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Salem's Faction

The main villainous force that the protagonists have to deal with are lead by the enigmatic figure known as Salem. Possessing the power to control the Grimm, Salem also has human and Faunus followers that support her cause and enact her will. Salem is the mastermind behind the assault on Vale, which was successfully carried out by Cinder Fall and aided by Cinder's own subordinates.

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Voiced by: Jen Taylor [EN], Kikuko Inoue [JP]

Debut: Ruby Rose (voice), End of the Beginning (appearance)
"This is the beginning of the end, Ozpin.
And I can't wait to watch you burn."
Click here to see her original appearance 

"A smaller, more honest soul... It's true that a simple spark can ignite hope, breathe fire into the hearts of the weary. The ability to derive strength from hope is undoubtedly mankind's greatest attribute, which is why I will focus all my power to snuff it out. How does it feel knowing that all of your time and effort has been for nothing, that your guardians have failed you, that everything you've built will be torn down before your very eyes?"

The narrator of the first episode and the first four "World of Remnant" videos, providing the initial exposition on the fantasy setting of RWBY. She's credited as "Mysterious Narrator" at the end of Volume 1, and finally appears in the Volume 3 finale as the central antagonist of the show. Salem leads a campaign to bring about the Huntsmen Academies' downfall from the shadows, commanding the Grimm, Faunus, and humans to enact her will.

