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You Should Watch Arcane if You Don’t Already

You Should Watch Arcane if You Don’t Already

A spoiler-free review 

I have watched quite a few good shows in the past year, but Arcane is by far the show I’ve watched all year.

If you haven’t heard of this one, Arcane is a show based on the video game League of Legends. Now, I don’t normally play mobile video games nor pay much attention to what happens to them, but two of my friends recommended it. It is well written and an amazing show, they said. You will like it, they said. I gave it a shot. Wow, They were right.

The story takes place in the fictional rivaling cities of Piltover, the city of progress, and Zuan, the city of iron and glass or the under city. The show mainly follows the story of two sisters, Vi and Jinx, who live in Zuan, but it also features characters like Mel, Jace, Caitlyn, and Viktor who hold power in Piltover.

The premise immediately drew me in. Perhaps it is my Grove City College education setting in but I’m skeptical of a city of progress. There is no way it can be that perfect–nothing is in this world is–especially in this show based on a war game. But the people in Zuan aren’t automatically good either.

The character development makes it hard to dislike or write any characters off as purely bad. Everyone has deep-rooted flaws and backstories that explain why they act the way they do. The writers understand so well how humans think and how they react to trauma. I understood why Jace behaved as he did and why Jinx became who she became. I liked all the characters, because I felt like I understood all of them.

They also show an older authority figure with Heimerdinger, he’s not completely good nor is he completely bad. I’ve read that the show is politically neutral, and somehow it works. Perhaps because the characters and relationships feel so realistic and tied to a real world full of flawed people and systems that can’t easily be fixed.

The way the characters relate to each other feels natural. All of the relationships were well written whether they were friends, siblings, mentor-and-mentee (whether official or unofficial; Vander and Vi, Jinx and Silco), or romances (Mel and Jace, Vi and Caitlyn).

The dialogue is amazing. It is serious, funny, and charming.

But I can’t talk about this show without talking about the animation. The art style bewitched me, body and soul. It drew me in completely like I’ve been thrown into a fantastic virtual reality world. The animation takes over my thoughts, and I can’t think of anything else.

Everything they animate is amazing. The animators put effort into accurately portraying people’s facial expressions and reactions. The animation really makes the show what it is. The writers and animators understand human psychology well and you can tell when you look at their anger, sadness, or excitement. I’d go on to say I prefer it over a lot of live-action shows because it feels very real and vulnerable. The art style is just beautiful overall. I love Jinx’s blue hair and Vi’s pink hair, and Mel’s and Viktor’s styles. I adore all the details of Piltover and Zuan.

The battle scenes are super cool to watch. The characters actually look like they’ve been injured and they don’t always need to look good or beautiful. They look human. I appreciated how none of the characters were sexualized, especially since the main characters are women. The animation style and the outfits are so so cool. 

The soundtrack is also fantastic. The song “Enemy” by Imagine Dragons sets the tone for each episode.

The writers also wrote women really well, so well. I liked the men as well. Honestly, I love them all so much. I want to protect every one of them from harm forever.

Overall, it’s a great show. Can you tell that I watched the first season of Arcane over a single weekend? I watched a few months ago. The next season was supposed to come out this September, but it seems we’ll have to wait. But whenever it comes out, I’m super excited for Season 2. I’m curious about where the conversation will go next and what will happen with all these characters. Will it be as good as Season 1?

Have you seen Arcane? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Movies

Netflix’s If Anything Happens I Love You Review

Netflix’s If Anything Happens I Love You Review

Trigger Warning: This short film is about the grief after losing a child to gun violence.

If Anything Happens I Love You was written by Will McCormack and Michael Govier. It is available to watch on Netflix.

I finally watched the short film If Anything Happens, I Love You. I had seen this film on my suggestions on Netflix, and I was curious. I heard nothing about the plot or characters or anything beforehand except that it was sad.

The film begins with two adults sitting across a table from one another. They are silent, but their shadows are on top of the table in an argument with the other person. Meanwhile, they sit in silence.

The woman picks at her spaghetti, and the man sips a soda. He glances at her, and he looks like he wants to reach out to her, to say something. You can see the lines on his face. But he’s too filled with hurt.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this short film. All I heard before watching was that it was sad. It is difficult to tell a story in less than twelve minutes, especially with as little details as this one includes. In almost thirteen minutes there is no sound and very little color. The art style looks like sketches that someone would make in a notebook. At first, we only see the blue paint on the back of the house and a shirt. This story wrecked me. It just gets sadder the more that you watch.

The shadows are confusing at first. They sort of do their own thing and act on their own. They are clearly metaphors. It seems like they want to comfort their characters. One shadow holds a flower out to the wife. The first piece of clothing we see is a blue shirt.

The one odd part is the song 1950 by King Princess turns on. The song is an upbeat one about unrequited love, and it oddly fits. These parents long for their child, whose shadow still lives in the background. We see flashbacks of her life, her birth, of her playing soccer with her family, and on her tenth birthday. Her life was just beginning. These drawings are more detailed. A blue balloon flies up into the sky after their daughter takes a selfie of the three of them. Her time is so short.

We see her go into a school. Her shadows don’t want her to go. They chase after her and then fade into each other. Her mom sends that fateful text “if anything happens I love you.” It comes from that instinct that we all have that something awful is going to happen. She walks into the school and we don’t see her go into a classroom. We see the hallway and an American flag in the hallway. It is bright red, white, and blue. Eventually, the couple is pushed into each others arms by their daughter’s shadow.

I remember hearing about school shootings in middle school and high school. These were kids my age and kids much younger. I can’t imagine begin to imagine the grief those parents went through. But this story provided a window into their grief. In such a short film, the story is incredibly complicated while maintaining a minimalist style. The characters’ facial expressions show their sadness and joy with their daughter. The music is light piano, and it just fits. The music isn’t upbeat like it used to be, it is minimal and lacking.

The light isn’t there like it used to be. The daughter is hopeful, confident, and happy. They cannot get over her death. Their grief stays with them for a lifetime. The writers interviewed parents who had lost their children to school shootings for this movie. I haven’t seen any film like this, and it feels bold to talk about their pain. School shootings are so tragic that we try to shy away from them.

At the end, there is a ray of light of the sunshine. The sun is bigger than the parents and watches over them as they stand on the hill. I’m not sure what the film was trying to say about life after death, but I like that there is hope. There is hope that there is more than this life. Hope that she is okay, and that she is at peace. There is hope for the parents to go on in their daughter’s memory and their love for each other. Grief doesn’t exist in a timeline, and it doesn’t go away even if you know they’re not truly gone.

I would recommend watching this one, even if you read through my review and saw all these spoilers.

Have you seen “If Anything Happens I Love You”? What did you think? Let me know down in the comments below.