It’s hard to film games. We need to please everyone at once: both fans of the game and those who just want to watch a movie. What have we got from the recent good in this genre, Detective Pikachu? ..
I also remember a lot of anime made based on visual novels (and in some RPGs – all the same Pokemon, by the way) – but this is a separate niche, and we probably won’t dig in the direction of eastern animation.
And here comes Arcane – an animated series based on the most popular game League of Legends. The creators are Riot Games and the French studio Fortiche. The project has been done for no less than six years! What happened in the end for the little-known guys from Paris, who had not worked on any major project before?
In Western animation, even more broadly, there has been a mess of late. Since then, as the decision of the higher powers (the board of directors, apparently), cartoons switched to universal 3D, Western animators have been sagging in terms of the quality of full-length animations. There are plots. Drawing … unfortunately, it is becoming more and more the same every year.
Have you seen Wreck-It Ralph 2, aka Ralph Against the Internet? Remember the scene where Vanellope meets the Disney princess club, and the princesses are so similar to each other that it is impossible to distinguish if it were not for the dresses and hair color? Here.
If we go to the next Dreamworks-or-Disney-cartoon, we know what to expect. It will be pastel-three-dimensional, not bad. Nothing revolutionary. (In terms of games, Kena The Bridge of Spirits, which is very similar to all these cartoons, has recently been released, and it was precisely after overeating this style that I could not play it for more than a couple of hours.)
Sometimes there are masterpieces like “Kubo: The Legend of the Samurai”, but they run the risk of passing unnoticed. Sometimes there are breakthroughs in style, like “Spider-Man: Through the Universes” or “Love, Death, Robots”, but there are few of them.
But now there is hope! And her name is Arcane. Arcane has revived the star of western animation. I literally kicked it into orbit, one might say.
New story in new scenery
The end of the lyrical digression, now on the case.
Arcane is a nine-part story in the genre of “magical steampunk”. The setting, as everyone probably already knows, takes place in the world of League of Legends. But don’t rush to wrinkle your nose if you’re not a fan or just haven’t played – Arcane can be watched from scratch, just like the original show. They will explain everything, explain and tell.
And connoisseurs of the universe will be interested: after all, the series takes place more than a dozen years before the events of the game! In addition, some of the familiar facts will be “retracted”, i.e. changed. Little things, but still.
Arcane describes the history of two cities living side by side.
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One of them is Piltover, the Upper City, a gigantic techno-magical metropolis where huge towers rise into the sky, and airships float between them.In the Upper City, inventors Jace and Victor are fighting over the secrets of strange crystals, young Caitlin dreams of becoming a guard and keeping order, the local government-Council weaves intrigues … not suspecting that behind their backs, in the Lower City, a spider has settled even more terrible and strong.
The world is frozen in a precarious balance – but this is not for long.
Idea takes on flesh
How is all this implemented? Fabulous.
What is one beautiful opening theme from Imagine Dragons worth!
The music in the series itself, as well as the voice acting (I vouch for the English), is just as excellent, the voices are selected with a bang, you can fall in love with half of the characters precisely because of the voices.
And the graphics! Step aside, disney and pixars, you are no longer on the throne, you were there, but now you are not. The series is made in 3D, everything is so, but this three-dimensionality is not habitually sleek, but dynamic-gamer. There are also two-dimensional scenes – woven into the plot so smoothly that you gasp with delight. An amazing play with light and shadows, great movement, battles and jumps on roofs, city landscapes … And the most expressive figures and faces of the characters. Emotional, unique, memorable immediately and forever.
Not just faces, of course. Characters too. Real, living heroes, not flat-cardboard, not one-dimensional, boring, you believe in them, love and hate with them, laugh and cry – together.
For example, my favorite secondary character is Victor. A cripple, a lame man who was born in Lower City, but managed, thanks to his intellect, to break into Piltover and even become an assistant to Heimerdinger, a member of the city council. It would seem that a loner who has risen from the very bottom has every reason to be selfish – but no.
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Despite his strange sense of humor and the mentality of a born scientist, Victor thinks of science only as a way to help people; including – their former neighbors who remained in Zaun. His story is one of the saddest. On the other hand, there are no completely happy stories here. Wrong place, wrong time.
Come, come and bring your friends
Completely forgot. Probably, I should have mentioned this from the very beginning: I have not played LoL, a couple of unsuccessful attempts do not count, the genre itself, alas, “did not fit” me. I know a couple of heroes that often appear on the network (the same Jinx), the general mechanics of the game, that’s all. Therefore, the series looked, as they say, “like an origine.” Without spoilers and without knowing who will die and who will survive in the end.
And honestly, it was amazing. I didn’t spend a second wondering “who are all these people and why are they here”, not a second did I think “why are they behaving so stupidly”. The whole plot is clear, all the characters act logically and in accordance with the character, the whole drama takes place precisely because of these characters, and not because the right heel of the eighth leg of the screenwriter so wanted.
And the drama will be pretty. Battles, action, adventure, pressure – everything is enough.If they released one episode at a time, it would be too harsh. In relation to the audience, in the sense!
Although the usual cruelty can not be avoided. Arcane’s age rating on Netflix is 16+. Perhaps this is too much, I would put it lower, 12-14, but still the series is clearly not for children. During the fight, the heroes get bruises and bruises (and later they spit out the knocked out teeth); nothing, um, intimate, though not shown at 100%, but what is seen is enough. In general, it is not recommended for younger students.
Total, stamp, signature
Without a doubt, Arcane is the best movie / video game series released so far. Even critics on Rotten Tomatoes confirm: ratings are 100% from journalists and 98% from a normally stern audience.
What do we do now? No, not only to play LoL (although the show did a great ad!), But wait for the second season!
And it will: On November 20, Riot Games and Netflix announced that the sequel is tentatively scheduled for release in 2023. This is a good thing, because in the first season, unfortunately, the arcs of many characters are not completed. Tell us how it went on, fellow screenwriters !.