  • And I Must Scream: After being forced to live a lonely, isolated life by her cruel father, Salem escaped him only to end up being cursed with immortality, which isolated her forever from humanity. After leading a failed rebellion against the gods, the God of Darkness destroyed humanity, leaving her completely alone in the world with only animals and the Grimm for company. Although the God of Light eventually brought humanity back, she is too different to live among them.
  • Ancient Evil: Salem has worked her evil from the shadows for thousands of years, tirelessly working to obtain the Relics and stop Ozpin from getting in her way. Ozpin's original incarnation was made to constantly reincarnate by having his soul, Aura and memories jump to a new person every time he died, forcing him to walk the earth for thousands of years trying to end her when it turned out the woman he loved was long gone.
  • Arch-Enemy: She regards Ozpin as her enemy. She implies his hope and optimism for humanity is an act of cruelty and therefore seeks to crush his hope completely. To achieve this end, she acknowledges that Ozpin is correct to believe a united humanity is extremely powerful and therefore seeks to divide and destroy humanity to undo everything he has worked for. She is also aware he has placed his faith in a "smaller, more honest soul", and she implies that she sees the destruction of that soul's optimism as the key to destroying Ozpin. The "soul" concerned is strongly implied to be the ever-optimistic Ruby.
  • Bad Boss: Downplayed. While Salem is Affably Evil and treats her minions with respect, she expects their total obedience and to always put her plans above their own desires. When Hazel tries to take full responsibility for the failure at Haven, Salem flips a table over and summons multiple Grimm hands to choke and manhandle him before intimidating Emerald into admitting that Cinder is responsible for their loss. Salem proceeds to use Cinder as a lesson to the others: she will not be able to return until she has redeemed herself in Salem's eyes because no subordinate should ever put their desires before Salem's own.
    Salem: It's important not to lose sight of what drives us: love, justice, reverence... but the moment you put your desires before my own... they will be lost to you. This isn't a threat, this is simply the truth. The path to your desires is only found... through me.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Salem has been cursed with immortality to stop her from dying until she learns the importance of life and death. She manipulated the gods in an attempt to restore her dead lover to life, so the gods cursed her to prevent her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife.
  • The Beastmaster: Salem is able to command the Grimm. She communicates with a Seer Grimm in her fortress, using it to relay her orders to the Grimm that are gathering at the fallen Beacon Academy.
  • Big Bad: Salem is the force behind the villainous activity that Team RWBY has been investigating since Volume 1. She sent her sub-ordinate, Cinder, to Vale to engineer the destruction of Beacon Academy and the theft of the Fall Maiden's powers. Cinder used the local crime lord, Roman, to steal the Kingdom of Vale's Dust and to work with the White Fang to enable the plan to succeed. When Beacon falls, it's because of a coordinated effort between Cinder's activities, Watt's ability to hack the Beacon and CCT networks, Roman's local knowledge and Adam's control of the Vale chapter of the White Fang. After the fall of Beacon, she sets off the next phase of her plan: the fall of Haven. Her intention is revealed to be to steal four ancient Relics that are being protected by the four Huntsmen Academies and destroy the attempts of Professor Ozpin, her arch-nemesis, to unite humanity. She manipulates from the shadows, while her subordinates do the leg-work, she controls the Creatures of Grimm that prevent humanity from populating the entire world, and she's been fighting Ozpin for thousands of years.
  • The Chessmaster: Salem's entire methodology revolves around careful manipulation, using pawns to covertly act and cause destruction and chaos, while leaving her motives and even existence nearly impossible to determine. As a result, humans tend to blame each other for her manipulations, and Salem herself outright says that she divides and breaks apart humanity to weaken them. As Qrow puts it:
    Qrow: She works from the shadows, using others for her dirty work. That way, when it comes time to place the blame, we can only point at each other.
  • Chess Motifs: Salem's Calling Card is a black chess queen. In Volume 1, Qrow sends Ozpin a warning message saying "Queen has pawns", referring to the fact that she has sent Cinder to Vale. While there, Cinder installs a virus designed by Watts on the Beacon security network that manifests a black chess queen. When Ironwood interfaces his scroll with Ozpin's desk, his scroll briefly displays the black chess queen to show it's been hacked by the virus. When Cinder takes control of the Vytal Festival Tournament to declare her manifesto to a global audience, the TV feed displays a black chess queen. The motif reappears several times during the Battle of Beacon to show what technology is under the control of the villains, including the scroll Neo gives to Roman that lets him hack the Atlesian robot soldiers and control Ironwood's flagship. In Volume 7, Ironwood recalls to Oscar how helpless Salem made him feel in Vale because of how she chose to manifest her presence through the black chess queen. When Cinder decides to smoke out the hidden location of the Winter Maiden, she leaves a chess queen made from black glass on Ironwood's desk; this panics Ironwood into thinking that Salem has been one step ahead of him the whole time, causing him to send Winter to the Winter Maiden thereby revealing the Maiden's location to the watching Cinder.
  • Cleavage Window: Salem's first outfit has a unique symbol that looks almost like three eyes that are linked together, which dominates the back of the black robe she wears. The robe covers her body from neck to toe, except for a gap between her breasts that forms the same vertical elliptic shape as the central part of her personal symbol.
  • Complete Immortality: The gods have cursed Salem with immortality to prevent her from dying. They want her to learn the importance of life and death. When she tried to manipulate the gods into restoring her dead lover to life, Salem was cursed to prevent her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife. She cannot be killed by mortal weapons, and the strongest supernatural method she knew of also failed to destroy her. When she and a reincarnation of Ozma battle to death, Ozma manages to reduce her to a pile of ash. However, she reforms quickly and kills him. When a different reincarnation of Ozma asks Jinn how he can destroy Salem, she tells him 'you can't'.
  • Curse Escape Clause: When Salem is cursed with immortality, the gods tell her that she must learn the importance of life and death. They specify that, for as long as the world keeps turning, she will not be allowed to die until she learns her lesson.
  • Delayed Narrator Introduction: The pilot episode begins with a woman narrating the history of humanity that begins as a fairy tale and ends with a grim declaration that someone she appears to be talking to will fail to achieve the strength they're seeking. Her narration is immediately countered by a male narrator who is introduced later in the same episode as Professor Ozpin. The female narrator, however, is only introduced in the final episode of Volume 3, where she concludes the conversation she and Ozpin were having at the beginning of the pilot episode.
  • Despair Gambit: Salem's Volume 3 finale speech suggest that her plan is to destroy Ozpin by turning the humans he watches over against each other and sinking them into despair. She strongly implies that the only way to truly undo Opzin is to destroy his faith in humanity and their future, but that Ozpin's faith will not be shattered until she has managed to destroy the hope and optimism his "simple soul" represents. The "simple soul" is implied to be the resolutely optimistic Ruby. Ozpin's mission from the Gods is to unite humanity and redeem them in the eyes of the Gods. Salem is doing her very best to make sure Ozpin doesn't succeed.
  • Disappointed in You: Tyrian worships Salem as a goddess. When he returns to her, sobbing and in total fear, he hesitantly reveals to her that he failed his task. Salem's response is to softly and coldly tell him that he has disappointed her and walks off, which is enough to reduce Tyrian to sobs of despair.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Salem is usually calm, preferring to present herself with an air of grace and elegance and dismissing unexpected developments with indifference. As a result, when Leonardo tells Salem that the attack on Haven has failed, Salem's Seer Grimm brutally murders him while Salem looks on with a nonchalant, dispassionate expression.
  • Divide and Conquer: The general theme of her plans. She knows that if humanity is united and works together, they are a powerful force. As a result, she works from the shadows to divide humanity and keep them fighting each other. Ozpin has been tasked by the God of Light to guide humanity towards unity. It is the sole chance humanity has to redeem themselves in the eyes of the gods after an ancient slight that humanity does not remember. If the gods return to Remnant and find humanity divided and fighting themselves, they will conclude that humanity is irredeemable and destroy the whole world. Salem is therefore trying to make humanity irredeemable by spreading doubt, mistrust, fear and hatred so that they turn on each other and tear themselves apart. Her Villain Song, "Divide", is based on two speeches she makes where she describes her goal to destroy Ozpin by turning his allies against him.
    Salem: Your faith in mankind was not misplaced; when banded together, unified by a common enemy, they are a noticeable threat. But divide them, place doubt into their minds, and any semblance of power they once had will wash away.
  • The Dreaded: Salem is a dark and dangerous humanoid who possesses mastery over the Grimm, monsters that are instinctively attracted to negative emotions such as fear, panic, hate and grief, and which are attempting to hunt humanity into extinction. Although the Grimm dominate the world, her existence is not public knowledge. Her arch-enemy, Ozpin, is so convinced the world will descend into panic and chaos - empowering the Grimm and therefore Salem - if they knew, that he has created a global conspiracy network that functions at the highest echelons of power, to both search for a way to defeat her and prevent her existence from becoming public. Of those that know, Qrow describes her creations as fear itself, Ironwood is obsessively building an army he hopes can obliterate her, and Raven has abandoned Ozpin's cause to disappear into the wilds of Anima because she's so convinced Salem is unstoppable. Her subordinates also fear her: Emerald and Mercury are constantly terrified of her presence; Tyrian worships her as a goddess but is utterly terrified of failing her; and even the sarcastic Watts and the stone-faced Hazel are wary of incurring her wrath. Leo, Haven Academy's headmaster and Ozpin's oldest ally, is so terrified of Salem that she is able to secretly turn him into a mole for her side simply by implying the continued existence of Haven and Mistral depends on his co-operation. In Volume 6, Ozpin is forced to admit that he actually has no plan to defeat Salem because even he believes she cannot be destroyed; the news so demoralises the heroes, that they are left estranged from a broken Ozpin and questioning the point of opposing Salem at all. In Volume 7, learning that Salem is both immortal and on her way tips the terrified Ironwood into tyrany, transforming him into a Hero Antagonist who is prepared to lash out at the heroes as well as Salem's forces in his desperate attempt to find a way to protect Atlas from her.
  • Driven to Suicide: Being cursed with immortality has left Salem alone and isolated for much of her existence. In the beginning, she tried to take her own life by stabbing herself with a sword. However, her immortality is complete, meaning that she cannot die by mortal means. When she tried to throw herself into the Pools of Grimm, hoping that the waters of annihilation would undo her curse and kill her, she instead became a being of pure destruction and infinite life.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Remnant has a history of violence and inequality between humans and Faunus, and both species fight the Creatures of Grimm to survive, which have an unnatural attraction towards destroying them. Salem controls the Grimm and uses them as shock troops, while also recruiting both humans and Faunus to carry out the tasks she needs to achieve her endgame. Her plans led to an assault on Beacon Academy that combined human infiltrators with two armies that consisted of Faunus terrorists and Creatures of Grimm.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She doesn't like cowardice from her henchmen. When Cinder struggles to see the point of keeping weak and worthless people alive, Salem uses Leo as an example of how anyone can be useful for something. When Leo fails to obtain the Relic for Salem, he promises to find her and prove his usefulness. As soon as he realises that Salem doesn't deem him useful any more, Leo attempts to flee but Salem uses her Seer Grimm to kill him and coldly calls him a coward.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Salem was a young woman, she was rescued from her isolated existence by a hero with whom she fell deeply in love. His death triggers her descent into evil when she is cursed by the gods with immortality for daring to manipulate them into trying to restore Ozma's life. When she has a chance to live a normal life with Ozma's reincarnation, they happily raise a family until Ozma realises that she's willing to destroy humanity to achieve her goals. After turning on each other in a battle that destroys their lives, home and children, they begin a cycle of anger, pain and hatred that has now existed for thousands of years.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: A long time ago, Salem was put into a position where she felt she had to manipulate two gods who lived on Remnant with the humans. She almost succeeded in fooling the younger god until his older brother reveals what she's up to. Her punishment is never-ending life until she learns the value of life and death. When her lover falls sick and dies, she attempts to convince the God of Light to bring him back to life. He refuses, so she visits the God of Darkness. Knowing the second god only wishes for someone to worship him the way humans worship the God of Light, she claims she came to him first because she knows only he has the power to grant what she's requesting. Thrilled, the God of Darkness immediately restores her lover to life. The God of Light instantly notices and arrives to explain the situation; upon realising the truth, the God of Darkness returns Salem's lover to the afterlife and the two Gods punish Salem for her manipulations. It's only much later that Salem realises that the fact she almost succeeded means the two gods are not infallible and it must therefore be possible to either defeat them or make them suffer, and thus begins her long slide into evil.
  • Evil Mentor: Salem acts towards Cinder almost like an "evil fairy godmother". She defends Cinder's accomplishments at Beacon to the rest of her subordinates and keeps Cinder close to her to help her recover from the injuries inflicted upon her by Ruby's silver eyes. She gives Cinder a replacement Grimm arm which also makes it easier for Cinder to steal Maiden power. She trains Cinder to master the Fall Maiden's power, and tries to teach Cinder the value of making use of people instead of simply killing them.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: At the end of Volume 3, we see the Female Narrator from the pilot episode, her back to the audience, completing the conversation she and Ozpin are having at the beginning of the show. It's obvious she's a white-haired woman in flowing black robes until she turns around... revealing a face as white as a Grimm mask, the black sclera and glowing red eyes of the Grimm, a mark in the center of her forehead like a partially-open third eye, and skin covered in what looks like reddish-black veins.
  • Fanservice Pack: A downplayed example is retroactively applied. Her original outfit didn't have the Cleavage Window. After becoming the witch, this is when she switched to the current dress that had it. It goes slightly further in the Volume 7 finale when she appears with a dress that bares her shoulders and shows more of her chest.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Salem is calm, friendly and polite, tailoring her behaviour to a person's personality, such as when she expresses gentle disappointment with Tyrian's failed mission, knowing his worship of her will leave him devastated over displeasing her. She chastises needless malice and patiently schools her subordinates whenever they turn on each other, such as when she patiently reprimands Watts for mocking Cinder's injuries. With the casual ease of a dinner conversationalist, she tasks her subordinates with duties that will enable terrorism, murder and mayhem, and teaches that flaunting the power to destroy lives is unnecessary when anyone can be exploited. She only drops her affable nature whenever someone challenges her authority. When Leo accidentally tells her she "must" act quickly to obtain the Spring Maiden before Qrow, Salem instantly has him partially strangled while she conversationally reminds him of how terrifying she is. In Volume 7, she attempts to convince Ironwood to give her both the Staff of Creation and the Lantern of Knowledge in exchange for her sparing Mantle and Atlas, speaking to him in a reassuring, almost motherly tone. However, it is painfully clear to both Ironwood and the audience that her promises are hollow lies.
  • Freudian Excuse: As a young woman, Salem is trapped in a tower by her cruel father, living an isolated existence until rescued by a legendary hero. When Ozma dies from a fatal sickness, she begs the gods to restore his life and manipulates them to ensure she gets her way. Upon discovering the deceit, the divine brothers curse her with immortality to prevent her reuniting with her lost love in the afterlife. Trapped in isolation once more, Salem descends slowly through bitterness and anger into destruction and evil.
  • Girl in the Tower: In her youth, Salem's cruel father imprisons her in a tower where she spends her days desiring only freedom. Although many heroes attempt to rescue her in the hope of winning her hand in marriage, they all fail. She is eventually rescued by a legendary hero who, instead of seeking her hand in marriage, only wants to correct injustice. Salem and Ozma fall in love despite themselves, thereby setting off a chain of events that leads the world into its present situation — a Secret War that has unfolded for thousands of years between Salem and the reincarnating Ozma, who has to transition from Professor Ozpin to Oscar.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Her red irises glow bright when she finishes her monologue and sneers at the screen. By this point, her plan is well underway and the people of Remnant are divided for most of the part. They also flare up when she's agitated and raising her voice. They also flare up and start glowing when she's using her magic to transform the Grimm into new creations with new abilities.
  • God Guise: When reunited with the first reincarnation of her dead lover, Salem considers uniting humanity since it seems to matter so much to Ozma. As the only two magic-users remaining on Remnant, they use their powers to mimic gods and build a kingdom in which their worshipers live. Although they live happily for many years and have a family together, Ozma eventually realizes that Salem's goal is to take over the entire world and kill anyone who defies them; upon discovering their children possess the magic of the old world troubles Ozma, given then reasons the God of Light gave him for why humanity no longer possesses that ability, but Salem sees it as sign they should wipe out this version of humanity people the world with their descendants. Horrified by this discovery and plagued by the knowledge that the gods will destroy the entire world if he fails to unite humanity, Ozma tries to sneak away in the middle of night with their children. Salem catches him in the act and their ensuing battle destroys everything — including their children.
  • Hates Being Alone: Salem was forced to live an isolated existence, trapped in a lonely tower by her cruel father. She was eventually rescued by the hero, Ozma, and falls deeply in love with him. When he dies, she falls apart and begs the gods to restore his life. Angry with her manipulations, they curse her with immortality, preventing her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife. Isolated and alone again, she blames the gods and tries to incite humanity into overthrowing them. Instead, they destroy humanity, leaving Salem to completely alone in the world and unable to die. When the God of Light brings back humanity to give them a second chance at redemption, he sends Ozma back to guide humanity to that redemption. Although Salem and Ozma live together for a while and raise a family, Ozma is troubled by his task. When he realizes that Salem's plan for 'uniting' humanity is to kill everyone who doesn't follow them, he attempts to take their children and sneak away in the middle of the night, leaving her alone once more. Salem catches him red-handed and tries to kill him. The battle is so brutal that it destroys their lives, their home, and their children. However, because Salem cannot die and Ozma reincarnates, they've been trapped in a cycle of pain and vengeance ever since.
  • Hope Crusher: One of her major goals is to completely destroy all sense of hope for the people of Remnant in general and Ozpin in particular. By dividing humanity, she hopes to crush and destroy them. Ozpin has been tasked by the God of Light to unite humanity and redeem them in the eyes of the gods. If the gods return to Remnant and find humanity divided and fighting against each other, they will declare humanity irredeemable and destroy the entire world. As long as Salem lives, Ozpin's task is impossible and humanity is doomed.
  • Humans Are Flawed: She concedes that humanity has an amazing ability to find hope in even the darkest times, a trait that makes them great, and when united they are truly a force to be reckoned with...but she also adds that once that hope is crushed and they fall to their petty differences, they are beyond powerless. She's been taking steps to ensure the latter part comes true.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: Salem is flexible and takes different approaches to coerce or guide those working under her, as the Volume 4 DVD Commentary confirms:
    • Tyrian is fanatically loyal to her and desperately seeks her approval. Simply telling him he disappointed her is enough to shatter his spirits for having failed her.
    • Cinder desires power above all else, so Salem serves as a mentor to Cinder, granting her power and teaching her how to properly use it.
    • Professor Lionheart is cowed into service through fear; when he shows a spark of authority in advising her, Salem reminds him of his terror by having a Seer Grimm strangle him despite the fact she's not in the same location as he.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: When Salem was a young woman, she was locked in an isolated fortress by her cruel father. She spent her days desperately longing to be free. She gained that freedom when rescued by a hero called Ozma. Although they fell in love, he fell sick and died. For trying to manipulate the gods into restoring Ozma's life, Salem is cursed with immortality. She then spends countless years trying to find a way to be free of both the gods and the curse, when she thinks she has finally found happiness with a reincarnation of Ozma, Ozma discovers the awful truth about her; in the ensuing battle, their home, family and lives are destroyed. Just as Ozma dies, Salem rages at him for destroying the freedom she feels they had finally found.
  • Invincible Villain: Discussed In-Universe. Raven tells Yang that she once trusted Ozpin until she learned that Salem can't be defeated; she later discusses with Leo his guilt over betraying Ozpin to Salem due to his terror of her invincibility. The Relic of Knowledge reveals to the heroes that Ozpin has been fighting Salem for thousands of years because the gods punished her with Complete Immortality; even when Oz obliterated her, she swiftly regenerated back. When Oz asks the Relic "How can I destroy Salem?", she tells him "You can't". In Volume 7, Nora speculates that perhaps Jinn means Salem can be destroyed by someone who isn't Ozpin.
  • Ironic Name: In addition to her name being a reference to the eponymous witch trials, her name can also mean peace or completion in Hebrew terminology. Her final monologue in Volume 3 is literally her talking about how she'll divide mankind before stomping on whatever resistance humanity has to offer. Ozpin, in particular, is the subject of her wrath.
  • It's All About Me: It's perfectly clear that Salem only cares about herself. Her hatred of the gods isn't because of their capricious, egotistical nature, or the damage they've done to humanity. It's because of what they did to her. Even her hatred for Ozpin is solely because he won't take her side.
    Salem: The moment you put your desires before my own they will be lost to you. This isn't a threat, this is simply the truth. The path to your desires is only found through me.
  • I Want Them Alive: Salem initially instructs Tyrian to hunt down the Spring Maiden, until Cinder makes it clear she wants Ruby dealt with. Salem responds by instantly ordering Tyrian to prioritize the hunt for Ruby instead of searching for the Spring Maiden. Tyrian is thrilled but, when he begins maniacally giggling, Salem sternly reminds him that she wants Ruby brought to her alive. That instruction leaves Tyrian momentarily depressed. Cinder also later objects to Salem about the decision to keep Ruby alive because she wants Ruby dead. Salem doesn't explain why she wants Ruby alive, but intimates she does have a purpose in mind.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Salem was a young woman living an imprisoned life in an isolated fortress until she ws rescued by a legendary hero. That day set off a chain of events that led her to a cliff-edge of evil. When Ozma fell sick and died, Salem begged the gods to restore her lover's life. Fearing rejection, she manipulated them into getting what she wanted. This angered the gods, who punished her with immortality, preventing her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife until she's learned the importance of life and death. Instead, she incited humanity to rebel against the gods; the whole of humanity is destroyed, leaving her entirely alone. She tried to end her life in the God of Darkness's Pools of Grimm, but waters of infinite destruction cannot negate a curse of infinite life. Instead, she was corrupted into a being pure destruction. When Salem eventually learns that the God of Light restored humanity to give it a single chance at redemption, Salem makes it her mission to destroy humanity's chance of being redeemed, pitting her against the person the God of Light has chosen to guide humanity to redemption — Ozma.
  • Kill All Humans: Raven tells Yang and Weiss that Salem's goal is to kill all of humanity, and that she cannot be stopped. She also states to Vernal that Salem will kill anyone who works for her once she no longer needs them. Originally, Salem was angry with the gods and tried to incite humanity into overthrowing them. Once the world had been abandoned by gods, she decided to become a god to the people of Remnant. However, her then husband put a stop to that in a terrible battle that caused the deaths of himself and their children. Now Salem fights to destroy humanity because Ozpin has been tasked by the God of Light to unite humanity so that they can be found worthy in the eyes of the gods and redeemed. If Ozpin fails and Salem succeeds, the gods will find humanity irredeemable and destroy the world.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Salem is an ancient evil sorceress who carries herself with an eerily serene and elegant demeanor, and wears a long black and red robe with eye designs. Although humanity now has no access to magic, the first humans who lived on Remnant were all magic users. As the last of the original human race, Salem retains that ability to use magic. When forced into battle, she fights with magic, using energy blasts, fire and telekinesis, among other powers. During a battle with Ozma's first reincarnation, she and Ozma destroyed each other and their entire castle with the power of their magical duel. While Ozma's body died, forcing him to reincarnate anew, Salem simply reformed in the same spot due to her Complete Immortality.
  • Leitmotif: Whenever Salem is on screen, instrumental refrains from the slower parts of the song "Divide" play, especially when she's scheming with her subordinates. It tends to play more slowly and softly than the original song to lend a creepy air to her presence in the scene.
  • Living Relic: Salem is the last survivor of the ancient world, the last human born with the Gods' blessing of magic. For untold eons, she was the only sentient being on the planet, living alone with the animals and the creatures of Grimm. In time, life returned in the form of a second incarnation of humanity and the beast-like Faunus. Salem remained in the shadows as civilization returned to the world, briefly reuniting with Ozma and attempting to rule mankind as a Goddess. When this failed, she settled into her current role as an ancient evil that continues to threaten the existence of Remnant's younger civilizations.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Salem was once a lonely girl who longed for freedom. She found that freedom in the eyes of the dashing hero who rescued her and fell deeply in love. It did not end well. The man she loved, Ozma, died from a fatal sickness. For trying to manipulate the gods into restoring his life, she was cursed with immortality to prevent her from being with Ozma in the afterlife until she learned the importance of life and death. Instead, she incited humanity to rebel against the gods which led to the destruction of humanity and the moon. When the God of Light restored humanity, he gave humanity a single chance to earn redemption and gave Ozma the responsibility of making it happen. By then, however, Salem had dived into the God of Darkness's pools of annihilation; instead of ending her curse as she hoped, it corrupted her into a being of pure destruction. Now Salem and Ozma are bitterly opposed to each other, one trying to unite humanity to save it while the other tries to divide humanity to destroy it.
  • The Man Behind the Man: For the first three volumes, Cinder is the threat everyone is working to identify and stop. However, Cinder clearly communicates with someone that suggests she's not in charge, even though she adapts the plans on the fly whenever the situation on the ground changes. Salem is revealed in the Volume 3 finale, and Volume 4 makes it clear that Cinder's working for her and that it's Salem's plans she's been carrying out. Salem trusts her subordinates with enough freedom to adapt plans as necessary, and is generous with her praise when a subordinate successfully carries out a mission.
  • Master Race: Salem once argued to Ozma that the second incarnation of humanity were inferior, arguing that their guidance was required for creatures that were literally "godless". After their daughter demonstrated the ability to use magic, Salem suggested that they wipe out the "inferior" humanity, and replace them. This was the final nail in their marriage, and the beginning of their ancient war.
  • Meaningful Name: She's named after that same town where the infamous Salem Witch Trials took place, in which a populace was overcome with fear, paranoia, and malice, leading humans to blame each other for a crisis of their own design and sentence each other to meaningless deaths, dividing them through their own fears, vices, and dependence on a higher authority. This is exactly how Salem ensures that Ozpin can never complete the Gods' mission for him to unite humanity.
  • Ms. Exposition: She tells some of the history of Remnant, including humanity's experiences with the Creatures of Grimm and the Dust. She also uses the narration to hint at a deeper, darker, history of humanity that has been forgotten by all but a few such as her and Ozpin.
  • Never My Fault: The gods cursed Salem with immortality hoping that she would learn why her demands of them were selfish and arrogant. They want her to learn the importance of life and death. Unfortunately for the world of Remnant, that first requires her to admit she did something wrong in the first place. When her lover Ozma died from a fatal sickness, she manipulated the gods into restoring him to life. When the gods realized, they took Ozma's life to correct the mistake and punished Salem with immortality to prevent her from reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife. They instructed her to learn the importance of life and death, but she only learned how to manipulate both gods and men. She raised an army to fight the gods; in retaliation, the gods destroyed humanity and abandoned the world, leaving Salem to walk the world alone, unable to die. The God of Light later restored a weakened version of humanity and reincarnated Ozma to guide humanity towards their only chance for redemption. As a result, Salem's anger with the gods extended to encompass Ozma; she now seeks to destroy everything Oz is trying to achieve and is even further away from taking responsibility for her actions than ever.
    Jinn: Once again, Salem was alone. She cursed the gods. She cursed the universe. She cursed everything... everything but herself.
  • Obviously Evil: Salem's appearance alone makes it clear she isn't a good person. She dresses in a black robe decorated with red eyes, and has a Grimm-like appearance with white hair, white skin, highly visible purple veins and black sclera with red irises. She used to be a normal human woman until she was cursed by the gods with immortality. After failing to either kill the gods or incite them into destroying her to end her curse, she finally ends up at the Pools of Grimm. In a desperate attempt to end her curse, she dives into them. It doesn't destroy her curse, instead it spits her back out as a being of both infinite life and infinite destruction. As the pools create the Grimm, it changed her appearance, giving her white skin and hair, red eyes and black sclera. It did not give her tainted veins or the mark on her forehead. Those appear to have occurred at a later date. The God of Light believes the woman Salem once was is forever gone.
  • Odd Name Out: Nearly every single character in the show has a name that references a colour in some way, even if it's just by association. Eighty years ago, a war ended that had tried to destroy artistic merit and individuality, so Remnant's naming scheme is a deliberate attempt to ensure that kind of war never happens again. Salem joins Ozpin as being the only two significant characters on Remnant whose names do not follow this color rule. In both cases, it's a hint that they are ancient beings who were born long before the war was ever fought.
  • Offing the Offspring: When Ozma realized that Salem's methods of uniting humanity weren't compatible with his own, he decided to abandon her. He gathered up their four children and attempted to steal away in the night. Salem caught him red-handed. Their fight was so brutal that it destroyed their castle and killed all four of their children in the cross-fire. Ozma also died in the battle. It's implied that he did manage to 'kill' Salem but, as a result of her curse, she reformed almost immediately.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Though an extremely powerful combatant, Salem prefers to let subordinates act in her stead. This is both to avoid uniting humanity against her, and also because she generally has a preference to watch from afar and direct her forces remotely. When she and Ozma ruled their ancient kingdom, she did not join her armies in battle and instead observed them remotely through a crystal ball, and when Ozma chose to finally fight her again, he isn't shown fighting her directly but only dealing with the Grimm that were the signs of her influence. When her subordinates fail to procure the Relic of Knowledge and reveal it's being taken to Atlas by a team led by the newly-reincarnated Ozpin, Salem decides to take matters into her own hands. Although Watts and Tyrian carry out their intended plan for Atlas, it's only to set the stage for her arrival. Together, they exhaust Ironwood and his military before she manifests in Ironwood's office to give him the opportunity to surrender before she arrives. It's only after Ironwood vows to resist her that his team realise that their long-range sensors are off-line, leaving them without any idea how close to Atlas Salem and her forces really are. The final shot of Volume 7 displays Salem just outside the kingdom, leading a massive swarm of flying Grimm.
    Hazel: There's an old saying. If you want something done right... do it yourself.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Salem wants Ruby brought to her alive and she also wants to negotiate for the peaceful surrender of the Spring Maiden instead of planning to take her by force. While Hazel actively honors her will by chastising the White Fang leaders for their violence and insisting on minimizing unnecessary killing, Cinder directly questions her attitude. Salem simply states that Cinder must never underestimate the usefulness of others, citing the recruitment of Haven Academy headmaster Leonardo Lionheart and turning him against Ozpin and his allies as an example. However, once the heist of the Relic of Knowledge from the vault below the academy fails, she sees no other reason to keep him alive even when he begs her for one, and kills him via Seer Grimm.
  • Princess Classic: Salem serves as the inspiration for the heroine in a classic fairy tale, recalled as an innocent, golden-haired maiden rescued from her father's castle. But unlike the story, the real Salem was a far more complex person and ultimately Subverted the trope. While it's true that she started out as a sheltered maiden, her magic was strong enough to allow her to fight alongside Ozma. And while she was innocent, she was emotionally immature rather than pure of heart. She refused to accept Ozma's death, demanding that the Gods return her lover to her, and too proud to back down even after being cursed. With time, she has developed into a cunning manipulator and a terrible Queen, but retains her stubborn pride and unwillingness to let Oz go.
  • The Punishment: Salem is punished with immortality for attempting to manipulate the gods into restoring the life of her dead lover because it prevents her from being reunited with him in the afterlife. The gods hoped she'd learn about the importance of life and death. Instead, she realised that by having tricked them in the first place, they had proven themselves to be fallible. She spent years manipulating humanity into rising up against their creators only to witness the gods destroy humanity for her audacity. They abandoned the world to leave Salem wandering the earth alone, unable to die. The God of Light later restored a weakened version of humanity and reincarnated Salem's dead lover to guide humanity to redemption. Now the fate of humanity lies in Salem and Ozpin's hands: one trying to divide humanity to destroy it, the other trying to unite humanity to save it.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: When Salem was young, she lost her lover Ozma to illness. Salem manipulated the gods into restoring his life, but the gods realised what she did, took Ozma's life again, and cursed Salem to be immortal until she learned the importance of life and death. Instead it made her bitter and angry; she manipulated humanity into attempting to overthrow the gods, but the gods instead destroyed humanity for their hubris and abandoned the world. The God of Light later restored a weakened version of humanity and reincarnated Ozma to guide humanity back to redemption. However, Ozma and Salem were never able to find a happy-ever-after due to the Pools of Grimm corrupting her soul, and the God of Light tasking him with the unification of humanity. Salem's hatred for the gods is now as eternal as her life.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Salem is an ancient evil who has walked the earth for thousands of years, attempting to obtain the Relics and divide humanity. Several of Ozpin's former followers, such as Leo and Raven, abandoned Ozpin in the belief that she cannot be stopped. Ozpin has been cursed by the gods to walk the earth for as long as it takes to stop Salem; he refers to the curse as "reincarnation" as it doesn't stop his physical body dying, but transfers his soul, Aura and memories to a new physical body every time it happens. He confirms that he's been trying to stop Salem for thousands of years. The gods cursed Salem with immortality for trying to bring her lover, Ozma, back from the dead. She incited humanity to betray the gods, resulting in them destroying the human race and leaving her alone. The God of Light restored a weakened form of humanity and reincarnated Ozma among them to try and guide humanity back to redemption. Humanity's redemption won't be possible, however, until Salem can be stopped.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Her eyes are black pits with glowing red irises and elliptical pupils. This is similar to the glowing red eyes of the Grimm, and combines with her bone-white skin, red vein-like markings and black clothing to give her the appearance of a humanoid Grimm and make it ambiguous as to what kind of being she really is. As the main villain, controlling various individuals and organizations across the globe, including the Grimm themselves, her glowing red eyes reflect her malevolence.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: In Volume 7, Ruby stands up to Salem, declaring they know everything about her thanks to the Relic of Knowledge and she may be immortal, but she's still fallible and can be stopped. Salem's response is to tell her that her mother said exactly the same thing to her and was wrong, leaving Ruby sobbing on the ground in front of her.
  • Sole Survivor: Salem was part of a race of humans who was wiped out a long time ago, except for her. Her attempt to incite humanity to defeat the gods results in the God of Darkness destroying humanity and leaving her to walk the earth alone as punishment. The God of Light later brings back humanity in a much weakened form and reincarnates Ozma from the old race to try and guide humanity to redemption. Angry with the gods and Ozma, Salem is determined to keep humanity divided.
  • Summon Magic: Salem creates a glyph on the ground that is very similar to the glyph that was on the glove Cinder used to bring forth the parasite Grimm that stole Amber's Fall Maiden power. When Hazel tries to take responsibility for the failure in Haven, she blasts the huge conference table out of her path without even touching it then reaches out one hand towards Hazel, slowly curling her fingers as though she's grabbing air. From the glyph that appears on the ground beneath Hazel's feet, appears many Grimm arms that grab hold of Hazel and restrain him so that she can force his team to reveal the truth of Cinder's failure in Haven.
  • Tainted Veins: Black veins are highly visible against the ghost white of Salem's arms and face. Although she obtains her white skin and hair and red eyes with black sclera when she falls into the Pools of Grimm, she emerges without either the tainted veins or the mark in the centre of her forehead. Those appear at a later date.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: At one point, Salem decided to try and unite humanity to create a world where people live together in harmony. She attempted this by setting herself and Ozma up as gods to be worshiped by the whole world. Anyone who refused to convert or believe, she intended to kill.
  • Villain Song: During the show's pilot episode and the final episode of Volume 3, Salem gives a long speech about the origin of legends and humanity, and how Ozpin's right to consider humanity stronger when it unites. She boasts of her plan to divide humanity and destroy everything that Ozpin has worked for, concluding that she can't wait to watch him burn. The song "Divide" is one of the Volume 3 ending songs and takes its lyrics from Salem's two speeches, also ending with the desire to watch him burn. From Volume 4, certain refrains from the song play in the background whenever she is on screen and scheming.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Just like the Grimm, Salem has been around for thousands of years. When she lost her lover to a fatal sickness, she manipulated the gods into restoring his life. When the gods found out, they took back his life and cursed her with immortality; for as long as the world turns, she will never die until she learns the importance of life and death. The isolation from humanity and her lover caused by the immortality made her bitter and angry with the gods, starting her down a road to evil that hit the point of no return when she attempted to kill herself by drowning in the Pools of Grimm; instead of dying, she was corrupted into a being of pure destruction.
  • Woman Scorned: While the bulk of her hatred is directed towards the gods, her former lover is a very close second. When she discovered Ozma's first reincarnation attempting to leave with their children in the middle of the night, she flew into a rage that resulted in the death of both him and all four of their daughters. This triggered a cycle of pain and suffering that would last for thousands of years as she works to destroy everything Ozma has ever tried to help humanity achieve just for the chance to watch him burn.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Salem yearned for freedom, locked in isolation by her father until rescued by the legendary hero, Ozma, with whom she fell in love. Devastated when he dies from sickness, she begs the God of Light to resurrect him and then, when he refuses, the God of Darkness. Restoring Ozma provokes a confrontation with the God of Light, where Ozma is repeatedly killed and resurrected in front of Salem's eyes until she turns on the two gods in rage. They punish her with immortality to prevent her reuniting with Ozma in the afterlife until she learns the value of life and death. Driven to Suicide, but unable to die, Salem raises an army against the gods; in retaliation, the God of Darkness destroys humanity before both gods depart the world, leaving Salem to exist alone for years until she tries to end her curse by throwing herself into the God of Darkness's Pools of Annihilation. She's instead transformed into a being of pure destruction. When humanity returns to the world, the God of Light reincarnates Ozma to guide them to redemption. Salem finds freedom by raising a kingdom and family with Ozma until he becomes so worried by her destructive urges that he absconds with their children. Confronting him, their ensuing battle destroys her freedom, home, kingdom, and children. Now Salem is determined to ruin Ozma's mission by destroying humanity, trapping them forever in a war of hate that has no end.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Salem is a being who combines the powers of Creation and Destruction to achieve the threat level she now poses to the entire world. Cursed by the Pool of Life to have infinite life, Salem tried to kill herself by drowning in the Pools of Grimm, waters of infinite destruction. However, waters of infinite destruction cannot destroy a being of infinite life. Instead of dying, she emerged as an unkillable force of pure destruction. With the magic she still possesses from her mortal life and the control over the Grimm she now possesses, she is unstoppable by both mortal and magical means.
  • You Have Failed Me: Salem isn't very happy with failure to obtain the Relic of Knowledge from Haven Academy, and demands to know who is to blame. Hazel attempts to take full responsibility for the failure, which makes Salem even angrier. She slams her table out of the way with a magical blast and pins Hazel to the ground with Grimm arms that have been summoned out of the ground. She lectures him on the fairness of his words then insists Emerald tell her who is to blame. When Emerald acknowledges it was Cinder, Salem states that Emerald must understand Cinder's failure and why Salem will not permit Cinder to return to them until she has redeemed herself.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She's willing to kill her own henchmen if they're deemed a liability. When Leo attempts to flee Haven after being defeated, Salem catches him with her Seer Grimm before he gets too far. Since he's no longer able to pass information from Ozpin's inner circle and provide access to the Relic of Knowledge, Salem has no further use for Leo and has her Seer Grimm violently stab him to death offscreen.


