Arcane °^°

Yes, yes, I know. I’m late to the party here… But I finally managed to watch the rest of the show, after initially only having watched the first Act (aka the first three episodes) of Arcane. Overall, I really enjoyed the animation and the writing. Getting a glimpse at the non-canon story is nice but honestly, I’d really love this to be canon, especially given how little some people are interested in the lore – and how accessible you make these stories and backgrounds to people by creating shows about the lore. Reading a long story about Sejuani is something that I don’t mind doing but most people would probably rather watch a show about the Freljord instead of reading prose. Either way, today I wanted to talk a bit about the show, my issues, and my favourite moments. 

There will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Arcane has been fun. I really liked the focus on the steam-punk-ish city of Piltover and its underworld and the way that the show plays around with that contrast of the bright and prosperous city of Piltover, the city of progress, and the city in its shadow, the dark, ominous, and dangerous city of Zhaun, the city of Stagnation (in a way?). It was fun to dive deeper into the problems that the double-city comes with and how Viktor got to study at the Academy despite being from the underworld. I would have loved it if there was more here on the whole backstory of Singed, for example, and his connection to the underworld and the chem barons, but then again, I understand that this is just one season. Riot confirmed that there is going to be a second season that is most likely still going to be about the conflict of Piltover and Zhaun, as well as Jinx and Vi. I think I heard about it in some interview that Riot plans on probably releasing more seasons that will still be titled “Arcane” but their focus may lie on other regions of Runeterra and their conflicts. I know that a lot of fans would love to see Shurima’s rise and fall, for instance, and the whole fight against the Void. Demacia vs Noxus or the Noxian Invasion on Ionia are probably also good material for the story of further seasons – and I know that I’m looking forward to some animated show on the Freljord.

For Season 2, however, I think it will mostly be about Zhaun and Piltover again. Throughout Season 1, there were crows to be seen in almost every episode and Mel’s mother even mentioned that there has been some shift in power in Noxus. Hence, a lot of people believe that Swain might make an appearance in Season 2. The issue with that, however, is that Swain only got to rise in power after the Invasion of Noxus on Ionia, which should happen a lot more in the future. Singed also was involved in that, so maybe Season 2 might set that up? Who knows? More importantly, however, Zhaun still isn’t its own city or even republic. This may have been planned at the end of the show but well, there was something that happened that stopped that agreement at the end there. At the same time, however, it could very much be that Swain appears and that he’ll use his network of crows to influence the war between Piltover and Zhaun. I mean, since the Noxian invasion didn’t happen yet, he won’t be under the influence of Rhaun, the demon, but he’ll still be the wicked strategist that he is, I guess? 

At least, I belive that it might be possible that we get to see Noxus’ involvement into the show soon, especially given Mel’s mother’s return.

Back to the first season, I can’t really say anything bad about Arcane. At its core, it was a great show, although I disliked the end there as it left a lot of things open – which makes sense given that the second season has been confirmed already but still, I would have loved to see some solution of sorts. I feel bad for Silco, even though he’s been the main antagonist and a real asshole for most of the show. I feel bad for Heimerdinger who tried his best. Jinx’ struggles have been portrayed in such a way that you’d actually have sympathies for her, even if she’s a lunatic. The writing in general has been amazing and the soundtrack supported all of that quite well. Naithin actually wrote a nice post about the music specifically and other stuff, so I’d recommend checking that out!

The writing was really good. I loved seeing Teemo there in one of the books… and I’d argue that there probably have been other easter eggs at times that even I may have missed. It took me a while to realise that Warwick made an appearance as well. As mentioned before, the show doesn’t require prior knowledge of League of Legends, the game, or its lore. I mean, it has nothing to do with the game, after all. More importantly, however, I found it great that they didn’t resort to cheap clichés like narration for the exposition and stuff. Naithin mentioned that he expected a show where you turn your brain off. Instead, we got some deep intricacies and you could make a bunch of connections to other characters throughout the show. None of this was shoved into your face, obviously, so if you didn’t pay attention, you might miss stuff. But all of it is there in the show. Heck, Silco is a character from Arcane, only, who will appear in TFT soon but who won’t be in League of Legends, mainly because of his lack of skills or powers that make him strong. He’s strong because of his intellect, not because of magic or special weapons or anything.

