All Caught up with RWBY and Ready for Season 6

Recently, I finished watching Volume 3 of Rooster Teeth’s RWBY, resumed and finished Volume 5, and then caught the trailer for Volume 6 when it premiered this Tuesday, October 16th. I am definitely looking forward to this new season, and what follows are my thoughts on Volumes 3 & 5.

Unfortunately, I watched most of Volume 3 while I was simultaneously afflicted by a cold and allergies. Neither were that bad, but I worry they somehow diminished my appreciation of Volume 3. After the season got off to a good start with the Vytal Festival fights, I found myself bored by the continuing focus on the tournament. So when we got a flashback to Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury fighting the Fall Maiden Amber, I perked up after nearly an hour of uninteresting content. I like Amber’s design. I like her fighting style. With Amber, we get to see some use of magic in the world of Remnant, and the stream of fire she shoots from her staff at the attacking Mercury is just too cool.


What I learned from that fight is it’s the uneven team fights I like the most. That is: when it’s one against multiple attackers as in the Amber fight or the Ruby fight at the start of Volume 1, or when it’s a team against an impossible opponent, like the soon-to-be RWBY against the Nevermore in Volume 1, RNJR against the Nuckelavee in Volume 4, and, most especially, RWBY against the mech Torchwick pilots in Volume 2. It was CEM against Amber that got me to realize that.


Having watched the seasons out of order, I basically ruined the ending of Volume 3 for myself. I already knew who died and the consequences of the battle. However, I did not know how certain characters died, and their deaths still affected me. I was impressed by the inquisitive, unrelenting Ruby as the Battle for Beacon played out, and I was not expecting what we got when she confronted Cinder. I was expecting a prolonged fight and the graphic loss of an eye, just as I was expecting a lengthy fight between Adam and Yang where the latter loses her arm. There is nothing wrong with how things played out, just they didn’t play out as I expected.


On the other hand, Volume 5 played out how I expected, but I don’t think its predictability a bad thing. I’ll take it that by the end of Volume 5, I was getting better at reading and understanding the structure of the series, of anticipating the decisions the writers would have to make. The conclusion of Volumes 3 & 5 are similar with lots of 1v1 and 1v2 miscellaneous combat, and for the most part it works, but, as above, it’s not something I’m particularly interested in. The Raven and Cinder fight is the one that stood out because it was different on account of their use of maiden magic. The highlight, though, for me was Weiss. Weiss falling to Cinder’s spear, Weiss being the catalyst for the unlocking of Jaune’s Semblance, Weiss being annoyed that her injury has her unable to join in as the others fight, and Weiss summoning that big ass bee.


Just when I thought Weiss couldn’t get any cooler, she goes and summons a Queen Lancer. Her look is priceless when said Queen Lancer gets destroyed. She is greatly disgusted.


Ruby is the other standout character from Volume 5 where she firmly establishes herself as a leader capable of giving commands in charged moments, like when she orders Yang to pursue Cinder et al. during Blake’s reappearance. Yang does not hesitate to follow that order. While Ruby is the character that has arguably changed least over the series, here at Haven Academy we witness a major moment in her development with her declaration to Yang that she’s not okay, that she’s angry. With Penny’s death in Volume 3, Ruby fell to her knees and cried as Mercury walked away with a smile. Here in Volume 5, she rushes to the aid of Yang and stares down Emerald and Mercury, headbutting the latter as they engage in combat, further telling Mercury she’s going to do whatever it takes to shut him up.


This arc of strength and action we will no doubt soon see in Volume 6, as in the trailer when Yang asks Ruby what the plan is, Ruby responds: “Don’t let anyone else die.”

RWBY‘s sixth season is coming this Saturday on Rooster Teeth’s website to those subscribed to its First package. However, Fathom Events actually has the premiere with an hour and a half event on the big screen tomorrow, October 25th. I’m attending, but I promise to reveal no spoilers on the Internet until S6E1 is available for all.

On First Watching RWBY

Rooster Teeth’s RWBY is a show I first heard about maybe a couple years ago. Having recently met two people who were familiar with the show — one a fan, one not — I decided it was finally time a few weeks ago to sit down and give it a shot.

Going into RWBY, all I really knew was that it was about a group of girls fighting monsters called Grimm, and one of them was probably based on Little Red Riding Hood. Oh, and I knew Rooster Teeth Community Manager Barbara Dunkelman was somehow involved. The art looked cool, but I was generally clueless as to the plot of the show and the world it was set in. As of a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know how the name was pronounced.

I wasn’t given much guidance as to where to start, only warned that the animation in seasons one through three wasn’t as good as for seasons four and five. And so I started with season four, reasoning that it would be a more developed starting point: the series would have been firmly established in its themes by then, and the animation would show more skill. A little bit of research revealed there was a time jump between seasons three and four, and that something of significance named Beacon had fallen. So I jumped into RWBY with season four.

