Web Animation: RWBY

Clockwise from top left: Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Yang Xiao Long, and Blake Belladonna

"Red like roses fills my dreams and brings me to the place you rest
White is cold and always yearning, burdened by a royal test
Black the beast descends from shadows
Yellow beauty burns gold..."
—"Red Like Roses" from the Red trailer

RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") is an Animesque CGI production from Rooster Teeth, created and 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 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. The first season, or 'volume', ran for sixteen episodesnote  and can be ordered here. note  Following the completion of Volume 1, the show had a brief hiatus before debuting Volume 2 at RTX 2014, and its online debut followed on July 24th 2014.

New episodes are released weekly 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. The first two volumes are now available on Netflix.

A Japanese fandub exists, and an official export to Japan (via Warner Brothers Japan) was announced at RTX 2014. Rooster Teeth will also be working with the creator of the fangame RWBY: Grim Eclipse to make an official RWBY game.

Monty Oum's sudden and tragic death in early 2015 left the future of the series in question, but other members of the RWBY team assured the fans that the show would go on as planned, considering there was apparently enough story and information left by Monty to go straight through a potential Volume 5. Volume 3 is scheduled to premiere in late fall/early winter of 2015. An upcoming episode of Death Battle will feature Yang Xiao Long and Final Fantasy VII's Tifa Lockhart fighting in celebration of the third season.

On October 8th, 2015, RoosterTeeth announced Volume 3's full release date: October 24th, 2015 at 10 A.M. CT

Warning: Unmarked spoilers below.

RWBY contains examples of:

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    Tropes A-E 
  • Abridged Series:
  • Achievements in Ignorance: According to Pyrrha, the friendships she has made in Beacon are this for Jaune. He approached her knowing nothing of her Famed In-Story status and combat prowess, completely sidestepping one of the main reasons of her Lonely at the Top woes. In turn, her interactions with the Plucky Comic Relief/Class Clown made Pyrrha look more approachable to other people, which helped to partially subvert her Attractiveness Isolation.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • One of the locations surrounding Beacon Academy is called the Forest of Forever Fall.
    • "The Badge and the Burden" and "Forever Fall" in season one.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: It's called Remnant, and it's filled with monsters, with only the rare beacons of civilization (the kingdoms of Vale, Vacuo, Mistral, and Atlas) and magic holding them back. Civilization is protected, and able to exist at all, through the efforts of Huntsmen and Huntresses whose careers are either mission-based, going on adventures to fight the Grimm, or academy-based, where they teach the next generation to fight the Grimm and control the missions the other Hunters go on.
  • Alien Sky: The phases of Remnant's moon appear to be based on a shattering visual effect that fades into and out of view depending on the moon's rotation relative to Remnant's. As the moon's rotational speed appears to be different to its orbital speed, the moon does not constantly show the same face to Remnant. When the undamaged face is in view, the moon appears to be completely whole. When the shattered face is fully in view, the moon looks very badly broken. There are also stages in between where the moon can look just slightly, or partially, broken.
  • All There in the Manual: Vol. 2 introduces an information series called "World Of Remnant", providing additional information about the setting works. Monty Oum also disseminated and clarified certain meta-knowledge via Twitter, Facebook and interviews.
  • Alphabet News Network: VNN: Vale News Network.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Oum says Team RWBY is based on a standard RPG group. Yang is the Fighter/Tank, Weiss is the Mage, Blake is the Thief, and Ruby herself is possibly the Archer. While Ruby appears to be the special character of the show, the set-up ensures she's not the only useful character in the show. Others have skills and necessary roles, too.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • White Fang's emblem is a wolf, and they share their name with the book White Fang, which is about a wolf-dog and his relationship with both the wilds of nature and with humans.
    • Team CRDL as well with their names references to birds (and their team name is pronounced 'Cardinal').
  • Animation Bump: Volume 2 has better, more fluid animation, and more nuanced facial expressions and colour palettes. It also helps that each episode is much longer compared to the first volume.
    • The fight scenes in Volume 1 would get one in comparison to the rest of the season.
  • Animesque: The animation and character design resemble anime in general. Certain visual and artistic conventions that apply to anime are therefore reproduced for this show as well. The director researched several anime while designing the series. When Crunchyroll began streaming the series, certain people began demanding the show in the "original" Japanese instead of English "dub". It has gained both Japanese and Chinese fan followings as a result.
  • 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. The song is This Will Be the Day by Jeff Williams. True to form, the 2nd Volume comes with a 2nd Opening, Time To Say Goodbye.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Dust is a crystal which can be triggered by Aura to cause various effects depending on the type of dust used. It is commonly formed into charges which are mechanically ignited (Hunter ammunition), but can also be manually triggered, woven into clothing, or even embedded directly into a person's body.
  • Arc Number: Four is an important recurring number. Academy teams consist of four people, each based on four main colours. There are only four Kingdoms.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: During their first field exercise, Oobleck interrogates three out of four of the girls over why they've chosen to become hunters. For every answer given, he immediately exposes the flaw in their reasoning with a very simple question. For example, when Blake claims she wants to fight corruption, he asks 'How?', leaving her speechless. The trio are left very troubled both by the answers they've given to Oobleck and by the fact Oobleck has not asked Ruby the question at all.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Ruby's rig was updated from the trailer to the show itself. Compare the 3D model of her in the premiere trailer and the series.
    • Beowolves also changed.note 
    • Volume 2, in comparison to Volume 1. Darker, more holographic parts, more detailed extras (bystanders are not just black silhouettes anymore), and smoothed-out animation.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Present in a number of fights. Most noticeable in the Volume 2 opener food fight, thanks to the numerous seemingly-indestructible food items used as bludgeons - and the cans of soda that behave more like grenades.
  • Art Shift:
    • A news report shown in the first episode is done in hand-drawn animation.
    • Comedy moments will involve cutesy artwork: Ruby turns into a chibi as she gushes over student weapons, Ruby and Yang's catfight is shown as a Big Ball of Violence and Ruby's thoughts while running through the forest being stylized as comic characters.
    • Flashbacks get a 2D anime-style animation, ranging from Blake's White Fang idealism as a child to the dark, gritting forest nightmare that almost got Yang and Ruby killed as very young children.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Jordan Scott, creator of the RWBY game when it was still a fan project, was hired by Rooster Teeth to help develop it.
  • Ascended Meme: Various fandom ships gained names based on which pair was being shipped. In Chapter 4, those ship names get acknowledged in-universe as RWBY tactics involving the relevant pairs combining their techniques and abilities when fighting Torchwick.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Team RWBY has developed special tactical manoeuvres based on the principle of Combination Attack. Two members of the team combine their powers and fighting styles to produce special attacks. The decision on which moves to make at what point in a fight is made by the team leader, Ruby.
    • "Freezer Burn" is carried out by Weiss and Yang, using snow and fire to produce a dense fog and slippery surface to make vision difficult to use on the battlefield.
    • "Checkmate" is carried out by Weiss and Blake, using Weiss's glyphs to power up Blake, making her speed and whip attacks even more effective than normal.
    • "Ladybug" is carried out by Ruby and Blake, using a series of dashing strikes to the mecha's legs, going back and forth between them too fast for it to focus on them, and ending with a jumping downward slash that severed one of its arms.
    • "Bumblebee" is carried out by Yang and Blake, using Blake's whip to catch Yang after the mecha had knocked her away, and then whipping her around at it to build up speed for a devastating strike.
    • "Ice Flower" is carried out by Ruby and Weiss, using Ruby's speed and firepower to cannonise Weiss's ice, to freeze the opponent solid with ice that settles in the shape of an ice flower.
  • Author Appeal: Left-handedness is common because of Monty's left-handedness, and Weiss is a fencer because he had studied fencing. The show is also full of strong action women because Monty likes those kinds of characters.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Most major fight scenes are accompanied by vocal rock songs:
  • Avengers Assemble: Team RWBY understandably do this numerously, and sometimes they wind up together out of sheer coincidence.
  • Baby Talk: Weiss is reduced to this in "Field Trip" when trying to insult Ruby and Yang's corgi Zwei to his face, only to be won over by its impenetrable cuteness. Afterwards, she always talks to Zwei in this manner.
    Weiss: Are you telling me that this mangy...drooling...mutt is going to wiv wif us foweva? Oh, yes he is, oh yes he is! Oh, isn't he adorable!
  • Badass Family:
    • Ruby and Yang are sisters, and either one of them can ruin your day if you get on her bad side. In episode one Ruby also mentions an uncle who taught her how to fight, just cementing this further. In season 2, it's further explained in Yang's flashback that their parents were hunters too. It's worth noting that both of their mothers were huntresses who were previously on the same team as their eventual husband and Qrow.
    • Downplayed in Jaune's case. At least three generations of his family were warriors and heroes. Jaune himself? Not so much.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: All of Team RWBY in the Volume 1 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.
    • It's also how they begin Volume 2, Episode 12 facing off against a lot of Grimm.
  • 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 (as well as Roman Torchwick talking with Junior).
  • Bag of Holding: The tiny cylindrical package that Yang and Ruby receive from their father in episode 8 of season 2. At first a tiny corgi dog pops out of it. Yang then reads a note that he also packed a lot of food for the dog, and many cans of dog food pour out when she flips the container downward.
  • 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.
  • Back Blocking:
    • In the second episode, Jaune wonders where he'll find a quirky girl to talk to. Then he walks off-camera, revealing someone who turns out to be Pyrrha in front of the group of silhouette characters.
    • The Volume 2 opening appears to show Ruby standing by herself á la Volume 1, but then pans to show Weiss, Blake and Yang standing alongside her.
  • 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 so tough —they're using their Aura to defend against injury.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Ursa variant of Grimm are 10 to 15-foot-tall, spiky-armored bears.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Ruby and Yang enter one in episode 3 while play-fighting.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Glynda Goodwitch's introduction in Episode 1 has her block an explosive vial of Dust meant for Ruby, then try to prevent Roman's escape before Cinder Fall negates her endeavour.
    • Weiss pulls this off for Ruby in Episode 8 as the latter's cape is stuck by one of the Nevermore's feather and the Deathstalker is about to sting her.
    • 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 singlehandedly wipes out Roman's forces after telling Ruby she's "combat ready".
    • In Vol.2 Episode 11, the mysterious samurai who literally appears from nowhere to save Yang from Neo as the latter is about to deliver a Coup de Grâce.
  • Big Entrance: During the fight to repel the Grimm invasion in Volume 2's finale, Sun and Neptune step in with their newly acquired badges and loudly announce their intent to kick ass... before being drowned out by the even more dramatic arrival of the Atlas military, which catches nearly everyone's attention.
  • 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.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • The knight's blade lands at a near 90 degree angle when Weiss disarms it in the White trailer, though it does fall over after a brief time.
    • Pyrrha's spear lands at a similar angle in Vol.2 Episode 5 when Mercury briefly disarms her.
  • Blade Brake/Sword Plant: Done by Ruby and Weiss in their trailers, as well as Adam in the Black trailer. Blake does it along with Building Swing in Episode 8.
  • Blade Run: Weiss does this in her trailer, and given that the blade is bigger than she is, she even is able to do an Unnecessary Combat Roll on it.
  • Blank White Eyes:
    • Ruby in Episode 4, when Ozpin drops the bomb on how the team matchmaking works.