Either way, I found Arcane to be an amazing show. The music, the art and the writing were great, in my opinion. The characters in particular were written in a way that made me like everyone, which is interesting. I got quite excited while watching the show! Looking forward to the second season. :) What did you think?

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

4 thoughts on “Arcane °^°

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  1. There’s a reason why Arcane hit 100% universal critic acclaim on Rotten Tomatoes AND 97% audience score. That almost never happens, critics and general public agreeing with each other that something is good?

    I never picked up LOL, due to region restrictions locking me to a third party company to download the game from – and I’m super leery of potentially region locked games. But I still found Arcane excellent, with references to the champion list from time to time to guess if new characters were going to be champions, or plot fodder.

    Besides the spectacular art design and music crafted to produce some of the most adult, sophisticated cartoon animation ever seen, the writers outdid themselves polishing up characters. Each of them has a perfectly understandable, sympathetic motivation, even as it pits them irrevocably against each other. Many of them, certainly the major characters, undergo very dramatic character arcs – none of them stay the same over the course of the story, all change, some rise, some fall.

    It is also utterly beautiful how the main characters all hit a crux moment where they are forced to choose between two loves or desires. It is significant choice. Vi needs to choose between her old sister (who may not be saveable) and her new friend/love. Silco could get everything he ever wanted for his undercity…at the cost of his adopted daughter, will he or won’t he? Jayce betrays his old mentor/adviser for the sake of his technomagic future. Victor goes full steam ahead on technomagic and restoring his physical health, and has to sacrifice love and humanity (however inadvertently) to do it. Jinx’s choice is obviously the main climax. Stuff like this doesn’t just happen by chance, someone lovingly crafted those pivotal moments of storytelling into the episodes.

    Six years of work really bore fruit, in this case. Let’s hope they can keep that momentum for season 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, I do agree with all that you say here! It’s a well-crafted show. I wonder why shows with “real actors” seem to disappoint so much lately?

      Also, it’s Hextech not technomagic :D

      Not sure what you mean by region restrictions and stuff but there are different servers but that’s mainly because you don’t wanna play on 100 ping, for example.

      And yeah, the way that characters are pitted against their own motivations are interesting. Vi in particular has to ask herself if she wants to get “Powder” back or if “Jinx” is still her sister. Meanwhile, Caitlyn kind of is just vibing through it all. I mean, yes, she has that sense of justice of her own where she wants to uncover the corrupt councillors and officers and stuff… and she wants to get the bad guys thrown into jail… but she feels a bit cliché in her “I do it my own way and orders are for losers” way. It was interesting to see how she, too, was completely biased against Vi at first but how she slowly learns the truth about her… and the show does a good job to portray that you can’t get rid of biases so easily, so that’s nice. Overall, though, Caitlyn might just be the weakest character in the show, IMO. What do you think?

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      1. Things may have changed with League of Legends since I last attempted to check it out (possibly a decade ago), but the main website (https://leagueoflegends.com/) automatically checks your IP and tosses me to the lol.garena.com website, as I live in one of the regions covered by Garena. And still does, to this day.

        So that gave me pause as I’m quite tired of games that get handed off to different third parties in different regions. They may or may not be managed well in actual fact, but by and large, I’ve found an additional middleman doesn’t bode very well for games as services. It just turned into an added mental barrier for giving the game a try.

        I think Caitlyn has to be treated as a secondary character in Season 1 – there wasn’t enough screen time to focus on her. I do think there was enough time to highlight some of the conflict she goes through and will likely be going through in the future. There’s one side of her that is idealism – truth, justice, the shining image of Piltover, rich nobility, her parents, etc. and there’s the hinted at change she’s going through in the last couple of chapters. That idealism gets besmirched, Piltover is more corrupt than she thought, she’s falling hard and fast for Vi. It’s not a huge “fall” per se, but I think she moves (relatively voluntarily) from pampered overprotected rich kid to a more disillusioned clearer-seeing middle class.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I mean, yeah, I guess it makes sense that they do. It’s really just the website, though, and in-game you can link to any server you want as well. That probably ain’t your only concern as to why you haven’t tried it out or as to why you don’t want to play.

          Yeah, I could see that becoming a thing in S2, although I’m sure that it will be more of an “I’ll change Piltover myself!” thing rather than her being disillusioned or anything.

          Like

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