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Analysis / RWBY

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This is the analysis page for RWBY. Please limit speculation to its Wild Mass Guessing page.

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    Character Inspirations 

RWBY (Ruby)

JNPR (Juniper)

CFVY (Coffee)

CRDL (Cardinal)

Vale

Atlas

  • Penny Polendina - Pinocchio
  • General Ironwood - The Tin Man
  • Winter Schnee - ???
  • Ciel Soleil - ???
  • Jacques Schnee (nee Gelé) - Jack Frost
  • Whitley Schnee - ???
  • Klein Sieben - The Seven Dwarfs
  • Caroline Cordovin - The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe
  • Pietro Polendina - Mister Geppetto
  • The Ace Ops - Aesop's Fables
    • Clover Ebi - The Lucky Fisherman
    • Marrow Amin - The Dog and its Reflection
    • Harriet Bree - The Hare
    • Elm Ederne and Vine Zeki - The Elm and the Vine
  • The Happy Huntresses: Robin Hood and his Merry Men
    • Robyn Hill - Robin Hood
    • May Marigold - Maid Marian
    • Joanna Greenleaf - Little John
    • Fiona Thyme - Friar Tuck

  • Fria - ???

Mistral

Vacuo

Menagerie

SSSN (Sun)

Salem’s Faction

The White Fang (White Fang)

  • Adam Taurus - The Beast
  • Corsac and Fennec Albain - ???
  • Ilia Amitola - ???
  • Sienna Khan - Shere Khan

The Club

ABRN (Auburn)

  • Arslan Altan - Aslan
  • Bolin Hori - ???
  • Reese Chloris - ???
  • Nadir Shiko - ???

BRNZ (Bronze)

FNKI (Funky)

Other

The Creatures of Grimm

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     Motif Symbolism 

Light

Light is treated as a highly positive force. The show's prologue uses visual contrasts to emphasize the importance of light, and Remnant's Grimm-slaying academies are all named after protective qualities associated with it. Characters with sun-themes tend to ally with the heroes (for example, Sun, and Taiyang), and Yang herself is an enthusiastic, nurturing girl whose fire-themes are based on the burning sun. The Grimm themselves are depicted as animated darkness opposing the light, and tend to represent the threat of the Big Bad, who has often spoken about the darkness that is threatening to consume the world. It is also revealed that the God of Light has bestowed a gift upon certain humans, who have the ability to weaponise the power of Light against the Grimm.

Blake's Relations

Unlike most of the heroes, Blake's themes are rooted in darkness and shadow. However, as a hero, her darkness is constantly guided by the Light. Yang is her partner and is themed for the fire of the sun. Adam Taurus, her former partner whose negative influence she escaped, is named after a constellation—as in, stars in the night sky. Sun Wukong, the friend who became the emotional support she needed to throw off Adam's hold over her has deliberate light themes as a contrast to Blake's darkness, including the creators giving them both the ability to create clones: hers are defensive shadows, and his are offensive light. Blake also eventually admits to Ruby that Ruby became a source of inspiration for her, making her realise that it was possible to an idealist in this dark world, and helping her rediscover her inner idealist that had been so badly damaged by Adam. As her team leader, and the leader of the heroes, Ruby is the strongest protagonist force of Light in the story.

A lesser theme is blood. Her leader, Ruby, also has a lesser theme of rose petals as a symbol of blood. This theme is shared by Adam, whose weapons are named Wilt and Blush. Blush is short for bloodrush. Wilt is a word for "to die". His weapons are literally named Blood and Death. Blake's team partner is Ruby's sister, Yang, whose symbol is a burning heart, with a heart being the organ that pumps blood to all parts of the body.

The Symbolism of Eyes

Eyes are a major symbolism in the volumes. Ruby's silver eyes are the source of her power, whereas Yang's change colors when her Semblance is activated. Neo, Klein, and Tyrian's eyes can change color. Maidens' eyes glow when they are using their power, and Cinder's left eye is scarred after her encounter with Ruby. Salem's symbol has an eye on the front. Almost all Grimm have an eye symbol on their masks. Raven and Qrow have eye symbolism in their motifs as well.

