Web Animation / RWBY

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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. It also is Rooster Teeth's first entirely-original IP.

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 began harvesting a mysterious 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  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 usually released weekly on Rooster Teeth's website (Saturdays for Rooster Teeth First members, Sundays for the public), with episodes of a miniseries called World of Remnant dedicated to giving more information about Remnant sometimes being published in between episodes. 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, with episodes combined into feature length compilations. Home video releases are available from Rooster Teeth's United States, and Australia/New Zealand online stores.

Monty Oum's death in early 2015 left the future of the series in question, but other members of the 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. True to their word, on October 15th, Rooster Teeth released the intro animation of Volume 3, and Chapter 1 was released on October 24th for sponsors, and the next day for the general public. On July 1, 2016, the release date of Volume 4 was announced as 22nd October 2016, and it was also announced that the volume would take place after a six-to-eight-month Time Skip. On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that Volume 5 would premiere in fall 2017.

On April 1, 2016, a spinoff series was announced entitled RWBY Chibi, giving the franchise a more lighthearted and comedic spin after the events of Volume 3. Its first season ran for 24 episodes until October 15th, 2016, one week before the premiere of Volume 4, and future seasons are intended to air in the hiatuses between volumes.

An official export to Japan (via Warner Bros. Japan) was announced at RTX 2014, with the first three seasons getting home video releases with a Japanese dub. Those curious about the Japanese dub can order the Volume 1 and 2 Japanese home video releases from Rooster Teeth's US store. There is also a video game, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. Originally a fangame, the creators eventually teamed up with Rooster Teeth to make it official after RT found out about the game. Steam Early Access for the game began on December 1st, 2015 and the full game was released on July 5th, 2016. A manga was also announced in October 2015 and started running in November of the same year. On October 8, 2016, Viz Media announced that the RWBY manga would be circulated in Weekly Shonen Jump.


RWBY contains examples of:

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    Tropes A 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • From the start of the series, Weiss heavily implies that her father was abusive towards her and possibly her sister while they were growing up. He received a lot of stress from dealing with the White Fang's terrorist acts against the Schnee Dust Company, so he often would come home from work in a less than pleasant mood. Once we see him in Volume 4, he's revealed to be a cold and controlling sociopath who only cares about the family name - which he, in fact, married into and took for himself- and actually hits Weiss (as well as puts her under house arrest) when he thinks she has "tarnished" it.
    • Mercury implies his father, Marcus, is this as well as being an alcoholic. When Cinder first meet him, Mercury is found severely injured, his face is bruised and his legs are bleeding and nearly crippled, and he has just finished killing his father.
  • 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 Butt Monkey 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In "Burning the Candle", Yang tells Blake about her childhood, how she and Ruby ventured outside their home and were utterly defenseless against the Grimm that were waiting for them. If Qrow hadn't shown up in time, they would have been killed and Taiyang would have lost his two young daughters after already losing both wives.
    • As the fight in "Tipping Point", draws to a close, we see Qrow running as fast as he can towards it, clearly terrified even though he's a fully-trained Huntsman. He only just manages to arrive in time to block Tyrian from seriously injuring the fallen Ruby, and visibly breathes a sigh of relief.
  • 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 Dust 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, teaching the next generation to fight the Grimm and control the missions the other Hunters go on.
  • Aerith and Bob: Remnant is an eclectic mixture of people with names from various different cultures or words in various languages, and some from none at all. This includes characters with traditional names – such as Ruby, Blake, and Nora – and characters with names based on recognizable languages, cultures, and mythologies – such as Weiss (German for 'white'), Jaune (French for 'yellow'), Pyrrha (a name borrowed by Achilles), and Yatsuhashi (a Japanese treat). However, the Beacon headmaster's name is Ozpin, a made-up name reflecting the character's inspiration from the the Wizard of Oznote , and his colleague Glynda's name is inspired by Glinda from the same work. The in-universe justification for the variety of names is that the world experienced a terrible global war from which freedom of expression has become one of the planet's most cherished gifts... something Ozpin's name mysteriously does not conform to.
  • All for Nothing: In Volume 3, one of Pyrrha's main issues is the power transfer to receive the remainder of Amber's powers. She undergoes quite some emotional wear-and-tear as she decides whether or not she wants to do it, and in the end, even though Pyrrha accepts to do the transfer, Cinder kills Amber and takes the rest of the power.
  • 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.
  • All There in the Script: Several characters' last names are only revealed in the credits.
  • 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.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • At some point in Mercury's past, he lost both of his legs and had them replaced with prosthetic limbs. This eventually becomes extremely useful to the villains. Mercury is very sensitive to Pyrrha's magnetism Semblance and is able to assess her abilities after only seconds of sparring allowing him to gather valuable intelligence about her that Cinder can exploit. He is also capable of withstanding Yang's Semblance-empowered attacks and make it appear as though his legs are broken without being genuinely harmed. This allows Emerald to use her powers to frame both Yang and Pyrrha, and by extension Ozpin (as their headmaster), without Mercury being injured or anyone catching on.
    • During the invasion of Beacon, Adam decides to destroy everything Blake loves as revenge for abandoning him. He starts by cutting off Yang's right arm. This triggers character arcs for both Yang and Blake. A guilt-ridden Blake goes on the run, returning to her roots to confront everything she hates about herself. Yang is forced to confront everything she refuses to think of about herself and her family situation, including her thoughtless attitude in battle, which led to her arm loss.
  • 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:
    • The fight scenes in Volume 1 would get one in comparison to the rest of the season.
    • 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.
    • Volume 3 has far more detailed and natural-looking backgrounds, more 2D animation mixed in to alleviate the technical shortcomings that the 3D animation still has, and minor touches such as realistic tears.
    • Volume 4 has been stated to be the show's first volume with new animation software (Maya instead of Poser), and from the snippets of animation circulating online, the style is shifting more towards Cel Shading with focus on lighting and such.
  • 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.
  • Animal Jingoism: Referenced when Zwei is sent to Ruby and Yang; everyone warms up quickly to the idea of having a Precious Puppy staying with them... except Blake, who trees herself to get as far away from Zwei as possible.
  • Anime Theme Song: All three volumes come with OPs that wouldn't look out of place on anything coming out of Japan. The OPs, all composed by Jeff Williams and performed by Casey Lee Williams, are as follows:
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In "Beginning of the End", this is how Cinder and her associates "convince" the White Fang to work with them, with Cinder igniting a circle of fire beneath Adam's feet and her associates cutting down their entire camp.
  • Answer Cut:
    • "Never Miss a Beat" ends with Ozpin describing the girl that he believes will be a strong maiden candidate, as we see Pyrrha entering the elevator of the Cross Continental Transmit tower.
    • In "Fall": "The assailant that attacked the Fall Maiden has made their first move. And there's no telling when their next move will be." (Match Cut to Cinder, sitting in the Amity Colosseum, grinning smugly.)
  • 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. There are only four Kingdoms, each with a four-year academy. Academy teams consist of four people, each based on four main colors. There are four basic types of dust and four maidens representing the four seasons. Not to mention the fact that the story starts right before the 40th Vytal Festival. Character-wise, the past four generations of Jaune's family were heroes and Pyrrha is a four time champion of the Mistral regional tournament.
    • There are 4 main types of dust, 4 maidens and 4 gifts to mankind
  • Arc Words:
    • There is a lot of use in both the show and songs of words that bring to mind the idea of light, especially light against darkness. There are Academy names like "Beacon" and "Signal", descriptions of humanity as a light against the darkness, and references to "sparks" or "burn" regarding the fire of humanity to fight for survival. By contrast, the main threat to humanity's existence (the Creatures of Grimm) are described in terms of darkness and shadow, and the villains take on these aspects as well. The only reference to light and darkness that is turned on its head is Vacuo's academy, Shade. Based in a desert, Shade is the symbol of hope and life against the unrelenting, destructive desert sun.
    • Volume 3 focusses on the concept of "fall". The intro song is called "When it Falls", the Big Bad's name is Cinder Fall, it takes place during the fall season, the song "I May Fall" plays during a battle, and the episode in which the villains really get the upper hand and the plot takes a noticable turn towards darkness is called "Fall". Pyrrha is selected to become the next Fall Maiden and the volume ends with the fall of both Beacon and Pyrrha, at the hands of Cinder.
  • Armies Are Evil: Invoked. Ozpin explains that an army is a symbol of conflict, and bringing one to the Vytal Festival is just going to scare people and make them wonder what that army is meant to fight.
  • Armor Is Useless: Justified. Hunters project their Aura around them like a microscopic barrier, protecting them from harm. Thus, Combat Stilettos, Walking Shirtless Scenes, and Zettai Ryouiki are all fair game if the Hunter is comfortable in them, since even the skimpiest, most impractical outfit is just as effective as full plate armor. In addition, Aura grants Super Strength and Super Speed on top of the Super Toughness, and regular aror is fairly useless anyway against foes who can dodge bullets and wreck buildings.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • After a class, when Weiss expresses frustration about Ruby being named team leader instead of her to Port, he asks her, "So the outcome did not fall in your favor. Do you really believe that acting in such a manner would cause those in power to reconsider their decision?"
    • 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.
    • In "It's Brawl in the Family", Ozpin says this to Ironwood after he tries justifying bringing a whole fleet to the Vytal Festival.
    "A guardian is a symbol of comfort. But an army is a symbol of conflict. There's an energy in the air now. The question in the back of everyone's minds: if this is the size of our defenses, what are they expecting to fight?"
  • 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.
    • Volume 3 as well, in comparison to Volume 2. The animation is now a mixture of 3D models and 2D backgrounds, which look a LOT prettier than the old 3D ones.
    • The graphical improvements across the board for Volume 4 add a lot of detail and expressiveness to the series, if the trailer is anything to go by. Grimm radiate smoke and their eyes have a trailing glow; Ruby has a more detailed and expressive model, such as having actual modeled lips.
  • 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. It is likely justifiable by way of how Aura works.
  • Artificial Limbs: Mercury's legs are prosthetics, as revealed in the battle against Amber (this presumably has something to do with his father). Ironwood is also revealed to have this (the entire right side of his torso seems to be mechanical).
  • 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 (Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures style, to be precise).
    • 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 Meme: Various fandom ships gained names based on which pair was being shipped. In Vol.2 Ep.4, those ship names get acknowledged in-universe as RWBY tactics involving the relevant pairs combining their techniques and abilities when fighting Torchwick.
    • In "New Challengers", Jaune calls for a team meeting when their team is fighting Team BRNZ and tries to execute codenamed team attacks named after the Nora/Ren and Jaune/Pyrrha ships, referencing them by name ("Flower Power" and "Arkos", respectively).
    • The name of Jaune and Pyrrha's pairing, Arkos, has to be explained to newcomers rather frequently. The show lampshades this by having Pyrrha herself question it in Vol. 3.
    • In "The Next Step", Ren and Nora argue over whether their team should be called "JNRR" or "RNJR", mimicking the same arguments fans had after the end of Volume 3 considering the new team of Ruby, Nora, Ren and Jaune.
  • Ash Face:
    • Episode 2 has Ruby launching a Dust-powered sneeze that covers Weiss in ash. She's not happy.
    • In "Never Miss a Beat", after tackling Flynt onto a fire-spewing vent, the extent of Weiss' injuries is being covered in soot. The areas around her eyes are perfectly clean, though.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Great War only comes to an end after ten bloody years when the Warrior-King of Vale is forced to take to the battlefield on Vacuo. Legend claims that his actions are single-handedly so apocalyptic for everyone that the leaders of the other three kingdoms immediately surrendered and offered him their kingdoms. He was able to use the situation to broker a peace treaty at Vytal, force the kingdoms to all revisit and redesign the structure of kingdoms and how they're run, and create the four Huntsmen Academies. However, he refused control of the offered kingdoms and ended the Vale kingship, becoming a teacher at Vale's new academy.
  • Asskicking Pose: Team RWBY frequently assemble in chromatic order before attacking together.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Team RWBY has developed special tactical maneuvers 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 cloud the enemy's vision.
    • "Checkmate" is carried out by Weiss and Blake, using Weiss's glyphs to power up Blake, increasing her speed and making 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 severs 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 firepower and Weiss's ice to freeze the opponent solid with ice that settles in the shape of an ice flower.
    • Played for Laughs with Jaune attempting to do the same during the tournament, only for the rest of Team JNPR to get confused and try to figure out what he is talking about.
  • 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 Girls because Monty liked those kinds of characters.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Huntsmen and other warriors that live long enough to become old or teachers are extremely dangerous people by virtue of having a survived a dangerous job with a very high death toll. This can cause its own problems as Discussed in-universe. There is a conflict between General Ironwood and the Beacon staff because Ironwood believes in closely associating authority with the amount of arsekicking that authority is capable of. It's why he insists on bringing an army to Vale for the Vytal Tournament. By contrast, Ozpin, Qrow and Glynda fear such displays will backfire rather than be helpful. The lesson the Beacon teachers seem to teach their students is that authority requires leadership ability rather than combat skill, something that Ozpin makes a point of telling Ruby to make her take responsibility for her position as team leader and a lesson she passes on to Jaune, for the same reason.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Most major fight scenes are accompanied by vocal rock songs:
  • Avengers Assemble: Team RWBY understandably does this numerously and sometimes winds up together out of sheer coincidence.
    • Taken to an extreme in "Battle of Beacon", with not just Team RWBY, but Teams JNPR, SSSN, CFVY, ABRN, and FNKI.

