REVIEW: ‘Arcane: Bridging the Rift,’ Part 1 – “I Only Dream in Risky”

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Arcane Bridging the Rift Part 1 - But Why Tho

Arcane: Bridging the Rift is a documentary series from Riot Games exploring the creation of their hit Netflix Animated series Arcane. How did the story of Arcane take its first steps from dream to reality? How did an idea to explore the world of the hit MOBA League of Legends in a way deeper than any before it came together to create one of the most eye-catching and emotional animated series ever? To hear it talked about by the creators in Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1, it sounds pretty crazy.

With this initial entry into this new documentary series, the focus remains squarely on the Arcane in its conceptual stages. Could Riot Games, a company that had never released anything larger than a music video, team up with the small French animation studio Fortiche, to deliver a truly deep and thoroughly enjoyable narrative look at the world of League of Legends that would deliver all the character and story fans would want to see? While we know now that, yes, yes they could, Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1 does a great job of expressing just how high the odds were stacked against them as the team set out to craft this incredibly ambitious project.

While some fans may be disappointed with how far this introductory episode gets into the creation of Arcane, it delivers a necessary setup for the viewer to understand just how incredible and daunting the undertaking was from the word go. With many of the higher-ups at Riot doubtful of whether the show could succeed, video game adaptations tend to struggle after all, the series had a lot to prove before it ever even got out of the concept stage. But as character designs grow to 3D models and animation tests, even early one we see the character and design that would be key to making Arcane an animation success.

While Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1 delivers plenty of interesting glimpses behind the curtain of the series early life, perhaps the most notable is the showing of a test sequence that was used to demonstrate the series signature style. In this sequence, we see Jayce and Vi trading blows atop a Piltover building. While the animation bears the gorgeous look fans would expect, what is most striking about this sequence is Vi. Far from what she would eventually come to look like in the series final product, this Vi bears a far closer resemblance to her original League of Legends design.

With the episode wrapping its runtime up with a look at the ten month process that was animating the pilot, Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1 leaves viewers off on a dramatic note. Of course we know how it all turns out, but this ending nonetheless builds up the desire to find out more of the details about how this improbable dream became a star-smashing success.

Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1 is streaming now on YouTube here.


Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

With the episode wrapping its runtime up with a look at the ten month process that was animating the pilot, Arcane: Bridging the Rift Part 1 leaves viewers off on a dramatic note. Of course we know how it all turns out, but this ending nonetheless builds up the desire to find out more of the details about how this improbable dream became a star-smashing success.

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