Back to Reviews

Reviews Comments: Volume 3 is the decider. RWBY whole series review by Apolline Allura

I love RWBY.

The character designs have me hooked, there's an undeniable spirit and charm that permeates the series of amazingly-fucking-coolness straight from the series creator himself that had me hooked from the first trailer. The music is amazing and they've put together a world I've been compelled to play in for the better part of a year now. It's action is amazing and a far cry from your standard "panels of action" anime, featuring excellently choreographed sequences that can be described as nothing short of awesome.

Cut, print, scene.

Those were my truthful, but necessary words to start this on. A perfunctory hundred words to flesh out my perspective and why the following is what it is.

Because I love RWBY, but it's kinda garbage.

No, I'm not asking for mindbending complexity or the consistency of a studio backed with hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's a show about the four title girls defending humanity. ...assumedly. Because that's where shit gets weird. There are gangs, a civil rights conflict (which up until Volume 2 was surprisingly full of primarily caucasianish characters, huehue), a villainous conspiracy and a vast world we don't know much about and kept in a boring little town like Vale.

Oh and there are monsters who wanna kill everyone, but really, everything is pretty chill so far.

Volume 1 started off with a bang, giving us an interesting worldbuildy bit spoken by Cortana herself, followed up by a robbery and an awesome little asskicking sequence, courtesy of one Ruby Rose, our protagonist! Who's primary traits as far as we come to know by the end of the volume are that she likes cookies, wants to be considered normal and needs to do some major stepping up to become a leader. I could go through the other girls up to that point but it'd be moot. The non-action episodes could arguably be identified as character building during that Volume but really, the only one who gets any of it is Jaune Arc. (Writer's pet and blindly worshipped male lead extraordinare.)

After the mess of time management, fight sequences that could be counted on one hand and jack shit revealed on protagonists, save for Blake, we get to Volume 2.

Increase in overall quality, Jaune time, useless meandering around the plot and a disappointing as hell climax. Ugh. Be better, V3.

Comments

  • omegafire17
  • 4th Aug 15
It's hardly 'nothing' - we know Yang's most shameful thing (nearly getting herself killed over an obsessoin), Weiss is struggling to turn around her family's policies and status, rather than purely being the 'image' of one, in addition to Blake's past. It's not much, but it defines them past their typical personalities imo

Plus how is Jaune a writer's pet? He doesn't magically solve everything despite his screentime, and doesn't even get all that many cool moments, (those go to the girls), or is said to be the best at anything. The only one who 'worships' him is Pyrrha, who's crushing hard, and even then it's merely giving him confidence rather than fangirl gushing

And as to the season climax, I honestly don't see why people let their hype build that high in the first place. The vast majority of Grimm we saw in those tunnels were the same Mook creatures than even first-year students can handle, with only a few of the higher-status Grimm that are a challenge to first-years... but first year students aren't the only level of power in Vale, and the attack is concentrated in a small area. -Ie, it's bad enough that there's tension because they're outnumbered, but still no doubt they're gonna win, and no doubt the higher-level threats (to our main teams) would be taken care of by other stronger powers (and they were) as soon as they arrived. The hints were all there
  • ApollineAllura
  • 5th Aug 15
In reverse order.