    • Ruby again in episode 8, as she is falling from the sky. She then gets intercepted by Jaune who was tossed by a Death Stalker, and then develops Circling Birdies (actually, circling wolves) shortly afterwards. Happens to her again later as her reunion with her sister is suddenly interrupted by Nora.
    • 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 collapse to the ground afterward.
    • Weiss again in episode 8 of season 2 when the girls find out the huntsman they'll be shadowing is. Professor Oobleck, who doesn't seem like the typical Bad Ass huntsman they envisioned.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When very little blood is shown despite absurdly sharp weapons and magic-fueled firearms regularly making contact with people, either this or Swords Set To Stun is in play. In-Universe, this is Justified due to humans' Aura, which (as Jaune puts it) is like a force field. People won't take lethal hits until their Aura is depleted. This justification doesn't extend to the Grimm, however, since Aura comes from one's soul, which Grimm are stated to lack. However, the third "World of Remnant" segment about Grimm explains that Grimms' bodies tend to dissolve shortly after they're killed. In other words, any carnage inflicted on Grimm eventually becomes bloodless (and body-less, for that matter).
    • The Black Trailer and the finale of Volume 2 are guilty of this even when it should be averted—the first few robot guards Blake and Adam slice apart are shown falling to pieces, but after that, the rest just get tossed around like ragdolls as if blades weren't hitting them. In the V2 finale, not a single Grimm sheds any blood (even when torn apart by Coco) even when dealt lethal hits or exploded, which is odd as we know by now that they should be in very bloody pieces. Squeezed schedule is to blame for this.
  • 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.
    • Ruby does get knocked backward by a rocket shot from Torchwick's cane in "Black and White". She's fine though.
    • Happens repeatedly during the super-powered Food Fight in Vol. 2 Episode 1.
  • 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.
    • Blake is also decently endowed and may have some edge in strength over Ruby and Weiss due to her being a Faunus, but it hasn't been confirmed one way or another yet. Yang is said to actually gain power from getting hit, though, so it may be a mix of this and a Shout-Out to The Incredible Hulk in her case.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Sure his mask's a little fancier than the mooks', but don't lie. You expected the White Fang Lieutenant to be a much easier fight than the others going on at the time.
  • Boring but Practical: In a world where magic, guns, and blades intersect, Jaune uses... a plain old sword and a collapsible shield/scabbard. Ruby lampshades this, saying that it's good to have a healthy respect for the classics.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Weiss's mistrust of the White Fang stems from her family having waged war with them for years. She's seen family, friends and board members executed. As a result, she tends to view Faunus as a White Fang recruit waiting to happen. Blake is angry with that view because it paints all Faunus with the same brush and even most White Fang members have a history of peaceful protest, since it's only recently the White Fang has become violent, in part due to the bigotry of people of like Weiss. Weiss is right about the criminal nature and violence of White Fang, while Blake is right about the mistreatment of Faunus having backed them into a corner.
  • Brand X:
    • Shi-nee brand toothpaste (assumed name).
    • Pumpkin Pete's Marshmallow Flakes (cereal).
    • Udder Satisfaction (on a carton of milk at the start of the food-fight scene).
    • People Like Grapes & Dr. Pipper Soda
    • Gentleman's Best Friend (canned dog food)
  • Breakout Character:
    • Torchwick was supposed to have been a one-off character for the first episode only. 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, as well as a major player in the group of villains in the second volume.
    • Velvet was meant to be a one-off character demonstrating the challenges of being a Faunus. However the fandom response was so strong, she was turned into a recurring character with her own team.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The sound sloths make.
    • In Episode 11, Nora suggested to her team (and team RWBY) that they should break Cardin's legs for being such an ass. In Episode 12, we got this:
      Pyrrha: [referring to Cardin, after he left] You know, I really will break his legs.
    • Episode 2 of Volume 2. Neptune introduces himself to Weiss:
      Neptune: And I don't believe I caught your name, Snow Angel.
      Weiss: [slight laugh] Um, I'm Weiss.
      Jaune: [in background] Are you kidding me?!
    • In Vol.2 Episode 5, Jaune tells Pyrrha that if she can't get a date to the prom, he'll go in a dress. In Episode 7, during the dance itself, he finds out Pyrrha didn't get a date... guess what he proceeds to do.
    • In the first several episodes of Vol.2 several characters call Weiss "ice queen" much to her dismay. Flash foreword to the mid season boss fight and as he is retreating Torchwick who has never even met Weiss responds "ladies, ice queen [Weiss "hey"] always a pleasure".
  • Brutal Honesty: Most of the teachers at Beacon thus far:
    • Glynda Goodwitch's first two acts were to save Ruby when she picked a fight with Torchwick, and then call her out for being so reckless.
    • Ozpin welcomes the new students to his school with a Dare to Be Badass speech which basically begins as a "Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Peter Port gives Weiss a blunt "that's absurd" when she suggests that Ozpin made a mistake in making Ruby the team leader, then points out a few of her worst traits before giving her some sound advice.
    • Bartholomew Oobleck chews out Jaune and Cardin for not paying attention in class and telling them being accepted into Beacon means they're being held to a higher standard (with a hint of Oblivious Guilt Slinging since Jaune got in with fake credentials). He also makes Weiss, Blake and Yang re-evaluate their reasons for wanting to be Huntresses.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Pyrrha and Jaune in episode 7 after Jaune's torch goes out when he trips and falls into a puddle.
  • Butt Monkey: The old man who owns From Dust 'Til Dawn has been robbed twice, and his truck has a nice dent in the front.
    • Jaune can't keep up with his peers because he cheated his way in and is always the first one knocked out of a fight. He's also the one the slapstick happens to (or at least the one it happens to first), the one who makes himself look foolish and ignorant with the most regularity (he didn't know about aura, landing strategies, using his scroll correctly in combat and a lot of other stuff the rest of the cast takes for granted), and is on the receiving end of a lot of grief from Cardin who found out about his cheating and is blackmailing him into being his servant.
  • 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 mentions "going shopping, and painting our nails, and talking about cute boys" like Weiss did sarcastically in Episode 3, and Ruby took at face value. Ruby herself lampshades this.
      Ruby: Was this what it was like when you met me?
      Weiss: No. She seems far more coordinated.
    • 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?
    • Volume 2 starts with the man whose Dust shop was robbed in Volume 1 re-opening for business. And then he gets robbed again.
    • While Mercury and Emerald are walking toward Tukson's, one of the establishments they pass has the dance club music from the Yellow Trailer playing.
    • In Vol. 2 Episode 1, Nora sings "I'm queen of the castle" again during the Food Fight.
    • Just before the food fight kicks off in earnest, Ruby is holding a carton of milk. She still hasn't grown up much.
    • 'Welcome to Beacon' has Neptune introducing himself to Weiss by calling her "Snow Angel". He's much more successful than Jaune was. The episode also has Weiss making a comment about Yang busting up a club (referencing the Yellow Trailer).
    • When Yang enters the club again, (amidst henchmen screaming "She's coming back!" in fear) she struts through the doors as a remix of 'Red Like Roses' plays in the background, just like she did in the 'Yellow' Trailer.
    • Interactions between Sun and Blake outside of Beacon:
      Sun: I knew you looked better without the bow. (S1E15)
      Blake: I knew you would look better in a tie. (S2E6)
    • Nora wears a t-shirt with "Boop" written on it.
    • When Yang returns to the club in Volume 2, the song playing in the background is the same, and starts skipping as the DJ hides.
    • In "No Brakes", Weiss faces down another tall enemy with an accordingly gigantic bladed weapon, like in the White trailer. Blake also attempts to decouple a pair of train cars with her blade, as she did in the Black trailer, but this time, the cars separate on their own before she brings her sword down.
    • In Forever Fall Pt.2, Jaune defeated a huge Ursa with Pyrrha's assistance. Come the Vol.2 finale, Jaune faces another huge Ursa (in fact, a bigger one than before!) This time, he defeats it all by himself.
    • Nora using her hammer to propel herself across long distances (first shown in Volume one Episode eight to launch across a broken bridge) returns in the Volume two finale for the final fight.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Jaune and his attempts to hit on Weiss.
    • Neptune could be considered as such, since he hits on anything with a skirt and is only successful with one person.
  • Cast Herd: Becomes evident part-way through volume 1, but the opening for volume two establishes the herds pretty firmly.
    • Team RWBY - Pronounced 'Ruby' (Ruby, Weiss, Blake, Yang)
    • Team JNPR Pronounced 'Juniper' (Jaune, Nora, Pyrrha, Ren)
    • Team CRDL Pronounced 'Cardinal' (Cardin, Russel, Dove, Lark)
    • Team CFVY Pronounced 'Coffee' (Coco, Fox, Velvet, Yatsuhashi)
    • The Beacon Academy staff (Ozpin, Glynda, Port, Oobleck)
    • Team SSSN Pronounced 'Sun" (Sun, Scarlet, Sage and Neptune) ((Confirmed on the RWBY Podcast)
    • The villains (Cinder, Mercury, Emerald, Roman, Junior, the Malachite sisters)
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The emergence of the Grimm.
  • Cat Ninja: Blake Belladonna has a cat Animal Motif and is secretly a cat Faunus who fights much like a ninja, with a kusarigama-esque weapon, sneaky & fast movements and being able to create body doubles of herself.
  • Cape Snag: Ruby gets pinned to the ground by her cape in episode 8. Only Weiss's intervention saves her life. Somehow averted every time Ruby spins her fully-extended scythe behind her back.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: invoked
    • Internal Reveal version: Blake is a Faunus.
      Yang: Wait, how did you know that?
      Penny: Uh, the cat ears?
      Yang: What cat ears? She wears a... bow...
    • The reveal that Penny is a robot, which was already pretty obvious from her fight against Torchwick's Airjets.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: The mook at From Dust Till Dawn should have seen it coming.
    Ruby: Are you... robbing me?
  • 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.
  • Cat Smile: Ruby briefly sports one in Episode 5.
  • The Cavalry: In Vol.2's finale, an isolated Team RWBY are thoroughly outnumbered by Grimm, and Yang goes down quickly. Then they're joined by, in order: Team JNPR; the Atlesian military; Zwei; Team CFVY; Professor Port and Professor Oobleck; and finally, a supremely pissed Glynda Goodwitch. Asskickery ensues. Cinder's group also helps stave off a few Grimm and (apparently) capture Torchwick.
  • Cel Shading: The show's art style is, beside Anime, reminiscent to this.
  • Chainsaw Good: The Chainsword used by the White Fang Lieutenant, complete with Sword Drag in its introduction.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Ozpin warns Ruby that the position of team leader is both a badge of honor and a terrible burden. Naturally, the title of the episode is "The Badge and the 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.
    Weiss: By no means does this make us friends. [drags Ruby by her hood]
    Ruby: You came back!
  • Character Blog: Weiss, Yang and Ruby have Twitter accounts.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Aura is possessed by all living things, except monsters because they have no souls.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • The commentary has Monty reveal that launching the students into the forest was done specifically to introduce the concept of 'Landing Strategies', and implied that this will be important in Volume 2, something strongly implied by that volume's opening sequence.
    • In Volume 1, during Oobleck's class, it's established that most faunus are able to see in the dark. It's handy when Blake and Sun infiltrate a White Fang recruitment meeting in Volume 2 and are spotted by Roman.
      Sun: He sees us...
