The RWBY franchise is pretty much a Western anime so what would happen if Japan were to make an anime based on the series? Let us find out as we take a look at RWBY: Ice Queendom.
Check out my thoughts on the main series up to Volume 6 HERE.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Number of Episodes: 12
From left to right: Ruby, Yang and Blake.
Put simply Ice Queendom is a fun side-story that can be loosely tied to the main universe narrative with it being roughly set between Volumes/Seasons 1 and 2. I say loosely because despite the first three episodes being an abridged retelling of Volume/Season 1 there is enough to differentiate it and make this anime part of its own universe should there be another anime after this. Having said that because the anime retelling is abridged it is recommended for newcomers to check out the original Volume 1 on Youtube for the full context of what happened. The anime does highlight key moments that play pivotal roles in the Ice Queendom story.
Weiss and her nightmare counterpart Nega-Weiss.
Without going into great detail the titular Ice Queendom is set inside Weiss’ mind/dream world. Think of this anime like RWBY X Inception (or Paprika if you prefer). Like the movie(s) expect to delve deeper than one dream at certain points. For reasons revealed on the show Weiss is trapped inside her dream by a Nightmare GRIMM (dark beasts in the RWBY world) and it is up to her teammates and later Team JNPR to free her from her personal demons before she is fully consumed.
Newcomers and maybe even veterans will learn/remember interesting things about not only Weiss’ inter and intrapersonal struggles but Ruby, Yang and Blake as well Of course it being Weiss’ dream world, which I lovingly dubbed “Weissland”, her character is explored the most from how she views and think of her teammates, others she met up to that point and of course herself. The same goes for our other heroines who go through their own personal journeys in this quest to free Weiss. Team JNPR get some development too.
An important note for RWBY veterans. As mentioned this show is set between Volumes 1 and 2 meaning pretty early in the series. Basically long before “that” tournament.
The best place to start discussing the presentation is by briefly describing Weissland without saying too much. It is a world forged from Weiss’ upbringing and experiences up to that point in time. The world is an extreme version of all that is good and (mainly) bad in Weiss’ view. These thoughts and feelings are given shape and presented in lots of pretty cool symbolic facilities, recurring events and scenes between each visit to the world and how things change every time. There being a lot of symbolism expect some things to have more than one meaning besides the surface level. It is fun for newcomers to see and veterans to potentially recognize. There are also big and strong hints dropped about things Weiss confronts over time in the series.
It was pretty cool seeing this battle in Japanese animation.
The animation, from combat to character designs are all quite nice. As mentioned RWBY was tailor made to be an anime and this show more than confirmed it. The soundtrack is a mix of solid original tunes and an OP and insert songs by long time series vocalist Casey Lee Williams and her band. The ED is nice too. Lastly there is one insert song in particular that should be quite the treat both subbed and dubbed.
Team RWBY remain similar to their OG universe counterparts in Ice Queendom so no worries about them acting out of character or anything like that. Same goes for the other characters. Having watched the show in Japanese as of this writing I look forward to seeing how the English cast act out certain moments.
The original character for the show, Shion, is pretty cool. Being Nightmare GRIMM hunters they act as guides for our heroines on their journey and it is fun to watch them in action even if they are most on the sidelines. They have their moments. I doubt they would appear in the main universe anytime soon but it would be interesting.
As always we come to the main event of the G-View. As of this writing the main RWBY series is at Volume 8. WhiteRose’s status remains “wishful thinking” as it has been for the longest time. Fans of the ship were hopeful upon seeing trailers for this anime. Could WhiteRose supporters’ time to shine have finally come? Short answer, yes. Ice Queendom is a WhiteRose goldmine. Now fans of a, shall we say, much less “uncertain” couple thought maybe their beloved babes would not get to shine together in this anime. Rest assured my dear comrades, they were not forgotten either…
Overall RWBY: Ice Queendom is a fun side-story that gives Weiss, Ruby and WhiteRose fans plenty to enjoy. Worry not for Yang and Blake are not left in the dust (no relation to the energy). Team JNPR get some time to shine too. The presentation is quite nice with its Inception/Paprika style world exploration. The action scenes are pretty cool as expected of a RWBY story and the soundtrack has some cool tunes veterans and newcomers will enjoy. A delightful side-dish to satisfy fans alongside the RWBY: Arrowfall video game while they wait for Volume 9 (as of the date of this review).