The first episodes of RWBY were pretty rough but contained just enough good for it to be worth watching in the hope that the series would improve. Did it?
By the end of the first season I can say the series has improved just enough for it to be worth watching the second in the hope that the series will improve.
The biggest problem is that they never found a core hook or driving plot to sustain interest and give the big action moments (of which there were two) worth while. The action is excellent and the idea of a story that keeps on building up in suspense and drama until it explodes into an action-filled resolution is workable. But instead there's been almost no linking narrative at all. The characters are at school, they have basically disconnected issues and the hints of deeper things to come given in the first episode and which should have kept us in our seats until the season finale are only mentioned again in
the season finale. The fighting is good enough by itself, we don't need to weigh down those few episodes with other stuff, the plot should have been the filler to get to there instead of all this, well, filler they used instead.
So why didn't RWBY burn out in a wreck that everyone should immediately forget about and never watch again? Because the writing got better, and most importantly the characters got better. Ruby's personality is coalescing and feels less schizophrenic, her relationship with Weiss is already surprisingly deep and it can be relied on to produce funny and touching moments in the way Firefly
did it. (Combat dresses!). One-note characters like Jean gained some really interesting insights.
Moreover the situations in the episodes aren't nearly as black and white as expected. Instead of being a racist and the White Fang obviously good guys, Weiss has got some very legitimate grievances and the White Fang have clearly overstepped the bounds of right. But it's understandable why they did it and Weiss isn't right herself.
But the pacing and timing is off for everything (and in particular two-parters clearly should have been released as one larger episode, with the first half being all set-up and no conflict or resolution) and there still isn't enough consistency to sustain the good moments. They keep introducing characters instead of exploring the ones they have, as with the plots