     Ozpin and the Branwens, Norse Myth 

Ozpin and the Branwens (Qrow and Raven), are analagous to the Norse elder god Odin and his ravens. As the Raven God, Odin had a pair of ravens, known as Huginn and Muninn, who travelled the world to tell him all its goings-on. It is commonly stated that the two names mean "Thought" and "Memory" respectively, although this is strongly debated by scholars. When Yang first discussed her family situation in the show, a stanza from the Poetic Edda about Huginn and Muninn appeared on the blackboard as she told her story. While she chalked Raven's symbol on the board, the episode displayed Qrow's mirror-reversed symbol to the audience: Ozpin's gears motif surrounded by a flared wing to create the shape of an eye. Ozpin and Raven were Ozpin's intel gatherers, travelling the world to keep track of Salem's schemes and the locations of Maidens, but their situations reflect Odin's two ravens; one has not come back (Raven abandoned the cause), while Qrow being seriously injured led Salem to remark "the second eye is blinded" — an allusion to Odin only having one eye, which is the case for Ozpin, who has only one raven actively working for him.

A verse from the Third Grammatical Treatise states that Odin sent Huginn off to seek hanged men, while he sent Muninn to seek slain men, the difference being unclear, but likely referring to death by execution versus death by battle. Qrow wears a cross around his neck, referencing execution, while Raven wears a bird-shaped helmet, referencing battle.

     FNKI's Plan 
As noted by Weiss, students from Atlas are highly militarized, tend to wield advanced Dust Weaponry, and fight with a carefully rehearsed strategy. Though Flynt Coal and Neon Katt fail to meet the requirement for militarized, their strategy is almost perfect.
  • Psychological Warfare: Before and during the match, Flynt and Neon (especially Neon) heckled, demean, and distract Weiss and Yang, with comments about Yang's weight and Weiss' father and skill notably getting under their skin. This throws them both off their game.
  • Divide and Conquer: Immediately at the matches beginning, Flynt and Neon separate Yang and Weiss. This is important because of how each girl fights:
    • Yang is a tank, taking and dealing damage, but is also slow and, as demonstrated in her fight with Neo, unable to handle fast opponents and lacks ranged options.
    • Weiss is a support specialist, empowering her friends and weakening her foes. However, she is poor in direct combat, and of her three fights against human opponents (The Knight, The Lieutenant, and Flynt) she only beats the Knight.
    • Yang and Weiss are meant to fight as a team, rather than alone. Hence, the literally first act that Flynt and Neon perform on the battlefield is to separate them.
  • Delay and Destroy: This is the point where FNKI's plan starts to go wrong though.
    • Neon is tasked with keeping Yang from returning to the battlefield, actively freezing Yang and enraging Yang to keep Yang's attention on her. However, she also does physical damage to Yang, which increases her power level.
    • Flynt needs to move in now and take out Weiss quickly. His attacks, knowledge of Dust, and his own status as a Tank makes him a powerful opponent against the quicker but weaker Weiss. He easily absorbs Weiss' attacks and throws her about the battlefield with his own. His mistake was not finishing her off when he had the chance. This leads to Weiss using his distraction to push him into a lava plume and roast them both alive. Though Flynt survives, his Aura is very low now.
  • Overwhelm: The final part of FNKI's plan is to defeat the now abandoned Yang by overwhelming her with fast distractions and heavy attacks. This stratagem almost works, but fails for two reasons: Yang has now activated her Semblance thanks to Neon's beating earlier, and Flynt's Aura has been depleted due to Weiss' sacrifice from earlier. Thanks to these factors, Yang is able to defeat Flynt in one blow, and Neon, now alone, is little more than a sitting duck for the empowered Yang.
  • Summary: In the end, Flynt and Neon were powerful, intelligent opponents that lost due to not knowing an important factor of their enemy's abilities, and their own hubris.

