RIOT’s League of Legends defined the MOBA genre and is pervasive throughout gaming. While I have never lost months of my life to this game (totally absolutely have not), I know the characters. Their character designs have become iconic and taken a life all their own, thanks to cosplayers and fan-made media. Now, with the Netflix Original anime Arcane, the world of League of Legends is open to new audiences in a way that explores the depth and lore of the game like we’ve never seen before. So, if you’re looking for a reason to watch Arcane, I have three to give you.
No League of Legends Knowledge Required
When it comes to jumping into existing lore, it can be intimidating, especially for a franchise as iconic as League of Legends. That said, Arcane manages to build the world of League even bigger, bringing to life characters that players know and love while also taking time to help the audience fall in love with them too. There is a beauty to how Arcane has managed to thread the needle of keeping existing fans in mind while also welcoming new fans with open arms. This is done by providing exposition to fill in the world and ultimately crafting compelling characters beyond just their aesthetics.
One of the easiest reasons to recommend watching Arcane is the animation style. Arcane is beautiful, full stop. It’s one of the most uniquely crafted animation series I have seen on Netflix or off of the platform. Bringing to life the style of the League of Legends champions and Legends of Runterra cards, every bit of Arcane feels like classical art. For example, the depth of the color in any one scene is a painting that comes to life, making it striking and different from the other animations on the platform. Additionally, action sequences offer up a variety of animation techniques to make each and every effect feel like a spectacle.
Arcane synthesizes lore from multiple League of Legends properties, pulling it into one fantasy epic that is as character-driven as it is beautiful. Violet and Powder are the heart of Arcane. Their dynamic is balancing and engrossing. Vi is powerful and steps up as a leader, and on the other side, we see how Powder moves through the world with fear and constant failure. Grounding the series in their relationship helps to keep the show growing as they do. As Powder learns how to deal with her feelings of inadequacy, the path forward for the series becomes apparent and pushed by her. Her falls and her pull towards evil all move the story in an emotive way. She has to know who she is without her adoptive family and her sister, which leaves the door wide open for storytelling possibilities. Additionally, Arcane manages a large ensemble exceptionally well by giving each of them the ability to be more than a trope and, of course, bring something new to the lore.
When it comes down to it, Arcane may be releasing in an untraditional way, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it as soon as you can. Act 1, which encompasses the first four episodes of the series and three more acts, will release every Saturday on the platform.
Watch Arcane now, exclusively on Netflix.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.