Netflix’s Arcane has magical animation and a complex plot

Annabelle Bartz, Staff Writer

It is no secret that I am a sucker for animation of any and all kinds. I am willing to watch any and everything that’s animated and often end up watching kids shows to get my animation fix. All that to say a lot of the stuff I watch is not targeted to my age range, so when Arcane came out, I didn’t know about it. It was actually my brother who encouraged me to watch it, and I can say that I am now absolutely in love with the show. The first episode of Arcane dropped November 6th, 2021, so I am definitely a little late to the party, but I can honestly say Arcane might be one of the best shows I have ever watched. 

Arcane is set in a fantasy world, so there are humans present but there are also a lot of humanoid beings that also make an appearance, along with some creatures that are clearly not human at all. The setting of the show is an utopian city called Piltover and an impoverished community called Zaun. Now there are a lot of characters that the show focuses on and there is no way that I could cover every single character and story arc, so the few I am going to talk about are the characters Vi, Jinx/Powder, Jayce, and Catilyn. 

The first two episodes of the show occur 20 years before the rest of the show with Vi and Powder, a pair of sisters who lost their parents. They live in the impoverished area controlled by Piltover. They are stealing to get by and live with their caretaker Vander, who serves as a father figure to them and a few other children. He gets taken and one thing leads to another and Vander is killed. The girls end up splitting up, with Powder going with Vander’s killer, who raises her under a new name, Jinx, and we are unsure of what exactly happens to Vi in the 20 years. Meanwhile in Piltover, Jayce is experimenting with something illegal that he calls Hex Tech, and he gets discovered and shut down. Thanks to the help of some other characters, he is able to show the council that they are making a mistake and should accept the creation of Hex Tech. 

Twenty years later, Jinx’s adoptive parent runs the undercity through a drug called Shimmer and the overall use of fear tactics with Jinx by his side. They are involved in smuggling and Catilyn (a member of the guard) suspects there is something more going on and without permission starts investigating. Eventually she gets help from Vi and they start working together to destroy the hierarchy that was built by Jinx’s adoptive parent. All of this unfolds while Jayce and his lab partner are trying to push for advancements in Hex Tech and are again struggling to get the approval they need. 

That is a brief synopsis of Arcane that misses a lot, but all of that is to show the complex and compelling plot that was built in this universe. Every element is beautifully created and never ceases to amaze. Each character is complex and has their own unique background, and the show itself has no lack of ingenious writing. While it is a fictional show, it also manages to cover a lot of real-world problems, like drugs running rampant through impoverished communities, what makes a family, the lack of awareness in the well served population, and making weapons before the other people who will do. 

This is a show that I would suggest to anyone and everyone. Between the magical animation and a complex plot, there is no lack of things to love about Arcane.