Nightmare Fuel / RWBY
"I've been out there, and I've seen the things she's made. And let me tell you: they are fear."
Qrow Branwen

Hilarious? You bet. Awesome? Definitely. However, that certainly doesn't mean it can't get scary. Those beasts aren't called the Grimm for nothing.

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Warning: Untagged spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

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  • The very disturbing Grimm are vicious, cunning monsters that lack souls. Their single purpose appears to be humanity's destruction; they do not consume food and rarely attack animals, but are hell-bent on hunting humans. Their intelligence and strength increase with age, spanning centuries, and their appearance and behaviour become much more natural and realistic with each passing season, increasingly emphasising their growing threat levels. The Goliaths of Vale are already more than a match for a single hunter, but aren't attacking anyone just yet. They're just waiting.
  • The villains are one of the darkest aspects of this show. Cinder works in the shadows to steal the Fall Maiden's powers, cause the fall of Beacon and pin the blame for it on Atlas and the White Fang. She's just the runt of the group. The plan she carries out is the brainchild of Salem, a patient being that desires the extinction of humanity and who has control over the Grimm; she may even be one herself. Cinder's her favourite subordinate to whom she plays an "evil fairy godmother" role. She does have a temper, her hatred burns on a very long, slow wick, and she's trying to destroy humanity just to hurt her Arch-Nemesis, Ozpin.

    Volume 1
"Creatures of destruction, the creatures of Grimm, set their sights on man and all of his creations."

    Volume 2
A smile you can trust... to stab you through the heart.
Best Day Ever
  • Volume Two opens with the assassination of a White Fang deserter. In a scene reminiscent of Pulp Fiction, two youths enter a book store pretending to be clients, knowing that their mark, Tukson, recognises them. They taunt him when they inquire about a book his store doesn't carry, using the store's tagline ("Home to every book under the sun") to ram home the consequences of broken promises. Emerald and Mercury (the two youths in question) are portrayed as human and relatable, bonding as Vitriolic Best Buds, responding to Cinder like she's a mother figure, and joking about faunus heritage of the man they've just murdered in cold blood.

Burning the Candle
  • Yang tells Blake an Adult Fear story about her childhood: two little children lost in the dark and cold, utterly defenseless against a pack of waiting monsters. If Qrow hadn't shown up when he did, Taiyang would have lost both of his daughters shortly after losing his second wife.

No Brakes
  • Part of Cinder's plan is confirmed to be driving a subterranean high-speed train, detaching carriages loaded with bombs, to blow open a route for the Grimm to invade the city from underground. Not only does Torchwick do it, but the cameras focuses on the horror and confusion of ordinary people going about their daily business as the Grimm start charging into the city.
  • We also see Neopolitan fighting for the first time here, and she's quite terrifying. She inflicts the Curb-Stomp Battle of a lifetime on Yang, the strongest fighter among the heroines, and would've certainly killed her then and there if not for Raven's timely intervention. Plus there's the look of psychotic glee on her face as she goes for the finishing stab.

    Volume 3
"This is your home now."

  • The reactions of the nearby Grimm, including Goliaths, to the combined horror from what happened in the arena: they pause and look up at the faraway sight of Amity Coliseum, as though they know that soon it will be time to stop waiting. The Goliaths are seen close-up for the first time as well, at least five stories tall (Word of God says they're 200 feet tall).
  • Yang shooting Mercury is, in itself, pretty damn horrifying; it happens so quickly and callously. One minute Yang is seemingly walking next to Mercury and then, without warning, Yang turns around and shoots a barely moving, begging Mercury in the kneecap with a sickening crunch. He falls into a fetal position, screaming in pain. No wonder the crowd was horrified by what they saw.

Beginning of the End
  • Amber gets shot in the back with an arrow and is then propped up by Mercury and Emerald while having half her soul ripped out through her face. The procedure leaves her in a coma and with scars all over her face. All she wanted to do was help a crying child.
  • Cinder forces the White Fang to work for her by giving Adam an ultimatum: join her in a mutually beneficial partnership or she will wipe out the entire unit. It's not only clear she can easily do this, but it's confirmed that she only has half the power of the Fall Maiden at this point.
    Cinder: Our plan will be beneficial for both of us...or one of us.

  • Penny is shown being torn apart by her own wires. When Pyrrha is tricked into blasting the blades away with her Semblance, Penny grabs her chest as if the magnetism has stopped her heart. In slow motion, the wires wrap around Penny's body with a metallic crushing sound, followed by a close-up of her body being ripped in half with a metallic screech. The Grimm react to the enormous negative reaction of the audience, and at least one unidentified Grimm completely dwarfs even the Goliaths.
  • During Cinder's speech, two Atlas soldiers listening to the broadcast on a scroll find themselves suddenly rushed en mass by such a large number of Grimm, their situation is implied to be hopeless.

