I have reviewed RWBY before but I am not proud of it. Also it felt premature because the show was just getting started and no one had an idea how big it would become over time. Big enough to become reasonably popular in Japan and the main quartet being playable in Blazblue Cross Tag Battle. With both myself having grown as a blogger and the series giving people a better idea of what kind of show it wants to be I feel like now is the time to write a better G-View. Think of this as a remake of my old RWBY (pronounced Ruby) review.
This review is dedicated to my dear friend OtakuGamerGirlIT who motivated me to pick the series up again. Our conversations have been splendid. Here is to many more as we wait for Volume 7.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy (It becomes less comedic as it progresses), Drama, Sci-Fi.
Number of Episodes: 70+ across 6 Volumes/Seasons. Episode length is inconsistent. They are between 10-24 minutes. There are also extras such as RWBY: World of Remant, some shorts and the RWBY Chibi spinoff.
Plot Summary: The future-fantasy world of Remnant is filled with ravenous monsters called GRIMM, treacherous terrain, and more villains than you can shake a sniper-scythe at. Fortunately, Beacon Academy is training Huntsmen and Huntresses to battle the evils of the world, and Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang are ready for their first day of class.
The above description is only the surface of what the show is about. Let me give a description using one of my favorite franchises, Hyperdimension Neptunia. The first two seasons are like Neptunia Re;Birth 1 and 3. Season 3 is a game changer. Let me put it this way, it carries on a narrative and vibe similar to that of Re;Birth 2 with the setting of V-II(R) from then on. Nep fans will get what I mean. Put simply it starts off like a cool action series with some drama on the side in the first two volumes. While that remains the same as the story progresses the direction of the story changes greatly. The series takes familiar plot elements seen in other media (even Neptunia to an extent) and adds its own spin to it. Heck, Dust is like Magic/Aer, Aura is like ki/chakra/chi/The Force etc, the combat is a mix of fast paced martial arts, elemental weapons and magic along with personal abilities called Semblance that range from magnetism to nullifying/controlling emotions among others. There is a valid reason why emotions are important as the GRIMM (Similar to the “Heartless”) are attracted to negativity. It gets more complex as the story progresses. The main story of RWBY goes beyond the classic action/adventure setup of fighting monsters to keep citizens safe and world saving. Character arcs explore subjects like family, race, reason for being, discrimination, hierarchy, some politics but this is not at the forefront, legacies, traditions, revenge and of course…
Again plot elements familiar in other series but RWBY does its own thing with them. It also takes its time telling them. Basically if a favorite character has yet to get their time in the spotlight be patient. Their time will come.
As far as the story goes I enjoyed how it started and while the change in direction during Volume 3 was a surprise I welcomed it as well. The twists and turns have all been intriguing and the character arcs, both the short and ongoing, have been equally engaging, especially two in particular. Many of the battles, especially against larger foes such as giant GRIMM and mechs feel like video game boss fights and I really like that. The same goes for the grounded human vs human boss fights. The ones with magic, explosions and the like are more shounen-esque. Basically I really like the fights. Fun stuff.
I will do my best to explain how the animation improves as the series progresses but it is better understood seeing the change than reading my description. The show is a Western CGI anime but faster than most JP ones. So the first two volumes run at around 40 frames per second and most of the characters look pale white with the majority of background characters being walking silhouettes. The settings themselves look like the beginning stages of developing towns, fields and dungeons in video games. It is around Volume 3 where the speed slows down to 30 FPS but in a good way because the overall animation gets a massive improvement with the characters looking much sharper and crisper and there being more life in the environment, proving once again that V3 is the game changing season. Think of it as jumping from the Playstation 2 to the PS3. The character designs look quite nice for the majority of the cast, the various GRIMM, vehicles, machines etc. The anime influence can be seen in the comedic facial expressions and high octane combat. Luckily it is not as fast as mainstream shounen. The strikes, slashes, elemental attacks etc can be seen and rarely feel like the action is too quick for the naked eye.
