Review: Arcane, Netflix’s League of Legends


Image from Netflix’s promotional materials for Arcane.

Jules Pochowski, Reporter

Arcane, Netflix’s League of Legends animated series, recently wrapped up their first season containing three acts on November 20th. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, a 10/10 on IGN, and a 9.4/10 on IMDb and a second season already confirmed seemingly instantaneously with the end of the first. There’s a common concern amongst audiences in regards to adapting any art form into another; Arcane was no different. Hesitation in watching came from knowing Arcane was a show adaptation of the game League of Legends; additionally, audiences worried that those unfamiliar with the game wouldn’t be capable of grasping onto the show; however, many reviews prove this sentiment quickly faded away.

League of Legends has an extensive cast of characters with many of them containing their own in-depth stories. With this knowledge, many were cautious that they would need to “catch up” with the story in order to appreciate the show, but audiences state otherwise. A review written by Steven Messner at PCGamer writes, “If you’re not a League of Legends fan–or even if you actively despise it–Arcane is still something you should watch.” The Decider even gave their call of, “STREAM IT. Even if you’re not a gamer, or a fan of League of Legends, Arcane will be more than entertaining enough to hold your interest…” under their list of articles titled Stream It or Skip It. Crowds of League fans, those entirely unfamiliar, and even those who grimace at the mention of the game have all come in agreement with their love for this show. It has enough tie-ins to League of Legends with many familiar characters for those already fans of the game; however, it stands on its own two legs with its own lore, settings, and story that requires no previous knowledge for those entirely new to the series.

With many worries immediately blown out the window, audiences were then left to view the show for what it was. One of the main factors that tied crowds in was the gorgeous visuals. Despite being animated in 3D, Arcane is presented in a painterly style with the addition of many effects being 2D animated. This stylistic choice leaves every frame capable of standing on its own and appearing like a work of art. The animation itself perfectly compliments this style as well. Motions are extremely fluid and this is perfectly presented in the fight scenes. The fluidity of the animation makes every movement feel natural and makes even the most dramatic of fights feel as though they are possible in reality. The visuals of Arcane alone provide a fantastic viewing experience.

Now that season one has concluded, critiques have begun to roll in more and more now that audiences have had time to sit with the full picture. Shah Shahid at Comic Years comments on the third act stating, “…the ending is a little abrupt and sudden.” Many viewers have even expressed worry that characters in Arcane that are playable in League of Legends have no risk of being killed off; therefore, taking away from any anticipation in regards to them. Thankfully, with the second season now confirmed, many downfalls and confusion within Arcane have the chance to be addressed. Maybe audiences will be surprised when Jinx, one of the esteemed main characters, is killed off–who knows!

As audiences wait for a new season, there’s an overwhelming sentiment to give Arcane a try. Whether you just need a new show to watch, you’re already a League of Legends fan, or even if the visuals slightly intrigue you, sit through that first episode. If you’re anything like a majority of viewers, you’ll be done with the third act within a day.