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. 'Volume 1' of season one ran for sixteen episodesnote Which were condensed into 10 episodes of a more homogeneous length on the DVD. and can be ordered here. note Region 4 viewers can purchase it at Hanabee. 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.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.Warning: Unmarked spoilers below.
Also, it does have at least one more traditional Abridged Series (abbreviated, Gag Dub videos) - which is really surprising given that each of the volume 1 episodes tend to average around 6 to 10 minutes as it is, though Monty has promised 12+ minute episodes for volume 2.
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Ruby's scythe cuts cleanly through a fairly large tree and later is able to slice through the neck of a monster, roughly as thick as she is tall. Heck, in the Red trailer, she cuts a lot of wolves in half, some of them lengthwise! Played for Laughs in episode 9, when she accidentally cuts the curtain in their room in half while turning around, only to have it stitched back together a moment later.
Action Girl: Essentially every female character introduced so far is one. Justified, since every girl that's shown up so far is either a Huntress or a criminal (or something else entirely in one case) and as such, are required to be this trope in order to be legitimately competent at their respective jobs.
Adventure-Friendly World: It's called Remnant (and the continent is called Vytal) and it's filled with monsters, with only the rare beacons of civilization and magic holding them back. The "points of light" setting is specifically namedropped.
Aerith and Bob: Some of the names are: Lie Ren (surname first), Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos, Ruby Rose, Yang Xiao Long (given name first), Jaune Arc, Cardin Winchester. And it's not like they come from the four corners of the world, Ren and Nora have been friends for years (exact number uncertain, probably since childhood, Nora just said "we've been friends for sooo long"), and Ruby and Yang were raised as sisters. The only relatively foreign character (not a native of Vale) is Pyrrha Nikos.
Alien Sky: The phases of Remnant's moon has a shattering visual effect. The reason it seems to shatter and merge continually is because unlike our moon; it spins on its axis such that the same side isn't always facing Remnant. It spins, we see the whole side; it spins; we see the shattered side; and back again.
All Animals Are Dogs: A more subtle case, where the giant snake makes a dog-like 'yelp' when Ren breaks off its fangs.
All Love Is Unrequited: Played for Laughs version in season 2. Pyrrha likes Jaune, who likes Weiss, who likes Neptune. Neptune likes anything with a skirt, but any chance of a Weiss/Neptune relationship is derailed by Ruby literally dragging Weiss away because she thinks they'll have more fun together.
The animation and character design resemble anime in general. The director is quoted as having researched several anime while designing the series. Makes sense when the trailers showed that three out of the four main characters seem to have a Super Mode (with one of them having a rage-fueled Super-Super Mode).
It's animesque enough that when Crunchyroll started streaming the series, people started demanding the "original" Japanese audio.
The series has picked up a Japanese following via subtitled uploads on Nico Nico Douga, perhaps due to this. It also has a Chinese fandub you can look up on YouTube.
It's implied, though not confirmed, that most weapons are fueled by Dust (Jaune's sword being the obvious exception) and Yang's gauntlets clearly have red Dust crystals as their ammo/fuel.
Arc Number: Four main colours, four people in a team, four kingdoms...
Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The first episode has a Double Subversion. When Ruby's being interrogated/chewed out by Goodwitch, she tells her that she should be sent home "with a pat on the back", then continues "and a slap on the wrist" (and smacks the table with her riding crop for effect). Then she introduces Ozpin, who plays the "lifesaving" part straight.
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. note Though it should be noted that Aura can channeled through just about anything, so these may be justified. And the Food Fight was also likely for Rule of Fun, as the former fights are for Rule of Cool.
Art Shift: Common in the early episodes of Vol. 1.
A news report shown in the first episode is done in hand-drawn animation.
In episode 2, when Ruby suddenly turned into a hand-drawn chibi, bouncing about in enthusiasm while her CG sister Yang looked on bemusedly.
