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Oum and Rooster Teeth ensure a fan base, despite this being a really bad show
You can usually break animation down into two different categories, production and writing. Both are lacking in this show.

The writing isn't the selling point, so I won't talk about it much. The whole show is full of anime cliches and stock characters. The dialog is poorly written and humor doesn't hit either. Being overdosed with tropes isn't necessarily a sign of bad fiction, but only if other aspects of the product redeem it. The show ultimately panders to the lowest common denominator. The writing sort of treats itself as a novelty.

Now to the production of the show. The art design is interesting, but has ultimately been done better. The closest thing I can compare it to off the top of my head is the Spider-Man animated series that aired on MTV about a decade ago. This show doesn't look nearly as good, and seems like it would be more in place in a Playstation 2 era video game (the whole series has an old video game aesthetic). The character designs are a little generic, but ultimately I think they're good. However, the actual animation is poor. You'll see a lot of clipping, visual effects to hide models not looking like they are interacting with each other, and generally cheap looking uniform animations for every character. The voice acting is generally bad (the vocal direction probably deserves a lot of blame) and audio is poorly mixed. The music is not amazing, but competent. The visual direction is solid outside of a few awkward shots that pop up once or twice an episode.

It's hard to criticize an essentially independent project for looking cheap, but usually low budget projects focus on their writing and/or originality so their production values aren't under as much scrutiny. Since this show and Monty Oum's career in general are being sold on their production values (and don't have good writing to back up its flaws), I think this is an instance where calling out visual elements of the show for being subpar is fair despite its budget.

I respect Monty Oum so much for having the ambition and drive to simply create. He has a sort of punk rock mentality to his work that is almost inspirational. If this show was visually impressive, well written, or original I would call it a success. However in my eyes, RWBY is just a bad show that fails to be competent in nearly every regard despite a creator I admire.
No one denies the visual errors, but frankly, the animation being poor isn't true. Sure it's easy to think it looks that way (and people have thought it was animated in a low-end program), but the fact remains this is mostly Monty's usual work, just with a few options added to make it anime-ish, and working on a schedule instead of taking time to work on everything. Also, Monty is the co-animator, so not all of the errors may be his doing

And the voice acting? If you think this is bad, then you clearly haven't heard some of the even-badder examples XD The worst that can be said about RWBY's voice acting is that it's average (not including the trailers, which they admitted they 'put their worst foot forward').

Also, all of the music is amazing, but that's YMMV of course, as is the opinion that RWBY is a bad show. I simply don't think so
comment #22009 omegafire17 13th Nov 13
Well, first off thank you for your feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my review :)

It is true that there are some terrible dubs and voice acting in both anime and video games. However, just because the quality of voice acting is better than terrible doesn't mean it's average. In my opinion most of the cast don't sound like professional actors. Of course the voice acting might not be as bad as I think it is, because the quality of the audio itself might make the actors performances seem worse than they actually are. As someone who watches a lot of anime and plays a lot of video games, I think this is a step below what I hear on average.

As far as the animation goes, even people who like the show admit that it has a lot of visual errors and looks like it is done on a low end animation program. People will defend the shows visuals because of the creator, but I don't see how someone can think the animation is well done (even if they like the visual design of the show).

It's hard to criticize because I know how indie and difficult the production of this project actually is, but I do think that the criticism of this show is ultimately fair. That said, I hope that more original animated shows like RWBY can catch on because I like the idea of internet animation being used on a bigger scale, instead of the more simple comedic animation that populates youtube.
comment #22027 Devyn 15th Nov 13
Well, you're right about the voice actors not being professionals; the people behind the voices are mostly completely new talents :) And with the sheer amount of new voices, very few with previous voice acting experience, we must assume this was intentional on their part

And I acknowledge that the criticism is fair; I just don't think we should focus exclusively on the negative aspects (especially since I know they've gotten feedback about the visuals as early as Episode's 3-4, and consistently after that)
comment #22030 omegafire17 15th Nov 13
Omegafire: If the animation LOOKS poor, it IS poor. That is literally the only metric by which animation can be judged. I don't understand how you can admit to all the visual errors, say that it's "easy to think it looks [poor]", and still say that it isn't. You can make excuses for why it's poor, but that won't change the end result.