The episode before had finally given us a sense of danger, our heroes had all but lost, despite Blake's personal victory against Roman. It capped itself off nicely by letting hell break loose in Vale. A fitting end to watching our two fourths of our mostly invincible heroes catching a bad one. Then automatically they're able to handle Grimm, these dangerous creatures we're told they need so many years to train to fight, when we've been watching them get summarily torn apart each and everytime they've shown their faces. It's another situation in which the struggle to defend humanity doesn't feel all that much like a struggle, and it's pitiful that we had to follow up such great tension with such a poorly animated follow up. The team, who spent an entire fortnight fighting underground and who two of the team had lost fights after surviving a massive train crash, manages to stand up and keep going. Yes there were scheduling conflicts—I would've left Breach to be a season opener for Volume 3 though.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 5th Aug 15
To Jaune Arc, who hijacked one quarter of a season, or approximately a third of the screentime if you put the parts of episodes together like the DVD did, that could've been time spent fleshing Yang out. Yes, the episode we got in the Volume following was nice, but hardly worth the amount of screentime Mr. Arc's been given. Which is why in fact, I call him the writer's pet. Miles Luna voices Jaune and is an assistant director and writer for RWBY. It's telling by the two arcs Jaune's had to himself as opposed to one minimal scene we were given in Volume 2 for Yang while she spent the first doing little beyond punching and oneliners. Weiss has the most minimal of character development, essentially overcoming whatever friction her character could bring to the team by the end of the first Volume as well. Ruby for the most part has been very static. Since Players and Pieces she's remained very much the same from Volume 1 to 2. Jaune Arc essentially gets more screentime, development and attention from part of the writing staff than the four girls I came to this show for. It might not be such an issue if the show was shoving it down my throat that I'm supposed to like this guy, when I had trouble doing that in the first place.
  • omegafire17
  • 5th Aug 15
Without Aura, those Grimm 'are' dangerous to anyone, just like they would be with us - depending on the Grimm in question, the danger isn't in facing one, or even a group; it's letting them overwhelm you + your Aura, and you must be careful even against the weaker ones, in every battle. That remains a fact no matter how many are taken out

And I argue that the previous episode, while tense, was not to the level that it was game-changing - again, due to my aforementioned hints; most of those Grimm were still mooks, and our Team RWBY wasn't the only source of power in Vale (who, being a 'point of light' on the Grimm-infested world, would have to have serious firepower + manpower to take care of incursions). So yes, the Grimm are dangerous, but only the larger/more powerful ones, or the weaker ones in extremely large numbers (ie Attack on Titan, where the issue was that one or even a hundred were an issue; more that they 'just kept coming'. That was the issue in the final episode as well, that they kept coming... naturally the first thing they'd do after containing them is seal their way in; letting otherwise happen would be an error in judgement). I think that all would have been obvious, and I was as affected by the hype as anyone, but not disappointed because I saw it all coming

Also, the show may be named after Team RWBY, but they weren't gonna be the sole focus, just like the cast said the show wasn't gonna be purely fights like DF or Haloid. Plus being a static character isn't necessarily a bad thing - even Oobleck knew better than to ask Ruby why she fights; it was already obvious, due to her 'make the world better' attitude

...and how is it being shoved down your throat? Even from the beginning, the other characters mainly don't think much of Jaune, except for Ruby and Pyrrha - that means he's isn't the favorite in-universe or out, nor presented as such, considering he's not touted as anywhere near the level of the others imo
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 6th Aug 15
I love RWBY and I think the second season is great (hopefully as my review shows) but I really do agree that the final episode is an anti-climax. Even ignoring the other episodes, it's an anti-climax within itself. The action beats of the episode are constantly crying out desperate last stand only for the enemy to be dispatched more easily than the mid season mooks.

There are multiple times when the cavalry come to the rescue when the people they're rescuing don't even seem to be breaking a sweat.

It's probably the worst action sequences in RWBY (admittedly the others are all brilliant) and it's only made worse by being a season finale and one that was foreshadowed multiple episodes in advance.

Also whilst I like Jaune, the brilliant character designs (and name) make it feel like the RWBY team should be prime focus, so I can understand why people feel a little annoyed when other people take up main character slots. Just generally the series was beginning to have a pile up of interesting side characters which was narrowing the room for main character arcs quite a bit.
  • omegafire17
  • 6th Aug 15
I wouldn't necessarily agree on 'last stand' - certainly tense defending-the-city, but as stated, they were only pouring in from a small (relative-to-the-city-scale) hole rather than the entire city being attacked - that was shown by the end of the second-to-last episode.