Artistic Age: Ruby looks like a young woman when drawn but appears much younger when rendered. Word Of God is that she's 15. Most of the girls are supposed to be 17 but some look far too young for that age.
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: Using the shipping titles (Freezerburn, Bumblebee, Checkmate, Ladybug, and Iceflower) as tactic names in Volume 2 Episode 4.
Used again in Volume 2 with Ruby talking about Yang's semblance.
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.
According to one of Monty's tweets, Ruby and Weiss are left-handed because he himself is left-handed. Though Ruby has been shown performing right-handed actions, such as the end of episode 16, so she might be effectively ambidextrous.
Also, in another of of Monty's tweets, he said that Weiss fights using fencing techniques because he himself also studied fencing.
On a more general level, Monty Oum's love of strong women in combat situations is obvious, given that of the 8 main characters, only two of them are male, and those two boys are far more often fatigued and overwhelmed in combat scenarios than any of their female associates.
Avengers Assemble: The girls come from very different backgrounds and JNPR counts as well.
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.
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).
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.
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: Yang and Blake blow up two in Ep. 6. Another one shows up in episode 14.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. That punch Weiss took from the giant suit of armor left her a scarnote There is debate upon the nature of the scar namely here and here. down her left eye. Make no mistake though, she's still very beautiful nonetheless.
Berserk Button: Do not touch Yang's hair, as seen in the Yellow Trailer and in Episode 6.
Big Ball of Violence: Ruby and Yang enter one in the third episode of Volume 1, "The Shining Beacon Part 2"
Weiss later also pulls this off for Ruby in Episode 8.
Jaune does one in episode 14 with a little help from Pyrrha, for Cardin, the Jerk Jock who was bullying him earlier.
In episode 16, Penny.
Blackmail: In episode 12, Jaune reveals to Pyrrha that he forged his application to Beacon, hence why he's so underwhelming compared to everyone else at that school. Unfortunately for him, Cardin's room was just below, and he happened to overhear this. He promises to be a Secret Keeper, and claims to be Jaune's friend, but tells him that while putting Jaune in a headlock. He then also asks his new "friend" to do the report that Professor Oobleck had them do.
Ruby in episode 8, as she 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.
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.
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.
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.
Boring, but Practical: In a world where magic, guns, and blades intersect, Jaune uses... a plain old sword and a collapsibleshield/scabbard. Ruby lampshades this, saying that it's good to have a healthy respect for the classics.
Both Sides Have a Point: Both Weiss and Blake in "The Stray." As both argue over their various conceptions about the Faunus and White Fang, Weiss reveals that the White Fang and Faunus have waged a personal war against her family's company for years. She has seen family, friends, and board members executed, and her father would come home angry every day. Blake, on the other hand is an actual Faunus and a former member of the White Fang, who is angry because every time Weiss talks about Faunus or the White Fang she feels the need to include an insult in it and points out that if it weren't for bigoted people like Weiss and Cardin the White Fang wouldn't exist and the Faunus wouldn't be fighting humanity.
It helps that they are arguing different points. Weiss' insults are directed at the White Fang and the criminal Sun. Given somewhat ambiguous wording, Blake takes those as insults to Faunus in general, which she hotly retorts. Weiss in turn is confused and offended that Blake would advocate for a known terrorist organization, which Blake takes as her being bigoted. Really, Blake is arguing that the Faunus are mistreated and discriminated against and Weiss is arguing the White Fang are a dangerous terrorist group. These views are not mutually exclusive, but both of their insistence that they are is what drives the conflict.
Brains and Brawn: Weiss wanted to form this sort of partnership with Pyrrha Nikos. Instead, she got Ruby. Which is actually still this trope... or would be if the two could work together properly.
Brand X: It is a low budget show, what would you expect?
Torchwick was not planned to be more than just a minor character used only in the opening episode, but they liked how he came out and his voice actor's skills so much so that they made him a major part of the volume finale, as well as a major player in the group of villains in the second volume.
