Is The Pilot Of Arcane: League of Legends Good?

Is The Pilot Of Arcane: League of Legends Good?

To the surprise of many, another video-game adaptation took the television world by storm. While The Last of Us or Halo was considered the hope to bring the prestige of video adaptations after so many failed attempts, Arcane: League of Legends came bursting out of the gate with strong reviews and was considered one of the best new television shows to come out in 2021. The show is based on the source material that deeply dives into the world of the utopian city of Piltover and the seedy and oppressed underground of Zaun. The series is essentially an origin story of two iconic League champions and the power that will change their lives forever. Now, as a disclaimer, I’ve never played League of Legends. However, that shouldn’t matter as television is a different medium than a video game. Sure, I’ll miss all the video game easter eggs but a viewer’s lack of knowledge of said source material shouldn’t be required when watching the television series. Given all the hype surrounding this popular video game adaptation, should people tipping the scales on whether to watch Arcane: League of Legends give the pilot a chance?

First things first, the animation for Arcane: League of Legends is simply gorgeous. The combination of 2D and 3D is an inspired choice; The show opens with a hellish nightmare that instantly draws you in. It’s a beautiful and detailed landscape that in some ways makes you feel as if you’re about to dive into an exciting video game. There’s no word on whether that was the intention or not, but the colors are mesmerizing, the score was haunting, and imagery still lingers in my head. In a matter of 15 seconds, I’m already drawn into the world of Arcane. What does this war represent? Who are these mysterious machine-like soldiers fighting in the midst of this smoke-filled chaos? Is the voice singing the haunting song the protagonist of this series? The opening of Arcane says so much without the need for dialogue. This is an extremely obvious statement, but television and movies are visual mediums first. I should be able to turn down the volume and understand the story by the images alone. Of course, dialogue helps you understand the world and the characters inhabited within it better, but strong imagery is a crucial tool that can easily make or break a story.

Watching Vi and Powder ravage through the carnage and destruction as dead men and women lay in their path is unsettling and there’s an emotional connection to the characters instantly. As an audience, we don’t know who these girls are but they’re clearly in the midst of a violent and bloody war. Your heart breaks when Vander shows them their deceased mother and Vi is unable to hold back her sadness and grief. Wisely, Arcane doesn’t explain why there’s a war going on. It’s a good mystery that will be explored as it builds its world throughout the season. Following that unforgettable opening sequence, the characters take center stage and we get more in-depth about the central names that the show will focus on. Again, the animation is breathtaking, but the core cast is pretty simple. That’s not a bad thing as it’s not hard to connect with varying personalities that take center stage here. It’s obvious that Powder is being built into something bigger as the series moves forward. Her dynamic with Vi is a nice contrast that highlights the big sister protecting the little sister scenario. Though, Mylo is pretty much a douche for his treatment of Powder. Obviously, that’s the purpose but given the fact that’s she’s a little girl who’s still recovering from the nightmare of seeing her parents killed in a war, his attitude is still a turn-off.

Nevertheless, the world building off Arcane is subtle, but incredibly strong. There’s plenty of questions surrounding Piltover and Zaun that keep you intrigued about what’s going on in the show. But it isn’t just the great protagonists or the world that keeps you glued to the pilot, but the introduction of several key villains who will seemingly play out through the season. The biggest standout is Silco, a drug lord and industrialist with a unique look. All-in-all, Arcane: League of Legends proves that video adaptations can work, but more importantly, it gives hope that The Last of Us and Halo will actually turn out great. The stunning animation will draw you into the series, but the compelling story and world will keep you coming back. There’s no doubt that the pilot is worth taking a look, whether you’ve played the source material or not.

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