Vi from Arcane - Complete Character Overview and Synopsis
In the Netflix show Arcane, Vi is one of the story's main characters. She also has one of the most interesting and compelling storylines that has her completely changing her worldview and allegiances as a result of a life of hardship and loss.
Warning: This article contains significant spoilers about Vi and other characters in Arcane. If you have not already watched Arcane, a League of Legends story, you should definitely check it out on Netflix before continuing.
In this character overview, we will cover and discuss everything to do with Arcane Vi. We will begin with a thorough discussion of her storyline and then follow with interesting tropes and cinematic moments that really stood out to us. We will conclude with a comparison of Arcane Vi and League of Legends Vi.
Vi is one of the many characters who populate Arcane’s disadvantaged Undercity. Voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, she resents growing up in the shadow of Piltover, being seen as trash by their ruling class. After suffering repeated humiliations at the hands of Piltovers, Vi wishes to fight them so that her younger sister and the rest of the Undercity can prosper. As time passes and the sources of the Undercity’s problems become more complex, so does Vi’s mission.
“We’ve all had bad days. But we learn, and we stick together.”
Viewers first see Vi in Arcane as a child, protectively holding her sister Powder’s hand. Together, they wandered the bridge that connects her Undercity to Piltover. The bridge is awash with violence between Vander’s Zaunite rebellion and Piltover’s enforcers.
Through a veil of smoke, Vi saw Vander brutalizing an enemy with his metal gauntlets, the weapons she would later choose for herself. The sisters found their parents among the dead. Vander’s rebellion had put them in harm’s way, and they paid the ultimate price. Vander saw the orphaned girls and set down his weapons in regret. He left the battlefield forever and carried them to safety. Over his shoulder, Vi glared at the enforcers, taking up a grudge that would not be easy to shed.
Viewers next see Arcane Vi some years later, having grown to her teens under Vander’s care. She, her sister, and their adopted brothers climbed up to Piltover and survey the pristine skyline, a utopia standing in sharp contrast to their polluted home.
Their goal, to rob Jayce Talis’s penthouse/laboratory, took the four of them over the rooftops as they engaged in parkour-style maneuvers. Young Powder lagged behind, but Vi encouraged her and defended her from their brother’s criticism. This scene establishes child Arcane Vi as a criminal, a leader molding herself after her perception of Vander, and also an attentive older sister.
The penthouse burglary took a disastrous turn when Powder found Talis’s Hex Crystals. Ignorant of their destructive potential, Powder fumbled one and caused an explosion. The four burglars fled the scene, narrowly escaping Piltover enforcers.
Back in the Undercity, they stumbled into danger of another kind: a rival gang. Deckard, the leader of the rival gang tried to intimidate Vi into surrendering their loot. Vi, perhaps sensing that violence was inevitable whether she surrendered or not, escalated the argument into a brutal fistfight.
Vi entrusted the loot bag to Powder, knowing that her sister, as usual, would hide from violence. After a bloody struggle, Deckard and his gang lost. Deckard escalated the fight further by drawing a knife, the first deadly weapon to be used between them. Vi showed no fear of the knife and stared Deckard down, inviting him to try it. Deckard lost his nerve and fled with the rest of his gang. This scene showcased Vi’s pride, courage, and talent for violence.
Meanwhile, Powder had been hunted by one of the rival gang members. She attempted to use a home-made gadget against her pursuer, but it failed. In a desperate move, Powder tossed the loot irretrievably into deep water, destroying the larger boy’s motive to chase her. She returned to her siblings in shame.
Mylo griped at their little sister and mocked that her invention didn’t’ work. Arcane Vi stood up for Powder against Mylo, citing Powder’s young age as a fair reason for her to lag behind. Surely a tiny girl couldn’t have fought the nearly full-grown men that had attacked them. Her words, while heartfelt, didn’t stabilize Powder’s fragile self-esteem, nor stop Mylo from picking on Powder again.
Vander confronted Vi about their topside disaster. He sternly warned her to keep their crimes in the Undercity, to avoid Piltover’s dangerous attention. He understood that they were outmatched by the Piltovers, and that violence between the two cities would be a one-sided slaughter. He warned her to dispose of any evidence connecting them to the crime. He went on to scold Vi for leading her siblings astray, telling her that she was their leader and therefore responsible for their safety.