Battle of Beacon
  • The second breach of Vale, full of chaos, destruction, and devastation as the city becomes overrun with Grimm. Even named characters suffer, with Roy from Team BRNZ being carried off by a Nevermore. Even Emerald is disturbed by the sight of it all. Then the Grimm Dragon arrives, bursting out of Mount Glenn, shattering the entire mountain in the process. It's bigger than any other Grimm seen to date, its head alone being more than twice an Ursa's size. Its mere presence is enough to make the normally fearless Goodwitch react with horror and, as it flies, it drops blobs of darkness that spawn more Grimm as they hit the ground.
  • As cheesy as it is, Adam's line to Blake is horrendously creepy. It's combined with an Ominous Pipe Organ rendition of "From Shadows" to extremely chilling effect.
    Adam: Hello, my darling.

Heroes and Monsters
  • Adam tries to murder a student just to force Blake to fight him, creepily uses terms of endearment while threatening to destroy her and everything she loves, then following through as soon as he realises she's close to Yang. He stabs Blake to make her scream, drawing in a screaming Yang and chopping off Yang's arm in a single strike. He then tries to decapitate Blake for protecting Yang, but only gets Blake's Semblance-clone. His relationship with Blake is clearly abusive (confirmed by Word of God), shows remorselessness towards her, and seeks to make her take the blame for his sadism towards her. Just like real life abuse.

End of the Beginning
  • Pyrrha's fight with Cinder ends when Cinder shoots Pyrrha with an arrow. Ash and embers rise from the wound as Pyrrha briefly gasps for breath. When she stops breathing, Cinder steps forward and gently cradles Pyrrha's cheek with her hand. Pyrrha promptly turns to ash, her remains scattering to the wind, only leaving behind her circlet. Ruby is forced to witness this, arriving just moments to late to intervene. As Pyrrha crumbles to dust, Ruby screams Pyrrha's name and white light erupts from her eyes, reducing Cinder to an unusually shocked and panicked state. We later learn that Cinder's Maiden status made her extremely vulnerable to Ruby's eyes, and the resulting injuries were horrific.
  • The episode ends by revealing the identity of the Mysterious Narrator from the pilot episode and certain World of Remnant shorts. She muses that mankind's greatest attribute is the ability to hope and to derive strength from that hope. It is therefore her plan to devote all of her power to destroy humanity's hope to break Ozpin and her Villain Song emphasises her hatred for him. She is humanoid, but her appearance is that of the Grimm: a white face, glowing red eyes with black sclera and dark veins across her skin and she speaks with delight over what is to come for both humanity and Ozpin.
    Salem: This is the beginning of the end, Ozpin. And I can't wait to watch you burn.

    Volume 4
"Not just any. One."
The Next Step
  • In a dark realm, flickering with unnatural lighting is an inky pool staining the ground. From the pool oozes forth a form that coalesces into a Beowulf. As the camera zooms out, it becomes clear that the landscape is littered with countless pools, all spewing forth multiple new Grimm. Then the camera reveals Emerald and Mercury's faces as they watch the scene from Salem's eerie tower above. Even Mercury, who revelled at the sight of Beacon being torn to shreds by violent assaults that kill many people, is looking sick and horrified by what they're witnessing. When Qrow said he'd seen the things "she" was making and that these things were "fear", it becomes clear that Salem is creating the Grimm to sow fear and despair.
  • Salem is designed to be creepy. The camera pans over the eerie tower with the unnatural lighting and colour. It's a purple crystal that creates everything - the walls, the chairs, the table, the candle holders and even the lighting itself. The subordinates stop bickering when the huge double-doors slowly swing open by themselves. The camera is at ground level, looking upwards as Salem enters the room to a very slow, haunting rendition of her Image Song "Divide". Her body is so covered by black clothing, she seems to glide rather than walk and the upwards angle makes her look both alien and untouchable.

  • Yang's PTSD is explored in a nightmare she has about Adam. She's in a Dark World version of the room she was in when she lost her arm, notices that she has her arm back, and sees Adam approaching her to an eerie soundtrack and glowing like red fire. She suddenly has Ember Celica, and begins frantically firing at Adam, but her shots pass right through him. She tries firing again, but discovers with horror that Ember Celica and her arm have vanished, and Adam is suddenly standing right in front of her. He sneers and draws his sword. What was once a vivacious, fearless and confident girl is now a shrivelled wreck of her former self who has clearly built up Adam to be an unstoppable monster in her mind. This is exactly how fear cripples people in real life.