    Tropes B 
  • 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!
  • 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.
    • Done twice in "Battle of Beacon" with Oobleck and Port, and Weiss and Blake; both pairs are fending off Grimm.
  • Badass Boast: "I May Fall" is basically one long badass boast. It's message is that one day, the singer (presumably meant to represent Huntsmen & Huntresses) will be facing their Darkest Hour, alone and hopeless; on that day, even if they are defeated, they're going to go down fighting.
  • 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. Yang's mother, Raven is so powerful, that the seemingly invincible Neo freaks out and runs from her. Even the family dog has been show to be able to slay Grimm on his own.
    • Downplayed in Jaune's case. At least three generations of his family were warriors and heroes (possibly including his sisters). Jaune himself? Not so much.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The club that Yang enters in her trailer appears to be a gathering place for criminals, as the owner Junior sells his services (such as hired muscle) to known criminal Roman Torchwick.
  • 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. Incidentally, it foreshadows their relationship in their team.
  • Professors Oobleck and Port are almost always paired up when a big enough battle to warrant the teachers' involvment develops, often paired with Back-to-Back Badasses and friendly banter.
  • Back Blocking:
    • In the second episode, Jaune wonders where he'll find a quirky girl to talk to. Then he walks off-camera, revealing Pyrrha in front of the group of silhouette characters.
    • The Volume 2 opening appears to show Ruby standing by herself a 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. Yes, even Jaune.
  • Bears are Bad News: The Ursa variant of Grimm are 10 to 15-foot-tall, spiky-armored bears.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The leaders of the four major huntsmen academies are working together behind the scenes to protect everyone from the threats that exist on Remnant - both the threats people know about, and the ones that are kept secret. Ozpin, Glynda, Ironwood, Qrow and the Vacuo and Mistral academy leaders work together against threats, the knowledge of which could alter everything people believe about themselves and their world. One of their core motivations for secrecy is the desire to avoid causing panic, which would draw hordes of Grimm to the cities. Deconstructed as of Vol.3 Episode 9. No matter how benevolent it was or reasonable the intentions, Cinder took advantage of the secrecy and exposed it, sowing distrust amongst the people.
  • Berserk Button: If so much as a single strand of Yang's hair gets damaged, her temper snaps and she will pummel the culprit into the ground.
  • Big Bad: Volume 1 makes Torchwick appear to be the main villain, but eventually reveals he's subordinate to the true Big Bad, Cinder Fall, and is merely carrying out Phase One of her plans. And then the Volume 3 finale introduces a Bigger Bad, Salem, and reveals that Cinder is merely her subordinate.
  • 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 feathers 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". Incidentally, Ruby had befriended her earlier despite her teammates' wishes.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 11, Raven saves Yang from Neo as the latter is about to deliver a Coup de Grâce.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", Cardin is about to get shot by a couple of hijacked Atlesian Knights when their heads are suddenly blown off... enter Ironwood, who had survived the crashing of his airship and is revealed to be a cyborg.
    • Ruthlessly subverted in the Volume 3 finale. Pyrrha is at Cinder's mercy, but Ruby shows up just in time... to see Cinder shoot Pyrrha with an arrow, killing her.
    • Done twice in "Tipping Point".
      • When an angry Weiss accidentally summons a Boarbatusk that charges towards a woman that has upset her, it lunges towards her only to be shot away at the last second by Ironwood, who has just appeared on the scene.
      • As Tyrian is about to kill Ruby, Qrow Flash Stepps between them. Foreshadowed since we did see Qrow in both bird and human form rushing to the scene before that happened.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Happens between Jaune and Pyrrha in Volume 3's finale.
  • 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.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In "Best Day Ever", Ruby lets out one during the Food Fight when cradling Weiss after she is thrown into a pillar by Nora.
    • In "Battle of Beacon", Ironwood lets out a genuinely alarmed one when he sees the group of Atlesian androids on his airship turning their guns on him after being hacked and turned rogue by Torchwick.
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • In "The Badge and the Burden" Weiss snaps at Ruby for distracting her during her fight with a boarbatusk.
    • In "Tipping Point", after telling a man who had been bothering her to leave, an already irked Weiss overhears a woman from Atlas unapologetically insulting Vale, saying that it deserved what happened to it. This makes her reach her tipping point, making her loudly yell "SHUT UP!" and attract everyone's attention.
    • In "Punished", Oscar gives one of these to the voice of Ozpin that he's hearing when it keeps pestering him.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Weiss in "Search and Destroy" after Oobleck says that they've been spotted by Grimm.
    • Cinder in the Volume 3 finale when she sees Ruby revealing unforeseen power, enveloping everything around her in white.
    • Blake and Sun in "Menagerie" after Blake's mom reveals that Blake's dad has been dealing with the White Fang.
    • Weiss in "Punished" when her father says that she will stay in Atlas until the two come to a consensus about her future.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Schnee" is German for snow and "Weiss" is the German word for white (weiß) pronounced okay but the W would make a V more like "Veiss" (vice).
  • Black Hole Belly: Pretty much everyone, including tiny characters like Weiss, can eat mountains of food without any change in appearance afterwards.
  • 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 happens to overhear this. He blackmails Jaune into doing his homework and chores for him for the next two episodes, until Jaune finally stands up to him and saves him from a rampaging Grimm.
  • 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.
    • Sage's sword does this when he's knocked out of the match in Vol. 3 Episode 2.
    • In Volume 3, Episode 9, all of Penny's swords fall flat, but one blade slams into the ground, point-first to pin some fabric to the ground and signify the end of the battle.
  • Blade Brake: A lot of characters do this with their weapons to stop themselves during fights.
  • Blade Lock: Done several times between Qrow (with his sword) and Tyrian (with his wrist blades) in their fight in "Punished".
  • 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 do this in episode 15, when Ruby agrees to Penny's notion that she's her friend (her teammates vehemently deny this and mime 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 badass huntsman they envisioned.
  • Blessed with Suck: Everyone's got a Semblance, a special power that only they can do. However, it's later established that not all Semblances are cool and useful; your Semblance can be, for instance, to cause misfortune to the people around you...poor Qrow.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Little to no blood is shown despite absurdly sharp weapons and Dust-fueled firearms regularly making contact with people. 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. While Grimm lack Aura, the third "World of Remnant" segment about Grimm explains that their 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).
    • In "Heroes and Monsters," when Yang loses her arm, glowing yellow particles billow out from the wound rather than blood. Whether this is a visual representation of her Aura dispersing or a side-effect of the weapon used is unclear.
    • While this trope is generally in full effect, there are a few notable aversions. When Weiss gets punched by the knight armor in the White trailer, blood runs down her forehead over her eye. In "Beginning of the End," Mercury's bloody, bandaged legs are on full display when Cinder and Emerald arrive to recruit his father. In "Heroes and Monsters," Adam can be briefly seen flicking Yang's blood off his sword after cutting off her arm. The preview for the Volume 3 season finale shows the remainder of Yang's arm wrapped in bloody bandages.
  • 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, 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.
  • Bookends:
    • "From Shadows" begins and ends with the same Lonely Piano Piece.
    • In "Lessons Learned", the first and last shot of the scene of Winter tutoring Weiss is of a caterpillar.
    • Volume 3 begins and ends with Ruby visiting her mother's grave.
    • One that spans from the very first episode. In that episode, it opens with a narration by a mysterious woman that ends with Ozpin refuting her darkness with faith in a small, honest soul. The Volume 3 finale, "End of the Beginning" ends with the mysterious woman's rebuttal to Ozpin's faith in that small soul, revealing that she was the overarching villain throughout the first three volumes.
    • At two different points in Volume 4, Weiss is led through her family's home by Klein, and accidentally eavesdrops on a tense argument between Ironwood and her father. The first time, it's day, and serves to establish the Schnees as a Dysfunctional Family and their house as something of a Gilded Cage. The second time, it's nighttime, and Klein is sneaking her out of the house so she can join Ruby and the rest of the team in Mistral.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The chainsaw-wielding White Fang lieutenant Weiss takes on in "No Brakes". Despite his relatively unassuming appearance, he proceeds to tank dozens of hits from Weiss before knocking her out practically as an afterthought. Later in the same episode, after seeing what he's done to Weiss, Blake decides to run away rather than even make an attempt at taking him on.
  • Boring, but Practical: In a world where Phlebotinum, 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.
    • And General Ironwood's weapon of choice? A simple revolver. It's a damn big one, but there's nothing else really notable or crazy about it. It really should tell you everything you need to know about the world of Remnant when a Hand Cannon is this trope. It seems to have two barrels and two triggers, but that is still far more normal than most weapons in the setting... and it still kicks ass.
  • 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 any 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)
    • Samurai Shampoo
  • 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.
  • Break the Badass: Yang loses her right arm when she confronts Adam during the battle for Beacon Academy. Volume 4 is set several months later, where Yang is struggling to adjust to the loss, and having nightmares of Adam. She doesn't initially want to start wearing the cybernetic arm she has been given because her situation has left her afraid. She was originally an adventurous, out-going thrill-seeker who loved to fight, but she only puts the cybernetic arm on once she realises that her father is having to choose between his two daughters because Ruby is off searching for the villains while Yang is suffering at home, and Taiyang cannot be in two places at once.
  • Break the Cutie: Yang's cheerful, motherly attitude and bubbly, happy-go-lucky personality is put through the wringer towards the end of Volume 3. Her aggressive, take-no-prisoners style of fighting is used against her by the villains, who set her up for a battle that turns crowd against her, ruining her reputation just to smear Ozpin's. When she tries to defend herself, even her closest friends and family struggle with her version of events. The entire televised world witness her attacking a defenseless opponent who is curled up on the ground; Emerald's illusions make Yang think Mercury is attacking her from behind, forcing her to strike him to protect herself. When Beacon is attacked, Yang tries to save Blake's life only to have her right arm amputated by Adam. Blake then appears to abandon Team RWBY and run away while Weiss is forced to return to Atlas by her father. Yang remains in bed for months, unable to handle everything that's happened.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Volume 1, Episode 4, Nora thinks she and Ren should have a secret signal, such as a sloth call. Ren tells her he doesn't think sloths make any noise, leaving her thinking it's ideal because Ren's quiet, too. In Episode 7 when Ren defeats the King Taijitu he hears a weird sound from the trees which turns out to be Nora. He tells her that he still doesn't think that's what a sloth sounds like.
    • In Episode 11, Nora suggested to her team (and team RWBY) that they should break Cardin's legs for being such an ass which is dismissed as a not-serious suggestion. In Episode 12, Pyrrha attempts to cheer up Jaune by letting him know that she'd be willing to break Cardin's legs for real.
    • Weiss gets called "Ice Queen" by several people, much to her irritation. This is used for humor again, several episodes later, when Roman, who has never met her before, says "Ladies, Ice Queen, always a pleasure". Weiss is not amused. In Volume 3, Qrow references "Ice Queen" himself, much to Weiss's indignation, only for her to discover that Qrow is actually addressing Winter, not Weiss.
    • Jaune instead calls Weiss "Snow Angel" per his attempts to woo her. When she first meets Neptune, he calls her that and she's flattered. Jaune can't believe it, especially since she's been dismissive of his attempts so far.
    • 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.
  • 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 to 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.
  • 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 was on the receiving end of a lot of grief from Cardin who found out about his cheating and briefly blackmailed him into being his servant. The trope is deconstructed in the first season, as Jaune is suffering under tremendous stress from it. Fortunately for Jaune, he's gotten better since then.
  • 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.
    • At the end of "Menagerie", Tyrian asks the Higanbana tavern waitress for help in finding someone, and as he devolves into a fit of his trademark diabolical laughter, everything fades to black except for his Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness.

    Tropes C 
  • Call Back:
    • In the first Red Trailer, Ruby is first revealed when she leaps into the air, spinning her weapon into use, her face come into view while framed by the moon behind her. This sequence (against a moon or an artificial light that symbolises the moon) is repeated several times in the show every time a character is about to reveal themselves and/or their abilities for the first time. Yang does it when her introductory fight begins in the Yellow Trailer and Velvet does during Volume 3 when she finally reveals her weapon and Semblance.
    • Ruby hates the idea of being placed into Beacon two years early because she doesn't want to be regarded as "the bee's knees", she wants "normal knees". During the Grimm fight in Episode 8, Ruby makes a breakthrough in her relationship with Weiss when Weiss saves her from the Deathstalker. Relieved that Weiss has offered an olive branch and is treating her like anyone else, Ruby sighs and whispers "normal knees".
    • During the Black Trailer, Blake and Adam rob a train that contains the Schnee family logo, which is first seen in the White Trailer and implies Blake is stealing from Weiss's family. At the end of Volume 1, Weiss and Blake's fight about the White Fang starts revealing personal secrets. Weiss refers to the effect on her home life that White Fang's personal war with her family has had, and references the robbery of a train full of Dust. The pressure of this fight brings to light Blake's status as a faunus who is on the run from the White Fang, and ties the Black Trailer into the villains' actions during Volume 1, which sees them stealing and hoarding Dust for mysterious reasons.
    • During the Yellow Trailer, Yang visits a dance club because the man running it has a reputation for knowing things. She's searching for information on a mysterious woman, but Junior claims not to know anything. When Team RWBY decide to investigate Roman and the White Fang in Volume 2, Yang states she has contacts who might know something. She goes right back to that dance club to visit Junior. When she arrives, it's revealed that the club has taken precautions should she ever return... and, yet again, Junior doesn't seem to have any useful information to give her.
    • During the Volume 3 flashback episode, the moves Amber pulls with her Maiden powers are designed to show us which of Cinder's past fighting moves are driven by the Maiden power she's stolen from Amber. Significantly, Cinder's ability to block Ruby's bullets in the pilot episode is a result of the Maiden power, as Amber blocks Emerald's shots the same way. Further more, Cinder's ability to create explosive fire circles underneath her opponents feet, first seen during the pilot episode against Glynda and Ruby, is something she also tries against Amber, revealing it's her native ability and not something given to her by the Maiden power.
    • Although Pyrrha and Jaune mean well and want to help each other, their inability to truly communicate their feelings properly to each other results in some significant moments that directly impact the way they behave during the next few episodes. In Volume 1, Pyrrha tries to help Jaune with his lack of combat training, but makes him feel so useless, be becomes entrapped by Cardin's bullying until he makes a decision to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences. In Volume 3, Pyrrha is struggling with the offer that Ozpin has presented her with, but when Jaune tries to offer her well-meaning advice, she falls apart and accidentally attacks him with her temporarily uncontrolled Semblance. Her abilities remain in limbo until she finally makes the decision to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences.
    • In the Volume 3 finale, Qrow asks Ruby if she remembers the first words Ozpin ever said to her, and reveals he knows what they were. He explains that Ozpin's reference to her silver eyes in the pilot episode is because of an ancient legend that silver-eyed people are destined to be great warriors who can kill Grimm - sometimes with just a glance. Ruby has a unique ability that she can barely comprehend that makes her extremely dangerous to the Grimm, an ability most people don't even know exists.
    • In Volume 1, Chapter 10, Weiss fights against a Boarbatusk in Port's class, which she kills. Later on, in Volume 4, Chapter 6, Weiss (inadvertently) summons the same Boarbatusk during the concert's after party.
  • The Cameo: As the show became more popular, several voice actors showed up as cameos.
    • Laura Bailey showed up in Volume 3 as Amber, the Fall Maiden, voicing her for a couple of lines.
    • Two members of Team Four Star showed up as cameos in Volume 4: Lanipator as the "Angry Businessman" and KaiserNeko as another unnamed businessman.
  • Cane Fu:
    • Roman's elegant fighting style.
    • Ozpin holds his own against Cinder, who had just gained god-like powers very efficiently with just his cane.
  • 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.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Neptune since he hits on anything with a skirt and has only been shown to be successful with Weiss (though the team SSSN fangirls seem to like him just as much as they like the other members of the team).
  • Cast Herd: Becomes evident part-way through Volume 1, but the opening for Volume 2 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)
    • The villains (Cinder, Mercury, Emerald, Roman, Neo)
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Sun tries flirting with Blake while fighting a giant serpent Grimm. Blake is not amused.
  • Casualty in the Ring: Occurs in Volume 3 in Penny and Pyrrha's fight, with Pyrrha accidentally dismembering and destroying Penny. The effect of the world seeing this gruesome display gives the Grimm enough fuel to attack Vale.
  • 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 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.
  • The Cavalry: In Vol.2's finale, an isolated Team RWBY are thoroughly outnumbered by Grimm, 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.
  • Cerebus Call Back: Remember that gag involving Jaune getting shoved into a flying locker? It happens again in "The End of the Beginning, only it's Pyrrha doing it to make sure he's safe and before she goes off to fight Cinder in a battle she'll die in.
    • At the end of the same episode, Ruby hugs Yang after she lost her arm saying "I'm so happy you're ok" the same way Yang did when Ruby almost died from a Nevermore during the initiation. Except Yang isn't ok.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Hits hard halfway through Volume 3, to the point where Rooster Teeth had to post a viewer-discretion warning on their website shortly before the airing of Episode 7.
  • 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 Gag: In Volume 3, Episode 3, Mercury mentions that Qrow smells like "my dad after a long day". Come Episode 7 and we find out Mercury killed his father, who is strongly implied to have been an abusive drunk.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In flashbacks, a young Ren has been given money by his mother to buy something for his father's return. He asks a weapons merchant what he can afford, and the vendor holds up a small wooden sword and hammer. When the town is later attacked, Ren and Nora hide together under a house until it's over. Ren notices the same small hammer nearby and gives it to her, telling her they need to protect each other from now on.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • 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]
    • Cinder is shown sewing clothing in one scene. Later on, Ironwood and Glynda discuss Cinder's catsuit lighting up when she fought Ruby and her dress lighting up when she fought Glynda in the pilot episode. Glynda uses the two examples to link the two women as the same person they're looking for, but Ironwood dismisses the connection between weaving Dust into clothing is an ancient, common and well-known technique, making the similarity useless for investigative purposes.
  • 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 black 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.
  • Chiaroscuro: Used in "Family" during Qrow's meeting with Raven in the tavern. When the former stand at the top of the stairs, he's shown in warm yellow light, while the latter, at the far end of the balcony, is deeper in shadows, indicating which one is the lighter and darker of the pair. When the two actually sit down to talk, Qrow is on the side where the table lamp is shining, while Raven still remains in the gloomier shadows opposite him.
  • Clothing Damage: Present for the first time in "Beginning of the End", and not played for Fanservice, during Cinder/Emerald/Mercury's attack on the Fall Maiden - Mercury is hit by a continuous stream of fire, and this eventually tears off everything below the knees, showing bionic legs.
  • 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: Eighty years before the story begins, a global war ends which was fought over, among other things, the right to artistic self-expression. In memory of this, people ever since have named themselves and their children after colours, a core concept of art. As a result, every character is associated with a colour that is built into their name either directly, or by association. The exception is Ozpin who, while associated with the colour green, does not have a name that is based on, or associated in-universe, with that, or any other, colour.
    • Team RWBY is associated with red, white, black and yellow. Ruby Rose is red-themed, having dark, red-tinted hair, wearing red and black clothes with a bright red hooded cape, and wielding a red-and-black sniper-scythe. She scatters red rose petals whenever her speed Semblance kicks in. Weiss Schnee is associated with white; she wears mostly blue-tinted white, has white hair, and favours Ice Dust in battle. Blake Belladonna is black-themed, with black hair, wearing black and white clothing and fights in a ninja-style with black weapons. Yang is yellow-themed, with golden hair, clothing in shades of yellow and browns and whose gun-gauntlets are bright yellow; she will also appear to be on fire when she gets angry and her Semblance kicks in.
    • Team JNPR is associated with yellow, pink, red and green. Jaune Arc is yellow-themed, standing out for having vivid (but natural) yellow hair; his armour and weapons are tinted a yellowish-brown. Nora Valkyrie is pink themed, with pale red hair, wearing pink skirt and firing rounds of ammo that have pink hearts on them. Pyrrha Nikos is red themed, with long red hair, a flowing red sash around her waist and with a red and yellow weapon. Her appearance is offset with yellow, such as her tiara and armour. Lie Ren is green-themed, wearing a vivid green jacket and wielding green knife-guns. He and Nora have a long history together, and he wears a pink streak in his hair associated with his pink eyes which are a similar shade to Nora's pink theme.
  • 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. For unrevealed reasons, Ozpin is an exception to this rule. Examples include Ruby being red-themed, Weiss being white-themed, Blake being black-themed (although she is the black-themed character, her name comes from two Old English sources, mean either dark or pale; her clothing colours are black and white), and Yang being named after a Chinese word for light and the sun. Like Ozpin, Salem is also an exception to the rule for mysterious reasons.
  • Combat Stilettos: The student uniforms very often come with practical loafer-style shoes. However, many of the female characters will change into heels as part of their combat uniform. Certain characters are almost always seen in heels, whether in combat or not, such as Glynda, Winter, Neo, Melanie and Militia, but some make a conscious decision to change into heels for battle.
    • Cinder Fall wears very high heels when in her signature red costume, even when engaging in acrobatic close-combat fights. Due to her Cinderella motif, her shoes often get a lot of close-up camera shots, often with a sound effect that sounds like glass clinking. When she changes into a catsuit for an infiltration, she wears a different set of high-heeled thigh-high boots. It doesn't impede her ability to run across rooftops ninja-style.
    • Weiss wears wedge-heeled boots as part of her combat uniform. Her fighting style includes dance-like movements found in ice-skating, including twirling, leaping and sliding across the ground. Ruby once complains that she can't understand how Weiss can fight in them.
    • When Blake wears her combat uniform, she wears ankle-boots with underslung heels. She is designed for agile, fast-moving combat, using high speed, leaps and dodging. Her heels don't slow her down at all.
    • Pyrrha's combat uniform is a Greek-inspired ensemble that includes armoured high-heeled knee-high boots. She is capable of mid-air backflips without ever requiring a push-off point or touching the ground.
    • Coco is a fashionista whose combat uniform is designed to evoke the latest fashions. She wears high-heeled boots as part of the look, but her main fighting style is to stand and fire a huge minigun. When she is forced to move, she is as agile as any other fighter, despite the heels.
  • Combination Attack: In episode 8, how Team RWBY and (to a lesser extent) Team JNPR each take out their respective Grimm. By season 2, Team RWBY specializes in combination attacks, and can do them on Ruby's command.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Ruby does this a lot...sometimes twice in a row.
      Weiss:: Gee, if only there were somewhere on campus to get food around here. [camera zooms out to show the entire fairground] Oh, wait.
      Ruby: It's okay, Weiss. I forget about the fairgrounds too.
      Weiss: I was being facetious!
      Ruby: W-well, if you were hungry, why didn't you say so!
    • Oobleck, being himself, gets in on this too.
      Oobleck: Aaaand now they've seen us.
      Weiss: What?!
      Oobleck: [leans in right next to her ear]' AND NOW THEY'VE SEEN US!
    • Jaune, who stops in the middle of a tournament fight to discuss team attack names and sees nothing wrong with this. His opponents aren't amused.
      Jaune: We are trying to have a team meeting here, thank you very little.
      Brawnz: ...We're in the middle of a fight!!
      Jaune: And we're in the middle of a conversation, WHAT DON'T YOU GET ABOUT THAT?!
  • 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.
  • Continuity Nod: In episode 15, Weiss mentions that an entire train of her family's Dust shipments had been stolen by the White Fang. The Black trailer involved Blake and Adam pulling a heist on a train with cargo that had the Schnee logo.
  • 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.
    • The mere existence of RWBY as a team has elements of this. The nieces of a spy in a Benevolent Conspiracy, the heiress to the biggest mining corporation in the world, and a former terrorist whose agenda placed her in dead opposition with the above heiress? All of whom colored to align neatly with their spiritual predecessor, to whom Ruby and Yang are related to by blood? They could have won the lottery with their luck!
  • 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: Winter Schnee arrives at Beacon in an airship with four wings and ribbons trailing behind it.
  • 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.
  • Cool Uncle: Qrow was the team mate of Ruby and Yang's father, and also of the two women who became their mothers, so both girls call him "uncle". In the pilot, Ruby indicates he shaped her from nothing into a brilliant fighter who's above her academic age in ability. In Volume 3, he's willing to spend time playing video games with his nieces and giving them worldly advice, despite the very serious humanity-threatening danger he's involved in trying to stop. As the brother of Yang's mother, he's not Ruby's uncle by blood.
    Ruby: UNCLE QROW!!! (Jumps and latches onto his arm) Hi! Aahh! It's so good to see you! Did ya miss me? Did ya miss me?!
    Qrow: (smirks) Nope!
  • Cosmic Keystone: According to Qrow, one of the old Creation Myths of the world says that a pair of gods left a series of relics on Remnant with immense power, built around fundamental principles: Creation, Destruction, Knowledge, and Choice. And according to Ozpin, each of the four Huntsmen academies was built to protect these relics, and Salem is trying to get the one protected by Beacon.
  • Costume Evolution: There is a Time Skip of several months between the end of Volume 3 and the beginning of Volume 4. To reflect that passage of time, the main characters from both Teams RWBY and JNPR sport significant changes to the styles of their clothing and hair. Each character's signature colour schemes and personal symbology remains unchanged. Ruby, Nora, Jaune and Ren also have a ragged look to their appearances to reflect the months they've spent on the road in a harsh, combat-heavy environment. Jaune's new outfit also includes a red waist sash that trails on his right side, reminiscent of the one Pyrrha used to wear.
  • Cranial Eruption: In "It's Brawl in the Family", Weiss suffers this after an Armor-Piercing Slap from Winter. Ruby is kind enough to push the bump back in.
  • Creation Myth: When Qrow is telling Team RNJR stories around the campfire, he tells them of a creation myth about two brothers, the God of Darkness and the God of Light. The God of Light creates life while the God of Darkness creates destruction. In the myth, they don't get on very well and keep trying to one-up each other. In the end, they decide to create a single thing that they can both be proud of, something with the power to both create and destroy: humanity. Qrow tells Team RNJR that, while humans have come up with dozens of gods throughout Remnant's history, Ozpin once told him that the Gods of Light and Darkness are actually real: the God of Light created plants and animals while the God of Darkness created the Creatures of Grimm. They left behind four extremely powerful artefacts in the form of relics: the powers of Knowledge, Creation, Destruction and Choice, which are protected by the four Huntsmen Academies and which Salem is trying to find.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: The seventh episode of Volume 3 is called "Beginning of the End". The twelfth and final episode of the volume is called "End of the Beginning".
  • 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.
    • In Volume 3 Chapter 4, Mercury and Emerald brutally crush Yatsuhashi and Coco in the two-on-two matches of the tournament. In fact, their entire character song "I'm the One" (which plays during said battle) is dedicated to this.
    [Full Version, with both characters]: It might be hard to hear me say,/"Kicking your ass is child's play."/I hope you're not crushed by this ridicule.
    • In the above episode, Qrow totally demolishes both Ruby and Yang in a fighting game, to the extent that the game calls it "total annihilation".
    • "Never Miss a Beat" begins with Penny single-handedly defeating Russel and Sky of Team CRDL by implanting her swords into the rocks the two are hiding behind, lifting the rocks up as they hang on for dear life, and slamming them down.
    • In the above episode, there's a case of initial playing-straight and then subversion (if not playing-straight for the other side). Weiss and Yang's fight with Neon and Flynt starts with them getting their butts handed to them, but after Weiss' Heroic Sacrifice, things turn around; Yang is able to defeat a weakened Flynt and also takes out Neon after she trips and falls onto a geyser.
    • "Beginning of the End" showcases a flashback where Amber, midway through her surprise fight against Cinder, Emerald and Mercury, is forced to activate her Fall Maiden powers, violently trashing her opponents with magic until she's finally shot in the back by Cinder's arrow.
    • Ruby is on the receiving end of one when she goes up against Neo and Roman by herself. Despite getting Neo swept off the airship, a Badass Boast AND a Theme Music Power-Up, Roman continues to handily curb-stomp her alone.
    • Ruby delivers one to Cardin in the second chapter of the manga after she's suddenly put in a mock match against him by Goodwitch.
    • "Tipping Point" ends with Team RNJR fighting Tyrian. Although he proves to be a challenging opponent, RNJR seemingly defeats him at one point...until it's revealed that he's a faunus, at which point the tables turn drastically and he wipes them all out effortlessly.
  • 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.

