Without getting into the whole dynamic of entertainment watching nowadays such as if you are a cord cutter, cord shaver, cable / dish subscriber or if you prefer you entertainment in the form of pressed trees it’s not a hard stretch to say we have a lot of choices of what to watch and how to do it. I myself do not have a cable subscription or for that matter a tv antenna. When I do sit down and watch something I find enough entertainment from netflix, youtube and other online content. As it is I think I only buy two to three blueray disks per year and those are just for my all time favorite of shows I want to be able to watch whenever I want. One such show is the animated series RWBY put on by Rooster Teeth. By shear luck today is the debut of season 4 of this show and may in part have influenced me to talk about it today.
Now I feel the need to say a few things before I dive into the show itself. RWBY is the creation of Monty Oum who unfortunately passed away back in 2015. He was a gifted creator who you could feel his influence when you saw it. The first time I learned of him was back when I found a little animated film by the name of Dead Fantasy. While that my sound a bit grim it isn’t, it just denotes this is a work that combines character models from the video games Dead or Alive and Final Fantasy, two series that are vastly different. In it and the subsequent other videos that came out we see amazingly choreographed fights between these characters that shows Monty’s vision of pushing the boundaries and giving fans something they never would have expected to see. In some instances it almost feels like back when you were kids and you saw someone playing with their GI JOE and He-Man figurines, it was the crossover all fans wanted to see but may not cause of licensing concerns. Some of his staples include interactions with the environment that characters use to their advantage and causes change in the areas around them. Things are constantly moving forward and you at times have a hard time keeping up. Another staple of his work is flow of battles. We see in the first video the two teams start the fight at first with slow caution. The combatants start to get faster and the action quicker as at any time one side senses they have the upper hand they will press to finish the fight. Sometimes opponents rally back and sometimes they continue to get overwhelmed. Usually when this happens another element comes into play. Maybe a new fighter joins the fray for one side or maybe the environment changes drastically and the fight has to adapt. Regardless it shows a deep rooted understanding in flow that is critical to drawing you in and making you want to see more. You will continue to see these fingerprints all over RWBY.
So fast forward several years later. I was periodically doing searches for Monty online to see if he had anything new out. Much to my delight I found the White Trailer, the second of four promotional trailers for the new show. The first in the series was Red Trailer which introduced us to the main character Ruby Rose. In the White Trailer we meet Weiss Schnee. The third in the series was the Black Trailer where we see Blake Belladonna as well as the Character Adam Taurus who, while mentioned, doesn’t come into play till season 3. Lastly the Yellow Trailer introduces Yang Xiao Long. After watching these I like many got the feeling this was going to be something amazing. Already we could see a lot of Monty’s signature elements. Fight choreography that was a step above. In Red Trailer we see a unique twist with Ruby’s scythe and riffle being used to propel her and accentuate her attacks. They dynamic movement makes for amazing visuals especially when you take into consideration it’s a young girl. White trailer continues in the world and shows through Weiss that there is something more below the surface among other things dust is a force to be reasoned with. Black trailer shows us more of the world and for the first time references one of the previous trailers. Lastly Yellow sets the stage and one brings in the themes from all the previous trailers and brings us back to the beginning by having Ruby in as well. Each one play off each other and have elements tucked in them you will see but won’t understand the importance of until later when you see them again later on in the series. The final part of the show that makes it a success to me is the cast. As the seasons go the cast continues to build up characters each unique. They share in this world a same story line but each displays their own style, goals, designs, voices, motivations that mesh with with and clash with other characters. Remember earlier on when I said Monty had a good notion of pacing in his fight choreography? The same thing goes for his character growth. At times one person is strong, then weak, then events happen and their situation changes making them stronger or weaker. The characters we meet in the beginning trailers are not the same ones we see now. They have grown and that makes them all the more human.
Now that I’ve gushed about this show for a bit let me pull back and address some other things. Yes in the first season the animation was crude. Background characters were dark shadows rather then fully dressed people. Honestly I’m fine with it for two reasons. One it was the first season of the show and they were figuring out how to do it. Also I’m sure after the popularity it was easier to increase the production teams size and resources which gave the the ability to make season 2 all that much better. The second reason I was okay with it was since the characters in the show represent different story book icons the dark silhouette made it feel like this was just a giant storybook. As such these things and other valid critiques will not hinder me from enjoying the series. I mean look at the the earlier seasons of Dr Who both the original and new series. Looking back they are cringworthy in several instances but we loved them anyway and will continue to.
If any of my thoughts have given you interest in the show you’re in luck. All seasons of RWBY are available for free. You can view them online here. I myself have enjoyed them enough I’ve gone ahead and purchased the disk copies of the show to help support them and show my interest in future seasons.
edit: found a typo.
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