia. Garren and Lux’s brotherly love in Demacia. The long standing feud between Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles . There is so much lore to be explored and characters to meet in Runeterra. We hope we get more animes about all of them.
The beauty of Arcane is the sum of its parts and the best part about all of this is you don’t even have to be a fan of League of Legends to fall in love with the wonderful world that Riot created. The first season of Arcane is available on Netflix worldwide.