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.
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