Salem's Inner Circle

Salem has four subordinates who carry out her will around the world. All four have very different personalities, motivations and skillsets... and, while they all share the goal of furthering their leader's plans, that doesn't mean the always get along with each other.

    Cinder Fall 

For more information on Cinder Fall, please see RWBY: Cinder Fall

    Tyrian Callows 

Tyrian Callows

Voiced by: Josh Grelle [EN], Yoku Shioya [JP]

Debut: The Next Step
"My heart and body belong only to our goddess!"

"If you're not loving what you're doing, then you're in the wrong field."

One of Salem's associates, a scorpion Faunus. He is initially assigned to hunt down the Spring Maiden, but is later told to prioritize hunting down Ruby instead. Tyrian fights with The Queen's Servants, a pair of wrist gauntlets adorned with a pair of machine guns and razor-sharp blades. His Faunus trait - a scorpion tail- is also used in combat and can administer a deadly poison. His Semblance allows him to corrode Aura and bypass it to attack a foe directly.

  • Animal Motifs: Scorpions. He sits in a manner similar to an arachnid, his wrist-blades resemble a scorpion's pincers, and his ponytail looks like a segmented scorpion's tail. Just like his actual tail, which is a scorpion's tail, complete with stinger.
  • Arch-Enemy: Tyrian has continuously caused Qrow grief throughout their encounters. The first time they meet, the Faunus is gunning for Ruby and despite being chased off, still manages to poison Qrow and leave him near death. Much later in Atlas, Tyrian happily stabs Clover, a Huntsman whom Qrow considered a friend, In the Back with Qrow's own weapon, thereby framing him for the kill. At this point, Qrow furiously swears he'll kill Tyrian. Tyrian for his part simply says their score will have to be settled another time on account of him escaping the authorities.
  • Arm Cannon: His wrist gauntlets have a pair of machine pistols mounted into each one.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: His Semblance appears to create an opening in someone's aura, bypassing it entirely and allowing him to attack a foe directly. However, this effect only seems to work if his hands actually touch the target's body; Tyrian channels his Semblance in both hands during his fight with Clover, but the latter blocks it with his fishing rod and shows no signs of his Aura being corrupted in the process.
  • Arrow Catch: During his confrontation with Robyn, Tyrian is able to catch her crossbow bolts in a variety of different ways, such as between his two fingers when she fires one directly at his face. When fighting Robyn, Qrow and Clover together, Tyrian is able to effortlessly evade, deflect and catch almost all of her bolts. Robyn eventually uses this against him; when he catches one with his teeth, it turns out to be an explosive bolt, which detonates in his face, shattering his Aura and leaving him open for the final blow.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's very eager to be given tasks that involve hunting down people. When Salem orders him to go after Ruby, he mocks Cinder by implying he'll take Ruby's eye, giggling madly at the thought. When Salem orders him to capture Ruby alive, he's visibly disappointed. When Jaune makes it clear the gang won't let Tyrian take Ruby without a fight, he smiles and says "good". When Salem reveals she's disappointed in his failure to complete his task, he goes berserk; he leaps on a Beowulf and begins slashing it repeatedly while laughing and crying at the same time. Cinder watches him unravel in open-mouthed horror. Winter directly calls him a homicidal maniac when recounting his backstory.
  • Berserker Tears: After Salem tells him that he has disappointed her with his failure in his task, Tyrian breaks down sobbing. A nearby Beowolf is attracted to his despair and attacks. Tyrian lets out all of his frustration on the Grimm, jumping onto its chest and stabbing it repeatedly all while his sobbing turns into maniacal laughter.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: He sports a scorpion tail with a wicked stinger at the end. He can use the tail as an extra limb for fighting and blocking, but when he pins down Ruby, he attempts to strike with the stinger just as a scorpion would. The stinger gets cut off by Ruby during their fight in Oniyuri, though it is later replaced with a prosthetic stinger courtesy of Watts.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Tyrian fights with a pair of blades strapped to both forearms, resembling scorpion claws.
  • Blood Knight: While he primarily loves killing and maiming, the look on his face whenever he realizes he's faced with a challenge is pure glee. When Jaune tells him that his group will fight him to prevent him from taking Ruby, he emphatically states "Good!" and when Qrow shows up to rescue them before Ruby can be stabbed, Tyrian looks thrilled.
  • Brains and Brawn: The Brawn to Dr. Watts' Brains. In Atlas, Dr. Watts uses his hacking expertise to support Tyrian's fieldwork and assassinations from the sidelines, whose speed and strength are only rivaled by Qrow.
  • The Bully: When not relishing in the anticipation of violence, Tyrian enjoys toying with other's emotions and childishly mocking those who can't fight back. When Cinder returns badly wounded from Ruby's silver-eye powers, Tyrian repeatedly laughs at her and promises to take Ruby's eye out the same way Ruby's powers did to Cinder's, while pointing at his own eye for added mockery. When Hazel returns with Emerald and Mercury after the failed attack on Haven Academy, Tyrian immediately comments Cinder's disappearance and laughs when Emerald begins to freeze up in anger before mockingly asking her if something happened to Cinder. When Emerald threatens to "cut off more than [Tyrian's] tail" in response, Tyrian immediately gets up in Emerald's face while warning her that Cinder isn't there protect her, scaring her until Mercury tells him to back off. He later spies on Emerald and Mercury while the latter is venting to her about his abusive upbringing and how it ties into his reasons for working with Salem, mocks his motives and assaults Mercury when he retaliates physically. He then tells them that they're in the wrong field if they aren't working for Salem because they want to and not for personal gain, but at the same time they can't leave Salem. He then tells, or rather begs them to do what makes them feel happy, while brandishing his new stinger at them in a manner that implies he'll be happy to hunt them down if they decide to leave.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He initiates his surprise attack on RNJR by charging in swinging, only stopping to talk or throw out fancier moves after the initial exchange shows none of the four are a serious threat to him. He seemingly indulges in pre-fight banter with Qrow, but attacks while the latter is mid-sentence. Notably, he does not stop fighting Qrow afterward, except to briefly swat away RNJR members when they futilely attempt to help. He envenomates Qrow with his scorpion stinger when Qrow is distracted by Ruby, although it costs him his tail at the hands of Ruby's scythe in the process. He decides to bug out of the fight and live to fight another day instead of fighting to the death, even though Qrow is no longer in a position to fight any further. When trapped in a three-way battle between himself, Qrow and Clover, Tyrian gleefully fights them both before he deliberately begins helping Qrow against Clover, suggesting that two-against-one will remove Clover from the fight, allowing the pair of them to have a grudge match. When Clover disarms Qrow, leaving Qrow to punch him so hard that his Aura breaks, Tyrian takes advantage of the moment to grab Qrow weapon and stab Clover from behind.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Tyrian enjoys violence and bloodshed and is a brutal fighter. However, he not only enjoys hurting others, he also seems to enjoy hurting himself. When Ruby takes potshots at Tyrian with Crescent Rose during his battle with Qrow at Oniyuri, he blocks the bullets with his tail and grins blissfully as the bullets strike. When Emerald threatens him after he repeatedly mocks and laughs about Cinder's apparent death, Tyrian slowly advances towards Emerald and rubs his face along the curves of her blades while threatening her right back. While he does this, he disturbs Emerald by moaning as if enjoying the feeling of the blade cutting his skin. His fighting style is almost dance-like and involves him getting as uncomfortably close to his enemy as possible. He is willing to crash an airship he's travelling in, and has fun while doing so. He then escapes his bonds by dislocating his right thumb, quietly giggling all the while. Even when he grunts in obvious pain, it immediately turns into a pleasured sigh. He then crunches it right back where it belongs with equal joy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Tyrian makes short work of Team RNJR, taking no serious damage until Qrow shows up; they usually rely on powering up up Nora lightning Dust to end fights for them, but he even shrugs off her most powerful attacks with ease.
    • A Beowulf made the mistake of thinking that his hysterical state has left him easy prey. Tyrian instead whips the Beowulf right across the room and spends the rest of the scene savagely slashing it to pieces.
  • Dance Battler: He's elegant and light-footed when he fights. He's prone to including spinning kicks, somersaults, black flips, and bouncing off his opponents weapons. He doesn't simply look like he's fighting, he looks like he's breakdancing as well.
  • Evil Is Hammy: He spends much of his dialogue belting out wild peals of laughter, and nearly all of his dialogue is laden with verbose Purple Prose and dramatic gestures. Combined with his extremely expressive face and movements, he dominates most scenes he's in and treats the battlefield like it's an arena for a stage performance.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Tyrian adopts a poetic, theatrical manner of talking; he's engaging, conversational and uses flowery language with dramatic gesticulations of his arms. However, as poetic, friendly and polite as his words are, it's offset by a constant smirk and wild, staring eyes. When anticipating bloodshed, or taunting others, his odd speech patterns and eerie facial expressions are joined by lip licking and cackling laughter. When Qrow shows up to save Ruby, Tyrian's behavior becomes even more theatrical; he politely expresses dramatic awe, calling Qrow a true huntsman and bowing with a flourish. Moments later, he's not so much fighting Qrow as trying to rip him to shreds with his wrist blades, cackling madly the entire time and exulting at the opportunity to take down Qrow as well as capture Ruby. But the whole facade vanishes when Ruby cuts off his tail, with him belting out a livid "You bitch!" at her.
  • Flash Step: His movements come off as this even to speedsters like Team RNJR. At one point he goes from in front of the whole group to directly behind Jaune, and only Ren, the fastest member of the team, responds in time to cover Jaune before he gets stabbed in the back.
  • Giggling Villain: Every time he cracks a macabre joke or hears something gruesome that he likes the sound of, he starts giggling. When he hears what his assignment is, he breaks out giggling... until he realises he's got to bring his target back alive. That cools him off immediately.
  • Hero Killer: Volume 5 reveals that he and Hazel, with Lionheart's aid, were able to isolate and pick off a large portion of Mistral's Huntsman population. Clover and Winter are very disturbed when Ruby reports seeing Tyrian in Mantle and ask her to confirm by showing her a picture they have. He has a record in Atlas and Mistral as a serial killer who has murdered multiple Huntsman and left a bloody trail of bodies across Anima. When his transport ship went down under mysterious circumstances, he was assumed dead until he showed just to murder the officer who had helped apprehend him. One of the reasons Ironwood has for keeping his plans secret from the population and Council is because the idea of a mass murderer being on the loose in Mantle will only create the kind of panic he's trying to avoid. In Volume 7, Tyrian is ambushed and captured by Qrow, Clover and Robyn; however, when Clover is sent a message to arrest Qrow, he takes advantage of the former allies turning on each other to kill Clover, frame Qrow for it, and escape from the authorities once again.
  • Hidden Depths: He hides it well but Tyrian has a very sharp mind that allows him to very accurately observe his targets. Volume 6's commentary even calls him one of the smarter people on Salem's team, and his intelligence is most clearly seen when picking apart Mercury's reasons for serving Salem in "Lost".
  • The Hyena: He's constantly laughing and giggling, even in situations where it'd normally be rather inappropriate, such as fighting or normal conversation. It helps to make his character even more unsettling.
  • Implied Death Threat: When Emerald and Mercury debate whether or not they belong with Salem in the absence of Cinder, Tyrian reveals he's overheard their debate and suggests that if they're not doing what they love, they're in the wrong field. When Emerald asks if he's telling them to leave, he laughs and retorts that they can't. He then tells them he's "begging" them to do whatever makes them happy. He's filled with sinister glee and he points his scorpion stinger right at them as he says it. His message is clear: he relishes the opportunity to hunt them down if they do decide they want to leave.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Tyrian tries to kidnap Ruby, Qrow intervenes. Tyrian and Qrow fight so hard that both their Auras end up shattering before the fight is resolved. When it becomes clear to Tyrian that he cannot easily obtain Ruby, he chooses to flee the battlefield instead of fighting to the death. Ruby interferes in the fight which enables her to cut off Tyrian's scorpion tail while he and Qrow are distracted by each other after their Auras have shattered. Tyrian bugs out of the fight at that point.
  • Large Ham: He speaks in flowery phrases like he's peppering his speeches with poetry, and he gesticulates grandly as he speaks like he's an actor performing before a theatre audience. His words and actions are emphasised with exaggerated emotions, usually excitement and amusement, which is reinforced by his constant outbursts of insane laughter.
  • Laughing Mad: During the meeting, he breaks out into uncontrollable fits of laughter every so often. Sometimes it occurs when he cracks a macabre joke or when he's given information or instructions that he likes the sound of. His laughter is manic and lasts entirely too long, until he's brought out of it or collapses as if weary from the laughing fit.
  • Lecherous Licking: In "Menagerie", Tyrian startles the waitress that had previously been serving Qrow. Before interrogating her for information, he pauses to slide his tongue over his lips in a disturbing manner and laughs hysterically when the woman shrinks away from him.
  • Little Bit Beastly: He's a scorpion Faunus with a scorpion tail that his plait is designed to look like.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tyrian is a psychopath who delights in bloodshed and killing, but underneath his apparent lunacy hides a keen sense of observation and psychology. From the moment Emerald and Mercury return from the failed attack on Haven Academy, he deliberately gets under their skin for the sheer fun of it. When slaughtering a warehouse full of Robyn Hill's supporters on election night and framing Penny for it with Watts' assistance, he deliberately leads Penny to the stage where Robyn is in order to make it look like she attacked the latter, knowing that the former would leap to defend her from him. After being arrested by Qrow, Robyn, and Clover, Tyrian eggs the three on when the former third receives an order from General Ironwood to arrest Qrow and takes advantage of the chaos when his restraints are broken in the struggle in order to escape and crash-land the shuttle they're on. Once Qrow and Clover continue their fight on solid ground and Tyrian gets involved, the latter offers to help Qrow get Clover out of the way so that he and Tyrian can settle their score, which Qrow agrees to after Clover gets in his way too many times. After Clover's Aura is shattered, Tyrian runs him through with Harbinger and leaves Qrow to take the fall.
  • Meaningful Name: His name refers to a kind of purple dye. When he and Qrow fight each other to a stalemate, they shatter each other's Aura, revealing that Tyrian's Aura is purple-toned. When he's about to strike Ruby with his scorpion tail, his normally golden eyes turn the same vivid shade of purple as the poison that is stored inside his scorpion stinger. A victim's blood will also become purple if this poison remains in their system for long enough.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Part of his hamminess can attributed to his liking of extravagant gesturing.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Volume 6 commentary points out that Tyrian is more cunning and observant than he seems, with his apparent lunacy hiding an ability to analyse, manipulate and destroy people psychologically. This is most clearly seen when he effortlessly picks apart Mercury's reasons for serving Salem in "Lost".
  • Offhand Backhand: Uses his tail to casually bat Ruby's sniper shots away without even looking in her direction.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: When his stinger is severed, it releases a purple ooze that instantly melts divots in the stone where it splashed.
  • Practically Joker: Tyrian is a serial killer who is infamous for a string of murders across Mistral, who speaks in exaggerated, theatrical prose, and who has a purple Colour Motif that is represented in both his name and the purple poison that his scorpion tail produces. He loves killing and serves Salem as her assassin, kidnapper, and as an agent of chaos to distract enemies from Salem's real plans and goals. Unlike the other villains, he serves Salem because he worships the chaos and evil she represents and revels in spreading it to the world. The only time he disappoints her, he's so distraught that he lashes out at a Grimm, hacking while his tears turn to manic laughter as a horrified Cinder watches. Orders to hunt and kill make him grin with pleasure; enacting them makes him laugh with glee. He delights in making macabre jokes, such as telling Cinder to get 'an eye for an eye' against Ruby for her maimed eye. He tells Emerald and Mercury they're in the wrong job if they don't love Salem's violent, murderous work; he then begs them to flee Salem just to give him an excuse to hunt and kill them. When he commits a massacre on Atlas's election day, he thrills at the carnage and chaos he causes. When Watts's needs even greater chaos in Mantle than a Grimm invasion, it's Tyrian he turns to for help.
  • Precision F-Strike: He dropped the strongest language in the series thus far when he called Ruby a bitch after she severed the stinger off his tail.
  • Psycho Supporter: He's so utterly loyal and devoted to Salem that she only needs to express disappointment in his ability to carry out her orders to reduce him to a sobbing wreck on the floor. He then takes out his despair on a nearby Beowulf, slashing the Grimm over and over again until his sobs turn to maniacal laughter. His behaviour alarms even Cinder, who had previously enjoyed destroying Beacon Academy and killing hundreds of people.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Although he generally communicates in a verbose and melodramatic manner akin to an actor on a theatre stage, he has a very infantile emotional dependence on Salem. He regards her as a 'goddess' and is desperate to please her. When he fails to complete his task, he initially cowers fawning madly to himself that Salem will forgive him. When he reaches Salem, he crawls towards her, begging for forgiveness. When Salem gently, but coldly, tells him that he has disappointed her, he dissolves into sobs of despair that attract a Beowulf. Tyrian then takes out his despair on the Grimm, slashing it over and over until his sobs turn into maniacal laughter. Cinder witnesses his entire breakdown in open-mouthed horror.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Tyrian is one of Salem's inner cohort of villains, initially tasked with hunting for the Spring Maiden but transferred to tracking down and kidnapping Ruby. He possesses the speed and strength required to be able to fight Qrow to a stalemate. His name refers to a shade of purple and when he and Qrow shatter each other's Aura, his Aura is purple-toned. The poison contained within his scorpion tail is also purple. When Ruby blows it off it bleeds a purple substance that burns through stone. When his poison infects Qrow, it slowly turns Qrow's blood purple.
  • Purple Prose: Really enjoys using this when he talks, adding to his hammy and over-the-top persona, such as this line when he's fighting RNJR.
    Ruby: What do you want?
    Tyrian: (gasps melodramatically) The rose has thorns! My little flower, I'm here to whisk you away with me!
  • Scary Scorpions: He has a psychopathic interest in attacking people and the opportunity to kill reduces him to fits of laughter. He wears a long plait that takes the shape of a segmented scorpion tail and and he sits in a manner similar to a crouching arachnid. When he fights, he uses wrist-blades that resemble a scorpion's pincers. Underneath his duster, he hides a long scorpion tail that looks almost exactly like his plait and reveals that he is a scorpion Faunus. When striking with the stinger, his eyes turn the same deep purple as the poison that's contained inside the stinger.
  • Serial Killer: Tyrian is one of Salem's primary assassins, sent to murder in her name and his own sadistic glee. He, along with Hazel, systematically killed off most of Mistral's professional Huntsmen to deprive Haven of protectors. His mission in Mantle is to murder protestors speaking out against Atlas and General Ironwood, framing Ironwood in Mantle's eyes. Per the general, he's killed at least three targets within a single week - and goes on to kill at least ten more victims in as many seconds at Robyn Hill's election rally. His Amity Arena bio and the information Winter's got on him reveals that he was captured for a string of murders in Mistral before getting picked up by Salem.
  • Slashed Throat: When Salem reduces him to sobs of despair, he takes it out on a nearby Beowulf. He slashes the beowulf's chest and throat, and then again. He keeps going, slashing over and over again until his sobs turn to maniacal laughter.
  • Slasher Smile: He does this a lot. He finds anything that's gruesome, malicious, or vindictive funny, and he loves being given assignments to hunt people down. It all produces a grin full of teeth that's far too big for his face.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: In "So That's How It Is", he openly mocks Cinder's apparent death to Emerald's face and laughs over it. Emerald immediately draws her weapons on him and threatens to "cut off more than his tail," which Tyrian just takes as a challenge. Of course, Cinder isn't actually dead, but Tyrian didn't know it at the time.
  • Stealth Expert: Watts disabling security cameras in their vicinity helps, but Tyrian proves in Mantle that he is very good at going unnoticed when he's not being theatrical. During Robyn's preemptive celebration, all it takes is for the lights to go off, and he proceeds to cut down multiple people in seconds. This is despite there being eight Huntsmen and Penny in the warehouse; only two know the Faunus is there (Ruby, who caught a glimpse of him just before the massacre began, and Penny) and he still evades their sight. Even when he's right next to Robyn after wounding Fiona, neither of the two notice him; only Penny sees Tyrian, and that's because he wants her to push Robyn out the way.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Played with in Volume 4. When Qrow interrupts his attack on Team RNJR, they do manage to stop and talk for a bit, but Tyrian ultimately attacks before Qrow can finish talking.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The poison from his stinger is a very bright purple that can burn cobblestones like an acid. When Tyrian uses it to envenomate his victims, their blood eventually starts turning purple as well.
  • Three-Point Landing: During his battle with RNJR, he launches himself off of Nora's hammer into a building to get some distance from the team. When Ren demands to know who he is, he drops out of the building, theatrically flipping into a three-point landing before standing up and explaining why he's there.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Played with. He reveres Salem as a goddess, which initially comes across as him simply being fanatical. Considering she and Ozma were revered as gods for some time though, it's implied he really does see her as a goddess. He's the only one among her subordinates who does.
  • Undying Loyalty: He regards Salem as a goddess and is willing to do absolutely anything to please her. When he fails to capture Ruby in Volume 4 and crawls back to Salem begging forgiveness, Salem only has to tell him she's disappointed for him to fall into hysterics. His loyalty to her is so strong, he's willing to crash the airship he's travelling in just so he can escape to continue serving her.
    Qrow: What are you doing?!
    Tyrian: The will of our goddess!
  • Villain Has a Point: While he may be psychotic, Tyrian does raise some fair points.
    • When Hazel, Emerald, and Mercury return from the failed attack on Haven, his mocking concern for Cinder causes Emerald to nearly attack him, only for her to begin cowering in fear as he approaches her. He points out to her that she is low on the totem pole there, and that Cinder was the only one "protecting" her. Now that she's gone, there's nothing stopping him from deciding to deal with Emerald.
    • Condescending as he may be in his analysis, his analysis of Mercury has little error. Mercury was indeed raised in an abusive environment, and thus has trouble in environments outside of similar ones. He's also correct in that Mercury's attempts at looking vile is only grandstanding, as Mercury does demonstrate more nervous behavior while in Salem's domain, and only attempts to be a larger jerkass when he's trying to come across as tough. Finally, he notes that Mercury's "Because I'm Good at It" explanation for remaining in Salem and Cinder's employ is merely an excuse to cover up the fact that he's too afraid to leave his life of violence behind and try and start over.
    • While it was mostly justification to get a rise of them, he makes a valid point to Emerald and Mercury before he departs for Atlas. If they aren't happy working with Salem, they have no reason to be there. They can't leave either, lest he be made to kill them. So they better find some enjoyment in their duties, or lose their lives instead.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Salem tells him that she is disappointed by his failure to capture Ruby, Tyrian collapses sobbing helplessly. A Beowulf tries to ambush him, thinking him easy prey, but Tyrian lashes out at the creature and sends it flying. He then leaps onto the fall Grimm and begins slashing at it over and over again while it struggles in vain to escape. As Tyrian slashes, his sobs begin to turn to maniacal laughter until he is crying and laughing at the same time. He doesn't stop even when the Grimm begins dissolving away into nothing. His breakdown is witnessed by Cinder, who watches it unfold in speechless horror.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Deals a Curb-Stomp Battle to the gifted but inexperienced RNJR, demonstrating quite clearly that the threats they wish to confront are out of their league. More importantly, his ability to fight Qrow to a standstill illustrates that even the most powerful of the protagonists may not be up to the challenge.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's thrilled when Salem assigns him to hunt down Ruby and is visibly disappointed when Salem warns him that she wants Ruby alive. When he fights Ruby's group with the intention of taking Ruby, he's thrilled that they decide to fight back against him and relishes the chance to strike Ruby with his scorpion tail.