Team JNPR were only going to be secondary characters, but as they worked on creating them they rose to almost the same level as Team RWBY, to the point that one of the story arcs (The Jaune Arc) centered on them, taking up a quarter of the first volume's episodes. According to the creators, they became "the second A-Team."
In the development diary released for volume 2, Monty admits that Velvet was meant to be a one-off character demonstrating the challenges of being a Faunus. However he was so impressed with how the audience responded to her that he promised to give her character a more prominent role in the show in volume 2 and beyond.
While he might have been planned from the start to get a bigger role, Sun was only in two of the first volume's episodes, but in the second volume him and his buddy Neptune have became pseudo-Sixth Ranger characters who've appeared in every episode of the second volume so far.
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).
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".
When she returns to the club in Volume 2, the song playing in the background is the same, and starts skipping as the DJ hides.
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.
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 'Best Day Ever' (Volume 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.
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, Sky)
Team CFVY Pronounced 'Coffee' (Coco, Fox, Velvet, Yatsuhashi)
The Beacon Academy staff (Ozpin, Glynda, Port, Oobleck)
Sun's yet-to-be-introduced team. (The blue-haired one is named "Neptune"; he and the redhead are based off members (T.O.P and G-Dragon) of the Korean Pop Boy Band "Big Bang."
The villains (Cinder, Mercury, Emerald, Roman, Junior, the Malachite sisters)
Catapult to Glory: The plan to defeat the Nevermore revolves around loading Ruby into an oversized slingshot (close enough to a ballista) made from Yang and Blake holding Gambol Shroud's ribbon and two pillars, and Weiss launching Ruby at the Nevermore's neck.
The Chains of Commanding: Ozpin warns Ruby that the position of team leader is both a badge of honor and a terrible burden. 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!
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 one, 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]
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.
The four main characters have theme colors, which lead to the acronym title. "Ruby" the character has a red theme, "Weiss"note German for white. Her last name, Schnee, also means Snow. has a white theme, "Blake" has a black theme, and "Yang" is named after what basically amounts to the golden sun.
And then there's the second set of characters, colored yellow, pink, red and bluish black.
Then there's the pins, which include a couple of pink emblems.
Colourful Theme Naming: Ruby being a shade of red, Weiss being German for white, and Blake being based off an Old English word referring to someone with dark hair, and Yang being the Chinese word for light and the sun. Confirmed by Monty. Monty actually has this as an official rule, true for all characters (except Ozpin).
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.
Likewise, Cinder Fall wears very high heels. Then again, her combat style doesn't involve a lot of jumping and kicking; she can get away with it more easily.
Combination Attack: In episode 8, how Team RWBY and (to a lesser extent) Team JNPR each take out their respective Grimms.
Continuity Nod: In episode 15, Weiss mentions that an entire train of her family's Dust shipments was stolen by the White Fang. Presumably, this is the same as the one Blake robbed in her trailer.
This is also evidenced by the Schnee logo visible on some of the crates in the Black trailer.
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.
Dark Is Not Evil/Light Is Not Good: Ruby's red and black colour scheme is actually pretty typically of villains, but she's a nice, Perky Goth. Blake's signature colour is black, but she's also a pretty nice person. Glynda Goodwitch wears black and purple, but her name is more indicative of her allegiance. On the other hand, we have Roman Torchwick who wears a long, white coat but is definitely on the villain side. To a lesser extent, Weiss is the meanest of the main characters.
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 punches it to the side of the cliff, Weiss freezes it in place, Blake utilizes her whip as a slingshot, and using Weiss's magic, Ruby slings into it, then runs up the cliff with crow in tow, finally taking its head off and stopping it for good.
Jaune does one to an Ursa in episode 14, saving Cardin in the process.
Debut Queue: The first half of Volume 1 introduce the various Loads and Loads of Characters in this show, and gives them a small introduction to their characterization, such as Blake with her love of books.
