RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") is an Animesque CGI production from Rooster Teeth, animated by Monty Oum.Many years ago, in a world known as Remnant, mankind lived in peace until the arrival of "The Grimm": malevolent creatures who emerged from the darkness to attack humanity. To fight back, mankind created a magical energy source known as "Dust" and used its power to not only drive back the Grimm but catalyze the growth of civilization across the planet.In the present day, Huntsmen and Huntresses (sometimes referred to as "hunters") are trained in special schools to harness the Dust and become protectors of the peace. One such trainee, an idealistic girl named Ruby Rose, is scouted by the elite Beacon Academy and allowed to skip two years worth of training to attend. Once there, she is placed into a team with three other students: Yang Xiao Long, her boisterous big sister; Weiss Schnee, the heiress of the Schnee Dust Company; and Blake Belladonna, a mysterious and aloof girl. Though initial tensions are high, the forces of darkness are preparing to return and the four girls must learn to work together to survive.The four main characters were introduced one at a time in four trailers: Red (Ruby Rose), White (Weiss Schnee), Black (Blake Belladonna), and Yellow, (Yang Xiao Long), to much anticipation and speculation. On July 18th 2013, the first episode premiered for the general population. 'Volume 1' of season one ran for sixteen episodes and can be ordered here.New episodes are released on Rooster Teeth's website and the series is also being simulcasted on Crunchyroll. Additionally, each episode is put up on Rooster Teeth's YouTube channel one week after it premieres. Episode 1 is here. With the completion of its first volume, the show is on hiatus and will resume at an undecided date.Warning: Unmarked spoilers below.
Also, it does have at least one more traditional Abridged Series (abbreviated, Gag Dub videos) - which is really surprising given that each of the actual episodes tend to average around 6 to 10 minutes, already...
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ruby's scythe cuts cleanly through a fairly large tree and later is able to slice through the neck of a monster, roughly as thick as she is tall. Played for Laughs in episode 9, when she cuts the curtain in their room as part of the decorating their room, only to have it stitched back together a moment later.
Action Girl: Essentially every female character introduced so far is one.
Burnie Burns and Joel Hayman have been paired up in other Rooster Teeth works as police officers.
Adventure-Friendly World: It's called Remnant (and the continent is called Vytal) is filled with monsters, with only the rare beacons of civilization and magic holding them back. The "points of light" setting is specifically namedropped.
Aerith and Bob: Some of the names are: Lie Ren (surname first), Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos, Ruby Rose, Yang Xiao Long (given name first), Jaune Arc, Cardin Winchester. And it's not like they come from the four corners of the world, Ren and Nora have been friends for years (exact number uncertain, probably since childhood, Nora just said "we've been friends for sooo long"), and Ruby and Yang were raised as sisters.
Alien Sky: The phases of Remnant's moon has a shattering visual effect. The reason it seems to shatter and merge continually is because unlike our moon; it spins on its axis such that the same side isn't always facing Remnant. It spins, we see the whole side; it spins; we see the shattered side; and back again.
The fact that its revolution around the planet doesn't cause phases suggests that the moon glows via its own light.
All Animals Are Dogs: A more subtle case, where the giant snake makes a dog-like 'yelp' when Ren breaks off its fangs.
Anachronism Stew: The world, powered by Dust's magical properties, is a mixture of fantasy monsters and their hunters, sword-wielding nobility, ornithopter-like airships, portable music players and tiltjet ("Airjet") transports.
The animation and character design resemble anime in general. The director is quoted as having researched several anime while designing the series. Makes sense when the trailers showed that three out of the four main characters seem to have a Super Mode (with one of them having a rage-fueled Super-Super Mode).
It's animesque enough that when Crunchyroll started streaming the series, people started demanding the "original" Japanese audio.
The series has picked up a Japanese following via subtitled uploads on Nico Nico Douga, perhaps due to this.
Anime Theme Song: As part of its animesque nature, the show has an OP that wouldn't look out of place on anything coming out of Japan.
Artistic Age: Ruby looks like a young woman when drawn but appears much younger when rendered. Word of God is that she's 15. Most of the girls are supposed to be 17 but look far too young for that age.
It becomes very much justified, in addition to very depressing, when we learned that Jaune used forged transcripts to get into Beacon; he really doesn't know a lot of things that the other characters do.
Back-to-Back Badasses: All of Team RWBY in the opening - they stand in a loose circle facing outward, baring weapons against the many monsters surrounding them. Actually, it appears they are searching for the enemy, who turns out to be floating above the center of the circle.
Bad Guy Bar: The club that Yang enters in her trailer appears to be this, considering the large number of Mooks that appear when she starts making trouble.
Bash Brothers: Jaune and Pyrrha show an early indication of this during the fight with the Deathstalker in Episode 8, using their similar equipment (swords and shields) in a very smoothly compatible manner.