And with that established, it was practically a foregone conclusion that eventually everything would converge on said area, box in the Grimm, and one way or another stop the masses from pouring in. A case of Reality Ensues for an internal invasion... it's telling that Cinder and the others planned the invasion for days later, when all the students and assigned Huntsmen would out of the city, leaving it weakly defended. Had that happened, then it might have been such a truly desperate situation, because by then the city would have likely been overrun

I understand the feeling of anti-climax, but I think it's misplaced, given everything established + hinted
  • ApollineAllura
  • 7th Aug 15
Jaune feels like about as much a main character as Ruby at times. His team is there in the same way a writer happens to be on a staff of a winning production that none of their scripts made it into. Ren and Nora are comedy props and Pyrrha is the love interest blatantly given to him with mercifully little effort on his part. But don't take my word for it, go to his fans. The reason I can't look up fanfiction with anyone else but his worthless ass, the reason I can't have intelligent discussion about the show and the characters. The reason his own story has been so airtight. You don't give more on a character you write than the ones the show is about. It's a rookie mistake and as much as I hate it I'm glad they made it now so it'll never happen again. But all this talk about the climax being telegraphed as an anti-climax is very disheartening because it just takes away more and more drama from the show, which at this point is feeling forced and not at all shown as much as it'd been told.

How Rv B does more with the format of time they've had their own production does (one that apparently there've been extensive notes for) baffles me. And lets not even get started on the fact that they are somehow inable to worldbuild through the story itself, instead spoonfeeding us the lore through segments that really would've been cooler to see in practice.
  • omegafire17
  • 7th Aug 15
Where exactly was it said the show would only be about the titular team? And what dictates that it 'must' only be about them? I ask this as a writer myself

I also think it's a little premature to call it a mistake. Disliking Jaune is one thing, but that seems a little much. Personally, I feel Jaune's not worthless, being the 'normal' person viewpoint in a world of badass + crazy; there's value in that, no matter his fighting skills, or even a lack thereof. Plus Pyrrha's lonely-at-the-top reason for liking him is a legit one imo... and the fanfic bit is slightly nonsensical, as there are other pairings gradually building up stories (I help a little)
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 8th Aug 15
Honestly I think calling it RWBY and making the four characters so striking and bold really does create audience expectation that most of the focus will be on them. I don't think it means you have to do that, but it does mean you have to ease the audience into new expectations.

But for me, they did do that. The side characters ramped up as they revealed the world and story to be larger, which is how it should work.

I also think the pyrhha romance with Jaune is actually really nice because it somehow feels like something which benefits pyrhha herself. She clearly has problems with the expectations and responsibilities put upon her, and hanging out with a clownish guy helps relieve that. Plus she likes teaching.

I wish Jaune wasn't quite so stupid about it though. Him flirting with weiss just makes you feel like pyrhha really deserves better.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 11th Aug 15
Pyrrha deserves better than Jaune.

Just throwing that out there. Debate it if you want but that's where I stand. If he really wanted to be such a hero, heading to a different combat school or doing it at an earlier age would've made more sense. Train early instead of late and don't complain at the level of difficulty you signed up for.

And back to the issue of where the focus is. I have no problem with shows bringing our attention to other characters in the world. It makes the experience that much richer. But if you can't flesh out all four characters or even give us a decent foundation on the titled characters, and THEN proceed to give a member of a different team, a very, very inabled member of a different team his own little story while we know jack shit about two out of four on the main team by the end of the first iteration of the series, then you're wasting time. You don't do all of that so early. I came to watch RWBY, not Jaune, the boy I wonder why he's still alive. Four trailers and a very distinct amount of hype did NOTHING for the whiplash that shift in narrative focus caused.
  • Tomwithnonumbers
  • 12th Aug 15
"Pyrrha deserves better than Jaune."

