Arcane: Another Trashy Netflix Show in the Spotlight or a Masterpiece?


Ella Fouke

Arcane is a Netflix series based upon the strategy game League of Legends Wild Rift. Arcane is much more than I could have ever imagined. When I first saw the popularity of the show through social media I was skeptical, how could a game be turned into a good show? Castlevania for example, is a game that was turned into an anime, and although it caught my eye when scrolling through Netflix, the first few minutes were quite boring, so I decided to drop it. No doubt it could be an amazing show, but I haven’t heard much about it, nor did it capture my attention immediately, and for people with short attention spans and a repulsion for completing tasks (commitment to shows even seem like a burden sometimes), it wasn’t ideal. Like Castlevannia, the show and strategy game, League of Legends has appealing character design and character depth. Both are liked by gamers, who prefer VR and real-time strategy games, where you get sucked into the plot and develop a strong connection to the characters. Although in the series you cannot determine the decisions the characters make, it is a fully fleshed out plot line so anyone can enjoy the story. 

Now, how does this play into the Arcane series? Arcane is a show based upon League of Legends (the storyline as well as the characters), in which the arguably rival characters are sisters living in the oppressed city of Zaun, where above them (in every aspect) was the utopian city Piltover. Piltover “rules” over Zaun, but does not care about its citizens who are monopolized and overrun with poverty and gangs. Although magic is involved, in today’s society some are encompassed by poverty and recognize the faults of society, whereas others do not have the same experience, so they are disillusioned to believe that advocates and those struggling just need to work harder. 

Regardless of whether you believe Arcane reflects our messy capitalist society, where classism runs rampant, the characters, specifically ones with trauma, leave us all with us with a painful feeling of understanding and sympathy. As a child, some of us were let down, neglected, traumatized, by family, friends, or had to claw our way through a hard time in school (experiences of trauma don’t have to be something deemed as “important” by others, but it’s what has personally affected you, your character, and your actions). Silco, Viktor, and Mel, for example all have had traumatic experiences like almost dying at his brothers’ hands, hardships like disability, and pressure and rejection from your parents, respectively (it is also important to notice that these characters are side characters, and not the most “important” yet they are purposely made with depth and a relatability factor). All of these characters handle it much differently, and it’s so intriguing to watch. This show will capture anyone’s attention, and you will likely develop a connection with at least one or many of the characters.