Battle Aura: As explained by Pyrrha, every human can manifest their soul in a way that creates this, blocking attacks and healing injuries. Word of God (via the director's commentary), confirms that this is why most human characters are Made of Iron—they're using their Aura to defend against injury.
Bears Are Bad News: Yang and Blake blow up two in Ep. 6. Another one shows up in episode 14.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. That punch Weiss took from the giant suit of armor left her a scar* There is debate upon the nature of the scar namely here and here. down her left eye. Make no mistake though, she's still very beautiful nonetheless.
Berserk Button: Do not touch Yang's hair, as seen in the Yellow Trailer and in Episode 6.
Weiss later also pulls this off for Ruby in Episode 8.
Jaune does one in episode 14 with a little help from Pyrrha, for Cardin, the Jerk Jock who was bullying him earlier.
In episode 16, Penny.
Blackmail: In episode 12, Jaune reveals to Pyrrha that he forged his application to Beacon, hence why he's so underwhelming compared to everyone else at that school. Unfortunately for him, Cardin's room was just below, and he happened to overhear this. He promises to be a Secret Keeper, and claims to be Jaune's friend, but tells him that while putting Jaune in a headlock. He then also asks his new "friend" to do the report that Professor Oobleck had them do.
Ruby in episode 8 as she's falling from the sky. She then gets intercepted by Jaune who was tossed by a Death Stalker, and then develops Circling Birdies shortly afterwards.
Weiss, Blake and Yang did this in episode 15 when Ruby agrees to Penny's notion that she's her friend (her teammates vehemently denied this and mimes to Ruby to reject it); they collapsed to the ground afterward.
Blown Across the Room: Inverted, guns are powerful enough to throw the shooter across the room and is used as a form of locomotion, while no one that gets shot is thrown around thanks to their Aura.
Brand X: It's a low budget show. What would you expect?
Shi-nee brand toothpaste (assumed name).
Pumpkin Pete's Marshmallow Flakes (cereal).
Boobs of Steel: Yang is very well-endowed, a bare-knuckles fighter (even if she has some help from her bracers), and seems to be the strongest of the four.
Both Sides Have a Point: Both Weiss and Blake in "The Stray." As both argue over their various conceptions about the Faunus and White Fang, Weiss reveals that the White Fang and Faunus have waged a personal war against her family's company for years. She's seen family, friends, and board members executed, and her father would come home angry every day. Blake, on the other hand is an actual Faunus and a former member of the White Fang, who is angry because every time Weiss talks about Faunus or the White Fang she feels the need to include an insult in it and points out that if it weren't for bigoted people like Weiss and Cardin the White Fang wouldn't exist and the Faunus wouldn't be fighting humanity.
Brains and Brawn: Weiss wanted to form this sort of partnership with Pyrrha Nikos. Instead, she got Ruby. Which is actually still this trope... or would be if the two could work together properly.
Roman was not planned to be more than just a minor character used only in the opening episode, but they liked how he came out and his voice actor's skills so much so that they made him a major part of the volume finale.
Team JNPR were only going to be secondary charcters, but as they worked on creating them they rose to almost the same level as Team RWBY, to the point that one of the story arcs (The Jaune Arc) centered on them, taking up a quarter of the first volume's episodes.
Call Back: The Yellow trailer's fight scene starts similarly to the Red trailer's. A wave of enemies closes in, Ruby/Yang leaps into the air, framed in bright light as the song lyrics reach "Yellow beauty burns gold".
After Weiss reassures Ruby in Episode 8 that she doesn't need to prove herself to anyone, Ruby sighs and whispers "normal knees", calling back to her conversation with Yang in Episode 1.
Jaune's fight with an Ursa has him dodging a sweeping attack by jumping, only to get punched out of the air right afterwards. Just like Weiss in the White Trailer.
Penny has some similarities to Ruby when it comes to making friends. She even says along the lines of "polishing nails and talks about cool boys together" like Weiss did sarcastically in Episode 3, and Ruby took at face value. Ruby herself lampshades this.
During Weiss' list of White Fang's crimes against her family, she mentions 'an entire train car full of Dust, stolen.' Guess what happened during the Black trailer?
Catapult to Glory: The plan to defeat the Nevermore revolves around loading Ruby into an oversized slingshot (close enough to a ballista) made from Yang and Blake holding Gambol Shroud's ribbon and two pillars, and Weiss launching Ruby at the Nevermore's neck.
The Chains of Commanding: Ozpin warns Ruby that the position of team leader is both a badge of honor and a terrible burden.
Changed My Mind, Kid: An abbreviated version in Episode 5; Weiss turns away and walks off upon finding out that Ruby is her partner, sees that the alternative is Jaune, walks back and drags Ruby off, all within the space of 25 seconds.
Chess Motifs: The relics Ozpin picks for the test take the form of large chess pieces in matching pairs of white (which are actually gold-coloured) and black. Team RWBY took the White Knight, Team JNPR took the White Rook, and Team CRDL took the Black Bishop.