    Hazel Rainart 

Hazel Rainart

Voiced by: William Orendorff [EN], Akio Ohtsuka [JP]

Debut: The Next Step
"Nobody needed to die today."

"He didn't tell you my tale, did he, boy? I thought you looked familiar, to think that evil was inside you when our paths first crossed. Your blood won't be on my hands, it'll be on his."

One of Salem's associates. He is tasked with meeting the White Fang and ensuring that they correctly perform the role Salem has assigned them. He has a history with Ozpin, being referred to as a man from the latter's past.

Hazel typically fights bare-handed or by augmenting himself with Dust, aided by his Semblance "Numbing Agent" which allows him to block out pain.

  • Affably Evil: Always polite to people, even to his enemies (unless it's Ozpin). He genuinely regrets having to fight Nora and Ren, and he asks Oscar to forgive him before attacking him. He is also disgusted with Adam's cold murder of Sienna Khan, believing it to be pointless.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: His RWBY: Amity Arena bio identifies Gretchen as his twin sister, as opposed to a younger sibling. Her death has shaped the course of Hazel's life, transforming him into a man willing to kill anyone that stands between him and revenge.
  • Anti-Villain: His murderous hatred of Ozpin aside, Hazel is the least antagonistic of Salem's enforcers. He abhors unnecessary violence, as seen with his anger at Adam's murder of Sienna Khan, and his reluctance to fight Ren and Nora. He doesn't take pleasure in attacking Oscar and Nora, instead seeing them as unfortunate causalities as a result of Ozpin. He's willing to take the blame for the failure at Haven rather than blame Cinder or let Salem go for Emerald and Mercury, and begins to keep an eye out for them after returning from the mission.
  • Attack Backfire: He attempts to fry Nora using lightning Dust. Unfortunately for him, Nora's Semblance allows her to absorb electricity and convert it into physical strength.
  • Bait the Dog: Hazel is set up as the least malevolent of Salem's forces; when he runs into Oscar at a train station, he helps him get a ticket and gives him some advice on not letting small obstacles get in his way. When appearing before Sienna Khan at the White Fang's headquarters in Mistral, he pleads with Sienna to hear him out when asking her to join Salem, and insists that no one has to die. Hazel is then shocked and disgusted at Adam when he kills Sienna in a coup to become the White Fang's new high leader, believing the cold-blooded act of violence to have been entirely unnecessary. It's surprising then, when Hazel's hatred towards Ozpin rises to the surface after he finds out that Ozpin has reincarnated into the aforementioned Oscar, that he casts aside his beliefs in order to kill Ozpin, turning his violent rage onto anyone who tries to get in the way of Hazel's revenge.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Hazel doesn't rely on a weapon for battle, he fights with his fists and arms. Although when he carries Dust crystals that he can stab his arms with to power up, his style changes to lightning-powered bare-fisted blows.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Hazel's arms are so tough that he can block the blades of Ren's gun-blades and the sword blade of Qrow's sword-scythe using nothing but his bare arms. The blades don't even bruise his skin. Ozpin later explains that, because of his Semblance, Hazel can block out pain and carry on with no visible damage due to his constantly-recharging Aura.
  • Battle Strip: In a fit of rage, Hazel rips his coat into tatters with his bare hands upon learning that his hated enemy Ozpin had reincarnated into Oscar. This also frees up his arms enough for him to inject himself with raw electric Dust.
  • Beard of Evil: Most of the male villains are clean-shaven with the exception of Hazel, who sports a goatee-style chinstrap. Hazel is quiet and calm; he hates fighting and loathes unnecessary killing. However, he relentlessly carries out Salem's will to ensure the destruction of the Huntsmen Academies and the theft of the four Relics the academies guard, no matter how many people might die in the process. He also believes Ozpin is an evil monster who sacrifices the lives of children, and will stop at nothing to ensure Ozpin is killed, whom he blames for the death of his sister. Hazel therefore stands out among the villains for his personal connection to Ozpin, his conflict between his gentle nature and loyalty to Salem's murderous goals when not triggered, and the absolute insanity of his physically destructive rage when triggered.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Hazel talks rarely and is one of the more noble members of Salem's group. But the mere sight of Ozpin is enough to drive him into an Unstoppable Rage at which point he'll think nothing of murdering a child just because Ozpin reincarnated into him.
  • Boring, but Practical: He is a huge man with enormous physical strength and a Semblance that does nothing fancy, just blocks out pain. His fighting style is therefore simple: overwhelming physical force. When physical might isn't enough, he injects Dust crystals directly into his body to power him up, allowing him to hit harder than before. He can therefore keep empowering himself to fight relentlessly in combat without concern for injury. Combined with a strong will that allows him to regenerate his Aura at an unusually fast rate, he can keep fighting and shrugging off attacks until his enemies become too exhausted to continue.
  • The Brute: Physically, Hazel's the tallest character in the series at eight feet zero, which combines with his muscular build to make even tall characters look frail by comparison. Although Hazel appears calm, rational and pacifistic on the surface, he descends into a violent, unstoppable rage when in the presence of Ozpin, due to his undying hatred for the man he holds responsible for the death of his sister. Unlike most fighters in the setting, Hazel does not appear to use any weapons. Instead, thanks to a Semblance that allows him to feel no pain, he stabs Dust crystals into his arms which powers him up even beyond his physical limits. He then fights with his fists, empowered by the Dust crystals which give his fists elemental attacks, such as fire or lightning.
  • Cold Ham: He hardly speaks, and when he does it's often overly matter-of-fact. However, his presence is very hard to ignore; his entrance during the battle of Haven, instantly draws everyone's attention when he loudly slams the doors shut with the announcement that the White Fang is preparing to blow up the school and no one can leave. When he becomes aware of the presence of Ozpin, whom Hazel believes to be responsible for his younger sister's death at Beacon, he starts shouting Ozpin's name with melodramatically elongated vowels, tossing out gratuitous death threats such as declaring his intention of killing Ozpin over and over again, and loudly insisting that Ozpin is evil and a monster.
  • Death Glare: After Leo informs him that Ozpin has reincarnated as Oscar he stares at Oscar for a few seconds, gritting his teeth and his eyes slowly becoming wider with rage before he screams Ozpin's name.
  • Determinator: While all Huntsmen and Huntresses can recharge Aura once it's depleted, Hazel's recharge rate is something special. While his Semblance allows him to Feel No Pain and shrug off blows that would normally be crippling, he's still vulnerable to damage, whether it be getting thrown like a ragdoll and pummeled through the entrance of a building courtesy of Nora, or being impaled courtesy of Weiss' Queen Lancer summon. However, Hazel amazes the heroes by still being able to fight afterwards; Nora notes that the former can recharge his Aura faster than she's ever seen and Qrow comments that it seems to be sheer force of willpower. While Ozpin says that "all" they need to do is get him to his limit, it's something none of them achieve by the end of the encounter, despite Hazel being vastly outnumbered.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Salem's cohort of subordinates is introduced in Volume 4, Hazel barely interacts with the other characters and therefore remains in the background. He later arrives at a train station just as Oscar does. Although Ozpin warns Oscar to be on his guard, Hazel isn't a threat to Oscar; he instead notices that Oscar is trying to obtain a train ticket and comes over to help force the machine to spit one out for him. He then advises Oscar to not let small things stand in his way before leaving. Subsequent appearances reveal him to be a man who loathes violence and killing; he tries to avoid needless death and tells his opponents that he has no wish to fight them. His establishing scene sets up his future confrontation with Oscar; his hatred of Ozpin is so great that he is willing to throw away all his beliefs just for the chance to kill him — even if means killing the innocent boy who currently and involuntarily hosts Ozpin.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Though he's perfectly willing to kill Oscar, a young boy, in order to kill Ozpin, he nonetheless asks Oscar to forgive him before attacking. Additionally, he also tells Ren and Nora that he doesn’t wish to fight them, and was also disgusted with Adam for killing Sienna Khan in cold blood, insisting that nobody needed to die.
  • The Fatalist: According to his Amity Arena bio, Hazel believes that there is no point in fighting as a Huntsman since no matter what any of them do, nothing ever changes. The world is still filled with the Grimm and drowning in darkness, so why should they bother trying if nothing ever gets better? After Gretchen died during a training accident, he held Ozpin responsible for making her believe she could make a difference and convincing her to attend Beacon. So he swore he would force Ozpin to answer this question with his dying breath, no matter how many times he needs to kill him.
  • Feel No Pain: Ozpin informs Nora that Hazel's Semblance allows him to block out pain, enabling him to endure directly stabbing Dust crystals into his body.
  • Gender-Blender Name: While Hazel is a very common boy's name, it's more widely regarded as a female name. Hazel, however, is a real man's man who advises a child he briefly helps not to let small problems stand in their way; he solved the kid's problem with a ticket machine by punching it.
  • Gentle Giant: Hazel is the biggest of Salem's inner circle and the least villainous (provided Ozpin isn't in the room). He doesn't insult or provoke Cinder like the rest, he is also rather courteous to Emerald, carrying her during their escape from Haven Academy and gently leading her out of the room when Salem's rage surfaces.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Hazel's inner elbows are littered with scars, the result of stabbing Dust crystals directly into his arms during battle. The location of the scars and their method of creation are disturbingly similar to the track marks commonly seen with substance abuse. Even when fully clothed, Hazel's scars peek out from under his sleeves and add to his intimidating presence.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: Hazel is able to empower himself further by stabbing raw Dust crystals into his upper arms. His arms noticeably swell up with his veins becoming more pronounced, augmenting his already fearsome strength.
  • Guttural Growler: Every time Hazel speaks, the tone is a low growl.
  • Heroic Willpower: Hazel's willpower is so immense that he can force his Aura to recharge mid-battle, a feat never previously seen in-series. It allows him to tank the strongest attacks from the heroes at Beacon and get back up a few seconds later. It's perhaps Hazel's greatest weapon as it allows him to simply outlast anyone he fights.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: While distracted watching the White Fang's antics in Haven's courtyard, Hazel is stabbed through the abdomen from behind by the stinger of the Queen Lancer summoned by Weiss, which proceeds to violently drag him back into the room he had been in.
  • Immunity Disability: He may be immune to pain thanks to his Semblance, but it doesn't stop him from taking damage, which Weiss and Nora take full advantage of to land critical blows.
  • Ironic Echo: When Adam shocks Hazel by assassinating Sienna in front of him, he justifies not having told Hazel in advance by saying it's his business (Faunus), not Hazel's (human). During the battle of Haven, Adam's small stealth force is overwhelmed when the Menagerie Faunus army led by Blake and her parents shows up with the Mistral Police in tow. When Adam turns to Hazel and asks when they should do, Hazel merely tells him this is Adam's business, not his.
  • It's Personal: Hazel is a calm individual who hates fighting and unnecessary killing. Except where Ozpin is concerned. Blaming Ozpin for the death of his little sister, who died during a Beacon Academy training mission, he is determined to see Ozpin destroyed. He knows that Ozpin cannot truly die, instead reincarnating into the body of a boy whenever his current host's body dies; regarding Ozpin as an evil monster who sacrifices the lives of children, Hazel vows to kill Ozpin over and over again — even if he has to kill children himself to achieve his aim.
  • The Juggernaut: Hazel is an unstoppable mix of Super Toughness and sheer willpower who is one of the strongest non-magical beings in the entire world. Combine that with his Semblance to block out pain and you get a man who refuses to stay down no matter what the heroes throw at him. An entire flurry of strikes from Ozpin? Nope. A head-on blow from a Semblance empowered Nora? Minor annoyance. Getting impaled by an enormous stinger from Weiss' Queen Lancer summon? Still not enough. By the end of the battle at Haven, both Nora and Qrow voice their astonishment at how he's still going strong despite all the punishment he's taken.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Although Hazel objected to his sister's application to Beacon Academy on the grounds that she was a child and was not ready, Ozpin accepted her application regardless. When she was killed on a training mission, Hazel held Ozpin personally responsible and has been determined to make him pay ever since. He considers Ozpin a monster for putting children onto the battlefield and believes Oscar is harbouring 'evil' inside him. He insists that any children he harms to reach Ozpin, including Ozpin's current fourteen-year-old host Oscar, will be Ozpin's fault. Ozpin tells Oscar that Hazel is wounded in a way that cannot be healed.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Although Hazel doesn't like fighting, he doesn't hesitate to engage when pushed into combat. Upon realising he will have to fight, he first cracks his neck and then his knuckles before entering the fray.
  • Large Ham: While he is typically quiet and reserved, upon learning that he is in the same room as Ozpin, he starts screaming his name and loudly shouting death threats and how Ozpin killed his sister.
  • Logical Weakness: His Feel No Pain Semblance doesn't really stop him from taking damage, it just prevents him from feeling it. While useful in how it lets him stick giant Dust crystals into his arms with little apparent negative effect, Nora and Weiss still manage to hurt him despite this in "Downfall".
  • Meaningful Name: His surname translates to 'strong judgement' in German. On the surface, Hazel is a man who seldom speaks, and strongly disapproves of unnecessary violence, as shown when he berates Adam for killing Sienna Khan instead letting Hazel take the diplomatic route. Underneath that, however, is a man who holds a very strong grudge against Ozpin for his sister dying during a training mission at Beacon Academy, which Hazel holds Ozpin responsible for. His grudge is so strong that he judges Ozpin as 'evil', and calls him a monster for allowing children to die fighting for him, even if their cause of death is from Hazel fighting them to get to Ozpin.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: His large, muscular frame lends itself well to his unarmed fighting style, being able to throw fully grown men like Qrow like they were ragdolls. Before realizing that Ozpin has reincarnated in Oscar he is briefly seen with fighting Nora and Ren, staying mostly stationary and on the defensive. After stabbing lightning dust into his arms he becomes much more aggressive and quick but is unable to keep up with the smaller and more nimble Oscar.
  • Neck Lift: After Leo bumps into him at the end of his tumble down the stairs, Hazel lifts the professor up by his collar with one hand to reprimand him for letting a child (Oscar) make a fool of him.
  • Never My Fault: As Hazel's about to murder Oscar for serving as Ozpin's newest reincarnation, he claims that Oscar's blood won't be on his hands, but Ozpin's for dragging the boy into the conflict. Never mind that Ozpin has no control over who becomes his new host upon reincarnation. He also demands to know how many more children Ozpin will drag to their death...while pinning Nora to the ground and electrocuting her with an obvious intention to kill her. His Amity Arena bio makes it clear that he refuses to believe Gretchen made her own choice to become a Huntress, and that Ozpin manipulated her into joining him.
  • Noble Demon: Salem tries to teach Cinder to understand that killing isn't always the right thing to do, that making use of people should always be the first port of call. Hazel is very keen to carry out this philosophy; he doesn't go out of his way to antagonize strangers, as shown when he helps out a complete stranger (again, Oscar) obtain a train ticket. He also works very hard to appease Sienna Khan's mistrust of humans, calmly, politely and submissively insisting that he does not want any unnecessary killing and that he just wants to talk. When Adam kills Sienna to take command of the White Fang, Hazel is furious because he feels Adam has engaged in completely unnecessary violence that is in complete opposition to Hazel's attempts to carry out Salem's orders. Later on, when confronting the heroes at Haven Academy, he doesn't deride the heroes the way Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald do, simply barring the doors and stating that no one is entering or leaving before taking on Ren and Nora. He tolerates his fellow operatives and doesn't engage in the bickering that Watts, Cinder or Tyrian like to partake in; he even acknowledges Cinder as a part of their fold while seeming somewhat surprised that she was defeated by a seemingly inferior opponent such as Ruby Rose, and is reluctant to pin the blame for their failure at Haven entirely on her.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Because Oscar doesn't have enough lien to buy a train ticket, Hazel slams his fist down onto the ticket machine, causing it to spit one out.
  • Playing with Fire: When his electic Dust starts running out he replaces it with fire Dust.
  • The Quiet One: He doesn't engage in the bantering and mocking that Salem's other subordinates engage in. He only speaks when he has something specific to say, when directly addressed, or when confronted with Ozpin.
  • Reluctant Warrior: When Hazel visits the White Fang, he is adamant that no-one needs to die and that he isn't there to fight. He makes it clear that he doesn't like needless death. When challenged to a fight, he states he has no desire to fight but he doesn't hesitate to do so in the face of determined opponents. The only time he'll take the initiative is when confronted with his hated enemy Ozpin, who he's all too eager to rip limb-from-limb.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Ozpin blatantly says that his Feel No Pain Semblance is the only reason he can jam so much Dust into himself the way that he does.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Hazel hates fighting and unnecessary killing, and believes that Ozpin is an evil monster who deliberately sacrifices the lives of children. He also objects to Adam deviating from Salem's plan to recruit Sienna when Adam uses the opportunity to murder her. However, he blames Ozpin for the death of his sister, which occurred during a Beacon Academy training mission; the moment he realises Ozpin is present, he deviates from Salem's plan to destroy Haven and steal the Relic of Knowledge, decides killing the fourteen-year-old Oscar is acceptable because he's Ozpin's current host, and further decides to try and torture Nora to death via electrocution just so he can claim that Ozpin's responsible for two more child deaths.
  • Revenge Myopia: He's thrown his lot in with Salem, who is planning for the fall of humanity, despite the fact he hates violence and killing. He regards Ozpin as pure evil and the cause of his sister's death because Ozpin accepted his sister's application to Beacon, leading to her death on a training mission. While Oscar had nothing to do with this, Hazel is willing to kill him for being Ozpin's new host, and palm off the blame onto Ozpin, despite the fact neither Ozpin nor Oscar chose to undergo a soul-merge. Cinder indicates that Hazel and Tyrian have been killing all the huntsmen in Mistral, suggesting that Hazel has no trouble putting other families through what he blames Ozpin for putting him through. He also has no trouble hurting and electrocuting children in front of Ozpin while attempting to pin the blame for them being injured and in pain on Ozpin.
  • Shock and Awe: After Hazel injects yellow Dust crystals into his arms he gains yellow electric powers that enhance his already powerful strength. He can also fire bursts of electricity from a distance through his punches.
  • Super Toughness: While all characters with their aura unlocked have a degree of this due to aura acting as a personal force field, Hazel takes it further than anyone introduced so far. During the battle at Haven, he blocks strikes from Ren and Qrow's weapons using his bare arms without a second thought and shrugs off a barrage of blows from Ozpin when Ozpin forcibly takes over Oscar's body. Even after enduring all of their attacks, he continues fighting with no sign of his aura beginning to weaken, though he does show signs of tiring.
  • Token Good Teammate: Salem's team of subordinates include Cinder and Dr. Watts, who are both arrogant sadists, and Tyrian who openly loves battle and killing people. Hazel, in comparison, is calm, restrained, shows the occasional moment of kindness and detests unnecessary conflict, violence or killing. While the other three treat Emerald and Mercury with either disregard, disdain, and/or malice, Hazel is almost protective of them as he repeatedly tries to shield them from Tyrian's jibes and Salem's wrath. He regards Ozpin as pure evil for accepting Hazel's sister into Beacon Academy and then sending her on a training mission that led to her death.
  • Voice of the Legion: After empowering himself by stabbing himself with electric Dust crystals, they alter his voice to become a menacing echo.
  • X-Ray Sparks: When he injects himself with Yellow Dust crystals, it augments his body with lighting, and anyone unfortunate enough to come into contact with it is in for a nasty shock. Two of those victims are Qrow and Nora, whose skeletons are briefly visible when being punched into the ceiling and headpalmed into the floor respectively. Unfortunately for Hazel, this has the effect of buffing Nora's semblance, and her skeleton is seen as she lifts his hand up and throws him to the floor.
  • You Killed My Father: Hazel's younger sister enlisted into Beacon Academy and tragically died during a training mission. Hazel holds Ozpin personally responsible for her death and has vowed to kill him over and over again, something that is possible because Ozpin is cursed to not die like other people; when his host's body dies, his soul, Aura and memories transfer to a new host.