This confrontation showed more than Vander’s disappointment with Vi. It showed his continued esteem for her as the children’s leader, and his tender feelings towards her. It also showed the strength of their father-daughter bond: they could have difficult conversations and yet still love each other afterward.
Later, Powder came to Vi with the Hex Crystals. She had forgotten that they were safe in her satchel, separate from the loot that had been lost. Vander had warned Vi not to hold onto anything that would tie them to the Piltover disaster, Vi told Powder to keep the crystals. This proved to be a mistake, as the enforcers were highly invested in finding the burglars who’d caused the explosion.
Later, the four orphans laid low in an arcade, hoping their escapades topside would soon blow over. Vi practiced boxing against a large punching-bag-robot, showing herself to be a true martial arts prodigy. Powder was not skilled at the boxing game, but she dominated a sharp-shooting game.
For those unfamiliar with the course of how the characters develop in League of Legends lore, this difference in skills is maybe the first sign of a split between the two characters. From this point forward, their lives continue to diverge.
Suddenly, a local Undercity man was tossed through the arcade window by a piltover enforcer. Since Powder was still carrying the Hex Crystals, which would link them to the penthouse explosion, the four had to flee the enforcers. They escaped with help from their young friend Ekko in Arcane. Enforcers continued to cause disturbances in the Undercity in pursuit of Vi and her friends, humiliating the locals.
Soon after, Vi watched her father figure mediate a sort of town hall meeting at his bar, The Last Drop. Sevika, one of Vander’s supporters, was in attendance. Vander was, as usual, dissuading everyone from fighting the Piltovers, urging them to wait for things to blow over. Angered by his passivity, Sevika challenged Vander’s authority and lead some others in storming out.
Powder and the other orphans wondered at Vander’s pacifism, but Ekko explained: Vander had a deal with the enforcers. He functioned not only as the leader of the Undercity, but also as Piltover’s liaison to maintain peace between the two groups. This undermined Vi’s trust and respect for Vander. This wedge was driven in more deeply when an enforcer, Marcus, came to the Last Drop to search for them. The youngsters hid while Marcus blustered around in the bar, openly disrespecting Vander, who would not be goaded into violence.
After this humiliation, Vi angrily told Vander that she would fight to protect Zaun if Vander refused to do so. To explain his motivations, Vander returned with her to the bridge where she had lost her parents, and where he had had his change of heart.
He did everything he could to emphasize the human cost of war. As he explained it, “Nobody wins in war.” Vi became convinced of his point of view when he pointed out that fighting Piltover might cost Powder’s life. Vi secretly resolved to turn herself over to the enforcers. She saw this as the only peaceful way to protect her family and community.
Later that night, Vi found Powder was giddily working on weapons to fight the enforcers with. Vi handed her an important totem: a bunny doll that had once been stolen from her by bullies. Vi had used this doll in the past to encourage Powder. It demonstrated that even Vi was weak once, so Powder could yet hope to grow strong. Vi gave Powder some encouraging words, and Powder did not realize that her sister was saying goodbye.
Vi went to the shop of Benzo, Vander’s chief supporter, where she intended to turn herself over to the enforcers. However, plan was thwarted at the last moment by Vander, who decided, if any of his family were to take the fall, it should be him. He hid Vi in a closet just as the enforcers arrived to arrest her.
However, the plan was double-thwarted when a more sinister presence arrived. Silco, a local kingpin with bad blood against Vander, intercepted them with a monster at his side. Deckard, the youth who had fought Vi and the other orphans over their loot, had been transformed by an experimental drug into a powerhouse of hard muscle.
On Silco’s orders, Deckard murdered both Benzo and most of the enforcers. Deckard overcame them easily, to the horror of Vi and Ekko, who watched nearby. Vander was carried away, captive.
Vi and her brothers hatched a plan to rescue Vander. However, Powder was left out of it. Despite all of her encouraging words, Vi knew deep down that Powder was not ready for such a difficult task. This left Powder to wonder if Vi believed Mylo’s taunts that Powder was a Jinx, and she would ruin any job they took her on. Unbeknownst to Vi, Powder followed them to Silco’s lair.
At the lair, Vi donned her father’s weapons and showed her incredible martial skill, going head-to-head with many of Silco’s adult henchmen and winning. Sevika was among Silco’s henchmen, beginning a yearslong enmity between herself and Vi. Meanwhile, Mylo used his lockpicking skills to loosen Vander’s restrains, while their brother Claggor created an escape route. Silco turned the tide of battle by goading Deckard into using Shimmer again. The youth transformed into a monster that Vi could not defeat.
