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.

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  and can be ordered here. note  Following the completion of Volume 1, the show had a brief hiatus before debuting Volume 2 at RTX 2014, and its online debut followed on July 24th 2014.

New episodes are usually released weekly on Rooster Teeth's website (Saturdays for sponsors, 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.

An official export to Japan (via Warner Bros. Japan) was announced at RTX 2014. There is also a video game in the works, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse. It is based on a fangame, whose creator Rooster Teeth is now working with. Steam Early Access for the game began on December 1st, 2015. A manga was also announced in October 2015, to begin running in November of the same year.

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, RoosterTeeth 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.

RWBY contains examples of:

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    Tropes A-B 
  • Abusive Parents: Weiss heavily implies that her father was abusive towards her and possibly her sister in an unknown fashion 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.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: According to Pyrrha, the friendships she has made in Beacon are this for Jaune. He approached her knowing nothing of her Famed In-Story status and combat prowess, completely sidestepping one of the main reasons of her Lonely at the Top woes. In turn, her interactions with the Plucky Comic Relief/Class Clown made Pyrrha look more approachable to other people, which helped to partially subvert her Attractiveness Isolation.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • One of the locations surrounding Beacon Academy is called the Forest of Forever Fall.
    • "The Badge and the Burden" and "Forever Fall" in season one.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In "Battle of Beacon", Torchwick plants a computer virus in his hijacked airship, which causes all of Ironwood's Atlesian androids to go rogue and turn against their allies.
  • Alien Sky: The phases of Remnant's moon appear to be based on a shattering visual effect that fades into and out of view depending on the moon's rotation relative to Remnant's. As the moon's rotational speed appears to 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.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • Nora's Image Song makes it clear she is in love with Ren, but Cannot Spit It Out.
    • Ironwood often flirts with Glynda, who coldly rebuffs his advances.
  • 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: Occurs to one of Cinder's subordinates in "Beginning of the End" (in the past), which she uses to further her plans. She hires the crippled Mercury and his prosthetic legs allow him to tank Yang's attack when she's set up by Emerald.
    • As of "Heroes and Monsters", Yang herself has lost an arm in an attempt to save Blake from Adam.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Anyone Can Die: The series is slowly edging into this territory. Thus far, out of the major characters, we've lost Penny, Torchwick, and Pyrrha. Granted, Penny is a robot and can probably be rebuilt, but, at the very least, Pyrrha is, without a doubt, Deader Than Dead.
  • 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.
  • Arc Words: Variations of "We are in a time of peace" crop up surprisingly frequently.
  • 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?"
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Winter has a penchant for giving Weiss a disciplinary smack upside the head. The first time she does it, it gives Weiss a Cranial Eruption.
  • 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.
  • 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 justifiable by way of how Aura works.
  • Art Shift:
    • A news report shown in the first episode is done in hand-drawn animation.
    • Comedy moments will involve cutesy artwork: Ruby turns into a chibi as she gushes over student weapons, Ruby and Yang's catfight is shown as a Big Ball of Violence and Ruby's thoughts while running through the forest being stylized as comic characters.
    • Flashbacks get a 2D anime-style animation, ranging from Blake's White Fang idealism as a child to the dark, gritting forest nightmare that almost got Yang and Ruby killed as very young children.
  • Ascended Meme: Various fandom ships gained names based on which pair was being shipped. In Chapter 4, those ship names get acknowledged in-universe as RWBY tactics involving the relevant pairs combining their techniques and abilities when fighting Torchwick.
  • 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 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: 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.
    • Jaune has no combat training prior to joining Beacon and is the weakest member of his team. However, he has a natural instinct for leadership in combat and became team leader because of it. He was the only student congratulated by Ozpin upon being made team leader. He later has a stiff learning curve in how to be a leader when he has to stand up to Cardin's bullying for the sake of his team.
    • Ruby has to learn from Ozpin that a leader must be a role-model at all times otherwise people will have no reason to follow them. Once she understands that she has to earn loyalty, she becomes much more responsible in classes and takes a much more mature approach to leadership.
    • While Roman Torchwick is certainly no slouch in combat, he is not indicated to be exceptional compared to the huntresses and huntsmen. It’s clear that the truly dangerous thing about Roman is his skill at inciting a crowd and spreading terror throughout a city.
  • 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.
  • Baby Talk: Weiss is reduced to this in "Field Trip" when trying to insult Ruby and Yang's corgi Zwei to his face, only to be won over by its impenetrable cuteness. Afterwards, she always talks to Zwei in this manner.
    Weiss: Are you telling me that this mangy...drooling...mutt is going to wiv wif us foweva? Oh, yes he is, oh yes he is! Oh, isn't he adorable!
  • Badass Family:
    • Ruby and Yang are sisters, and either one of them can ruin your day if you get on her bad side. In episode one Ruby also mentions an uncle who taught her how to fight, just cementing this further. In season 2, it's further explained in Yang's flashback that their parents were hunters too. It's worth noting that both of their mothers were huntresses who were previously on the same team as their eventual husband and Qrow.
    • Downplayed in Jaune's case. At least three generations of his family were warriors and heroes (possibly including his sisters). Jaune himself? Not so much.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • All of Team RWBY in the Volume 1 opening — they stand in a loose circle facing outward, baring weapons against the many monsters surrounding them. Actually, it appears they are searching for the enemy, who turns out to be floating above the center of the circle.
    • It's also how they begin Volume 2, Episode 12 facing off against a lot of Grimm.
    • Done twice in "Battle of Beacon" with Oobleck and Port, and Weiss and Blake; both pairs are fending off Grimm.
  • 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.
  • 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 à 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 v3 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:
  • Big Bad: Volume 1 makes Torchwick appear to be the main villain, but eventually reveals he's subordinate to the true Big Bad, Cinder, and is merely carrying out Phase One of her plans.
    • Turns out, Cinder herself is not the Big Bad. It's actually Salem, aka the narrator from the very beginning of the first episode.
  • 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 fatally shoot Pyrrha with an arrow, killing her.
  • 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.
    • At the end of "Heroes and Monsters", Yang lets out an enraged yet heartbroken one when she sees Adam stabbing Blake.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Weiss is the German word for White (weiß) pronounced incorrectlynote  due to Artistic License, while Schnee means Snow and is pronounced correctly.
  • 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.
    • When Penny gets, erm, defeated in Episode 9, her swords subvert this, as most of them fall flat. One of them falls in and sticks, however.
  • Blade Brake/Sword Plant: Done by Ruby and Weiss in their trailers, as well as Adam in the Black trailer. Blake does it along with Building Swing in Episode 8.
  • Blade Run: Weiss does this in her trailer, and given that the blade is bigger than she is, she even is able to do an Unnecessary Combat Roll on it.
  • Blank White Eyes:
    • Ruby in Episode 4, when Ozpin drops the bomb on how the team matchmaking works.
    • Ruby again in episode 8, as she is falling from the sky. She then gets intercepted by Jaune who was tossed by a Death Stalker, and then develops Circling Birdies (actually, circling wolves) shortly afterwards. Happens to her again later as her reunion with her sister is suddenly interrupted by Nora.
    • Weiss, Blake and Yang 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 Bad Ass huntsman they envisioned.
  • 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.
  • Book Ends: In "Lessons Learned", the first and last shot of the "Winter tutoring Weiss" scene is of a caterpillar.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Sure his mask's a little fancier than the mooks', but don't lie. You expected the White Fang Lieutenant to be a much easier fight than the others going on at the time.
  • Boring but Practical: In a world where 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.
  • 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
  • Breaking the Fellowship: As of the Volume 3 finale, Team RWBY has been disbanded. Weiss is dragged back home by her father, Blake runs off to parts unknown, Yang is crippled and in full Heroic BSOD, and Ruby heading to Haven with the remaining members of Team JNPR to find clues on their enemies.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Torchwick was supposed to have been a one-off character for the first episode only. They liked how he came out and his voice actor's skills so much so that they made him a major part of the volume finale, as well as a major player in the group of villains in the second volume.
    • Velvet was meant to be a one-off character demonstrating the challenges of being a Faunus. However the fandom response was so strong, she was turned into a recurring character with her own team.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The sound sloths make.