Maybe Pyrrha hates your expectations for her romantic life :p Maybe she doesn't want to have to find the perfect boyfriend as well as having perfect fighting abilities and perfect composure and perfect... Jaune is the one area of her life where she feels like she's allowed to screw up.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 12th Aug 15
He's a self-insert with no substance and the knowledge of a toddler for someone who's supposedly part of a warrior family. I don't think screw up means throw your life away on a loser. Granted, all of the ships are kind of actually terrible both in thought an execution at this point. The show is younger than they are, so to use the little bit that's happened as a base when the characters are hardly allowed to grow outside of the archetypes that they supposedly represent, as the basis for a romantic relationship, is completely lazy, clumsy and overall one of the first steps of a virgin writer.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 12th Aug 15
And back to this thing on the Grimm. If we are given copious amounts of setup that tell us the world is in danger but everyone is chilling, then I as an audience viewer do not expect them to be shredded neatly regardless of where they come from. If you can fix up one breach THAT easily then it's really, really just a minor inconvenience, and the Grimm are actually pathetic. I guess I know why title is huntsman. The world inside is so goddamn boring the only things humanity has to do is be racist, send minors to schools to learn how to kill something twice their size, and then send them out into the world to kill everything that's not over a hundred years old. (Since aged Grimm are the closest thing to a threat against humanity that this show has.)
  • omegafire17
  • 15th Aug 15
Substance is debatable, but it's already been established that Jaune is part of the family by blood - however, blood isn't always a guarantee that they have the same abilities/mindset/you name it. Jaune wants to be of the same mold, but never went to combat schools before Beacon (ie, his lack of knowledge, as apparently they're the ones who teach the big things like Aura, Grimm, and so on)

Pyrrha likes him because he's the first person who's treated her for her, rather than her status. The fact that he's nice is gravy, and his personality/abilities are irrelevant to those - likely, she doesn't care if he could be better right-off-the-bat, because of the rarity of people who treat her as her. Plus, it's not unrealistic to fall for the first person who's nice to you, after you've suffered... even if in Pyrrha's case, the suffering is very mild

Also, the threat of the Grimm isn't immediate, but it exists. In a human-vs-Grimm fight, the human has the advantage as long as they have Aura and ammo - however, when those are gone, they're as vulnerable as we would be. Therefore, it's expected that they would go through Mook Grimm, but the longer they let fights drag on, the more danger they are of depleting their Aura/ammo. And the more that happens, the more of a threat the students face from the Grimm - this is why they don't let their guard down, because of the race-against-time threat they present, rather than a purely physical one from just appearing.

And, as apparently implied, the world of Beacon still has only four points of light on the 'entire world'. Considering the firepower of one city, that implies there are millions of Grimm out there, anywhere from the young to the extremely strong Goliath-and-others types. That inherently creates a threat imo, even in the failed invasion of Vale - the reason they were defeated easily is because the initial forces were mainly Mooks, and the breach was quickly sealed

^Any longer, and it would have gone much, much worse
  • ApollineAllura
  • 16th Aug 15
If you have to imply that your threat is a threat instead of showing it then you are doing a bad job at convincing an audience that our heroes or the world they are in are in any danger at all. Another thing, most of Pyrrha's interactions with other students have more or less been the same so you can kill that whole schtick. Weiss fawned over her because she's high society and would want to get in good with someone like her. Nobody else has been shown to interact with her than how Jaune does. Granted, the near entirety of his dialogue is with her so that's a nice bonus for doing literally nothing that no one else isn't doing.

And again, Jaune's family, according to him, are warriors by trade. They left a legacy that he wanted to follow and somehow never gained an ounce of knowledge in. At 17 years old, if you are in a family who specializes in anything, then you cannot have gotten out of it without having learned something. From anyone in it. And to obtain documentation for a school that needed the results of prior testing to get in, that doesn't scream determined to make it, that screams "I wanna be the best and I want it naaaaaaaaaaaaao". That's not a young man ready to lay down his life to better himself that's just some punk kid who doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

You have to build up so much headcanon to have a plausible idea of nearly anything in this show, jesus christ. This is how to NOT write something.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 16th Aug 15
  • any different than how Jaune does, excuse me.
  • omegafire17
  • 16th Aug 15
Personally, an implied threat still counts as a threat to me