      Blake: [spots fusebox above her head] He can't see in the dark. [shoots fusebox]
    • Combined with Chekhov's Gag, remember those rocket-propelled launchers? Where they store their weapons during moments where they won't be needing them? Turns out they can call the lockers to the user's location, giving them access to their weapons at a near-moment's notice - Ruby does just that when she sees an unconscious guard outside the dance hall, and gets suspicious.
    • The ability to weave Dust into clothing was revealed during the first "World of Remnant" episode, then actually demonstrated by Cinder during Vol.2 Episode 7.
  • 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". The Stinger might imply this as an allusion to Cinder Fall and Roman Torchwick.
    • In Volume 2, Chapter 7, Cinder plants a virus with a queen chess piece symbol in the communication tower computers.
  • Chew Out Fake Out: In Vol.2 Episode 9, after finding out Ruby brought Zwei with her on their mission, it seems as though Dr. Oobleck is about to read her the riot act... only for him to praise her as a genius, pointing out that they can use the dog's heightened canine senses to assist them in their tracking efforts.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The rap section of "I Burn" ...is hip-hop, at its hip-hoppiest. (For comparison, the rest of the song uses a single "ass," and the show itself uses very mild curses or cuts them short.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • The four main characters have theme colors, which lead to the acronym title. "Ruby" the character has a red theme; as her name means "white snow" in German, it should come as no surprise that "Weiss" has a white theme; "Blake" has a black theme, and "Yang" is named after what basically amounts to the golden sun.
    • And then there's the second set of characters, colored yellow, pink, red and bluish black.
    • This is actually a plot point - in defiance of fascist governments 80 years before the story starts, it became a tradition for some families to name their children after various colors to represent their artistic freedom and individualism.
    • Then there's the pins, which include a couple of pink emblems.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: Field Trip reveals that 80 years before the series begins, there was a great war where even artistic self-expression was at stake. In memory and defiance of this, people have ever since named their children after colours, a core concept of art. All characters in the show are colour-themed, as are their team names. The sole exception, for unrevealed reasons, is Professor Ozpin. Examples include Ruby being red-themed, Weiss being white-themed, Blake being black-themed (her name is an Old English word for a dark-haired person), and Yang being named after a Chinese word for light and the sun.
  • Combat Stilettos:
    • Melanie and Militia both wear extremely high heels. Judging by the narrow stances they use and the short steps they take, the animation team actually considered just how uncomfortable and constricting they would be.
    • Cinder Fall wears very high heels. Then again, her combat style doesn't involve a lot of jumping and kicking, so she can get away with it more easily. As of Volume 2, Chapter 7, she can run ninja-style over rooftops and fight a very physical, acrobatic up close and personal style, all while wearing thigh high, high-heeled boots.
    • Weiss also wears heels, though not quite as high. In Vol.2 Episode 6, while dressed for the dance, Ruby wonders aloud how Weiss can even fight while wearing them.
  • Combination Attack: In episode 8, how Team RWBY and (to a lesser extent) Team JNPR each take out their respective Grimms. By season 2, team RWBY specializes in combination attacks, and can do them on Ruby's command.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Can be relied upon almost as much as gravity. Hordes of Mooks fall like bowling pins (sometimes literally), but any time a hero is fighting a single opponent, watch out.
    • Almost comically proven by the lone Chainsaw Good mook who nearly kills Weiss on the train at the end of Volume 2.
  • 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 some of the crates in the Black trailer.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • In "The Shining Beacon, Part 2", after Ruby leaves Jaune to go to Yang, Jaune complains about how he'll ever find another nice and quirky girl to talk to. As he leaves, we see Pyrrha, who happens to be the only background character that isn't a silhouette.
    • In episode 8, Ruby and Jaune bump into each other — in mid-air, and from vastly different trajectories.
  • 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.
  • Cool Airship: Beacon has several. General Ironwood commands a whole fleet of them.
  • Cool Train: The train that Blake and Adam board in the Black trailer is so wide that it runs on two parallel sets of tracks.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Ruby delivers one in the first episode against Roman's thugs until Cinder shows up.
    • The students generally deliver these during their expedition into the woods. Although the Death Stalker and Nevermore had the initial advantage, those two are eventually on the receiving end as well.
    • Jaune suffers from one in episode 11 from Cardin. He later delivers one to an Ursa in the finale of season 2, slaughtering it in 5 seconds without taking a single hit, albeit looking a little bit clumsy while doing it.
    • Penny delivers one to Roman Torchwick and the White Fang minions in episode 16 after Torchwick hits Ruby. She more or less single-handedly ends the fight and forces Torchwick and the White Fang to flee.
    • Pyrrha in Vol.2 Episode 5 against the entirety of team CRDL.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 11, Neo wipes the floor with Yang who can't even get a hit in.
    • Blake delivers one to Torchwick, and the only reason she didn't kill him was to help Weiss, who had been defeated by a White Fang Mook Lieutenant.
    • Coco blasts through a Death Stalker and three Nevermore — both of which took Teams JNPR and RWBY respectively an arduous battle to defeat — all by herself.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • Roman after Blake sneaks up behind him.
      Roman: Oh, for f—
    • Goodwitch arguing with Ironwood.
      Goodwitch: Why must your answer to everything involve a triumphant display of military bravado!? You treat every situation like it's a contest of measuring di
      Ozpin: Glynda!
      Goodwitch: Well, he does.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: Signal, Beacon and the rest are this, since they train people exclusively to fight the Grimm.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Ruby and Yang's father sends them a tiny corgi dog in the mail. While Blake is understandably a little hesitant to welcome it, Weiss is afflicted by this trope when the dog looks at her. Her initial reluctance gradually changes into one of Squee as the doggy looks at her.
  • Darker and Edgier: Although deaths have been mentioned in dialogue in prior episodes, Volume 2 starts with an (offscreen for the actual act) assassination.
    • The second season's finale is this too. Unlike just the few Schmucks in the VTOLs, a lot o civilians and mooks are not making it out of the fight.
  • Dark Is Evil: Naturally, the black-furred Grimm are quite evil.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: Implemented in Yang's personal flashback monologue to Blake in "Burning the Candle", where her younger self takes young Ruby and travels to a remote hut in the woods. When the viewers look into the hut, the red and glaring eyes of Grimm start appearing...
  • Dark Reprise:
  • Dark Secret: Seems to be a requirement for coming to Beacon.
    • Jaune got into Beacon with forged transcripts.
    • Blake is a Faunus and was part of the White Fang.
  • Decapitation Required: Not entirely a requirement so much as a way of upholding the Rule of Cool.
    • The Nevermore 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 literally feeds it 4-5 shells from her "guntlets" to stun it into 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 the crow's head in the crook of her scythe, firing shots into its skull as she goes before finally taking its head off at the top and stopping it for good. Ruby even strikes a pose after she lands just to further emphasize that Rule of Cool is what this show runs on.
    • Jaune beheads an Ursa in episode 14, saving Cardin in the process.
  • Debut Queue: The first half of Volume 1 introduces the various Loads and Loads of Characters in the show and gives them all a small introduction to their characterization, such as Blake with her love of books.
  • Defictionalisation: Ruby's rose pyjama pants are now available in the Rooster Teeth store. Nora's 'Boop' shirt is also available, though it was there before volume 2 started (in male styles only).
  • Description Porn: See Dramatic Gun Cock below.
  • Detonation Moon: The Remnant night sky has a damaged-looking moon.
  • 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).
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Sun is capable of creating yellow clones of himself that explode on impact.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: Blake's Semblance lets her create clones of herself that disappear when hit. It seems that she can only create one at a time, however.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Ruby does this while showing off Crescent Rose to Jaune.
    Jaune: Whoa! Is that a scythe?
    Ruby: It's also a customizable high-impact sniper rifle.
    Jaune: A what?
    Ruby: [cocks her weapon] It's also a gun.
  • Dramatic Wind: Played with a lot, but used especially for Ruby and her red cloak, even when she's indoors.
  • Driven to Suicide: Unusually, discussed in Episode 12 when Pyrrha brings Jaune up to the roof of Beacon to talk. Jaune sees the railless rooftop and comes to completely the wrong conclusion: "I'm not that depressed!" Hearing this response, Pyrrha is initially confused, but the moment she figures it out, she's appropriately horrified and pulls him away from the edge. It's played for laughs.
  • 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. Accordingly, she also uses it for the occasional Rocket Jump.
  • Dull Surprise: From Vol. 2 Episode 3:
    Penny: I'm not...a real girl.
    Ruby: [beat] Oh.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Given all the people who have some Dark Secret, especially Jaune and Blake, it's almost certainly this.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The 2nd Anime Theme Song teases several new characters, including Velvet and Sun both being a part of full 4-Man Teams, along with whatever group Penny belongs to.
  • Edible Ammunition/Edible Bludgeon: Vol. 2 Episode 1's Food Fight has Team RWBY and Team JNPR using breadsticks, leeks, turkeys, watermelons, soda cans, etc. against each other.
  • 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." Meanwhile, Jaune's team is given the not-very-indicative name "Juniper", and so is Velvet's team "Coffee".
  • Enemy Mine: The White Fang is working with Torchwick, despite Blake (a former member) finding the concept of them willingly working with humans (especially that one) to be unthinkable. The feeling is mutual, since the aforementioned person has open disdain for Faunus and only works with them because they need the manpower. What they are hoping to accomplish is still unknown.
  • Enhanced Archaic Weapon: Almost every weapon in the series is some form of this (e.g. in the main cast Ruby, Blake, Yang, Pyrrha and Nora's weapons are all capable of using their firearm modes to increase the damage of their melee strikes in some waynote  and Weiss's can channel Dust). The only real exceptions in the main cast are Ren (who just uses machine pistols with blades) and Jaune's no-frills-attached sword (although his shield's at least collapsible).
  • Epic Tracking Shot: Episode 2 of Volume 2 opens with a shot that goes from the skydocks at Beacon across the academy and up through the clouds to Ozpin's office at the top of the tallest tower.
  • Everyone Is a Super: At the end of Volume 2 most of the evidence seems to point towards the fact that everyone has Aura and can have it unlocked by an active Aura user and most do so. Remnant is a Death World after all. But, like in the real world, not everyone trains themselves to the bone to become a killing machine that would make most, but not all, Slayers go green with envy and, most importantly, the majority of people on Remnant are neither adrenaline junkies or just plain nuts, which is an actual requirement to become a Huntrer trainee. The Beacon Academy Initiation is proof of that.
  • Exact Words: Ruby pulls this on Dr. Oobleck in "Search and Destroy". When he reprimands her for disobeying his instructions to leave all bags back at Beacon, she retaliates by saying that he never gave the instruction for them to listen to him.
    Oobleck (to self): She's not wrong..
  • 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. Which is not to say that they don't look pretty damn awesome.
  • Extranormal Institute: Beacon. Possibly Signal, if the fact that Ruby made Crescent Rose herself and learned how to fight with it while studying there is any indication.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Played with. According to Blake, White Fang's new direction actually caused Faunus to be treated as equals... but out of fear, not respect. In addition, Weiss turns out to be right in accusing the White Fang of the recent Dust thefts, but only to the extent that they're actually just hired muscle.
  • Evil Laugh: While inside a holding cell, Torchwick gives a sinister chuckle directly to the camera in "Breach".
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The endings show silhouettes of various characters each episode, usually whoever was most prominent that episode, or sometimes whoever was seen last before the credits roll.