Seeing her family in danger, Powder sent in one of her home-made explosives. Although her previous gadgets were prone to failure, this one was different: it was powered by one of the Hex Crystals. Tragically, the resulting explosion was much more than Powder bargained for. The first blast killed both Mylo and Claggor and trapped Vi under wreckage. Pinned to the ground near her brother’s corpses, Vi saw the remains of Powder’s device and began to understand who was responsible. Explosions continued to rock the structure they were trapped in.
Freed from his restraints, Vander rushed to Vi’s defense. He fought with the same incredible strength Vi had seen on the bridge, undimmed by age or disuse. However, even Vander was outmatched by the Shimmer-enhanced mutant. Treachery nearly undid him when Silco stabbed him from behind.
With Vi still in danger, Vander resorted to imbibing the toxic brew himself, transforming into a monster that terrified her. In this new form, he made short work of Deckard. Maddened by the drug and the situation, he nearly chose to pursue the retreating Silco. However, true to character, love won out, and Vander chose to carry Vi to safety instead. He died in the process. With his last words, he instructed Vi, “Take care of Powder.”
As Vi mourned the deaths of her father and brothers, Powder appeared, gloating about the success of her explosive device. Horrified, Vi asked, “You did this?” as Powder looked past her to see Vander’s corpse, and then Claggor’s bloody goggles. Realization dawned on Powder that she had killed her family.
Through gasps and sobs, she rhythmically chanted, “I only wanted to help.” In a moment of rage, Vi struck her sister, bloodying her nose. Powder didn’t strike back, only continued to sob and beg for forgiveness. “You’re a jinx!” Vi shouted. “Mylo was right!” Vi almost immediately regretted her outburst, and stepped away from Powder, taking a moment to collect herself. She had every intention of returning with kinder words, but before she could, she was abducted by the Piltover enforcer, Marcus.
Powder did not realize that her sister only meant to step away temporarily. She saw it as willful abandonment and total rejection. She wailed and shrieked, “Please Violet, I need you. Please.” But Violet did not return. This moment defined the relationship between the sisters thereafter. The drama between them in Acts 2 and 3 turns on this moment, and the question, “Can it be overcome?”
Marcus took Vi to Stillwater prison, where she remained for about seven years.
Much of Vi's time in prison occurs off-screen and isn't shown in the Netflix show Arcane. The below information is pieced together from subsequent conversations.
She remained mostly unchanged during this time, carrying the same motivations as before, if in a more bitter package. She had the impression that Silco’s collaborators were keeping her in prison, and that they were responsible for her frequent beatings.
This was only partially true; Marcus had indeed become Silco’s reluctant collaborator, but he had been ordered to kill Vi, not imprison her. He kept her concealed from Silco as a palatable compromise between his conscience, and his fear of the kingpin.
Vi was finally released when a former Piltover enforcer, Caitlyn Kiramman, came to ask her for help. Silco had risen to power in the Undercity and was the source of the crimes of greatest concern to Piltover enforcers. However, Silco’s role was hidden from the Piltover Ruling Council by Sheriff Marcus. Caitlyn could detect that one person or force was behind these crimes, and she believed that Vi could help her uncover the truth.
When Vi first met Caitlyn, she dismissed her, believing her to be working for Silco. “Enforcers are just criminals in fancy uniforms.” When Caitlyn showed her one of Powder’s distinctive drawings, Vi’s hope was sparked, and a means of returning to her sister presented itself. She convinced Caitlyn to free her in exchange for helping her investigate Silco on Vi’s home turf.
After being released from prison, Vi guided Caitlyn through the Undercity. She found it badly changed, with more poverty and shimmer addicts around every corner. Vi found out from an Undercity madame that Silco had taken over Vander’s place as leader of the Undercity, even repurposing Vander’s bar as his own.
The Madame said things had taken a turn for the worse without Vander looking out for the Zaunites, but the ones who tried to stop Silco had been violently put down. The madame offered to help Vi meet with a regular customer, Silco’s number 2.
And so, Vi came again face-to-face with Sevika, Vander’s one-time supporter who had thrown him over in favor of Silco. Vi condemned her as a traitor, and the two had a brutal fight. Sevika had increased in power since their last meeting, replacing her lost arm with a mechanical one that, with he help of Shimmer, augmented her strength.