Tipping Point
  • Oniyuri is an abandoned village RNJR come across by accident. It's an eerie ghost town, but not because it's been wiped out by bandits or Grimm. It's a town that was never completed. While Mountain Glenn was wiped out after it was up and running, Oniyuri was abandoned while still being set up. It was a project designed by wealthy elites who had a beef with Anima's government and who wanted to create their own rules, society and even Kingdom. They were stopped by Grimm. A special Grimm. Just one. The stunned disbelief on the faces of his friends as Ren reveals this emphasises how strange and eerie this tale is, even for a Death World like Remnant.
  • While Tyrian is after Ruby because he's been ordered by Salem, the interest he takes in Jaune is outside his remit. In other words, there's something about Jaune that has made a psychopath sit up and take personal notice. Jaune has enough smarts to be deeply spooked by this turn of events.
  • Unusually, the Big Damn Hero moment of the saviour appearing out of nowhere to block the final blow doesn't happen, at least not for the audience. Instead, Qrow's race to save the kids is detailed. A crow flies in at breakneck speed, wings flapping madly, only to transform into Qrow, and not gracefully. He stumbles, pants, and forces himself to keep running through the stumble. It makes him look desperate and panicked. When he does step in to block Tyrian's final blow, he actually catches his breath, and sighs in relief. In other words, the creators have made it clear to the audience that Tyrian's attack on the kids has not only caught the gang's secret guardian off-guard (despite his level of knowledge about Salem's activities and Ruby's secret power), but something about Tyrian's attack has terrified him into thinking that even he wasn't capable enough to save them. By comparison, nothing about the idea of opposing an evil Fall Maiden like Cinder bothered him anywhere near as his run to reach Tyrian did, and Tyrian himself is part of a group who looks down on Cinder, despite her possessing unnatural powers.

A Much Needed Talk
  • Blake's reaction to Sun's interruption. Slapping him in Episode 3 was Played for Laughs. Not so much here, where not only does she slap him twice, but Sun looks genuinely afraid before the second one. Then, when he tries to show her the picture he took of the White Fang member, she throws his scroll away. Given that he's her Implied Love Interest, Blake is edging dangerously close to becoming an abuser like Adam was. And to make matters worse, it's Truth in Television: those who've been abused can just as often become abusers themselves, even without meaning to.
  • The episode ends with Qrow and Team RNJR spending the night in a forest in the middle of nowhere having just established that none of them, including Qrow, have any idea what they're doing beyond going to Haven and hoping the headmaster can give them direction. The episode's end brings with it dawn and the sight of a poisoned Qrow coughing up purple blood and slipping into a coma right before Ruby's horrified eyes. They're kids in a forest, in the middle of nowhere, and the last dying huntsman they came across died while they were panicking over how to help him. That was just a stranger, this time it's Ruby's uncle and mentor.

  • The strange hoof print marks seen throughout the volume are confirmed to be the creature that destroyed the villages of Shion, Oniyuri and Kuroyuri, and it looks like a Nuckelavee. The creature looks like a horse and rider, but it's a single being; the hindlegs end in hooves, the forelegs end in clawed feet. The 'rider' part is skeletal and the head is horned; things stick out of its body like it's a pin cushion and the eyes of both 'rider' and 'horse' glow red. Its shrill scream carries for many miles, and is something no human or horse would make; it's unique even for Grimm. Villagers without specialised Huntsmen training don't stand a chance against it as the beast plods slowly through the burning streets, demolishing buildings and slaughtering defenders with ease. What's worse, other Grimm are all maniacal violence, bolting from victim to victim and attempting to inflict as much damage as possible. The Nuckelavee is cold deliberation, stalking slowly after those too wounded to flee. Sadism is a far cry from the bestial behavior of most Grimm, and it makes one fear just how smart Grimm are capable of becoming.
  • Everything about the second flashback. Previous episodes have shown Grimm attacks, but those always focused on the warriors, forcing back the beasts and protecting the bystanders. Here there's none of that, just helpless civilians running in abject terror as Grimm stalk the streets and descend from above. This is what played out in Shion, Oniyuri, and countless other villages across Remnant. It really drives home just how precarious life is outside the protections of the kingdoms and Huntsmen... and just how deadly the Grimm can be.
  • The Nuckelavee's cave is covered with the same black substance that oozes from the Grimm. Ren and Nora are drawn to the cave when a torn banner carrying the Shion symbol blows out of the cave. Scattered all around the cave are old swords, weapons and cloth; Ren even locates one of his father's arrows. The strong implication is that this Grimm is intelligent enough to collect trophies of all the victims it destroys. As this sinks in for Ren and Nora, they realise it's in the vicinity, and spot it travelling through the trees towards a distant village that might be Kuroyuri - where Jaune, Ruby and Qrow are. As Ren and Nora hold hands in horror, the episode fades to black, ending on a scream that sounds eerily like the screams of many dying humans.

