Adult Swim exec says ‘Arcane’ “won’t be a bellwether” despite huge success

Poster from Netflix's Arcane

Given the track record of video game adaptations, most people would have been right to put their money on Arcane‘s failure. But then, most people would’ve been proven wrong by the time the end credits rolled on the first episode.

Netflix’s Arcane quickly turned into the internet’s next sensation when it premiered in November 2021. A powerfully poignant story, amazing characterization, an almost disturbing attention to detail and a wonderful new animation style that combines CG elements with concept sketches all worked together to turn this series into an unexpected gem.

Great works of art often come at a terrible cost, though. For Arcane, this involved a whopping six years of development, which is essentially triple what most films, TV shows, or even animated features receive in this day and age.

A lot of people currently think that Arcane will somehow turn into the gold standard of animated shows, but according to Adult Swim exec Jason DeMarco on Twitter, the show isn’t nearly as cost-efficient as it should be to produce that effect.

“Nah, Arcane did have a big budget – I know how much it was – and they had six years of development, which most shows will never ever get. To be clear, that doesn’t mean the show isn’t an amazing achievement, but it has no lessons to bring to the world of CG anime.

“No anime studio can afford to throw development money at a team for more than half a decade! And if Arcane was going anywhere but Netflix, where ROI (return on investment) doesn’t really matter, the economics wouldn’t make any sense for a studio. It’s definitely a miracle – but it won’t be a bellwether.”


Arcane producers have reaffirmed that season 2 will not take as long to produce, but even then, it’s not every day that a company decides to take such a huge risk on a single series. Though in this case, we were pretty lucky that they did.