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Arcane’s Jinx and Mental Illness

Introduction

Arcane: League of Legends is an animated series released by Netflix on Nov 6, 2021. It has won 9 Annie awards following its release and has a detailed and complex story with deep-rooted characters that makes the story stand out from its kind. Surprisingly, the whole series has relations to mental health where some of the characters have different aspects of mental health embedded in them and we can see how this affects the character’s motives and what they have become. One of the most stood out characters with mental illness is Jinx. Jinx is an orphan named Powder from the undercity who lost her parents in a war between Zaun (the undercity) and Piltover. She and her sister Vi were then taken in by Vander who raised them like his own. We will take a deep dive into this character and see how Arcane tells her story.


Childhood Trauma

In the first Act of the show, it presents different events that have traumatized Powder as a child. After losing her parents in the war against Piltover, her sister and her were taken in by Vander, the leader of the undercity. One of her adoptive brothers Mylo constantly criticizes and makes fun of her, undermining her self confidence. She constantly messes up tasks and missions, and most of the people around her blame her for it, they even call her a Jinx (this is how her name later originates), causing her to always seek approval. Due to jinxing up the things she does, her brothers and sister sometimes tell her to sit out the missions, this leads to her having abandonment issues as she fears that her reputation of ruining things will eventually make Vi (her sister) abandon her. Tragically she attempted to go against it for once, but she ended up killing her adoptive brothers and father, leaving only her sister and her alive. This deeply affects Powder when she grows up as these traumatizing experiences haunt her everyday and affects every decision she makes.


Schizophrenia

According to Mayo Clinic, Schizophrenia is “a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally”. People with Schizophrenia often experience a mix of hallucinations, delusions and extreme disordered thinking that heavily affects their daily functioning, which can be deeply impairing. The whole series is a battle of her younger self (Powder) and who she is now (Jinx). In Act 2 and 3, Arcane has done an amazing job showing what it’s like to be her. Whenever she starts having these thoughts and attacks, they will draw what traumatizes and hurts her as cartoony, flashy and sharp images surrounding her, showing how she feels trapped and is constantly overwhelmed by these things. An example would be drawing her adoptive brother screaming at her when she is thinking or drawing scary monsters around her trying to scare her. She hallucinates when she sees things that link to her sister, as they have not seen each other for a long time due to Vi being arrested when Powder accidentally killed almost everyone. Once she saw a pink haired girl that she was fighting, she ended up thinking it was Vi and went on a rage that ended in her shooting everything and killing that girl accidentally. Powder is a character that is constantly looking for approval, but Jinx is a person that wants to be independent and strong. These two contradict causing her to constantly break down or do reckless actions as she still hasn’t figured out who she is. Her internal turmoil is portrayed well and it shows how it feels to be claustrophobic and caught in your thoughts or the traumatizing past, props to Arcane for a great series.


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