    • Volume 2's feature fan art of the characters.
  • Eye Cam:
    • Episode 4 starts with Ren waking up in this perspective, greeted by Nora.
    • In "No Brakes", after being knocked unconscious, Yang comes to as the camera switches to first-person, where we see Yang blinking and disoriented as she watches the Samurai exit via portal.
  • Eyedscreen: Almost constantly during the initial Grimm encounter in Vol.2 Episode 9.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: The scrolls, which are collapsible, holographic tablets that not only allow users to access the Aura percentage of themselves and their teammates, but also allows them to stream video from cameras as well as send and receive calls.
  • Eye Scream: One of the giant snakes that attacks Ren gets one of its own fangs shoved through its eye.

    Tropes F-M 
  • Faceless Masses: In Volume 1, characters in the background simply appear as black silhouettes. Averted in Volume 2, however.
  • Face Palm
  • Fairytale Motifs:
  • 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.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: According to Professor Oobleck's lecture, Faunus used to be confined to the city of Menagerie. Their aversion to the idea triggered the Faunus War.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Little Bit Beastly characters, referred to as "Faunus" have Civil Rights protests with signs saying that they are not animals. 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.
    • Shown in Episode 11 when Team CRDL bully Velvet (a rabbit faunus) in the cafeteria. Yang comments that it must be hard being a faunus, as nobody defends her. In fact, Team CRDL as a whole seems to be made of Fantastic Racists. Russel calls Velvet 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.
    • On the other side, some Faunus are part of a terrorist-style group whose members seem really eager to wipe out humans/end human rule.
  • Fantasy World Map: The world of Remnant.
  • Fastball Special:
    • In Episode 8, Pyrrha flings Nora into the air with her shield. The push upward is assisted by Nora's rocket hammer, and so is her descent towards the stinger embedded on the Death Stalker's head.
    • Which is followed by Team RWBY taking it even further, using Blake's Gambol Shroud and Weiss's Gravity Manipulation as a slingshot to launch Ruby at the Giant Nevermore.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 11, Oobleck uses his thermos/flamethrower/bludgeon hybrid to launch Zwei and destroy a White Fang mech.
  • Feminist Fantasy: RWBY an action-oriented series focused on an Academy of Adventure where students train to become Hunters or Huntresses. The cast are all loosely based on various Fairy Tales, with Little Red Riding Hood starring as scythe-wielding Action Girl Ruby, Snow White as Lady of War Weiss, Goldilocks as Cute Bruiser Yang, and Beauty as Ninja Blake. The cast primarily consists of women, all capable warriors in their own right and respected as equals by their male peers. It also features references to warrior women from mythology, in the forms of Pyrrha Nikos (Amazons) and Nora Valkyrie. According to Word of God, they intentionally avoided panty shots even when the heroines are jumping and flipping around in short skirts.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With the exception of Ruby and Yang, nobody in Team RWBY seemed particularly thrilled at the prospect of working with each other. They start to become a cohesive team after their trial-by-fire in the Emerald Woods, though tension between Weiss and Blake persists until the end of volume 1.
  • Flash Step:
    • Blake seems to use this as part of her fighting style. Watch her fight against Roman Torchwick in Vol.1 Episode 16; the "shadow" she leaves behind suggests this trope.
    • A slight variation of this happens in Vol.2 Episode 8. After Ruby tells Professor Ozpin, Glynda, and General Ironwood about details she saw in the previous episode while fighting an intruder, the Professor tells her to be discreet about explaining the situation. After returning to her room, Weiss, Yang, and Blake are standing on the far side of the room, and all three nearly instantaneously pop up in front of her with a whoosh sound to ask her what happened.
  • 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.
  • Flynning: In Vol.2 Episode 5, Pyrrha's and Jaune's "training" amounts to striking and attacking their swords. However, this trope is Downplayed as Pyrrha goes for a leg sweep at the end of the fight.
  • Food Fight: A literal food fight breaks out between Team RWBY and Team JNPR in the first episode of Volume 2. And it was epic.
  • 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. 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 for the Nevermore which appears in the next episode. Played with slightly in that the Nevermore does look to be as huge as its feathers would imply — in fact, the feather that appeared first was smaller than the ones it threw at Ruby.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ruby's trailer is primarily a 'White' setting, while Weiss' trailer is primarily 'Black'. Blake's trailer is predominantly black and red as per Adam's colour-scheme. However, her eyes are yellow, and her trailer ends with the camera zooming away from her as she turns into silhouette and disappears. Yang's first proper appearance in the Yang trailer is the exact opposite of Blake's ending - the camera zooms in on her approaching silhouette that transforms into full detail. Her setting rotates through all four colours in relation to which character the song is about.
    • Listen closely when Pyrrha pins Jaune to the lockers. When she pulls her spear back, you can hear a magnetic hum.
    • Jaune is obviously behind the others from the outset. He didn't design his weapons, which are low-tech family heirlooms. Glynda confirms it by voicing her fears that Jaune's application transcript does not match the reality of his abilities, which are too low for Beacon's entry requirements. He faked his transcripts. He has no combat history at all.
    • Blake's trailer has Adam and Blake raiding a train full of Dust sporting the Schnee logo, setting up the show's plot of the Schnee corporation's monopoly on Dust mining and sales, the Dust-theft and hoarding by White Fang faunus, and the direct history of violence between the Schnee and White Fang organisations. Events regarded by the villains as "Phase 1" of their end-game.
    • In Blake's trailer, she and Adam discuss humans as if they're excluded from that race. She is critical of Schnee labour practices. She gets offended when Faunus are insulted or bullied, her ear-shaped hair bow twitches subtlety twitch like cat ears. She knows a lot about historical faunus/human conflict. She's confirmed to be a White Fang cat-faunus during an argument with the anti-White Fang Weiss.
    • Weiss and Blake's argument about who is responsible for all the dust-thefts in Vale centres on whether it's Roman Torchwick or White Fang. It's both, Roman and the White Fang are working together.
    • When the teams were launched into the forest, Blake was conspicuously absent. Since that entire sequence was about showing off everyone's abilities, the audience was confused as to why we didn't get to see her landing strategy. As it turns out, this was because it was a spoiler: She landed on all fours. Y'know, like a cat.
    • Adam is mentioned a few times throughout Volume 2; Blake is drawing a sketch of him in "Best Day Ever", and in "Mountain Glenn" she talks about him and how she left the White Fang after seeing how evil he had become. These all lead up to his eventual return and apparent collusion with the villains in the final episode.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Ruby is Phlegmatic. Yang is Sanguine. Weiss is Choleric. Blake is Melancholic.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Torchwick 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.
    • A cave drawing of a scorpion fighting stick men is on the wall on either side of the hole Jaune and Pyrrha enter to find the temple and rouse the Deathstalker.
    • Blake's bow twitches slightly when she sees Ruby fall from the sky. Because, underneath the bow, she has cat ears.
    • Nora's grenades have hearts on the front of them.
    • In Episode 9, the names 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. If you pause on the part where Blake accidentally spills her stuff on the floor, you'll notice she has "Shi-nee" toothpaste.
    • 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.
    • When Jaune turns on Cardin and throws the sap at him, Lark used Dove as a human shield. You can see Dove shrug him off behind Cardin.
    • In Episode 16, when Penny cuts the Bullheads in half with lazer beams, the RWBYsaurus can very briefly be seen falling along with the others. It's visible for about a quarter of a second during a very Gun Porn-esque scene, and it wasn't discovered until four months later, after Monty made a tweet saying that no one noticed it yet. Also, Penny's swords aren't swords in that scene.
    • In the warehouse in Vol.2 Episode 1, when Roman grouphugs Mercury and Emerald, you can see Roman and Emerald's hands brushing past each other's pockets. Roman's hand sweeps past Emerald's back pocket for the paper, while Emerald's sweeps past Roman's left jacket pocket for his lighter. Bonus points for both of them reaching for the place they thought they had their item in.
    • Earlier in the episode, Ruby really did appropriate Weiss's Vytal Festival activities binder for her own "Best Day Ever" plans.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 3, the boxes that Ruby knocks over while chasing Penny are labeled "Breakable Things". Also, pay close attention during Ruby and Penny's conversation at the CCT and you'll see Cardin Winchester walking past in the background.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 7, Neptune admits that he can't dance; during the montage at the end, you can briefly see Neptune dancing, and it's true: he can't.
  • 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 a very...difficult...childhood."
  • 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.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The team names, which are apparently officially given by Ozpin upon completion of the initiation phase:
    • RWBY (pronounced "Ruby" note ) stands for Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang. It conveniently covers their colour schemes, too (Red, White, Black, Yellow).
    • JNPR (pronounced "Juniper") stands for Jaune, Nora, Pyrrha, Ren.
    • CRDL (pronounced "Cardinal") stands for Cardin, Russel, Dove, Lark. The team name covers both the team's bird and Christian themes.
    • CFVY (pronounced "Coffee") stands for Coco, Fox, Velvet, Yatsuhashi.
    • Inverted with the headmaster. The Wizard of Oz's full name formed the acronym O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D. That was used to create the name of the Beacon head, Ozpin.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The Netflix captions feature a number of typos and goofs. Most of them are fairly prosaic, but don't be drinking something when you read the line "Brothers of the White Fang, why are you eating this scum?"
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In the Volume 2 premiere, Sun is talking to Neptune about how the students at Beacon are "the coolest." Not more than two seconds later, Jaune is seen tossed at the window as Sun and Neptune walk by, unaware of the food fight going on in the cafeteria.
    • In Painting the Town..., when Ruby is answering Blake's call for help, the dumpster behind Ruby is boarded up after her hearing squeaks inside it earlier.
    • In Field Trip, while the focus is on Weiss and Ruby watching Yang read her father's letter, Blake can be seen creeping around on Ruby's bunk bed, irritably watching the dog as he barks cheerfully up at her.
  • Gatling Good: Coco's main weapon, built into a ladies' handbag.
  • Genki Girl:
    • Nora Valkyrie. The other girls all have their moments too.
    • Ruby acts this way towards weapons as evidenced in Episode 2.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Blake is a girl, and Dove and Sky of Team CRDL are boys. Another example is Scarlet, although due to an androgynous appearance and no appearances yet in the show, it's only speculation that Scarlet is male.
  • Gender Flip: According to this post by Monty Oum, the inspirations for each member of team JNPR all disguised themselves as the opposite gender. This suggests that Jaune, Pyrrha, Nora, and Ren are respectively based off Joan of Arc, Achillesnote , Thornote , and Mulan.
  • 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 a Lonely Piano Piece. It's a pretty good song.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • "You're... a huntress? Can I have your autograph!?" (Cut to Ruby being reprimanded by her hero.)
    • "We can do this. We've never backed down before and we're not going to start now. Besides, it won't only be us out there. We'll be fighting alongside a genuine Huntsman!" (Cut to team RWBY's Mass "Oh, Crap!" when they realize said huntsman is Doctor Oobleck).
  • Gratuitous German/Bilingual Bonus: Weiss is the German word for White (weiß) while Schnee means Snow. Also an aversion of No Pronunciation Guide; 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.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: In Vol. 2 Episode 5, Ruby and Yang are leaning in from off-screen to watch Jaune serenade Weiss. Both are at an impossible angle. Ruby notices this near the end of the scene and promptly falls over.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Faunus rights conflict and the unnamed war Jaune's great-great-grandfather took part in, which may be the same conflict.
