Arcane: League of Legends
With so much amazing content out there we (meaning either me and my husband or us and the kids) are often behind on the newest shows out. But we have a list and as we finish one series (or a season of a series) we move on to the next. A couple of weeks ago we finally got around to Arcane: League of Legends, which came out in late 2021 and is currently running on Netflix.
Let me give you a brief bit of backstory. League of Legends is a video game created by the ever growing Riot Games. I confess I have never played it. We only have a switch and it's not yet available on this platform. But I do follow some Riot folks on LinkedIn and have dabbled in Fortnite and, more recently, Fall Guys. These are both good games with quite a following and League of Legends is no different. So I imagine someone said "you know, the game has a heck of a following and a nice story line that could be a fantastic series. Let's make a show out of it!" So Christian Linke and Alex Yee got to work creating this show for Riot Games. And that's the backstory, haha.
Now to the show. I'll try to be as spoiler free as possible, but it will also mean that I will have to be rather vague. A lot changes quickly for several of the characters. Anywhozer, for starters, this may be animated, but it is not for children! It is rated TV14 and this is fair. There is language, violence, and some sexy time (though you do not see the anyone's bits).
The story takes place in the prosperous and well to do city of Piltover and it's slums, the undercity, also referred to as Zaun. It opens with two young girls, Vi and her little sister Powder, walking across a bridge that is the remains of a battlefield. Fires and dead bodies everywhere. It is a strong opening scene that sets the tone well for the series. There is a group of poor and oppressed people who have been neglected and abused by those in power. They took a stand. They lost. Then it cuts forward a few years and we learn more about those little girls, who live in a place called the Lanes in the undercity, and the man who took them in from that moment and became their father. Vi is the oldest. She is tough. She hates the people of Piltover and their mistreatment of her people. She is quick, strong, fierce and sure of herself, but she has a good heart and loves her family. Powder is young. She is more delicate than her big sister, but wants to be like Vi. She has been traumatized by the loss of her parents and torn between her nature and her desire to be like Vi. We also meet other key players in the story, both from Piltover and the undercity. We meet the council, a group of seven that makes the final decisions regarding both cities, the main antagonist, and several others who will be far more important than we realize at first meeting.
I know that's super brief and obnoxiously vague, but I really think a show is so much better when you are surprised by the turn of events, or at least able to figure things out for yourself. I love the character development. The writing is brilliant with intensity and passion that quickly brings new depth to the characters at just the right moments and in just the right ways. I found myself worried that characters I liked were going to turn bad, hopeful bad guys were going to turn good, and surprised by some of the decisions that some characters made (though the decisions did fit the character, it's not what I thought or wanted them to do, lol). It is perfectly cast with outstanding performances from the entire ensemble. And don't get me started on the animation. WOW. Multiple forms are used throughout the series and the transitions are seamless. There are a fair amount of action packed scenes that are truly engaging. I dare even say that this show holds my favorite animated action scenes. You know, the kind that gets your adrenaline rushing just watching it? The facial expressions, even small gestures with the hands are very detailed and thought out. Mad props to all involved. I anticipated a good show, I found a phenomenal one and I am super excited to see where season 2 goes!
What video game would you love to see turned into a movie or series?