And I was immediately confused. Season four begins with a gathering of bad guys, none of which I had any idea about. When we finally get to the group of Grimm slayers, it wasn’t even the four heroines of the cover art, but Ruby Rose and three others. Eventually, as I made my way through season four and consulted the RWBY Wikia from time to time, I started to piece together the show’s world. I liked the humor and character development season four delivered, and I was surprised when I was told that season four wasn’t all that good because “nothing happens.” For me, plenty had happened.

Episode seven, I’d say, is where the show started to get interesting for me. In it, we see Weiss’ weapon for the first time, and Qrow shows up to protect the kids from Tyrian. When Qrow wonders of Ruby who this overly dramatic guy is, she replies, “I don’t know. This guy’s weird.” Though that might not be the first time I laughed out loud watching the series, I’m pretty sure that was the first time I had to pause the show to compose myself.


The eighth episode “A Much Needed Talk” then had the interaction of Blake with her father Ghira and the [awkwardness] subtitle, and by then I was thoroughly enjoying the show. The world was dark, much had happened in the lives of the characters, and the show had its humor. So what was there not to enjoy?


With season five, I found the show becoming a richer experience. In the first episode of that season, “Welcome to Haven,” when it turns out the kids haven’t fully been filled in on the Maidens, a stressed Qrow snaps, “Look, there’s a lot to cover, okay? I quit teaching for a reason.”


Likewise, at the end of the episode, Ruby grows frustrated by the commotion in the living room and exclaims, “What is going on out there?! Can’t a girl read her comics in peace??” I like that in this fantastical world of Remnant, the characters still have the same normal problems we face in our world.


In the second episode of season five, “Dread in the Air,” I finally saw Weiss fight with her weapon for the first time, and, seriously, at this point the show was just too damn good for me. Everything about RWBY is done well. Weiss’ rapier takes some kind of elemental ammunition called Dust, and it can not only be used for melee combat but ranged as well. Every character in RWBY is a well-dressed badass, but Weiss is the best of them all.


By the time of “Alone Together” when Weiss brings Ruby and Yang coffee, I was totally smitten. I’ve never really done the waifu thing, but Weiss best waifu.


At then end of that episode, when Ghira goes all Wolverine berserker-style on the attacking White Fang, I knew it was time to stop and start taking in the show from where it began. That had me watching the four color trailers and holy $%#&^@ shit I was not expecting THAT! Up until this point, it turns out, I hadn’t really seen the combat this series is apparently noted for. And I sure as shit had never seen Yang fight; I had no idea she wore some kind of gloves that fired bullets. With the trailers, I was seeing what most fans of RWBY probably considered RWBY, yet the series had won me over with none of that.


The animation is, of course, far cruder. For the trailers and seasons one through three, Rooster Teeth used Poser, and then transitioned to Maya for season four. Personally, I like the older animation style better, and I like the camera work and choreography so much better. Yes, season five especially looks better, but the trailers along with seasons one and two are better. Watching them, it quickly became apparent how much the series lost with Monty Oum’s passing.


Granted, prior to the events at the end of season three (which I have yet to see), the characters lived in a more lighthearted world. Though Remnant is plagued by Grimm, season one establishes that it is a time of peace. Here, we see the four first begin their days at the school Beacon. Coming to the series out of order, this was my first exposure to the characters at school. While when I started watching RWBY I got Final Fantasy and His Dark Materials vibes, now I was feeling the series was more like Harry Potter meets Hong Kong cinema. Regardless, during Oum’s tenure, the show’s humor was more frequent and its tempo faster. However, I really don’t care for Weiss’ stuck-up attitude starting out, and I’m glad she’s become a better person as the series has progressed.


Season two is easily my favorite season. Its first episode is a food fight which is the most brilliant piece of animation in the history of animation. Seriously, here is the link to the episode at the start of the food fight. Just watch it.


If that wasn’t brilliant enough, the season’s second episode has them playing a Risk-like game in the library with probably some of the best dialogue exchanges in the series. Teams RWBY and JNPR are both present, and Sun and Neptune appear at then end. Though it’s largely played for laughs, we get so much insight into the characters through two devices: a library, and a strategy board game. As mentioned above, even in this world of Grimm, Hunters, and Huntresses, we still get the minor situations and conflicts we could encounter in our own reality. RWBY is a show relevant to the human condition while simultaneously being a fun ride. I can’t ask any more it.


I could go on and on, episode by episode, recounting the little brilliant moments of which the series is chock-full, but this post is already way longer than I intended. I wasn’t even sure I was going to write anything up on the series until I began season three. Seeing that stadium floating in the sky for the Vytal Festival with one half of the field ice and the other fire pushed me to write this. RWBY is a show so in tune with my own writing and what I want to write that I felt I just had to document it up until this point. I’ve only just begun season three, and I still need to finish season five, before season six starts on October 27th. Additionally, there’s the RWBY: World of Remnant mini-series and the character shorts I hope to get in before the start of the next season. I’m told season three is pretty epic, so I’m about to resume watching that now….