The first we saw of the series was this trailer, which is already dripping with the awesome stylized violence Monty Oum is known for. Moments of note include:
Ruby embedding her scythe into the ground, dodging a lunging attack while on top of her weapon and then firing to shoot one wolf and send herself spinning through the air to kick another one in the face.
Catching one wolf with a scythe hook and firing to both cut the first in half and blow away the one advancing. Said bifurcated wolf's top half then flies into another one and knocks it down.
Performing a full rotational flip with her scythe to bring it under a wolf's head, then firing for the decapitation.
Flying with recoil.
Loading a new type of ammunition and firing, which sends her soaring at near-mach speeds. She then fires again which causes her to spiral violently in the air, transforming her into a flying guillotine that sends shells, limbs and heads in every possible direction.
The ending, where she pulls off a few flips as she finishes one last wolf, and then we realize she's literally taken them all out while staying completely and utterly unharmed. And then just for punctuation, it starts raining spent shells...
The second trailer did not disappoint. Moments of note include:
Weiss using Instant Runes to enhance her speed and agility, along with using them to make steps in mid-air, including at right-angles to the ground.
Red setting not only blocked an overhand sword strike (delivered with a BFS, no less!), it sent the Black Knight reeling backward.
Light Blue setting encased the Black Knight in ice.
Yellow setting increased her speed even higher, going so fast that she simultaneously dodged a sword slash and got on top of the sword as it was swinging. She follows this up by depriving the Black Knight of his sword with the Purple setting. Plus, this single attack shattered the ice she summoned seconds ago,but it never made direct contact
The Blue setting placed a rune on the ground where she was standing, having predicted that the knight would do a downward punch at said location. Which after contact (and her dodge), sent the Black Knight up into the air. Followed by Weiss immobilizing him in mid-air with the same setting.
She does not even draw her weapon at first; she simply slices robots apart with her metal sheath! And after she does draw her sword, she dual wields them to devastating effect.
Throughout the trailer, Blake shows great speed, even to the point that she's able to make afterimages of herself. Not to mention single-handedly deflecting machine gun bullets.
When firing at range, her sword transforms into a gun on a ribbon. Which skillfully uses recoil and momentum to fling the sharp edge onto enemies, firing into others without need of a trigger, and otherwise clearing the area around her with tremendous speed.
When facing a Spider Tank to buy Adam time, despite not putting a scratch on it, she successfully dodges every single attack it launches at her. And this was while running, flying, and otherwise flinging herself around.
Her defection at the end counts as an emotional awesome moment, once we learn the context behind it. This is a girl who has been degraded by humans her entire life, yet she has the courage and moral integrity to recognize that killing innocent humans is wrong, and to abandon the White Fang when Adam won't listen. She is willing to put her safety and livelihood on the line to do the right thing.
When asked to identify themselves, Adam merely smiles, then his sword shoots itself out of its sheath. Adam then effortlessly slices the drone up, sheathing his sword before the cut even fully showed itself.
Much like Blake, he deflects machine gun bullets like they're nothing.
Effortlessly sliced through six drones so fast that each of them blew up at once. And not shortly afterward, he sliced the air so fast that only the shockwaves made contact.
When about to be crushed, he unleashes a Limit Break that not only demolished the immediate area, the Spider Tankdissolved into rose petals mere milliseconds after contact.
His laugh right before said Limit Break just sells the entire scene.
Monty and the team put the music to astounding use: the nightclub somehow changes the colors of the area Yang's fighting in, changing the music to go with it, with each change corresponding to the correct color. And listen carefully. The music in the trailer is dance remixes of the previous 3 trailer songs (Red Like Roses, Mirror Mirror and From Shadows). Plus each time the colour changes, it changes to the colours used in the corresponding trailer.
Yang lures in Junior what he thinks is a kiss, he's literally an inch away, then she sucker-punches him square in the jaw, and he goes flying.
Kiss fake-out aside, she gets info out of him by grabbing his balls and squeezing. Damn, that is brutal.