Taking Control
  • The Nuckelavee begins to be revealed in partial camera shots that don't reveal the whole appearance at once: an equine muzzle, breathing clouds of black smoke; a hunched back, embedded with weapons that rattle in the wind; and a humanoid head with a mournful mask, eerie, rasping breath, and a neck that twitches and cracks like a glitching robot. There is a subtle hint of the huge size of the Grimm, towering over Team RNJR and just seeing it there, in his devastated hometown, causes Ren to collapse to his knees in despair and horror while his companions call out his name in panic.

No Safe Haven
  • The Nuckelavee's appearance is revealed in full. Both equine and human ribcages are fully exposed. The entire body moves in a twitching, unnatural way. The body remains slumped over one side of the 'horse' until it needs to straighten up, which it does so by rearranging its bones with a loud cracking noise. The equine body is pure power, tramping and kicking anything that gets too close. The humanoid body lashes out with tentacle-like arms and spin its body round and round so that the arms fly in a circle that catch or smash anything they hit.
  • Ren's method of killing the Nuckelavee ends up being unnerving. Once the team have worked together to defeat the beast, Ren slowly walks forward, pulls his father's knife out of the Nuckelavee's body and then slowly begins to dismember the creature. With each slice, he calmly dedicates the act to someone: his father, his mother, all the people the Nuckelavee has ever killed, and then himself. The Nuckelavee screams in pain throughout the whole, slow process.

    Volume 5 

Welcome To Haven
  • Weiss is travelling to Haven by bribing a cargo pilot to fly under the radar. They receive a distress call from a small passenger ship that is under attack; the ship's huntress is down and the passengers are not equipped to deal with the threat. The cargo pilot refuses to go and help them because he and his ship aren't capable of fighting. A horrified and helpless Weiss is forced to listen as the sounds of the snarls, screams and sobs for help as they fly away, until the pilot switches off the transmission.

    World of Remnant 

World of Remnant: Kingdoms
  • While the video is mostly normal, the narration eventually takes a dark turn into discussion of roaming nomads and small villages. On Remnant, it isn't uncommon for groups like these to disappear overnight, and it's not hard to guess why.

World of Remnant: Grimm
  • The short itself is easily the most graphic in all of RWBY despite the stylized nature of it. It shows a Nevermore tearing bits of flesh from a killed human to eat, along with showing one human bash another one's head in with a rock.

World of Remnant: Mistral
  • Apparently, the world of Remnant is not as nice as we've seen, even within the confines of the Kingdoms. Mistral, apparently, is a haven for Remnant's criminal underground. According to Qrow:
    Qrow: Need something that's hard to find? Got someone that's hard to kill? They can help... provided you've got the Lien to pay for it.

World of Remnant: Vacuo
  • Once again, we learn that even the Kingdoms are not as nice as we were previously led to believe. Vacuo was apparently once a thriving oasis, but the people who lived there grew complacent and were powerless to stop the other Kingdoms from ruining the environment and turning them into a client state. Now, the native residents are forced to live in temporary dwellings and move to escape the Grimm. Apparently, Shade Academy is just about the only piece of civilization in the whole area.

World of Remnant: Beyond the Kingdoms
  • The Grimm are clearly the big threat to civilization, destroying most unprepared settlements within a year, but the true danger comes from the bandits, who arrive and sack the town, stirring up fear and weakening the settlement. After that, the Grimm come along and mop up what the Bandits didn't kill.

World of Remnant: Faunus
  • The video doesn't do much to hide the nature of the racism between humanity and the faunus, including one bit showing a faunus being driven out of a human town, cornered against a cliff wall, and then the screen is covered in splatters of blood.

World of Remnant: Schnee Dust Company
  • Qrow states outright that Jacques is The Sociopath. To him, people are merely tools to be used to further his own personal ambitions. This puts his relationship with his family in a new, horrifying light. We have a man whose wife is implied to be an alcholic, who callously disowned his eldest daughter because she managed to escape from his control, who disinherits his youngest daughter and confines her to her room so he can retain control of her, and whose son has stated that the only way to cope with their father is to become exactly like him.

World of Remnant: The Great War
  • Remnant's legends claim that the war only ended because the King of Vale finally took to the Vacuo battlefield; his destructive power was so extraordinary and terrible that all world leaders (including Vale's ally, Vacuo) surrendered themselves and their entire kingdoms just to make him stop. Prior episodes mention that the Great War left Vacuo a wasteland from which it has never recovered; while Remnant historians claim the stories about the king are exaggerated, this episode strongly implies Vacuo's devastation was single-handedly caused by the King of Vale. The legends, and the historians, imply the King of Vale was supposed to be the good guy, but neither view what's happened to Vacuo as anything good.

  • In Chapter 10, we are introduced to a new Grimm what looks like a giant six-eyed skull with tentacles coming out of it. On it's own it isn't anything that bad. But then cue the next chapter where the same Grimm ambushes a group of King Taijitus and forcefully fuses them together to create a giant hydra-like Grimm. Yes, Grimm fusions now exist.