Arcane: The Best Game Adaptation Series on Netflix Yet

Yestin Arvin GochuicoStaff Writer

Announced during the 10th-anniversary celebrations of the popular multiplayer game League of Legends, the much-awaited animation series draws instant praise from fans and critics alike after delayed release due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On November 6, 2021, Riot Games’ co-produced animated series Arcane finally premiered on Netflix and Twitch after six years in the making. Toppling the recently popular Korean series Squid Game, the series became the most-watched animated Netflix show to date even after only releasing the first act of the three-part story.

Known for its self-developed virtual K-pop band K/DA topping U.S. pop charts, the game studio scored another big hit with the initial success of League of Legends’ cinematic universe. During the first week, the series bagged a 100 percent critic score and 98 percent audience score in Rotten Tomatoes, gained a 9.4/10 rating in IMDb, and trended at the 7th rank worldwide with 98.2 thousand tweets in Twitter.

The story tells an untold divide of the once-united steampunk cities on the brink of a technology-fueled civil war, evoking the question: how much progress is too much progress?

Set in the fantasy sci-fi world Runeterra, orphaned sisters Vi and Powder navigate their tragic childhood through the slums of “undercity” Zaun contrasting with the vanities of “uppercity” Piltover. Eventually, a division between the cities—stemming from a trivial robbery to a groundbreaking discovery—will permeate into their relationship, and the ensuing separation will serve as the focal point of the storyline.

The severe distinction between the two districts also reflects the polarized attitudes of the main characters as they grow up: hope and despair.

Vi’s journey unfolds as she struggles to straighten a grave misunderstanding of the past, using her knack in fist-fighting to clash with what stands against her while upholding a rose-colored lens of her sister’s mayhem. The American singer Hailee Steinfeld voices the character, known for her 2015 hit platinum single Love Myself.

Powder descends into the madness driving her destructive nature, eventually becoming one of Piltover’s most wanted criminals with the infamous alias “Jinx”—what long-time fans will surely recognize. The teen actress Mia Sinclair Jenness is the voice actor for Powder, known for playing the role of Nancy on Disney Junior’s animated series Fancy Nancy. In a YouTube interview with geek culture enthusiast Tessa Smith, Jenness expressed how she was “super drawn” to Powder’s personality and she “felt pressure to do Jinx justice.” With the character having a dynamic switch in the storyline’s course, she got to “peel back the layers of what Jinx became, and how it was Powder at first.” Certainly, her voice acting delivered, as several fans acclaim how genuine the portrayal of the sisters’ relationship developed throughout the first act.

Other renowned and newcomer actors and actresses also joined the cast: Katie Leung from the Harry Potter franchise as Caitlyn, Jason Spisak from Marvel’s Spiderman animation as Viktor, Mick Wingert from the Kung Fu Panda series as Heimerdinger, and more.

Even without playing League of Legends, you don’t need to worry about prior knowledge in the expansive world of Arcane, as the series will gradually reveal the intricacies hidden above the smog-clouded alleyways and beneath the bronze-studded buildings of the dual-layered metropolis. The series’ coming juxtapositions between Vi and Jinx, the industrialists and the aristocrats, and the balance of progress will take you for a—literal—blast. And we’re all here for it. If you’re interested, check out the trailer here. Impatient?—then head on straight to Netflix and start the series.

Image courtesy of Riot Games