    • In Episode 11, Nora suggested to her team (and team RWBY) that they should break Cardin's legs for being such an ass. In Episode 12, we got this:
      Pyrrha: [referring to Cardin, after he left] You know, I really will break his legs.
    • Episode 2 of Volume 2. Neptune introduces himself to Weiss:
      Neptune: And I don't believe I caught your name, Snow Angel.
      Weiss: [slight laugh] Um, I'm Weiss.
      Jaune: [in background] Are you kidding me?!
    • In Vol.2 Episode 5, Jaune tells Pyrrha that if she can't get a date to the prom, he'll go in a dress. In Episode 7, during the dance itself, he finds out Pyrrha didn't get a date... guess what he proceeds to do.
    • In the first several episodes of Vol.2 several characters call Weiss "ice queen" much to her dismay. Flash foreword to the mid season boss fight and as he is retreating Torchwick who has never even met Weiss responds "ladies, ice queen [Weiss "hey"], always a pleasure".
      • In the third episode of the third season, Qrow calls out to "ice queen", prompting an infuriated Weiss to ask him what he wants. He was talking to her older sister.
  • Broken Pedestal: The scandal of Yang "breaking" Mercury's leg was the moment that Beacon's reputation was challenged intensely by the whole world, with Ozpin especially being scapegoated for commissioning the teaching of such barbarian fighting tactics.
  • 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.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Pyrrha and Jaune in episode 7 after Jaune's torch goes out when he trips and falls into a puddle.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • The old man who owns From Dust 'Til Dawn has been robbed twice, and his truck has a nice dent in the front.
    • Jaune can't keep up with his peers because he cheated his way in and is always the first one knocked out of a fight. He's also the one the slapstick happens to (or at least the one it happens to first), the one who makes himself look foolish and ignorant with the most regularity (he didn't know about aura, landing strategies, using his scroll correctly in combat, and a lot of other stuff the rest of the cast takes for granted), and 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. Fortunately for Jaune, he's gotten better since then.

    Tropes C-E 
  • Call Back:
    • The "Yellow" trailer's fight scene starts similarly to the Red trailer's. A wave of enemies closes in, Ruby/Yang leaps into the air, framed in bright light as the song lyrics reach "Yellow beauty burns gold".
    • After Weiss reassures Ruby in Episode 8 that she doesn't need to prove herself to anyone, Ruby sighs and whispers "normal knees", calling back to her conversation with Yang in Episode 1.
    • Jaune's fight with an Ursa has him dodging a sweeping attack by jumping, only to get punched out of the air right afterwards. Just like Weiss in the White Trailer.
    • Penny has some similarities to Ruby when it comes to making friends. She even mentions "going shopping, and painting our nails, and talking about cute boys" like Weiss did sarcastically in Episode 3, and Ruby took at face value. Ruby herself lampshades this.
      Ruby: Was this what it was like when you met me?
      Weiss: No. She seems far more coordinated.
    • During Weiss' list of White Fang's crimes against her family, she mentions "an entire train car full of Dust, stolen". Guess what happened during the Black trailer?
    • Volume 2 starts with the man whose Dust shop was robbed in Volume 1 re-opening for business. And then he gets robbed again.
    • While Mercury and Emerald are walking toward Tukson's, one of the establishments they pass has the dance club music from the Yellow Trailer playing.
    • In Vol. 2 Episode 1, Nora sings "I'm queen of the castle" again during the Food Fight.
    • Just before the food fight kicks off in earnest, Ruby is holding a carton of milk. She still hasn't grown up much.
    • "Welcome to Beacon" has Neptune introducing himself to Weiss by calling her "Snow Angel". He's much more successful than Jaune was. The episode also has Weiss making a comment about Yang busting up a club (referencing the Yellow Trailer).
    • When Yang enters the club again, (amidst henchmen screaming "She's coming back!" in fear) she struts through the doors as a remix of 'Red Like Roses' plays in the background, just like she did in the 'Yellow' Trailer.
    • Interactions between Sun and Blake outside of Beacon:
      Sun: I knew you looked better without the bow. (S1E15)
      Blake: I knew you would look better in a tie. (S2E6)
    • Nora wears a t-shirt with "Boop" written on it.
    • In "No Brakes", Weiss faces down another tall enemy with an accordingly gigantic bladed weapon, like in the White trailer. Blake also attempts to decouple a pair of train cars with her blade, as she did in the Black trailer, but this time, the cars separate on their own before she brings her sword down.
    • In Forever Fall Pt.2, Jaune defeated an Ursa Major with Pyrrha's assistance. Come the Vol. 2 finale, Jaune faces an Ursa Minor. This time, he defeats it all by himself in mere seconds.
    • Nora using her hammer to propel herself across long distances (first shown in Volume 1 Episode 8 to launch across a broken bridge) returns in the Volume 2 finale for the final fight.
    • The Volume 3 intro sequence begins with a rose petal against the moon, similar to the way the Red trailer began.
    • In "Round One," Nora belches loudly like she did at the end of the food fight in Volume 2. After Nora belches, Jaune makes a reference to the very first thing he did back in Volume 1:
      Jaune: If I barf, I'm blaming you.
    • "New Challengers" has Sun try to brush off Neptune's embarrassing attempts to hit on Team NDGO with a take on Neptune's "Ignore him, for he knows not what he says" to make up for Sun saying he was going to the dance dressed like normal in "Burning the Candle".
      Ignore him, for he...yeah, he's dumb.
    • Episode three has Qrow and Winter make several references to things we've attributed to Ruby, Yang, and Weiss. Qrow showcases Red Eyes, Take Warning like Yang, while Winter performs a Blade Run on Qrow like Weiss did in to the Knight in her trailer. Their fight ends up destroying the courtyard, which was supposed to happen during Ruby and Weiss's first meeting if it wasn't for an animation error (and the dialogue claims did occur). In fact, Qrow's overly casual attitude throughout the scene and Winter's frustrated response is very similar to Volume 1's Ruby/Weiss relationship. Some things apparently run in the blood.
    • Volume 3 Episode 7: Amber blocks Emerald's shots the same way Cinder blocked Ruby's in the very first episode.
    • In Volume 1 Episode 12, Pyrrha tries to comfort Jaune about his lack of combat skills and offer to help him train, only to make him feel worse. In Volume 3 Episode 8, Jaune tries to comfort Pyrrha when she's stressed about the Fall Maiden and her destiny, only to make her feel worse.
    • In Volume 1 Episode 8, Nora and Ren ride on an Ursa. In Volume 3 Episode 10, Scarlet and Sage are seen riding on an Ursa. What makes it funnier is that Nora and Scarlet are both redheads and that Ren and Sage both have green as part of their color scheme.
    • Velvet's first fight in the series is a major call back to all of the trailers, plus most of the fights throughout the series. As she copies weapons and styles, she is shown using the exact same weapons, animations and dynamic shots while fighting.
    • In the Black trailer, when Adam cuts through a Spider Droid, the scenery around him turns red and black, with Adam hunched over and his sword held straight out behind him. The shot of him slicing Yang's arm off in "Heroes and Monsters", features the same colouring and pose, with the only difference being Yang's hair and gauntlets being left yellow in the shot.
  • Cane Fu: Roman's elegant fighting style.
  • Casanova Wannabe:
    • Jaune and his attempts to hit on Weiss.
    • 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) ((Confirmed on the RWBY Podcast)
    • The villains (Cinder, Mercury, Emerald, Roman, Neo)
  • Cataclysm Backstory: The emergence of the Grimm.
  • Cat Ninja: Blake Belladonna has a cat Animal Motif and is secretly a cat Faunus who fights much like a ninja, with a kusarigama-esque weapon, sneaky & fast movements and being able to create body doubles of herself.
  • Cape Snag: Ruby gets pinned to the ground by her cape in episode 8. Only Weiss's intervention saves her life. Somehow averted every time Ruby spins her fully-extended scythe behind her back.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: The mook at From Dust Till Dawn should have seen it coming.
    Ruby: Are you... robbing me?
  • 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 Smile: Ruby briefly sports one in Episode 5.
  • 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.
  • Cel Shading: The show's art style is, besides Anime, reminiscent to this.
