"A riot is the language of the unheard"
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
Riot’s first foray into the entertainment universe has, so far, been a complete success! With the release of Arcane part 1, Riot has put themselves on the sumpworks map! Where other game studios, like Blizzard, have tried and failed, Riot has managed to find a footing. Arcane combines a harrowing and tragic story of two sisters' familial ties, and two cities' political undercurrents with a captivating animation style and eye popping cinematography to bring us nothing short of a television MASTERPIECE!
Having read some of the more recent lore stories, I delved into Arcane not expecting much and I was pleasantly surprised! I’ve read a lot of the short stories on the universe page, I find the vast majority of them to be bland and predictable with the characters lacking depth and motivation for their actions.
Arcane doesn’t suffer from these problems. While the story has been relatively straightforward so far, chapter one is exposition (backstory). Arcane also does a wonderful job of making their characters interesting and complex. Even the side characters are built up and fleshed out, they have personalities and continue to grow throughout the chapter. By the end of the third episode you find yourself feeling as much for Mylo, Claggor and Vander, as you do for Jinx and Vi!! Even our villain, Silco, is deeper than he initially appears, I won’t go into details so as to not spoil anything but this big bad evil guy isn’t evil just for the sake of it; Silco has an extensive backstory that we only start to see by the end of the chapter.
Part of what makes these characters feel so real is the way the show manages to immerse you in the world. The animation style really lends itself to showcasing the cities. When we’re in Piltover the scenes are filled with bright colours that give the city an appearance of cleanliness and perfection. Zaun on the other hand is dirty and grimy, scenes are filled with dark greens, purples and black. Whenever a cityscape is shown you get the sense that you’re there, looking out over it all. The studio does a great job of keeping you immersed with little things like the Piltover Enforcers wearing gas masks whenever they journey across the river into Zaun.
The cinematography brings the exquisite animation to a whole new level! You can almost feel the impact of every punch, kick and shove you see. The brawls are fluid and perpetually in motion. Despite this, the camera cuts never make you feel dizzy and they’re not too fast so you can actually keep track of what’s going on. Whenever a hit lands you feel like you’re in the thick of it, right alongside our protagonists!
The first chapter of Arcane did a wonderful job of setting up the story and engaging the audience, by the end of the third episode I was ready to brew a cup of coffee and watch the rest! Unfortunately chapter two won’t be available until next weekend, as Riot and Netflix have decided on a three part release schedule. This is a brilliant and innovative move that gives audiences just enough of a taste to leave them wanting more. Each chapter likely could have been expanded into its own mini-series but the studio did a wonderful job of pacing the show so it doesn’t feel rushed or too slow. It has been a long time since I’ve watched anything that left me so eager for more and I can’t wait to see what chapter two has in store for our protagonists!
*Easter Eggs - Possible Spoilers within*
The rat that was experimented on in episode two might be Twitch!
Singed is Silco’s chemist
Claggors Goggles are worn by Vi in her LoR art
There were multiple references to Singed’s concoction “unleashing the inner beast”, Warwick is canonically someone who was transformed by Singed’s potions, we may see him appear in future chapters….
Perhaps we’ve already seen him, his bio has mentions of a screaming girl, and at one point states, “He saw a bearded man reflected in the eyes of a beggar as he tore out his throat.” Maybe Vander isn’t dead after all
A young Caitlyn appears to have a romantic interest in Jayce
The mage that saved Jayce and his mother is likely Ryze
The yordle under the red light is wearing Caitlyn’s old outfit from before her visual update
Vi’s real name has been confirmed to be “Violet’