    Tropes D 
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: A majority of the reoccurring female characters have worn short skirts during fight scenes at some point in the series - notably when it's all of Team RWBY plus Pyrrha and Nora in their school uniforms during the food fight. Some of the heroines even have what Weiss calls "Combat Skirts," where their outfits are designed to have short skirts as part of their battle attire (Ruby, Cinder, Weiss, Pyrrha, Nora, Raven, Melanie, Miltia and Blake/Yang in their V2 alternate outfits).
  • Darker and Edgier: The show begins with a light-hearted, comic air as the teenagers bed into their new school and begin learning how to be the next generation of heroes. However, Volume 2 kicks off with an assassination and mid-way through Volume 3, the creators published a warning to guardians of young viewers, advising them to double-check episodes before permitting youngsters watch them. From that time on, students have been framed for heinous violent acts and the villain takes her plans public, beginning with a bloody, violent invasion of Vale by both the White Fang and the Grimm.
  • Darkest Hour: The Volume 3 finale brings together strands of plot that have existed ever since the pilot episode to reveal just how dangerous the Creatures of Grimm can be, how precarious Vale's situation now is, and just how evil humans and faunus are capable of being to each other. Cinder obtains the Fall Maiden's full powers, and kills both Amber and Pyrrha. Roman dies, Neo and Ozpin are MIA, Adam stabs Blake and severs Yang's arm. Beacon and the CCT are in ruins, a Grimm Dragon is frozen on the Tower but still attracting Grimm, and Team RWBY is forced to split and go their separate ways. The Female Narrator is revealed to be a woman who looks like a humanoid Grimm, who is determined to destroy humanity because she hates Ozpin so much.
  • Dark is Evil: The Monsters of Grimm are the reason humanity is confined to four easily-protected kingdoms instead of being able to build cities across the entire planet. They are a constant threat to humanity's continued existence, requiring humans and faunus to develop the skills, tactics and technology required just to defend the communities they've managed to set up. The Grimm are predominantly black creatures, with some white armouring and red eyes and mask markings. The major villain, Salem, looks like a humanoid Grimm, having ghost white skin, but red eyes, reddish-black Tainted Veins and dressing in black with red accents. She lives among the Grimm, controls them, and is determined to destroy humanity just to get revenge against her arch-nemesis, Ozpin, who has a great deal of faith and hope in humanity.
  • Dark is Not Evil:
    • Ruby favours a gothic black appearance, with black tights, combat boots and corseted skirt. The black is accented with red and she wears a red cape pinned with crosses. Her weapon is a giant scythe that doubles as a rifle, which is also red and black in colour scheme. However, she has a bubbly, optimistic personality, always tries to see the best in people and is determined to become a Huntress because she wants to help make people's lives better.
    • Blake favours a black and white appearance with purple tints, but her signature colour is black, her weapon is also black and she fights with stealth and misdirection. Although she is moody and prone to anti-social moments, she wants to make the world a better place. She originally was a member of the White Fang to fight for Faunus rights and equality, but defected when the White Fang stopped protesting peacefully and became a violent terrorist organisation bent on destroying all humans. She decided to become a Huntress to help people and atone for her terrorist past.
  • 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:
    • The tune is the same, but the second verse lyrics of the Opening's "This Will Be The Day" are considerably darker.
    • As are the lyrics for Red Like Roses Part II.
      "It's your blood that's red like roses."
    • A Played for Laughs version, in Vol.2 Episode 1 Nora gives an Evil Laugh before singing "I'm queen of the castle" again, but filtered to sound more sinister, if it wasn't Nora singing it.
    • "Fall" ends with Yang being arrested as a sad piano version of "I Burn" plays.
    • "Battle of Beacon" begins with scenery of the city of Vale being destroyed by a Grimm attack as a glum, somber string/piano reprise of "When It Falls" plays.
    • In the same episode, an Ominous Pipe Organ rendition of "From Shadows" plays as Blake discovers Adam.
  • Dark Secret:
    • Jaune got into Beacon with forged transcripts. He can't actually fight and has no idea what Aura is until Pyrrha teaches him.
    • Blake is a Faunus and was part of the terrorist group known as the White Fang.
  • Death World: Outside of the main centers of civilization (the cities and Kingdoms proper, other places with strong natural defenses, certain large villages), Remnant is essentially totally inhospitable to human life. The Creatures of Grimm dominate most of the planet, being attracted to any source of negative emotions and appear to be consumed by the need to destroy humanity. Humans and Faunus therefore attract the Grimm just by existing, and only a few have the fighting skills necessary to even survive one encounter. Those who can't defend themselves usually have to hire someone who can; even civilian ships travel heavily-armed in case of Grimm attacks. Towns of any real size are usually far apart, and the Kingdoms are separated by large deserts or oceans. And if you manage to avoid the Grimm somehow, you have to watch out for bandits who prey on the weak and leave them to be finished off by the Grimm, who are inevitably attracted to the negativity lingering in places that have been devastated by bandits.
  • 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.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Jaune demonstrates how hard it can be for someone who is a Butt Monkey and Unskilled, but Strong. It's clear in the beginning he's leagues behind everyone else in combat and knowledge, especially since he faked his transcripts to get into Beacon. He has a strong Aura but it does nothing for him since he doesn't know how to properly utilize it until he gets proper training. He's aware he is seen as a lovable idiot and suffers an inferiority complex because of it.
    • Pyrrha, Jaune's partner and Foil, takes apart The Ace and Attractiveness Isolation. Because she is pretty, sweet and talented, she is constantly put on a pedestal, idolized and treated like a celebrity. She finds it hard to develop a meaningful relationship with anyone because everyone sees her as "too good for them" and doesn't treat her like an actual person. In fact, it is because she is so perfect that Ozpin himself decides to choose her to be the next Fall maiden candidate, despite the high physical and emotional risks that could harm her.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In "Never Miss A Beat", Team FNKI spend most of their fight antagonizing Weiss and Yang, with Flynt in particular harbouring a dislike of Weiss as her company put his father out of business. After the pair are knocked out, Neon instantly changes her tune and excitedly suggests that they should hang out sometime, while Flynt finds new-found respect for Weiss after her attempted Taking You with Me Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Defictionalisation: Ruby's rose pajama 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).
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: "Fall" ends with Mercury launching a flying kick at Yang after she's already won, causing her to bring down her gauntlet on and shoot his kneecap. However, the cameras showed nothing about a flying kick and only showed Yang shooting Mercury unprovoked as if to rub salt in his wounds. It turns out that Mercury attacking her was an illusion brought onto her by Emerald's Semblance, and Mercury was going along with it because his legs are robotic prosthetics that could get fixed easily.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Firearms use Dust instead of gunpowder. It's also implied the bullets themselves, at least the awesome ones that Hunters and Huntresses use, are Dust-enhanced too.
  • Description Cut:
    • "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).
    • "I suggest we find our Guardian." (Cut to Mercury).
  • 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).
  • Diagonal Cut: Adam does this to an AK-130 Android in the Black trailer.
  • Die or Fly: Early in Volume 3, Weiss struggled to activate and develop her hereditary summoning semblance. But when she angrily rushes in to protect Velvet from the Paladin, she spectacularly - if unintentionally - pulls it off.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: In "The Next Step", when Ruby fires a shot at the Geist after it leaves the body it inhabited, the camera follows the bullet, and right before it hits the Geist there's a cut to birds flying away from trees.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: That mysterious woman who serves as the narrator and the first voice we ever hear in the series? You'll want to remember her, because SHE IS THE MAIN VILLAIN.
  • Dope Slap:
    • Weiss has been slapped by family members. Winter gives her disciplinary smacks across the head. The first time she does it, Weiss gets a Cranial Eruption that Ruby pushes back in with a giggle. Her father hits her across the face abusively when she defies his authority by back-talking.
    • Blake has taken to slapping Sun around the head for either embarrassing her or doing something she doesn't like. In particular, whenever he doesn't respect her personal space or privacy, she smacks him.
  • 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 Spotlight:
    • Team RWBY appears under one in the third opening, with all of them looking depressed. That is, all except Ruby. By the end of the volume, Weiss, Blake, and Yang have every reason to be.
    • Played for Laughs in "Lessons Learned"; during Qrow's flashback, we see him under one as he describes to Ruby and Yang feeling defeated...by the sight of an innkeeper's short skirt. Ruby is amused, Yang less so.
  • 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 a completely 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.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Torchwick was eaten by a Griffon mid-rant.
  • 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.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Japanese dub, Huntsmen and Huntresses are called Hunters.
  • Dull Surprise: From Vol.2 Episode 3:
    Penny: I'm not... a real girl.
    Ruby: [beat] Oh.
  • Dysfunction Junction: In Volume 2, we learn that the entirety of Team RWBY has some burden to bear. Ruby and Yang both have missing mothers, Weiss feels she has to redeem her family's name and Blake has to atone for her time in the White Fang.

    Tropes E 
  • 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 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.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: As Ruby and Jaune walk through the ghost town of Kuroyuri, taking in the sight of devastation all around them, there's a close-up camera shot of an abandoned child's bicycle lying outside a partially crushed building. It's clear that this town was wiped out at a time when it was thriving with life and families.
  • 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 general anarchy in the city while Cinder hits the Beacon CCT building. It wasn't even their primary means of attack, either, just one branch of six.
  • 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 Fail: In "Round One", we see Reese of Team ABRN doing a badass acrobatic jump that involves her breaking her hoverboard into twin pistols and firing them at Blake...only to land right on her tailbone.
  • Epic Rocking: Of the three released soundtracks, 28 out of 81 tracks are at least 5 minutes long, with the longest out of those 28 stretching to 10 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Music: The trailers which introduced each member of Team RWBY made excellent use of music to help establish their characters.
    • Ruby's song "Red Like Roses" sounds like it's played by a mariachi band, portraying Ruby as a fun-loving character, but the triumphant orchestral music underneath demonstrates her heroic nature.
    • Weiss's song "Mirror, Mirror" is a haunting orchestral piece, accompanied by Weiss' singing. This shows her inner struggle, as she tries to figure out who she is meant to be in life.
    • Blake's song "From Shadows" alternates between a somber piano piece and heavy electronic music, showing her double nature and her melancholy outlook on life.
    • Yang's song "I Burn" starts as a dance remix of the other girls' songs, before transitioning to a pounding synth beat. This demonstrates her devotion to her teammates and her Blood Knight tendencies.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Each episode of Volumes 3 and 4 features concept art for who/whatever was introduced in that episode.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: In "Tipping Point", Ruby fires a lightning round from Crescent Rose that seems to be aimed at Tyrian, but he dodges it by mere centimeters and it hits Nora instead. Tyrian starts cackling, calling the situation ironic, only for an enraged Nora to appear behind him, power-boosted and pulsating with lightning..
  • Exact Words:
    • When Dr. Oobleck reprimands Ruby for disobeying his instructions to leave all bags back at Beacon in "Search and Destroy", she retaliates by saying that it was before he told them to listen to everything he said.
    Oobleck (to self): She's not wrong.
    • While fighting Tyrian in "Punished", Qrow orders Team RNJR not to get close after a few members try to do so only to be swatted back by Tyrian. Ruby decides to help her uncle in a different way by positioning herself high up from afar to try and shoot at Tyrian with Crescent Rose. It doesn't work; she narrowly misses him the first time, and he blocks them all with his stinger the second time.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Season 3 flashbacks show us that Emerald didn't originally have her current bob, while Cinder's was shorter compared to her current style.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Applies to all of the theme songs.
    • "This Will Be the Day" seems to be written in second-person perspective addressing the various members of Team RWBY (for example, the first verse is probably referring to Ruby) and acts as a Call to Adventure and a Dare to Be Badass to discover their best when the world is at its worst.
    • "Time to Say Goodbye" was essentially a signal that they have reached a point of no return, and higher stakes will be faced, which reflects on the show progressively getting Darker and Edgier.
    • "When It Falls" signaled that not only were things getting grimmer, but there would be a scenario that will inevitably be reached where everything falls apart in the end. This proved to be correct as by the end of Volume 3, every lyric has essentially come true, with Cinder (possibly) gaining the most victories and Team RWBY left as a broken, empty shell of what it used to be.
  • Expy: The island of Menagerie is an expy of the real world continent Australia. Both are islands in the south east of major continents, where two thirds of the landmass is considered inhospitable because of climate and dangerous wildlife. The fact that Menagerie was also a means to relocate all Faunus from the mainland bares similarities to Australia's history, where it was once used to keep European convicts who would eventually colonize it.
  • 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 Academy is the most prestigious school for training future Huntsmen and Huntresses, people trained in Aura and advanced weapons skills to protect humanity from the Creatures of Grim. Beacon is next to a monster-filled forest which the Headmaster uses to break in the new students on only their first day in school. If they survive that, they then have to survive Professor Port's class. If his boring speeches don't kill, his habit of releasing caged monsters in the classroom to fight unwary students just might. And that's only Day Two. The headmaster had announced it was going to be an interesting year. He wasn't joking. The kids don't just have fairytale monsters and crazy teachers to worry about; the human villains want to attack the school, too.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: In contrast to Volumes 1 and 2 taking place over several months, Volume 3 takes place barely over a week (barring the Time Skip to winter at the end, and the Flashback episode).
  • The Extremist Was Right: Played with. According to Blake, the White Fang's change from peaceful protest to terrorism actually worked to get 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.
  • 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 Raven exit via portal.
  • Eyedscreen: Almost constantly during the initial Grimm encounter in Vol.2 Episode 9.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Long-range and wi-fil communication is made possible by four CCT towers that are stationed in each kingdom which connect directly and via smaller relays that are located outside the kingdom and which are vulnerable to the Grimm. The towers can only function together or not all and make it possible for scrolls to function. Scrolls are collapsible tablets that, among other things, function as a phone, messenger (email, text and video), camera, video game controller and holographic projector. It can also monitor Aura levels of both the owner and others.
  • Eye Scream: The King Taijitu that attacks Ren gets one of its own fangs shoved through the eye of its unmasked head.