  • 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 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]
    • Combined with Chekhov's Gag, remember those rocket-propelled launchers? Where they store their weapons during moments where they won't be needing them? Turns out they can call the lockers to the user's location, giving them access to their weapons at a near-moment's notice - Ruby does just that when she sees an unconscious guard outside the dance hall, and gets suspicious.
    • Once again, but by about a dozen students simultaneously to bring down a Nevermore in Vol 3 while delivering the weapons to fight the remaining Grimm.
    • The ability to weave Dust into clothing was revealed during the first "World of Remnant" episode, then actually demonstrated by Cinder during Vol.2 Episode 7.
  • Chess Motifs:
    • The relics Ozpin picks for the test take the form of large chess pieces in matching pairs of white (which are actually gold-coloured) and black. Team RWBY took the White Knight, Team JNPR took the White Rook, and Team CRDL took the Black Bishop.
    • At the end of Episode 16 Qrow sends Ozpin the cryptic message "QUEEN HAS PAWNS". The Stinger might imply this as an allusion to Cinder Fall and Roman Torchwick.
    • In Volume 2, Chapter 7, Cinder plants a virus with a queen chess piece symbol in the communication tower computers.
  • Chew Out Fake Out: In Vol.2 Episode 9, after finding out Ruby brought Zwei with her on their mission, it seems as though Dr. Oobleck is about to read her the riot act... only for him to praise her as a genius, pointing out that they can use the dog's heightened canine senses to assist them in their tracking efforts.
  • 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:
    • The four main characters have theme colors, which lead to the acronym title. "Ruby" the character has a red theme; as her name means "white snow" in German, it should come as no surprise that "Weiss" has a white theme; "Blake" has a black theme, and "Yang" is named after what basically amounts to the golden sun.
    • And then there's the second set of characters, colored yellow, pink, red and bluish black.
    • This is actually a plot point - in defiance of fascist governments 80 years before the story starts, it became a tradition for some families to name their children after various colors to represent their artistic freedom and individualism.
    • Then there's the pins, which include a couple of pink emblems.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: Field Trip reveals that 80 years before the series begins, there was a great war where even artistic self-expression was at stake. In memory and defiance of this, people have ever since named their children after colours, a core concept of art. All characters in the show are colour-themed, as are their team names. The sole exception, for unrevealed reasons, is Professor Ozpin. Examples include Ruby being red-themed, Weiss being white-themed, Blake being black-themed (her name is an Old English word for a dark-haired person), and Yang being named after a Chinese word for light and the sun.
  • Combat Stilettos: 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 wedge 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 bots 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 Grimms. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 delivers one to Cardin in the second chapter of the manga after she's suddenly put in a mock match against him by Goodwitch.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • Roman after Blake sneaks up behind him.
      Roman: Oh, for f—
    • Goodwitch arguing with Ironwood.
      Goodwitch: Why must your answer to everything involve a triumphant display of military bravado!? You treat every situation like it's a contest of measuring di
      Ozpin: Glynda!
      Goodwitch: Well, he does.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: Signal, Beacon and the rest are this, since they train people exclusively to fight the Grimm.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Ruby and Yang's father sends them a tiny corgi dog in the mail. While Blake is understandably a little hesitant to welcome it, Weiss is afflicted by this trope when the dog looks at her. Her initial reluctance gradually changes into one of Squee as the doggy looks at her.
  • Darker and Edgier: 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.
  • Dark Is Evil: Naturally, the black-furred Grimm are quite evil.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: Implemented in Yang's personal flashback monologue to Blake in "Burning the Candle", where her younger self takes young Ruby and travels to a remote hut in the woods. When the viewers look into the hut, the red and glaring eyes of Grimm start appearing...
  • Dark Reprise:
    • 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: Seems to be a requirement for coming to Beacon.
    • Jaune got into Beacon with forged transcripts.
    • Blake is a Faunus and was part of the White Fang.
  • Death by Irony
    • In "Heroes and Monsters," Roman Torchwick delivers an epic Villainous Monologue to Ruby when he has her on the ropes, only for it to turn into a rather ironic set of last words.
      Torchwick: You got spirit, Red, but this is the real world! The real world is cold! The real world doesn't care about spirit! You wanna be a hero? Then play the part and die like any other huntsman in history! As for me, I'll do what I do best: lie, steal, cheat, and survive!
    • He is then immediately gobbled up by a Grimm Griffon.
  • 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 Plucky Comic Relief and being 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).
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Burning the Candle", Jaune tries to win Weiss over for the dance, only to see her asking Neptune out near the end of the episode. Dejected, he throws the white rose he was planning on giving to her to the ground, setting up a Match Cut to another white rose. However, this rose is awfully droopy. To drive it home, the next episode even has Weiss struggling to make the flower stand up again.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Downer Beginning: "Destiny" starts with Ironwood telling Team RWBY that they have officially been disqualified from the Vytal Festival tournament.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "Fall" ends with Yang breaking Mercury's leg after he attacks her. Unfortunately, the cameras show Yang attacking Mercury for no reason, and for this she gets arrested as the crowd boos and the rest of Team RWBY looks on in bewildered horror. All while a depressing piano version of "I Burn" plays in the background.
    • The ending of "Beginning of the End" makes the above ending even bleaker by adding more distressing details. As the public is in a generally appalled uproar, some begin to scapegoat Beacon and Ozpin, and Grimm activity surges outside of Vale to the point where the Atlesian military struggles to contain it.
    • "PvP". Ruby is scarred and broken after discovering Mercury's ploy against Yang and witnessing Penny being accidentally cut in half by Pyrrha while under the influence of one of Emerald's illusions. Cinder hijacks the message and gives a hate speech against Beacon, and the episode ends with the Grimm attacking Vale as Neo frees Torchwick and Adam launches an attack on Beacon.
    • "Heroes and Monsters". Pyrrha's power transfer goes horribly wrong when Cinder kills Amber and takes the rest of the Fall Maiden powers, and Yang and Blake are both critically wounded by Adam.
    • At the end of the Season 3 Finale Beacon has fallen and become Grimm-infested, Ozpin is missing, Pyrrha is dead, the rest of the world is on edge thinking Atlas attacked Vale, Team RWBY is broken, with Weiss forcefully taken back to Atlas by her father (who has a history of abuse), Blake running away without giving a reason, and Yang is utterly broken and cynical, due to the loss of her arm, the deaths of their friends, and Blake leaving her (much like her mother) and to top it all off, it appears that Cinder and her allies have gotten away scot free for all of this, save for Ruby and the remains of JNPR teaming up to hunt her down. there's also the disturbing reveal that there is a human-like Grimm watching all of this with sadistic glee, promising Ozpin that they will fail, and she will watch it all burn.
  • Dramatic Spotlight: Team RWBY appears under one in the third opening, with all of them looking depressed.
    • 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 completely the wrong conclusion: "I'm not that depressed!" Hearing this response, Pyrrha is initially confused, but the moment she figures it out, she's appropriately horrified and pulls him away from the edge. It's played for laughs.
  • Drop the Hammer: Nora's weapon, in addition to being a grenade launcher that fires rounds with a pink heart on them, also has the ability to turn into a hammer that packs an explosive punch. Accordingly, she also uses it for the occasional Rocket Jump.
  • Dull Surprise: From Vol.2 Episode 3:
    Penny: I'm not... a real girl.
    Ruby: [beat] Oh.
  • Dysfunction Junction: 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.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: The White Fang is working with Torchwick, despite Blake (a former member) finding the concept of them willingly working with humans (especially that one) to be unthinkable. The feeling is mutual, since the aforementioned person has open disdain for Faunus and only works with them because they need the manpower. What they are hoping to accomplish is still unknown.
  • Enhanced Archaic Weapon: Almost every weapon in the series is some form of this (e.g. in the main cast Ruby, Blake, Yang, Pyrrha and Nora's weapons are all capable of using their firearm modes to increase the damage of their melee strikes in some waynote  and Weiss's can channel Dust). The only real exceptions in the main cast are Ren (who just uses machine pistols with blades) and Jaune's no-frills-attached sword (although his shield's at least collapsible).
  • Epic 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 Tracking Shot: Episode 2 of Volume 2 opens with a shot that goes from the skydocks at Beacon across the academy and up through the clouds to Ozpin's office at the top of the tallest tower.
