Netflix's animated series Arcane is an adaptation of Riot Games' popular MOBA League of Legends and is based on the extensive League of Legends lore. The show features multiple champions and breathes new life into the two-dimensional mythical universe and other League of Legends champions.
Arcane's primary characters are Vi and fan-favorite Jinx, who are sisters, much to the surprise of long-time League of Legends fans! Other main characters include Jayce, Viktor and Caitlyn. Here is a full list of all the League of Legends characters that star in Arcane.
In the first episode, audiences are introduced to Vi as she is immediately established as the older sister. Both Vi and Jinx are adopted by Vander following the death of their parents in a battle against Piltover enforcers. They joined his other adoptive children, Claggor and Mylo, as Vander tried to keep them safe from the darker underbelly of Zaun.
Vi becomes the leader of this band of unlikely children and leads them on an excursion to rescue Zander from Silco, a criminal mastermind in the undercity. Following Jinx's failed monkey bomb creation, Claggor and Mylo are all killed, and Vi is imprisoned. Vi spends many years in prison, building up her strength and earning her trademark Vi tattoo and a hardened look in her eyes.
Vi is liberated from prison as Caitlyn visits her and requests her help. Thanks to Jayce, Vi eventually gets to wield the iconic hextech gauntlets that so many fans love her for, keeping the definable hot-headed essence of her in-game League of Legends champion.
Jinx is revealed to be the younger sister of Vi. She was known as Powder before taking on the pseudonym of Jinx. From a young age, she was shown to have deep-rooted psychological trauma and anxiety, something Vi tried to protect her from. After she accidentally causes the deaths of her adoptive siblings and Zander, Vi calls her a "jinx", which stuck with Powder through her adolescence.
Bonding over their shared experiences of family betrayal and abandonment, Silco finds Jinx and takes her in as his own after Vi appears to have left her behind. This firecracker of a champion grows up to become a chaotic force of nature rampaging around Zaun and Piltover, wreaking havoc wherever she goes with her deadly creations and Fishbones, her signature weapon.
Like her sister Vi, Jinx is impulsive and makes several reckless decisions throughout the show. Jinx has an internal struggle against her identity - she must decide if she is still the Powder Vi knows or a jinx. At the end of the first season, she chooses the latter and develops into the maniacal beloved champion League of Legends fans are familiar with.
If Vi is the main character, then there were no doubts that Caitlyn would also make a starring feature. Arcane is set just before Caitlyn becomes the Sheriff of Piltover as she joins the enforcers, determined to make a difference. Her naivety throws her amid a civil war between the dark undercity Zaun and the subtly-corrupt Piltover.
Caitlyn was one of the first to support Jayce's controversial Hextech idea, allowing him to gain her family's backing with her influential status and authority. In the series, Vi affectionately refers to Caitlyn as "Cupcake," sparking joy among fans.
Jayce is the tertiary Arcane main character behind Vi and Jinx, serving as a foil to the main plot. The animated series begins with Jayce's magic crystals being stolen Vi and Jinx as children. These crystals were Hextech-related early research, so the dangers imposed by his Hextech study brought him to the mercy of the Piltover council.
In the second act, we see how Jayce's creations have altered Piltover's society, as his inventions are helpful in daily life. Throughout the season, Jayce evolves into a great scientist, a diplomatic leader, and a warrior wielding his signature Hextech hammer.
In his first appearance in Arcane, Viktor seems fresh-faced and innocent as he takes a risk to help Jayce with his Hextech breakthroughs. He even saves Jayce from a complete mental breakdown after the Piltover Council denies Hextech research and prevents Jayce from giving up on his dreams.
Audiences discover that Viktor suffers from a debilitating terminal illness that the success of Hextech could potentially cure, hence his piqued interest. The first season of Arcane begins Viktor's transition from a soft-spoken idealist to a cyborg.
A brilliant scientist and a mastermind extraordinaire, Heimerdinger is an intelligent Yordle who created some of the most innovative aspects used in everyday Piltover society. He is a mentor figure to Jayce in his Hextech research. He makes his first appearance to counsel Jayce before his council trial. Although Jayce doesn't always heed Heimerdinger's advice, Jayce values his input.
Despite his fascinating mind, Heimerdinger appears closed off regarding new technology and is very set in his ways. It is interesting to see his worldview expand as Jayce further develops his Hextech technology and when he happens upon Ekko in Zaun undercity.
Ekko grew up in Zaun alongside Vi and Jinx as their childhood friend, and was an innovative tinkerer. In Arcane, he becomes the leader of the Firelights faction, a rebel street gang that serve as the last remaining resistance against Silco's regime in the undercity.
Known in-game with his epthiet, the Boy Who Shattered Time, it becomes clear to League of Legends players how exactly Ekko earned this nickname. Ekko drops back in later in the show to aid Vi and Cailtyn in their mission to take down Silco and his Shimmer operation. In episode 8 with his intense face-off against Jinx, Ekko recalls their childhood where they would have similar playfights. Ekko shows off his ability to manipulate time and gravely wounds Jinx in a battle of the ages.
Singed is one of several League of Legends champions in Arcane, although he looks slightly differently to his in-game design. Singed was previously a respected alchemist in Piltover. The controversy surrounding his unethical experiments caused him to self-exile to Zaun. Here, he was free to perform any experimentations without consequence under the watchful eyes of Silco.
As the Mad Chemist, he plays a pivotal role in developing the notorious luminescent purple Shimmer drug that runs rampant through the undercity of Zaun. He works closely with Silco, like saving Jinx from the brink of death through Shimmer, and was a factor in Viktor's development.
Ryze is a powerful sorcerer in Runeterra on a quest to gather the world's most powerful magical artefacts and protect them from falling into the wrong hands. He briefly makes a cameo appearance in Episode 2 of Netflix's Arcane. He saves the day as a young Jayce and his mother were trapped in a torrential blizzard. He uses his runic magic, paying homage to his in-game Ultimate, to teleport Jayce and his mother to safety in Piltover.
Ryze's selfless actions inspired Jayce to pursue hextech technology and magic to make the world a better place. While Ryze does not speak in this short sequence, this moment is a subtle Easter egg for fans of the video game.
The Kindred spirits are seen in a brief cameo in Arcane Episode 5 when Vi and Caitlyn visit a brothel. In League of Legends lore, they are a mysterious pair representing the twin essences of life and death, a lamb and a wolf. The series also references how they are always seen wearing ancient masks crafted by "unknown hands."
It will be interesting to see if the eternal hunters will have a more significant bearing on the story of Season 2, as their brief human form appearance in Season 1 had no impact on the plot of Arcane itself.
It will be exciting to see what Netflix and Riot Games do with Arcane's second season. With Riot Games setting the base foundations with their in-depth world-building, quirky music videos, and cast of interesting characters, there's no telling where the world of Arcane can go next!