Immediately afterward, Yang takes on a large amount of mooks in one of the best ways possible: with gun gauntlets. Not only does she simply punch with them, she effortlessly fires shots not just as bullets, but as a recoil-boost to increase her strike's power.
During their fight, Melanie impressively manages to perfectly mirror Yang's footwork. Yang quickly realizes this, throws her off balance, then promptly ends the fight by spinning Melanie around herself, and kicking her in the head.
As Yang fights Junior, she gets faster and faster with her punches, then her eyes turn red in slow-mo...and her punch breaks his weapon in half.
Blake coming to Ruby's defense against Weiss, who is harshly insulting the former over an honest mistake. She brings up the fact that the Schnee company uses controversial labor practices and has contact with shady business partners, causing Weiss to throw a mini tantrum and storm off.
The First Step Part I
Aside from Jaune, each one launches with looks ranging from determination to excitement.
Ozpin calmly watches the kids get thrown off a cliff into a monster-filled forest. He's sipping coffee. He's smiling. And somehow it makes him look awesome in a very terrifying way.
Pyrrha safely pinning Jaune, a spinning aerial moving target, to a tree from long range via spear throw aimed with nothing more than her thumb... and her only response is a small apology to his fainter-from-distance "Thank you!".
Pyrrha's weapon changes from a sword to a rifle to a spear in one scene, showing the versatility of her fighting style.
Ruby's confidence counts as a minor one. She cheerfully tells Weiss that she knows Weiss dislikes her, and that's okay because she'll prove to Weiss that she's a useful partner. She even hugs her! It takes courage to love like that, especially when you take into consideration how harshly Weiss has treated Ruby so far.
Even before then, she was tossing around beasts the size of minivans like they were ragdolls.
Then when she demands if the other one wants some of her, he suddenly topples... to reveal Blake, having killed him with a single well-placed strike. And she doesn't even say anything; she just smirks.
Weiss for having the wisdom to cut her and Ruby's losses after accidentally setting the forest on fire, rather than attempt to salvage the increasingly dangerous situation by trying to exploit the Grim's disarray amid the flames.
Pyrrha unlocking Jaune's aura. There's nothing spectacular about the action in and of itself, but the combination of dialogue, camera angles, and soundtrack will leave you in a state of quiet awe.
Players and Pieces
The first half of the episode included:
Nora riding an Ursa around the forest.
Ruby and Weiss riding Nevermore.
Weiss saving a pinned Ruby from Death Stalker by freezing its claws and stinger in place.
Not to mention the fact that she dashed across the length of a track field in mere seconds to do it.
Ruby and Weiss stepping up as leaders leading to Yang pausing to admire her sister.
Jaune actually being able to hold himself in a fight, by blocking one of the Death Stalker's claws and allowing Pyrrha to counter attack.
Ren purposefully hitches a ride, firing point-black at the base of the stinger.
Jaune quickly notices this, calling for Pyrrha, who throws her shield Captain America style and slices it off, impaling it in the Death Stalker's head. Then he calls for Nora, who with a boost from Pyrrha and her weapon's recoil is launched in the air, then fires her weapon as she descends from the arc and drives the stinger right through the Death Stalker's brain and kills it.
Team RWBY vs Nevermore.
When accidentally knocked off, Blake embeds Gambol Shroud in the stonework, slinging and landing herself on her flying opponent.
Their master plan: Weiss freezes its tail, pinning the Nevermore right near the cliffside. A distance away, Blake throws Gambol Shroud which Yang catches, making a makeshift slingshot. Ruby gets herself to be the projectile, and with the aid of Weiss, launches herself hundreds of feet, wrapping Crescent Rose around its throat and slamming it against the cliff. Weiss makes more runes appear, in a line straight up. Then Ruby starts firing Crescent Rose and runs straight up the cliff, completely defying gravity and dragging the 20X larger Grimm with her, screaming the whole while. Then at the top, with sheer momentum, Ruby slices/blows the Nevermore's head clean off. This is topped off with the Crowning Music of Awesome.