    Arthur Watts 

Doctor Arthur Watts

Voiced by: Christopher Sabat [EN], Toru Okawa [JP]

Debut: The Next Step
"My apologies, ma'am. I'm not particularly fond of failure."

"I'm still just so fascinated by this creature. Cinder, dear? Are we coming through? Can you see us clearly? Well, as clearly as you can!"

One of Salem's associates. A disgraced doctor and scientist from Atlas, he faked his death during the "Paladin Incident" several years prior before joining Salem. He is the only member of Salem's group who speaks to her conversationally. Watts is a skilled hacker and code manipulator; he designed the security code for Mantle and, as the code has not been updated since, uses that knowledge to disable security in the area or manipulate it to his advantage. While not primarily a fighter, when forced to he wields a revolver in combination with Hard Light Dust shields built into his rings that can also be used as platforms and as a snare.

  • Admiring the Abomination: Seer Grimm are eerie jellyfish-like Grimm that move by floating through the air and can hover silently in one spot until they're needed. When Salem calls one into her hall, Emerald and Mercury shrink against the wall in terror to avoid it, and Salem instructs Cinder that she must not display anxiety in its presence. Watts, however, finds them absolutely fascinating, and has no problem with poking and prodding one to satisfy his curiosity.
  • Arch-Enemy: Watts has a personal vendetta against Ironwood. Although he calls Ironwood by his first name, something Ironwood only allows friends to do, Watts is bitter that Pietro's project was chosen over his own; he feels as though Ironwood took him for granted and didn't give his genius the credit he feels he deserves. As a result, he's determined to get revenge against Ironwood by any means necessary. He therefore uses his skills to hack computers and Atlesian technology in Vale to turn Ironwood's army against Ironwood and Vale; he then hacks Mantle's security to discredit both Ironwood and Pietro's technology, setting in motion a series of events that leads to Ironwood unravelling from stress. Pietro's project was Penny, who is assigned the duty of protecting Mantle. By framing Penny for a massacre of Ironwood's political rival, Robyn, Watts turns Mantle against him; he then manipulates the election to ensure Jacques wins so that he can use Jacques to infiltrate the Atlesian security and make Ironwood's life a living hell.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: His revolver may be tricked up with Dust rounds and has a large ammo capacity, but reloading it mid-fight is impractical enough that Watts has to count his shots while evading Ironwood.
  • Badass Bookworm: He typically aids Salem's cause through his intelligence and hacking skills, but when pushed into a corner he is perfectly capable of putting up a hell of a fight against the heroes. General Ironwood ultimately has to pull his arm through a force field that tears the skin off his arm in order to bring him down.
  • Badass Mustache: Watts, along with Hazel and Hei "Junior" Xiong, is one of the few male villains with facial hair; In Watts' case, his is a black, scruffy mustache. Watts is a skilled hacker who, while normally stiff and formal, conducts himself with style and flair while performing complex hacking maneuvers and direct combat.
  • Big "WHAT?!": When Watts fights Ironwood, Watts plans every move he makes and uses technology to his advantage as they battle. Although Watts clearly has a good understanding of Ironwood's personality, Ironwood's resolve takes him by surprise at one point in the fight. Watts exclaims 'What?!' when Ironwood tears his arm free of the hard light ripping all the skin off in the process.
  • Brains and Brawn: The Brains to Tyrian's Brawn. In Atlas, Dr. Watts uses his hacking expertise to support Tyrian's fieldwork and assassinations from the sidelines, whose speed and strength are only rivaled by Qrow.
  • Brains Evil, Brawn Good: During his fight with the heroic General Ironwood, he compares his own brains to Ironwood's brawn and notes that they are evenly matched. Ironwood is clearly the superior fighter in straightforward combat, but Watts makes good use of his hacking skills to control the terrain of Amity Colosseum and keep pace with him.
  • Counting Bullets: Watts' revolver has twenty rounds in the cylinder with many different dust bullets. Since reloading on the fly would be impractical, Watts quietly keeps count to himself every time he fires a shot, planning his next move accordingly.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Watts is aware that his mind is his best weapon and stacks the deck in his favor. When Ironwood tricks him into going into the arena and locks the two of them up, Watts hacks the system and manipulates the environment to his advantage. He repeatedly uses the biome system to hold off and nearly kill the general who is clearly better in a straightforward fight, and when it looks like he's finally cornered, he traps Ironwood's arm in a Hard Light shield that will burn him if he tries to pull it out.
  • The Cracker: The virus that hacks Vale's system to enable Cinder's mission during Volumes 1-3 is designed by someone whose signature is a cursive 'W'. In Volume 5, when Leo is communicating with Watts, Watts' signature is the same cursive 'W', confirming that he's the Vale hacker. In Volume 7, Watts is walking through Mantle talking to Tyrian by earpiece and apparently paying no attention to anything that's happening in the city around him. However, as he travels, security systems start behaving in ways that benefit him: security cameras turn away or de-activate so that his presence on the streets isn't detected, and safety bollards rise in the road whenever he steps off the pavement, causing vehicles to crash into them, but allowing him to cross the road whenever he feels like it. Watts helped design the codes that control Mantle's security infrastructure. While Ironwood is paranoid enough to keep updating Atlesian security software and protocols, Mantle — as it always is — has been neglected and is still using the software and security protocols he helped design. As a result, it's easy for him to hack the Mantle infrastructure. Later, Watts helps Jacques into a seat on the Council in exchange for his log-in credentials, thereby granting him even more control, to the point where he can turn all of Amity Colosseum into a weapon against Ironwood.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dr. Watts isn't above using condescending sarcasm to address others.
    Watts: A spitting image of you, this young lad [Whitley], Jacques; creepily so, if I might add.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Watts is very clever, but he can still be caught off guard. For one, he doesn't realize the true purpose behind the colosseum's remodeling until Ironwood public announces it was meant to become a communications tower. Then he decides to personally sabotage the structure upon hearing it's finished, not realizing the general has set a trap for him. Even after snaring him with a Hard Light shield, Watts turns his back on Ironwood, thereby being completely shocked when he pulls himself free and then scrapes him across the floor.
  • Driven by Envy: Watts is a disgraced Atlesian scientist who blames Ironwood for what happened to him. When Pietro came up with the idea of creating Penny, a number of scientists were competing for project support. Ironwood chose Pietro's project over the others and Watts is furious that Ironwood didn't recognise his genius, calling Pietro a 'fat imbecile'.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The earliest mention of Watts comes long before his formal introduction to the series, in the form of his distinct "W" signature. He is the creator of the program Cinder uses to control Vale's network, with his signature appearing in the bottom corner of her scroll whenever Cinder accesses systems.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His introduction involves him dissing Cinder's subordinates (Mercury and Emerald); he then mocks Cinder's injuries by suggesting they thank Ruby for shutting Cinder up as a result of Cinder's loss of speech. Subsequent appearances confirm he's a cynical man, prone to biting sarcasm and character-baiting, while being impatient with the personality flaws of others and intolerant of the mistakes that others make. The establishing scene sets up a future confrontation during Cinder's meeting with Raven, where he instantly identifies the flaws in Raven's plan and in Cinder's motive for accepting Raven's plan.
  • Evil Former Friend: His RWBY: Amity Arena profile reveals that Watts and Pietro Polendina were once friends. As Pietro's research gained more focus, Watts became increasingly jealous and ultimately joined Salem's faction. When battling Ironwood, Watts lays the blame at his feet for not "appreciating" his genius and choosing Pietro over him.
  • Evil Genius: Out of Salem's associates, Watts appears to be the group's planner and manipulator; his programming expertise allows Cinder to plant a virus on the CCT computers in Vale that bear the signature "W" that he uses when communicating digitally with others. He admits that Seer Grimm fascinates him, and Salem puts him in charge of replacing Tyrian's broken tail. Raven calls him a "disgraced Atlesian scientist", a description he objects to because it misses the fact that he's "technically a doctor" as well. In Volume 7, he confirms he helped write the code for Mantle's security codes and, because Mantle's security is so outdated, he can easily hack the system remotely, ensuring his ability to walk openly on the streets without being electronically detected. A photo on Dr. Polendina's desk also shows a younger Arthur, implying he was part of the program that led to Penny's creation as well.
  • Evil Is Petty: In addition to his constant unnecessary jibes towards Cinder and her injuries, in his first appearance in volume 7, Watts causes several traffic accidents and a full-on collision just so he doesn't have to break his stride as he walks down the street. Because Mantle's security software is so outdated it still uses the programming code he helped design, he can remotely hack the system to control traffic lights and road bollards, ensuring lights change whenever he wants them to, and the bollards rise to prevent cars from cross the road where he is walking.
  • Faking the Dead: While Raven was able to identify Dr. Watts as "a disgraced Atlesian scientist", the majority of Atlas and Mantle who know of Watts assume him to be dead, per his design. When Watts pays Jacques a surprise visit, Jacques is astonished because he's supposed to be dead. Watts mildly admits that's what he wants people to believe.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Downplayed. He is generally polite and cordial with others, but often undercuts this with very biting remarks and sarcasm. Especially notable when he interacts with Lionheart. While his tone tends to be polite, there is an obvious atmosphere of menace he is trying to create just before having him talk with Salem. He also goes out of his way to taunt Cinder during this call, showing how thin his politeness really is.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Dr. Watts wears a pair of dark purple fingerless gloves on his hands. They are most likely meant to protect his hands should he get into a fight while also allowing him full dexterity for hacking.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Watts knows that in a straight up battle, Ironwood would be able to decimate him in no time at all. As such, much of their firefight happens while Watts runs from Ironwood, using the Amity Arena to give him an environmental advantage.
  • Hand Cannon: While he prefers to work from the shadows, his weapon of choice when forced to fight is a revolver. Unlike Ironwood's more modern and utilitarian design, Watts' has a distinct Old West design along with an enlarged cylinder and lots of ornate gold trim. The cylinder carries 20 shots and leads to two barrels; Watts can therefore alternate between single and double shots when he pulls the trigger. The handle is also solid enough that he can use it for bludgeoning in a pinch.
  • The Heavy: Acting under Salem's orders, Watts is the primary driving antagonist throughout Volume 7. He spends his time masterminding a plot to subvert Atlas from within and prepare the terrain for Salem's arrival; his malevolent intent makes him directly responsible for all problems affecting the heroes, with Tyrian following his orders and Jacques being his Unwitting Pawn.
  • It's Personal: While he's acting on Salem's will in attacking Atlas with Tyrian, Dr. Watts has a personal grudge against General Ironwood that he's all too happy to act on while doing his job. Dr. Watts was one of Atlas' top scientists, one of the five General Ironwood commissioned to improve the military's technology. Watts resents Ironwood because he claims that the general never appreciated his work, but took the credit for it while also choosing Pietro's P.E.N.N.Y. project over his own genius.
  • Jerkass: He goes out of his way to mock and belittle Cinder and her team for Cinder's failure against Ruby, and clearly holds himself superior. The fact that Cinder can't speak in her own defense clearly doesn't bother him. He's also noticeably condescending to Professor Lionheart, clearly enjoying the latter's fearful demeanor when reporting to Salem, and watches as the professor is strangled by Salem via the Seer with a bored facial expression.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Watts is generally unpleasant, intolerant of failure, and full of sarcastic put-downs for anyone whom he deems to have failed or is beneath him. When Watts and the rest of Salem's faction reconvene with Salem for the first time after the fall of Beacon, this behavior is seen first-hand as he goes out of his way to mock Cinder for being defeated, scarred and rendered temporarily mute by Ruby after the former is caught in the blast of the latter's burgeoning powers having awakened for the first time. He doesn't even care that Cinder can't even speak clearly enough to defend herself without Emerald's help. When reporting the discovery of the Spring Maiden to Salem with Lionheart via Seer Grimm, Watts goes out of his way to interrupt the latter's report just to take a verbal pot-shot at Cinder on the other end, mockingly asking her if she can see him clearly with just one eye since the other one was destroyed by Ruby's eyes. However undeserved this may seem, Cinder is a power-lusting egomaniac who delights in hurting or killing anyone regardless of whether or not it will benefit her, and who looked upon the fall of Beacon with barely-disguised pleasure at the massacre. With this in mind, whatever sympathy Cinder may have kindled instantly evaporates.
  • Lean and Mean: Watts has a rather wiry and thin physique even by the show's standards. In addition to working with Salem, he is also rather unpleasant in general with how he mocks Cinder's injuries. He also shows clear relish in Lionheart's fear of Salem when he comes to him to set up a meeting.
  • Lack of Empathy: Dr. Watts doesn't care for anyone other than himself. He snidely derides Cinder's injuries, doesn't so much as blink at Lionheart being strangled by Salem's Seer Grimm, and the only reason he objects to Raven wanting them to kill her own twin brother is because it could be too messy. Come Volume 7, the disgraced doctor has Tyrian turn Robyn Hill's party into a bloodbath while framing Penny in the process, the only reaction being satisfaction at the fear generated. He then shuts off the heating systems in all of Mantle which is pretty much a death sentence via either Grimm or the temperatures. Even after being captured, Watts sees dark clouds on the horizon, heralding Salem's coming with her Grimm army; after a brief moment of surprise, he gives a pleased look.
    Watts: [watching aftermath of the party's killings] Fine work, Tyrian. I think we're done for tonight.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Watts is at his deadliest from a distance. Throughout Mantle, he shoots down the suggestion of a stationary hideout and stays mobile so as to ensure he can't be caught while hacking into the system. His weapon is also a revolver that can chamber more rounds than most models, but seems to lack an alternate form for close combat. Ironwood tricks him into heading to Amity Coliseum so as to stop him, but Watts takes control of the biome system and fires at him from far away. His entire strategy revolves throughout the fight around keeping Ironwood a fair distance away from him while the doctor attacks him with Dust shots and the arena itself. He shows some capability in hand-to-hand combat, but every time Ironwood gets in close, Watts takes a beating.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In addition to his skill at manipulating technology and coding, he's also skilled at manipulating people. When meeting with Jacques Schnee, Watts entices him with advice on how to win the upcoming council election and recoup his lost profits from Ironwood's embargo. Jacques later appears on a public broadcast informing the kingdom that he's forced to shut down his "non-essential" factories due to the embargo, while promising to restore them by opposing said embargo if he's elected councilman. The news incites riots throughout Mantle, spiking negativity at a time when tensions are already palpable. Watts rigs the election to ensure Jacques wins in return for login access to Jacques' account. He also frames Penny for a massacre he engineers with Tyrian's assistance. Jacques' elevation to the Atlas Council gives Watts full security access, enabling him to shut down Mantle's heating grid and lock Atlas out of its own network to prevent anyone from stopping him. This causes widespread rioting that triggers a full-scale Grimm invasion of Mantle.
    Jacques: I always knew you were a good scientist, Arthur... but I never knew you were such a good salesman.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: Dr. Watts is an intellectual first and foremost, but he shows prowess in marksmanship and is at least not helpless in a physical battle. Upon Ironwood trapping him in the Amity Colosseum, Watts not only hacks control of the arena's biome system, but pulls out his revolver and exchanges shots with the general. Some even hit their target in all the chaos of the battle. The doctor also combines strategy and manipulation of the battlefield with surprising agility for his build to stay out of reach. And when they get up close and personal, Watts flips his pistol so he's holding the barrel and comes in swinging. However, he's clearly nowhere near as skilled a physical fighter as his colleagues in Salem's court or Ironwood.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: He is referred to as a doctor, and was a disgraced scientist before joining the ultimate evil of Remnant as her technological expert (for instance, he was in charge of giving Tyrian his new tail). Even if he doesn't know the full extent of Salem's world-destroying plans (and he does seem to), he was crucial to the fall of Atlas, and Salem indicates he's an accomplice to the fall of Beacon too.
  • Noodle Incident: Councilman Sleet expresses disbelief upon learning Watts is still alive. He mentions that Watts was supposed to have perished in something called the Paladin Incident years ago. There is no further elaboration on what happened.
  • Not So Above It All: Watts is stiff and formal, does not tolerate failure and will not allow the possibility of Salem's plans being jeopardized. However, he is shown to have a somewhat immature, playful side as well. While reporting to Salem with Lionheart, Watts interrupts to poke and prod at the Seer Grimm - professing his fascination towards the creature that is currently serving as a means of communication to Salem - while taking a jab at Cinder and her injuries. When Raven sums up Cinder, Watts, Emerald and Mercury in a ridiculous manner, Watts concedes that her summation is spot-on but for the fact that Raven neglected to acknowledge that the former was a doctor as well as a scientist. While executing a complex feat of computer hacking in order to ensure Jacques Schnee's election to the council, and cover Tyrian's tracks for the murder of Robyn Hill's supporters by framing Penny for it, he waves his arms around like a musical conductor in a manner that suggests he takes enjoyment in it.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Dr. Watts prioritizes their mission for the Relics above anything else. When Raven demands that they kill Qrow so that she and Vernal will willingly unlock the Haven Vault, Dr. Watts is against the idea because a far more efficient plan of just going to the Vault without a large fight is possible, and taking a shot at Qrow will only risk the plan. He also accuses Cinder of endangering things to settle her score with Ruby.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Volume 7 reveals he carries an Old-West style double-barreled revolver with 20 rounds and fire, lightning and ice Dust loaded for personal combat. He first uses it when in battle with General Ironwood.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Worries that Cinder will jeopardize their group's goals when she makes a deal with Raven for the Spring Maiden's help in obtaining the Relic at Haven. He's concerned she'll use the opportunity to settle her grudge with Ruby at the cost of actually getting the Relic. Cinder actually forgoes revenge at the moment but still ruins things by trying to steal the Spring Maiden's power for herself; while Raven had planned to steal the Relic for herself while Cinder's group was fighting with Qrow's group, Cinder's determination to obtain both the Relic and the Spring Maiden's powers puts her into a position where she and Raven have to fight. As the more experienced Maiden, Raven defeats her.
  • Ring of Power: In Volume 7, Watts is wearing a set of rings on each hand which are really small computers in disguise. At the touch of a hidden button, Watts can discreetly run any command he's programmed into the rings. By activating the rings on his fingers in various combinations, he can achieve effects such as disabling all security cameras in his vicinity to prevent him and Tyrian being detected, remote hack a political rally and media networks to frame Penny for a massacre that's carried out by Tyrian, and even gain control of a technological environment as large as Amity Colosseum to control the biomes and central arena platform. The rings can also create Hard Light shields for defence, as stepping stones in midair and as a trap. However, Watts acknowledges that the extensive use to which he puts most of his rings during the Amity battle with Ironwood will require him to rebuild the rings afterwards and that it will be a pain to do so.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Dr. Watts certainly makes an effort to appear sophisticated; his regular attire consists of a gray suit over a purple waistcoat and yellow shirt with tie. While in Mantle, he takes to wearing a stylish purple overcoat with fur lining the hood.
  • The Sociopath: Watts is prideful and detests failure. He holds his own work in high regards and openly disdains his allies. While he listens to Salem and doesn't disrespect her, he seems driven mostly by self-preservation than respect. Watts has not shown any empathy for the people harmed by Salem's machinations and has no problem helping his colleagues kill people to further Salem's plans. He will manipulate anyone to achieve his goals and so sow division, whipping up intense negativity within populations to attract large-scale Grimm attacks. He takes great pride in his ability to control the security and technology of Mantle and the level of chaos is able to cause through that control. His hacking protects him and Tyrian from being caught on Mantle's cameras, enables him to download footage of Penny protecting Mantle, and even hack Penny herself to control what she can see. He can also guide Tyrian's movements during an attack that is designed to frame Penny by using the stolen footage to mimic the kind of damage her attacks cause. He shows no remorse for the carnage he enables Tyrian to commit, instead packing up and walking away with a whimsical flourish of the scroll that enabled him to do it. He then tops that by hacking into the heating grid to switch it off so that everyone in Mantle begins to freeze and no-one in Atlas can fix it because he's locked them out of their own security. Even when he is captured and locked in a cell with a view, Watts shows at first surprise when noticing dark clouds on the horizon, and then a pleased smirk; he knows Salem is coming with her army, and that Atlas and its population could soon be wiped off the map.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Cinder. While they both work for Salem, it's painfully obvious that the two cannot stand each other as Watts goes out of his way to antagonize Cinder every chance he gets. Cinder, for her part, is implied to give back as much as she gets. This is confirmed later on when negotiating with Raven Branwen for her cooperation with the retrieval of the Relic of Knowledge; Watts tries to negotiate peacefully, but Cinder uses not-so-subtle threats when Raven snarks back at them. When Raven proposes a counteroffer (she helps them get the Relic in exchange for the death of her brother, Qrow, in addition to them leaving her and her tribe to live in peace), Watts immediately points out the illogicality of it, but Cinder is too enticed by the possibility of getting revenge on Ruby for the loss of her eye. When Watts catches onto this, he roughly grabs Cinder by the wrist and tells her that he won't take the blame if the heist fails because of her single-mindedness; Cinder merely burns his hand with her Maiden powers, and tells him to go back to Salem and "tinker with his machines".
  • Tempting Fate: Watts is very confident in both his command of technology and his ability to analyse and factor in the personalities and behaviours of the people he's dealing with. During his battle with Ironwood, he traps the general's arm in a Hard Light force-field. Smugly pointing out that Ironwood would have to flay the skin off his entire arm to escape it, Watts turns his back to investigate how best to sabotage Amity Tower. He is shocked when Ironwood promptly rips his arm out of the force-field with a declaration that he'll sacrifice anything to stop Salem.
  • Wicked Cultured: He's a former Atlesian scholar and the most well-dressed and eloquent of Salem's inner circle, and even his revolver is adorned with ornate filigree.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: When Watts is finally defeated, it is not without receiving injuries on both sides. Even with the skin ripped off his arm, Ironwood still manages to grab Watts by the collar and forcibly drag his face across the Amity Arena's floor before holding him over the edge. It leaves quite a nasty burn on the left side of his face; later in a cell, the burn has lessened in size, but is still noticeable.

