Arcane has become a hit with both critics and fans, regardless of whether they’re actually fans of League of Legends, the game on which the series is based. Now, after having seen the show, we have the answer to the question of whether Arcane is scary and how gory it actually is.
Arcane is a deep and dark show, but when compared to some similar content, it is neither that scary nor gory. Animation, especially if you consider anime, has had a lot scarier and gorier works, so Arcane is actually quite acceptable in that category and shouldn’t be a problem for those that get scared easily. But don’t expect a children’s show.
In the paragraphs that follow, we are going to elaborate on this answer and give you some additional information on the show’s content. You’re going to find out whether Arcane is a horror series, how scary and gory it is, as well as whether it is suitable for younger teenagers, and whether it is disturbing or not.
Is Arcane a Horror Series?
Arcane debuted on November 6, 2021, after a long period of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while we had some information on the show before hand, we didn’t know how dark and scary it would end up being, which sparked our interest in the show.
A lot of people speculated that Arcane might be somewhere in the realm of the horror genre and we shall now see how far that is from the truth.
Arcane was categorized as an adventure and fantasy series with action and science-fiction elements (if you’ve seen the show, you’ll see a lot of steampunk elements as well). This is a very accurate categorization and it actually fits the categorization of the League of Legends video game, which is why we can confirm that it is absolutely correct.
Now, it’s not rare to see a fantasy and adventure series have horror elements, especially if it can fit into the subgenre of dark or urban fantasy (like Tokyo Ghoul, Parasyte or Darker than Black), but such shows are very specific and you immediately get that horror vibe from the very beginning.
After watching three episodes of Arcane we cannot really say that we’ve seen those elements in this show.
Arcane is dark, which cannot be denied, but the setting of the show, just as the setting of the original game, is pure fantasy. If there is any trace of horror there, it’s really irrelevant and not enough for us to categorize the show as a horror series.
Okay, we cannot deny that those viewers that scare easily might not shiver from time to time, but on a general level, Arcane is not even near the horror genre.
In fact, the show is a perfect example of the fantasy and adventure genre, with very obvious steampunk elements.
Is Arcane Scary?
Well, the answer to this question depends on what you personally consider to be scary. On a general level, when compared to actual horror series or movies, Arcane is not scary, almost not at all, but we do allow for some people to be scared even by this show.
The thing is that Arcane never really pushed to be scary. It wants to tell a great and exciting story with a lot of darkness and depth, but it doesn’t really want to scare you.
Now, we do have to admit that the scenes aren’t really My Little Pony and the likes, but they’re not scary. As we said above, if you simply compare Arcane to Parasyte, or Tokyo Ghoul, or even Death Note, you’ll see what we are talking about. These three great anime shows all have horror elements and they do want to scare us. They try and for the most part, they succeed.
Arcane wants to entertain us. The show wants us to invest ourselves in its world, its characters, and its story, and – honestly – it does a great job doing exactly that, so it really doesn’t even have to be scary if you ask us.
How Gory Is Netflix’s Arcane?
Ah, well, what we said about the show (not) being scary can also be applied to it (not) being gory. Sure, you’ll see one or two (okay, more, but you get the picture) juicy scenes involving weapons, killings, zombies and whatnot, but Arcane isn’t really gory as you’d expect it to be while having all the aforementioned elements.
It’s simply not the focus of the show and it’s completely okay that it’s like that.
When compared to actual gory shows like Tokyo Ghoul, for example, Arcane actually becomes a children’s show. Tokyo Ghoul had us watch ghouls eat humans, ghouls eat ghouls, humans kill ghouls, ghouls kill humans, slashes, decapitations, torn limbs, and more (if you’ll believe us that there is more), and all of that was pretty gory.
Some of the scenes involving Dominators in Psycho-Pass were also pretty gory. This just for comparison to show you why Arcane cannot be considered a gory show.
Basically, the same comments what we have given in the above section can be repeated here. Arcane is not gory simply because it doesn’t have to be and it doesn’t try to be, seeing how it focuses on other things.
Is Arcane Suitable for 13-Year-Olds?
Initial announcements, as well as Netflix’s categorization, states that Arcane is not appropriate for children under the age of 16. This is not because it has some specific age-related content, but rather because of the darker themes it includes. Arcane does tackle some darker topics, that much is true.
The show is full of politics, betrayal, bizarre science, and oppression, all of which are topic for more mature children. So, if you have a 13-year-old child, should you let them watch the show?
Well, in all honesty, if your child has played League of Legends, we don’t see a problem with them watching this show. Chance is that a child has already experienced even scarier and gorier scenes in video games or other shows, so Arcane won’t really be that big of a deal. Not really.
So, despite the age recommendation, we do think that a 13-year-old child can watch the show and they will probably enjoy it as much as you, possibly even more.