As for Devyn, I agree with pretty much everything (with the exception of the music, which rocks), and it all resembles the review that I wrote. However, I'm not really sure you can call this project "indie". Roosterteeth has become HUGE over the last decade. I am not well-versed on the behind-the-scenes of RWBY, so I can't say how strongly RT backed the project, but it clearly reached a much larger audience than it would have without them. Seems kind of like calling Portal indie.
comment #22043 Scorpio3002 16th Nov 13
The line between what's indie and what's not gets blurry as the subject becomes popular. For example, George Lucas is technically an independent filmmaker because he finances his films himself, not by a studio, and yet he's one of the biggest filmmakers in America.
comment #22044 Tuckerscreator 16th Nov 13
Scorpio: not really on looks = is ;) Maybe you think that's the only standard, but by NO means is it the only standard around, or right/wrong. Animation (and a lot of other things) can't be judged based on looks alone; it just makes inadequate assumptions and wrong conclusions most of the time.

Still, I'd prefer to leave it at agree-to-disagree; it's clear we're entirely different in opinions on RWBY
comment #22047 omegafire17 16th Nov 13
Animation (and a lot of other things) can't be judged based on looks alone; it just makes inadequate assumptions and wrong conclusions most of the time.

Like what? I'm with Scorpio here; if you're speaking strictly of the animation, it's a purely visual aspect of the show. If you can't judge it based on how it looks, what else is there to judge it on?
comment #22057 MFM 16th Nov 13
Yeah, I'm curious as to what you mean by "the animation only looks poor". The only explanation I can think of is that some of the problems with are intentionally artistic decisions, but if the animation looks stiff, or clipped, or unnatural, then there's a problem. The entire purpose of the animation is to provide a visual vehicle for the story being told. The technical work behind it might be extremely impressive, but if it doesn't look good, it's still a negative point.
comment #22066 JapaneseTeeth 17th Nov 13
To me, stiff/clipped/unnatural does not = poor, nor does quality affect that either. Only lag does that to me (and 9/10 times that's a computer problem rather than an animation one)

So yeah, visual is not the only way to judge animation imo :) There's style, direction, and other such things
comment #22069 omegafire17 17th Nov 13
So yeah, visual is not the only way to judge animation imo :) There's style, direction, and other such things

Style and direction are inputs for an animation; the visual effects are the output. If style and direction are worth noting in judging the animation of a particular series, that style and direction should easily become apparent by just watching the animation.
comment #22070 MFM 17th Nov 13
What MFM said.

I honestly cannot see how "stiff/clipped/unnatural does not = poor", because it implies that those things should, in fact, be there and that removing them would make the animation worse, which frankly, I don't see. One of the series' biggest issues is that the characters' body language often feels really artificial and puppet-like, which is not a good thing to have unless the characters are supposed to look that way.
comment #22084 JapaneseTeeth 18th Nov 13
Well, the reason for that is because, to quote Weiss: "I don't care." [about stiff/clipped/unnatural/any animation issues except for lag]. Now obviously, that's really not the norm, but I'm perfectly fine with it; it allows me to just wholesomely enjoy the animation and everything else

For me, the animation errors are not positive, nor are they negative. They're just there, period
comment #22099 omegafire17 18th Nov 13
Scorpio3002 makes an interesting point about whether a project is indie or not. I guess I just think of it as such because I don't consider Rooster Teeth a big media company (especially since I don't believe it has a parent company either) and I know the studio animating it isn't big either. You do have a point though.

As for the animation, I totally agree with MFM here. Style, direction, ect. are really just factors that add up to the end result (or the output). If the total end result is subpar, then that's ultimately all the animation is ever going to be. I don't mind visual errors and such if the story is compelling (Berserk is probably the biggest example I can think of), but I don't think this applies here.
comment #22148 Devyn 20th Nov 13
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