I don’t know anything about League of Legends except (A) it’s a game and (B) there are approximately six thousand different characters with different powers and stuff and (C) it has fantasy and maybe SF elements? I’ve never played it, nor Fortnite, nor DOTA, nor really do I know in what ways those games are similar or different except that Fortnite kind of ate their lunch in terms of popularity. I don’t even know if that’s still true.

But I started watching Arcane last night, a Netflix animated series based on League of Legends, because I’ve read that it’s very good and you don’t have to know anything about the game. It drops in 3-episode blocks, so I watched the first three.

Impressions so far:

  • It’s pretty good. I’ll watch the rest. But it’s not going to be my favorite thing ever.
  • I’m glad I’m watching it with captions on, so character names are revealed whenever there’s dialog. Otherwise there’s quite a bit that might not have been as clear.
  • I suspect that it is chock full of Easter eggs and references for people who are familiar with the lore, but I can still mostly follow what’s going on.
  • For a group of poor street urchins, one of the kids is a bit chubby and I figured there’d be fat jokes (there was one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it almost-fat-joke). But he turned out to be very competent and tough.
  • There are some weird, non-human character races and one of them is quite goofy and Muppet-like and really strikes me as out of place. Perhaps it isn’t so weird to people who play the game?
  • Also distracting: one of the characters is voiced by Shohreh Aghdashloo, who plays a favorite character in the Expanse series. Her animated version looks kind of like a slightly younger version of her who is into weightlifting. It was about like hearing Ellen McLain as GlaDOS as Gipsy Danger in Pacific Rim — it just instantly transported me to a different fictional world.
  • The 3-episode block was almost like a very short series in its arc, and it got quite a bit darker than I expected.
  • It’s another Netflix animated series where the animation style is changeable. Sometimes it looks almost like anime. Sometimes it looks very videogame-ish, a sort of Borderlands look or obvious polygonal shapes in faces. And sometimes it looks very much like human characters and maybe rotoscoping or weird color enhancement. Occasionally these shifts work. Occasionally I am struck by just how amazing good it looks at that particular moment, and sometimes by how like a very low-budget kid’s animation.

Just found out another great thing about turning 50: my health insurance premiums go up by $300 a month (though my employer covers half of that). Can’t you just taste the sheer freedom and liberty of not having universal healthcare coverage? ‘Murica!

This is a non-ACA grandfathered plan and they’re looking at changing plans again (like we do every. single. year. and they get worse every time) for 2022.