  • Everyone Is a Super: At the end of Volume 2 most of the evidence seems to point towards the fact that everyone has Aura and can have it unlocked by an active Aura user and most do so. Remnant is a Death World after all. But, like in the real world, not everyone trains themselves to the bone to become a killing machine that would make most, but not all, Slayers go green with envy and, most importantly, the majority of people on Remnant are neither adrenaline junkies or just plain nuts, which is an actual requirement to become a Huntrer trainee. The Beacon Academy Initiation is proof of that.
  • Exact Words: 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.
  • 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.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Most characters of note use some form of multi-purpose Swiss Army Weapon, and wildly improbable ones at that. The fight sequences are practically over-the-top exotic improbable weapon porn. Which is not to say that they don't look pretty damn awesome.
  • Extranormal Institute: Beacon. Possibly Signal, if the fact that Ruby made Crescent Rose herself and learned how to fight with it while studying there is any indication.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Played with. According to Blake, 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.
  • Evil Laugh: While inside a holding cell, Torchwick gives a sinister chuckle directly to the camera in "Breach".
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The endings show silhouettes of various characters each episode, usually whoever was most prominent that episode, or sometimes whoever was seen last before the credits roll.
    • Volume 2's feature fan art of the characters.
  • Eye Cam:
    • Episode 4 starts with Ren waking up in this perspective, greeted by Nora.
    • In "No Brakes", after being knocked unconscious, Yang comes to as the camera switches to first-person, where we see Yang blinking and disoriented as she watches 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: One of the giant snakes that attacks Ren gets one of its own fangs shoved through its eye.

    Tropes F-L 
  • Faceless Masses: In Volume 1, characters in the background simply appear as black silhouettes. Averted in Volume 2, however.
  • Face Palm:
  • Fade to Black: Used often in "Beginning of the End".
  • Fairytale Motifs:
  • Famous Ancestor: A classic example of a subversion. Jaune's great-great grandfather is implied to be a war hero, yet out of the known cast, Jaune seems to be the least suited to be a warrior, having none of the training, instincts or knowledge of his peers.
  • Famous Last Words:
    • "This is going to be so much fun!" — Penny Polendina
    • "As for me, I'll do what I do best: lie, steal, cheat, and survive!" — Roman Torchwick
    • "Do you believe in destiny?" — Pyrrha Nikos
  • 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 World Map: The world of Remnant.
  • Fastball Special:
    • In Episode 8, Pyrrha flings Nora into the air with her shield. The push upward is assisted by Nora's rocket hammer, and so is her descent towards the stinger embedded on the Death Stalker's head.
    • Which is followed by Team RWBY taking it even further, using Blake's Gambol Shroud and Weiss's Gravity Manipulation as a slingshot to launch Ruby at the Giant Nevermore.
    • In Vol. 2 Episode 11, Oobleck uses his thermos/flamethrower/bludgeon hybrid to launch Zwei and destroy a White Fang mech.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Food Fight: A literal food fight breaks out between Team RWBY and Team JNPR in the first episode of Volume 2. And it was epic.
  • Force And Finesse: Ruby and Weiss are the most prominent example, but all the pairs in RWBY and JNPR are this — including Jaune and Pyrrha; since Jaune doesn't have a definite fighting style, Jaune is the brute force, oftentimes simply throwing himself at the opponent again and again, as seen in his fights against Cardin and the Ursa. Pyrrha is the finesse in this pair, having the training and coordination to carefully direct her strikes and defenses, or, thanks to her Semblance, the defenses of others.
  • Forced Perspective: After Ruby cuts down a tree in frustration, a feather floats down in front of the camera. It looks like it's close to the camera, but then it lands, covering the tree she just cut down. Turns out to be foreshadowing for the Nevermore which appears in the next episode. Played with slightly in that the Nevermore does look to be as huge as its feathers would imply — in fact, the feather that appeared first was smaller than the ones it threw at Ruby.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Episode 4 makes a big deal out of the idea of teams, and builds up suspense for who will be paired with whom... or, rather, it would, if the trailers and intro hadn't already spelled out who's going to be on what team.
    • 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.
    • Listen closely when Pyrrha pins Jaune to the lockers. When she pulls her spear back, you can hear a magnetic hum.
    • Jaune is obviously behind the others from the outset. He didn't design his weapons, which are low-tech family heirlooms. Glynda confirms it by voicing her fears that Jaune's application transcript does not match the reality of his abilities, which are too low for Beacon's entry requirements. He faked his transcripts. He has no combat history at all.
    • Blake's trailer has Adam and Blake raiding a train full of Dust sporting the Schnee logo, setting up the show's plot of the Schnee corporation's monopoly on Dust mining and sales, the Dust-theft and hoarding by White Fang, and the direct history of violence between the Schnee and White Fang organisations. Events regarded by the villains as "Phase 1" of their end-game.
    • In Blake's trailer, she and Adam discuss humans as if they're excluded from that race. She is critical of Schnee labour practices. She gets offended when Faunus are insulted or bullied, her ear-shaped hair bow twitches subtlety twitch like cat ears. She knows a lot about historical faunus/human conflict. She's confirmed to be a White Fang cat-faunus during an argument with the anti-White Fang Weiss.
    • Weiss and Blake's argument about who is responsible for all the dust-thefts in Vale centres on whether it's Roman Torchwick or White Fang. It's both, Roman and the White Fang are working together.
    • When the teams were launched into the forest, Blake was conspicuously absent. Since that entire sequence was about showing off everyone's abilities, the audience was confused as to why we didn't get to see her landing strategy. As it turns out, this was because it was a spoiler: She landed on all fours. Y'know, like a cat.
    • Adam is mentioned a few times throughout Volume 2; Blake is drawing a sketch of him in "Best Day Ever", and in "Mountain Glenn" she talks about him and how she left the White Fang after seeing how evil he had become. These all lead up to his eventual return and apparent collusion with the villains in the final episode.
    • In one of the openings, a bunch of red leaves are flowing off of Pyrrha. At first, one assumes these would just be aesthetic, but it's revealed this is foreshadowing that she's next in line to be the Maiden of Fall, a season characterized by multicolored falling leaves..
    • In "Fall", right before Yang's fight with Mercury, Ruby tells her sister to "break a leg". After she wins the match, she literally ends up breaking Mercury's leg.
    • Way back 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 "Fall", Pyrrha is faced with a dilemma about accepting part of Amber's aura, which could make her into a completely different person.
    • In "Lessons Learned", Coco is confused and bewildered by an illusionary Yatsuhashi, leading to her defeat. Two episodes later, 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 Never Miss A Beat what seems like simple throwaway joke about Penny having to hide the fact she's a Robot Girl turns into foreshadowing for her being drawn against Pyrrha in the tournament.
    • In "Destiny", we get a brief (but shocking) reminder of how powerful Pyrrha's magnetism semblance is when she slams Jaune into a wall in an emotional moment. At the end of the episode, as Ruby comes to realization that Emerald and Mercury have been manipulating the tournament, she hears that Pyrrha is about to face off against Penny. Cue Oh Crap! from Ruby and the audience.
    • 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 in which Weiss successfully summons a sword. It's strong enough to cleave an Atlesian Paladin, but drains her energy.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Torchwick is shown talking to Junior at the beginning of the Yellow trailer.
    • If you look closely at the Grimm Snakes Ren fights, the black one has a patch of white in the center and the white has a black patch in the center. Together, they make the Taoist symbol.
    • A cave drawing of a scorpion fighting stick men is on the wall on either side of the hole Jaune and Pyrrha enter to find the temple and rouse the Deathstalker.
    • Blake's bow twitches slightly when she sees Ruby fall from the sky. Because, underneath the bow, she has cat ears.
    • Nora's grenades have hearts on the front of them.
    • In Episode 9, the names of the all the Grimm creatures are shown on the wall of the classroom. Aside from the ones named in series and by Word Of God, the revealed names were the King Taijitu for the snakes, and Boarbatusk for a boar. If you pause on the part where Blake accidentally spills her stuff on the floor, you'll notice she has "Shi-nee" toothpaste.
    • In Episode 12, if you pause the video on the zoomed out shot of Jaune and Pyrrha on the roof, you can see Cardin Winchester eavesdropping on their conversation in a window below them.