Still, it seemed the young prodigy would beat Sevika, until she distracted Vi with news of her sister. Powder was working for Silco, Sevika revealed. “She’s like his daughter.” Sevika used this moment of distraction to stab Vi. She was stopped from finishing her off by Caitlyn, who fired upon her from a distance.
This rescue was a turning point between Vi and Caitlyn. She went from despising her as a member of the group that had killed her parents, to becoming fond of her. Later, after supporting each other through shared hardships, their feelings grew into the beginnings of a romantic relationship.
After the dreadful reveal that Powder, now Jinx, was working for Silco, Caitlyn helped Arcane Vi to an out-of-the-way location to recover. In this ghetto, the people there were afflicted with Shimmer addition, looking sickly and small. One of them betrayed Vi to Silco in exchange for the drug.
Silco had learned of Vi’s return and perceived it as a threat to his relationship with Jinx. Vi’s sister had become important to him, in fact, she had become the only person whom he loved and trusted. His mistrustful and jealous nature led him to believe that if Jinx reunited with Vi, she might abandon him. Silco’s normally calm demeanor cracked at this prospect, and Vi became the one person who could enrage him beyond restraint.
Silco and several henchmen arrived at the dilapidated structure where Vi and Caitlyn were hiding. Showing that old grudges were still on his mind, Silco called Vi “Vander’s Prodigy.” He also sang Jinx’s praises to her, possessively calling her “more than I ever imagined.” He sicced several Shimmer-mutated monsters on her. Vi ended the fight by bringing the building down on all their heads. The collapse nearly killed Silco, and in the confusion, Vi and Caitlyn escaped.
Meanwhile, Powder had also learned of Vi’s return. One half of her longed to be reunited with Vi and be her eager little tagalong again. Her other half was loyal to Silco, yet was furious at him for keeping secrets from her. In order to summon Vi, Powder triggered a signal flare that Vi had once given her. She waited a long time, and just as she was about to give up hope, Vi arrived.
Vi was ecstatic to find her sister and showed her all the forgiveness and grace Powder could have hoped for. Jinx wept and hugged Vi in Arcane, confessing that she had changed for the worse in Vi’s absence. However, Jinx’s insecurity and paranoid delusions derailed the meeting. She saw Vi with Caitlyn in Arcane, which confirmed her fear that Vi had replaced her. Mylo’s voice echoed this fear, and the rattled Jinx began pointing her weapon at Vi and Caitlyn. “Did you only come here for this stupid stone?” she asked, referring to the stolen Hex Gemstone in her possession.
Vi had no idea what the gemstone was. She reassured her sister, “I’m only here for you.” In a move reminiscent of her staredown with Deckard, fearlessly faced down Jinx’s weapon, repeating her message of love and acceptance.
It was then that the Firelight gang interrupted them, attacking them from the air. As Jinx skillfully fought the rival gang, her new delight in violence was on full display, shocking Vi, The Firelights took the Hex Gemstone and kidnapped both Vi and Caitlyn before the sisters could resolve their differences.
The Firelight leader revealed himself to Arcane Vi as her childhood friend, Ekko. This is the first time all of the main characters also present in League of Legends are united together. He had grown up and founded a community, one that attempted to cosset itself away from the Shimmer-flooded streets controlled by Silco. Under Ekko’s command, the Firelight Gang attempted to disrupt the Shimmer trade, hoping to reduce its devastation on the Undercity.
Silco had convinced the enforcers that the Firelights were dangerous to Piltover, and so Ekko’s small community was at war on two fronts. Ekko explained to Vi that in his view, “Powder is gone. All that is left is Jinx, and she belongs to Silco.” Vi disagreed, persisting to hope that she could bring Powder back.
In a tense discussion, Vi, Caitlyn, and Ekko developed a plan for the captured Hextech Gemstone. They would turn the Hextefch Gemstone to Piltover, and in exchange, Caitlyn would give Ekko access to the Piltover Council and resolve the misunderstandings between them. They hoped that there could be peace between Piltover and the Firelights, and they could unite against a common enemy, Silco.
Vi, Caitlyn, and Ekko were watched by Jinx as they entered the bridge to Piltover. Vi told her companions that she could go no further and would not leave the Undercity without her sister. She exchanged a tender goodbye with Caitlyn. Jinx, unable to hear the words, saw only that Vi embraced Caitlyn. This triggered a jealous rage and ignited her fear that Vi had replaced her with the topsider.