Drop the Hammer: Nora's weapon, in addition to being a grenade launcher that fires rounds with a pink heart on them, also has the ability to turn into a hammer that packs an explosive punch. Accordingly, she also uses it for the occasional Rocket Jump.
Deuteragonist: It looks like Jaune, Pyrrha, Nora, and Ren will be the deuteragonists of the series, compared to the protagonists of Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang. Or, if you want to be more specific, Ruby and Jaune (leaders of their respective teams).
Egocentric Team Naming: Downplayed; RWBY obviously sounds like its leader Ruby, but she didn't get to name the team that way — Ozpin did. Same goes for Cardin and his "Cardinal." Meanwhile, Jaune's team is given the not-very-indicative name "Juniper".
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 Ruby and Yang's essentially shoot enemies point blank, Pyrrha and Nora's use a blast to propel their weapons and Blake essentially uses the shots from the pistol portion of her weapon to "steer" it. 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 a the top of the tallest tower.
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.
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.
Eye Scream: One of the giant snakes that attacks Ren gets one of its own fangs shoved through its eye.
Faceless Masses: In Volume 1, characters in the background simply appear as black silhouettes. Appears to be averted in Volume 2, however.
Monty says the character designs reference fairy tales and mythology (among other things), but they have no interest in retelling any fairy tales and would rather tell their own story. He cites concepts such as Stein and Medusa from Soul Eater, who are loosely based on classical/mythological characters.
Famous Ancestor: A classic example of a subversion. Jaune's great-great grandfather is implied to be a war-hero, yet out of the known cast, Jaune seems to be the least suited to be a warrior, having none of the training, instincts or knowledge of his peers.
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.
There is a faunus in Beacon (a rabbit girl), and Team CRDL bullies her in the cafeteria. Yang comments that it must be hard being a faunus, as nobody defends her. In fact, team CRDL as a whole seems to be made of Fantastic Racists. Russel calls Velvet (the aforementioned rabbit faunus) a "freak" for her ears, and Cardin says that the reason they had victories in their war was due to animals being easier to train than humans, despite the fact that Velvet is right there in the class. Blake and Pyrrha call him out for this one. Blake herself is a cat Faunus.
Episode 15: Weiss considers the Faunus of the White Fang to be nothing more than terrorists, with a history of violence and war between them and her family's business to back it up. While she never goes so far as to call all Faunus bad, she admits to not trusting them.
On the other side, some Faunus are part of a terrorist like group whose members seem really eager to wipe out humans\ end human rule.
Flash Step: Blake seems to use this as part of her fighting style. Watch her fight against Roman Torchwick in Volume 1 Episode 16; the "shadow" she leaves behind suggests this trope.
Floral Theme Naming: The Crescent Rose; the Myrtenaster, German for the Myrtle flower family (primarily white flowers that also come in other colours), Ember Celica (Celica is another name for the common bellpepper), and Blake's last name, "Belladonna", the alternate name for either the Amaryllis belladonna flower or the toxic plant Atropa belladonna AKA Deadly Nightshade.
Force And Finesse: Ruby and Weiss are the most prominent example, but all the pairs in RWBY and JNPR are this — including Jaune and Pyrrha; since Jaune doesn't have a definite fighting style, Jaune is the brute force, oftentimes simply throwing himself at the opponent again and again, as seen in his fights against Cardin and the Ursa. 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.
Close observation reveals that Ruby's trailer takes place primarily in a 'White' setting, while Weiss' trailer took place in a 'Black' setting. However, Blake's trailer was not set in yellow, like everyone thought. It was coded with black and red, instead symbolizing her partnership with Adam. It should be noted, however, that Blake has gold/yellow eyes, which one can say stand in for this purpose despite it being a character trait. Yang puts all to shame by physically changing her surroundings into color-coded areas, along with the music changing to suit the correct color.