Cinder's Subordinates

Initially recruited to help her carry out Salem's plans for Beacon Academy, Cinder continues to find uses for them even after they leave the Kingdom of Vale.

    Emerald Sustrai 

Emerald Sustrai

Voiced By: Katie Newville [EN], Marina Inoue [JP]

Debut: Black and White
"I don't care about Salem.
But I owe Cinder everything."

"It's almost sad..."

One of two "right-hand men" to Cinder introduced in the Black and White stinger. Often feigning an amicable demeanor, Emerald is a snarky woman who also has a habit of sneakily robbing people when they least expect it. She's a premier stealth fighter, preferring opportunity attacks over straight up confrontations.

Emerald fights with pair of revolvers named Thief's Respite that have retractable blades attached via chains. She can use her Semblance "Hallucination" to generate auditory and visual hallucinations; although influencing a single target is straight-forward, she experiences increasing mental strain with each additional person she includes.

  • Anti-Villain: She's capable of cold, calculating acts of assassination and petty theft fakes friendship with Team RWBY in order to gather information on the protagonists' tournament strategy for Cinder's fight-fixing, and is willing to destroy the reputations of students to further Cinder's plans. However, when she witnesses the carnage Cinder's plot unleashes on the residents of Vale, she reacts with a sense of pathos; Mercury finds it funny and Cinder relishes the success of her unfolding plan, but Emerald comments that the situation "seems almost sad". When Ruby asks Emerald why she's supporting Salem's plans, Emerald tells her that she doesn't care about Salem; she's only involved out of personal loyalty to Cinder. When Cinder is outcast from Salem's group in Volume 6, Emerald explains to Mercury exactly why she's so loyal to Cinder, questioning her continued involvement with Salem now that Cinder is gone.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Her skin is very dark but all nations are fantasy nations in this show. She's not native to Vale, that's all that's been said.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Emerald's hair doesn't fall down or indeed move much when she performs flips and acrobatics. This could be excused with products, but it also applies to the two tails hung over her back.
  • Back Stab: How she finishes off Coco in the double rounds of the Vytal Festival. It's so devastating that she put her down to the red in Aura levels and knocked her unconscious when Coco's levels were previously at 70%.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Exponentially. Emerald's top has two portions - a beige brassiere and a strip-like shirt of white with black outlines. Combined, it leaves a sizable chunk of her chest exposed in a quasi-triangular, vaguely arrowhead shape. Her outfit in the flashback section of "Fall" also bares her midriff.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Villainous variant. The reason she follows Cinder so loyally is because Cinder was the first person in her life to reach out to her and offer her something better than a life of stealing for her next meal. Of course, Cinder recruited her only because of her Semblance, and it's made bluntly apparent that Cinder doesn't give a damn about her and effectively groomed her into villainy - something Mercury bluntly points out. When fighting Ruby in "The More The Merrier", Emerald outright tells her that she doesn't care about Salem or her goals, but she owes Cinder everything. When Yang returns from Haven's Vault with the Relic of Knowledge but Cinder doesn't, the obvious implication of her absence makes Emerald lose it.
    Cinder: Follow me, and you'll never be hungry again.
    Emerald: [genuinely grateful] Thank you.
  • Big "NO!": Emerald yells "no" in shock when she is unable to stop Yang from reaching Haven's vault.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Emerald's good at masking her true intentions with a polite facade. She acts very sweet to the old shop owner while trying to find the location of someone she's looking to murder in cold blood, stealing his wallet in the process. During the tournament, she acts super cheerful and friendly to Team RWBY, but as soon as they leave, she tells Mercury that she despises them; apparently she can't comprehend how they can be so happy all the time.
  • Cleavage Window: She wears a two-layered design. The green top barely covers her breasts, while a white bolero wraps around her neck. Together they create an exposed cleavage region.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Instead of taking on Yatsuhashi and Coco directly, she melts away into long grass so her opponents lose sight of her, then sets herself up in the trees to engage in guerrilla-style ambush attacks. When she does finally confront her opponent directly, she attacks from behind. When fighting Ruby in "The More The Merrier", she uses an illusion of Cinder to distract Ruby so she can sweep her off her feet with her falx, causing Ruby to accidentally fire a shot that nearly hits Weiss. And later, when Ruby activates her Silver Eyes, Emerald seizes the opportunity to strike her from behind, knocking her out cold.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: While she sees virtually no action in her doubles fight up until she drags Coco into the forest, Emerald easily defeats her opponent by inducing an hallucination of Yatsuhashi when he's been been beaten by Mercury beforehand, before going in for a strike in the back. One so powerful it knocks Coco's Aura from 70% to critical and promptly disqualifies her.
  • Dark Action Girl: Cinder's associate and a thief who uses stealth and isn't above employing under-handed tactics to defeat someone, as Coco can attest.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She's pretty sardonic at times. When Roman snarks about how "it's like a divorce" regarding him and Cinder, Emerald immediately counters with:
    Emerald: Spare us the thought of you procreating.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: When Emerald and Mercury discuss their situation in the absence of Cinder, Emerald insists that Mercury tell her why he signed up to Cinder's cause in the first place. She isn't thrilled by his response and tries to push him further. He says "It made sense" but she can't believe he'd sign up unless there was something in it for him. In the end, he just tells her that he was trained to be an assassin and Cinder wanted an assassin, so he feels he's exactly where he should be.
  • Dual Wielding: Emerald has a pair of gun knives she uses in battle, which she uses on both hands in Volume 2's finale.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Having grown up on the streets as an orphan, Emerald had no one to care for her. Though she only recruited her for her Semblance, Cinder was the first person to reach out to her and offer her a better life. Emerald has therefore been Cinder's most loyal ally, viewing acts such as Cinder purchasing things for her as evidence of affection and regarding Cinder as the mother figure she never had. When Cinder vanishes after her battle with Raven, Emerald breaks down and summons a giant Salem illusion. When Mercury tells her point blank that Cinder doesn't actually care about her and never has, Emerald loses her temper and attacks him, refusing to believe for a second that Cinder is just using her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Raven says she wants her brother killed in exchange for her cooperation, Emerald is visibly shocked. She and Mercury are also horrified when they discover the Grimm coming out at a seemingly endless rate from the Land of Darkness' pools, and they both cringe in fear against the door when Salem introduces the Seer Grimm to them.
  • Evil Counterpart: She and Blake are snarky, aloof, balk at the innocent cheer of others, and have similar dual-fighting weapon styles. Emerald sports twin revolvers on chains while Blake uses pistol-swords on ribbons; Emerald manipulates the mind to deceive her opponents, while Blake generates shadow-clones to deceive hers. Both had harsh upbringings, fighting to survive poverty and inequality respectively and were guided by abusive mentors. While Blake eventually turned her back on the violence of Adam and the White Fang, Emerald has only shown a hint of doubt about Cinder's path, but otherwise loyally supports her. In short, Emerald is what likely would have happened to Blake had she never left Adam's side.
  • False Friend: She acts friendly towards Team RWBY, but she's actually their enemy and in "Round One" she immediately starts telling Mercury how much she hates them as soon as they part ways.
  • Fanservice Pack: Retroactively downplayed. Flashbacks of Emerald's past in "Fall" shows that she used to wear a relatively conservative green tank top. In the modern day, said tank top has been replaced by a skimpier shirt that bares cleavage.
  • Five-Finger Discount: She enjoys pickpocketing, robbing the Dust Till Dawn shopkeeper from his wallet with nary a hint, and later snatches Roman's lighter as revenge for his earlier demonstration of pickpocketing.
  • Gainaxing: Suffers from this to an equal or even greater level than Yang. Regardless of the "actual" level of the gainaxing effect, the bouncing is much more prominent on Emerald compared to Yang thanks to Emerald's above-mentioned arrowhead cleavage window. Even in scenes where she's just standing still, her breathing alone is enough to send her breasts bouncing all over creation. The Animator Commentary reveals that they set her model up so that they each moved independently rather than as a single element, and found themselves having to go in and tone it down at times.
  • The Gunslinger: Her falxes are also revolvers, going along with the cowboy chaps she wears.
  • Gun Twirling: Seen when she pulls out her weapons during the Volume 2 finale before opening fire.
  • Lack of Empathy: After murdering Tukson, Emerald casually jokes about about him with Mercury, and only feels bad about disappointing Cinder when she chews them out for not following her orders. It takes being involved in the massacre of an entire city to get even the slightest bit of remorse out of her.
  • Master of Illusion: Her Semblance, which allows her to project lifelike hallucinations into the minds of others, and is first seen when she unnerves Coco with a illusion that resembles Yatsuhashi. Unlike Neo's illusions, the hallucinations that Emerald creates lack substance and can easily be identified as fake via touch. In addition, she needs to maintain focus to keep the illusion going, and can generally only focus on one target at a time, any more than that leaving her with a killer migraine afterwards.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sustrai" is Basque for "thief". Emerald is a street rat who has become an exceptionally-skilled thief. Put together, her name essentially means "jewel thief" and on at least one occasion she made her living by stealing priceless jewelry.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: To Cinder. Though Cinder only recruited Emerald for her Semblance, Cinder was the first person in her life to reach out to her and offer her something better than a life of poverty. Because of this, Emerald has since become Cinder's most loyal ally. While she does display a hint of remorse during the fall of Beacon, it isn't enough for her to leave Cinder's side. During her fight with Ruby in "The More The Merrier", she outright tells Ruby that she doesn't care about Salem or her goals, but she owes Cinder everything.
  • Out of Focus: Like Mercury, Emerald is benched for much of the Mistral seasons, only having a few lines of dialogue in Volumes 4 and 5. Volume 7 marks the first time neither she or Mercury appear.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: When Emerald manipulates Yang into believing Mercury's attacking her to frame her on global television as a vicious thug who enjoys hurting defenceless people, she has to manipulate the minds of the two paramedics who arrive to carry Mercury out of the arena. It leaves her with a pounding headache because she struggles to manipulate more than one mind at a time. During the attack on Haven, the villains find themselves surrounded by Menagerie's militia and the Mistral Police; she conjures an illusion of Salem to distract the nine people inside the building with her, clutching her head and screaming as she does so. When the villains are shown fleeing into the forest, Hazel is carrying the unconscious Emerald.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Sports a small one right before she hit Coco in the back of the neck with her falx, winning the fight.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The camera has a tendency to focus on Emerald's vivid red eyes whenever she's tapping into her illusion powers. Emerald's abilities are the main reason why Cinder is so successful in destroying Beacon Academy and becoming the next Fall Maiden. She can make a target perceive anything she wants, and all the senses are fooled, not just sight. She enables Amber to be ambushed by making Amber think there's a crying child in need of help, and ensures Amber has troubling seeing exactly where Cinder, Mercury and herself are during their fight. She also fools Yang into seeing and hearing Mercury attack her from behind after their tournament ends, resulting in Yang appearing to the watching world as though she's attacked a badly injured and defeated Mercury for absolutely no reason. This disqualifies Team RWBY from the tournament.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: Emerald used to live on the streets, surviving by using her illusion powers to steal and facing a future filled only with constant hunger and no prospects. When Cinder witnesses Emerald steal an expensive ring by convincing the jeweller to "voluntarily" give it to her, she decides to recruit Emerald to her cause. She corners Emerald in an alley and gives her the option between being caught by the cops who are closing in on her or becoming a part of something that will ensure she never goes hungry again. Since joining Cinder's team, Emerald has been completely loyal even when mistreated by Cinder or terrified by Salem. When Ruby tries to understand what Emerald is doing with Salem, Emerald emphatically declares that she doesn't care about Salem, but owes Cinder everything.
  • Rock Theme Naming: Emerald is named after the semi-precious stone, and her hair is green to match the name. Cleopatra, whom Emerald resembles, was said to have been both obsessed with and cursed by emeralds.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Emerald idolizes Cinder as a savior and views her as a mother figure, voluntarily helping her commit all manner of atrocities while refusing to acknowledge or admit that her boss is a ruthless, abusive narcissist who has never shown genuine concern for anyone but herself. Her denial runs so deep that when Mercury tells her point-blank that Cinder has never cared about her and sees her as nothing but a tool, Emerald flies into a rage and attacks him.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Emerald's weapons appear to be a pair of falxes with alternative gun functionality, each having a blade which folds against the barrel, and can detach with chains to create a kusarigama-like weapon. As such, they can be used for both hand-to-hand and ranged combat.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Back when she first meet Mercury she wasn't too fond of him, and tried to convince Cinder that they didn't need him for their plans, before Cinder reminded her of her place. Their relationship during the Vale mission consists of them teasing and mocking each other like constantly-squabbling siblings.
  • Undying Loyalty: Emerald makes it absolutely clear to Ruby that she doesn't care about Salem or what Salem does to people. Cinder saved her from poverty and starvation, and she therefore feels she owes Cinder everything. Even when Mercury tells her she's in denial to think that Cinder cares about her, she refuses to believe it and attacks Mercury for saying it.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Her weapon's chain length is usually held at nunchuck size when fighting, but can extend really far away, as demonstrated during the Vytal Festival tournament when she drags Coco all the way from the middle ground into the forest.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Upon seeing Yang return with the Relic with no sign of Cinder, Emerald bursts into in tears at the thought of Cinder being gone. When pressed by Mercury to escape, Emerald screams to create one mass illusion that leaves her unconscious while Hazel carries her to safety.
  • Villain Song: Emerald and Mercury share the song "I'm the One", played during their fight with Team CFVY. Emerald's part consists of her smack-talking her opponents about her Semblance ability and uses some of the dialogue that occurs between herself and Coco during the fight.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Mercury; most of their interactions consist of being sarcastic with each other to get under each other's skin. They still share a laugh every now and then, showing that they don't always annoy each other. They are also quick to back each other up when they get into an argument with Roman, and their time in Salem's domain makes them realize that the only people they can trust are each other.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: After Cinder receives some injuries that make her near-mute, Emerald acts as her voice by repeating Cinder's whispers to others.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She has pale green hair.