    • When Jaune turns on Cardin and throws the sap at him, Lark used Dove as a human shield. You can see Dove shrug him off behind Cardin.
    • In Episode 16, when Penny cuts the Bullheads in half with lazer beams, the RWBYsaurus can very briefly be seen falling along with the others. It's visible for about a quarter of a second during a very Gun Porn-esque scene, and it wasn't discovered until four months later, after Monty made a tweet saying that no one noticed it yet. Also, Penny's swords aren't swords in that scene.
    • In the warehouse in Vol.2 Episode 1, when Roman grouphugs Mercury and Emerald, you can see Roman and Emerald's hands brushing past each other's pockets. Roman's hand sweeps past Emerald's back pocket for the paper, while Emerald's sweeps past Roman's left jacket pocket for his lighter. Bonus points for both of them reaching for the place they thought they had their item in.
    • Earlier in the episode, Ruby really did appropriate Weiss's Vytal Festival activities binder for her own "Best Day Ever" plans.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 3, the boxes that Ruby knocks over while chasing Penny are labeled "Breakable Things". Also, pay close attention during Ruby and Penny's conversation at the CCT and you'll see Cardin Winchester walking past in the background.
    • In Vol.2 Episode 7, Neptune admits 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.
  • 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: Volume 3, Chapter 11 (Heroes and Monsters) could have just as easily been titled From Bad to Worse. 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 A Ks. 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 Autumn'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.
    • Inverted with the headmaster. The Wizard of Oz's full name formed the acronym O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D. That was used to create the name of the Beacon head, Ozpin.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The Netflix captions feature a number of typos and goofs. Most of them are fairly prosaic, but don't be drinking something when you read the line "Brothers of the White Fang, why are you eating this scum?"
  • Funny Background Event:
    • In the Volume 2 premiere, 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.
  • Gatling Good: Coco's main weapon, built into a ladies' handbag.
  • Genki Girl:
    • Nora Valkyrie. The other girls all have their moments too.
    • Ruby acts this way towards weapons as evidenced in Episode 2.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Blake is a girl, and Dove and Sky of Team CRDL are boys. Another example is Scarlet, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: The Great War Jaune's great-great-grandfather took part in and the Faunus Rights Conflict.
  • Green Rocks: Dust's original form. Given that Dust can be multiple colours, it actually looks like jewelry in this state.
  • Green Rooming:
    • Adam, Junior and the Malachite twins are introduced in the trailers (Black and Yellow respectively). Junior and the twins finally enter the show in Vol.2 Episode 4, while Adam doesn't appear at all until the very end of Volume 2.
    • 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:
    Sun: Nuts.
  • Ground Pound: In the Yellow Trailer, Yang punches the dance floor to attack Junior.
  • 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: 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".
  • 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:
    • Vol.2 Episode 9 has both Blake and Ruby taking out Grimm by doing bisections.
    • "Breach" has Coco using her minigun to bisect a giant Grimm eagle that topples to the ground.
    • Penny was chopped in half and at the arms by Pyrrha, due to Emerald messing with Pyrrha's perceptions.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", Ironwood approaches Qrow who unsheathes his scythe and jumps as if he's about to bring it down on him...only to instead bisect the Grimm that was behind Ironwood, lunging at him.
  • 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 has 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.
  • Hero of Another Story: Averted; JNPR was originally supposed to be the B-Team, but Word Of God states that somewhere in production they 'became a second A-Team.'
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Cinder and her allies' plan is so far unknown to both Team RWBY and the audience.
  • How We Got Here:
    • The seventh episode 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.
  • I Call It "Vera": Ruby's Crescent Rose — the only explicitly character-given weapon name so far.
    • Every other main character's weapon has been named elsewhere, but Ruby is the only one who treats her weapon with quite that level of affection.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Referenced verbatim in "Red Like Roses Part 2":
    I didn't have a choice, I did what I had to do
    I made a sacrifice but forced a bigger sacrifice on you
  • 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..."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • Ruby sort of tinkers with this trope: while she does want to become a Huntress, she isn't comfortable with becoming a Huntress-in-training two years early. (She wants to be special in a normal way, not special in a special way.) She also gave us this famous quote which doubles as this trope's page quote:
    "I don't want to be the bee's knees, okay? I don't want to be any kind of knees! I just want to be a normal girl with normal knees!"
    • Pyrrha is another example: for a long time, all she ever knew was combat, no social skills, no relationships, nothing like that. As such, people only recognized her for her accomplishments, rather than who she really is. Due to this, everybody she ever met had her placed on a pedestal, and never bothered to interact with her because, in their eyes, Pyrrha was just too good for them. But when Jaune comes along, he knew nothing about her, and even when he was told of Pyrrha's fame, he still treated her like anybody else. This is one of the reasons why she has a crush on him.
  • 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 a running Ruby, with her somehow maneuvering through all of the rounds fired without a scratch and with her back turned. No wonder Torchwick got so upset.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon:
    • The named characters' weapons include Ruby's Rifle-Scythe, Weiss's Aura-casting Revolver-Rapier, Blake's Killer Yo-Yo-Katana with a sharpened scabbard, a Rifle-Katana, Yang's paired Shotgun-Gauntlets, a missile launcher that turns into a club, and one particular weapon that transforms into a sword, rifle, and a spear that flies with the rifle's recoil.
    • Episode 16 introduces Sun Wukong's Bo staff, which splits into a pair of Nunchucks that also function as sawed-off shotguns. Just imagine if Bruce Lee had those when he was alive.
    • Coco carries a ladies' bag — that unfolds into an enormous gatling gun.
    • Raven wields a sword that's about as long as her legs, in a sheath that appears to contain enough Dust for a dozen of Weiss's Myrtenasters. And it can create portals out of thin air. Though, that could just be her Semblance, but she seems to use the sword to do it, similar to Weiss needing Myrtenaster to create her glyphs.
    • So far, the only characters who don't have multi-use weapons are Jaune with his basic sword-and-shield combo, and the Malachite sisters', whose weapons are merely bladed shoes and a pair of claws. Don't let that diminish their threat level, though.
  • Improvised Catapult: How Nora gets Jaune to the far side of the broken bridge in Players and Pieces.
  • Improvised Weapon: A bunch in the first episode of Volume 2. All food-based.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Ruby says that she wants to kick the semester off with a bang, to which Yang replies that she likes to kick her semesters off with a Yang. Everyone present groans. Even the background music reacts temporarily.
    Nora: [throwing a tomato at Yang] Boo.
    • Weiss, surprisingly, makes one after Torchwick and his latest minion escape in "Painting the Town". Even more amusingly, it's Yang who's most annoyed by it (apparently, there's a time and a place for jokes).
    Weiss: Was this not it?
    Yang: No, it just wasn't very good.
  • 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!
  • I Resemble That Remark:
    Weiss: I'm not bossy! Don't say things like that!
  • 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, often comedically used "I'm sorry!" Catch Phrase is said with genuine sadness for the first time in "Destiny" after accidentally losing control of her semblance and throwing Jaune into a pillar.
  • 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.
    • Episode 2:
      Ruby: [falling onto Weiss's luggage] I don't know what I'm doing.
      Weiss: [standing over Ruby] What are you doing?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:
    • Cinder does this often while grinning dubiously to add to her mysterious, ominous persona.
    • 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.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Glynda and Cinder.
  • Lady in Red: Pyrrha at the school dance in "Dance Dance Infiltration".
  • Lady of War: Weiss, Blake and Pyrrha are a few heroic examples. A villainous example is Neopolitan.
  • La Résistance: The group known as White Fang may be this.
  • Land Of Dragons: Implied, given the fact that Ren is basically a boy version of an Anime Chinese Girl, as well as Yang's exceedingly Chinese name.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Ruby is the red-clad main character. The two most significant villains have also had red themes.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Team CFVY's entrance into the fray in the 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's coming 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.
  • 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.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: When Weiss is hit with the pie in "Best Day Ever", the boisterous theme sputters and crashes to a halt.
  • Life Meter: Hunter and Huntresses can use their auras as personal force fields, justifying their toughness. As damage accrues, the shield starts losing energy; get it low enough and things will start to be lethal again. This trope comes into play with devices that can gauge one's remaining aura strength, making it look like an actual video game Life Meter to spectators and participants. In combat tournaments, officials may step in and stop the battle once one's Aura Gauge reaches the red zone.