  • Green Rocks: Dust's original form. Given that Dust can be multiple colours, it actually looks like jewelry in this state.
  • Green Rooming: Adam, Junior and the Malachite twins are introduced in the trailers (Black and Yellow respectively). Junior and the twins finally enter the show in Vol. 2 Episode 4, while Adam doesn't appear at all until the very end of Volume 2.
  • Groin Attack: In the Yellow trailer, Yang interrogates Junior by grabbing him by the testicles and continually squeezing.
  • Ground Pound: Done by Yang in her trailer.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: An aversion straight out of the Evil Overlord handbook. In Season 2, Episode 11, when a guard sees an unusual red something on the back of the train, he does not go look around the corner. He immediately gets his phone out and radios in an intruder. (He still gets knocked out, but the message is received.)
  • Gunship Rescue: This tactic is used in Episode 1 for Roman Torchwick to escape his attacker. The twist is that Torchwick is the villain and he is being attacked by the main protagonist for trying to rob a shop.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • Vol.2 Episode 9 has both Blake and Ruby taking out Grimm by doing questionably clean bisections.
    • "Breach" has Coco using her minigun to bisect a giant Grimm eagle that topples to the ground.
  • Has Two Mommies: Penny was made by her "father" in collaboration with General Ironwood.
  • Hate Sink: Cardin was meant to be disliked, with his constant bullying of Jaune and Velvet. His blackmailing Jaune to do his school work has made many a fan want Nora and/or Pyrrha to go through with her threat of breaking his legs. Considering he was named after the man who oversaw the trial and execution of Joan of Arc, this outcome was most likely 100% intentional.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Team RWBY and Zwei the puppy. (Except Blake.)
  • 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.'
  • Heroic BSOD: Ruby suffers one in episode Vol.2 Episode 6, after they fail to convince Blake to go to the dance in the previous episode. Yang tells her that Blake will be going one way or another, and ends up convincing her to go.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: In episode 11 of season 2, Roman and his goons are unable to hit Ruby while she's fleeing from them towards her friends.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Cinder and her allies' plan is so far unknown to both Team RWBY and the audience.
  • How We Got Here: The seventh episode ends with Ruby falling from the sky. The eighth starts by showing exactly where Ruby fell from. How she and Weiss got up there in first place, however, is never shown.
  • 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 some (if not all) people have unique powers called Semblances, like Ruby's speed, Weiss's usage of glyphs and Pyrrha's magnetic abilities.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • From Episode 7:
      Weiss: I'm not bossy! Don't say things like that!
    • Followed by the beginning of Episode 8:
      Yang: [flares up, with her eyes turning red] I can't take it anymore! Can everyone just chill out for two seconds before something crazy happens again!?
    • Episode 4 of the second season has Yang disdain Weiss for making a pun, complaining it wasn't very good...after she said she always kicks her semesters off with a Yang in the first episode of the season.
  • I Call It "Vera": Ruby's Crescent Rose — the only explicitly character-given weapon name so far.
    • Every other main character's weapon has been named elsewhere, but Ruby is the only one who treats her weapon with quite that level of affection.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Referenced verbatim in "Red Like Roses Part 2":
    I didn't have a choice, I did what I had to do
    I made a sacrifice but forced a bigger sacrifice on you
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Ruby sort of tinkers with this trope: while she does want to become a Huntress, she isn't comfortable with becoming a Huntress-in-training two years early. (She wants to be special in a normal way, not special in a special way.) She also gave us this famous quote which doubles as this trope's page quote:
    "I don't want to be the bee's knees, okay? I don't want to be any kind of knees! I just want to be a normal girl with normal knees!"
    • Pyrrha is another example: for a long time, all she ever knew was combat, no social skills, no relationships, nothing like that. As such, people only recognized her for her accomplishments, rather than who she really is. Due to this, everybody she ever met had her placed on a pedestal, and never bothered to interact with her because, in their eyes, Pyrrha was just too good for them. But when Jaune comes along, he knew nothing about her, and even when he was told of Pyrrha's fame, he still treated her like anybody else. This is one of the reasons why she has a crush on him.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Seen in Vol. 2 Chapter 11, where Torchwick and more than five or so mooks fail to shoot a running Ruby, with her somehow maneuvering through all of the rounds fired without a scratch and with her back turned. No wonder Torchwick got so upset.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon:
    • The named characters' weapons include Ruby's Rifle-Scythe, Weiss's magic-casting Revolver-Rapier, Blake's Killer Yo-Yo-Katana with a sharpened scabbard, a Rifle-Katana, Yang's paired Shotgun-Gauntlets, a missile launcher that turns into a club, and one particular weapon that transforms into a sword, rifle, and a spear that flies with the rifle's recoil.
    • Episode 16 introduces Sun Wukong's Bo staff, which splits into a pair of Nunchucks that also function as sawed-off shotguns. Just imagine if Bruce Lee had those when he was alive.
    • Coco carries a ladies' bag — that unfolds into an enormous gatling gun.
    • Raven wields a sword that's about as long as her legs, in a sheath that appears to contain enough Dust for a dozen of Weiss's Myrtenasters. And it can create portals out of thin air! Though, that could just be her Semblance, but she seems to use the sword to do it, similar to Weiss needing Myrtenaster to create her glyphs.
    • So far, the only characters who don't have multi-use weapons are Jaune with his basic sword-and-shield combo, and the Malachite sisters', whose weapons are merely bladed shoes and a pair of claws. Don't let that diminish their threat level, though.
  • Improvised Catapult: How Nora gets Jaune to the far side of the broken bridge in Players and Pieces.
  • Improvised Weapon: A bunch in the first episode of Volume 2. All food-based.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Ruby says that she wants to kick the semester off with a bang, to which Yang replies that she likes to kick her semesters off with a Yang. Everyone present groans. Even the background music reacts temporarily.
      Nora: [throwing a tomato at Yang] Boo.
    • Weiss, surprisingly, makes one after Torchwick and his latest minion escape in "Painting the Town". Even more amusingly, it's Yang who's most annoyed by it (apparently, there's a time and a place for jokes).
    Weiss: Was this not it?
    Yang: No, it just wasn't very good.
  • The Infiltration: Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald do this in Volume 2 when they infiltrate Beacon Academy.
  • Innate Night Vision: According to "Jaunedice (Part 1)", many Faunus possess this trait.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • By Word of God, Dust is not magic.
    • By word of Weiss, that's not a dress she's wearing, it's a "combat skirt." Ruby agrees.
    • Neptune is not a nerd. He's an intellectual.
    • It's Doctor Oobleck. He didn't earn his PhD for fun, thank you very much!
  • I Resemble That Remark:
    Weiss: I'm not bossy! Don't say things like that!
  • Irony:
    • When Glynda says to Jaune "We wouldn't want you to be gobbled up by a Beowolf, now, would we?", Cardin says "speak for yourself." Jaune later personally saves Cardin from being eaten by an Ursa, despite weeks of torment of many students, Jaune especially, and him trying to get Jaune to throw Rapier Wasps at his friend. If Jaune had Cardin's attitude, he'd be Ursa chow.
    • Episode 2:
      Ruby: [falling onto Weiss's luggage] I don't know what I'm doing.
      Weiss: [standing over Ruby] What are you doing?
  • It Can Think: The creatures of Grimm are generally mindless, but grow more powerful as they age, and sometimes intelligence is among the strengths they develop. The most powerful Grimm are smart enough to avoid humans rather than attack outright, allowing themselves to continue growing powerful (aside from surviving, of course).
  • Jiggle Physics:
    • In Yang's trailer, her breasts can be clearly seen bouncing around when she reloads her Shotgun-Gauntlets. So far, this continues in the series itself.
    • This was applied to Professor Port's belly too, which could easily count as Fan Disservice.
    • The improved character rigging for Volume 2 suggests this will be more common when it makes sense given the character and the costume: Glynda demonstrates it when she barges in after the Food Fight.
  • Jump Scare: In "Field Trip"; when Ruby opens the door to Team RWBY's room after talking with Ozpin, Weiss, Yang, and Blake suddenly rush up to the camera so quickly that it can easily be startling.
  • Ki Attacks: All living things can generate an Aura, which is basically the equivalent of Ki and allows:
  • Lady of Black Magic: Glynda and Cinder.
  • Lady in Red: Pyrrha at the school dance in "Dance Dance Infiltration".
  • Lady of War: Weiss, Blake and Pyrrha are a few heroic examples. A villainous example is Neopolitan.
  • La Résistance: The group known as White Fang may be this.
  • Land Of Dragons: Implied, given the fact that Ren is basically a boy version of an Anime Chinese Girl, as well as Yang's exceedingly Chinese name.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others/Odd Name Out: The names of the four alt outfits for the RWBY crew are Slayer (Ruby), Intruder (Blake), Hunter (Yang) and SnowPea (Weiss). Hilariously lampshaded in this comic.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Ruby is the red-clad main character. The two most significant villains have also had red themes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Team CFVY's entrance into the fray in the season 2 finale has three members use their weapons in battle, the lone exception being Velvet (the faunus Cardin was bullying back in season 1, whose weapon was the source of heavy speculation among the fandom), who was walking around with a small briefcase-looking item. Just when it seems she's about to use it, Coco stops her.
    "Hey, come on, you've spent all semester building that up. Don't waste it here."
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Ruby dashes off to fight the Death Stalker in episode 8. She's promptly smacked by it for her trouble.
    • Jaune's also fond of suicidal charges. He seems to have grown out of this by the Volume 2 finale.
  • Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Vale. Averted with the world at large.
  • Left the Background Music On:
    • Inverted in the "Black" trailer; the robot voice saying "Intruder - identify yourself" is actually from the song "From Shadows".
    • 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.
    • Returns again when Yang returns to the club, and the record starts skipping until the fearful DJ pulls up the needle.
    • Happens again in Episode 1; Ruby is listening to the opening theme during the robbery. There's even some distortion as she lowers her headphones to respond to the mook and the music ends with an audible click when she switches them off while posing in front of the store.
  • 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 that 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.
    • "Red Like Roses - Part II" plays as the two teams begin fighting the Deathstalker and Nevermore in earnest.
    • An orchestral rendition of "This Will Be the Day" plays as Jaune fights the Ursa in Episode 14.
    • A short snippet of "Red Like Roses" can be heard in Episode 16, when Ruby shows up at the docks and confronts Roman Torchwick.
    • The motifs during the food fight in "Best Day Ever" change depending on which main character is in focus. "Mirror, Mirror" and the end of "Red Like Roses Part I" are the more distinct ones that can be heard.
    • Roman Torchwick's theme. It's subtle and underscored, but if you listen closely, you notice that the music sounds like a darker rendition of certain parts of "Red Like Roses 1 & II".
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: When Weiss is hit with the pie in "Best Day Ever", the boisterous theme sputters and crashes to a halt.
  • Life Meter: Hunter and Huntresses can use their auras as personal force fields, justifying their toughness. As damage accrues, the shield starts losing energy; get it low enough and things will start to be lethal again. This trope comes into play with devices that can gauge one's remaining aura strength, making it look like an actual video game Life Meter to spectators and participants. In combat tournaments, officials may step in and stop the battle once one's Aura Gauge reaches the red zone.
  • Light Is Good: Aura is depicted as a shimmering ring of (personally coloured) light around the person channeling it. Of course, most Grimm are so dark in colour they look like living shadows.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Roman Torchwick wears a long, white coat but is definitely on the villain side.