At the end of Episode 16 Qrow sends Ozpin the cryptic message "QUEEN HAS PAWNS"
Color-Coded Characters: The four main characters have theme colors, which lead to the acronym title. "Ruby" the character has a red theme, "Weiss"note German for White. Her last name, Schnee, also means Snow. has a white theme, "Blake" has a black theme, and "Yang" is named after what basically amounts to the sun.
And then there's the second set of characters, colored yellow, pink, red and blueish black.
Then there's the pins, which include a couple of pink emblems.
Colourful Theme Naming: Ruby being a shade of Red, Weiss being German for White, and Blake being based off an Old English word referring to someone with dark hair, and Yang being the Chinese word for light and the sun. Confirmed by Monty. Monty actually has this as an official rule, true for all characters (except Ozpin).
Combination Attack: In episode 8, how Team RWBY and (to a lesser extent) Team JNPR each take out their respective Grimms.
Continuity Nod: In episode 15, Weiss mentions that an entire train of her family's Dust shipments was stolen by the White Fang. Presumably, this is the same as the one Blake robbed in her trailer.
This is also evidenced by the Schnee logo visible on one of the crates in the Black trailer (pause at 2:14, on the left).
Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Schnee Dust Company doesn't have a very good reputation, and is described as being known for both its production of Dust as well as its exploited laborers and shady business practices.
The giant crow that Ruby's team fights in episode 8. None of their other attacks seemed to be affecting it much, so she launches a Crazy Enough to Work plan. Yang punches it to the side of the cliff, Weiss freezes it in place, Blake utilizes her whip as a slingshot, and using Weiss's magic, Ruby slings into it, then runs up the cliff with crow in tow, finally taking its head off and stopping it for good.
Jaune does one to an Ursa in episode 14, saving Cardin in the process.
Debut Queue: The first few half of the season introduce the various Loads and Loads of Characters in this show, and gives them a small introduction to their characterization, such as Blake with her love of books.
Drop the Hammer: Nora's weapon, in addition to being a grenade launcher that fires rounds with a pink heart on them, also has the ability to turn into a hammer that packs an explosive punch.
Deuteragonist: It looks like Jaune, Pyrrha, Nora, and Ren will be the deuteragonists of the series, compared to the protagonists of Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang. Or, if you want to be more specific, Ruby and Jaune (leaders of their respective teams).
Egocentric Team Naming: Downplayed; RWBY obviously sounds like its leader Ruby, but she didn't get to name the team that way - Ozpin did. Same goes for Cardin and his "Cardinal".
Enemy Mine: The White Fang is working with Roman, despite Blake (a former member) finding the concept of them willingly working with humans (especially that one) to be unthinkable. What they are hoping to accomplish is still unknown.
Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Most characters of note use some form of multi-purpose Swiss-Army Weapon, and wildly improbable ones at that. The fight sequences are practically over-the-top exotic improbable weapon porn.
Monty says the character designs reference fairy tales and mythology (among other things), but they have no interest in retelling any fairy tales and would rather tell their own story. He cites concepts such as Stein and Medusa from Soul Eater, who are loosely based on classical/mythological characters.
Famous Ancestor: A classic example of a subversion. Jaune's great-great grandfather is implied to be a war-hero, yet out of the known cast, Jaune seems to be the least suited to be a warrior, having none of the training, instincts or knowledge of his peers.
Little Bit Beastly characters, referred to as "Faunus" have Civil Rights protests with signs saying that they are not animals. Whether White Fang is extremists for or against is not known; only that they "violently disrupted" the protest. Also, in the past there was a civil war known as the 'Faunus Uprising', and they used to be concentrated to the city of Menagerie.
There is a faunus in Beacon (a rabbit girl), and Team CRDL bullies her in the cafeteria. Yang comments that it must be hard being a faunus, nobody defends her. In fact, team CRDL as a whole seems to be made of Fantastic Racists. Russel calls Velvet (the aforementioned rabbit faunus) a "freak" for her ears, and Cardin says that the reason they had victories in their war was due to animals being easier to train than humans, despite the fact that Velvet is right there in the class. Blake and Pyrrha call him out for this one. Blake herself is a cat Faunus.
Episode 15: Weiss considers the Faunus of the White Fang to be nothing more than terrorists, with a history of violence and war between them and her family's business to back it up. While she never goes so far as to call all Faunus bad, she admits to not trusting them.
Floral Theme Naming: The Crescent Rose; the Myrtenaster, German for the Myrtle flower family (primarily white flowers that also come in other colours), Ember Celica (Celica is another name for the common bellpepper), and Blake's last name, "Belladonna", the alternate name for either the Amaryllis belladonna flower or the toxic plant Atropa belladonna AKA Deadly Nightshade.
