Arcane (TV series)

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Arcane
Arcane intertitle.png
Also known asArcane: League of Legends
Genre
Created by
  • Christian Linke
  • Alex Yee
Based onLeague of Legends
by Riot Games
Story by
Directed by
  • Pascal Charrue
  • Arnaud Delord
Voices of
Theme music composerImagine Dragons
JID
Opening theme"Enemy" (performed by Imagine Dragons and JID)
Composers
Country of origin
  • France
  • United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9
Production
Executive producers
  • Christian Linke
  • Marc Merill
  • Brandon Beck
  • Jane Chung
  • Thomas Vu
Running time39–44 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNetflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format1080p HDR widescreen
Audio format5.1 surround sound
Original releaseNovember 6, 2021 (2021-11-06) –
present (present)

Arcane (titled onscreen as Arcane: League of Legends) is an animated action-adventure streaming television series created by Christian Linke and Alex Yee. It was produced by the French animation studio Fortiche under the supervision of Riot Games and distributed by Netflix. Set in Riot's League of Legends fictional universe, it primarily focuses on sisters Vi and Jinx. The series was announced at the League of Legends 10th anniversary celebration in 2019, and first released in November 2021. Following the conclusion of the first season, Riot Games and Netflix announced that a second season was in production for a post-2022 release.

Arcane's first season was released to critical acclaim, with praise directed at its animation, story, worldbuilding, action sequences, characters, emotional weight, music and voice acting. Some have noted the series' appeal both to casual viewers who have never played League of Legends and to long-time fans of the game.[1] It also set the record as Netflix's highest-rated series so far within a week of its premiere, ranked first on the Netflix Top 10 Chart in 52 countries, and ranked second on the chart in the United States.

Premise[edit]