     Strength in Unity 
RWBY repeatedly refers to the power of unity throughout the show:
  • Teamwork: Although huntsmen and huntresses consistently tear through mooks like tissue paper, they have difficulty defeating stronger enemies without teamwork:
    • V1E1: Ruby is unable to defeat Roman, and Glynda does little more than dent Roman's getaway jet
    • V1E6-8: Ruby can't scratch the Deathstalker due to it's armor, but Team JNPR manages to slay it in a concerted effort. The same proves true for Team RWBY and The Nevermore
    • V1E14: A small one, but Pyrrha saves Jaune by using polarity to lift his shield and enable him to slay the Ursa Major.
    • V2E11: Team RWBY splits up to try and get through the train faster, but doing so causes Weiss, the one that gets left behind, to be defeated once she comes upon a tougher opponent.
    • V3E1: Team ABRN spends most of their time scattered around the field picking individual fights and only work together when one of their members requires assistance. This makes them the perfect target for Team RWBY's combination attacks.
    • V3E2: Team JNPR manages to endure the whole fight in spite of their disadvantages thanks to Jaune's tactical judgment and work together to counter whatever BRNZ throws at them until they find a winning chance and ultimately come victorious.
    • V4E12: Indivdually, Team RNJR can barely injure the Nuckelavee, who is leagues stronger than any of the Huntsmen and continuously adapts its fighting strategy against them. Ren's reckless charge against the beast due to rage nearly cost him his life. It was only by coordinating their attacks together that they were able to incapacitate and finally kill it.
    • V7E12: Due to superior cooperation skills, Team RWBY manages to knock out the Ace-Ops one by one when the latter tried to detain the former on Ironwood's orders.
  • Unity: Not simply working together, but being united under a shared goal or ideal is shown as a strength and those who lack unity are shown to fail.
    • Salem openly acknowledges that mankind is a significant threat against her when united against a common foe, this is why she works to sow fear and doubt in society to divide humanity and rob them of this strength.
    • Salem's faction fails to obtain the Relic of Knowledge because they lacked unity.
      • Raven, Vernal, and Professor Lionheart were forced to work with Salem's faction. Raven and Vernal were intending to betray Salem from the beginning and when the tide turned in the heroes' favor, Professor Lionheart fled almost immediately.
      • When Hazel realized Ozpin was near, he lost himself to rage and only focused on trying to kill Ozpin and those who followed him.
      • Adam Taurus murdered Sienna Khan to usurp the White Fang against Salem's orders and dismissed Hazel's disapproval. When the faunus of Menagerie came to stop the White Fang, Adam demanded aid from Hazel who refused to help him. The White Fang was swiftly defeated, forcing Adam to escape.
      • Cinder allowed Raven to make changes to the plan to steal the Relic to satisfy her need for revenge against Ruby, bringing a group of Huntsmen to Haven when they could have otherwise stolen the Relic from under everyone's noses. Dr. Watts points this out, but she elects to ignore him and their stated mission for her own desires.
      • Cinder's lust for power pushed her to betray Raven and Vernal before they opened the Vault of the Spring Maiden so she could try to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself. She fell for Vernal being Raven's decoy as the Spring Maiden, which ended with her losing the fight against Raven.
      • Because all of the villains present were pursuing their own agendas while the heroes were united in purpose, they failed completely.
    • In the penultimate episode of Volume 7, the aforementioned Ace-Ops failed to detain Team RWBY in no small part due to their disagreement on the way to do it and the extent of force to be applied during the arrest.

     Missing Parents 
There’s a running theme/motif of parental figures being dead, abusive, absent, or some combination of the three.
  • Summer is dead, and Taiyang shut down emotionally shortly after, leaving Yang to do the bulk of the work raising Ruby. Meanwhile, Raven was off galivanting with her bandit tribe, and Qrow-the only other adult authority figure the girls had growing up-was off doing missions for Oz.
  • Jacques Schnee is cold, domineering, and only cares about his and his company’s reputation, being emotionally and at one point physically abusive towards Weiss. His wife isn’t much better, spending every day out in the garden downing bottle after bottle of wine to forget. However, unlike Jacques she does care about her childern.
  • A battle to the death between Salem and her husband resulted in the deaths of all four of their children. She killed him at the end of the fight, too.
  • Several characters are orphans, or their parents don't seem to be around:
    • Ren's parents were killed right in front of him by the Grimm; Nora's mother abandoned her to flee the Grimm, the fate of her father is unknown.
    • Fox's Amity Arena flavor text states, and RWBY: After the Fall mentions he was raised by others in his tribe after their deaths.
    • Oscar is introduced living and working on his aunt's farm, with no sign of his parents being around.
    • Ilia's parents were killed in Dust mines.
    • Mercury killed his own father in a fight; Marcus was a physically abusive, sadistic sociopath, going so far as to remove a part of his son’s soul.
    • Emerald was found living on the streets by Cinder, stealing to survive. Cinder recruited her with the promise of Emerald never going hungry again.

The only parents who are both alive and actively support their children are the Belladonnas, Taiyang now that he’s got his groove back, and Saphron and Terra. Willow is starting to get out of her reclusive depression, as seen when she runs to her son to protect him.
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