  • Light Is Good: Aura is depicted as a shimmering ring of (personally coloured) light around the person channeling it. Of course, most Grimm are so dark in colour they look like living shadows.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Roman Torchwick wears a long, white coat but is definitely on the villain side.
    • To a lesser extent, Weiss is the meanest of the main characters.
  • Limited Animation: Demonstrated in two quirks of the series: the fact that each episode is between four to eight minutes (except for the first, middle, and last episodes of each season, which are over twelve minutes), and that every extra or character unimportant to the plot is animated as a black silhouette. Though both of these were changed in Volume 2.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Being based in a school environment and having a cross-cultural school festival/tournament on the horizon means that a lot of characters were introduced very quickly, with room for many more in the future. By the end of Volume 1 alone there were 26 named and 3 unnamed characters, with the Volume 2 opening credits introducing an extra 6 unnamed characters.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Vol.2 Episode 8, Professor Ozpin, of all people, lets Team RWBY take on a mission in the southeast quadrant, where some suspicious activity is taking place. They originally weren't allowed to because it's normally not open to first year students. But he figures since they're going to end up there anyway, he'll allow the rules to be bent slightly so they can go there to investigate.
    • In the following episode, we have this exchange:
      Oobleck: From this point forward, you have to do exactly as I say. Do you understand?
      Team RWBY: *nod*
      Oobleck: Ruby, I thought I told you to leave all your bags back at school.
      Ruby: But you didn't tell us to listen to you yet. So I didn't.
      Oobleck: ...she's not wrong.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Bizarre, gibbering monsters of unknown origins and unknown motivations wage war on humanity, which are sequestered in four little pinpricks of safety, barely able to break out of this 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 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-P 
  • 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:
    • Will apply to everyone according to Monty. Even where an upskirt shot happens, they tend to be full of crinoline, so nothing above the skirt line can be seen anyway.
      Monty: RWBY will be tasteful, clean and responsible. I implemented very effective ANTI UPSKIRT TECHNOLOGY! for this show.
    • A particularly noticeable example is when Nora balances upside-down on her hammer after killing the Deathstalker. She hangs there for a few seconds, and her skirt does nothing.
    • In "Burning the Candle", Ren apparently uses a Magic Towel.
    • In-Universe, Weiss refers to her attire as a "combat skirt", suggesting that it's deliberately designed as a magic skirt to avoid embarrassment during battles.
    • Played with in Volume 3's battle between Team SSSN and Team NDGO. Gwen Darcy gets hung upside down at one point, and she immediately crosses her arms over her combat skirt to prevent it from falling down. It stays upright on its own, but she does lose all the throwing knives she had stored in it, which do not.
  • 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:
    • Cinder Fall instructs Roman Torchwick from behind the scenes in Volume 1, before she makes herself more directly from Volume 2 onward.
    • Volume 3, Episode 7 implies there is another person behind Cinder's plan, which would make whoever they are the true mastermind.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Midair Collision: Happens with Ruby and Jaune in Episode 8.
  • Miming the Cues: Jaune gets asked a question in class that he doesn't know the answer to. Pyrrha tries to mime it to him — the answer is night vision — but he misinterprets it and answers, "Binoculars?" Cue Face Palm.
  • Minidress of Power:
    • Pyrrha Nikos wears a midriff-covering tube top-like armor with a mid-thigh skirt. It does not bother her at all, probably because it is elastic. So her skirt actually makes sense.
    • Penny, Nora, Ruby, and Weiss also count as this (though as Weiss insists, it's a combat skirt).
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Do not damage Yang's hair, even in the slightest, if you value being in one piece and not on fire.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Atlasian Paladin, developed by the kingdom of Atlas in cooperation with the Schnee Dust Company, which allows human soldiers to fight alongside Atlas' Mecha-Mooks. Torchwick stole some for the White Fang, and used one to fight against team RWBY in "Painting the Town."
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Most weapons are based on swords, but also incorporate some elements of guns into their design. Ruby has a scythe that can fire as a rifle. Weiss's rapier has a revolver style chamber that she can rotate to cast different spells. Blake has a sword with a sharpened sheath, meaning she can Dual Wield. The second sword also has a pistol attached and has a lengthy ribbon, which she can use similar to a Killer Yo-Yo or a kusarigama. Yang's mixes gauntlets and a shotgun, along with somehow creating fire (which could either be a result of Dust ammunition, her Semblance, or a variation of the real world Dragon's Breath shotgun ammunition).
    • More Dakka: A meta example: during one interview, a fan asked: "Is there going to be any weapon that does not somehow have a gun in it?"
      Kerry: Why would you want that?
    • And then Jaune appears with just a sword and a collapsible shield that doubles as a scabbard. The shield's technically not a weapon, and the series is still young. Jaune takes down a fully-grown Ursa completely on his own in the Season 2 finale, when back in season 1 he did need a bit of help from Pyrrha.
    • And before that, we have the Malachite sisters in the "Yellow" trailer, who only have bladed heels or claws.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: In the dining hall, Nora throwing food for Yang to catch with her mouth escalates until Nora accidentally hits Weiss in the face with a custard pie. Team JNPR is shown with Ren covering his eyes, Pyrrha covering her mouth and Jaune covering one of his ears. Nora, meanwhile, points at Ren, passing the buck in a parody of the fourth monkey, 'Do no Evil'.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Episode 12 ends on a rather foreboding note... only to immediately go into the credits featuring the bouncy theme of the hyperactive Prof. Oobleck. The DVD version ended this episode with the more mellow leitmotif of Jaune and Pyrrha.
    • "Extracurricular" has Ruby, Weiss and Yang worrying about how Blake is too upset about Torchwick and the White Fang to bother sleeping or eating...to Jaune trying (and failing) to serenade Weiss into going to the dance with him.
    • In a meta/real life example, volumes 1 and 2 were added to Netflix... the day before Monty Oum's death.
    • 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 complete Downer Ending of "PvP"
  • Mook Chivalry: In Episode 1, Roman's mooks attack Ruby one at a time. Whenever human goons are smart enough to attack as a group, they usually get swept away with some kind of Spin Attack.
  • Ms. Exposition: Pyrrha fills this role in Episode 6, when she explains to Jaune how the aura system works. Bonus points for being juxtaposed with Ren fighting a giant snake to show what she's explaining to Jaune and the audience.
  • Mukokuseki: Akin to the classic anime style, character features do not automatically reveal nationality or race. Since the setting is explicitly not our world, names that may have strong cultural associations in real life cannot be used to determine the race or nationality of the characters. Lie Ren is the notable exception. Everything about him, from his straight spiky black hair, to his manner of dress, to his voice, to the fact that he is given a bare-fisted martial arts scene in this series full of crazy weapon battles, suggest "Asian".
  • 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.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
  • Mundane Utility: In Episode 9, Ruby uses Crescent Rose to hang up a curtain. And promptly slice it in two by accident as she turns around.
    • Prof. Oobleck's weapon transforms into a coffee thermos when he's not using it.
    • The Food Fight that kicks off Season 2 features boatloads of this from start to Glynda's using her powers to set things back up at the end.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Many characters don't look like they can even lift their weapons up, much less fight with them. Special mention goes to Ruby and Nora, who are both small but use huge polearm-based weapons, and Yang, who is tall but doesn't look like she can hit nearly as hard as she actually does - this is partially Hand Waved by explaining "Aura".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    • In Best Day Ever:
      Ruby: Sisters! Friends! Weiss.
      Weiss: Hey!
    • in Welcome to Beacon:
      Sun: Ruby, Yang, Blake, Ice Queen.
      Weiss: Why does everyone keep calling me that?
    • In Painting the Town...:
      Roman: Ladies... Ice Queen...
      Weiss: Hey!
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Monty has stated in a previous animation that crows are "his own flavor" instead of Disturbed Doves.
    • The same animation's description also mentions Monty's preference for a white/black/red color scheme.
    • Also, when Ruby confirmed that Qrow was her uncle, she mumbles 'Oh, that's my uncle!' with a mouthful of cookies, which comes out as slightly Asian sounding, a reference to Burnie's summary of Asian films.