    Mercury Black 

Mercury Black

Voiced By: J.J. Castillo [Volume 2], Yuri Lowenthal [Volume 3-current] [EN], Hikaru Midorikawa [JP]

Debut: Black and White
"We're the guys you should be afraid of."

"My dad always said... 'if you need to know a city, ask the rats'."

One of two "right-hand men" to Cinder introduced in the Volume 1 stinger. Mercury is a laid-back man who frequently engages in friendly bickering with his partner Emerald. He fights primarily with his modified greaves named Talaria and has absolute confidence in his combat ability.

  • Abusive Parents: Mercury explicitly states his father hated him and trained him to kill by regularly beating him. When Mercury unlocked his Semblance, Marcus took it, calling a crutch and saying he could get it back when he got strong. However, he never regained it even after murdering his father in a fight implied to have cost his legs. Mercury currently holds great resentment and bitterness towards his father's treatment of him; while he claims joining Salem's fight makes him feel he's right where he's supposed to be, Tyrian believes that he's only following Salem because he's too afraid to leave a life built solely on pain and violence.
  • Armed Legs: His weapon appears to be a pair of greaves that look and act like a dark version of Yang's gauntlets, complete with the ability to fire projectiles. They're also durable enough to withstand the full impact of Yatsuhashi's sword slam. It seems that the greaves function only to store the Dust he is carrying, and his prosthetic legs are his actual weapons.
  • Artificial Limbs: His entire legs from the knee down are revealed to be cybernetic prosthetics.
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted. After losing his match to Yang, the episode ends with the audience seeing Yang inexplicably attack a defeated opponent who is lying on the ground. They angrily begin booing Yang in support of Mercury. However, Emerald made Yang hallucinate Mercury attack her, so she fought back in self-defence. The audience couldn't see the illusion and didn't know that Mercury had prosthetic legs, so was neither in pain nor danger.
  • Awesome by Analysis: His entire fight with Pyrrha is him simply testing her abilities as well as figuring out her Semblance. Once he gets the info he needs, he immediately quits.
  • Badass Normal: Mercury is a very skilled fighter as a result of being trained by his father, an experienced assassin. Marcus claimed that relying on Semblances was a weakness so insisted that Mercury become as strong as possible through training his physical abilities. As soon as Mercury unlocked his Semblance, Marcus stole it with his own, stating that he'd return it once Mercury was strong enough. Mercury, therefore, had to train harder than others to get to where he is; he never got his Semblance back and, with Marcus being dead, he considers it lost. Despite this, he is capable of keeping pace with and even defeating other fighters who do have the ability to use Semblances to augment their abilities.
  • Because I'm Good at It: When Emerald wants to know Mercury's reasons for joining Cinder, he tells her "It made sense". He was raised his whole life to be an assassin and, right when he killed his father, Cinder showed up looking for that exact skill set. He claimed "it was just meant to be" and that he feels he's right where he belongs. Tyrian immediately deconstructs it by suggesting that what Mercury is really saying is that he's too afraid of leaving behind the cycle of pain and violence that he was raised into.
  • Blood Knight: While he keeps calm and collected in combat, he seemed to find his match against Pyrrha amusing.
    Mercury: Learning is so much fun.
  • Blow You Away: The developer's commentary on the Volume 3 DVD refers to Mercury's bullets as wind dust projectiles.
  • Breaking Speech: When Mercury says he joined Salem because it felt right, Tyrian takes apart his flimsy reasoning and explains Mercury is just scared of leaving the only thing he's ever known, pain and violence.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Having his Semblance taken away by his asshole of a father hasn't slowed him down any, as he is still capable of going toe-to-toe with experienced fighters like Yang, Pyrrha, Yatsuhashi, and Coco.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Emerald talks about how Cinder cares for her in Volume 6, Mercury bluntly tells her wake up from the denial and realize that Cinder doesn't care about either of them. Emerald is momentarily shocked, then loses control of her temper. They end up fighting with each other about it.
  • The Chain of Harm: Mercury was raised to be an assassin by his father who brutalized him as 'training' and took his Semblance. Mercury later killed him and allied with Salem, becoming particularly enthusiastic about fighting and causing destruction. Tyrian points out that Mercury only joined to perpetuate the cycle of abuse because he never learned anything else and is too afraid to leave it.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: Not so much the timing as the length but, during the battle of Haven, he and Emerald are distracted by Weiss's summon for twenty seconds, giving Yang the time to run toward the relic's room without them noticing until it's too late. Mercury can also been seen standing ramrod-stiff in the background when Yang first sees Blake.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the doubles rounds of the Vytal Festival tournament, not only does he completely dominate Coco and Yatsuhashi on his own before forcefully separating both of them with Emerald's help, but he then goes on to relentlessly strike Yatsuhashi until the latter is pushed into an erupting geyser, at which point Mercury ends his part of the fight with a merciless dropkick.
  • Dance Battler: He's a kick-fighter and his weapons are based around his shoes and ankles. His fighting style can make him look like he's break-dancing, involving lots of body rolling and spinning, to free his legs for attacking. He has been seen performing extremely difficult breaking moves like air flares to fire his weapons. He will even drop to the ground, spinning his body and legs to enable his weapons to fire in all direction. Additionally, it takes cues from Capoeira... which is basically the Martial Art of Dance Battlers.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Cinder and Emerald first meet Mercury just after he's killed the assassin they wanted to hire — Mercury's own father. Mercury is tottering on heavily bandaged and bleeding legs which are later amputated and replaced by cybernetic limbs from the knee down. When Mercury witnesses a drunken Qrow fighting Winter, he describes Qrow as smelling like his father after a long day, implying that his father was alcoholic. When Emerald asks Mercury why he signed up for Cinder's cause, he tells it that he felt that "it made sense". His father hated him and raised him from birth to be an assassin, forcing him through a level of training that felt like he was being beaten every day. He was expected to become as strong and skilled as possible and to never rely on a Semblance. Regarding it as a crutch and a weakness, Marcus stole Mercury's Semblance as soon as Mercury unlocked it and went to his grave never having given it back. Mercury has therefore been forced to become as strong as everyone else without having a Semblance to help him.
    Mercury: I'm sorry you didn't have a mommy that loved you, but I had a father who hated me!
  • Death from Above: He is very fond of taking flying leaps and bringing his right heel down on his enemies' faces. It's almost a signature move for him—he uses it twice in the doubles rounds, once on Yang, and even tries it (to no avail) on Amber. It even features in his Volume 2 opening scene.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Emerald uses her hallucination Semblance to make Yang see Mercury attacking her, fully expecting her to counter-attack and break his leg on a live broadcast when the real Mercury was already down. Considering his legs are prosthetic, it wasn't that big of a sacrifice.
  • De-Power: Mercury was trained by his father, Marcus, to be an assassin, if training can be defined as ‘brutalizing one's child on a daily basis'. As part of this, when Mercury finally activated his Semblance, his father used his own power to steal it, telling his son it was a crutch and he would receive it when he got strong. Unfortunately, even after killing Marcus, Mercury never got his Semblance back.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: During his brief cameo in The Stinger of the Volume 1 finale, Mercury's design differs from the one seen in Volume 2 onwards in a number of ways. He lacks his fingerless gloves as well as the armor he wears on his arms. His hair is also significantly different, being purple instead of gray and styled differently in the front.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He and Emerald are horrified when they discover the Grimm coming out at a seemingly endless rate from the Land of Darkness' pools, and they both cringe in fear against the door when Salem introduces the Seer Grimm to them. Despite his claims where he's "right where he's supposed to be", he's still visibly unnerved around Salem and Grimm.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Yang. Yang is much more boisterous and outgoing while Mercury is more laid-back and low-key. Mercury's attacks are predominately kick-based, and he is calm and calculative during combat. Yang is a Boxing Battler who gets angrier the longer she fights. Their relationships with their fathers also contrast: both were trained by their fathers but Mercury's training was abusive, antagonistic while Yang's training was tough, compassionate and wise. Yang receives a prosthetic arm that enhances her fisticuffs-style of combat while Mercury's prosthetic legs enhance his kick-boxer style, and both of them kill the tormentor who maimed them in a fight to the death; however, Yang works to move past the pain Adam caused while Mercury joined Salem because he's too afraid leave his life of abuse. Both Yang and Mercury are taught that being over-reliant on a Semblance is dangerous, but Yang had to learn this through bitter experience coupled with lessons from her father in fighting smarter so that her Semblance becomes a last resort; Mercury's father stole his Semblance as soon as Mercury unlocked it, forcing Mercury to learn how to become strong and skilled without one. Both have taken on protector roles: Yang protects Ruby as her big sister while Mercury looks out for Emerald whenever Tyrian threatens them.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mercury is a laid-back, casual, jokey kind of guy who has many funny and goofy moments, like bothering Emerald about getting them lost in Vale or acting as Deadpan Snarker to Roman or Emerald. After his true allegiance is revealed, he still talks to Ruby and company in a cordial tone, asking if they should be treating their "old friends" with hostility. But under all that is a sadistic, sociopathic assassin who finds the slaughter of hundreds of innocent people to be funny.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: Towards his right side. The right side of his collar is folded while the left is popped, his hair is cut to hang lower on the right, and like Yang he has a cape (though in Yang's case it's a skirt) around his waist on the right side, bearing his sigil.
  • For the Evulz: Discussed and deconstructed. When Cinder first asks Mercury to join her cause, he wants to know what's in it for him. Her answer isn't revealed, but his subsequent behaviour shows he enjoys the work they do, such as being thrilled when Cinder orders him to record the Atlesian robotic army killing Vale citizens instead of protecting them against the invading Grimm. He will even ignore Cinder's orders to lay low to pursue violence: he threatens the secrecy of the villains' plans by assassinating a White Fang defector and taking a comic book from the bookstore as a momento; he also resurfaces after framing Yang for crippling him just to attack Ruby and reveal enough of Cinder's plan for Ruby to realise Pyrrha and Penny's tournament fight has been fixed, smiling while she collapses in tearful despair. When Emerald asks him to confirm why he joined Cinder's cause, he claims it feels right and that he's right where he's supposed to be. Tyrian overhears this and deconstructs him by observing that Mercury, who was raised by a violent, abusive father, is only involved with Cinder and Salem because he's too afraid to walk away from a life of pain and violence.
  • Freudian Excuse: Mercury has one of the darkest backstories in the series, according to Word of God. His father, Marcus, was an abusive, possibly alcoholic, assassin who raised Mercury to be a killer by regularly brutalizing him under the pretense of training. When Mercury finally unlocked his Semblance, Marcus used his own to take it, telling Mercury it was a crutch that would make him weak and promising it back when he was strong. However, Mercury eventually killed his father in a fight, which was implied to have cost him his legs, but never regained his Semblance. Oddly enough, Mercury actually denies this has anything to do with why he joined Salem, claiming he works for her because he felt like it, though Tyrian suggests he's just too afraid to leave the cycle of abuse.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Mercury usually teams up with Emerald during fights, and faces opponents up close with fast and devastating kicks while Emerald targets them with her revolvers and hallucinations, setting Mercury up to ambush them.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Downplayed. Unlike Emerald and Cinder who have very obviously different hairstyles during the flashbacks in Beginning Of The End, Mercury's hair is almost exactly the same as his current look, just with a less spiky fringe.
  • Hates Their Parent: He despised his father, Marcus, and has made it clear the hatred was mutual. Mercury was raised by Marcus to be an assassin, and was often brutalized by him. Eventually, Mercury killed Marcus for unknown reasons, but he makes it no secret that he loathed his father.
    Mercury: He never went easy on me! Every day of training was a beating. And when I unlocked my Semblance, he stole it with his! "This is a crutch!" "This makes you weak!" He told me I could have it back when I was strong. So I got strong, but I never got it back!
  • Homing Projectile: Mercury can pull this off with the bullets in his greaves, guiding them around the battlefield by some unknown means. Twice he is seen crafting a miniature hailstorm of bullets before sending the whole thing at an enemy.
  • I Let You Win: He explicitly throws his fight with Pyrrha, and it's heavily implied that he would have beaten Yang during the Vytal Festival had the plan not required his defeat.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Mercury is strongly associated with silver, metallic, and grey color themes, and he has matching metallic grey hair and eyes.
  • Jerkass: While in Vale, he casually jokes about murdering a White Fang defector in his own bookshop and ruining Yang's reputation by getting her arrested on live TV; his confrontation with Ruby during Penny and Pyrrha's tournament match only ends when he finds her collapsed on the ground in horror at the consequences of the fight; he smiles smugly and calmly departs, leaving her weeping with despair. When the full plan unfolds, he takes great pleasure in capturing the slaughter and destruction of Vale's citizens on camera. It's clear he takes great enjoyment in other people's pain and misery and even doubles-down on what the villains did to Vale when confronting the heroes at Haven Academy months later: he mockingly suggests Yang apologise for being tricked into breaking his prosthetic leg and reacts to Jaune's tearful rant about what Cinder did to Pyrrha with a shit-eating grin.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In "Lost", he bluntly calls Emerald delusional for thinking Cinder cares about her. While he's unpleasant, it's true that Cinder has never displayed concern for anyone besides herself.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: After Mercury intentionally loses to Yang during the Vytal tournament, Emerald makes her hallucinate Mercury attacking again, prompting Yang to retaliate in self-defense, but appearing to the crowd as her randomly breaking the leg of her defeated opponent which enrages them.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: When Yang returns to the group with the Relic, revealing Cinder had failed, Mercury wisely decides that he, Emerald, and Hazel need to retreat whereas Emerald is too heartbroken to move.
  • Laughably Evil: Mercury is prone to moments of snarking and overall goofy behavior whenever he's not involved in Cinder's plan or doing something he doesn't take seriously.
    • He mocks and playfully flirts with Emerald when she gets them lost in Vale while on the way to murder a man.
    • He has almost childlike glee after fighting Pyrrha to discover her Semblance.
    • He sniffs a boot on one of the stands during the Vytal Festival for no real reason, which allows Emerald to claim he's too "socially awkward" for Team RWBY to be allowed to spend time hanging out with the undercover villains.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • His appearance is a mixture of greys and blacks to give the "silver" tones associated with the element mercury. His foot weapons and the winged helmet motif allude to the Roman god Mercury.
    • Mercury, or at least Hermes (his original Greek counterpart), was also responsible for transporting people to the underworld and thus was associated with death. Mercury Black has the first on-screen murder in the entire series.
  • Missing Mom: It's never exactly discussed what happened to his mom, as he never makes a mention of her.
  • Misery Builds Character: Mercury rants to Emerald about the abuse he suffered from his father and how, as a result, he has had to work harder than anyone else to achieve his position in the world. Tyrian then deconstructs Mercury's stance by observing that, since abuse is all Mercury has ever known, he's only following Salem because he's too afraid to leave the familiarity of pain and suffering and forge a different life.
  • Misery Poker: Emerald and Mercury fight over Emerald's belief that Cinder was the mother she never had after growing up without a family. Mercury retaliates that while she didn't have a mother, his own father abused him, and goes into detail about just how horrific it was.
  • More Dakka: Seen twice, once to get the drop on Coco and Yatsuhashi and the other to land his final series of hits on Yang. With Yang, it's used to give her a Death of a Thousand Cuts pummelling that leaves her one point short of a loss.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: While all of Salem's minions have some kind of emotional investment in her plans, Mercury and Emerald do not. Emerald is there for her devotion to Cinder, and Mercury joined because he felt like it. However, Tyrian strongly suggests Mercury joined out of fear of leaving his life of violence.
  • Oh, Crap!: He reacts this way when he notices Salem about to lose her temper, and when he witnesses her mutate the beringels.
  • Out of Focus: After netting a pivotal role in Volume 3, Mercury is reduced to a voiceless cameo for much of the Mistral Volumes, as the few scenes he's in for Volume 4 instead focus on Cinder's struggles and the other members of Salem's group. Even Emerald has slightly more relevance since she offers to speak in Cinder's place. Volume 5 isn't much better, but Volume 6 does give him and Emerald an extended scene where he elaborates on his backstory. Volume 7 marks the first volume where he and Emerald don't make a single appearance.
  • Patricide: Mercury bluntly talks about how his father may have been an abusive alcoholic. He killed the bastard either way. Cinder actually wanted to recruit Marcus; when she witnesses how Mercury dispatches his old man, she recruits him instead.
  • Power Loss Makes You Strong: Marcus' reasoning for taking Mercury's Semblance. After Mercury unlocked it, Marcus used his own Semblance to steal it, explaining it was a crutch that would only make Mercury weak, but told him he could have it back when he got stronger. Eventually, Mercury killed Marcus but never got it back.
  • Sadist: Mercury enjoys hurting people and watching them suffer. He's entirely happy to taunt and terrify Ruby, and when he sees Ruby crying over Penny's destruction he has an immensely cruel and satisfied grin. Later, as Vale is being overrun by Grimm, he's recording the entire thing with another sadistic smile.
  • Slasher Smile: Lets out a few of these when he's going to do something sadistic. Like when he's going to murder Tuskon, beating down Ruby, or filming the massacre at Vale.
  • Smug Smiler: When he is tasked to take on a combat role, interfere with an enemy's activities, or murder someone for the cause, he tends to sport a small smirk and a cocky, playful attitude. It creates the sense that he feels comfortable and confident in lethal situations and even enjoys fighting and killing; he knows how good he is at both and Cinder hired him precisely because of his ability to kill.
  • Smug Snake: While he is a very competent fighter and most of his smugness is justified, he's not completely aware of where he stands on the totem pole, and occasionally underestimates his opponents. His attempt to intimidate Raven is met with scorn, and when he disarms Ruby and starts mocking her, she cuts him off with a headbutt to the face.
  • The Sociopath: He murders a man only to discuss comic pictures and joke about the guy he killed. He's casually manipulative, interacting with others only as far as it will benefit himself, such as sparring with Pyrrha to analyse her Semblance and halting as soon as it no longer serves a purpose. He has a high opinion of himself and a great need for stimulation; he is not excited by killing but does enjoy fighting and tends to bore easily if he's not involved in Cinder's machinations; his skirmish with Ruby shows that he will attack someone simply to curb boredom, but stop as soon as it no longer proves interesting. Unlike Emerald, he displays no overt connection to Cinder and qualified when they first met that there needed to be something in it for him before he'd help her. Overall he displays a severe disconnect with other people; that is likely what makes him such a good assassin.
  • Spiteful Spit: When Cinder first meets Mercury, she asks for his father Marcus Black. Mercury spits before pointing to his recently murdered father's body.
  • Super Reflexes: Mercury is faster than he looks. His legs are capable of combating some very fast actions his opponents take. He can even stop Ruby when she's using her Semblance at top speed. Fitting for someone named after the Roman god who's often depicted as being incredibly fast.
  • Training from Hell: His abusive father put him through it, his idea of training Mercury to be an assassin amounting to subjecting his son to brutal beatings on a daily basis. When Mercury unlocked his semblance, Marcus stole it with his own, telling him that Semblances were a crutch and that Mercury could get his back when he "earned" it. Mercury never did get his Semblance back, and as he tells Emerald, has had to work harder than anyone else to get where he is now.
  • Turns Red: After moving slower than normal and testing the waters, Mercury is uppercutted by Yang, who follows it up with a brutal elbow that knocks him on his stomach. After getting up from this and narrowly avoiding getting disqualified by getting knocked off the ring, he noticeably stops messing around. He moves nearly twice as fast afterward, blocking every blow Yang sends his way and blowing through her defenses like paper. It seems he started getting real after she landed a hit that actually put him on the defensive.
  • Villain Decay: While he was never the main villain, Mercury started out as a fighter leagues above Team RWBY and even easily held his own against Coco and Yatsuhashi. After Volume 3, he is way less of a threat with the introduction of Salem's Inner Circle. In Volume 5, he needs Emerald's help to deal with Yang and gets headbutted in the face by Ruby after taunting her. Yang doesn't even bother fighting him when he tries to stop her from getting into the Vault of the Spring Maiden.
  • Villain Song: Mercury and Emerald share the song "I'm the One", played during their fight with Team CFVY. Mercury's part consists of him smack-talking his opponents about his combat skill and toughness.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Emerald. He constantly annoys her by trying to come onto her and being relatively lazier, but he does give her a good chuckle every now and then. They are also quick to back each other up when they get into an argument with Roman and Mercury begs Emerald to get up when they leave Haven.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Downplayed. Like the majority of the characters, Mercury has activated his aura and thus receives perks from it. However, he only has the basic powers his aura provides, and has lost his Semblance, forcing him to rely on sheer skill to win fights.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Aside from going all-out on his female opponents, which is expected, he also attacks an unarmed Ruby just to keep her from running away. He then kicks her in the stomach and shoots her phone out of her hand.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: During the Battle of Haven Academy, Hazel, Emerald, Mercury, and Leo are fighting the heroes to a standstill, but when Leo is shot by Ruby and his Aura breaks, he flees in panic, leaving the other three to fight an uphill battle. Mercury is not amused and voices this trope in verbatim.