In a similar vein, Ruby, Weiss, and Blake all have designs and character themes inspired by one fairy tale or another—Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast respectively- which incited a lot of Wild Mass Guessing over what the Yellow fairy tale would be. Subverted when Yang's trailer was revealed, as she alludes to many — although Word Of God clarifies she was inspired by Goldilocks.
If you look around the series, you can spot a couple of crows flying around before promptly disappearing. The first time was in Blake's Trailer. Others include one in Yang's Trailer, the bird Ruby crashes into in episode 5, and a looming shot on a black feather in episode 6. This foreshadows both Qrow's appearance before he was named, and the GIGANTIC Nevermore the four fight halfway through the season.
It's pretty clear early on that Jaune is a bit behind the others, to the point where even Glynda believes that he's not fit for combat even if his transcripts say otherwise. It makes sense, when you consider his transcripts were all fake.
Crocea Mors are the most basic of the main characters' weapons, with the only fancy feature being the shield retracting, and that is meant for out of combat situations. In other words, they are the kind of weapons even a complete amateur could pick up and use passably.
Lots of hints were dropped from Blake: She reacts in disgust when Cardin talks smack about Faunus, her Hair Decorations subtly twitch, and so on. It's then dropped down heavily in Ep.15 when she gets into a heated argument with Weiss about Faunus, Weiss reveals that her family's train full of Dust was sabotaged by a Faunus terrorist group, and Blake shouts, "Well, maybe we were just tired of being pushed around!"
Also from Episode 15, when the group come across a ransacked Dust shop, Weiss declares the White Fang must have been responsible while Ruby suggests it may have been "that Torchwick guy." Turns out they were ''both'' right, as the White Fang are now working with/for Torchwick.
Episode 2 sees Blake also make some critical comments about the Schnee Dust Company. These might have been dismissed as Blake just being analytical, but given nobody else seems to mention the SDC or know about their questionable ethics, it alludes to her association with the Faunus/White Fang.
Blake's trailer was initially vague about who Adam was, why Blake turned on him, and where it fit chronologically with the series proper. In retrospect, it's clearly showing Blake leaving the White Fang.
Blake's trailer, or rather, the music in it, also foreshadowed her being a Faunus. The lyrics pretty much explain the total motives of the White Fang, as told by Blake.
"Born with no life into subjugation Treated like a worthless animal! Stripped of all rights just a lesser being Crushed by cruel, ruthless human rules!"
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.
Ruby is Sanguine. She is passionate, energetic, and brave, although fool-hardy and impulsive may be a better description at times. She also has a big, big love of weaponry and that adds more fuel to her happiness and excitement.
Weiss is Phlegmatic. "Calculative" describes nearly every aspect of her character, from how she deals with people to her fighting style. She is also quite the judgmental know-it-all and definitely has a Holier Than Thou demeanor to anyone who have not proven themselves better than herself in her eyes. She is also uncaring to those useless enough to "prove" themselves worse than her.
Blake is Melancholic, largely keeping to herself, and remarkably idealistic (though it may be a bit hidden between the lines) for having such a troubled past. She does not come off as shy and timid, however this is probably more because she is become very good at putting up a front and hiding her feelings (again, due to her troubled past).
Yang is Choleric. She fiercely watches out for and takes care of her sister Ruby and has a Hair-Trigger Temper, literally if her hair gets damaged. Despite this, she is quite optimistic about most people given her immediate initial reactions to both Blake and Weiss.
As for Team JNPR:
Jaune is not much of anything at the moment, but that is part of his character arc — he is probably on track to grow into the Choleric role.
Pyrrha, who has been helping Jaune grow into his role as leader, is clearly the supportive Phlegmatic.
Ren's apparent tranquility pegs him as a Melancholic. He is calm, well-mannered, and just takes care of the task at hand.
