Yeah, I know the hype train for this one passed several months ago. And I know you could argue that it’s not actually anime. But better late than never, and it’s my blog I can do what I want.
Despite the massive hype it produced, I didn’t actually know anything about Arcane going into it. I knew it was connected to League of Legends somehow and I knew there was a character called Jinx and some dude named Echo. That was it. So, going into it, all I knew was that people really liked it.
And I can see why. This show fucking slaps, bro! I ended up binging the entire first season in a single night! I just couldn’t stop!
In the utopian city of Piltover live two girls, sisters Violet and Powder, who live in the oppressed undercity. After a bloody catastrophe drives them apart for years, the two are set again on a collision course that may result in catastrophe for the divided city. Meanwhile, the political powers of the city, from the Council in charge of it all to the crime lords infesting the undercity, wage a cold war between the upper and lower cities, one that only heats up with the inventions of a deadly new performance enhancing drug and magically powered technology.
This show’s story is absolutely stunning! It’s a deeply compelling character-driven drama set in a vibrant techno-fantasy world that just begs further exploration! This show takes you on a ride and it will not let you go until it’s done!
I love each of the characters in this show. Be they good guy or bad guy, they’re all genuinely compelling! Each one has their own morals, even the most sadistic monster. The story constantly challenges them; do they give in to their inner demons or most selfish desires, losing track of the morals they’ve believed in all their lives? Do they sacrifice something precious for their own ends? Or do they remember why they started down their path before it’s too late?
Of all the characters, I’d say Jinx is my favorite. Seeing an innocent little girl make a terrible mistake and descend into total psychotic insanity is equal parts tragic and horrifying. She’s just crazy and evil enough that you believe she can’t be saved, yet she’s still clearly just sane enough that you hope she can be.
Sure, the cast is more or less a collection of clichés. Vi is your typical rough and tough anti-hero with a heart of gold, Caitlyn is your usual clueless rich girl with a strong moral compass, Vander is your standard father figure, so on and so forth. But those clichés are all executed remarkably well, and each one has a depth to them that makes them unique and memorable.
It helps that the cast of this show does a stunning job. Hailee Steinfeld perfectly captures the rough but earnest nature of Vi. Jinx’s descent into madness is carried by Ella Purnell’s performance. JB Blanc provides Vander with the perfect badass fatherly voice. Jason Spisak brings Silco to life in one of the most chilling villain performances I’ve seen in ages!
Visually speaking, this show is stunning! It has a 3D pseudo-anime style with some added 2D flare to give it some spice. Each episode looks as stunning as what you might expect from a full animated film! Between the quality of the models and environments to the lighting to the incredible cinematography, this show just looks amazing!
It looks especially good when they fully marry the 3D and the 2D. There are few scenes where they do this, but each one is a visual masterpiece! These animators had better have gotten a raise, because they fucking killed it!
One thing that really surprised me was how good the editing was. Seriously, the editing alone makes the action scenes (which are stupendously animated, by the way) even more intense! My personal favorite is the bar fight in the last episode. It perfectly balances extremely intense action with some delightful comedy while still keeping the intensity up!
Music wise, I’m not super in love. The original score is pretty badass. But Arcane tends to rely on licensed music, which I’m not a fan of. The songs they use are often fitting, and they never make you want to take your headphones off. Still, it didn’t impress me nearly as often as the rest of this show did.
Overall, I was blown away by Arcane. It’s one of those shows that actually managed to live up to the hype, so much so that I’m mad at myself for not watching it earlier! If you still haven’t checked it out, I’d highly recommend giving it a chance.
Especially since you don’t actually need to know anything about League of Legends to enjoy it. Which is nice. Because I’ll be fucked if I’m going to ever going to play that enough to get it.
I will play that fighting game they’re making, though.