Neopolitan/Neo Politan

"Voiced" By: Unknown [in RWBY], Casey Lee Williams [in BlazBlue] [EN], Konomi Fujimura [JP]

Debut: Painting the Town...
Click here to see her post timeskip appearance 


An acquaintance of Cinder Fall and bodyguard of Roman Torchwick who first appears when Torchwick introduces stolen Atlesian Paladins to the White Fang. She bails him out of a fight with Team RWBY and later defends the execution of the White Fang's plan. She appears to be at least partially mute, as she never speaks but does occasionally chuckle or gasp. She adopts a disguise to attend the Vytal Festival tournament as Cinder's fourth teammate.

Neo fights with a parasol named Hush that has a retractable blade. Her Semblance "Overactive Imagination" allows her to generate glass illusions.

  • Achilles' Heel: Neo's biggest flaw in her fighting style is that she indulges her sadism and loves to draw out the actual kill when she has her target at her mercy. Her waiting to kill Yang allows Raven to appear and save her, while Ruby is able to see the release button on her parasol and trigger it to send Neo flying off the side of the airship.
  • Avenging the Villain: Roman's history of petty theft was the scourge of the Vale police department. It is why he was hired by Cinder as part of her efforts to carry out Salem's plan to destroy Beacon Academy. However, Roman's alliance with Cinder leads to his death during the Battle of Beacon, something Neo is very upset about. She returns in Volume 6, hunting down Cinder to kill her for getting Roman killed. Neo stands down when Cinder uses her Maiden powers, and Cinder insists that Ruby is the real enemy and that they should join forces against her.
  • Audible Sharpness: The blade inside her parasol, which can be heard even after it's out of the sheath.
  • Badass Adorable: She's really short (shorter even than Ruby and according to Monty's height chart is only 4'11'' in heels) and looks really young, yet she's able to utterly outperform Yang in speed and uses her maneuverability to make Yang's strength useless, all while wordlessly taunting her throughout their fight.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In season seven, despite the other villains failing to achieve their respective goals, Neo curb stomps Team JNR and Oscar, makes off with their Relic, and delivers it to Cinder, as she was hired to do. However, she never gets the chance to complete her personal mission to exact revenge on Ruby.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her tournament outfit includes a midriff-revealing blouse. This also extends to her new outfit in Volume 6.
  • Breakout Character: Neo was originally designed by Monty after seeing a genderbent cosplay of Roman, using her to give Roman an escape route during the Paladin fight. Her design and subsequent Curb-Stomp Battle against Yang quickly propelled her into becoming one of the most popular characters in the entire franchise, enough that not only did she make a grand return in Volume 6, but Rooster Teeth specifically requested that she be the first post-RWBY RWBY fighter in Cross Tag Battle.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: Originally, Neo's only presence on screen was whatever Roman needed her to be. Aside from being someone who toyed with her opponents, dragged out battles and took her time going for the kill, Neo's role was mostly as background support to the main villains. In Volume 6, she comes back from an extended hiatus by ambushing Cinder and fighting her with her usual panash and style... only for the fight to change tone when her illusions disappear and she reveals her true form to Cinder: a solemn, lonely girl with torn clothing and wearing Roman's hat as a memorial to him. From that moment, her characterisation has solidified into something more jaded, with her showing increasing levels of impatience with Cinder. While her fights retain some of her mocking elements, she's now more efficient, doesn't waste time taking them down and is much more willing to use her blade in battle.
  • Combat Stilettos: She's not the least bit hindered by her heels when battling Yang, adding to her graceful fighting style.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Despite not looking at all the part, any encounter she engages in quickly becomes this in short order. Ruby and Yang, two exceptionally skilled fighters, cannot land a single hit on her and get beaten down and nearly killed by her with style, and this was likely the case with an entire airship full of trained soldiers as well, judging by the aftermath. The one time an opponent catches her by surprise (the equally enigmatic Raven Branwen, someone to be feared by principle of being a grown Huntress alone), she still blocks both strikes sent her way before promptly disappearing. It's telling that the one fight where Neo has been on the back foot was against Cinder, one of the most powerful fighters on the show.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: While Neo does well against Cinder, it's very obvious that Cinder is holding back due to not wanting to use her Maiden powers in the enclosed environment of Malachite's bar. Once the fight is taken outside, Cinder quickly takes control of the fight and ends it in a draw.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Her hair and eyes are multicoloured. The right side of her hair is pink with white streaks and the left side of her hair is brown. Her default eye colour is reversed: the left eye is pink and the right eye is brown. However, she can switch the colours of her eyes at will. Sometimes her eyes perfectly match her hair (left eye brown, right eye pink), sometimes both eyes are pink, or brown, or white. She can even turn her eyes green or purple. However, her default eye colour is always the reverse pink/brown combination of her hair.
  • Cute and Psycho: Showed an obvious glee as she was about to deliver a Coup de Grâce to a downed Yang, and later right before she stomped another poor dude's face. She takes over one of Ironwood's airships with a casual glee despite the bodies lying around her.
  • Cute Mute: She's said nothing in any of her appearances, stayed completely silent during her fight with Yang, and rare is the time when she might make a sound at all. The only time she's made any vocal sounds is a mocking giggle in Cross Tag Battle. This is lampshaded in Volume 6, when Cinder suggests that they talk, and Neo points to her mouth to remind her how one-sided that would be.
  • Dance Battler: All of her moves have an elegant flow to them; so much so that she even manages to calmly take a seat mid-fight. This aspect of her personality seriously irritates Yang, which Neo takes full advantage. She made use of her umbrella's parasol in parrying Yang, using it to catch her off guard and open her up to incoming blows, which she delivered with a series of skilled and highly acrobatic use of kicks. This is enough to keep (a highly irritated and consequently slower) Yang from her ability to tap into her Semblance, and it ends with Neo knocking her out by throwing her onto the ceiling, all in a graceful and elegant way that screams finesse.
  • Dark Action Girl: Torchwick's associate, she trashes Yang during their fight and came close to gleefully killing her.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To Torchwick. Inspired by cosplayers note , her outfit is essentially a feminized version of his with softer colors (pink, brown and white vs. red, black and white), they both wield weaponised accessories associated with the gentry and they do so with a smirk on their faces.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Like the ice cream flavor of the same namenote , Neo's appearance is a palette of clearly separated white (vanilla), pink (strawberry) and brown (chocolate). Her eye colours rotate through the same palette depending on her mood, defaulting to one brown eye, one pink eye, but flitting between combinations of the two colours, one or the other, and turning white when terrified. Although she has used other eye colours such as green or red, they only occur when she seems to be using her illusory abilities to create disguises.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: During the Vytal Festival tournament, she disguises her appearance to take part in the televised fights. Her disguised form consists of black hair and green eyes, with a frilly black and white outfit reminiscent of Victorian dress.
  • Enemy Mine: Neo goes after Cinder, blaming her for Torchwick's death. However, Cinder tells her Ruby is the one at fault and that she also has a grudge against her, prompting the two to team up to kill Ruby.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Neo is a mute woman with exceptional combat skill; she works for Roman, to whom she is completely loyal. That is all that is known about her; why she's so loyal to Roman, why she's a better fighter than him, and what her back story is in general is completely unknown. As her Semblance appears to be related to the creation of illusions that shatter like glass when dispelled, even the nature of her ability to change eye colours is a mystery.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Roman's love for Neo was clearly reciprocated, if her heartbroken and vengeful reaction to his death is anything to go by.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: She gracefully does this to introduce herself to Team RWBY after shielding Torchwick from one of Yang's blows.
  • Eye Color Change: During her second fight with Yang, her eyes change over a dozen times. Combinations include: both brown, heterochromatic (sometimes in line with her Multicolored Hair, sometimes opposite to her hair), to pure white when she flees in terror. During her first team fight in the Vytal tournament, her eyes initially appear green, before turning back to their usual set of colours as a cue to her identity. A similar thing happens in "Beginning of the End", except this time they appeared purple.
  • Fanservice Pack: Her outfit at the end of Volume 6 has her materializing an outfit with a corset that also enhances her cleavage. The outfit also bares her shoulders and midriff.
  • Flash Step: She's fast enough to seemingly teleport Roman and herself away to an awaiting escape ship.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Neo has twice left an enemy open rather than finishing them immediately. The first time, she took her time preparing to kill Yang after knocking her out, which allowed Raven Branwen to get inside the train and stop her. The second time, she holds Ruby at knifepoint while Torchwick is monologuing, and it provides Ruby with the window of opportunity to pop her parasol open and send her flying.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She styles her hair like this while in disguise during the Vytal Festival tournament.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted with her relationship with Roman, especially during their skirmish with Ruby. He prefers shooting fireworks, and even when he attacks physically, he tends to augment it with candle shots. On the other hand, Neo is responsible for solely physical beatdown, not seeming to have any long-ranged capability anyway.
  • Heartbroken Badass: She's still reeling from Roman's death by the time she reappears in Volume 6 and seeks vengeance on the people she holds responsible for his death. She first takes out her grief on Cinder until the latter convinces her to direct her hatred towards Ruby.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: During her fight with Ruby on the outside of the Atlesian ship Ruby opens up her parasol, causing the wind to blow her off the ship. In other words, her own weapon took her out.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Neo is an extremely competent side-kick no matter whom she's partnered with. While Roman was getting his ass kicked by Blake, Neo was destroying Yang and would have killed her if not for Raven's timely arrival. When Neo teams up with Cinder, Cinder fails to obtain the Winter Maiden's power but Neo successfully steals the Relic of Knowledge from the heroes.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • In the penultimate episode of Volume 2, after Raven stops her from killing Yang, Neo takes one look at her and realizes her identity, before making a swift escape.
    • In Volume 6, she only stops fighting when she realises that Cinder now possesses the full power of the Fall Maiden.
  • Lady of War: She maneuvers herself in a graceful manner while fighting Yang and maintains a dignified air throughout the fight, even taking a moment to take a seat on a crate, complete with crossing her legs.
  • Master of Disguise: Neo possesses the ability to alter her physical appearance, which can range from costume only to her actual physical body. Volume 3 shows her in disguise on three occasions and the process of her lifting the disguise is shown in "Heroes and Monsters". The means by which she alters her appearance is clearly supernatural, but it's implied it's her Semblance doing.
  • Master of Illusion: Unlike Emerald who creates hallucinations that are only visible to the target, Neo creates something akin to mirages/holograms that are visible to everyone but are not physically real. While she can use this to disguise her physical appearance, such as hair colour and clothing, she can also uses it during combat. The illusion can hide her true location meaning that shattering the illusion only for Neo to become visible in a completely different location can make it look like she's teleported. Neo can use this misdirection to confuse opponents as to her exact location or to escape attacks. By creating a mirror image of herself and Roman, she creates a decoy that allows them to escape from Team RWBY in Volume 2; the image only vanishes when Yang tries to hit her, shattering the illusion like glass. Neo repeats this tactic again during her Volume 3 battle with Ruby atop the airship. In Volume 6, she reveals that she can disguise a Mistral airship as a much smaller Atlesian one.
  • Multicolored Hair: The left side of Neo's hair is dark brown while the right side of her haif is bright pink. On the pink side of her hair, there are three white skunk stripes on the top of her crown.
  • Nice Hat: From Volume 6, Neo wears the red-banded black Derby hat that used to be Roman's signature accessory as a reminder that she is now fighting to avenge his death.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: During her fight with Yang, Neo easily dodges most of Yang's blows. She fights, dodges and parries by using body language that is designed to mock the easily-angered Yang. When Yang attempts to punch Neo, Neo backflips away from the strike and lands in a sitting position on some cargo boxes, twirling her parasol with a cocky smile.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Neo is about kill the unconscious Yang, the appearance of Raven Branwen so terrifies Neo that her eyes turn white with fear. She flees as swiftly as she can.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", when Ruby opens her parasol on top of an airship, she has just enough time to gasp in horror before getting blown away.
    • When fighting on the streets of Mistral, Neo comes to a complete halt when Cinder demonstrates her full power. When Neo last saw Cinder, Cinder didn't possess the full power of the Fall Maiden, and demonstrating that power to Neo by levitating and summoning strong winds to swirl around her body leaves Neo staring in awe and fear.
  • One-Man Army: She's able to slaughter the crew of an entire ship singlehandedly to break Roman out.
  • Parasol of Pain: One that is strong enough to block Yang's powered-up shots and she uses it to great effect in her fighting style.
  • Parasol Parachute: Ruby forces her into one during their battle to take her out of the fight.
  • Quizzical Tilt: She does this in the middle of her fight with Yang, though she's obviously doing it to taunt her opponent rather than express confusion.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: She could have killed Yang in Volume 2, but Neo books it as soon as she sees Raven come out of a portal.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Though normally Neo isn't disguised for battle, if she's caught in a disguise she'll use it to her advantage. While disguised as Nora, Ren has lunged at her for the next attack. Neo completes the Nora appearance and looks up at Ren with such fear and sadness it robs Ren of his will to attack, letting Neo slip past him and make her escape with the Relic of Knowledge.
  • Shapeshifting Trickster: Neo enjoys messing with her opponents if she's allowed to, and silently taunts them for her own amusement. Her Semblance also enables Neo to alter her appearance and even mimic others.
  • Silent Snarker: Even while silent, her body language and facial expressions show how much she's taunting Yang in their fight. The closest she comes to talking is texting "Guess who?" to Torchwick. When Cinder suggest they "talk" about how to kill Ruby and company, Neo's only response is to point a single finger at her mouth.
  • Slasher Smile: Pulls off one while about to deliver the finishing blow to Yang in "No Brakes", and again in "Round One" before stomping her opponent's head into the ground.
  • Smug Smiler: Whenever Neo fights, she uses her body language to tease her opponents. When fighting Yang, she taunts Yang with a mocking smile whenever Yang fails to hit her or fails to damage her when she does hit. During the fight with Ruby, Neo smiles whenever she gets the advantage, and especially when Ruby is hanging off the side of the airship by one hand. While it doesn't bait Ruby, it does successfully bait Yang. During her fight with Cinder, she often taunts Cinder with a mocking smile whenever Cinder fails to land a proper blow on her. Like Ruby, Cinder isn't easily baited.
  • Spanner in the Works: For the heroes in Volume 7, alongside Cinder. If they weren't in Atlas when the volume was happening, then Ironwood wouldn't have Jumped Off The Slippery Slope, the Lamp of Knowledge would've been safe, and Clover wouldn't have been killed.
  • The Speechless: Neo is incapable of talking. She can vocalise effort sounds in combat and even giggle, but she is unable to actually speak. When Cinder tries to make a deal with her in Volume 6 and asks for her response, Neo points to her throat in exasperation to remind Cinder that she cannot verbally respond.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Official material spells her name in two different ways. Her lack of a credited voice actor doesn't help matters.
  • Stealth Pun: Neo isn't just short, she's pint-sized. Ice cream often comes in pint containers.
  • Super Reflexes: As much as or greater than Roman. When fighting Ruby, she flawlessly dodges every single attack thrown at her and disarms Ruby as though it's nothing. She can perform multiple flips and kicks in a single jump and land them all exactly on target, all while avoiding the massive spinning scythe headed her way.
  • Sword Cane: She has a sword hidden inside her parasol. She doesn't use it in fights, only to finish off downed opponents.
  • Sword Drag: In "Heroes and Monsters", she does this on top of the airship, preparing to kill Ruby.
  • Technicolor Eyes: She often displays heterochromia, with one eye being pink and the other brown. However, her eyes frequently change color depending on her mood and/or situation. The following combinations have been seen: two brown eyes; two silver eyes; brown in the left and pink in the right; brown in the right and pink in the left; brown in the right and silver in the left; green in both eyes during the Vytal tournament; and purple in both eyes while pretending to be a nurse.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Before her reappearance in Volume 6, Neo's holograms shattered with a single clean hit, making them excellent distractions but ultimately a defensive tool at best. After the Fall of Beacon, her Semblance has grown to the point that she can fight Cinder on even footing with just one of her holograms (albeit, while Cinder is withholding her Maiden powers to avoid drawing unwanted attention).
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Roman's death, Neo is angry that his involvement with Salem's forces got him killed. Determined to avenge him by killing his boss, Cinder, Neo now wears Roman's derby hat and a similar neckerchief to his as a reminder of what she's fighting for. Cinder convinces her that the real source of her revenge should be Ruby.
  • Troll: Seems to be one. She tricked Team RWBY with an illusion before escaping them, and then drove Yang nuts in their fight while stomping her. All with a big smile on her face, and occasionally taking a relaxing break in the middle to show just how little of a concern her opposition is.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Torchwick, apparently. It's not very obvious on her end but Torchwick displays his first emotions other than smug and annoyed when she gets blown off the ship. The fact that she's now seeking revenge for his death, first on Cinder then on Ruby when the former convinces Neo that she was to blame, seems to indicate that she cared a great deal about him as well.
  • