RWBY: More than Animation

By Erin Chambers

RWBY image.jpg

On November 7, 2012, a 3D animation video was uploaded to YouTube, featuring a girl in a red hood slaying demonic wolves with a gun-scythe crossover weapon. The video was uploaded by the Internet-famous Rooster Teeth, well-known for their comedy series Red vs. Blue, and the reception the video received was enormous.  Fan art and fan theories were plastered onto the Internet in support of what would become a new hit series.

The show is called RWBY, and the video featuring the hooded girl was the first of four trailers to come: each one featuring another of the four main characters. In order of their reveal, the characters are Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang (whose names make up the acronym RWBY, which is pronounced like ‘Ruby’.)  The show is about the four girls who attend a school together in order to become huntresses who fight monsters.

The trailers built up a lot of hype with stunning animation sequences portraying the girls’ fighting skills. The show is directed and animated by Monty Oum who is well-known for his work in Red vs. Blue as well as his fan video series, Dead Fantasy. His animation skills are clearly evident in each of the trailers, and more hype was built up over the course of the nine months until the show premiered in July of this year.

But is it really as good as the fans expected it to be?

Sure, it got a standing ovation when it was premiered at the RWBY panel at RTX 2013, but there have been 14 episodes released since then, and room for improvement is evident.

Despite the amazing choreography in the actions sequences, the show falters a bit in other aspects of the animation. Walking motions can be rather awkward, and it also has the typical objects-going-through-other-objects cases commonly seen in 3D animation.

Yet, while the animation does have its up and downs, the characters can be seen as something else. A lot of the main characters follow general personality stereotypes; Ruby is your typical hyperactive protagonist commonly seen in anime, while Weiss Schnee is your average snobby rich girl. However, writers Kerry Shawcross and Miles Luna add third dimensions to each character quite well. Ruby is reckless and struggles with working as part of a team, and learns through her contrast with Weiss’ personality that she can’t leap before she looks.

While the setting of a school for fighting monsters has been done before, RWBY shows a lot of potential in establishing its own unique universe, as can be seen with “Dust” (gems with magical properties, and in-world controversies surrounding how it’s mined). There are also the Faunus—humans with animal features—who are persecuted by society.

So, while the show may have been overestimated due to the excitement caused by the trailers, I’d still recommend it for its wonderful characters, light humour and intriguing setting.

Episodes air every Thursday on the Rooster Teeth website.