    Tropes F 
  • Faceless Masses: In Volume 1, characters in the background simply appear as black silhouettes. Averted in future volumes, however.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: Used in the ending of the Volume 3 finale as a shot of Salem, who has previously appeared as the show's narrator, starts with her back to the camera, only for her to turn and reveal deep red and purple veins on her otherwise deathly pale face, as well as her eyes having black sclerae and red pupils.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Many characters have design elements based on fairy tales, although their journeys through the show are not intended to retell the fairy-tales they're inspired by. The Creatures of Grimm are named after The Brothers Grimm, and the four main characters are based on fairy tales: Ruby is Little Red Riding Hood and her introductory trailer consists of her fighting a forest full of Beowulves; Weiss is Snow White, and her introductory trailer consists of her engaging in an ice-duel with a royal knight; in Blake's introductory trailer, her relationship with Adam mirrors Beauty and the Beast. Yang's trailer references a couple of fairy tales; she is Goldilocks, with the bar owner and DJ respectively being named after a bear and wearing a bear mask; there are also twin girls in the club, one dressed in red and the other in white, who are based on Snow-White and Rose-Red.
  • 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 (which is on its own fish-shaped continent). 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.
    • Some Faunus are part of a terrorist-style group called the White Fang whose members seem really eager to wipe out humans/end human rule.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Mistral, the eastern continent, is known for houses with sloping rooftops, kitsune masks, Ninjas, poor resources and a maritime tradition. It also unfortunately has a major underground criminal element. In other words, it's Japan mixed with 19th Century Singapore.
    • Menagerie, the southern-most continent where the Faunus live, is clearly based off Australia. The founders were forced to settle there, most of the continent is sparsely-populated desert with lush areas around the coasts, and the wildlife is noted to be even more dangerous than the rest of Remnant.
  • Fantasy World Map: The world of Remnant.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Most characters go for this look. Yang's outfit sports mismatched socks and a Showgirl Skirt, Weiss' ponytail is offset to her right side, and Blake's left arm is sleeveless with a ribbon wrapped around it. Justified as Remnant's society places a greater emphasis on individualism and freedom of expression.
  • 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.
    • In Vol. 3 Episode 1, Blake uses her Gambol Shroud as a grappling hook to launch Yang at Team ABRN when they're not on guard.
    • In Vol. 3 Episode 5, Flynt Coal uses his trumpet's sonic blast to propel Neon on her rollerblades.
    • In the Volume 4 trailer, the Beringel throws Beowolves at Ruby.
  • Feminist Fantasy: RWBY an action-oriented series focused on an Extranormal Institute 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 Cat 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. Adding to that is the fact that only women can become one of the four Maidens and wield exceptional, magical power.
  • Final Exchange: In the final episode of Volume 3, after Cinder disables Pyrrha, they have their final exchange before Cinder executes Pyrrha:
    Pyrrha: Do you believe in destiny?
    Cinder: (frowns, narrowing her eyes) Yes.
  • 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.
    • Dr. Oobleck performs these constantly in his first appearance due to his overcaffeination.
    • Ruby's Semblance is essentially this, and also achieves it with her weapon's recoil.
  • Floating Continent: The sky castle variant (but not an Ominous Floating Castle), serves as the arena for the tournament during the Vytal Festival.
  • 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.
  • Foil
    • Blake and Sun. Both are Faunus, but Blake hides her race to because she's afraid of what people will think of her, while Sun revels in his race and doesn't seem to care how people view him. Blake is ex-White Fang who believes in the need to fight for Faunus rights, while Sun views the White Fang as a cult who appointed themselves as Faunus representatives without say-so from other Faunus. Blake's Semblance produces shadow-based clones that are used for defence (deception, dodging and escaping), whereas Sun's Semblance produces light-based clones that are used offensively to attack the opponent directly. Sun helps Blake to loosen up while Blake helps Sun to show at least a little restraint.
    • Jaune and Pyrrha. Pyrrha is a very intelligent and competent warrior who has garnered in-universe fame for her personal exploits. Jaune is a naive, unassuming young man who has zero combat training but has a famous ancestry. Her character arc is about learning from Jaune what it means to be a normal teenager with normal friends and relationships, while his character arc is about learning from Pyrrha what it means to be a true warrior. Both have self-esteem issues, with Jaune being the first person who ever treated her like a normal human being and Pyrrha being the first person who ever had genuine faith in his ability to become a warrior.
    • James and Qrow. While both serve under Ozpin, James is uptight, formal and likes getting straight to the point, while Qrow is drunk, grumpy and enjoys winding people up. James prefers approaching problems with open, physical and excessive displays of force, while Qrow prefers intelligence gathering, working from the shadows and playing his cards close to his chest. Both men are aggressive, but James focuses on macho, physical aggression that's backed up by verbal arguments, while Qrow prefers sarcastic, verbal attacks that's backed up by physical actions. Putting the two men in a room together is a recipe for fireworks; they both want the same thing, but their personalities clash on how best to achieve it.
    • James and Glynda as well. Glynda is refined, polite, prefers subtlety, and has complete faith in Ozpin. James is direct, macho, prefers the head-on approach, and is chaffing under the secrets that Ozpin will not confide in them.
  • Food Fight: A literal food fight breaks out between Team RWBY and Team JNPR in the first episode of Volume 2. And it is epic.
  • Force and Finesse: When Yang and Neo fight, Neo whimsically dances and somersaults all around Yang, whose hard, physical, fist-fighting style struggles to make contact with the tiny, athletic Neo. Even when Yang does appear to make contact, Neo somehow manages to flow with the blows, elegantly escaping injury by redirecting them using a lace parasol that turns Yang's own strength against her. Neo's silent, mocking smiles keep egging on Yang, who is short-tempered at the best of times, until Neo is able to curbstomp Yang into unconsciousness. Neo keeps a concealed blade sheathed in the stem and handle of the parasol, but she only pulls it out when she sees a chance to kill the comatose Yang.
  • 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.
    • In the fight in "Beginning of the End", it's already clear from the beginning that Cinder will defeat Amber and steal half her power, as was revealed in the previous episode.
  • 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.
    • 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, 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. In the show, she is critical of Schnee labour practices. She gets offended when Faunus are insulted or bullied, her ear-shaped hair bow occasionally twitches 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.
    • In Blake's trailer, Adam is thinks nothing of killing humans, causing Blake to abandon him. In the show, we hear about White Fang's descent into terrorism after an internal coup; silhouettes of the three leaders show one looking rather like Adam's profile. In Volume 2, Blake sketches Adam a lot, and is worried about why White Fang is unusually working with Roman. When Adam returns to the show, it's clear he's working with Cinder in some way. In Volume 3, Blake reveals that she had a friend who slowly descended into cruelty. Adam is the White Fang leader Cinder coerced with her Maiden into helping her achieve her goals; when Cinder sets off her plan to wreck Beacon and reach Amber, the White Fang help by invading Vale to kill humans with an army of faunus and Grimm. Adam goes straight to the school to confront Blake, where he hints that Blake was his abuse victim, attempts to kill him and permanently maims Yang.
    • Jaune is obviously behind the others from the outset. He didn't design his weapons, which are low-tech family heirlooms. He doesn't know about Aura, the cornerstone of Huntsmen abilities, and has to have his Aura unlocked. Glynda comments 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.
    • When Pyrrha pins Jaune to the lockers early on, pulling back her spear is accompanied by the sound of a magnetic hum. She confirms her Semblance is polarity when she uses magnetism to raise Jaune's shield to give him secret aid against an Ursa. During a food fight, the full extent of her Semblance is seen when she creates tornados of drinks cans. "Destiny" reminds us of the power of Pyrrha's Semblance when she loses emotional control and accidentally slams Jaune into a wall. Secret Robot Girl Penny is confirmed to be sensitive to magnetism when she jokes about getting a magnet stuck to her head. Penny is eventually accidentally destroyed during the tournament by Pyrrha's full Semblance as part of Cinder's villainous plans; it also sets up Pyrrha's ability to fight a fully-powered Maiden despite being a teenage trainee; it's only after her Aura shatters, rendering her Semblance unusable, that Cinder finally gains the upper hand.
    • In "The Shining Beacon, part 2", Blake is reading a book about a man with two souls, each fighting for control of his body. In the Volume 2 opening, red maple leaves are flowing off Pyrrha. Pyrrha is chosen to receive the Fall Maiden's powers through an artificial system that will place Amber's soul into her body. No-one knows what the consequences of two souls in Pyrrha's body will be - but it could completely change who she is.
    • Blake's book also foreshadows events in Volume 4, where Ozpin's soul has become bonded with Oscar's, effectively resulting in two souls in one body.
    • As a bully-boy joke, Cardin shoves Jaune into a locker that is assigned to students to store their gear whenever they're in class. By entering co-ordinates into the locker, a rocket powers up, blasting the locker into the air and sending it off to an unknown destination. This sets up future battle situations where the kids are caught up in fighting without their weapons, and need to summon those weapons swiftly. By keying their pin numbers into their scrolls, the lockers near-instantaneously arrive at the requested location. Importantly, the joke makes it clear the lockers can easily carry the weight of people, which is also important for later events when Ruby rides a locker into battle and Pyrrha revisits the Cardin scene to send Jaune out of harm's way.
    • In "Lessons Learned", Coco is confused and bewildered by an illusionary Yatsuhashi, leading to her defeat. Two episodes later, Ruby wishes Yang luck in her fight by telling her to "break a leg". Yang breaks Mercury's leg in defense after she already won the battle and he deliberately attacked her. But the camera and the way the crowds react showed that it was Yang attacking the downed Mercury unprovoked, leaving Yang confused and the audience wondering if an illusion was cast.
    • In Breach, it's easy to miss that Weiss conjures an ice blade during the fight. Lessons Learned makes a more obvious hint with reveal of the Schnee hereditary summoning semblance. It finally plays out in Heroes and Monsters where Weiss successfully summons a sword that easily cleaves an Atlesian Paladin but leaves her drained of energy.
    • When on a field mission, Oobleck shows Ruby the giant Goliaths that do not attack, but rather grow more powerful as they wait for humanity to grow weak. He explains that Grimm may start out as weak and unintelligent, but they gain power, intelligence and patience as they age. Not only does this foreshadow ancient beings like the Grim Dragon but also the villain who's determined to destroy humanity, a woman called Salem who has the exact same black and white markings, and glowing red eyes, as the Grimm.
    • When Ozpin and Ruby first meet in "Ruby Rose", he comments that she has silver eyes. At the beginning of Volume 3, Ruby wonders why Ozpin really let her into Beacon early. In the Volume 3 opening credits, there's a scene that zooms in on Ruby's eyes before whiting out and shifting to the next scene. In the Volume 3 finale, Ruby unleashes a massive blast of power from her eyes that freezes the Grimm Dragon and whites out the scene to the next, where she regains consciousness at home. Qrow tells her that Ozpin once revealed to him that silver eyes are very rare; people with them are destined to become mighty warriors with strange powers who are rumoured to be able to kill Grimm just with a glance.
    • Characters frequently remark on how certain Ruby is in her choice of career, as well as her determination to be a hero and fight injustice. Ozpin also warns Ruby that she can't spend her entire life on the battlefield, no matter how much she might wish to. This is all foreshadowing to the reveal of her nature as a silver-eyed warrior. As Qrow explains it, the silver-eyed warriors were fighters without equal, and who were destined to become legendary heroes who could strike fear into even the Grimm.
    • In the Volume 3 opening, Teams RWBY and JNPR are broken apart from their formation dive, and the camera focuses on Pyrrha falling into nothingness. At the end, Team RWBY is under the Dramatic Spotlight and Ruby is the only one with her head up; everyone else has their head hung dejectedly. Both events foreshadow the fates of all five characters at the end of the volume. This is also somewhat played with, as the opening shows JNPR falling away in separate directions, while RWBY is together, but defeated. In reality, team RWBY is scattered, while team JNPR is defeated but (mostly) still together.
    • In "Welcome to Beacon" team RWBY is seen playing Remnant: The Game in the library. When Ruby's forces are destroyed, Yang comments that most of her forces were androids, giving more information on the nature of Atlas and also revealing the concept of Grimm allies (which Yang uses against Ruby's fleet). The game foreshadows the Volume 3 finale. Ruby deployed the Atlesian fleet which are defeated by Yang's Grimm allies, and at one point, Atlesian fleet turns on itself. The Volume 3 finale activates the Atlesian fleet, which are overwhelmed by Griffons. A Giant Nevermore attacks the tournament stadium and Roman steals an Atlesian ship, turning it on the Atlesian army. The robots turn on the humans and the White Fang ship in Grimm allies.
    • There's a few bits of foreshadowing regarding Qrow and his animal-morphing. Early on, Qrow is shown at a bar on the waterside well outside of Beacon, when Winter's ship is coming in, and a very short time later he's managed to catch up to Winter despite the fact that she was in an aircraft and was landing at a dock on the top of a cliff, several miles away. In the same scene, there's also a conspicuous shot of a crow or raven flying overhead.
    • Throughout Volumes Three and Four, there's a bunch of hints about Qrow and his bad luck Semblance, such as the bartender knocking over his glass by accident in the Crow Bar, Ironwood coincidentally showing up at the worst moment to embarrass Winter, Tyrian happening to land on a piece of rotted wood, and the beam falling on Ruby's head.
    • In Volume 3, Pyrrha gives the names of a few Remnant fairytales in a conversation with Ozpin. While the scene and episode focuses on "The Four Maidens", the first one she names, "The Tale of the Two Brothers", is fully told in Volume 4 and turns out to be even more significant than the Maidens' story.
    • In "Lesson Learned", when Qrow says "they don't give medals for almost", Ruby replies that "They do, and it's called silver!". At the end of volume 3, Ruby arrives almost in time to save Pyrrha, and seeing her friend die activates her Silver Eyes.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: In Volume 4, the main characters have separated into different geographic regions due to the events of the third volume. As a result, instead of dealing with protagonists in the same area investigating the villains and working as one to progress the plot, Volume 4 has to cycle between characters on different continents to advance each separate strand of the plot.
  • 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 "Players and Pieces", when Nora lands her killing blow, and launches Jaune and Pyrrha tumbling over its back, Pyrrha uses her semblance to grab her spear in mid-air. It's hard to spot, but going frame-by-frame reveals that it actually changes trajectory slightly before she's actually touched it.
    • 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 to Jaune that he can't dance. During the montage at the end, you can briefly see Neptune dancing, and it's true: he can't.
    • In Vol.3 Episode 11, if you pause at just the right moment you can see Adam flicking, what is presumably either Blake or Yang's blood, off his sword after dismembering the latter's right arm.
  • Framing Device: During the episode "Kuroyuri", Ruby and Jaune are in the long-destroyed town of Kuroyuri attempting to locate medicine to save Qrow's life. Every so often, a Match Cut is used to switch from the devastation to the sight of the exact same town when it was a thriving hub of activity. The flashbacks are used to show how the town was destroyed, leaving Ren and Nora as its only survivors. Ren and Nora themselves don't appear in the present-day storyline until the end of the episode once their flashback story has been told...having accidentally come across the trail of the creature that destroyed Kuroyuri in the flashback (and more recently Shion) only to see that it's headed towards their friends.
  • Freudian Excuse: When called out on her Fantastic Racism against Faunus, Weiss explains that the Faunus 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.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Downplayed with Ruby and Blake, as they get along and mutually support and care about one another. While each other pair of team members have a unique bond (Ruby and Yang are sisters, Ruby and Weiss are partners and Vitriolic Best Buds, Blake and Yang are partners and Yang helped Blake out of her obsession over the White Fang, Weiss and Blake reconciled their differences over the White Fang after a heated argument and Weiss was the first to call out Blake's descent into self-destructive behaviour, Weiss and Yang fought together in the doubles round of the tournament where Weiss sacrifices herself for Yang's safety, enraging Yang to destroy the stadium), Ruby and Blake have no shared experience with one another as of yet.
  • From Bad to Worse: The entirety of "Heroes and Monsters". While the heroes make some small gains it's mainly through pure luck. Ruby barely survives a fight with Roman and Neo. Neo gets removed from the fight rather inventively which enrages Roman. This leads to Roman getting careless and killed by a Grimm which allows Ruby to disable the ship and stop the AKs. On the flipside however Blake is severely injured by Adam, Yang loses an arm attempting to save Blake and Amber is killed by Cinder leading to Cinder gaining the remainder of Fall's powers.
  • 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.
    • SSSN (pronounced Sun), ABRN (pronounced Auburn), and FNKI (pronounced Funky)
    • 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 Ozpin, Head of Beacon.
  • 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, Weiss stands up to talk about Ruby's plan for the best day ever. Next to her, Yang starts getting worried and starts making frantic head shaking gestures. She's trying to stop Nora throwing a pie, which promptly hurtles in from offscreen and hits Weiss seconds later
    • Immediately afterwards 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 Welcome to Beacon, team RWBY is playing a board game. As Ruby activates Yang's trap card, the camera cuts to team JNPR, while Ruby and Yang's argument audibly carries on, with a few playing pieces being flung over team JNPR's table.
    • While team RWBY is still playing, Jaune comes over and tries to convince Weiss to trust him to play her hand. Pyrrha perks up, gets out of her chair, and speeds over to his side just before he reveals that Blake is a f-"fun-loving person!"
    • 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.
    • In the battle with Amber, as Cinder's presence becomes apparent, Mercury can be seen dodging lightning by literally backflipping up and down like some weird spring load or slinky, or maybe both.
    • While Jaune is observing the damage in Volume 3's tenth episode, Sage and Scarlet can be seen riding an approaching Ursa Major, hanging on for dear life.