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 Pyrra 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 Volume 2 Chapter 3, the boxes that Ruby knocks over while chasing Penny are labeled "Breakable Things◊".
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") 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.
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.
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.
Genki Girl: Nora Valkyrie. The other girls all have their moments too.
Ruby acts this way towards weapons as evidenced in Ep. 2.
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.
No Pronunciation Guide: Aversion; her name is pronounced correctly according to the German intonation of the words composing her name in her debut. But when asked why it's pronounced with a "W" sound as opposed to the "proper" way on the livestream prior to the first episode going public Monty summed it up that world of RWBY is an interpretive world, that Germany doesn't exist, and fuck you. Judging by everyone's reactions when they got the question he had been waiting a long time to say that.
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: Roman is introduced in the first episode, then disappears for a while. He isn't seen again until around the end of episode 8, having quietly bided his time and planning his next scheme.
Similarly, Adam has not been seen or heard of since the Black trailer.
Not to mention Junior or his associates/bodyguards Melanie and Miltia.
Those three do appear in the second volume's opening, though.
Groin Attack: Yang interrogates Junior by grabbing him by the testicles and continually squeezing.
Gunship Rescue: This tactic is used in Episode 1 for Roman 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.
Harpo Does Something Funny: During production, the voice cast was encouraged to come up with little ad-lib things that might fit various situations. Notable ones include:
Yang:[after a gratuitously overextended landing sequence] Nailed it. (Episode 6) Ruby:[almost as an afterthought from realizing Blake's a cat faunus] She does like tuna a lot... (Episode 16)
Hate Sink: Cardin was meant to be disliked, with his constant bullying of Jaune and Velvet. His now 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.
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.'
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.
Humongous 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".
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.
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.
Ruby: (falling onto Weiss's luggage) I don't know what I'm doing. Weiss: (standing over Ruby) What are you doing?
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.
Ki Attacks: All living things can generate an Aura, which is basically the equivalent of Ki and allows:
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 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.
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.
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.
As of the end of Volume 1: 26 named characters, and three unnamed characters.
The opening theme for Volume 2 shows 26 characters with known names and 9 characters who are unnamed as of yet.
Lyrical Dissonance: During the climactic fight sequence in episode 8, the song "Red Like Roses Part II" plays. As background music, the theme fits the sequence perfectly... but the song itself (at least the part that played in the episode) is about the singer feeling depressed over the death of a loved one.
"Dust" is a mineral substance which, in powder form, behaves kind of like gunpowder if gunpowder could have elemental attributes. A sneeze is enough to set off a cloud of the stuff, so it needs to be handled with care. Also comes in what appears to be a more stable "crystal" form, which can be picked up and held without apparent danger.
Humans each have an aura, which is a physical manifestation of the soul. Someone capable of using their aura tends to become very tough due to being protected by it, and also gains a minor Healing Factor.
Magic Feather: Inverted in "Forever Fall, part 2". Jaune believes he killed an Ursa 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.
Will apply to everyone according to Monty. Even where an upskirt shot happens, they tend to be full of crinoline, so nothing above the skirt line can be seen anyway.
Monty: RWBY will be tasteful, clean and responsible. I implemented very effective ANTI UPSKIRT TECHNOLOGY! for this show.
A particularly noticeable example is when Nora balances upside-down on her hammer after killing the Deathstalker. She hangs there for a few seconds, and her skirt does nothing.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Jaune and Pyrrha. The former's a clumsy timid boy who seems to be new to everything around him while the latter's an experienced and more talented girl who looks after him.
Meaningful Background Event: In Episode 12, while Jaune and Pyrrha are talking on the roof Cardin can be seen in the open window below them.
Miming the Cues: Jaune gets asked a question in class that he doesn't know the answer to. Pyrrha tries to mime it to him — the answer is night vision — but he misinterprets it and answers, "Binoculars?" 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.
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. And Jaune has yet to show the results of being formally trained for the first time with Pyrrha.