Force And Finesse: Ruby and Weiss are the most prominent example, but all the pairs in RWBY and JNPR are this- including Jaune and Pyrrha; since Jaune doesn't have a definite fighting style, Jaune is the brute force, oftentimes simply throwing himself at the opponent again and again, as seen in his fights against Cardin and the Ursa Major. Pyrrha is the finesse in this pair, having the training and coordination to carefully direct her strikes and defenses, or, thanks to her Semblance, the defenses of others.
Forced Perspective: After Ruby cuts down a tree in frustration, a feather floats down in front of the camera. It looks like it's close to the camera, but then it lands, covering the tree she just cut down. Turns out to be foreshadowing a giant bird.
Foregone Conclusion: Episode 4 makes a big deal out of the idea of teams, and builds up suspense for who will be paired with whom...or, rather, it would, if the trailers and intro hadn't already spelled out who's going to be on what team.
Close observation reveals that Ruby's trailer takes place primarily in a 'White' setting, while Weiss' trailer took place in a 'Black' setting. However, Blake's trailer was not set in yellow, like everyone thought. It was coded with black and red, instead symbolizing her partnership with Adam. It should be noted, however, that Blake has gold/yellow eyes, which one can say stand in for this purpose despite it being a character trait. Yang puts all to shame by physically changing her surroundings into color coded areas, along with the music changing to suit the correct color.
If you look around the series, you can spot a couple of crows flying around before promptly disappearing. The first time was in Blake's Trailer. Others include one in Yang's Trailer, the bird Ruby crashes into in episode 5, and a looming shot on a black feather in episode 6. This foreshadows both Qrow's appearance before he was named, and the GIGANTIC Grimm Crow the four fight halfway through the season.
It's pretty clear early on that Jaune is a bit behind the others, to the point where even Glynda believes that he's not fit for combat even if his transcripts say otherwise. It makes sense, when you consider his transcripts were all fake.
Lots of hints were dropped from Blake: She reacts in disgust when Cardin talks smack about Faunus, her Hair Decorations subtly twitching, among many others. It's then dropped down heavily in Ep. 15 when she gets into a heated argument with Weiss about Faunus, Weiss reveals that her family's train full of Dust was sabotaged by a Faunus terrorist group, and Blake shouts about how "Well, maybe we were just tired of being pushed around!"
Also from Episode 15, when the group come across a ransacked Dust shop, Weiss declares the White Fang must have been responsible while Ruby suggests it may have been "that Torchwick guy". Turns out they were ''both'' right, as the White Fang are now working with/for Torchwick.
Episode 2 sees Blake also make some critical comments about the Schnee Dust Company. These might have been dismissed as Blake just being analytical, but given nobody else seems to mention the SDC or know about their questionable ethics, it alludes to her association with the Faunus/White Fang.
Blake's trailer was initially vague about who Adam was, why Blake turned on him, and where it fit chronologically with the series proper. In retrospect, its clearly showing Blake leaving the White Fang.
Blake's trailer, or rather, the music in it, also foreshadowed her being a Faunus. The lyrics pretty much explain the total motives of the White Fang, as told by Blake.
Born with. No life. Into subjugation. Treated, like a, worthless animal! Stripped of, all rights, just a lesser being. Crushed by, cruel, ruthless human rules!
Ruby is Sanguine+Choleric. She is passionate, energetic, and brave, although fool-hardy and impulsive may be a better description at times. She does seem to be fairly introverted and have a bit of trouble with people, but much of that is probably more to do with confidence, which will likely build as the series progresses.
Weiss is Choleric+Melancholic. "Calculative" describes nearly every aspect of her character, from how she deals with people to her fighting style. She's also quite judgemental and definitely has a Holier Than Thou demeanour to anyone who, in her eyes, hasn't proven themselves better than herself, and outright contempt to those useless enough to "prove" themselves worse than her.
Blake is Melancholic+Phlegmatic, largely keeping to herself, and remarkably idealistic (though it may be a bit hidden between the lines) for having such a troubled past. She doesn't come off as shy and timid, however this is probably more because she's become very good at putting up a front and hiding her feelings (again, due to her troubled past).
Yang is Phlegmatic+Sanguine. She watches out for and takes care of her sister, Ruby, and seems to be pretty easy going (most of the time...). She also seems to be quite optimistic about most people given her immediate initial reactions to both Blake and Weiss.
As for Team JNPR:
Jaune isn't much of anything at the moment, but that's part of his character arc - he's probably on track to grow into the Choleric role.
Pyrrha, who has been helping Jaune grow into his role as leader, is clearly the supportive Phlegmatic.
Ren's apparent tranquillity pegs him as a Melancholic. He is calm, well-mannered, and just takes care of the task at hand.
Roman is shown talking to Junior at the beginning of the Yellow trailer.
If you look closely at the Grimm Snakes Ren fights, the black one has a patch of white in the center and the white has a black patch in the center. Together, they make the Taoist symbol.