    Tropes G 
  • Gatling Good: Coco's main weapon, built into a ladies' handbag.
  • Generation Xerox: Team RWBY's fate ends up fairly similar to Team STRQ. The mysterious female disappears, the blonde bruiser is left emotionally scarred after too many losses and the scythe wielder goes on to join another group to continue the fight.
    • The only one who doesn't match is Weiss, who instead is similar to her own sister, who disobeyed her fathers orders to join Beacon, but ultimately, returns to serve him after her defeat.
  • 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, part of Team SSSN and voiced by Gavin Free.
  • 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 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.
  • Get Out: In "Tipping Point", a man Weiss meets at a charity event named Henry Marigold gives a bad first impression on her, starting with a cheesy pickup line and then brashly admitting that he only came to the event for the food, irking her to the point that she orders him to leave (verbatim with the trope name, to boot).
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • When Ruby talks to Glynda Goodwitch for the first time after the encounter with Roman Torchwick, she asks for an autograph. Cut to a scene where Glynda is reprimanding Ruby for recklessly trying to fight criminals on her own.
    • In "Field Trip", Team RWBY gets excited that they're about to go on a mission with a trained Huntsman. Cut to their horrified expressions when they learn this "trained Huntsman" is Professor Oobleck.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Has been mentioned as a factor in the protagonists' designs, with the most heroic and innocent character (Ruby) having the largest eyes. This is noticeable in the animation: characters of upstanding morals either have larger and more noticeable eyes (RWBY, Pyrrha, Nora, etc) or eyes of vivid color (Neptune's and Jaune's deep blue eyes, as well as Ren's pink ones). Villains play to the opposite effect, either having clearly villainous eye colors (Cinder's fiery orange ones and Emerald's straight-up red ones), darker ones (Torchwick's and Mercury's very dark eyes), or eyes that are not visible at all (Adam, the White Fang Lieutenant). Neo is a notable aversion, as not only does she look positively adorable, she has eyes to match, making her villain status that much more disturbing. Then again, Cute is Evil...
  • Good Parents:
    • Ghira and Kali Belladonna show this off by their first reaction to seeing their daughter after the fall of Beacon is to hug her and sigh in relief, not caring that she ran away. Although Ghira's something of an Overprotective Dad, it's clear that he does so out of love for his child.
    • When a comatose Ruby is taken home, Taiyang sleeps in a chair by her bedside until she wakes up and is willing to bring his kids breakfast in bed. He is always there to support and advise his kids as they need it and stays with Yang during her long recovery, keeping a watchful distance, or offering brutal honesty and high praise as needed. He is determined to pull in favours wherever he can to obtain a cyberarm for Yang, only to discover that Ironwood has beaten him to it. He then helps Yang get back in shape, adjust to her new arm, improve her combat abilities, and reveals that if she decides to search for her mother, he'll support her.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In Volume 3, the barkeep says, "Gee darn it!"
  • Grave-Marking Scene: Volume 3 begins with Ruby at her mother's grave.
  • 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: A century of rising tensions explodes into all-out war that lasts for ten years. Mantle attempts to ban emotions and artistic expression to combat the negativity-powered Grimm and maintains a trading relationship (technology for supplies) with Mistral. Mistral tries to expand into Vale, triggering war that brings Mantle to Mistral's defence. Initially neutral, Vacuo joins Vale when threatened by Vale's enemies. The war empowers Grimm activity that destroys settlements all over the world and forces a brief truce in the war so that the kingdoms can fight the Grimm together. Mantle and Mistral attempt to end the war by taking the Vacuo Dust mines that supply their enmies, forcing the Warrior-King of Vale to personally take to the battlefield. Legend claims he single-handedly ended the war with a single, apocalyptic event that forced the other kingdoms to submit; he instigates the Vytal peace treaty, sets up the Huntsmen Academies, removes the kingship of Vale and spends his days as a teacher. In Volume 2, Ozpin marks the eightieth anniversary of the war's end with a speech to the huntsmen students of all four kingdoms who are in Vale to attend the Vytal tournament that occurs every two years in honour of the original peace treaty.
  • 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.
    • Sage and Scarlet (as well as Neptune) are introduced in the trailer for Volume 2. However, Sage and Scarlet don't appear in the entire volume at all except for tiny background characters in one scene. This has so far continued into Volume 3, with Sage and Scarlet finally getting one line each....and then getting knocked out, in less than fifteen seconds in the case of Sage. So far they have not had any more significance than being characters in the arena stands watching the Tournament.
  • Groin Attack:
    • In the Yellow trailer, Yang interrogates Junior by grabbing him by the testicles and continually squeezing.
    • In "Breach", Coco takes out a Beowulf with a kick to the groin before dispatching it by smashing its head in with her purse.
    • In "New Challengers," Scarlet gets hit in the crotch by a coconut, depleting his Aura to critical levels and knocking him out of the Vytal Tournament match.
      Sun: Nuts.
    • In "The Next Step", Jaune gets thrown backwards by the Geist pounding the ground, and ends up hitting a boulder crotch-first.
    Jaune: “You’ll be fine without a weapon. You’re the strategist.”
  • Ground Pound: In the Yellow Trailer, Yang punches the dance floor to attack Junior. It's also how she triggers her half of Freezer Burn
  • Growling Gut: In "Round One", after Blake says she may have worked up an appetite at the Vytal fairgrounds, her stomach growls loudly.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • In Season 2, Episode 10, Ruby finds Zwei outside and narrowly avoids getting caught by two White Fang henchmen who naively dismiss Zwei's bark.
    • 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: An airship arrives in the nick of time to "save" the criminal Roman Torchwick from Ruby in "Ruby Rose".
  • Gut Punch: Attracting both adults and children, the show initially follows teenagers adapting to their new school, training to protect their world from scary monsters, getting involved in light-hearted, wacky hijinks, and glossing over serious events such as off-screen murder or easily fixed monster invasions. During the third volume's combat tournament, Yang predictably defeats Mercury but is unexpectedly attacked behind from the sore loser; she punches him to the ground only to be arrested by security in front of an angry, booing crowd. The episode ends as arena television reveals the truth to the fanbase and Yang; a defenceless Mercury was lying on the ground while Yang needlessly assaulted him, shattering his legs. After the episode, the creators released a statement requesting that, from now on, adults should supervise any child access to the show; originally intended for a mature audience, this episode was designed to be a gut punch warning fans that a darker storyline was starting.

    Tropes H 
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Amity Colosseum (the arena used for the Vytal Festival) randomizes the arena with two or more terrain modules, plus the neutral centre stage. RWBY's fight with ABRN, for example, got the namesake combination of Lethal Lava Land and Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Grimm are often cut in half by Huntsmen. Ruby uses her scythes to cut Grimm in half, while Blake uses her blades. Coco can cut Grimm in half by using her minigun. Qrow later uses his scythe to cut a Gryphon in half, protecting Ironwood in the process. Penny is cut in half by her own wires when Emerald tricks Pyrrha into using her full power against Penny's swords.
  • Hate Sink: Cardin's only purpose is to be as big of a jerk as possible and be despised by the audience. He blackmails Jaune into doing his schoolwork and is later seen bullying the innocent Velvet just because she's a Faunus.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: By the end of Volume 3, Episode 9, it seems both the Kingdoms of Vale and Atlas have had the political carton of eggs thrown in their faces when Cinder exposes their actions and asks the citizens why should trust academies that create either Child Soldiers or Ridiculously Human Robots. She also goes on to claim that her home kingdom of Mystral is just as bad.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: All the girls on Team RWBY love Zwei the puppy. (Except Blake.)
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In "Never Miss a Beat", Weiss attempts to take out Flynt by tackling him onto a flame-spewing vent when he's about to target Yang. Weiss ends up depleting all of her aura, and Flynt survives by the skin of his teeth, but is weak enough to be taken out by Yang. Once the battle is over, Flynt acknowledges her courage in the act.
    • In the Volume 3 finale, Cinder attempts to destroy Beacon Tower, but the teachers are too far away to intervene, leaving someone else to step into the role of protecting the tower until the teachers can arrive. Pyrrha gives Cinder a hell of a fight, her Semblance going toe-to-toe with Cinder's Maiden powers. Unfortunately, Semblance requires Aura while Maiden powers do not. When Pyrrha runs out of Aura, Cinder kills her.
  • 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 B.S.O.D.:
    • Yang ends up suffering one in Vol.3 Episode 8 as a result of having been made to look like she attacked Mercury Black after the match unprovoked a couple of episodes before, turning the crowd against her and getting RWBY disqualified from the tournament. She ends up resigning herself to the team dorm. Later, it becomes long-term after Adam cuts off her arm.
    • A much more extreme example is likely at the end of Ep. 9 in Vol. 3. Penny gets chopped in half and both Ruby and Pyrrha are in a state of shock.
    • Ruby herself got struck by this from Ep. 9 to the middle of Ep. 12 Vol. 3 where everything turned to chaos and a few of her friends got victimized. She has dreams in Remembrance suggesting that she is still suffering from the losses.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: In Vol.2 Episode 11, Roman and his goons are unable to hit Ruby while she's fleeing from them towards her friends.
  • Hit Stop: In "Tipping Point", as Tyrian is violently curbstomping Ruby, everything slows down right as we see Tyrian launch a kick into Ruby's abdomen that finishes his depletion of her Aura.
  • Horrifying the Horror: It's said that people with silver eyes are destined to become warriors that even Grimm, soulless monsters that are drawn to negative emotions, are afraid of.
  • How We Got Here:
    • The seventh episode of first volume 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.
    • "Beginning of the End" is a flashback episode that shows Cinder's activities before the series, including the circumstances under which she attacked the Fall Maiden.
  • 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."
  • 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.
    • Nora's response to Blake storming out of the library?
      Nora: [throws up her hands] Women.

    Tropes I-J 
  • 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 Can See My House from Here: A variant appears in "Menagerie", when Blake says that it's time to go home and Sun asks her if she can spot it from the high-up point they're currently on.
  • 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
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Ren's health drink of a blend of herbs and vegetables that he offers to Pyrrha in "Destiny", which already looks unappetizing, with a sickly green color and cauldron-bubbling sound effects. Then Nora reluctantly drinks some of it, and immediately throws up.
    "If it looks the same coming up as it did going down, then there's something wrong."
  • 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:
    "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.
    • Although as one of the commentary's mentions Ruby worries less and less about being normal as the volumes go on in favor of going beyond what's expected of her to take the fight to the villains, to the point that she basically forgets all about wanting to be normal in Vol 3 so that by the time she learns she has actual special powers with her silver eyes, and thus never WAS normal at all, she instantly embraces them and wants to put them to use fighting Cinder.
  • I Lied: Said jokingly by Jaune when he was trying to serenade Weiss in "Extracurricular".
    Jaune: [knock knock knock] Aw, come on! [knock knock knock] Open the door. [sounding resigned] I promise not to sing...
    Weiss: [opens the door]
    Jaune: [singing] ♫ I LIED!!! ♫
    Weiss: [face palms]
  • Iconic Logo: Done as an "In Memoriam" moment. Volume 3's first scene ends with birds flying in front of the sun in the same pattern as Monty Oum's old signature.
  • Ignored Enemy: In Volume 3 Episode 2, Team JNPR get into an argument about code names during a tournament match. The fight is completely halted for about half a minute as their opponents look on confused.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Seen in Vol. 2 Chapter 11, where Torchwick and more than five or so mooks fail to shoot an escaping 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: 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.
    • The named characters' weapons include Ruby's Rifle-Scythe, Weiss's Aura-casting Revolver-Rapier, Blake's Killer Yo-Yo-Katana with a sharpened scabbard, Yang's paired Shotgun-Gauntlets, Junior's missile launcher that turns into a club, Adam's Katana with Rifle-Sheath, and one particular weapon, Pyrrha's, that transforms into a sword, rifle, and a spear that flies with the rifle's recoil, Nora's rocket propelled hammer that is also a grenade launcher..
    • Episode 16 introduces Sun Wukong's Bo staff, which splits into a pair of Nunchucks that also function as sawed-off shotguns.
    • 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. She also appears to use the sword to create portals.
    • When a group of students struggle to take on one Paladin, Velvet's weapon allows her to take on two of them alone and take one out. She takes pictures of other people's weapons and then re-summons them as hard-light copies for her to use with equal abilities.
  • 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.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Near the end of "When it Falls", Casey holds one for ten seconds.
  • 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.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Done twice in "Destiny", both times to Pyrrha, who is already troubled with the weighty decision of assuming the powers of the Fall Maiden with the potential risk of losing her identity.
    • Ren tells her that she'll be defending Beacon's honor.
    • Jaune advises her to let nothing stand in her way if it means fulfilling her destiny.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • 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!
  • The Internet Is for Cats: In the manga adaptation Ruby expresses her stage fright before a spar by wishing she were at home, watching videos of puppies on the Internet instead.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    • When Ruby and Weiss first team up, their personalities clash fiercely. Weiss keeps ordering them around, despite having no idea where they're going and Ruby keeps having immature tantrums. Eventually, she demands to know why Weiss is so bossy. Weiss immediately turns on her; by snapping back that she isn't bossy and ordering Ruby to not say things like that, she instantly confirms that she is indeed bossy.
    Weiss: I'm not bossy! Don't say things like that!
    • During Port's class, Weiss fights a Boarbatusk. Although Ruby tries to shout useful advice from the side-lines, Weiss keeps telling her off for getting involved because she's still smarting over Ruby being made team leader instead of her. After class, she admits to Port that she thinks she should be team leader and that she proved that in his class with her fighting skills. Port agrees that she has exceptional fighting skills but that her big problem is that she has a very bad attitude. Weiss's immediate response to her own teacher's assessment is to tell him off for saying such a thing, thus proving his point.
    Port: All due respect, your exceptional skill on the battlefield is matched only by your poor attitude.
    Weiss: How dare you!
    Port: My point exactly.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In "Painting the Town," Yang returns to Junior's club, only to be greeted with several guns, since she was so violent the last time. A volume later, in "Fall," Yang is surrounded by guns because she was being violent.
    • Pyrrha's good-natured, comical "I'm sorry!" Catch Phrase is played for drama in "Destiny" after she accidentally loses control of her Semblance and throws Jaune into a pillar. It's played for tragedy in the Volume 3 finale when it becomes the last thing she ever says to Jaune before pushing him into a rocket locker to allow her to fight Cinder alone. She and Jaune both know it's a fight she can't win.
    • In "The Next Step", Ruby uses "Big mistake!" as a badass one-liner before firing a flaming projectile at the Geist's tree arm, prompting a reaction of excitement from Jaune. However, Jaune says the same line in pure Oh, Crap! mode when he sees that Ruby's contribution has just given the Geist a flaming tree arm.
  • Ironic Name: We find out in "New Challengers" that Neptune is afraid of water.
  • 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.
    • Neptune is named after the Roman God of the Seas, and shares a name with a famous WW2 naval mascot. He's terrified of water.
  • Instant Costume Change: In "Destiny", Nora changes from her regular clothes into a workout outfit between cuts.
  • 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.
    • Volume 3 has carried the torch. Winter has shown significant movement, both in battle and body language, and a younger Blake shows an unusual....bouyancy while walking behind Adam during a flashback.
  • Jump Scare:
    • In "Field Trip", when Ruby opens the door to Team RWBY's room after talking with Ozpin, the rest of the team suddenly rush up to the camera so quickly that it can easily be startling.
    • The Volume 3 opening starts softly with piano as we see a petal falling onto a rose...only for the loud as all hell rock theme song to burst in out of nowhere as the rose gets trampled by a horde of Grimm.
    • In "Kuroyuri", as the namesake town is being destroyed, Ren's mom tries to calm him right as their house suddenly and abruptly collapses.

    Tropes K-L 
  • Karmic Death: An angry, nihilistic speech about how idealism will get people killed and the only way to live in a world like Remnant is to focus on survival isn't the best decision to make when surrounded by people-killing monsters who are attracted to negative emotions. Roman's rant about Ruby's determination to be a hero gets him swallowed whole by a nearby Grimm just as he's explaining what a successful survivor he is.
  • Ki Attacks: All living things can generate an Aura, which is basically the equivalent of Ki and allows:
    • Sensing: Allows them to expand their senses.
    • Healing Factor: Jaune's the only one who has explicitly shown this, but it is implied for everyone else.
    • Super Empowering: Allows one to unlock the aura of another.
    • Super Toughness: Withstand damage.
    • Usage of Dust.
  • Killer Gorilla: The Beringel, a large Grimm gorilla introduced in Volume 4.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Roman is a competent villain but his antics are often accompanied with humorous posturing. It's when Cinder and her posse starts becoming more active that the plot starts to become thicker and darker, culminating in them unleashing a large-scale chaos in the last third of the third volume.
  • Kubrick Stare:
    • Ruby does a badass one at the end of "No Brakes" after she sees people being terrorized by Grimm.
    • Cinder does this often while grinning dubiously to add to her mysterious, ominous persona. It helps that her hair covers one of her eyes.
    • In "Lessons Learned", as soon as Emerald and Mercury's Vytal doubles round with Coco and Yatsuhashi begins, they just back into the tall yellow grass, staring at them in this manner and smiling slyly.
    • In the above episode, a close-up shot of Qrow has him doing this as he tells Ruby and Yang of his last mission.
    • "Never Miss a Beat" ends with Pyrrha making an ominous smirk in this manner as the CCT elevator closes.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Volume 4 promotional and concept artwork shows the new costumes and physical states of the characters. For anyone who is new to the show and starting from the beginning, this spoils the events that occur at the end of Volume 3. Volume 4 artwork reveals that Yang lost her arm at the end of Volume 3.
  • Late to the Tragedy: In the Volume 3 finale, poor Ruby reaches the top of the CCT a little too late and is only able to watch as Pyrrha is killed by Cinder.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Silver in relation to eyes is stated to be an extremely rare colour. The heroine has these very rare silver eyes and, if the legends are true, is destined to be a great huntress. Silver eyes is supposed to be a sign of a person with a mysterious, magical ability to slay Grimm; according to myth, they can slay Grimm with just a glance.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The final line of "The Stray" ("So, you want to know more about me..."), delivered by Blake to Sun, is given a shot that is angled as if Blake is directly addressing the audience.
    • Team CFVY's entrance into the fray in the Volume 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."
    • The 30-second advert for "Battle of Beacon" ends with Cinder saying "Do not miss what happens next." The line is then repurposed when she says it to Mercury near the end of the episode as he's getting a broadcast of the devastation brought down on Vale, but even then it still feels like this.
  • 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.
    • Also inverted with Flynt Coal's trumpet, every attack is taken from the soundtrack.
  • 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".
    • Qrow has an associated melody first heard in his introduction at the bar.
    • Winter has a theme that can first be heard when she flies in for the Vytal Festival.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: At the end of "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back", Jaune and Ruby take Qrow to Kuroyuri in the hopes of finding help or supplies while Nora and Ren take the mountain path towards Mistral in the hopes of getting aid for the wounded hunter.
  • 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. Although devices do exist that can help characters monitor their Aura levels which is useful during training and tournaments, the main sign of a depleted Aura in a real battle is a sudden, coloured visual effect that plays across the body like breaking glass; this reveals when the Aura has shattered, which leaves them without access to their Semblance and vulnerable to damage like a normal human.
  • 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: Most noticeable in Season 1 where all unnamed characters were animated as a black silhouette (though this was actually an artistic experiment dropped in Volume 2). All of the characters are flat and cartoony without much shading and their movements are broad and poorly synced with the background, though part of this is due to an intentional Jitter Cam effect. It can be quite jarring when viewed on a large screen. Some of this appears to be deliberate choices for a series created primariy for small screens (computers phones and tablets) All of it improves somewhat in the later seasons though it always retains the distinctive "cartoony" style.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: In "Mountain Glenn", Ruby is trying to get back to her camp with Zwei, but the pavement suddenly collapses. Ruby is able to save Zwei before the pavement she's holding onto breaks off.
  • Literally Prized Possession: The fourth season reveals that the hoody Jaune's been wearing under his armour since he was introduced is a promotional item he won by sending in fifty "Pumpkin Pete" cereal box tops. As a bonus it ties into the fact that his armour now incorporates elements and metal from Pyrrha's, since she was the spokesman for the brand.
  • Little "No":
    • Ruby's reaction to the announcement that Penny will be fighting Pyrrha at the end of "Destiny".
    • Blake's reaction to seeing Adam in "Battle of Beacon".
  • 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.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Members of the White Fang are able to roam about Blake's hometown of Menagerie freely, because the inhabitants don't know that the White Fang chapter led by Adam Taurus played an instrumental role in the invasion of Vale and the destruction of Beacon Academy, with Blake's parents only finding out when Blake and Sun inform them as such when White Fang representatives of another leader, Sienna Khan, come to visit her father. Said representatives are able to avoid suspicion by claiming that the group led by Adam is a rogue splinter faction and they're trying to apprehend him, which is a lie.
  • 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 siege. 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 with the the Nevermore 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.

