As an anime fan, I know that I am digging into another countries culture. Every time I watch an episode of one of the latest seasonal anime or find an old classic to watch, I know that the intended audience is not me originally. You know, besides some places where American based companies are a part of the production committee. How strange is it to read something that was originally American that became such a hit that it got a manga form in Japan itself? That is the case with RWBY. Today we look at beginning chapters of an adaptation from Rooster Teeth’s original web series RWBY.
The first chapter opens up exactly like how the web series did. A dust store is currently being robbed by a certain gentlemen thief/villain by the name of Roman Torchwick and his squad. Out of nowhere, a wondering girl dressed in red and black by the name of Ruby Rose destroys the group with her sniper scythe and Roman gets away. Ruby herself is questioned by a certain Glynda Goodwitch who is a staff member at Beacon Academy. An academy for people who want to be heroes with the title of Hunter and Huntress. We learn that she is about to skip grades and is allowed into Beacon Academy two years before she is supposed to. A prodigy one should say. End volume 1.
In this volume, the other four chapters are the setting up of team RWBY at Beacon Academy. Ruby meets with her sister Yang Xio Long who is ever outgoing and cool, bumps into Weiss Schnee who immediately don’t like each other, and Blake is there to cool off Weiss’ attacks on Ruby. They have those interactions, are bunked with each other, and then go on their team trials in a temple to find a relic together. Team JNPR makes some small appearances too with Ozpin and Glynda Goodwitch’s side plotting and scheming on the side. The grim make their appearance known as well. So basically, the story is now set the way we expect it to.
The way this adaptation is handled in a pretty interesting to me. It’s very stream lined in terms of writing and art wise. All in a way that seems like it’s more of a labor of love than anything else, but it’s also very minimum in what it wants to do. Only the more important characters show up. Team RWBY’s characters get all of the time with other characters getting an introduction after meeting with any of the members. The powerful Pyrrha and the squeamish Jaune make have a decent presence in the manga because they interacted a lot of with the team members. Ren and Nora are thrown in on the side because they have to be and it’s only for a short amount of time.
All of which is a good reason why the development of Team RWBY feels natural somehow despite how short the time feels between then. Or should I just say, the more rushed nature of it all? These characters finding that they can work together in a dangerous situation despite the differences they’ve had before helps connect them. Especially for those who were having some pity parties and arguments earlier. Overall, Ruby had the best arc here. Her questioned and questioning herself why she was pushed into the Academy two years earlier or if it’s right, then showing off she is observant and can think of strategy on the fly is pretty solid stuff.
RWBY transitioning from web series to manga comes with some interesting tradeoffs. The first volume of the RWBY web series is very flawed in how it’s animated. It looks and feels cheap just by how the characters move, look, think, interact with the world, and such. Even background characters of no importance are just black bloods. Monty Oum is famous for his action animation and RWBY was good for that in its first volume too, but that’s it. This manga didn’t try to capture that sort of fights by having cool frames instead, but they could have tried a little more. Otherwise, this RWBY volume has some answers to the rest of these aspects.
The art work from this manga is great. All the characters in the series are drawn very well. Very faithful to the web series, but heavily improved with a lot of detailed and added appeals to the characters themselves. This volume also heavily plays into the fairy tale aspect of the series in the way it’s narrated. Our characters pop out of the panels in heroic fantasy ways which I really liked. Still, the art is limited in some ways. There are great artistic moments in settings, but there is a lot of white space and lack of backgrounds which is an interesting choice. No background characters either which makes the academy feel a little empty. It’s very fan positive in the way this manga shows off the best parts of the series.
Over all, I had a lot of fun reading this manga volume. I think it would get a good on my scale and that comes from a lot of bias. I’m not going to lie about that at all. It’s a solid piece of entertainment for RWBY fans that want to see the series from a different point of view and see the passion of those fans who really like it. It’s almost 200 pages of good times and moments with a cast of characters that you can enjoy. There was just a lot of moments to enjoy and see here. I also think that people who want to dig into RWBY for their first time as well. It’s not the same as the series, but this manga isn’t a lot of moments thrown together. It’s a full retelling of the story from a different point of view.
If you are interested in reading RWBY The Official Manga: Volume 1, you can purchase your copy on Tuesday July 21st for $12.99 or pre-order it now. Click this link here for more information.