Caitlyn and Ekko went on without Vi, and found the bridge manned by many enforcers, including treacherous Sheriff Marcus. Caitlyn, unaware of his complicity, told him that she’d uncovered Silco’s plots. Marcus, needing to silence Caitlyn to save his own skin, attacked. Vi rushed to Caitlyn’s defense, and Jinx, seeing Vi in danger, joined the fight as well.
She sent a swarm of explosive robots resembling fireflies, which killed many of the Piltover enforcers, including Marcus. Jinx took the gemstone. Seeing the wounded Caitlyn leaning on Vi for support, Jinx became flew into a jealous rage. With conflicting hopes and fears manifesting as hallucinations, Jinx became disoriented and fired upon Vi and Caitlyn.
Ekko flew to the rescue. He urged Vi and Caitlyn to retreat to Piltover as he stayed behind to stall Jinx. He believed he was sending the two women with the Hex Gemstone, his hope for peace, but Jinx had palmed it.
Jinx badly injured herself in a kamikaze-style move in her fight with Ekko. Vi watched helplessly as more enforcers stormed the bridge, and Silco took possession of Jinx’s unconscious body. Feeling that she was abandoning Jinx again, Vi reluctantly left, carrying Caitlyn to safety.
Vi escorted Caitlyn to her mother’s topside estate. Caitlyn’s mother was a person of great influence in Piltover, a member of its ruling council. In a moment reminiscent of teenage lovers being caught breaking curfew, Councilor Kiramman angrily confronted the women as they entered her home.
Caitlyn smoothed things over and convinced her mother to give Vi leave to speak to the Council. She hoped this would compel the Council to against Silco and finally fulfil their duty as the nominal rulers of the Undercity. In Caitlyn’s view, it was Piltover’s responsibility to fairly police the Undercity and protect them from bad actors like Silco.
At the Council meeting, they found the Council members already aware of Sheriff Marcus’s betrayal. Caitlyn used the opportunity to tell the Council all about Silco’s organization and his goal: the kingpin wanted the nation of Zaun to be independent. Counselor Medarda cautioned Councilor Talis, who was in charge of Hextech-related security, against going to war with Silco. She suggested negotiating first. This sent Vi into a rage, and she stormed out of the meeting.
Caitlyn tried to placate Vi, but Vi was in no mood and quarreled with her. “What about us?” Caitlyn asked, hinting at the unspoken romance that was beginning between them. Vi bitterly told her to “Go back to that big, shiny house of yours and just forget me.”
Taking matters into her own hands, Vi tracked down the Councilman who seemed the most warlike to her: Jayce from Arcane. She was unaware that they already had a connection: years ago, Vi and her siblings had burgled Jayce’s penthouse, bringing the Hex Gemstones to the Undercity and starting a domino effect of tragedy. Now, Vi came to Jayce as a potential ally.
She proposed that they violently destroy Silco’s Shimmer manufacturing facilities. Since Silco controlled the Undercity with Shimmer, it would be only a matter of time before his own people turned on him.
Jayce accepted Vi’s plan. He armed himself with a Hex tech powered hammer, armored Vi with Hex Tech powered gauntlets, and brought an escort of enforcers with them. They attacked a Shimmer manufacturing site. Their victory was decisive, but the cost was high. There were many child laborers at the facility, and Jayce accidentally killed one. Jayce quarreled with Vi and said he doesn’t want to be part of “this” (dead trencher kids), but Vi retorted that he’d always been part of it. He just chose not to see it before.
He demanded that she return the Hex Tech gauntlets, but she refused. He didn’t press the matter and try to battle her. Likely, he understood that Vi's rage, upbringing, and skills with her gauntlets outstripped his own abilities.
Ironically, this decision to leave Vi alone trippled the number of Hextech gemstones controlled by the undercity, which was exactly contrary to Jayce’s goal. Jayce left Vi to pursue a diplomatic solution with Silco.
Meanwhile, Vi went to confront Sevika at the Last Drop with her upgraded Hex-powered gauntlets. Savika fought back with her upgraded Shimmer-powered arm. Vi seemed to be enjoying blowing off steam against her hated rival when a punch sent her reeling. Vi had a vision of Vander encouraging her. He reminded Vi of her responsibility to Powder and the Undercity at large. “That’s my girl,” he said, as Vi rose to her feet.