    Tropes M 
  • 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). Both in- and out-of-universe sources insist that Dust not be referred to as Capital-M Magic. Because... real magic exists, but it's beyond Top Secret.
    • 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 Skirt: The creators decided from the outset that skirts would never reveal anything naughty to the audience and the animation applies various techniques to enforce it. Characters with tight skirts such as Glynda or Pyrrha have strategic shadowing. Weiss and Ruby have layers of crinoline under their skirts that make sure nothing is visible. Nora has a white petticoat that does the same. Also, females often land or sit in ways that ensure their legs protect their modesty and in battle, objects will get in the way, often weapons or other people. When an up-skirt shot appears unavoidable, such as Nora sitting in the hatch of an airship right at the camera's eye level, there's nothing to see except undefined white block shading that matches the colour of her petticoat.
    Monty: RWBY will be tasteful, clean and responsible. I implemented very effective ANTI UPSKIRT TECHNOLOGY! for this show.
  • Magitek: Technology appears to be powered by Dust.
  • Male Gaze:
    • In "Dance Dance Infiltration", as if Cinder wasn't already appearing as Ms. Fanservice, we got this shot based around her butt. It's safe to say that the fandom wasn't close to prepared.
    • There's also a fairly tantalizing shot of Emerald's posterior at the 5:42 mark of "Breach".
    • The butt shot returns with a vengeance in "The Beginning of the End."
  • The Man Behind the Man: There are subtle clues from the very first episode that someone else may lie behind Cinder's plan, including a first episode narration-style argument between Ozpin and a woman that is not Cinder. The clues become more obvious in Volume 3, especially during an flashback which shows Cinder updating someone by phone. Cinder boss is Salem, a woman with such a burning hatred for Ozpin that she's willing to destroy humanity just to get back at him for an unrevealed reason.
  • The Man in Front of the Man: The first episode gives the impression that Roman Torchwick is the main villain and that the mysterious woman who flew his airship and fought off an enemy huntress on his behalf is another one of his minions. Later on the woman is revealed to be Torchwick's boss, Cinder Fall.
  • 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.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • In Volume 2's "No Brakes", the Vale populace is bewildered when the White Fang's train bursts from the underground, with Team RWBY still dazzled from the impact. Then the Grimm emerge from the breach and invade the streets, causing a mass panic.
    • In Volume 3's "PvP", the world witnesses a savage fight that appears to result in the death of a person, and the broadcasters cannot control their own feed to cut off the grisly sight. While Ironwood attempts to take control of the crowd, the stadium is attacked, causing mass panic. Pyrrha accidentally tears Penny apart, leading Cinder to announce everyone's in danger and they can't trust the authorities to protect them, followed by the Grimm invading the kingdom en masse.
  • 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.
    • The penultimate shot of "Field Trip" cuts from Team RWBY's excitement to fight alongside a real Huntsman to their shocked reactions to finding out that said Huntsman is Dr. Oobleck.
    • In "Breach", a shot of a pink cloud-filled sky fades into a shot of a yellow cloud-filled sky.
    • In Vol. 3 Episode 1, Ruby's reaction to winning against Team ABRN in the Vytal Festival tournament is jumping into the air and shouting "WE DID IIIIT!"; as she's midair, the scene behind her changes to the Vytal fairgrounds.
    • In "Fall", a shot of Amber's face cuts perfectly into a shot of Cinder's.
    • To show the stark difference between the modern desolation of the town of Kuroyuri and its thriving past, the episode "Kuroyuri" uses match-cuts to switch between present day and the past. A lingering shot of a destroyed, wilted water lily lying on solid ground fades seamlessly into a shot of the same flower when vibrant and floating on the surface of peaceful water, while the sight of a barren, wasted tree fades into a picture of it in full bloom, in front of which a very young Ren and his parents pose for a picture.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Many if not all of the Color-Coded Characters (so, a majority of the characters).
    • "Fall" discusses Pyrrha being chosen as the candidate to assume the powers of the Fall Maiden, and it ends with Yang experiencing a fall from grace of her own after her reputation is tarnished after she breaks Mercury's leg and gets arrested... at the arrangement of Cinder Fall.
    • The Hunter Academies are all given names that imply protection and/or comfort in a world that is extremely hostile to the existence of humanity, such as Haven Academy in Mistral. Beacon Academy of Vale is the shining light of Remnant, implied to be its top academy. Atlas Academy is named after the Greek Titan Atlas, whose punishment was to hold up the pillar between the heavens and the earth, and suggests a motif of protection and responsibility. Shade Academy is located in the harsh desert environment of Vacuo, implying the most important necessity of such a life - protection from the sun. At the end of Volume 3, a Grimm Dragon is trapped in a frozen state on the top of Beacon Tower where, in its latent state, it continuously attracts more Grimm to the area; the ruined Beacon Academy has literally become a beacon for the Grimm.
    • Vol.4 Ep.9, "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back". The "two steps forward" are those of Weiss and Yang (Weiss finally learns to control her summoning powers and looks set to escape her home, and Yang has made excellent progress in learning how to fight with her prosthetic arm), and the "two steps back" are those of Ruby and Blake (Ruby sees her team splitting up, while her uncle's condition continues to deteriorate, and Blake is confronted by an old comrade from the White Fang who seriously wounds Sun).
    • Vol.4's finale, "No Safe Haven" feels a bit odd when much of the episode ends on a rather happy note, until the very last shot of the episode (minus The Stinger) that reveals Dr. Watts having a casual drink with the headmaster of Haven Academy, implying that he's Watts' informant and is in leagues with Salem. No Safe Haven indeed.
  • 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."
  • Missed Him by That Much: In "The Beginning of the End" Blake arrives back at her camp just as Cinder is leaving for the first time.
  • Missing Mom: Ruby and Yang both have missing mothers:
    • Yang's mom left Taiyang shortly after Yang's birth. She does show up briefly, but shows no interest in actually mothering Yang.
    • Ruby's mom Summer disappeared while on a mission; Yang says this is what broke Taiyang emotionally. So far neither the characters nor the viewers know where she is.
  • 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).
Random Fan: "Is there going to be any weapon that does not somehow have a gun in it?"
Kerry: Why would you want that?
  • 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:
    • Vol.1 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.
    • In the Volume 3 opening, it starts off with some nice soothing piano, and on screen it says "Created by Monty Oum", with a solitary red rose behind it in twilight, and a red rose petal falling onto the rose... and then the theme tune is the hard-hitting rock song "When It Falls".
    • Watching the rather touching and heartwarming "World of Remnant: The Four Maidens" is this after the dark episode "PvP".
    • Nora provides a brusque but very much needed mood shift in "Destiny" after Team RWBY gets disqualified from the Vytal Festival tournament and Blake admits her reluctance to believing Yang with a hilarious rapid-fire scene trying to get Pyrrha physically pumped for her match that ends with her lifting a 1-ton barbell only for the weight to slowly overwhelm her and make her fall back.
  • 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.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Sun's outfit of choice, a long white jacket with no shirt underneath, leaves little to the imagination in regards to his very muscular chest and abs.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Yang Xiao Long, who the song "Red Like Roses" refers to as "yellow beauty burns gold". Her primary outfit shows off a bit more of her figure than the rest of the cast, with some exposed cleavage.
    • Pyrrha Nikos. Her combat outfit features a miniskirt and thigh-high boots, corset, and low neckline. She's also noticeably taller, curvier, and more athletic than most of the other girls at Beacon.
    • Cinder Fall, who under several occasions has worn outfits that show off her voluptuous body. Let's not forget the butt shot.
  • Ms. Exposition: Pyrrha fills this role in Vol.1 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 based on real life Earth, names that may have strong cultural associations in real life cannot be used to determine the race or nationality of the characters. Certain continents and the naming schemes of characters from those continents have overall themes that parallel real life cultures, but are not intended to reflect the reality of those cultural inspirations. Characters from Atlas have German or French names (such as Weiss and her father Jacques), or names associated with English translations of Russian storytelling (James Ironwood's name comes from the Russian version of the Tin Man. Pyrrha, who is Greek influenced, and Lie Ren, who is Chinese-influenced, both come from the continent of Anima, which is the Asian-themed continent. While Ren's hair, manner of dress and martial arts style of fighting are heavily Chinese-influenced, his features are as pale as any other white-skinned characters. Dark-skinned characters do exist in the show, but no more indicate where a character is from that white skin does.
  • Mugging the Monster: In the very first episode, some thugs are robbing a store that main character Ruby Rose just happens to be in. When one of them brings her attention away from her headphones and magazine by trying to get her to put her hands up, she responds by throwing the offending man across the room and attacking the entire group. The main theme 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, and Ren is from Mistral.
  • 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 Volume 2 features boatloads of this, from the start right through to Glynda using her powers to clear everything up at the end.
    • In Vol.4 Episode 9, Weiss uses a glyph to slam a door closed.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The creators have stated that Aura renders muscle mass pointless, so Remnant women are not viewed as weaker than men. Many characters therefore don't look like they can even lift their weapons, let alone fight with them; Ruby and Nora are both small women who use huge polearm-based weapons, and Yang who, despite being tall and slim, still doesn't look like she'd be one of the hardest hitters of the show.
  • 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!
  • My Instincts Are Showing: Played with. Yang attempts to invoke this when she uses a laser pointer to distract a Cat Faunus. At first the Cat Faunus alternates between ignoring the red dot and poking at it, then ends up stalking it with her eyes fixated on the moving laser, just like a cat stalking a laser pen before it makes up its mind whether or not to pounce.
  • 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 Pt.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 Vol.2 Episode 2.
    • Flynt Coal's name comes from a recurring joke in Achievement Hunter.

    Tropes N-Q 
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • The trailer for the Vol.3 episode "Lessons Learned" makes Winter look a lot harsher than she actually turns out to be. The episode itself actually shows more of her sisterly side.
    • The trailer for the Vol.3 episode "Fall" implies that the main focus will be the Yang v Mercury tournament fight, with a sub-plot involving Pyrrha. The episode is instead one long Info Dump focusing on Pyrrha, and the Yang v Mercury fight lasts for all of about three minutes at the end of the episode (although it does tie heavily into the plot).
    • The trailer for "Destiny" only shows Blake telling Yang that she wants to believe her, making it come off as having lost all faith in Yang. The episode only shows her needing some convincing (that being Yang looking her in the eye and claiming her innocence) before deciding that she does trust Yang.
    • This show has a repetitive problem with an Opening variant; both the openings for Volume 2 and Volume 3 give major prominence to characters that either don't fulfill anything important or don't fulfill much before disappearing. Of note are Team SSSN and Winter Schnee—Team SSSN was teased with a similar team shot that all of the other characters got, but unlike them, half the team doesn't appear in the entire volume except for barely noticeable background characters. In Volume 3, they actually get more prominence in the opening than TEAM JNPR, the secondary team of the entire show, but got no more prominence than their one fight scene in the second episode, which did not reflect well on them. Winter Schnee similarly gets a lot of focus in the Volume 3 opening, showing her strained relationship with Weiss and her enmity with Qrow Branwen. Unlike Qrow, who sticks around the entire Volume, Winter is only around long enough to fight Qrow not ten seconds after she arrives, give Weiss a life lesson, drop off some cargo and then leave.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Yang has one in "Family" where she is trapped in a dark room with Adam, powerless and helpless.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Averted. Weiss's overuse of her Semblance in Vol.1 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. Happens again later when she summons the knight she fought in the White trailer during "Heroes and Monsters." 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. She dropped Penny because Penny is a robot and heavier than Ruby was expecting.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Yang, of all people, has one in "Painting the Town" after Weiss comes out with an Incredibly Lame Pun. And it's verbatim, no less.
  • 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:
    • How Ruby and Weiss got themselves a ride in the talons of the giant Nevermore is never explained.
    • The time Jaune locked himself out of his room is mentioned in "Forever Fall", but is never seen or elaborated upon more.
    • In "Lessons Learned", Qrow defends his old Beacon team STRQ's fashion sense by saying that there are a number of "inappropriate stories" that can back up the fact that they looked good, but he decides to wait on telling them until Ruby and Yang are older.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The scandal of Yang "breaking" Mercury's leg in "Fall" was primarily the moment where Cerebus Syndrome set in, with the reputation of Beacon being tarnished and questioned. As if to push this in, the next episode was preceded by a message from the writers that the show was heading in a much darker direction and to be careful about younger viewers watching it.
    • The ending of Volume 3 definitely has the characters in a much different place, which only begs the question as to how Volume 4 will possibly go on about making amends. Pyrrha is killed, Ruby inadvertently taps into unforeseen latent power in the heat of the moment that even takes Cinder by surprise, we discover that Ruby's silver eyes (taken from her mother) have a deeper meaning, and Team RWBY is left broken by the end of it all. Ruby goes off with the rest of Team JNPR, Blake runs away, Weiss is taken back to Atlas by her father, and Yang is bedridden with depression.
  • 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, isn't eating, can't focus/stay awake in class and will hardly speak to anyone. 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.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Ozpin is perpetually calm with undertones of smugness, apart from one moment in Volume 2 when he raises his voice very briefly when talking with Ironwood. Then in Volume 3 Qrow shows up, and within seconds of him entering Ozpin's office manages to leave the headmaster utterly exasperated.
    • Earlier in the same episode, cool-headed Mercury is shocked upon seeing Qrow fighting Winter.
    • After almost three volumes of being a perpetual, cool-headed Smug Snake, Cinder completely loses her composure and dissolves into rage when she sees Ruby unleashing her silver-eyes power.
  • 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.
  • Odd Name Out:
    • The names of the four alt outfits for the RWBY crew are Slayer (Ruby), Intruder (Blake), Hunter (Yang) and SnowPea (Weiss).
    • The names of the Hunter academies and combat schools mentioned so far have names related to either a sense of relief (Shade, Haven, Sanctum) or of hope (Beacon, Signal). Except for Atlas, its name is notable in that it is a less direct, non-definitional reference to protection.
  • Offhand Backhand: Done a few times:
    • First, by Glynda to a couple of Grimm in "Breach".
    • Adam's last scene in Volume 3 is him doing this to a random Grimm.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Almost every character with a name is excessively badass and leagues above the ordinary humans that populate Remnant, but the show starts this way. Every single huntsman-in-training that's important goes through one, due to a mandatory four years of prior training at a lesser combat school being required before any of the big four Huntsman academies will accept them. This can also be applied to several fights we only see the tail end of or not at all, including:
    • A good few fights in the Vytal Tournament, including SSSN's and JNPR's doubles rounds, Penny's team round, and the villain team's Curb-Stomp Battle in their own team round.
    • Neo's casual slaughter of an entire military fleet.
  • 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.
  • Off with His Head!: Attempted by Adam in "Heroes and Monsters", where he decapitates what he thinks is Blake, but when "Blake" dissolves into smoke he realizes it's one of Blake's semblance clones, which is when he turns and sees the real Blake running away with Yang.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens a few times.
    • Neo's response to Raven showing up in "No Brakes" can be summed up as "utter panic".
    • In Volume 3, Mercury also loses his usual smugness when he sees Qrow arrive at Beacon.
    • Ruby's reaction to the announcement of Penny facing Pyrrha at the end of "Destiny".
    Ruby: (hangs head briefly, looks back up with widened eyes) No...
    • Ironwood lets out a genuinely alarmed "No!" in "Battle of Beacon" when his group of Atlesian androids go rogue under the influence of a hack and point their guns at him.
    • Ruby does a non-vocal version in the Volume 4 character short when the Beringel no sells having Crescent Rose buried in his hip.
  • One-Man Army:
    • In the Red trailer, Ruby destroys dozens of Beowolves all by herself.
    • In the Black trailer Blake (with some help from Adam) destroy dozens of Schnee robots during their train heist.
    • Penny in Vol. 1 Episode 16, where she thrashed some White Fang goons and destroyed at least one of their planes.
  • Open Secret: Blake doesn't want people to know she's a Faunus so she can avoid the discrimination they receive, yet lots of people know about it. She told Team RWBY and Team JNPR, Ozpin (and possibly the rest of the senior Beacon staff) and Sun figured it out by themselves, Neptune was told by Sun, and Torchwick and his mooks know since it was revealed during a fight with them.
  • Orbital Shot:
    • Expect to see this whenever Team RWBY is together in a circle, like in "Breach" before they begin attacking the Grimm.
    • Used in "Punished" as Oscar starts describing the Haven headmaster's office (which he had never seen before).
  • Orchestra Hit Techno Battle: How the battle between Yang and Junior's night club is framed during the Yellow Trailer. Yang visits the same bar in the show proper in season 2 and the same music is playing, but everyone involved comes to a tense armistice rather than a fight.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Grimm, creatures of Living Shadow with red and white masks. They are stated to have no souls, are attracted to negative emotions, and their origins and motivations (besides Kill All Humans) are unknown.
  • Our Souls Are Different: All living beings have a soul except the Grimm. Souls create Aura, which can be locked, trained or manifested passively. Aura can create effects such as a Deflector Shield or Ki Attacks, and fuel Semblances, a unique ability shaped by an individual's personality. Aura can also be channelled into inanimate objects, empowering weapons and armour; science has even created an Aura-using robot. Rare, secret events can cause soul and Aura mergers that risk the loss of the original independent selves. Ozpin attempts an artificial soul merger between Amber and Pyrrha to prevent Cinder obtaining Amber's full Maiden powers. Ozpin himself underwent a soul merger when he was a child, and later soul-merges with a young farm-boy called Oscar, causing them to share thoughts and memories.
  • Out of Focus: As the story began focussed on a school setting and included students and teachers from other schools around the world, the cast grew in size very quickly. When certain characters are the focus for development and plot reasons, the rest of the cast will go on hiatus. Jaune's bullying arc in the first volume put Team RWBY in the background, and an increased focus on Pyrrha, Yang and Blake in the third volume put the main character, Ruby, in the background until late in the volume. In Volume 4, there is a lot of focus on Ruby, Jaune, Ren and Nora, and very limited focus on Yang and Weiss. The Beacon teachers are background characters because the storytelling mostly occurs outside Vale.
  • Overcrank: Used a lot for badass effect. See Hit Stop above for more specific examples.
    • Utilized multiple times during the fight with Team RNJR and Tyrian in "Tipping Point" to jaw-dropping effect.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Painting The Town", Blake and Sun infiltrate a White Fang meeting with their only disguises being Grimm masks, Blake's slightly different outfit, and Sun's shirt being buttoned. Justified because nobody bar Torchwick would recognize them in the first place, and being in a large crowd prevents him from immediately spotting them. Once he does spot them, he recognizes her immediately.
  • Parasol of Pain: Neo's umbrella, which she mostly uses as a shield and bludgeoning weapon. The hilt also contains a dagger.
  • Parental Abandonment: Raven Branwen, the mother of Yang, abandoned her at such a young age that Yang didn't even know who she was, thinking that Ruby's mom and her stepmom Summer Rose was her biological mother. She then proceeds to abandon her yet again after saving her life.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Ruby is visibly disgusted when Qrow promises to share some "inappropriate stories" about Team STRQ (the team he was on with Ruby and Yang's father and their respective mothers) back when they were younger.
  • Personality Powers: Semblances are expressions of the user's soul, manifesting as a power or powers that reflect a person's disposition. Yang is a Boisterous Bruiser, so she becomes stronger as she takes hits straight on (as long as she is conscious), 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.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: In Volume 3, Cinder Fall indicates that Huntsmen and Huntresses are this, since the Headmaster of an Academy commands more firepower (in the form of his students, who are just hunters in training) than the national army of his Kingdom. She uses this as part of a lie that the Kingdoms will be going to war.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Parodied in Volume 2. After Weiss is struck in the Food Fight, Ruby holds her like this. Cue Big "NO!".
  • Phony Degree: Jaune got into Beacon by forging his credentials. He had zero combat experience and didn't even know what Aura is before Pyrrha gave him lessons.
  • Pie in the Face: Weiss accidentally receives one, courtesy of Nora, and it's what kicks off the epic Food Fight in "Best Day Ever".
  • Pinball Protagonist: Team RWBY are present for a lot of important events but rarely have any control over their outcome. The bad guys always either get away almost completely unhindered, someone else saves the day, or a combination thereof, with the biggest exception being Ruby injuring Cinder and paralyzing the dragon.
  • 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.
  • Power Crystal: The material known as Dust 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, Taiyang, sent over Zwei, and Ruby and Weiss gush over how adorable it is.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The lyrics of various songs will stray into swearing territory: one variant of "I Burn" includes a guest verse by Lamar Hall that initially included f-bombs until it was censored. "Red Light Roses, Part II" mentions being "trapped inside a nightmare every single effing day".
    • The show initially began with very clean scripting, but as the plot line has entered darker territory, the adults have become harsher with their language. "Damn" first starts being used when Qrow demands to know whether or not Ironwood "give[s] a damn" about being discreet; when the battle for Beacon kicks off, an Atlesian ship's captain uses "dammit" twice; Jacques doesn't "give a damn" about Weiss's desires and Qrow tells Team RNJR that he thinks Salem is doing a "damn good job" of destroying humanity. Tyrian calls Ruby a bitch when she cuts off his scorpion tail for hurting Qrow.
  • Prepare to Die: In "Breach", Coco uses this as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner against a Beowolf.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Ruby's tray attack on Pyrrha during the food fight in Volume 2 is nearly identical to one of Reese's hoverboard attacks on Blake in Volume 3.
  • Product Placement: "Lessons Learned" begins with an ad for Rooster Teeth's Christmas items, and "Never Miss a Beat" and "Fall" both begin with an ad for the new RWBY: Grimm Eclipse game.
  • 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.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal:
    • Mercury Black was revealed to have prosthetic legs via flashback an episode after he performed a Deliberate Injury Gambit on Yang.
    • James Ironwood was hinted at having a metal arm in Vol.3 Episode 10. Episode 11 revealed that the entire right side of his body is robotic.
  • 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.
  • Pun-Based Title: "PvP", a term which usually means "player versus player" (this is the first time two protagonists square off against each other) but in this context also refers to the fight between Penny and Pyrrha.
  • 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.
    • The representatives of Team FNKI that we see in "Never Miss a Beat": Flynt Coal (a name created in Achievement Hunter Minecraft Series that eludes to flint and coal) and Neon Katt (Nyan Cat).
  • Pyrrhic Victory: For a piece of irony, Pyrrha got struck with this in "PvP". She wins her match against Penny, but unintentionally kills her at the same time, and Cinder uses that to shame Beacon.