    • To a lesser extent, Weiss is the meanest of the main characters.
  • 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. Though both of these were changed in Volume 2.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Being based in a school environment and having a cross-cultural school festival/tournament on the horizon means that a lot of characters were introduced very quickly, with room for many more in the future. By the end of Volume 1 alone there were 26 named and 3 unnamed characters, with the Volume 2 opening credits introducing an extra 6 unnamed characters.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Vol.2 Episode 8, Professor Ozpin, of all people, lets Team RWBY take on a mission in the southeast quadrant, where some suspicious activity is taking place. They originally weren't allowed to because it's normally not open to first year students. But he figures since they're going to end up there anyway, he'll allow the rules to be bent slightly so they can go there to investigate.
    • In the following episode, we have this exchange:
      Oobleck: From this point forward, you have to do exactly as I say. Do you understand?
      Team RWBY: *nod*
      Oobleck: Ruby, I thought I told you to leave all your bags back at school.
      Ruby: But you didn't tell us to listen to you yet. So I didn't.
      Oobleck: ...she's not wrong.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Bizarre, gibbering monsters of unknown origins and unknown motivations wage war on humanity, which are sequestered in four little pinpricks of safety, barely able to break out of this seige. What do we get out of this dark tale? Four Action Girls ready to stab the monsters in the face!
  • Love Dodecahedron: Volume 2, hoo boy. Pyrrha likes Jaune, Jaune likes Weiss, Weiss likes Neptune, and Neptune likes anything in a skirt...
  • Lyrical Cold Open: On the soundtrack, "Shine" starts out with nothing but Casey Lee Williams' vocals.
  • 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.
  • Made of Explodium: Dust is extremely volatile. It can explode from being sneezed on.
  • Magic A Is Magic A:
    • Dust is a crystalline substance that can be used naturally, requiring great discipline to control, or artificially, with greater ease. It possesses four basic attributes, but artificial and naturally occurring combinations are possible. In powder form, it's very volatile, but can be harnessed in stable ways. It has been incorporated into all levels of technology from weapons and ammunition to being woven into clothing. It can also be fused directly with people (although it's the old fashioned way of doing it).
    • Aura is a physical manifestation of the soul that can empower both humans and faunus with training. It can block damage, enhance senses, empower weapons, heal damage and activate dust. Even animals possess aura. Only Monsters of Grimm do not.
    • A Semblance is an ability related to an awakened Aura that manifests in ways unique to each individual. There are a wide variety of Semblances from Super Speed to Instant Runes to Selective Magnetism. It's an ability Huntsmen and Huntresses incorporate into their arsenal of skills and powers.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Dust, according to Kerry and Miles during their RTX panel.
  • Magic Feather: Inverted in "Forever Fall, Pt.2". Jaune believes he killed an Ursa with nothing but his own skill, but Pyrrha was actually helping him from the background. She, Ruby and Weiss decide to not tell him. Given the fact that at the end of the episode, he accepts Pyrrha's offer for extra training, he more probably thinks that he just got lucky.
  • 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.
    • In "Burning the Candle", Ren apparently uses a Magic Towel.
    • In-Universe, Weiss refers to her attire as a "combat skirt", suggesting that it's deliberately designed as a magic skirt to avoid embarrassment during battles.
  • Magitek: Technology appears to be powered by Dust.
  • Male Gaze:
  • 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.
  • Match Cut:
    • Tons of them in the volume 2 opening, used to interchange between the different members of Team RWBY engaged in battle or running.
    • Near the end of "Burning the Candle", a white rose that Jaune drops on the ground after seeing Weiss asking Neptune to the dance fades seamlessly into a drooping white rose amongst a bouquet at the dance. Perhaps that droopy rose represents...something...
    • In "Breach", a shot of a pink cloud-filled sky fades into a shot of a yellow cloud-filled sky.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • In Vol.2 Episode 6, Pyrrha gives advice to Jaune on talking to Weiss about his feelings: "No ridiculous schemes, no pick-up lines. Just... be honest." The following episode, Jaune gives the exact same advice to Neptune.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 11, Ruby says the line "We're going to stop this train", and the line is repeated by Oobleck later in the same episode.
    • In the same episode, Weiss tells Blake to "go on ahead" when they're pitted up against the White Fang Lieutenant. Oobleck says the same command to Ruby atop the train and pitted up against incoming Paladins.
  • Midair Collision: Happens with Ruby and Jaune in Episode 8.
  • 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?" Cue Face Palm.
  • Minidress of Power:
    • Pyrrha 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.
    • Penny, Nora, Ruby, and Weiss also count as this (though as Weiss insists, it's a combat skirt).
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Do not damage Yang's hair, even in the slightest, if you value being in one piece and not on fire.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Atlasian Paladin, developed by the kingdom of Atlas in cooperation with the Schnee Dust Company, which allows human soldiers to fight alongside Atlas' Mecha-Mooks. Torchwick stole some for the White Fang, and used one to fight against team RWBY in "Painting the Town."
  • 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's 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 (which could either be a result of Dust ammunition, her Semblance, or a variation of the real world Dragon's Breath shotgun ammunition).
    • 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 that doubles as a scabbard. The shield's technically not a weapon, and the series is still young. Jaune takes down a fully-grown Ursa completely on his own in the Season 2 finale, when back in season 1 he did need a bit of help from Pyrrha.
    • And before that, we have the Malachite sisters in the "Yellow" trailer, who only have bladed heels or claws.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: In the dining hall, Nora throwing food for Yang to catch with her mouth escalates until Nora accidentally hits Weiss in the face with a custard pie. Team JNPR is shown with Ren covering his eyes, Pyrrha covering her mouth and Jaune covering one of his ears. Nora, meanwhile, points at Ren, passing the buck in a parody of the fourth monkey, 'Do no Evil'.
  • 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. The DVD version ended this episode with the more mellow leitmotif of Jaune and Pyrrha.
    • "Extracurricular" has Ruby, Weiss and Yang worrying about how Blake is too upset about Torchwick and the White Fang to bother sleeping or eating...to Jaune trying (and failing) to serenade Weiss into going to the dance with him.
    • In a meta/real life example, volumes 1 and 2 were added to Netflix...the day before Monty Oum's death.
  • Mook Chivalry: In Episode 1, Roman's mooks attack Ruby one at a time. Whenever human goons are smart enough to attack as a group, they usually get swept away with some kind of Spin Attack.
  • 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 that she is being robbed is priceless. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle followed by Torchwick bemoaning the incompetence of his minions. The opening song even begins to play as a mook spots her and the lyrics match the situation perfectly.
    They see you as small and helpless;
    They see you as just a child.
    Surprise when they find out that a warrior will soon run wild.
  • Multinational Team: Symbolically, at least. Each member of Team JNPR references an archetypal warrior from a different culture: Jaune is French, Pyrrha is Greek, Ren is East Asian and Nora is Nordic. Nonsymbolically, Pyrrha has confirmed she is from one of the other countries.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Mundane Utility: In Episode 9, Ruby uses Crescent Rose to hang up a curtain. And promptly slice it in two by accident as she turns around.
    • Prof. Oobleck's weapon transforms into a coffee thermos when he's not using it.
    • The Food Fight that kicks off Season 2 features boatloads of this from start to Glynda's using her powers to set things back up at the end.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Many characters don't look like they can even lift their weapons up, much less fight with them. Special mention goes to Ruby and Nora, who are both small but use huge polearm-based weapons, and Yang, who is tall but doesn't look like she can hit nearly as hard as she actually does - this is partially Hand Waved by explaining "Aura".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • In Best Day Ever:
      Ruby: Sisters! Friends! Weiss.
      Weiss: Hey!
    • in Welcome to Beacon:
      Sun: Ruby, Yang, Blake, Ice Queen.
      Weiss: Why does everyone keep calling me that?
    • In Painting the Town...:
      Roman: Ladies...Ice Queen...
      Weiss: Hey!
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Monty has stated in a previous animation that crows are "his own flavor" instead of Disturbed Doves.
    • 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.
    • Whenever the action goes into slow motion, they add a noise to the soundtrack using the same sound The Slow Mo Guys use to slow things down. Examples include a fight in ''Forever Fall part 2'', and a moment in Sun's introduction in The Stray.
    • Yang's decoration of choice is the Achievement Hunters Boy Band poster.
    • One brand of grape soda is called People Like Grapes.
    • Yet another reference to Achievement Hunter in the form of an "X-Ray and Vav" comic book that Jaune is reading in volume 2, chapter 2.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Named Weapons: Practically each and every weapon, although most are only known through Word of God.
    • 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".
    • Team JNPR's weapons are also named: Jaune's retractable shield/sword sheath is "Crocea Mors"; Pyrrha's sword/spear/rifle and shield are named "Miló" and "Akoúo̱" respectively; Nora's grenade launcher/hammer is "Magnhild"; and Ren's bladed submachine guns are named "Storm Flower".
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The Volume 2 trailer in spades, to the point that it may very well be parodying the trope given how quickly various moments in it were revealed in the show.
    • Ruby holds Weiss in Pieta style, with a Skyward Scream, and (clean) Team RWBY laughing in school cafeteria, but these were all part of the food fight sequence of the first episode with no real harm done to Weiss.
    • Several scenes have Team RWBY in their normal clothing, mainly Ruby & Penny and the Paladin fight; whereas in V2E3 and V2E4, they are wearing their alternate outfits. Of course, this might been to avert Trailers Always Spoil.
    • In the trailer, it looks like Cardin manages to hit Pyrrha with his mace, sending her flying. In V2E5, Pyrrha actually plans out using that blow to dodge a low sweep from another member of Team CRDL.
    • The final group shot scene in the trailer doesn't show up in the episode it seems to occur (V2E4). The closest to that scene is Ruby and Weiss' "Ice Flower" combo attack from the same episode.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Averted. Weiss's overuse of her Semblance in Episode 8 (during the Nevermore battle) makes her gasp for breath. The implication is that Semblance takes some kind of energy away from the caster. There's also a hint of this in "A Minor Hiccup" when Ruby carries Penny away from the soldiers chasing her for a short while before stumbling and dropping Penny. Maybe she dropped Penny because Penny is a robot and heavier than Ruby is expecting
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Yang, of all people, has one in "Painting the Town" after Weiss comes out with an Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • 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. She blames Ruby when it explodes.
    • The roof of Beacon has absolutely no railings or significant walls whatsoever, as shown in a hilarious yet mildly unnerving moment when Pyrrha takes Jaune up there.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • 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.
  • Not So Different: Blake's obsession with trying to stop Roman in Volume 2 leads her to research relentlessly to the point that she's losing sleep and won't do anything else. Yang relates to her a story of her searching for her mother when she was younger, and almost got killed by some monsters as a result were it not for her uncle saving her and Ruby. She then tells Blake that she hasn't stopped looking for her mother, but doesn't put that above living her life and spending time with her friends and family like the latter had been doing the last few days. Blake relents and decides to take it a little slower, and goes to the dance the next day.
  • Ocular Gushers: By both Ruby and Weiss in the board game scene in Vol. 2 Episode 2.
