This review was originally published on 11/6/21.
I have been waiting a long time for Netflix and Riot Games’ Arcane series to finally release. Between the vast lore and action behind the popular MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) League of Legends and Fortiche Production’s unique art style, this series instantly found itself on my must-watch list. Netflix and Riot Games have decided to release the animated series in three parts over the month of November. So did part one do the job of pulling us in and getting us excited for me? It sure did.
DISCLAIMER: This review for Arcane may have spoilers for the first three episodes, Welcome to the Playground, Some Mysteries are Better Left Unsolved and The Base Violence Necessary for Change. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out part one, I highly suggest doing so here!
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Arcane follows the story of two sisters, Jinx (voiced by Ella Purnell) and Vi (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) and the power that will tear them apart. Part one focuses entirely on the sister’s youth. Raised together in the underground world of Zaun, the sisters must do what they can to survive. Unfortunately, a heist goes very wrong for them and things end up never being the same. The series doesn’t hold back on the darker themes that play out within the sisters’ young lives, including poverty, death and abandonment. I’m happy that they chose to include the darker tone themes instead of falling back on a lighter story. It makes what happens within the first three episodes more impactful and indeed throws the sisters into two different directions.
But Jinx and Vi aren’t the only focus of the first three episodes. Their choices at the beginning of episode one set off a chain reaction throughout Piltover and Zaun. One of the other significant plotlines we see lies with another League of Legends champion, Jayce (voiced by Kevin Alejandro). As a student of the Academy in Piltover, he was conducting illegal research, which ended up becoming explosive when Jinx and Vi’s heist goes wrong. But this isn’t where his story ends. We get the chance to see how this caused his expulsion from the Academy, nearly caused him to give up all altogether and then find someone willing to help him with his work. While the only thing tying Jayce to the sisters is the first event, I feel that their stories will intertwine yet again in the future.
What I loved most about the first three episodes of Arcane is how seamless the story is being told. Quite a few stories are being told throughout the first three episodes and I never felt like any of them were lacking. Each had its moment in the light and moved forward without taking away from another. Arcane is a story that tells the origins of Jinx and Vi and they do get quite a bit of screentime, but it is easy to fall in love with the supporting characters as well, including Vander (voiced by JB Blanc). The way Vander interacts and supports Jinx and Vi is one of my favorite moments from the first few episodes. Only second to the action.
And speaking of action, Arcane‘s first three episodes are not lacking in it. Even though Jinx and Vi might be young, they are powerhouses in their own right. While Jinx struggles with finding where she fits in with her group, we can see in the smaller moments exactly where she is going to shine as she gets older. Vi is a force to be reckoned with, and we get to see plenty of fighting from her. As someone who took martial arts for quite a number of years, I love well-choreographed fights and these are them. They flow naturally and look fantastic! Honestly, I would expect nothing less from a game that puts out some of the best MOBA action ever seen.
The Base Violence Necessary for Change, Arcane‘s third episode, ends on a pretty dramatic and pivoting moment for the sisters. No spoilers here; you absolutely need to experience this through the story. However, it opens many doors for not only them but everyone else we see throughout the first three episodes. Where will part two of Arcane take us? What exciting action can we expect? Make sure to tune in on November 13, 2021, to find out! What has been your favorite moment in part one? Let us know in the comments below and on social media!
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