Highly anticipated ‘League of Legends’ anime TV series hits China
Published: Nov 08, 2021 06:31 PM
From left: Jin Yibo, Wang Juan, Huang Lingdong, Lin Song, and Zhu Chenghua Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

From left: Jin Yibo, Wang Juan, Huang Lingdong, Lin Song, and Zhu Chenghua Photo: Courtesy of Tencent Video

As millions of esports fans in China celebrated Chinese team Edward Gaming's first-ever League of Legends World Championship win on Sunday, the animated TV series taking place in the popular multiplayer game's world debuted on Chinese streaming platform Tencent Video. 

The collaboration between China's Tencent Video, Tencent Games, and Riot Games, the anime blockbuster Arcane tells a story of two cities, Zaun and Piltover, through the heroes Jinx and Vi.

According to Arcane co-creators and executive producers Christian Linke and Alex Yee, it was their love for League of Legends that motivated them to bring the game to the small screen. The two emphasized that the anime is not just a byproduct of the game. 

According to Yee, in order to create something "that both fans of the IP and newcomers can appreciate," they tried to "form a production team comprised of both longtime League players and lead developers" and that helped "give us insight into both perspectives that different audiences who are watching the show may have."

"Seeing all these people who have poured so much love and attention into the game over all these years really motivates us to expose more of that," added Yee, who had worked 12 years on the game, a year more than fellow former developer Linke. 

Producing such a show posed numerous challenges and difficulties. For the two, the first challenge was that "each character needed to really be an embellished version of themselves" so that audiences can quickly grasp who they are and what role they play out of all the characters and things happening on screen."

But still they had to really "think about what's truly important about these characters" as this marked the first time that they "take the camera and go out into the world of the Tower, leaving the immediate realm of the champions, and finding a way to make that feel unique, engaging and immerse but also not distracting." 

The series also marks the ambition of Chinese media giant Tencent Video as it marches into the area of in-depth IP development. At the industry viewing party in Shanghai on Thursday, Wang Juan, vice president and chief editor of Tencent Online Video Business Unit, said that show is an exploration into TV series and games. 

An internationally produced animated series, Arcane took six years to complete. In order to make the visual effects more realistic and impactful, the production team made use of the world's top technology, with more than 7,000 shots and tens of thousands of hand-painted original paintings, delicately depicting different scenes, micro-expressions, inner emotions and other characters. Styles and elements like art deco, art nouveau and steam punk are used in the series, wowing audiences both in China and around the world. 

The anime has sparked tens of thousands of discussions on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo, earning a 9.5/10 on film and TV site IMDb and 9.3/10 on review site Douban.

Global Times