    Tropes R 
  • Razor Floss: Penny's wires aren't designed for this, they're only intended to control her swords. However, a powerful enough blast of magnetism from Pyrrha causes them to wrap around Penny and split her to pieces.
  • Reaction Shot:
    • A quick one by the robot guards in the "Black" trailer after Adam takes out the first one.
    • A great non-human 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. It's 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.
    • Volume 3 Episode 5: Neon uses roller blades to give herself a mobility advantage. This backfires when the arena floor is damaged, and her skates get caught on the ground.
    • Volume 3 Episode 9: Both the idea of Dark Secret and Might Makes Right are blown out of the water when Penny is bisected, exposing the weakness of her fighting style: the wires that control her swords can tear someone to shreds (including her) if control is lost. Ironwood kept her robotic status secret, so only Ruby and Cinder had found out the truth. Cinder is able to use the idea of a combat machine disguised as an innocent girl to incite great negativity in the public and disgrace Ozpin, Ironwood and the entire concept of the noble, protective Huntsmen. Ironwood starts to explain himself to Ozpin, but is interrupted by Ozpin, who is more interested in focusing Ironwood on using his army to protect Vale.
    • Volume 3 Episode 11: Yang charges at Adam and tries to punch him. However, because he is a very fast swordsman with a long sword that can seemingly cut through anything, not only does Yang fail to land her punch, but Adam slices her right arm clean off, and with a single stroke, Team RWBY's powerhouse is left permanently maimed and curled up unconscious on the floor. Yang made a huge tactical mistake and it cost her very dearly. Also depicted with shocking realism is how hard it would be to recover from something like this; through the epilogue, Yang shows all the textbook signs of clinical depression and hasn't even left her bed weeks later.
    • Volume 3 Episode 12: Despite Pyrrha being an extremely skilled fighter, she is still a student, and attempting to go toe-to-toe with a now superpowered Cinder gets her killed in a brutal fashion. Pyrrha's lack of armor and high heels don't help: she gets shot in the ankle and heart.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "Tipping Point", after overhearing a woman insulting Vale at the Vale charity event, Weiss snaps and gives one to the rest of the partygoers, telling them off for their lack of real care for Vale.
  • 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.
  • Recruit Teenagers with Attitude: The schools are clearly in the business of recruiting teens with attitudes. In fact, the first chapter starts with Ruby joining the school in such a way after she's seen fighting with a crime lord and his goons.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Adam wears black trousers and a red top, over which is a black jacket with red designs on the front and back. His gloves and shoes are black, but the shoes have red soles. His hair is red, with either black horns or two black tufts of hair designed to look like horns. His rifle sheathe is black while his sword's blade is blood-red. When he activates his power, his hair becomes an even brighter red. His white mask carries intricate red designs. He is one of the leaders that deposed the old guard to drive the White Fang down a path of violent terrorism. He has no problem killing humans, even when he doesn't need to and his goal is the destruction of humanity rather than equal rights for Faunus. He regards Blake's defection from the White Fang as a personal betrayal and is determined to destroy everything she cares about in revenge. His current behaviour, including victim-blaming her for "forcing" him to hurt her, indicates that he is abusive towards her.
  • Red Herring: A quarter of the way into Volume 3, Cinder comes across blueprints for Penny. Knowing that she has Atlas' systems wrapped around her finger one can easily assume that she'd hijack Penny at some point, especially since she makes a point of how this simply accelerates her plans. However, it's eventually revealed that it's simply the knowledge of Penny being a robot that helps accelerates her plans, as she pits her against Pyrrha...
  • 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".
    • Used pointedly during Ironwood's confrontation with a Beowolf.
    • Qrow's interception as Tyrian is about to kill Ruby in "Tipping Point" gets a triple take.
  • 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 go 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 reveals to Ruby that she's a robot at the end of "A Minor Hiccup".
    • Volume 3 Episode 7: Mercury has robotic legs.
    • Volume 3 Episode 11: Ironwood is a cyborg. The right half of his body is entirely cybernetic.
  • Rocky Roll Call: In "Players and Pieces", the gang all call out each others' names as they come together. Nora ends it by dramatically announcing her own name.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Both teams RWBY and JNPR are led by (and in RWBY's case, named for) their least experienced member.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Vale's king during the Great Offscreen War not only personally led the Final Battle in Vacuo, but was apparently so bloody, terrifying and awesome that when the dust settled the other three leaders knelt to him and offered him their Kingdoms. He decided to hammer out a global piece, set up new government structures and establish the Academies; he then left the kingdoms to get on with the job of governing while he taught students how to fight. and teach others how fight instead.
  • 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.
    • As of Volume 3, background characters are now being rendered using static, 2D images more often than in the previous volumes. And being rendered a 2D image does not exempt the character from becoming much more important in the story, like Taiyang.
  • 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. First Ruby, then Penny.
    • Everybody being greeted normally with the exception of Weiss, with most characters calling her Ice Queen. 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".

    Tropes S 
  • Sadistic Choice: Either Jaune gives in to Cardin's demands and pull a nasty prank on Pyrrha, or Cardin gets Glynda Goodwitch to kick Jaune out of the academy for not being qualified for Beacon in the first place. He would have settled for option 2 had a group of Grimm not attacked them.
  • Sailor Earth: Monty has come up with rules on how to name original characters.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Cinder at the end of "It's Brawl in the Family", about to watch Emerald and Mercury face off against Team CFVY in a doubles round that she programmed.
  • Saying Too Much: How Blake lets slip that she is a Faunus.
  • Say My Name:
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", Torchwick shows his first bit of genuine emotion for someone else when he cries out Neo's name after Ruby activates her parasol and makes her fly off the airship.
    • In the Volume 3 finale, Ruby yells out Pyrrha's name when she sees her being killed and disintegrated by Cinder.
  • 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 pseudo-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. Most notable is the complete absence of satellite technology since Dust doesn't work in space.
  • 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the captions for Volume 3 Episode 8's trailer, the transcriber does this because of how dark and depressing the trailer is.
  • Sedgwick Speech: Torchwick gives one to Ruby in "Heroes and Monsters", bragging that heroes like her will die while dishonest men like him survive... right as a Griffon swoops down and swallows him whole.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In "Never Miss a Beat", Flynt takes down Weiss then prepares to join Neon against Yang. Weiss tackles him into a lava plume, depleting her aura and removing her from the contest. However, Flynt survives, remaining in the fight until he and Neon are defeated by Yang.
  • Serial Escalation: Due to the nature of RWBY, each volume brings out more and more potential of the story and the cast.
    • Volume 1 started to set the base, fancy fighting scene and lovable characters. Common complaints were short episodes (6 minute for average) and bad non-fighting animations.
    • Volume 2 escalates this with better and more fighting scenes, more characters (like Neo and Neptune), and episodes with length of 13 minute average.We also see the first actual threat to humanity with a Grimm invasion.
    • Volume 3 ups the ante a lot compared to the last two, especially since it happens after Monty Oum died. Every episode has an elaborate fight scene, the lore of the world is further established, more characters are brought in (Qrow and Winter), the story takes a very sharp turn of seriousness, the death toll also sky rockets and we are presented our very first 28 minute long episode with the Volume finale.
  • 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, another being when Blake puts her sword to Roman's throat; it's obviously with the blunt part in). 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. This is explained by way of Aura, in that it acts as a "shield" for characters who have a soul, so any attacks to them would first harm their Aura as it shields them until it's depleted in battle.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: At the end of Volume 3, Yang is nearly catatonic, reduced to lying in bed after being badly injured and her team broken up. Her story arc in Volume 4 centers on her gradualy overcoming her Post-Traumatic Stress. Meanwhile, Volume 4 also reveals Jaune to spend his nights training intensely while listening to recordings of [[spoiler: Pyrrha. In fact, for Volume 4, it might be easier to list central characters who don't fit this trope.
  • Shamu Fu: Weiss improvises a swordfish for her rapier during the food fight.
  • Ship Sinking: The Volume 3 finale saw one of the show's most popular ships (Arkos) torpedoed down with Pyrrha's death. Especially sad since the episode's public release happened to be on Valentine's Day.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Torchwick, a dangerous but otherwise amusing villain, is put in jail at the end of Volume 2 and is Out of Focus for most of Volume 3, while Cinder can put in the final touches of her master plan. During the penultimate episode, he is unceremoniously eaten by a Grimm in the disaster he helped cause.
  • 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.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: When Qrow is telling Team RNJR stories around the campfire, he tells them of a creation myth about two brothers, the God of Darkness and the God of Light. The God of Light creates life while the God of Darkness creates destruction. In the myth, they don't get on very well and keep trying to one-up each other. In the end, they decide to create a single thing that they can both be proud of, something with the power to both create and destroy: humanity. Qrow tells Team RNJR that, while humans have come up with dozens of gods throughout Remnant's history, Ozpin once told him that the Gods of Light and Darkness are actually real: the God of Light created plants and animals while the God of Darkness created the Creatures of Grimm. They left behind four extremely powerful artefacts in the form of relics: the powers of Knowledge, Creation, Destruction and Choice, which are protected by the four Huntsmen Academies and which Salem is trying to find.
  • Sickening "Crunch!":
    • When Yang breaks Mercury's leg at the end of "Fall".
    • Again when Penny is split apart by her own wires in "PvP".
  • 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.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!:
    • Briefly showcased in "The Shining Beacon, Part 2", when Ruby optimistically responds to Blake's cynical rebuttal against her idealized visions of being a Huntress, agreeing with Blake's statement that the world is corrupted but also adding that Huntsmen and Huntresses exist to make it better.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", Torchwick gives Ruby a brooding Shut Up, Kirk! speech about how her spirit will be worthless in the real world, and that survival is the only thing that matters. He gets killed by a Grimm immediately afterwards.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!:
    • When Ruby and Blake first meet, Ruby states her vision of huntresses, that she wanted to be like the storybook heroes — someone who fights for right and protects the vulnerable. Blake tells her that's ambitious for a child and that the real world is not like a fairy tale.
    • Ruby's idealism infuriates Roman, who rants at her that this heroic spirit will get her nowhere in this kind of world, and that she should do what every single huntress in history does and die. He believes the only thing that matters in this world is the ability to survive.
    • When Blake and Adam confront each other, Blake tells Adam she never wanted what Adam has done: she wanted equality and peace between the Faunus and humans, not violence, bloodshed, and war. Adam bluntly tells her that what she wants is impossible.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Red Like Roses." The page quote is the entire lyrics of the song.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: In "Heroes and Monsters", after Yang sees Adam stab Blake, she activates her Semblance and launches towards him. Though she doesn't have a blade, the result is more or less this trope. Adam cuts Yang's arm off in one swing.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Definitely an undercurrent of the antagonism between Ruby and Yang's Cool Uncle, Qrow Branwen, and Weiss's Cool Big Sis Winter; she's the prim and proper specialist in an actual military (and is severe enough in her style to make Weiss seem relaxed), while he's the unkemp and rude spy. She refers to him with a certain upper class contempt, he calls her an Ice Queen (making her the second member of her family with that nickname in the show).
  • 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.
  • Soldier VS Warrior: Humanity is fortunate enough to have two lines of defence against the Grimm. The Kingdoms are protected by regular army troops, such as Atlas with its armies of uniformly white soldiers and combat robots, and there's of course the Huntsmen and Huntresses, with their flashy transforming Enhanced Archaic Weapons, unique fighting styles and gratuitous Costume Porn.
  • 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.
    • The music to the eponymous action scene in "Food Fight" is deadly serious, but the fight itself is anything but.
  • 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.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Almost everyone uses this to deflect or parry just about everything. Yes, even bullets. Rule of Cool is in full effect here.
  • 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 Volume 4 opening shows Blake aboard a ship with companions. When Episode 3 introduces her being followed around the ship by a hooded figure, it's easy to guess the stalker's identity before the in-episode reveal occurs.
  • 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.
  • Stab the Scorpion: In "Heroes and Monsters", Qrow unveils his full scythe and charges at Ironwood, who is initially shocked but then stands guard as he thinks Qrow is about to attack him. As he jumps into the air, Qrow flies right past Ironwood and bisects the Griffon lunging towards him.
  • Staring Through the Sword:
    • A quick shot of Qrow during his fight with Winter in "It's Brawl in the Family" shows him holding his weapon in greatsword form between his eyes as Winter charges at him.
    • When Ruby had to pick up a sword the one time her usual weapon was unavailable she did the same thing right down to an almost identical shot. Which makes sense because Qrow is the one who taught her how to fight, even if Ruby opted not to give her weapon a sword mode.
    • Weiss does this several times with Myrtenaster throughout Volume 4, and in the intro.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Beowolves are Grimm. By using a scythe on them, Ruby is a Grimm Reaper. Similarly, after reloading with a Gravity cartridge Ruby goes absolutely crazy on the Beowolves, defying gravity and physics with her own source of gravity.
    • 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".
  • Vale = Veil = Curtain. Where is the great and powerful Ozpin?
  • Blake's semblance is to create copies of herself as decoy, and she's a cat Faunus. She's also a copycat.
  • Semblances are supposed to be something unique to each person. The Schnee family has a hereditary semblance, so you could say they're special snowflakes.
  • Stock Sound Effects: A jackhammer is heard while team RWBY turns their 4 beds into 2 bunk beds.
  • The Stinger: There is a stinger scene after the credits of the final episode of every volume.
    • Volume 1 reveals the appearance of the mysterious shadowed woman from the pilot episode, along with her two side-kicks. Her short speech to Roman also reveals the power dynamic between them which is the reverse of what the pilot episode implied. She's in charge of him.
    • Volume 2 reveals the face of the masked woman who saved Yang from being killed by Neo while unconscious. The woman revealed looks exactly like Yang, except with vivid red eyes and jet black hair.
    • Volume 3 reveals that, although Ruby sneaked away from home with Jaune's team, she wasn't as stealthy as she thought. Qrow is following the kids in secret. He is carrying Ozpin's cane and has the ability to transform into a crow.
    • Volume 4 shows Oscar meeting up with Qrow and asking for his cane back, to which Qrow replies that it's good to see Ozpin again.
  • 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.
  • 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 Vol.2 Episode 9, when the Dr Oobleck explains that some Grimm 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.
  • Survival Mantra: The title of "Never Miss a Beat" is taken from the phrase Neon is constantly seen uttering while in battle.
  • 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), Ren's machine pistols, which have blades, but nothing else, and Jaune's Boring, but Practical sword and (collapsible-and-doubles-as-scabbard) shield.
    • As of season 4, Jaune's weapon technically qualifies since the sword and shield can now combine into a great sword
  • Sword Drag:
    • Used with a Chainsaw Sword, by the White Fang Lieutenant.
    • Done by Neo in "Heroes and Monsters" as she drags the pointy end of her closed parasol on the ground of the airship as she approaches Ruby.
  • Sword Plant: Ruby and Jaune pin the Nuckelavee's arms to the ground by planting their weapons on them.
  • 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."