And before that, we have the Malachite sisters in the "Yellow" trailer, who only have bladed heels or claws.
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.
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.
The same animation's description also mentions Monty's preference for a white/black/red color scheme.
Also, when Ruby confirmed that Qrow was her uncle, she mumbles 'Oh, that's my uncle!' with a mouthful of cookies, which comes out as slightly Asian sounding, a reference to Burnie's summary of Asian films.
In the fight scene of "Forever Fall pt.2," one scene cuts to slow motion, using the same sound The Slow Mo Guys use to slow things down.
Named Weapons: Ruby's weapon is "Crescent Rose," and Weiss' Multi-Action Dust Rapier is "Myrtenaster". Both names refer to flowers (Myrtenaster is a combination of the Myrtle and Aster flower families), while Blake has "Gambol Shroud" a variant ballistic chain scythe and Yang uses a pair of dual ranged shot gauntlets called "Ember Celica". In addition, Adam's sword and gun are, respectively, named "Wilt" and "Blush".
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".
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.
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.
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.
Odd Name Out: Team RWBY gets new outfits for season 2. Ruby's is Slayer, Blake's is Intruder, Yang's is Hunter, and Weiss gets...Snow Pea.
Offscreen Teleportation: One of the animation gags has characters leaving a dotted outline where they were previously standing before the scene changed.
In the Red trailer Ruby destroys dozens of Beowolves. In the Black trailer Blake does the samenote with some help from Adam but still impressive to dozens of Schnee robots.
Open Secret: Blake being a faunus is quickly approaching 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.
Out of Focus: Even though she's part of the main team (because, well, the title's named after that team), Yang hasn't yet got as much development and focus as the other characters. Despite having had the longest trailer before the series started, no allusions to those events have come up either.
The final point has finally been negated in Volume 2; episode 2 has Weiss mentioning that Yang destroyed a nightclub and in episode 3, Yang mentions that she has a friend with connections, who is most likely Junior. In Episode 4, we finally see said nightclub. The staff aren't too happy to see her.
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 nonlethal; 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.
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.
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.
Earlier used as Ren destroyed the black head of the King Taijitu.
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 season 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.
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.
Everybody being greeted normally with the exception of Weiss, with most characters calling her Ice Queen.
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 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.
Sigil Spam: Several examples of different uses, since pretty much every significant character has a specific symbol associated with them.
Ruby's symbol is featured on her belt, headphones, and journal. Blake's emblem is on her stockings (and it may or may not be an oddly-placed badge), and her sleepwear. Yang wears her emblem on her undershirt and on her skirt, and it's also present on her own sleepwear. Adam's symbol is present on Blush and the back of his coat. Jaune's symbol has so far only been seen on his shield, but since it's mentioned that his great-great grandfather used it, the symbol may belong to the entire Arc family rather than just him.
Weiss' 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.
Sneeze of Doom: Ruby has a massive Dust-empowered one in Episode 2, which covers Weiss in ash. Weiss is unamused.
Something about a Rose: Adam and Ruby both have a rose motif. He has a rose painted on the back of his jacket. The grave she visits at the beginning of the trailer has a rose etched into it. Many of their movements are accentuated with rose petals, and the gore she's responsible for is depicted as spurts of red blood accompanied by more rose petals. If that wasn't enough, Monty confirmed her weapon is named "Crescent Rose". This, naturally, has led to speculation that the two are related somehow.
Monty has said they are not related, and their stances differ from each other in terms of "scatter and wilt". In other words Adam's style is a dying rose—possibly a reference to the curse linked to a dying (wilted) rose from the Disney version ofBeauty and the Beast.
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.
Spent Shells Shower: Ruby's trailer concludes with shell casings falling from the sky ejected from her weapon. Yang ejects a lot of casings from her gauntlets in her trailer.