Amidst the escalating unrest between the rich, utopian city of Piltover and its seedy, oppressed underbelly of Zaun, sisters Vi and Jinx find themselves on opposing sides of a brewing conflict over clashing convictions and arcane technologies.[2]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Supporting[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
Act 1
1"Welcome to the Playground"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordChristian Linke & Alex YeeNovember 6, 2021 (2021-11-06)
Rebels from the repressed undercity of Zaun march across a bridge into Piltover, resulting in the brutal pushback by Piltover enforcers. During the ensuing violence, sisters Powder and Vi find their parents dead in the rubble and are taken in by Vander, the leader of the failed rebellion, as his own children. Years later, Vi and Powder rob a Piltovan penthouse with their adopted brothers, Mylo and Claggor. Powder steals a set of magical crystals and accidentally shatters one. This causes an explosion that destroys a large portion of the building. Returning to the undercity, the siblings encounter Deckard and his thugs; while they beat them in a fistfight, Powder is chased and loses the loot. Vander, now a bar owner and a community leader in Zaun, scolds the children for their carelessness, and attempts to smooth things over with Grayson, the Sheriff of the enforcers. Vi berates Mylo for calling Powder a "jinx" and reassures her sister that things will get better. In the lowest parts of the undercity, crime lord Silco extracts information from Deckard and tests a new mutagen known as Shimmer on a rat.
2"Some Mysteries Are Better Left Unsolved"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordNick LuddingtonNovember 6, 2021 (2021-11-06)
The crystals that Powder stole turn out to belong to Jayce Talis, a student at Piltover's academy. Piltover's ruling council has him testify about using illegal equipment in unsanctioned experiments. Jayce was saved by arcane magic as a child and believes it can be a new resource for Piltover's evolution. The academy expels him when he admits the magical nature of the experiments, and his research is ordered to be destroyed. On the verge of suicide, his beliefs are renewed when Viktor, the disabled assistant of the academy's professor Heimerdinger, offers to help him. In Zaun, Grayson and her subordinate Marcus pressure Vander to reveal the true culprits of the robbery, while Zaunites pressure him to fight back against the interference of the enforcers. He chooses to keep his family safe and remain neutral. Vi decides to turn herself in. Meanwhile, Silco manipulates Deckard into swallowing a vial of Shimmer.
3"The Base Violence Necessary for Change"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordAsh BrannonNovember 6, 2021 (2021-11-06)
Years ago, Silco and Vander fought together to free the undercity from Piltover. This changed when Vander betrayed Silco and tried to drown him in Zaun's toxic river. In the present day, Vander stops Vi from turning herself in. Silco then captures him after the mutated Deckard kills Benzo, Grayson and her men, sparing only Marcus. Vi, Mylo, and Claggor go to rescue Vander, leaving Powder alone. In Piltover, Jayce and Viktor secretly work with the crystals under the discretion of councilor Mel Medarda and invent Hextech, a new arcane technology. In the undercity, the siblings reach Vander but are cut off by Silco. Vi fights off Silco's thugs, but is badly beaten by Deckard. Powder, attempting to save her, detonates three of the crystals in an explosion that kills Claggor and Mylo. Vander, fatally wounded by Silco, takes Shimmer, kills Deckard and saves Vi before dying. In her grief, Vi hits Powder, calls her a "jinx" and walks away. She sees Silco approach and attempts to return to her sister but is ambushed and captured by Marcus. Believing Vi has abandoned her, Powder breaks down in Silco's arms. He embraces Powder and tells her that "We'll show them all."
Act 2
4"Happy Progress Day!"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordDavid DunneNovember 13, 2021 (2021-11-13)
Several years later, Piltover is prospering with Jayce's Hextech technology and celebrates its 200th anniversary on a holiday called 'Progress Day'. Jayce initially hopes to reveal his and Viktor's latest non-explosive gemstone device at the ceremony, but decides not to after Heimerdinger warns him on its unresolved potential dangers. Elsewhere, Powder, now a teenager going by the name of Jinx, works for Silco and helps him smuggle materials, mainly Shimmer, into Piltover. A job goes awry when an undercity gang known as the Firelights interfere, during which Jinx briefly mistakes one of them as Vi, and has a violent breakdown. Jinx attempts to repair her damaged reputation with Silco by stealing Jayce's gemstone and setting off an explosion that kills six enforcers. Jayce is given a Piltover council seat to protect their people from the stolen gemstone. Caitlyn, an inexperienced enforcer and Jayce's childhood friend, travels to Stillwater prison to gather information about Jinx from one of Silco's goons. Instead, she encounters an adult Vi, having been imprisoned by Marcus.
5"Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordAmanda OvertonNovember 13, 2021 (2021-11-13)
Caitlyn releases Vi from prison because of her knowledge of the undercity, and works with her to find Silco. Vi tracks down Silco's second-in-command, Sevika, who reveals Jinx's relationship with Silco, a shock which gives Sevika the opportunity to stab her. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Marcus was promoted to Sheriff with Silco's help. In exchange, Marcus allows Shimmer to be smuggled, and blames the Progress Day bombing and robbery on the Firelights. Jinx refuses to work on the new Hextech gemstones because of the trauma of killing her family with a similar device. In response, Silco takes her to the river where Vander tried to drown him and tries to convince Powder to accept her new identity as Jinx via a baptism. Back in Piltover, councillor Medarda starts a romantic relationship with Jayce. Meanwhile, Viktor's illness worsens and he grows increasingly desperate to find a cure through Hextech technology.
6"When These Walls Come Tumbling Down"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordAlex YeeNovember 13, 2021 (2021-11-13)
After Viktor collapses in the lab from his illness, he and Jayce begin to study the "Hexcore", a new Hextech machine that reacts to organic matter and has the potential to cure it. Heimerdinger tries to have it destroyed due to its danger, prompting Jayce to orchestrate his removal from the council. Viktor approaches Singed, his childhood mentor, to help perfect the Hexcore. Marcus is ordered by Silco to kill Caitlyn and Vi and blockades the bridge in order to intercept them. Jinx interrogates Sevika and learns of Vi's return. Vi and Caitlyn find a safehouse in the lowest slums of Zaun so Vi can recover from her fight with Sevika, but Silco finds them after bribing the local addicts with Shimmer. After escaping, the pair notice Jinx lighting a flare that Vi gave her before their ill-fated mission to rescue Vander years ago, and the sisters reunite. However, Caitlyn's presence triggers Jinx's mistrust. The Firelights intervene, steal the gemstone, and kidnap Caitlyn and Vi.
Act 3
7"The Boy Saviour"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordNick LuddingtonNovember 20, 2021 (2021-11-20)
The leader of the Firelights is revealed to be Ekko, now a gruff and battle-hardened warrior. He explains that Silco took over the underground after Vander's death and made the populace dependent on Shimmer. Under Ekko, the Firelights have been leading efforts to thwart Silco and rehabilitate addicts. Jinx angrily assaults Silco for hiding Vi's return from her, but he persuades her into continuing to do his will. Following the growing unrest between the two cities, Mel advises Jayce to work on Hextech weaponry. Meanwhile, Viktor uses Shimmer to enable the Hexcore to modify his failing body. Seeking to return the gemstone to Piltover, Ekko and Caitlyn are stopped at the blockade by Marcus, who prepares to kill Caitlyn. Seeing this, Vi runs to help her instead of going to the onlooking Jinx. Envious of Caitlyn, Jinx sends and detonates a swarm of robotic insects on the bridge, killing Marcus and his enforcers and injuring Caitlyn. Ekko and Jinx face off as Vi and Caitlyn flee; he beats her but hesitates to deliever the final blow, allowing Jinx to detonate a grenade near them.
8"Oil and Water"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordBen St. John & Mollie St. JohnNovember 20, 2021 (2021-11-20)
Silco finds the heavily injured Jinx in the aftermath of the explosion and sees that she managed to steal back the gemstone. He takes her to Singed to heal her wounds. As Jinx endures Singed's treatment, she hallucinates that it is Vi and Caitlyn inflicting the pain. He injects her with massive amounts of Shimmer, turning her eyes violet. Meanwhile, Mel's mother arrives in Piltover following the assassination of Mel's brother and attempts to prepare her for the brewing war with Zaun. Ex-councilor Heimerdinger visits Zaun to help the locals and encounters Ekko, who broke his leg escaping from Jinx's grenade. Meanwhile, Viktor's efforts to heal his body through the Hexcore succeed; his leg is healed and he is able to run for the first time. However, further experimentation with the Hexcore results in the death of his childhood friend and assistant Sky. After failing to convince the council that Silco is a threat, Vi abandons Caitlyn and partners with Jayce to take down Silco's Shimmer factories. Armed with Hextech weaponry, they defeat a group of Shimmer-enhanced soldiers, but Jayce accidentally kills a child worker. After returning home, Caitlyn is kidnapped by Jinx.
9"The Monster You Created"Pascal Charrue & Arnaud DelordChristian Linke & Alex YeeNovember 20, 2021 (2021-11-20)
The death of the child makes Jayce realize the potential cost of intra-city war and brokers a peace treaty with Silco, offering Zaun's independence in exchange for Jinx. Ekko reveals his hideout to Heimerdinger. Feeling guilty over the death of Sky, Viktor makes Jayce promise to destroy the Hexcore. Meanwhile, Silco laments choosing between Zaun and Jinx, who overhears him and assumes he is going to betray her. After beating up Sevika, Vi is abducted by Jinx. She awakens restrained at a table with Silco and Caitlyn also tied up. Jinx gives Vi a pistol, telling her to choose between Caitlyn and herself. Vi refuses and appeals to her childhood memories, causing Jinx to suffer a traumatic attack. Silco breaks free and shoots at Vi but misses; in the same moment Jinx unintentionally guns him down. Silco reaffirms his parental love for her before dying. Jinx finally accepts her new identity and acknowledges that she and Vi have diverged. Jinx weaponizes the Hextech gemstone into a rocket launcher and fires at the Piltover council chamber as it approves Jayce's proposal to grant Zaun its independence.