Vi finally defeated Sevika in a fair battle, ripping her false arm from her body. Vi then screamed her despair to the empty room. Vander was gone, she’d driven away Caitlyn, and Powder was out of reach. Vi had just regained her composure when Jinx ambushed her, knocking her unconscious.
In an unhinged frame of mind, Jinx kidnapped three people: her older sister, Caitlyn, and Silco. She staged a dramatic confrontation between them all at the site of the tragic explosion which had first set her in Silco’s path. Arcane Vi awoke to find herself at a parody of a child’s tea party.
She sat across from a bound and gagged Silco, with dolls representing Claggor and Mylo in attendance. The madwoman had set two places at the table for herself. She told them that this moment would decide her fate: would she be Vi’s Powder, or Silco’s Jinx?
Jinx taunted Vi with a covered dish, hinting that Caitlyn’s remains lay within. Vi had always spoken of her sister full of hope, insisting to both Jinx and to others that Powder was not beyond saving. However, in this moment, the viewers first see Vi’s ironclad faith in Powder has cracks. Just before Powder lifted the lid, Vi remembered a vision of Caitlyn in an unguarded, intimate moment. She feared the worst. The dish held nothing but the Hex Gemstone, and Jinx produced Caitlyn, unharmed, a punchline to a twisted and cruel joke.
The madwoman put a gun in the bound hands of her older sister and urged her to kill Caitlyn. She reasoned that if her sister would choose her by killing Caitlyn, then the two sisters could resume where they had left off. Vi, of course, refused. She offered to take Powder away from the city and put everything behind them, including Silco. Silco, bound and gagged, let out a muffled objection.
The madwoman finally ungagged him, and he made his case. He said that this woman was Jinx and would never be Powder again. Moreover, Vi would realize Jinx’s true nature after spending time with her, and on realizing it, she would abandon her sister in disgust. Silco made a heartfelt appeal, telling Jinx that he would never trade her to Piltover, not even for Zaunite sovereignty, which he had pursued his whole life. He told Jinx again that everyone would betray them, and only they, as father and daughter, would remain true to each other.
Before the madwoman could come to a considered decision, Caitlyn freed herself and threatened her with a weapon. After feigning contrition and weakness, Powder viciously disarmed Caitlyn. In the confusion, Silco also got hold of a weapon. Vi pled for Powder to remember her family, calling them each by name.
This backfired, as Vi had never understood how deeply Mylo’s and the other’s doubts had wounded Powder. Jinx imagined her former family as demons that tormented her. When Silco fired his weapon at Vi, the hallucinating madwoman responded in panic and confusion, spraying Silco’s side of the table with bullets. Vi was unharmed, but Silco had been mortally wounded. His daughter immediately regretted it, rushing to him, weeping and apologizing. The ruthless kingpin died with words of forgiveness on his lips. “I never would have given you to them. Don’t cry, you’re perfect.”
Vi tried to comfort her sister, saying “Powder, it’s okay. We’ll be okay.” However, Jinx sat at the chair she had set aside for her darker identity. “I thought maybe you could love me like you used to, even though I’m different. But, you changed too.” This was ironic since Vi of all characters was the least changed by the timeskip. She was faithfully devoted to Powder, but the deranged woman was unable to see it.
Jinx took up the Hex Gemstone and inserted it into her completed weapon. She fired the projectile at the Piltover Council chambers. Caitlyn, supported by Vi, shrieked in despair as she watched the rocket careen towards her mother’s location.
Unbeknownst to the attendants of the mad tea party, the Piltover Council had had just voted to pursue peace and set the Undercity free. Whether any of the council survived Jinx’s attack remains unclear, but it is obvious that her actions have undermined the hope for peace between the two cities.
Vi is a straight-talker, but not a simple character. She is brave, violent, and decisive. While in some contexts she presented as dark and cynical, in others, she presented as optimistic, faithful, and downright saccharine.
We first come to understand her in terms of her relationship with Vander, a pairing that serves as a foil to Jinx’s relationship with Silco. The morality that the fathers imparted to their respective daughters was quite different. When Vander guided Vi, he spoke from a place of love and a desire to protect. Silco’s guidance was grounded more in personal grievance than any sense of right or wrong. He desired retribution against Piltover, even at the cost of the Zaunite’s lives or quality of life. He exploited his own people in pursuit of their liberation.
