The first three episodes of Riot Games’ first-ever animated series “Arcane” are out exclusively on Netflix as of Saturday night, and the characters have already grabbed audiences. The high-octane drama-thriller centers around the story of siblings Vi and Powder (Jinx) and uses political conflict as a backdrop to its otherwise scrappy, yet charming setting.
There are plenty of other articles out there that could go on to tell you about the plot, the lore or other similar shows to watch after it — or how to get free skins — but this article will do what those won’t. That’s right, we’re ranking the characters from least to most compelling. Buckle up for the unofficial “Arcane” character ranking.
Be warned, though. There are spoilers ahead for the whole of the show’s first act. There aren’t many major plot points discussed below, but the characters are all judged through the end of the third episode. If you haven’t yet seen it all yet, be warned.
There’s not much to say about Caitlyn to be honest, but she sure as hell didn’t stick up for Jayce when he got in trouble. I get being a kid under the thumb of your rich, well to-do family, but show some backbone girl. Also, we know she grows up into a cop, and we all saw how much those enforcers looked like fascists, so…
— Jason Krell
I’ve got a bone to pick with Heimer. Look, man: if you’ve been alive for so long and you know so much, maybe you should make it a priority too, I dunno, explain to everyone exactly what their future holds. I appreciate that, as a mentor to Jayce, he acts as the voice of reason, but I feel like he fails to provide actual guidance until Jayce has already made his decision. Heimer could have had a real talk with Jayce about the dangers of fiddling with magic but missed his chance.
— Nick Ray
Whose decision was it to not put Ekko in the show more? Like, I get it. This is a story about Jinx and Vi — but Ekko was SO GOOD. He was a cute, charismatic kid with a big personality that I can imagine everyone will fall in love with.
Ekko is so low is because he wasn’t in it very much. Some might also accuse him of snitching on Vander, but he was just a concerned kid cracking under the pressure of someone he respects (Vi). It’s not like he sold Vander out to Silco or the Enforcers.
Jayce is kinda like Vi, but we just don’t care about him as much. He had a tragic thing happen to his parents at a young age and then spent his whole life chasing the thing that saved/would have saved them. Jayce experienced magic and blindly toward finding a way to reproduce it.
While Vi dove into becoming a fighter and a smuggler, Jayce entered the scientist-into-hopeful-magician pipeline. He was alright, but he was a little too bold and brash. Sure, it has worked out for him so far, but it’s still a bit annoying that he’s that headstrong and selfish. Also, his mom totally saved him and he was a prick about it. He’s obviously going through a tough time, but it’s still hard to connect with at times. His one saving grace is that he’s hot. Those eyebrows…
— Parkes Ousley
It’s not just me that thinks Viktor is hot right? Like, this must be a given at this point and we’re all on the same page, no? Well, good, because every time this young man walked on screen, he stole the show. His awkward-yet-cool demeanor works and brings life to a character that many of us who’ve played League of Legends before probably came in ready to hate.
Jinx is in a rough spot right now, both as a character and as a concept. Since Vi had the misfortune of having to take care of her sister, there was no time for grief over the loss of her family. That made Vi tough, but Jinx wasn’t much of a benefactor there. She can’t yet keep up with her crew, but all she wants is to be loved and accepted. She just wants to help.
I’ve been there (most of us have), and it always sucks. But Jinx’s character arc still hasn’t taken off yet. She earned my sympathy, but she hasn’t done enough to earn as much attention as those above her on the list.
It felt like a risk to make a unique character the initial villain of “Arcane.” Before these three episodes, Silco didn’t really exist. So, unlike staple favorites such as Vi, Jinx, etc., Silco’s character had to work twice as hard to earn recognition.
That being said, the writers behind “Arcane” absolutely deserve kudos for doing an incredible job crafting Silco into a compelling villain in this short space. He was menacing but not over the top. He was motivated but not mindless. Visually, his prosthetic eye cut through every scene he was in, sucking up all the attention in the room. There was one point in episode 2 where he closed his undamaged eye in contemplation, but his prosthetic was still staring back at us. It gave me chills.
And considering the way the episodes ended, with him taking Powder under his wing, the implications for the future have me on the edge of my seat. What will he get up to in Act 2? I can’t wait to find out.
Vi is the ultimate older sister: always tough and always trying to light the way. Growing up as a younger sibling and being the “nuisance” of my older brother’s friend group, it warmed my heart seeing her fight the urge to blame Powder for her mistakes or write her off as a burden, even in the face of peer pressure.
It’s for that same reason the ending scene of episode three cut so deep for me.
Okay, look: Vander was badass and he protected his family above all else. Plus his heart-to-heart with Vi perfectly juxtaposed the rest of his callused persona. From the iconic line in his first major scene (“Don’t threaten the guy who pours the drinks”) to when he gives himself up to save his family, there’s nothing not to love.
He made some mistakes in the past, but he learned and grew from them. All of that, plus he’s hot. He was basically Zaun’s version of Hugh Jackman, and I’m not at all mad about it.
The only question now is… Is he about to become Warwick? Or is this the last we’ve seen of Vander?
Special shout out: Ryze
You weren’t in it much, but good s*** Ryze. That magic looked rad as hell, and it was super cool to save the lives of some innocent people. Ryze for main character of season 2!