The soundtrack sounds like English anime rock songs which are nice to listen to. The soundtrack does its job.
Now when talking the main four when I first saw them I was reminded of the CPUs. Those being Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert:
Ruby Rose reminds me of Neptune with a little does of her sister Nepgear, meaning Ruby’s the energetic leader of the pack, almost always optimistic and wanting to do what is right. When struggling Ruby reminds me of what Nepgear went through in some ways. Ruby wields a scythe that also acts as a rifle. Her Semblance is super speed which she often uses to perform a Psycho Crusher like move. She is not “Speedster” fast but quite fast regardless. She currently has a “From young upstart to potential legend” character arc.
Weiss Schnee is pretty much Noire and a little bit of Uni. Weiss is an elegant tsundere ojou-sama who wields a rapier that can equip multiple types of Dust bullets. She makes a very cool new discovery later on. Her relationship with her onee-sama somewhat reminds me of Noire and Uni’s. Her character arc revolves around the family legacy.
Blake Belladonna is the Blanc of the group, meaning she is the calm and studious one. She does not have her short temper though. That trait was inherited by the next teammate. Blake uses a blade that acts as both a pistol and a hook shot. Her Semblance is creating afterimages. Her character arc is about her shady past before coming to the academy.
Yang Xiao Long is Similar to Vert only in them being mature well-endowed blondes. She intially has an easier time socializing than her imouto Ruby and is the hotheaded muscle of the team. Her weapons are combat gauntlets that can fire both bullets and ranged blasts. Her Semblance gives her a Hulk Boost. Her character arc is family trouble. Similar to Weiss but much more complicated.
There is another quartet who are equally as important. That being Team JNPR (Jaune, Nora, Pyrra and Ren). All I will say about Jaune is to give him time. He may not give a good first impression but he does prove his worth over time. The other three are pretty cool.
The rest of the cast, both allies and foes, have their cool characters and not so-cool ones. The villains are hit and miss. Some I really liked from the start whereas others I did not care for or got better later, not more interesting but more intriguing shall we say. A certain multi-colored foe I did not care much for suddenly became more interesting upon their return much later in the show. Heck, the 2nd biggest villain’s servants remind me of an edgier Linda/Underling and Warechu/Pirachu but more of a legitimate threat than recurring bumblers.
And now we get to the main reason I decided to come back to RWBY.
When I first heard about Bumbleby…”buzz” (could not resist) I was like “So it was like KorraSami in which it was a subtle buildup to that moment”. Having finished Volume 6 I can confirm that…no. Their romance had been building up for a long time. While they do have their own character arcs they also have a combined one, their relationship. It may be hard to believe but people who have seen fellow supporters having caught up can agree…it all began when Yang first said hello to Blake. The seeds were planted ever since. Without giving anything away they both have other things to think and worry about but the one consistent concern and thought they share throughout the show is each other’s well being and wanting to be together no matter the numerous obstacles that get in their way, especially a crimson nightmare. Heck, they even got the Symphogear treatment at the end of Volume 6 along with the staff and their voice actors hyping up the advent of this big battle. Again, totally worth it.
Check out this edition of Yuri Talk HERE where I go into more detail on Bumbleby’s story. (SPOILERS! Obviously)
As for other yuri content on the show, again after the game changing volume. Oh yes indeed. White Rose remains just a ship though. Not much to go on yet.
Overall RWBY is a pretty good CG Americanime. It starts off like an entertaining action-adventure with some dramatic moments and character arcs but near the climax of Volume 3 everything changes but it somehow found a way to stay compelling and fun to watch despite the comedy being greatly toned down by then. The main heroines are all great, the second leading team are cool with their leader eventually becoming cool himself, the side-characters are mostly cool, the villains are hit and miss. The presentation gets better as the series progresses and the yuri, both main and side are worth watching. Dunno who to recommend the show to but whoever finds this review intriguing are free to give it a try if they so wish.
Now to wait for Volume 7 to see what happens next in both the main story and Bumbleby’s relationship.