Also, most of Pyrrha's interactions have been with Teams RWBY and JNPR, who basically bonded with her in the heat of battle first, and a 'real' taste of her celebrity status later, with the obvious exceptions of Weiss (called her the strongest one in their talk before that) and Jaune obviously. That doesn't mean other students havent' been treating her in the manner she hates - it's just offscreen. You may call that informed attribute, but I think it's a natural extension of what's been stated; Pyrrha wouldn't want to focus on other students, given their treatment, but rather be with friends who treat her as her

And we don't know the details of Jaune's family, other than the fact they apparently are warriors. Were they all out on duty the majority of Jaune's life? Were they all at home most of the time? In either case, where they determined not to get Jaune into their legacy, despite his wishes, pushing him into other knowledge? Frankly, we don't know, but there are many scenarios that could have left Jaune lacking in knowledge, and wanting to follow as his wish. Until such time as those details have been provided, headcanons will run rampant (and already have for months), so why bother trying to stem them? Matter-of-fact, I enjoy the flow of ideas; there's no need for the story itself to give every detail sometimes

I say all this as a writer myself, and as someone who's read adult-level books since I was ten.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 16th Aug 15
So essentially you're telling the fans to write the story? Because everything you've answered with just then were part of a series of if's. If you have the right to imagine then I have the right to want more from the writing. RWBY right now, is surviving on the cool factor, on the music, on the world that has yet to be built in an organic way, and the character designs. RWBY survives on the base but not the full product. There is no danger from these monsters, a writer/assistant director has successfully fellated his own character to completion, the fantasy racism/analogue to IRL racism is pathetic ( and related to that in terms of diversity circa volume 1 you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who didn't fit the mold of "caucasian, imagine that), and Ruby at this point, is still just a perky little goth girl who's nice with a scythe.

They need to step their game up.
  • omegafire17
  • 16th Aug 15
No, of course not - but there is nothing wrong with leaving blanks, allowing the fans to fill them in, and then use those same cues/ideas. After all, the fans are invested in the story/show enough enough to write those ideas in the first place. It shows a level of respect on the part of the writers/cast to use them

Besides, RWBY's most basic premise IS the cool factor - that was clear the moment Monty started making it; the fights are the main draw, as is the music. Therefore that, along with the fact it's Roosterteeth's first story web animation, means it was going to use cliche, usual standard, and otherwise 'weak' aspects for it's world-building - which imo, is not a bad thing either, as despite it looking like an anime, it does not have an anime's resources; it needs to establish itself gradually, which it is doing. We can ask/want it to improve, but we've got to work with that reality as well

Other things, like the danger, focus on Jaune, and fantasy racism, are varied in opinion - in order, mine are that there is a danger, meh, and more deep than you're giving it credit for. Also, sometimes there's no need for a 'static' character to change, like Ruby - sometimes they do well enough on their own as they are. That's true of some real people, should it can apply to fiction as well

I say all this not to disagree with stepping their game up, but several aspects are not as bad as you believe, least in my opinion.
  • Serocco
  • 23rd Dec 15
Volume 2 was more about character development and interaction than the overarching plot (Extracurricular, Burning The Candle, Dance Dance Infiltration, Search and Destroy, Mountain Glenn). So I don't think it's fair to say nothing important happens or anything.

Now, if you want less Jaune, well, Volume 3 has come along, and now, Pyrrha has taken his spot as the main character from JNPR. Welp.
  • VoxTheHero
  • 2nd Mar 16
If it helps assuage your fears some, Volume 3 is fantastic and the stakes are raised very high. Characters actually die in it, and we are introduced to the mother of all Grimm. All in all, Vol 3 is a bone chilling experience.
  • ApollineAllura
  • 27th Apr 17
Know what my favorite parts were? When a teammate and a maiden died on Jaune\'s watch.

In order to post comments, you need to

Get Known
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/review_comments.php?id=14639