The sheer amount of punishment the Death Stalker and especially Nevermore were able to take. Both took a pretty heavy pounding from all of them, and JUST. KEPT. GOING. The Death Stalker's armor made all bullets/grenades/weapons launched at him bounce off, and a hit to an eye barely slowed him down beside the expected pain. The Nevermore had explosive bullets fired down its throat and was stunned at best... plus, it crashed into the side of a cliff (something that would shatter most birds' bones at that velocity), was barely winded, and could otherwise crash through massive stonework without slowing.
Jaune and Ruby being made leaders of their respective teams. It makes more sense when you realize that they were the ones who figured out how to kill the monsters, while the rest were just attacking, and that being able to tactically assess a situation is a good virtue of a leader.
The Badge and the Burden Part II
Despite being a little taken aback by the boar monster's armored hide at first, Weiss ultimately dispatches the beast. Plus she doesn't panic under adversity, as seen when her weapon was knocked away.
Additionally counts as one for Ruby, because—despite Weiss' initial belief that Ruby's childish—she spots the monster's weak point and tells Weiss exactly what to aim for.
One for the Faunus in the backstory, as revealed in the history lesson: apparently badly outnumbered, they were able to emerge victorious in what turns out to be a turning point of their struggle for freedom by taking advantage of their superior natural night vision.
Pyrrha gets one when she gives Cardin Winchester a verbal smackdown.
Not just Pyrrha. Blake gets in some pretty good jabs at Cardin's expense. Take That, Scrappy! at its finest.
Quite frankly, the fact that Jaune managed to FORGE HIS TRANSCRIPTS well enough to actually enter Beacon was pretty awesome too.
Oobleck proves just what the Beacon teaching staff is all about. They're eccentric as all hell. They're also exceptional educators capable of getting to the point almost instantly. Oobleck only needed two seconds out of his hyperactive antics to say three words. "It stops now." His power of authority radiated from that simple phrase.
Forever Fall Part I
Jaune caught a bunch of Rapier Wasps offscreen and put them in a box without getting stung.
Jaune refusing Cardin's blackmail and throwing the sap at him instead. Considering he could be kicked out of Beacon if he didn't listen to him and in the last five seconds looks like he's about to become the victim of a four-on-one beatdown, the fact that he still didn't go against his friends (and especially Pyrrha, the intended victim) is admirable.
Plus, if things go the way people are guessing, CRDL are probably going to regret choosing Rapier Wasps as a form of vengeance...
And as it happens, they do, though not because of the Rapier Wasps themselves. That jar of sap that Cardin tried to get Jaune to throw on Pyrrha? The one that Jaune threw at Cardin instead? Turns out that Ursa are as attracted to it as Rapier Wasps are...
Forever Fall Part II
Jaune continuing to stand up to Cardin even after being punched hard.
Then his aura kicks in, hurting Cardin's fist.
The Ursa utterly curb-stomping Cardin who can't even fight back.
Ruby proving that she is without doubt a Grade-A leader by immediately taking command of the situation when it became apparent there's a Ursa wrecking Cardin and Jaune.
Jaune coming to the rescue of the guy who was just a few moments ago, threatening to destroy him in the worst ways.
He checks his Aura meter. Sees it's low. He keeps on fighting. For a guy with no combat training, Juane is showing a ton of potential.
Pyrrha subtly using her 'polarity' power to guide Jaune's shield.
Part of the fight was done in slow motion, all to emphasize how awesome the moment is.
Also, the Ursa in this episode is much larger, stronger, and more armored than the Ursa we've seen before. Jaune not only stops one of its strikes with his shield, but also takes off its head with a single slash.
Jaune follows up by quietly telling Cardin never to mess with his team. At the start of the episode, Cardin just mocked Jaune's "bravery" but now he's completely lost for words. Jaune certainly made his point with the ursa.
Heck, this entire episode was a moment of awesome for Jaune, considering, for the first time, he actually killed a Grimm (almost) entirely by himself. And this was the same creature that was giving Cardin trouble.