Production[edit]

Riot Games CEO Nicolo Laurent said it took six years to make the first season of Arcane.[4]

Arcane was first announced at the League of Legends 10th anniversary celebration in 2019,[5] and is set in Riot's League of Legends fictional universe,[6][7] In September 2021, it was announced that Hailee Steinfeld, Ella Purnell, Kevin Alejandro, Katie Leung, Jason Spisak, Toks Olagundoye, JB Blanc and Harry Lloyd had joined the voice cast.[8]

On November 20, 2021, following the conclusion of Arcane's first season, Riot Games and Netflix announced that a second season was in production for a post-2022 release.[9][10]

Broadcast[edit]

Marketing[edit]

Riot Games promoted the launch of Arcane through events in their games, including League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and Valorant as "RiotX Arcane".[11] It launched promotional collaborations with non-Riot games such as PUBG Mobile,[12] Fortnite, and Among Us.[13]

On November 6, 2021, for the global premiere, Riot Games streamed the first episode on Twitch. Some content creators were allowed to co-stream the first three episodes of the series once they received permission from Riot Games, a first for a Netflix series, which also allowed viewers to retrieve in-game drops during the premiere.[14] Drops were only included in the games League of Legends (Arcane Capsule), Wild Rift (“A Single Tear” Emote), Teamfight Tactics (Gizmos & Gadgets Little Legends Egg), Legends of Runeterra (“Fascinating” Emote), and Valorant ("Fishbones" Gun Buddy).[15] The premiere received 1.8 million concurrent viewers on Twitch.