  • Odd Couple: All the pairs in "The First Step" end up being this, in some sense. Many are also Red Oni, Blue Oni. Childish Ruby with the know-it-all Weiss, hotheaded Yang with quiet Blake, The Ace Pyrrha with clumsy and incompetent Jaune, and the classic pairing of Genki Girl and Deadpan Snarker, Nora/Ren. The last one is lampshaded by Glynda.
  • Offhand Backhand: Done by Glynda to a couple of Grimm in "Breach".
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One of the animation gags in the first volume had characters leaving a dotted outline where they were previously standing before the camera angle changed.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Penny in Episode 16.
    • In the Red trailer Ruby destroys dozens of Beowolves. In the Black trailer Blake does the samenote  to dozens of Schnee robots.
  • Open Secret: Blake being a faunus tends to be this. Team RWBY knows, but it's revealed that so does JNPR, Ozpin (and probably the rest of the senior Beacon staff), Sun, Neptune, and from the way Sun was talking about Neptune spilling secrets, it doesn't look like it would stop there, and Torchwick and his mooks know since it was revealed during the fight with them.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Beings with souls (pretty much anything besides the Grimm) can have their Aura unlocked, manifesting the power of their souls in various way - see Ki Attacks above.
  • Out of Focus: As the secondary alpha team, Team JNPR are not in as many episodes so that the primary focus can remain on Team RWBY. By extension, the teachers only appear when plot-necessary or when a setting location requires them to be in the background (such as a scenes occurring during a lesson).
  • Personality Powers: Semblances run along this line, given they're an expression of the user's soul. Yang is a Boisterous Bruiser, so she becomes stronger as she takes hits straight on, Ruby is young and excitable, so she has Super Speed, etc. Blake later actually uses this trope on herself as she bitterly claims her ability to leave behind illusions shows it's in her nature to run from her problems.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Parodied in Volume 2. After Weiss is struck in the Food Fight, Ruby holds her like this. Cue Big "NO!".
  • Phony Degree: How Jaune got into Beacon (with the help of forged paperwork).
  • Pie in the Face: Weiss accidentally receiving one, courtesy of Nora, is what kicks off the epic Food Fight in "Best Day Ever".
  • Pinned to the Wall: Jaune has this happened to him twice, both by Pyrrha's spear. Both are also non-lethal; she only hits his hood. And the second time was to save him from his lack of a landing strategy.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Jaune Arc seems like he will become this, due to his airsickness 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 him he does not belong at Beacon. He may be moving away from it as he gets more Character Development (taking out a giant Grimm almost single-handedly helps), although he'll likely never shake it completely.
  • 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.
  • Precious Puppy: Ruby's and Yang's father, Tai Yang, sent over Zwei, and Ruby and Weiss gush over how adorable it is.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The non-trailer, non-remix variant of "I Burn" featured a guest verse by Lamar Hall that included the only f-bombs in the Volume 1 soundtrack. Then it got censored.
    • "Red Like Roses" part II has a Gosh Darn It to Heck! variant.
  • Prepare to Die: In "Breach", Coco uses this as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner against a Beowolf.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: In the Volume 2 opening, Professors Port and Oobleck, Team CRDL, Velvet, Sun, Penny, Junior and the Malachite sisters from the "Yellow" trailer.
  • Protagonist Title: Slight variant; Ruby Rose inspires the name of the first episode, not the series.
    • In a way, it can be considered as such as team RWBY is the main group and it is an acronym of its members.
  • Properly Paranoid: A short way into Volume 2, Ozpin and Goodwitch express concern at General Ironwood bringing what's essentially an entire army to Vale for "security" reasons. Ironwood is shown to be completely correct when the White Fang cause Grimm to pour into Vale, helping out the Beacon students that are currently fighting them off.
  • Punny Name:
    • From Dust Till Dawn, a Dust shop whose owner has become a recurring character.
    • And Roman Torchwick (as in Roman candle) whose weapon is a firework launcher.
  • Reaction Shot:
    • A quick one by the robot guards in the "Black" trailer after Adam takes out the first one.
    • A great nonhuman one from the pair of ursae in Episode 6 after Yang notices a strand of her hair floating down.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Episode 8 shows 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.
    • The girls decide to leave Zwei in their room for a week since he has plenty of food and a can opener. Ruby takes him with her because he's still a dog and can't be left alone.
    • Volume 2 Episode 10: Ruby is unarmed when up against two White Fang Mooks. She's knocked to the ground in one punch and KO'ed once she's on the ground. Considering her performance in earlier fights, it's possible the fall she took just before either gave her a concussion or depleted her aura.
    • In the aftermath and Volume 2 Episode 12 it's revealed that most of the White Fang soldiers in the tunnel didn't survive the events in the underground tunnel. This leads to Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald discussing the very real possibility that the remaining White Fang will refuse to take part in their other plans... before Adam, a high-ranking White Fang member and Blake's former mentor, steps in and assures them otherwise.
    • One that applies across the series: When the girls are fighting alone or challenge powerful opponents to one-on-one fights, they tend to get in trouble or even straight-up lose, especially against much more experienced foes. Particularly notable during the Dwindling Party sequence in "No Brakes" where both Weiss and Yang get their asses thoroughly kicked by the opponents they stop to face. Its only when they work together that RWBY is able to get the upper hand on stronger, tougher, more experienced, and better-armed foes. Also, Ozpin, acting like a typical fantasy teacher, chooses to send the first-year RWBY on a mission that's intended for students well beyond their skill level, to prove themselves - they fail in large part because of their inexperience, and Ozpin faces political disgrace for his decision.
    • Jaune is an inexperienced, undertrained young man with lots of determination. Instead of making him a Determinator, this ends up getting him into situations where he's at risk of being seriously injured or even killed, sometimes hampering others in the process. His voice actor describes it as his biggest flaw.
  • Recoil Boost:
    • 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.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Subverted with Ruby, who is actually a good-hearted character.
  • Repeat Cut:
    • Used as Ren destroyed the black head of the King Taijitu.
    • Ruby's initial "encounter" with the giant Nevermore during her team's Combination Attack gets a triple take. Weiss's ice attack a few seconds earlier gets a double.
    • Used repeatedly during the first Grimm encounter in "Search and Destroy".
  • The Rest Shall Pass: This occurs multiple times during "No Brakes":
    • Yang fights Neo in the first carriage so the others can go on ahead, and is almost killed.
    • Then Weiss fights the White Fang Lieutenant, so Blake can fight Torchwick.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified/The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Both averted when it comes to the White Fang. Their (original) goal of advocating Faunus rights was laudable but a change in leadership turned them into a violent, criminal, terrorist organization that even other Faunus dislike. At the same time, the bigotry and prejudice that provided a reason for the group's formation still exists, and a former member grudgingly admits that their new violent attitude did result in humans treating Faunus better.
  • Robotic Reveal: Penny to Ruby at the end of "A Minor Hiccup".
  • 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.
    • Downplayed with most of CRDL. Other than Cardin, they so far have not been important, to the point where we haven't even seen their weapons outside of the Volume 2 opening. On the other hand, their styles are more generic than other characters.
    • Averted as of Volume 2, with bystanders no longer being rendered as mere black silhouettes and are now about as detailed as plot-important characters.
  • 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, and in the first episode of Volume 2 he is thrown into a window off screen right before the Food Fight breaks out.
    • Weiss being flabbergasted by someone FlashStepping in front of her. Her response is always a taken aback "Hey!" She even cuts in with it during the song Dream Come True when it calls her "uptight".
    • Everybody being greeted normally with the exception of Weiss, with most characters calling her Ice Queen.
  • Sailor Earth: Monty has come up with rules on how to name original characters.
  • Saying Too Much: How Blake lets slip that she is a faunus. See Episode 15's Wham Line.
  • Scary Scorpions: While in a dark cave, Jaune mistakes a giant scorpion's glowing stinger for a relic he and Pyrrha were looking for. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Schizo Tech: 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, holographic tablets, and tiltjet ("Airjet") transports.
  • Scooby Stack: Team JNPR forms one in episode 9 while eavesdropping on Team RWBY. Since Jaune is on the bottom, they eventually fall on him.
  • Set Swords to Stun: Whenever the protagonists employ sharp weapons against other humans, they either use this or just hit with the blunt part (one example being the opposite end of the blade of Crescent Rose, Ruby's weapon). It's unclear if they intentionally use this against their more Badass opponents, since they can usually deflect their attacks one way or another. Averted for robots, monsters, and the like.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • The defeat of the Nevermore:
      Yang: Well, that was a thing.
    • In Vol. 2, Episode 6:
      Sun: So is Blake still being all... Blakey?
    • In Vol. 2, Episode 9:
      Oobleck: My dear, we're not just looking for an underground crime network, we're looking for an underground crime network!
  • Ship Tease:
    • During the Crew Chat in October, the crew stated that they enjoy watching fan shipping and 'Bumblebee' note  was popular among them.
    • When asked about Ozpin and Glynda, they went into full 'we're not telling' mode.
    • Some have pointed out that the 4 partner pairings between RWBY and JNPR also work very well for romantic pairings of various dynamics, contributing to the shipping.
    • During Animating RT, a panel held in Melbourne, an audience member asked about what would happen with Jaune and Pyrrha. Monty responded "Stuff." The audience member then states that he knew he'd get that answer, and he didn't know why he asked it in the first place. Go to 1:22:12.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In Vol.2 Episode 11, after being subdued by Blake, Torchwick attempts to convince her they're on the same side. Blake listens at first, but the moment she sees Weiss on the ropes, she knocks Torchwick out cold and rushes off to help.
  • Sigil Spam: Several examples of different uses, since pretty much every significant character has a specific symbol associated with them. For reference, the Volume 1 credits after each episode (except for the finale) show silhouettes of the characters and their corresponding symbols.
    • 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. Nora's symbol is on the back of her shirt and her hair brush she was using in her introduction. Pyrrha's symbol appears on the buckle of her sash and the way she stores her spear and shield make her symbol on her back.
    • Weiss' 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. It's probably a family crest.
    • 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.
    • Cinder's is tattooed on her back. In Torchwick's case, a pumpkin face is carved at the end of his cane.
  • Significant Background Event: In a quick shot at the top of the roof; one sees Cardin in the window right below.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Red Like Roses." The page quote is the entire lyrics of the song.
  • Smug Smiler: Neo during her fight with Yang in Volume 2 Episode 11.
  • 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 of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: According to the production diary, Monty himself makes sure that every weapon featured in the series has its own unique set of sounds.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Played for laughs at the end of the first episode, which has the airship flying to Beacon with a suitably uplifting music, except our protagonists are freaking out over Jaune vomiting on Yang's shoes.
    • Taken in the opposite direction with the Season 2 food fight. The music is deadly serious. The action it underpins most decidedly is not.
  • 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 Volume 1 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 Volume 2 opening continues the trend, showing new characters and making their affiliations pretty clear. As with Volume 1, the end credits of the final episode also reveal the name of a 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.
    Ozpin: Do not hesitate to destroy anything in your path... or you will die.
  • Split Screen: Throughout the initial Grimm encounter in Vol.2 Episode 9, as well as Oobleck's subsequent interrogation of Yang.
  • Squee: Ruby has a tendency to do this; see her character entry.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Beowolves are Grimm. By using a scythe on them...Ruby is a Grimm Reaper.
    • In the pilot, when the camera first pans to Ruby in the dust store she's reading a magazine called "Weapons". Thus making it "Weapons Magazine".
    • Yang has a hair-triggered temper.
    • Vale = Veil = Curtain. Where is the great and powerful Ozpin?