    Tropes T 
  • 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 Grimm down.
    • Torchwick does this in nearly all of his appearances. Even though he is a competent fighter, he (wisely) decides to cut his losses when faced with several badasses and just escape with his original goal in tow.
  • Talk to the Fist: Adam's response to "Intruder! Identify yourself!"
  • Talking Is a Free Action:
    • In "Players and Pieces", after Weiss saves Ruby from the Death Stalker, she continually lecture Ruby and the entire time no action is done by the Death Stalker in front of them or the Nevermore circling above them.
    • In "Battle of Beacon", Weiss and Blake talked about the current situation, called Yang to check up on her status, and contemplate their next move in the fairgrounds...while the Grimm are all over trashing the place, not ever paying attention to the two huntresses. Hilariously averted in the next episode, however, when in the middle of a rant to Ruby, Roman is devoured by a Grimm Griffon he never saw coming.
  • Taking the Bullet: During the food fight, Ruby takes a hit from Nora meant for Weiss.
  • 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: Ruby and Yang's corgi Zwei.
  • Team Title: The title refers to the protagonists' team, Team RWBY.
  • 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.
  • Temporal Theme Naming: All females with seasonal names are very plot significant. There is also an in-universe fairy tale that has existed for thousands of years about four sisters whose compassion helped a callous old man. In gratitude, the old man blessed the sisters with great mystical power to help and guide humanity, which would be inherited across many generations of young women called "Maidens". These maidens are known as the "Seasons": Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
    • Winter: The older sister of Weiss, upon whom she exerts a strict but affectionate maternal influence. She has mastered the Schnee family's unique, inherited Glyph-based Semblance, which includes time manipulation and summoning. Although Huntress-trained, she is a member of the Atlas military and reports to Ironwood. She has a personality clash with Ruby's uncle, Qrow, and has at least some connection to Ozpin's secret group.
    • Summer: Ruby's Missing Mom, a Huntress who never came home from a mission she was on. There is a grave, which Ruby visits whenever she can, and it's implied she is a driving influence on Ruby's desire to become a Huntress to help people. Her team is implied to have historic, mysterious connections to Ozpin.
    • Autumn: The current Fall Maiden, Amber, who has been hidden from the world to protect her and keep the Seasons story a fairy-tale that few believe. She has been left comatose by the Big Bad, who has stolen half her power, creating an unprecedented crisis for the protectors of the world. And then she's killed, leaving Cinder Fall the Fall Maiden.
  • 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.
    • Subverted in "Family". As Team RNJR head towards the next town, still upset about the destruction of Shion, Jaune notes that their situation could be a lot worse, and Ruby agrees that their luck might be improving. As per the trope, the camera pans to a Grimm standing on a clifftop, ready to pounce on them... only for Qrow to impale it before it can do so.
  • Theme Naming: Characters named after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz characters seem to be connected to the secret history of Remnant, and the mysterious conflict between Ozpin and Salem. Ozpin's name comes from the acronym of the Wizard's real name (O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.); Glynda Goodwitch is named after the Good Witch of the South, Glinda; General Ironwood's name comes from the English translation of a Russian version of the Tin Man; Qrow is associated with the Scarecrow. Oscar Pine, who shares Ozpin's soul, Aura and consciousness, is introduced as a farm boy digging the earth; the Wizard of Oz's real name is Oscar Diggs, and the name Oscar Pine name contracts to Oz Pin(e).
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Ruby is listening to "This Will Be The Day" in episode 1.
  • This is No Time to Panic: When the Grimm start attacking Vale at the end of "PvP", an overhead voice message asks for everyone to evacuate and seek shelter in a calm and orderly manner... while everyone is screaming and running through the exit tunnels in general chaos. Ironwood then tries repeating the message on the announcers' mic right as a giant Nevermore lands on the forcefield over the arena.
  • This Is the Part Where...: In "Of Runaways and Stowaways", Blake ends up catching a falling Sun, who responds by sarcastically saying, "My hero!" When Sun returns the favor to Blake afterwards, he says, "This is the part where you say it."
  • Three-Point Landing:
    • In the Black Trailer, Adam and Blake charge down a cliff-side slope towards a speed train before somersaulting onto a carriage roof, unsheathing their swords in mid-air to act as a brake when they land. As a result, they land with feet and right hands on the roof, their swords ripping up some of the metal to anchor them into position, and their left hands holding their sheaths diagonally away from their bodies.
    • When Ozpin launches the first years off the cliff on their first day at Beacon, Ruby's landing strategy consists of slowing her fall down with the recoil from her rifle and using the scythe to somersault her around trees. She lands hard on her right knee, left foot and right hand, with her left hand held away from her body, then snaps her head up and propelling herself into a run just like a sprinter coming out of the starting blocks.
    • Pyrrha's favourite landing position appears to be landing on her right knee and left foot, with her right hand on the ground and left away from her body. She does it when Team JNPR defeat their first Death Stalker, and again when Team JNPR leap out of a helicopter to join Team RWBY on the ground to protect Vale from the first Grimm breach.
    • In "Tipping Point", after instigating a fight with Team RNJR, Tyrian ends up crashing into a building and holding himself up by his legs. When Jaune and Ren try talking to him, he frontflips forward and lands on his right knee, left foot, and right hand.
  • 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: After two volumes of build up the Vytal Festival Tournament takes place during volume 3.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In season 4, Jaune has had Pyrrha's armor reforged to augment his own weapons and armor as a tribute. Similarly, he now wears her red sash.
  • Training from Hell: Chapter 4 has the students launched into the monster forest at high speed (told specifically to expect lethal force from the Grimm and to respond with the same) unsupervised, with the instruction to gain an "artifact" from the temple and return. And that is the initiation rite. Later chapters show them sparring with actual weapons and a field trip to a destroyed city infested with more Grimm. Clearly, Hunters are not in a business that is taken lightly.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The preview trailer for Volume 3, episode 4 spoils nearly everything to do with the fight between Coco/Yatsuhashi and Emerald/Mercury.
    • The Japanese trailer for Volume 3 spoils the entire volume.
  • 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:
    • Glynda when she walks in on the mass Food Fight in Vol.2 Episode 1. Although her tone-of-voice exhibits enough self-restraint for her behavior to be called tranquil, the expression on her face betrays her severe irritation with the students' youthful antics.
    • Ozpin sinks deeper and deeper into this as he watches Cinder and the White Fang launch a Grimm invasion on Vale and Beacon. His tone of voice speaking to Ironwood sounds like he's just barely holding back pure fury.
      Ozpin: You brought your army to my Kingdom, James. Use it!
    • Pretty much every line Adam delivers in "Heroes and Monsters". He's completely calm and in control, but there is no denying the sheer amount of hate and fury he's bottling up regarding Blake's defection from the White Fang.
  • Trash the Set: Vale, and more importantly Beacon Academy, is in ruins at the end of Volume 3. It's probably safe to say we won't be visiting it any time soon.
  • Triang Relations: Type 5 with Weiss, Neptune and Jaune in Volume 2.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • Mirror Mirror gets one at the end of "Lessons Learned" after Weiss is uplifted by Winter.
    • A badass orchestral reprise of "Time to Say Goodbye" plays in "Battle of Beacon" as the Nevermore that had been attacking the stadium is finally downed by Teams JNPR, ABRN, SSSN, CFVY, and FNKI.
    • A soft string version of "Boop" plays in "Kuroyuri" when Young Ren finds Young Nora underneath a building when the town gets attacked.
  • Troperiffic: Unsurprising given the creative minds's penchant for adrenaline-inducing action, this series plays with a lot of tropes usually seen in anime, martial arts and video games.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue:
    • "The Badge and the Burden, Part 2" had an interchanging pair of scenes with Weiss and Ruby questioning Professors 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.

    Tropes U-Z 
  • 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!"
  • Unflinching Walk: Subverted in "Fall". After seemingly defeating Yang with a barrage of shots, Mercury starts to walk away, smirking, before an explosion behind him (caused by Yang powering up her Semblance) causes him to turn back around.
  • The Unreveal: The show plays with this trope more than once already, starting from Velvet's box in the end of Volume 2, and Qrow's scythe in Volume 3, episode 3.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In 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.
  • Verbal Backpedaling: Sun engages in a very awkward bit of this in "Menagerie" when Blake's dad doesn't take his comment of Blake "having moves" very lightly.
  • Villain Episode: Episode 7 of Volume 3, "Beginning of the End", focuses solely on Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury, detailing their formation as an alliance as well as Cinder's true intentions and master plan.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Roman Torchwick in Season Two's finale: Blake is given a level in badass by combining Dust cartridges with her Semblance, and she surprises him by being a much more challenging opponent.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Roman Torchwick has a personal one against Ruby when she confronts him on the Atlesian airship he hijacked and takes Neo out of the picture. He resorts to furiously whacking the girl with his cane while punctuating the beating with a speech about how her Heroic Spirit is pointless and how it's going to get her killed while he'll keep cheating and surviving. And then he gets gobbled up by a Griffon Grimm.
    • In Volume 4, Tyrian (who's already Ax-Crazy), has a big one when Ruby amputates his scorpion stinger with Crescent Rose in retaliation for stinging Qrow. It's enough to get Tyrian to grace RWBY with its first ever Precision F-Strike ("YOU BITCH!"). It gets worse: Tyrian retreats and returns to Salem, who quietly tells Tyrian that he has disappointed her, and this is enough to reduce him to a sobbing wreck. And then he pounces on a waiting Beowulf, still sobbing, and begins angrily carving it up with his wrist-blades, his sobbing turning into mad laughter.
  • Villainous Friendship: Roman Torchwick and Neopolitan seem to go along really well and actually care about each other. When Ruby send Neo flying off the airship they had captured Roman scream her name genuinely worried, then proceed to curb-stomp Ruby.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ruby and Weiss are best friends who spend most of their time willfully disregarding each other's opinions, and in Weiss's case, denying that they're best friends.
  • 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, husband of 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.
    • At the start of the series, Ruby's voice is not high-pitched as it would become later on, as it's actually closer to her actress' natural voice.
    • Volume 3 has had another noticeable shift in the voice work. Blake and Weiss sound a little more like their actresses' natural speaking voices, Emerald sounds a little older and wearier, and in general the quality of the performances has improved a lot.
  • 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.
    • "Destiny" has Nora vomiting into a trashcan directly after consuming some of Ren's "health drink" for Pyrrha.
  • 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 lined up in their formal military attire, Vacuo stands out because their "uniform" is literally "We're all wearing shirts now."
  • War Is Hell: A World of Remnant short finally goes into detail regarding the Great War, and it's as horrible as one would expect. One hundred years of world tension erupted into ten years of grueling conflict. While soldiers were dying killing each other, countless villages were left defenseless to increasing Grimm attack with their best protectors participating in the war. Mankind came perilously close to wiping itself out entirely if not for the final battle at Vacuo.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: And how. No one on the show thus far has used a weapon even vaguely similar to anyone else's, with extreme examples such as a weaponized thermos and projectile wrist-mounted buzz saws (although some weapons do have some similar forms).
  • We Help the Helpless: In one of Professor Port's lectures he describes the job of Hunters and Huntress' as being there to protect people who cannot protect themselves.
  • Weird Moon: It's broken. 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 differ from 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.
  • 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:
    • Fall. Remnant's history of fairy tales are discussed, and it's revealed that some of them are actually true stories that were deliberately disguised as fairy tales to protect humanity from panic and chaos. There are four Maidens who represent the four Seasons. They were gifted with incredible, magical power by an old man who possessed incredible, magical power of his own. Cinder has attacked the Fall Maiden and stolen half her power. The Fall Maiden's protectors want Pyrrha to inherit her remaining power.
    • PvP. Cinder finally takes her plotting public, causing chaos right across the four kingdoms, but most especially in Amity Colosseum and Vale, confirming the entire story is going in a new, much darker direction. Penny is graphically torn apart in the arena revealing to the whole world that she is a robot. Cinder then hijacks the global broadcast to ruin the reputations of Ozpin, Ironwood, all four academies, the Atlas army, and the concept of huntsmen. She suggests the people need an entirely new leadership and method of protecting themselves. Her speech ends with the Grimm invading Vale and Amity Colosseum, aided by Roman and Neo, and the White Fang bringing the Grimm inside the city by airship.
  • What Does This Button Do?: In "Battle of Beacon", Torchwick says it word for word while playing with a hijacked Atlesian airship, seeing what different buttons do. He even has the childlike mentality, to boot.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In episode 2 of Volume 1, Yang ditches Ruby and runs off with her group of friends. Said friends are never seen or mentioned again.
  • What Is Evil?: In "The Stray", Weiss and Blake argue about whether or not the White Fang is evil. Weiss describes them as "pure evil" but Blake argues that the discrimination they receive from humanity is the reason why they hate humans and use such drastic measures.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "Dance Dance Infiltration" ends with the symbol of a chess queen flashing across a video screen as Beacon's clock tower strikes midnight. It turns out to be Cinder hacking in so that she can have control over the matchups of the Vytal Festival battles, as seen in Volume 3.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • The Grimm's faces look like they are wearing these.
    • 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. Volume 4 seems to indicate that she's a bandit leader, which would also explain the mask.
    • Winter's Summon Magic, a hereditary Semblance, greatly resembles a Grimm, complete with mask, except it is glowing white.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Beginning of the End" shows how Cinder met Emerald, Mercury and the White Fang, and how she stole the Fall Maiden's powers. The last few minutes, however, cut back to the present.
  • 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.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises:
    • When Cinder's group first attack Amber, Amber is able to put down Mercury and Emerald. As she is about to kill Emerald, Cinder shoots her in the back. As the arrow strikes, Amber's head jerks up, her eyes widening and irises shrinking in reaction to the injury and the ambush.
    • When Yang is having a nightmare about losing her arm to Adam, she starts to fight back until she realises she's suddenly defenceless. When she realises that Adam is abruptly right in front of her, about to strike, her eyes become huge and her irises shrink.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: In the album versions of "I Burn" and "Caffeine".
  • Wizard Duel: Between Glynda Goodwitch and Cinder in the first episode.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • Roman is able to take on Blake and Sun by himself during the Volume 1 finale, but later loses handily to Blake in a 1v1 fight at the end of Volume 2. He later is devoured by a Griffon, though admittedly not before beating Ruby to the deck.
    • The Grimm in Volume 2. In Vol. 1 a single Nevermore required the whole of Team RWBY to defeat, but in Volume 2 Coco can wipe out three of them in a single stroke, and even when a Grimm horde is unleashed on the city they don't get to accomplish much before The Cavalry effortlessly wipes them out.
    • Coco, in turn, is on the receiving end in Volume 3, when Mercury and Emerald fairly easily take out both her and Yatsuhashi.
    • Yang is all set to hit Adam, but he slices her arm off with his vaunted 'slice' special move, after having stabbed Blake's gut, despite both girls having an uncertain amount of Aura left.
  • 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 outlooknote ; specifically, humanity's already lasted this long, and it wasn't just because of Dust - 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-like Phlebotinum called Dust, 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. Even the resident Butt Monkey is capable of decapitating a ten-foot demonic bear with one swing of his sword.
    • Yang and Ruby's dog Zwei shows that in Remnant, even small corgis can be outlandishly badass.
    • The From Dust Until Dawn shopkeeper, despite appearing to be little more than a normal old man, throws Weiss' declined credit card into the counter ninja star style, causing it to get stuck in the counter and even making it crack slightly.
  • 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!!!
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • The Vytal Tournament has plenty of female contestants. So naturally we have scenes like Sun landing a brutal flying kick to Octavia's face in "New Challengers".
    • Some of the villains, like Torchwick and Tyrian, have no problem with hitting girls like Ruby.
  • Wretched Hive: Mistral is home to Remnant's largest black market, a place to find illegal goods and hired killers, and the ideal place for "thieves and traitors" to hide due to the size of the kingdom and a lack of central authority making it difficult to enforce the law in the outer cities. That being said, the kingdom is still a place of high culture and technology, and for the upper class it is the fashion, architecture, and entertainment capital of the world.
  • Wrong Context Magic: The Maidens are introduced as this. They have special abilities that normal people are not capable of, which do not come from either Dust or their Semblance, but rather are explicitly compared to magic.
  • X on a Stick: Nora uses a watermelon on a stick as an improvised hammer during the Food Fight in Vol. 2 Episode 1. She swings it hard enough to punt Yang through the roof of the cafeteria.
  • You All Look Familiar: Background characters seem to be generated from a pool of possible features (skin color, hair style etc.) As such, some of them tend to look similar to each other. Some of these features seem to be recolored versions of the main cast, to boot. Most noticeable during Season 2.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: As of the Volume 3 finale, Beacon has been overrun by Grimm and the dragon's presence is attracting even more.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Volume 3 is pretty much an extended sequence of this. In sequence, and despite numerous opportunities and near-misses, the heroes fail to stop the train impact from unleasing Grimm in the city; the villains infecting the control tower with a virus; Yang from being manipulated into (apparently) attacking a defeated opponent on a live broadcast; Pyrrha from being manipulated into killing Penny on a live broadcast and an ensuing villainous speech over the captured airwaves sparking a Grimm invasion; the defeat and collapse of the city and its college; and the last part of the Fall Maiden's power from being stolen. Aside from Ruby freezing the Grimm Dragon at the very end, every single part of the villainous scheme in Volume 3 went off without a hitch.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: There are many characters with exotic hair colors, but Neptune is the truest example of this trope, fittingly. Jaune even mentions near the start of "Dance Dance Infiltration" how much skill it takes to pull off blue hair.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Sun gets one in "The Battle of Beacon" when he sees an enhanced Paladin coming to fight them after the whole crew was spent from fighting two baseline ones.
  • You Know What They Say: In "Heroes and Monsters", as Torchwick and Neo have trapped Ruby in a perilous situation, Torchwick notes that the people he works for are going to change the world, and tries to communicate the message of "If you can't beat them, join them", but Ruby activates Neo's parasol before he can finish, sending her flying off the airship.
    "You know the old saying: 'If you can't beat 'em...'"
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Blake's opinion on the White Fang group, in that she believed that they were still fighting for faunus rights like their original intentions was. Though she does seem to think they have crossed the line after they become increasingly more violent.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Various combat uniforms involve mini-skirts, mini-dresses and thigh-high boots or stockings, such as Yang's Hunter uniform, which consists of a micro-skirt combined with gartered thigh-high stockings. The school uniform can also accommodate this, such as Yang combining her mini-skirt with thigh-high stockings.

"But perhaps victory is in the simpler things that you've long forgotten...things that require a smaller, more honest soul."


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