While many may consider the series take on the issues of racism and inequality as simplistic and juvenile, RWBY does a fantastic job of averting the common stance of "white guilt" that plagues so many books, movies, and shows. Instead of a cut and dry answer that Weiss is supremely racist against the faunus and the White Fang (read: minorities/unions) have every right to take militant action against the SDC (read: middle-upper class whites/big business), viewers are treated to a description of how dark Weiss's childhood actually is (which in previous episodes is stereotyped as being entitled and spoiled). This gives her views a lot of motivation and reason, and the common belief that being rich and privileged = happy and carefree is shot down rather bluntly. Instead of the White Fang being shown as being purely inspirational/"for the common people," it's darker and deadlier militant side (a side that has many parallels to real life movements such as Civil Rights) is described as taking actions common for a militant organization. In the end both Weiss and Blake descend from bad blood, but the moral proves that one's ancestry does not determine one's future. Despite the cartoon aspect of the show, it's conclusion and message are surprisingly mature, and one must applaud Monty and Rooster Teeth for taking a balanced stance on issues that often are given a slanted view in media.
Her two crowning moments having to be cutting airships in half with fricking lazer beams, then through sheer strength, pulling a hovering airship down to the ground virtually unaided.
Sun cuts loose.
Most other people have one kind of weapon that doubles as some sort of gun (which is often lampshaded in the fanbase). Ruby has a scythe-rifle, Blake has a grappling hook-pistol, etc. What does Sun have? A staff that breaks apart into shotgunnunchaku. Three weapons in one, and he kicks ass with all of them.
Also, remember that funny moment in the previous episode where Sun drops a banana peel on the police who are trying to arrest him? He does that again, and this time, he does it to Torchwick to divert his attention away from Blake. Sun then follows it up by using Roman's face as a cushion.
Roman manages to hold his own against Blake and Sun. With his cane. To put that into perspective, he held out against Blake and her afterimage technique from several directions, punched out her afterimage and hit Blake several times. Then he held out against Sun, who off-loaded several dozen shotgun blasts + nunchuck strikes in the space of seconds, at point-blank range, but not one touched him. Only Blake's surprise attack managed to get him.
During the premiere at RTX, everyone in the crowd gave the episode a standing ovation.
All three screenings of the first episode played to a full house.
Rooster Teeth held a contest for best RWBY poster. The resulting Awesome Art has to be seen to be believed. Normally in a situation like this the admissions are subject to Sturgeon's Law, but in this instance it's a complete inversion with most of the artwork being of the kind of quality that is only found in top ten's in other circles.
And the results are in. Due to the massive number of awesome entries Rooster Teeth decided to do ten winners instead of the original five. Here are the winners.
Due to the influx of people clamoring to see the awesome episode 8, Rooster Teeth.com had to shut down. The influx was so much that THEY BROKE ROOSTER TEETH!!! Not the video but the whole site!
Episode 8 proved to be so awesome that it caused the series to rank #3 on Crunchyroll, ahead of Free! and Hunter × Hunter, on the day it was released.
A special mention to "Red Like Roses Part II", the song that plays when team RWBY takes out the Nevermore. Jeff received a huge outpouring of support on his page on Rooster Teeth's official website. However, he stated that the full version of the song was not complete and that it would not be fair to make people pay for it twice, since he wanted it to also be available on the RWBY CD, which he announced to be released in October. However, the outpouring of support convinced him to announce that the version of the song heard in the episode would hit iTunes within the week, and that the full, completed version would be on the RWBY CD. Note that the demand for the song was not a group of trolls telling Jeff that he was stupid for not giving the music they wanted immediately: They were people who enjoyed his work, praised its quality, expressed a polite and reasonable level of disappointment upon hearing about the wait, and often ended their statements with even more praise.
From the LazerTeam podcast, someone recorded a video of Vol. 2 shown there - which showcases a snippet of the tournament, with Pyrrha vs. Mercury. The opening blows are fairly straightforward testing-the-waters... then they start cutting loose: Mercury unleashes a flurry of kicks, never once letting up. However, Pyrrha prepares her weapon and at the right moment, spins it in mid-air before intercepting a kick to the head with her wrist (something clearly not lost on him). Then she grabs her sword and counterattacks, but Mercury still manages to kick it out of her hands after trading a few blows.