RWBY Vol 1-4: Two Barriers to Success

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This sounds like a continuous thing for me because I am always seem to be re-watching shows that I disliked at first glance from a long time ago. Well, I am learning that I am a judgmental asshole. I probably still am one now, maybe just a little less of one. I watched the first couple episodes a few times and everything about it felt off for me. The graphics, the writing, the voice acting, everything just felt wrong. It wasn’t until my friend showed some aspects of the show later on that I became interested in it. I saw a lot of things that I didn’t see in the first season that really caught my interest. So, not only am I a judgmental asshole, I am also a hypocrite because I went against my philosophy of “not judging until I’ve seen it all”. So all in all, I’m a terrible person. Point of order though, RWBY does gets better on almost every aspect as it goes along.

RWBY takes place in the world of Remnant. A world that has a moon that is splintered in pieces for some reason, fairy tales turn out to be real, has advanced technology that allows them to have flight cruisers, grim are demons attack humans, and there are hunters who are warriors to keep them at bay. The world is also split into kingdoms and each kingdom has a school which trains hunters (or super heroes). This is where RWBY starts, a school named Beacon in the kingdom of Vale. Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang are the four main characters that somehow meet together to form a group (Yang and Ruby are half sisters, so maybe not too unlikely) and are stuck together for the rest of their term at school. There is also a beta team the show, JNPR, consistering of Jaune, Nora, Pyra, and Ren, some teachers, awesome side characters, and villains. Basically, a Harry Potter like set up in some ways.

Since the show is literally named after Team RWBY, let’s talk more about them. Every single character in this team has something special in their background that makes them different, except Yang. Ruby Rose has silver eyes that play an important role later on, Weiss is from the Schnee family that are the producers of magic in the kingdom (so she’s pretty much a rich girl), Blake is a cat person (gasp) that is also a part of an important family (the most normal family in this series somehow) and fights for equal rights with her kind, and Yang is there to go with the flow. That doesn’t make her any less interesting of a character though. If anything, she is the grounding character in the series and probably why she is my favorite character in this group. She goes through a little more than the others just to stay on the same plain of importance.

After I finished catching up with RWBY, my friend and I discussed more about RWBY and we decided that there were two barriers in catching up with this show. Just like some beginning college courses, like chemistry for engineers, it’s a weed out process. The first one is volume one. It’s a set up season in a lot of ways. For one, it’s the first time Rooster Teeth has ever done something like this so it’s all beginners stuff. The voice acting is mediocre, the animation can be barely called animation, every character that isn’t important was a black figure, and some many other issues. The upsides are that each episode is extremely short. They are all less than ten minutes long, so they aren’t that hard to get through. If you get through the first volume, you might find yourself getting attached to these characters. Volume 2 is a definite upgrade and you will see the beginnings of some evil plans going on. It improves even more in Volume 3.

The second half of volume 3 is where the second barrier takes place. This isn’t chemistry anymore, this is thermodynamics. You made it this far to get your degree, but you need to pass this one in order to get access to everything else. Volume three starts over as happy as the other two, but now we are finally getting to that fighting tournament that has been built up for a while now. There are some awesome fights, some fun talk between a variety of characters to develop them a little more, some villain characters doing some villain things with their schemes, and suddenly episode seven hits. A line that is usually a throwaway line like “go break a leg” becomes literal and suddenly the tone of the series changes. Believe me, it gets darker. In the end, almost every built up since the beginning has been lost, somebody loses a limb, and a main character dies. One of the best terrible punches to the face that you will ever get.

At this moment, I think that Volume four is my favorite so far. Not because it’s the latest and greatest from a voice acting and graphics perspective, but because it’s not only hits each of these characters from a personal level, but it’s a great reaction volume. After the events of the Volume 3, the RWBY team is split up, going through their own personal hells, and finding their motivations to stay the course for all of them except Ruby. Still, she goes through her own sets of trouble. While Ruby is the main focus of this volume and she travels with some classmates to the next location, her journey is not easy for her and her classmates. They go through their own personal demons too while dealing with literal demons. This volume could be dismissed as a transition one, but the character writing is excellent here. Yes, there are some awesome fights too just like the other volumes. It’s a lot more balanced in this volume though.

As you can tell right now, I am giving RWBY a big recommendation. Go on and watch it. Trust me. I know that I haven’t covered a lot of the controversy over whether or not this is actually an anime, because that isn’t something I care about. While I go along with the concept that “anime” is Japanese for animation, I know a lot of people have different ideals for it, but that’s mine. I also haven’t talked a lot about what RWBY is famous for, guns attached to basic weapons. Yes, those are incredibly awesome and just show the level of creativity behind this series. Still, that’s not all the good things going on here and I hope I explained it all well enough. RWBY is truly a unique commodity that doesn’t appear very often. I mean, it just got a Japanese dub. How crazy is that?

So have you seen RWBY? If you have, what do you think about it? If you haven’t, does it sound interesting to you?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Finally, someone who doesn’t hate Volume 4! While I still like Volume 3 best (the animation upgraded, plus it proved it can balance both light and dark), Volume 4 was definitely needed. It can be argued it was a transition Volume of sorts, but the character writing was at its best here, as was the animation. I think it was needed for the sake of character development (not just for Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang), but for the side characters, who needed just as much development, like Jaune, Nora, Ren, and Qrow. And the world building also expanded a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I didn’t even realize that volume 4 was disliked…but then I haven’t been into this series for very long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A lot of people call it “filler”, or don’t like the fight scenes or the introduced mythology. I find it to be a very secretive show in general, so I didn’t mind.

        Liked by 1 person

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