We see Vi in Arcane through Vander’s eyes when he scolds Vi for leading her siblings astray, telling her that she is their leader and therefore responsible for their safety. This confrontation shows more than Vander’s disappointment with Vi. It shows his continued esteem for her as the children’s leader, and his tender feelings towards her. It also shows the strength of their father-daughter bond: they could have difficult conversations and yet still love each other afterward.
Contrast this to the father-daughter bond between Silco and Jinx. Silco never says “no” to Jinx, enabling her to continue to make the same mistakes. When she shows herself too mentally unstable to fight alongside his henchmen, he continues to put weapons in her hands and tell her to fight, saying that she is “perfect.” He staunchly denies her flaws to others. He does not correct her nor reign her in.
If he did, Jinx’s insecure nature would take it as a rejection. Their father-daughter bond, while intense, is fragile and tumultuous. Silco ends up dying from the problem he enabled: Jinx’s unrestrained violence. Vander dies for his daughter as well, but not by any failure of his own.
An irony of Vi’s character is her resistance to change. Marcus takes Vi to Stillwater prison, where she remains for about seven years. It is for this reason that Vi is the most static lead in Arcane. While people outside Stillwater grew and changed, Vi was locked in a time capsule with her desires, hopes, and grudges intact. Her feelings for Powder—love, protectiveness, devotion—are just as biting as the day they parted.
However, Vi is unable to convince Jinx of this truth. Jinx’s distorted view of relationships, particularly Silco’s notion that one can trust but a single person at a time, lead her to see Vi’s bond with Caitlyn as a betrayal. if Vi loves Caitlyn, then she must not love Powder anymore, or so Jinx believes. Vi’s refusal to murder Caitlyn confirms this misapprehension. When Jinx finally chooses between Vi and Silco (or between Powder and Jinx), she blames it on Vi. “You changed,” she says, although it isn’t true.
Overall, Vi is a character whose loving nature resists dark circumstances. As a child, she protects and encourages her beloved sister. As an adult, she is the only one with hope for Powder. Her words of faith and love stand in poignant contrast to the defeatist and cynical attitudes around her. Even her grudge against enforcers is eventually ground away when her close contract with Caitlyn shows her their human side. As Vander says, Vi’s got a good heart.
Several tropes play out in Vi’s plotline. For example, “Designated victim.” Although formidable, Vi is kidnapped at the end of every act.
Vi also uses the “Ancestral Weapon” trope or “Take up my sword” trope. She chooses to train in the style of her mentor and father-figure, Vander, who fights with metal gauntlets. This also symbolizes her carrying on his values and responsibilities after his death.
Vi embodies the “Rip Van Winkle” trope as well. This sort of character is one who is removed from a time, during which they remain largely unchanged. On re-entering the world, they find it to have changed and moved on without them.
When Vi and Caitlyn were captured by the Firelight Gang, they were hooded and bound. Unable to see, they could still carry on a conversation. Animators conveyed this moment by switching between two perspectives, Caitlyn’s and Vi’s, from inside their sackcloth bags.
All the viewer sees are two slightly different sets of bright points that prick through the burlap. It quite effectively puts the viewer in the captives’ shoes, while also bringing some humor to a dark situation.
While League of Legends does have its own lore that significantly predates the creation of the Arcane TV show, most League of Legends players will only know her from her witty in-game phrases, hard-hitting fists, and great Vi skins.
As avid League of Legends players, we really enjoyed the ability to fill in her backstory and give her staunch defence of the innocent some context. Both the LoL character and Arcane Vi fearlessly throw themselves into battles with their gauntlets raised in order to help their team and friends.
Vi in Arcane well-characterized the individual we have grown used to seeing and playing with. It went many steps further to flush out her motivations, sorrows, joys, and hopes.
Arcane is a masterpiece, and its portrayal of Vi's development through many complex and ever-evolving situations really brought the character, her motivations, and her sorrows to light. We hope you have enjoyed this complete Arcane character summary. Please let us know your thoughts on Vi in Arcane using the comments below.
And, if you are League of Legends player, aspiring or veteran and Arcane has inspired you to spend more time with Vi, check out our Vi build guide to see how you can make your own adventures with her in-game.
Images Courtesy of Riot Games and Netflix.