Blake's bow twitches◊ slightly when she sees Ruby fall from the sky. Because, underneath the bow, she has cat ears.
In Episode 9, the name of the all the Grimm creatures are shown on the wall of the classroom. Aside from the ones named in series and by Word of God, the revealed names were the King Taijitu for the snakes, and Boarbatusk for a boar.
In Episode 12, if you pause the video on the zoomed out shot of Jaune and Pyrrha on the roof, you can see Cardin Winchester eavesdropping on their conversation in a window below them.
Freudian Excuse: When called out on her Fantastic Racism against Faunus, Weiss explains that the terrorist group White Fang has targeted her company, and by extension her family, ever since she was a little girl. Aside from seeing close family friends "disappear", the constant attacks on her father's company left him enraged at home, which, in her own words, "made for avery...difficult...childhood." This also seems to be used to explain her poor attitude and overall Jerkass traits.
Freudian Slip: When arguing with Weiss about the nature of the White Fang and faunus in general, Blake accidentally uses 'we,' revealing her nature as a faunus with some form of involvement with the questionable organization.
Genre Blind: The mook in the first episode completely failed to notice that Ruby's cape was blowing in the wind, despite being indoors. Which might've indicated to him that she was an anime protagonist. Perhaps he simply assumed there was a fan where he couldn't see it.
Genre Shift: A musical example; From Shadows switches from a melancholy instrumental piece, to high-speed techno, to angry, rebellious rock, and then ends with the same instrumental. It's a pretty good song.
Gilligan Cut: "Can I have your autograph!?" (Cut to Ruby being reprimanded by her hero.)
No Pronunciation Guide: Aversion; her name is pronounced correctly according to the German intonation of the words composing her name in her debut. But when asked why it's pronounced with a "W" sound as opposed to the "proper" way on the livestream prior to the first episode going public Monty summed it up that world of RWBY is an interpretive world, that Germany doesn't exist, and fuck you. Judging by everyone's reactions when they got the question he had been waiting a long time to say that.
Green Rocks: Dust's original form. Given that Dust can be multiple colours, it actually looks like jewelry in this state.
Green Rooming: Roman is introduced in the first episode, then disappears for a while. He isn't seen again until around the end of episode 8, having quietly bided his time and planning his next scheme.
Similarly, Adam hasn't been seen or heard of since the 'Black' trailer.
Not to mention Junior or his assciates/bodyguards Melanie and Miltia.
Groin Attack: Yang interrogates Junior by grabbing him by the testicles and continually squeezing.
Gunship Rescue: This tactic is used in Episode 1 for Roman to escape his attacker. The twist is that Roman is the villain and he's being attacked by the main protagonist for trying to rob a shop.
Hero of Another Story: Averted; JNPR was originally supposed to be the B-Team, but Word of God states that somewhere in production they 'became a second A-Team.'
The Hunter: What Beacon, and presumably the other academies, teach people to become. To be gender equal, they are referred to as "Huntsmen" and "Huntresses."
Humans Are Special: Pretty much spelled out by Pyrrha when she's describing Aura to Jaune. Not only does it explain away most of the more improbable physical capabilities of the characters (Ruby being able to withstand using gunshots as propellers, much less her being able to lift Crescent Rose in the first place), but she also goes on to state that the weapons in the series channel Aura in order to further their power.
It's later explained that Auras can even give someone unique powers, like Ruby's speed and Pyrrha's magnetic abilities.
In Yang's trailer, which makes sense given it's in a nightclub. Changes to standard background music after she slams the DJ's face into the soundboard.
Happens again in episode 1; Ruby is listening to the opening theme during the robbery. Watch as she poses in front of the store; she audibly clicks her headphones off and the music stops.
Leitmotif: In the episodes, melodies from the trailers play during character-important moments. Examples:
In episode 1, a melody from 'Red Like Roses' plays when Ruby shoots herself up the building Roman Torchwick is escaping up. A little xylophone-like tune also plays during two of Glynda's appearances, first during her Big Damn Heroes moment, and then when a hologram of her appears in the airship.
The second part of Weiss' rant in her debut is accompanied by part of 'Mirror, Mirror'. When Blake joins in seconds later, though, the music switches to the melody in 'Red Like Roses' that plays at 'Black the beast descends from shadows', meaning 'Red Like Roses' might be the Leitmotif of the entire team.
A form of 'I Burn' appears in Episode 5 as Yang flies through the air. 'Mirror, Mirror' also reappears when Ruby runs into Weiss.
Life Meter: Used to gauge one's Aura in a combat tournament. Officials may step in and stop the battle once one's Aura Gauge reaches the red zone.
Limited Animation: Demonstrated in two quirks of the series: the fact that each episode is between four to eight minutes (except for the first, middle, and last episodes of each season, which are over twelve minutes), and that every extra or character unimportant to the plot is animated as a black silhouette.
As of the end of Volume 1: 26 named characters, and three unnamed characters.