    • Whenever the action goes into slow motion, they add a noise to the soundtrack using the same sound The Slow Mo Guys use to slow things down. Examples include a fight in ''Forever Fall part 2'', and a moment in Sun's introduction in The Stray.
    • Yang's decoration of choice is the Achievement Hunters Boy Band poster.
    • One brand of grape soda is called People Like Grapes.
    • Yet another reference to Achievement Hunter in the form of an "X-Ray and Vav" comic book that Jaune is reading in volume 2, chapter 2.
  • 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 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 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 is 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.
  • No Conservation of Energy: Averted. Weiss's overuse of her Semblance in Episode 8 (during the Nevermore battle) makes her gasp for breath. The implication is that Semblance takes some kind of energy away from the caster. 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.
      Ruby: Ugh, gross!
  • 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.
  • 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 seeing Qrow fighting Winter.
  • Now or Never Kiss: When Pyrrha is preparing to fight Cinder in the Volume 3 finale, she grabs Jaune and kisses him before running off.
  • 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.
  • Offhand Backhand: Done by Glynda to a couple of Grimm in "Breach".
  • 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 Hunstman 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 Black 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.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Beings with souls (pretty much anything besides the Grimm) can have their Aura unlocked, manifesting the power of their souls in various way - see Ki Attacks above.
  • Out of Focus: As the secondary alpha team, Team JNPR are not in as many episodes so that the primary focus can remain on Team RWBY. Jaune is a slight exception to this, with an arc about him in both seasons. Pyrrha, meanwhile, has a spotlight arc in the third.
  • 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 first place, and being in a large crowd prevents him from immediately spotting them.
  • Parasol of Pain: Neo's umbrella, which she mostly uses as a shield and bludgeoning weapon. The hilt also contains a dagger.
  • 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".
  • Pinned to the Wall: Jaune has this happened to him twice, both by Pyrrha's spear. Both are also non-lethal; she only hits his hood. And the second time was to save him from his lack of a landing strategy.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Jaune Arc seems like he will become this, due to his airsickness in "Ruby Rose" and being launched before he can finish asking questions in "The First Step." Lampshaded in Ep. 12 when Jaune goes on a rant about how he hates being the "lovable idiot." Which turns out to be a bit heartbreaking after it just reminds him he does not belong at Beacon. He may be moving away from it as he gets more Character Development (taking out a giant Grimm almost single-handedly helps), although he'll likely never shake it completely.
  • Power 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 non-trailer, non-remix variant of "I Burn" featured a guest verse by Lamar Hall that included the only f-bombs in the Volume 1 soundtrack. Then it got censored.
    • "Red Like Roses" part II has a Gosh Darn It to Heck! variant.
      Now I'm trapped inside a nightmare every single effing day
    • In-series, the strongest language so far has been dropped by Qrow.
    Qrow: So you tell me James, when you brought your army to Vale, did you think you were being discreet? Or did you just not give a damn?!
    • In "PvP", an Atlas ship captain says "dammit" twice.
  • 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.
  • 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" but in this context 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).

    Tropes R-Z 
  • 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 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 focussing 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.
    • 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.
  • Recoil Boost:
    • Most of the fighters do this. Monty Oum said that he was animating with a mind for conservation of motion, so a lot of weapons pull double-duty as both offensive implements and accelerators for the characters.
    • The "Red" trailer is full of this, as Ruby uses the recoil from Crescent Rose to push herself around and set up attacks. She also has to plant the scythe blade in the ground in order to shoot and not get knocked back.
    • Yang uses the force from her shotgun gauntlets to empower her punches, gain a bit of extra speed, and stay up in the air and fly over the Emerald Forest.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Subverted with Ruby, who is actually a good-hearted character.
    • Played straight with the Creatures of Grimm, almost all of which have black skin/fur and red accents on their faces. There's also Cinder Fall and Adam Taurus, who qualify for this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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 Reveal:
    • "Jaunedice (Part 2)":
      Jaune: I wasn't really accepted into Beacon.
    • "The Stray":
      Blake: [to Weiss] Well, maybe we [the White Fang] were just tired of being pushed around!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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 the she programmed.
  • Saying Too Much: How Blake lets slip that she is a Faunus.
  • 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.
  • 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. Thankfully non-lethal variant in "Never Miss A Beat": Weiss tackles Flynt into a lava plume, in an attempt to take them both out of the game. However, while Weiss' Aura is completely depleted and she's out cold for the remainder of the fight, Flynt is able to get back up again.
  • 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. 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.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • The defeat of the Nevermore:
      Yang: Well, that was a thing.
    • In Vol. 2, Episode 6:
      Sun: So is Blake still being all... Blakey?
    • In Vol. 2, Episode 9:
      Oobleck: My dear, we're not just looking for an underground crime network, we're looking for an underground crime network!
    • In "Round One" of Vol. 3:
      Ruby: Dad's still here...he's, y'know..Dad.
  • Shamu Fu: Weiss improvises a swordfish for her rapier during the food fight.
  • Ship Tease:
  • 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.
  • 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, Idealism Is for Kids!: Shown twice in "Heroes and Monsters". The first instance is by Torchwick, when he gives a brooding, nihilistic "Reason You Suck" Speech to Ruby about how her spirit will get her nowhere in the real world and Huntresses like her are better off dead. The second case is with this exchange between Adam and Blake:
    Blake: I never wanted this! I wanted equality! I wanted peace!
    Adam: What you want, is impossible!
    • Also shown once in Vol. 1's second episode when Blake dismisses Ruby's overly-idealistic image of a huntress.
  • 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 Versus Snobs: Defintely 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.) This dynamic is also what makes Yang and Weiss Foils, fittingly enough.
  • Smug Smiler: Neo during her fight with Yang in Volume 2 Episode 11.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Ruby has a massive Dust-empowered one in Episode 2, which covers Weiss in ash. Weiss is unamused.
  • Something About a Rose: Adam and Ruby both have a rose motif. He has a rose painted on the back of his jacket. The grave she visits at the beginning of the trailer has a rose etched into it. Many of their movements are accentuated with rose petals, and the gore she's responsible for is depicted as spurts of red blood accompanied by more rose petals. If that wasn't enough, Monty confirmed her weapon is named "Crescent Rose". This, naturally, has led to speculation that the two are related somehow. Monty has said they are not related, and their stances differ from each other in terms of "scatter and wilt". In other words Adam's style is a dying rose—possibly a reference to the curse linked to a dying (wilted) rose from the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: According to the production diary, Monty himself makes sure that every weapon featured in the series has its own unique set of sounds.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Played for laughs at the end of the first episode, which has the airship flying to Beacon with a suitably uplifting music, except our protagonists are freaking out over Jaune vomiting on Yang's shoes.
    • 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 Spartan Way: The initiation at Beacon Academy is to be launched at high speeds into a forest full of monsters to fight through them and take a "Relic" from a temple.
    Ozpin: Do not hesitate to destroy anything in your path... or you will die.
  • Split Screen: Throughout the initial Grimm encounter in Vol.2 Episode 9, as well as Oobleck's subsequent interrogation of Yang.
  • Squee: Ruby has a tendency to do this; see her character entry.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Beowolves are Grimm. By using a scythe on them...Ruby is a Grimm Reaper.
    • In the pilot, when the camera first pans to Ruby in the dust store she's reading a magazine called "Weapons". Thus making it "Weapons Magazine".
    • Yang has a hair-triggered temper.
    • Vale = Veil = Curtain. Where is the great and powerful Ozpin?
    • In the episode No Brakes, Yang says "I guess this is what we've trained for". Whilst on a train.
    • Neon Katt's first line is to repeat Yang. She's a copycat.
    • Blake's semblance is to create copies of herself as decoy, and she's a cat Faunus. She's also a copycat.
    • Boy, that sure was an awful way for Pyrrha to beat Penny, huh? You might even say it was a...
    • 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.
    • Yang got tricked into breaking Mercury's leg to publicly discredit her, then lost an arm while fighting Adam. So Volume 3 has literally cost her An Arm and a Leg.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky:
    • Used by team RWBY as the temple collapses around them.
    • Blake in particular, as everyone else uses their weapons to propel themselves to a safe place, while Blake runs straight up a pillar.