Spoiler Opening: The opening isn't played until the end of the first episode, but it includes characters that did not appear in the episode or in the trailers. Furthermore, it heavily implies which characters will be on the same team. Related to this are the end credits for episode 16. The voice actor credits are listed in the order of each character's first appearance... ending with the name of a new character who appears in The Stinger.
The Volume 2 opening continues the trend, showing new characters and making their affiliations pretty clear.
The Spartan Way: The initiation at Beacon Academy is to be launched at high speeds into a forest full of monsters to fight through them and take a "Relic" from a temple.
Super Speed: Ruby's Semblance. All of her teammates also has this to a lesser extent, as well as Lie Ren.
Superhero Speciation: Pyrrha explains that Huntsmen and Huntresses can use a "Semblance", i.e a specific power that is unique to each person.
Super-Persistent Predator: The Death Stalker and the Nevermore in episodes 7 and 8. Even though the students try to get away from them, those two creatures relentlessly pursue them, forcing them to take them down.
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 Volume 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.
Squee: Ruby has a tendency to do this; see her character entry.
Suspiciously Apropos Music: In the first episode when Ruby kicks the mook out the window, her detached headphones blaring out the theme music of "This Will Be the Day." The ensuing fight sequence is what propels her goal to enroll in Beacon later that night.
Technician Versus Performer: Weiss appears to be the Technician to Ruby's Performer. In their first fight together, Weiss mentally goes through a checklist on her stance and form. When she finally attacks, Ruby comes out of nowhere, having given no forethought to her attack. Weiss has to redirect her own attack to avoid hitting Ruby, and accidentally starts a forest fire.
Another pair that seems to exhibit this: Ren (Technician) and Nora (Performer). All of Ren's attacks (especially his fight against the two Basilisks) seem to be practised martial arts strikes, while Nora simply does what's most effective given her current momentum. Bonus points since Nora is almost never seen without a smile, and Ren tends to be more stoic.
The 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.
The Team: Students are arranged into teams of four, consisting of two pairs of curriculum-long partners. In addition to working together on the field, they also share a dorm room at the academy. Based on the known teams (RWBY, JNPR, and CRDL), each team name is an acronym of each teammate's initials combined into a larger word (such as "JNPR = Juniper" and "CRDL = Cardinal"). Due to how teams are arranged through a combination of eye contact and retrieving a matching set, teams can easily become a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits; Teams RWBY and JNPR are evidence of this.
Three-Point Landing: Ruby demonstrates how it's done in Episode 5, complete with dramatic head snap, lacking only a dramatic explosion behind her. Later done by Pyrrha after the Death Stalker is defeated.
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 (assuming that the succeeding volume doesn't do a Time Skip).
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.
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:
When a furious Goodwitch fixes the mess hall after an epic and destructive Food Fight, all she has to say is "Children, please stop playing 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.
Justified in that the off-screen delay was easily long enough for Ruby to get to each of her teammates and explain the important details of the plan, and we outright see her launching herself towards Blake right before the cut, confirming this.
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.
Blake: Well, maybe we were just tired of being pushed around!
Wham Lyric from "Red Like Roses Part II":
Every nightmare just discloses It's your blood that's red like roses
In "A Minor Hiccup":
Penny:[showing Ruby her hands, which have been stripped of skin, revealing metal beneath]I'm not... a real girl.
Directly afterward in "Painting The Town":
Penny Most girls are born, but I was made. I'm the world's first synthetic person capable of generating an Aura.
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...
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 Worf Effect: Blake seems to suffer from this when fighting against Roman in episode 16, but this might be natural for her. Sun fares slightly better because he hasn't fought till now, but Roman is still able to hold both of them off separately. Ruby, meanwhile, gets hit while she's distracted and does nothing at all in that sequence; however, it does set the stage for Penny quite nicely.
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 Improbable Weapon Users. 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.
X on a Stick: Nora uses a watermelon on a stick as an improvised hammer during the Food Fight in Volume 2, Episode 1.