    • In the episode No Brakes, Yang says "I guess this is what we've trained for". Whilst on a train.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky:
    • Used by team RWBY as the temple collapses around them.
    • Blake in particular, as everyone else uses their weapons to propel themselves to a safe place, while Blake runs straight up a pillar.
    • Weiss's glyph Semblance allows her to create these at will.
  • Stock Scream: The classic Wilhelm scream makes an appearance in Volume 2 Chapter 11. Strangely, it's actually layered over another much more natural-sounding scream.
  • Stock Sound Effects: A jackhammer is heard while team RWBY turns their 4 beds into 2 bunk beds.
  • The Stinger: The final episodes of both volumes, wherein a mysterious character who's only made one appearance throughout the corresponding volume shows their face and speaks.
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Jaune gets thrown into his locker by Cardin in episode 11. To make matters worse, the locker is then launched into the sky.
  • Super-Deformed: Ruby does this in Episode 2.
  • 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. Justified in that Grimm are soulless monsters who usually care more about killing humans than their own survival.
    • Later defied in 2:9, when the Dr Oobleck explains that some Grimms that have lasted long enough learn that humans are dangerous prey, and that they seem to be waiting till they have an advantage.
  • Super Reflexes: Nearly every Aura-using combatant has this to some degree, since they regularly deflect projectiles with their weapons without a second thought.
  • Super Window Jump:
    • A variant in the first episode of the series when Ruby sends a mook through the window with a kick, following directly afterwards.
    • A more traditional version in Vol. 2 Chapter 4 when Blake and Sun are escaping the White Fang gathering, with Roman right behind them.
  • 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 (with differently-colored Dust particles instead of bullets), and Jaune's Boring but Practical sword and (collapsible-and-doubles-as-scabbard) shield.
  • Sword Drag: Used with a Chainsaw Sword.
  • 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. Not to mention the first few lines are "They see you as small and helpless, they see you as just a child. Surprise when they find out that a warrior will soon run wild."
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Teams RWBY and JNPR agree to retreat from the Deathstalker and the Nevermore after completing their objective in the Emerald Woods. Subverted when they are pursued relentlessly, forcing them to take the the Grimm down.
  • Talk to the Fist: Adam's response to "Intruder! Identify yourself!"
  • 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, CRDL and CFVY), 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.
  • Team Pet / Cool Pet: Ruby and Yang's corgi Zwei.
  • Technician vs. 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 King Taijitu) 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.
  • Teens Are Short: According to the height chart,note  most of the teen characters are actually of pretty reasonable heights, and it is the adults who are prone to being unusually tall (Ozpin is about 6'6"), but the overall effect is the same.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In "Field Trip", Ruby says they've never backed out of a mission before, and that they'll be with a true huntsman, so they should be okay. Then they find out who said huntsman is, Doctor Oobleck, who doesn't seem like quite the ideal huntsman they envisioned.
    • In "Search and Destroy", Oobleck starts to ask Ruby why her backpack is so important that it can't be left behind, he gets cut off when Ruby's corgi Zwei pops out.
  • Theme Naming: In addition to the Colourful Theme Naming, some important characters are named after The Wizard of Oz characters. Currently known characters include Ozpin (the Wizard of Oz), Glynda Goodwitch (Glinda the Good Witch), General Ironwood (the Tin Man), and Qrow (the Scarecrow).
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Ruby is listening to "This Will Be The Day" in episode 1.
  • 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.
    • Later done by Pyrrha again as Team JNPR arrives to assist Team RWBY with the Grimm.
  • Tidally Locked Planet: Inverted. The moon's phases (and shape) change because it rotates (instead of being tidally locked, as it is on Earth).
  • Tournament Arc: Part of the Vytal Festival. Played with in that Volume 1 ends before the tournament properly begins. Vol. 2 picks up a couple weeks later on the day before the start of the second semester with the tournament being stated to occur at the end of said semester. As of the end of Volume 2, the tournament still hasn't started.
  • 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.
    • Pyrrha displays a bit of this after seeing Jaune get bullied yet again by Cardin. Considering it was Nora who first made the suggestion, the idea of Pyrrha taking it seriously says a lot about her feelings:
      Pyrrha: You know, I really will break his legs.
    • Glynda when she walks in on the mass Food Fight in Vol.2 Episode 1. This is pretty much Glynda's default combat style.
    • Coco displays this too when delivering a Pre-Mortem One-Liner to a Grimm:
      Coco: You destroyed my favourite clothing store. Prepare to die.
  • Triang Relations: Type 5 with Weiss, Neptune and Jaune.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue:
    • "The Badge and the Burden, Part 2" had an interchanging pair of scenes with Weiss and Ruby questioning Professor Port and Ozpin (respectively) about Ruby's role as team captain.
    • One scene in "Burning the Candle" has Yang luring Blake to her, saying "We need to talk", and immediately whisking her away. The scene is immediately re-enacted with Jaune whisking away Ren.
  • Umbrella Drink: In the Yellow Trailer, Yang swaggers up to the nightclub bar, orders a drink, and adds as an afterthought that she wants one of those little umbrellas in it.
  • Understatement:
    • Yang in Episode 8, after an epic decapitation.
      Yang: Well... That was a thing.
    • When a furious Goodwitch fixes the mess hall after an epic and destructive Food Fight, all she has to say is "Children, please do not play with your food!"
  • 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, fiancé 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.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • Episode 1 ends with Jaune Arc getting airsick and vomiting. The view during the scene is of exterior the airship they are in.
    • Episode 2 begins with an immediate follow up to this scene. This time, we see Jaune on screen, but he turns around so his body obscures the vomit.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Invoked in the blurb on the Rooster Teeth website for all episodes of Volume 2.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: If you're from Vacuo, you show off your abs. Apparently, Vacuo's idea of formal attire, at least for men, is to literally just button up their shirt. When the students from all four kingdoms are lines up in the formal military attire, Vacuo stands out because their "uniform" is literally "We're all wearing shirts now."
  • Weird Moon: It's broken.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Ruby's reaction to Weiss is to call her princess after Weiss scolds her for 'exploding a hole in front of the school'.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 12 reveals that Jaune cheated his way into Beacon. Even worse, Cardin finds out and decides to blackmail him.
    • Episode 15: Blake is a faunus, and was part of White Fang.
    • Volume 2, Chapter 11: Yang and Weiss lose their fights, and only survive because of timely intervention or a last-minute block. The train busts through the city of Vale, and a horde of Grimm begin their invasion. Team RWBY even spends a few minutes early into Chapter 12 losing to the Grimm before reinforcements arrive.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Jaunedice (Part 2)":
      Jaune: I wasn't really accepted into Beacon.
    • From "Red Like Roses Part II":
      Every nightmare just discloses
      It's your blood that's red like roses
    • "The Stray":
      Blake: (to Weiss) Well, maybe we [the White Fang] were just tired of being pushed around!
    • Combined with Wham Shot below:
    Mercury: (to Cinder) A lot of Faunus didn't escape... sure the White Fang will still listen to us?
    Adam: No. But they'll listen to me.
  • Wham Shot: The end of Episode 2, Vol. 2 - Ruby accidentally runs into a group of people, who turn out to be Mercury and Emerald, saying they're visitors for the tournament. Then worse, Cinder shows up with them...
    • In the finale for Volume 2, Cinder and company discuss if the White Fang will still listen to them after several Faunus were killed in the previous chapter. Adam himself assures that they will listen to him. Then, a couple of minutes later, during The Stinger, Yang is shown meeting the masked woman who saved her life the previous episode. She takes off her mask, revealing a face that looks like a palette swap of Yang's As if that's not enough, it cuts to Yang's face, where she suddenly has her signature red eyes.
      • One can argue that the phrasing "didn't escape" leaves room for interpretation. They could have been apprehended rather than killed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • We see how Ren blows the black snake's head off, but not how the white head is defeated.
    • Or of the Rapier Wasps Cardin was supposed to use for his plan after it's foiled.
    • Lampshaded in one instance; Sun and Neptune aid in a fight against a mech but are knocked off the field and not seen again. After the battle is over Ruby remembers them and wonders where they've gone, and it's shown they left to get some noodles.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve / For Doom the Bell Tolls: We aren't shown the significance of it just yet, but "Dance Dance Infiltration" ends with the symbol of a chess queen flashing across a video screen as Beacon's clock tower strikes midnight.
  • Wicked Witch: Cinder, the pilot of the aircraft that Roman Torchwick used is the Hot Witch variety, literally. Has a Face Framed in Shadow, dueled Glynda to a draw and is seen in the credits with Supernatural Gold Eyes.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: In the album version of "I Burn" as well as the album version of "Caffeine".
  • Wizard Duel: Between Glynda Goodwitch and Cinder in the first episode.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • The Grimm are wearing these in the opening. Adam also wears a Grimm-esque one. The White Fang working for Roman Torchwick also wear them.
    • The White Fang as a whole adopted wearing them as a sort of commentary on their enemies' treatment of Faunus as monsters, likening themselves to the Grimm.
    • It's unclear whether Raven is part of the White Fang, or even a faunus, but she has a particularly elaborate mask all the same.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Blake seems to suffer from this when fighting against Roman in Season 1's finale, 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; however, it does set the stage for Penny quite nicely.
    • In Season 2 Episode 11, Blake returns the favour to Roman by overwhelming him in single combat with a little help from Weiss' Dust cartridges. Meanwhile, Yang gets completely floored by Neopolitan, making the latter far more of a threat than her tenure as Roman's underling.
    • And immediately afterwards she arguably ends up on the receiving end herself, when Raven intimidates her into fleeing simply by showing up.
  • A World Half Full: Past the humor and high octane action, RWBY's setting makes it increasingly clear that humanity has only survived with a foothold of civilization. Even with Dust to fight back the Grimm, there are only four truly safe havens on the entire planet, and this is already considered unprecedented. Attempts to expand often fail, and atop that, violent prejudice and criminal conspiracies are still opting to tear this all down. Ultimately, though, the show makes it clear that solutions can be found, and it first starts with a positive outlook; specifically, humanity's already lasted this long, and it wasn't just because of Dust(which humans created as opposed to discovered) - enter the fifteen-year-old-girl with (reasonably common!) superpowers...
  • World of Badass: This story takes place in a world that is filled with werewolves, giant suits of armor, magic, Humongous Mecha, humanoid robots with optional machine guns for hands, Mix And Match Weapons and Swiss Army Weapons. The focus is on Beacon Academy, where becoming a Hunter/Huntress is about as certified-Badass as it gets, and already having superhuman combat abilities is an entry requirement.
  • World of Ham: There is as much over-the-top action as there are over-the-top interactions between the cast. The overly serious characters are few and far between, and even then are not above indulging in their companions' shenanigans.
    Ruby: Justice will be swift! Justice will be painful! It will be DELICIOUUSSS!!!
    Weiss, Blake, and Yang: YEAH!!!
  • X on a Stick: Nora uses a watermelon on a stick as an improvised hammer during the Food Fight in Vol. 2 Episode 1.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Neptune, fittingly. Jaune even mentions near the start of "Dance Dance Infiltration" how much skill it takes to pull off blue hair.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Blake's take on the White Fang group, though she does seem to think they have crossed the line.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: So far as Episode 9 reveals, female students have a few options in this, should they choose not to wear full-length tights. They include Grade E, D and A so far.