Lyrical Dissonance: During the climactic fight sequence in episode 8, the song "Red Like Roses Part II" plays. As background music, the theme fits the sequence perfectly...but the song itself (at least the part that played in the episode) is about the singer feeling depressed over the death of a loved one.
"Dust" is a mineral substance which, in powder form, behaves kind of like gunpowder if gunpowder could have elemental attributes. A sneeze is enough to set off a cloud of the stuff, so it needs to be handled with care. Also comes in what appears to be a more stable "crystal" form, which can be picked up and held without apparent danger.
Humans each have an aura, which is a physical manifestation of the soul. Someone capable of using their aura tends to be Made of Iron due to being protected by it, and also gains a minor Healing Factor.
Magic Feather: Inverted in "Forever Fall, part 2". Jaune believes he killed an Ursa Major with nothing but his own skill, but Pyrrha was actually helping him from the background. They decide to not tell him.
Magic Skirt: Will apply to everyone according to Monty. Even where an upskirt shot happens, they tend to be full of crinoline, so nothing above the skirt line can be seen anyway.
Monty: RWBY will be tasteful clean and responsible. I implemented very effective ANTI UPSKIRT TECHNOLOGY! for this show.
A particularly noticeable example is when Nora balances upside down on her hammer after killing the Deathstalker. She hangs there for a few seconds, and her skirt does nothing.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Jaune and Pyrrha. The former's a clumsy timid boy who seems to be new to everything around him while the latter's an experienced and more talented girl who looks after him.
Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 12, while Jaune and Pyrrha are talking on the roof Cardin can be seen in the open window below them.
Miming the Cues: Jaune gets asked a question in class that he doesn't know the answer to. Pyrrha tries to mime it to him - the answer is night vision - but he misinterprets it and answers, "Binoculars?"
Minidress of Power: Pyrrah Nikos wears a midriff-covering tube top-like armor with a mid-thigh skirt. It does not bother her at all, probably because it is elastic. So her skirt actually makes sense.
Minor Injury Overreaction: Do not damage Yang's hair, even in the slightest, if you value being in one piece and not on fire.
Mix-and-Match Weapon: Most weapons are based on swords, but also incorporate some elements of guns into their design. Ruby has a scythe that can fire as a rifle. Weiss' rapier has a revolver style chamber that she can rotate to cast different spells. Blake has a sword with a sharpened sheath, meaning she can Dual Wield. The second sword also has a pistol attached and has a lengthy ribbon, which she can use similar to a Killer Yo-Yo or a kusarigama. Yang's mixes gauntlets and a shotgun, along with somehow creating fire.
More Dakka: A meta example: during one interview, a fan asked: "Is there going to be any weapon that does not somehow have a gun in it?"
Kerry: Why would you want that?
And then Jaune appears with just a sword and a collapsible shield. The shield's technically not a weapon, and the series is still young.
Mood Whiplash: Episode 12 ends on a rather foreboding note... only to immediately go into the credits featuring the bouncy theme of the hyperactive Prof. Oobleck.
Mook Chivalry: A heroic example from Episode 1: Ruby and Glynda do not attack simultaneously while fighting the Wicked Witch.
Ms. Exposition: Pyrrha fills this role in episode 6, when she explains to Jaune how the aura system works. Bonus points for being juxtaposed with Ren fighting a giant snake to show what she's explaining to Jaune and the audience.
Mukokuseki: Akin to the classic anime style, character features do not automatically reveal nationality or race. Since the setting is explicitly not our world, names that may have strong cultural associations in real life cannot be used to determine the race or nationality of the characters.
Lie Ren is the notable exception. Everything about him, from his straight spiky black hair, to his manner of dress, to his voice, to the fact that he is given a bare-fisted martial arts scene in this series full of magic weapon battles, suggest "Asian".
Mugging the Monster: While holding up a shop, a group of bandits decide to try to rob Ruby. The look on her face (as in, complete nonchalance) when she realizes she's being robbed is priceless. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle followed by Torchwick bemoaning the incompetence of his minions.
The same animation's description also mentions Monty's preference for a white/black/red color scheme.
Also, when Ruby confirmed that Qrow was her uncle, she mumbles 'Oh, that's my uncle!' with a mouthful of cookies, which comes out as slightly Asian sounding, a reference to Burnie's summary of Asian films.
In the fight scene of "Forever Fall pt.2", one scene cuts to slow motion, using the same sound The Slow Mo Guys use to slow things down.
Named Weapons: Ruby's weapon is "Crescent Rose," and Weiss' Multi Action Dust Rapier is "Myrtenaster". Both names refer to flowers (Myrtenaster is a combination of the Myrtle and Aster flower families), while Blake has "Gambol Shroud" a variant ballistic chain scythe and Yang uses a pair of dual ranged shot gauntlets called "Ember Celica". In addition, Adam's sword and gun are, respectively, named "Wilt" and "Blush".