On November 21, Netflix and Riot Games partnered with Secret Cinema to bring players directly into the world of Arcane with an in-person experience in Los Angeles, California. The experience was "equipped with bespoke backstories and missions, the line between actors and audience is truly blurred as players explore the dark and dangerous underworld and encounter its inhabitants—the strange, the sinister and sometimes even the friendly".[16]

Release[edit]

Originally set for a 2020 release, the show was rescheduled for a release in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17] It was scheduled for a simultaneous November 6, 2021, release on Netflix and China's Tencent Video,[18] with the series broken into nine episodes, with three episode "acts" being released once a week over three weeks.[19][20]

Soundtrack[edit]

On November 20, 2021, songs from the first season were released on Amazon Music.[21] The series had a different opening theme in China — "孤勇者 (Gu Yong Zhe)" performed by Eason Chan.

Arcane: League of Legends, Original Soundtrack[22]
No.TitleWriter(s)Artist(s)Length
1."Playground"Mako, Sebastien NajandBea Miller3:50
2."Our Love"Curtis Harding, Sam CohenCurtis Harding, Jazmine Sullivan3:38
3."Goodbye"MakoRamsey3:51
4."Dirty Little Animals"BONES UK, Sebastien NajandBONES UK3:25
5."Enemy"Imagine Dragons & JIDImagine Dragons & JID2:53
6."Guns for Hire"MakoWoodkid3:46
7."Misfit Toys"Pusha T & Mako3:09
8."Dynasties and Dystopia"Denzel Curry, Gizzle, Bren Joy2:58
9."Snakes"Pvris, Miyavi2:41
10."When Everything Went Wrong"Fantastic NegritoFantastic Negrito3:13
11."What Could Have Been"MakoSting, Ray Chen3:33
Total length:36:57

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

The voice performances of Hailee Steinfeld (top) and Ella Purnell (bottom), who respectively played Vi and Jinx, received praise.

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 9.10/10, based on 26 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Arcane makes an arresting first impression, combining a spectacular mix of 2D and 3D animation with an emotionally compelling story to deliver a video game adaptation that could become legendary."[23] The series also became Netflix's number-one program in November 2021,[24] setting the record as Netflix's highest-rated series so far within a week of its premiere, ranked first on the Netflix Top 10 Chart in 52 countries, and ranked second on the chart in the United States.[25]

Writing for IGN, Rafael Motamayor called the first season of Arcane a "classic in the making, and the nail in the coffin of the so-called video game curse." He noted that the show worked for fans of League of Legends and newcomers, saying that "the character stories are what keep you engaged episode after episode; the lore is just icing on the cake." He also praised the voice cast, highlighting the performances of Leung, Purnell, Aghdashloo and Steinfeld, calling the latter performance the show's standout. Praising the animation, Motamayor called it the "most stunning piece of animation since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" and compared it to Invincible in terms of episode structure. He concluded by saying that Arcane "delivers a killing blow to the idea that video games cannot be masterfully adapted... with compelling characters, an endearing story, and fascinating lore and worldbuilding, as well as striking visuals," calling it a "once-in-a-generation masterpiece" and giving it a 10 out of 10 rating.[26]

Andrew Webster of The Verge praised the "fantasy-meets-steampunk world" and how no knowledge of League was needed to understand the show. Despite calling Act 1 "a fairly typical fantasy tale" he lauded the animation, saying that "each frame looks like a gorgeous piece of hand-painted concept art; in motion, it's like nothing I've ever seen" and that "it's also a world that feels lived-in and fully realized."[27] Matt Cabral of Common Sense Media called the first season "visually stunning" and that it "features the sort of nuanced characterizations, thoughtful storytelling, and rich worldbuilding typically associated with big-budget, big-screen epics." He also took note of the blend of fantasy, steampunk and sci-fi with emphasis on how the story puts a "fresh spin on the heavily recycled premise." Cabral concluded that viewers didn't need to have played League to appreciate the show.[28]