    • Weiss's glyph Semblance allows her to create these at will.
  • Stock Scream: The classic Wilhelm scream makes an appearance in Volume 2 Chapter 11. Strangely, it's actually layered over another much more natural-sounding scream.
  • Stock Sound Effects:
    • A jackhammer is heard while team RWBY turns their 4 beds into 2 bunk beds.
    • The sound team also makes heavy use of the Halo gun sound effects they have in in their library from Red vs. Blue.
  • The Stinger: The final episodes of both volumes, wherein a mysterious character who's only made one appearance throughout the corresponding volume shows their face and speaks.
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Jaune gets thrown into his locker by Cardin in episode 11. To make matters worse, the locker is then launched into the sky.
  • Super-Deformed: Ruby does this in Episode 2.
  • Superhero Speciation: Pyrrha explains that Huntsmen and Huntresses can use a "Semblance", i.e a specific power that is unique to each person.
  • Super-Persistent Predator:
    • The Death Stalker and the Nevermore in episodes 7 and 8. Even though the students try to get away from them, those two creatures relentlessly pursue them, forcing them to take them down. Justified in that Grimm are soulless monsters who usually care more about killing humans than their own survival.
    • Later defied in Vol.2 Episode 9, when the Dr Oobleck explains that some Grimms that have lasted long enough learn that humans are dangerous prey, and that they seem to be waiting till they have an advantage.
  • Super Reflexes: Nearly every Aura-using combatant has this to some degree, since they regularly deflect projectiles with their weapons without a second thought.
  • Super Window Jump:
    • A variant in the first episode of the series when Ruby sends a mook through the window with a kick, following directly afterwards.
    • A more traditional version in Vol. 2 Chapter 4 when Blake and Sun are escaping the White Fang gathering, with Roman right behind them.
  • 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), and Jaune's Boring but Practical sword and (collapsible-and-doubles-as-scabbard) shield.
  • Sword Drag: Used with a Chainsaw Sword, by the White Fang Lieutenant.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: In the first episode when Ruby kicks the mook out the window, her detached headphones blaring out the theme music of "This Will Be the Day." The ensuing fight sequence is what propels her goal to enroll in Beacon later that night. Not to mention the first few lines are "They see you as small and helpless, they see you as just a child. Surprise when they find out that a warrior will soon run wild."
  • Tactical Withdrawal:
    • Teams RWBY and JNPR agree to retreat from the Deathstalker and the Nevermore after completing their objective in the Emerald Woods. Subverted when they are pursued relentlessly, forcing them to take the 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 "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.
  • Technician vs. Performer:
    • Weiss appears to be the Technician to Ruby's Performer. In their first fight together, Weiss mentally goes through a checklist on her stance and form. When she finally attacks, Ruby comes out of nowhere, having given no forethought to her attack. Weiss has to redirect her own attack to avoid hitting Ruby, and accidentally starts a forest fire.
    • Another pair that seems to exhibit this: Ren (Technician) and Nora (Performer). All of Ren's attacks (especially his fight against the King Taijitu) seem to be practised martial arts strikes, while Nora simply does what's most effective given her current momentum. Bonus points since Nora is almost never seen without a smile, and Ren tends to be more stoic.
  • Teens Are Short: According to the height chart,note  most of the teen characters are actually of pretty reasonable heights, and it is the adults who are prone to being unusually tall (Ozpin is about 6'6"), but the overall effect is the same.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In "Field Trip", Ruby says they've never backed out of a mission before, and that they'll be with a true huntsman, so they should be okay. Then they find out who said huntsman is, Doctor Oobleck, who doesn't seem like quite the ideal huntsman they envisioned.
    • In "Search and Destroy", Oobleck starts to ask Ruby why her backpack is so important that it can't be left behind, he gets cut off when Ruby's corgi Zwei pops out.
  • Theme Naming: In addition to the Colourful Theme Naming, some important characters are named after The Wizard of Oz characters. Currently known characters include Ozpin (the Wizard of Oz), Glynda Goodwitch (Glinda the Good Witch), General Ironwood (the Tin Man), and Qrow (the Scarecrow). Certain, very important, females are also given Temporal Theme Naming, including Ruby's Missing Mom, Summer, Weiss's strict but affectionate older sister, Winter, and Amber, who is secretly Autumn, the legendary Fall Maiden.
  • 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.
  • Three-Point Landing: Ruby demonstrates how it's done in Episode 5, complete with dramatic head snap, lacking only a dramatic explosion behind her. Later done by Pyrrha after the Death Stalker is defeated.
    • Later done by Pyrrha again as Team JNPR arrives to assist Team RWBY with the Grimm.
  • Tidally Locked Planet: Inverted. The moon's phases (and shape) change because it rotates (instead of being tidally locked, as it is on Earth).
  • Tournament Arc: After two volumes of build up the Vytal Festival Tournament will take place during volume 3.
  • 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.
  • Train Job: The setting for the "Black" trailer. Turns out to be both the reason Blake left the White Fang, and one of the bigger reasons Weiss hates them, as the train contained one of her family's large Dust shipments.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Weiss displays this during her fight scene in the White Trailer.
    • Pyrrha displays a bit of this after seeing Jaune get bullied yet again by Cardin. Considering it was Nora who first made the suggestion, the idea of Pyrrha taking it seriously says a lot about her feelings:
      Pyrrha: You know, I really will break his legs.
    • Glynda when she walks in on the mass Food Fight in Vol.2 Episode 1. This is pretty much Glynda's default combat style.
    • Coco displays this too when delivering a Pre-Mortem One-Liner to a Grimm:
      Coco: You destroyed my favourite clothing store. Prepare to die.
    • 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.
  • Triang Relations: Type 5 with Weiss, Neptune and Jaune.
  • 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.
  • Troperiffic: Unsurprising given the creative minds's penchant for adrenaline-inducing action coupled with fanservice, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, fiancé to Ruby's actress, pointed out that it's less about the acting and more about the delivery of the dialogue, as well as post-editing done by the sound team.
    • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 leaderships 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.
    • "End Of The Beginning: Rooster Teeth did not pull any punches for the volume 3 finale. Cinder murders Pyrrha in front of Ruby, which awakens some sort of latent power within Ruby. We don't know what she did next, but it was apparently enough to incapacitate the Dragon grimm. Meanwhile, Team RWBY is pretty much broken up; Yang is too emotionally drained to care about anything after what happened and just lays in bed, Weiss' father came to take her back to Atlas, and Blake has run off, presumably out of guilt over what happened to Yang and in fear of the same happening to anyone else, while Ruby has joined up with the remaining members of Team JNPR to head to Haven. Lastly, Ozpin is missing, and the episode ends with a glimpse of the true villain, Salem.
  • 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.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happens to the Rapier Wasps Cardin was supposed to use for his plan after it's foiled.
  • 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.
  • Wicked Witch: Cinder, the pilot of the aircraft that Roman Torchwick used is the Hot Witch variety, literally. Has a Face Framed in Shadow, dueled Glynda to a draw and is seen in the credits with Supernatural Gold Eyes.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears: In the album version of "I Burn" as well as the album version of "Caffeine".
  • Wizard Duel: Between Glynda Goodwitch and Cinder in the first episode.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • The Grimm are wearing these in the opening.
    • 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.
    • Winter's Summon Magic, a hereditary Semblance, greatly resembles a Grimm, completely 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 her and Yatsuhashi.
    • Yang suffers this BIG TIME in Volume 3's penultimate episode, with Adam effortlessly chopping her right arm off after she tries to rescue Blake, being her second major defeat since her fight with Neo.
  • 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.
    • Yang and Ruby's dog Zwei shows that in Remnant, even small corgis can be outlandishly Bad Ass.
    • 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:
    • Cardin has no qualms about pulling on Velvet's ears.
    • Roman and some White Fang members beat up Ruby while she's defenseless during RWBY's mission in volume 2.
    • Sun lands a brutal flying kick to Octavia's face in volume 3, episode 2.
    • Mercury kicks Coco, Yang, and Ruby several times during their respective fights.
  • 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 Gotta Have Blue Hair: Neptune, fittingly. Jaune even mentions near the start of "Dance Dance Infiltration" how much skill it takes to pull off blue hair.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Blake's 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.