No OSHA Compliance: Dust is extremely volatile; yet is sold with no security in shops along with books; and Weiss was carrying suitcases of it in insecure corked bottles. Ruby got blamed for the "Crater Face" incident, yet this is played for laughs. Also, it was Weiss who was shaking the bottle around, which is possibly in the no-nos in her Dust safety brochure.
The roof of Beacon has absolutely no railings or significant walls whatsoever.
Just what was the plan that got Ruby and Weiss hanging from the talons of the Giant Nevermore?
The time Jaune locked himself out of his room is mentioned in "Forever Fall", but is never seen or elaborated upon more.
Odd Couple: All the pairs in "The First Step" end up being this, in some sense. Many are also Red Oni, Blue Oni. Impulsive Ruby with the more calculative Weiss, outgoing and goofy Yang with calm and antisocial Blake, The Ace Pyrrha with clumsy and incompetent Jaune, and the classic pairing of Genki Girl and Deadpan Snarker, Nora/Ren.
Out of Focus: Even though she's part of the main team (because, well, the title's named after that team), Yang hasn't yet got as much development and focus as the other characters.
Pinned to the Wall: Jaune has this happened to him twice, both by Pyrrha's spear. Both are also nonlethal; she only hits his hood.
Plucky Comic Relief: Jaune Arc seems like he will become this, due to his air sickness in "Ruby Rose" and being launched before he can finish asking questions in "The First Step". Lampshaded in Ep. 12 when Jaune goes on a rant about how he hates being the "lovable idiot". Which turns out to be a bit heartbreaking after it just reminds he doesn't belong at Beacon.
Power Crystals: The material known as Dust seems to be this, as it powers most of the weapons in RWBY. It appears to also come in a powder form (possibly the natural one, judging by the name), or at least something that requires a flask to hold, judging by the tubes on the walls of the Dust store in the first episode.
Precision F-Strike: The non-trailer, non-remix variant of "I Burn" features a guest verse by Lamar Hall that includes the only f-bombs in the Volume 1 soundtrack.
Punny Name: The Dust store in the first episode - From Dust Till Dawn.
And Roman Torchwick (as in Roman candle) whose weapon is a firework launcher.
Reaction Shot: A great nonhuman one from the pair of ursas in Episode 6 after Yang notices the hair floating down.
Reality Ensues: Episode 8 show Ruby taking a Deathstalker on by herself, only to not even damage it. Shortly after, the problems of having a long cloak are pointed out as she's caught when the Nevermore pins it to the ground.
Most of the fighters do this. Monty Oum said that he was animating with a mind for conservation of motion, so a lot of weapons pull double-duty as both offensive implements and accelerators for the characters.
The "Red" trailer is full of this, as Ruby uses the recoil from Crescent Rose to push herself around and set up attacks. She also has to plant the scythe blade in the ground in order to shoot and not get knocked back.
Yang uses the force from her shotgun gauntlets to empower her punches, gain a bit of extra speed, and stay up in the air and fly over the Emerald Forest.
Rookie Red Ranger: Both teams RWBY and JNPR are led by (and in RWBY's case, named for) their least experienced member.
Rule of Animation Conservation: If a character has color in their design and a distinct face, you can be pretty certain they're going to be important later on. This idiosyncrasy has been used for several visual gags.
Rule of Cool: Physics does not work that way and it is far too awesome for anyone to care.
Running Gag: Jaune being thrown into the air. So far it's been done by a test launcher, a scorpion, and a hammer (twice). There was even one time where he was launched into the air in a locker.
Sigil Spam: Several examples of different uses, since pretty much every significant character has a specific symbol associated with them.
Ruby's symbol is featured on her belt, headphones, and journal. Blake's emblem is on her stockings (and it may or may not be an oddly-placed badge), and her sleepwear. Yang wears her emblem on her undershirt and on her skirt, and it's also present on her own sleepwear. Adam's symbol is present on Blush and the back of his coat. Jaune's symbol has so far only been seen on his shield, but since it's mentioned that his great-great grandfather used it, the symbol may belong to the entire Arc family rather than just him.
Weiss's symbol seems to be used by the entire Schnee Dust Company, and it has appeared on the company's bottles and crates (and also the toothpaste tube Nora has in the fourth episode), certain places in the castle where Weiss fights the Knight, as well as the back of her bolero and on her nightgown. Unlike all other revealed symbols, though, it also shows up when she uses her Semblance.
Beacon's symbol features most prominently on Ozpin's coffee mug, but can be spotted frequently all around the academy.
Ozpin's personal symbol appears in the credits for Episode 9 and looks similar to the cogs found on the handle of his cane.
Glynda's symbol is a tiara and can be found on the back of her cape as well as the credits for Episode 9.
Sneeze of Doom: Ruby has a massive Dust-empowered one in Episode 2, which covers Weiss in ash. Weiss is unamused.