Reviewing the first four episodes of the first season, Tara Bennett of Paste enjoyed the way that "[the creators] purposefully made an adult animated drama that unflinchingly utilizes violence, adult language, and very dark storylines when needed to make the lives of the large ensemble cast resonate." Bennett favorably compared the series to Game of Thrones, Shadow and Bone, Castlevania and BioShock. She was also positive about the "nuance and subtle facial movements" of Fortiche's animation combined with the performances from Steinfeld, Jenness, Purnell and Spisak. Bennett called "Enemy" by Imagine Dragons "infectious" and that the show is "the new benchmark for what can be done when it comes to successfully translating worthy videogame universes into a different medium."[29]

Many publications noted that the series has been highlighted as one of the greatest video game adaptations.[30][31][32]

Accolades[edit]

Arcane became the first streaming television series based on a video game as well as the first video game adaptation to win both Annie Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards, as the former became the first streaming series to both win the most awards from the same nominations in a single year, and to sweep the Annies with nine, while the latter won Outstanding Animated Program, becoming the first Netflix series to do so.[33]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2022
Annecy International Animated Film Festival Best Television Production "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down" Nominated [34]
Annie Awards Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down" Won [35]
Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Guillaume Degroote, Aurélien Ressencourt, Martin Touzé, Frédéric Macé, and Jérôme Dupré (for "Oil and Water") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Léa Chervet (for "The Monster You Created") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Evan Monteiro (for "Some Mysteries Better Left Unsolved") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Pascal Charrue, Arnaud Delord, and Barthelemy Maunoury (for "The Monster You Created") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Julien Georgel, Aymeric Kevin, and Arnaud Baudry (for "Happy Progress Day!") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Simon Andriveau (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Ella Purnell (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down") Won
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production Christian Linke and Alex Yee (for "The Monster You Created") Won
Billboard Music Awards Top Soundtrack Various Artists Nominated [36]
British Film Editors Cut Above Awards Best Edited Series: Animation Ivan Bilancio, Gilad Carmel, Roberto Fernandez, Lawrence Gan, Martin Jay, Benjamin Massoubre, Ernesto Matamoros Cox, Nazim Meslem, Emmanuel Pilinski, and David Ian Salter Won [37]
Dorian Awards Best Animated Show Arcane Nominated [38]
Golden Reel Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Non-Theatrical Animation Brad Beaumont, Eliot Connors, Alexander Temple, Shannon Beaumont, Alexander Ephraim, Dan O' Connell, John Cucci, and Alex Seaver (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down") Won [39]
Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards Best Streaming Animated Series or Television Movie Arcane Won [40]
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Christian Linke, Alex Yee, Conor Sheehy, Ash Brannon, Pascal Charrue, and Arnaud Delord (for "The Monster You Created") Nominated [41]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program Christian Linke, Marc Merrill, Brandon Beck, Jane Chung, Thomas Vu, Jerôme Combe, Melinda Wunsch Dilger, Pascal Charrue, Arnaud Delord, Alex Yee, Ash Brannon, Conor Sheehy, Barthelemy Maunoury, and David Lyerly (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down") Won [42]
Outstanding Sound Editing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation Brad Beaumont, Eliot Connors, Shannon Beaumon, Alex Ephraim, Alexander Temple, Alex Seaver, Dan O'Connel, and John Cucci (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down") Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation Bruno Couchinho (background designer) (for "When These Walls Come Tumbling Down") Won [43]
Julien Georgel (art direction) (for "Happy Progress Day!") Won
Anne-Laure To (color script artist) (for "The Boy Savior") Won
Saturn Awards Best Animated Series on Television Arcane Nominated [44]
The Game Awards Best Adaptation Arcane Pending [45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Connellan, Shannon. "You don't have to play 'League of Legends' to enjoy the masterful animation of Netflix's 'Arcane'". Mashable. Retrieved November 19, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Arcane: League of Legends". Arcane. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Steel, Tom (January 19, 2022). "Arcane: 10 Recognizable Voices Behind The Characters (& Where You Recognize Them From)". CBR.com.
  4. ^ Laurent, Nicolo [@niiicolo] (November 20, 2021). "So yeah, we are working on #arcane season 2. The good news: you won't have to wait for 6 years (the time it took us to making season 1) The bad news: it's not coming in 2022" (Tweet). Retrieved November 21, 2021 – via Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Arcane: Animated Series Announcement | Riot Pls: 10th Anniversary Edition - League of Legends. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
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  22. ^ Arcane: League of Legends Riot Games Music, December 27, 2021
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