Something about a Rose: Adam and Ruby both have a rose motif. He has a rose painted on the back of his jacket. The grave she visits at the beginning of the trailer has a rose etched into it. Many of their movements are accentuated with rose petals, and the gore she's responsible for is depicted as spurts of red blood accompanied by more rose petals. If that wasn't enough, Monty confirmed her weapon is named "Crescent Rose". This, naturally, has led to speculation that the two are related somehow.
Monty has said they are not related, and their stances differ from each other in terms of "scatter and wilt". In other words Adam's style is a dying rose—possibly a reference to the curse linked to a dying (wilted) rose from the Disney version ofBeauty and the Beast.
Spent Shells Shower: Ruby's trailer concludes with shell casings falling from the sky ejected from her weapon. Yang ejects a lot of casings from her gauntlets in her trailer.
Spoiler Opening: The opening isn't played until the end of the first episode, but it includes characters that did not appear in the episode or in the trailers. Furthermore, it heavily implies which characters will be on the same team. Related to this are the end credits for episode 16. The voice actor credits are listed in the order of each character's first appearance...ending with the name of a new character who appears in The Stinger.
The Spartan Way: The initiation at Beacon Academy is to be launched at high speeds into a forest full of monsters to fight through them and take a "Relic" from a temple.
Super Speed: Ruby's Semblance. All of her teammates also has this to a lesser extent, as well as Lie Ren.
Superhero Speciation: Pyrrha explains that Huntsmen and Huntresses can use a "Semblance", i.e a specific power that is unique to each person.
Super-Persistent Predator: The Death Stalker and the Nevermore in episodes 7 and 8. Even though the students try to get away from them, those two creatures relentlessly pursue them, forcing them to take them down.
Super Weight: Aura users hover at a Type 2. Those with Aura and sufficient skill using Dust powers are more of a Type 3.
Swiss-Army Weapon: Most of the characters have Mix And Match Weapons. Most of them are a normal-ish weapon that can fire bullets. The exceptions include Weiss's Myrtenaster, which is a rapier that incorporates design aspects of a revolver, and Jaune's Boring but Practical sword and shield.
Squee!: Ruby has a tendency to do this; see her character entry.
Suspiciously Apropos Music: In the first episode when Ruby kicks the mook out the window, her detached headphones blaring out the theme music of "This Will Be the Day." The ensuing fight sequence is what propels her goal to enroll in Beacon later that night.
Technician Versus Performer: Weiss appears to be the Technician to Ruby's Performer. In their first fight together, Weiss mentally goes through a checklist on her stance and form. When she finally attacks, Ruby comes out of nowhere, having given no forethought to her attack. Weiss has to redirect her own attack to avoid hitting Ruby, and accidentally starts a forest fire.
Another pair that seems to exhibit this: Ren (Technician) and Nora (Performer). All of Ren's attacks (especially his fight against the two Basilisks) seem to be practised martial arts strikes, while Nora simply does what's most effective given her current momentum. Bonus points since Nora is almost never seen without a smile, and Ren tends to be more stoic.
The Team: Students are arranged into teams of four, consisting of two pairs of curriculum-long partners. In addition to working together on the field, they also share a dorm room at the academy. Based on the known teams (RWBY, JNPR, and CRDL), each team name is an acronym of each teammate's initials combined into a larger word (such as "JNPR = Juniper" and "CRDL = Cardinal"). Due to how teams are arranged through a combination of eye contact and retrieving a matching set, teams can easily become a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits; Teams RWBY and JNPR are evidence of this.
Three-Point Landing: Ruby demonstrates how it's done in Episode 5, complete with dramatic head snap, lacking only a dramatic explosion behind her. Later done by Pyrrha after the Death Stalker is defeated.
Train Job: The setting for the "Black" trailer. Turns out to be both the reason Blake left the White Fang, and one of the bigger reasons Weiss hates them, as the train contained one of her family's large Dust shipments.
Tranquil Fury: Weiss displays this during her fight scene in the White Trailer.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Episode 8, all Ruby says is "I've got a plan, cover me!" A minute of combat elsewhere and the plan is being put into place.
Vocal Evolution: Compared to what was heard in the trailers, the voice acting in episode 1 has improved significantly.
Played with as it's not actually the actresses. Complaints about Ruby's voice in the Yellow trailer were revealed to be hollow, as they were recorded after the first episode. Michael Jones, fiance to Ruby's actress, pointed out that it's less about the acting and more about the delivery of the dialogue, as well as post editing done by the sound team.
White Mask of Doom: The Grimm are wearing these in the opening. Adam also wears a Grimm-esque one.
The Worf Effect: Blake seems to suffer from this when fighting against Roman in episode 16, but this might be natural for her. Sun fares slightly better because he hasn't fought till now, but Roman is still able to hold both of them off separately. Ruby, meanwhile, gets hit while she's distracted and does nothing at all in that sequence.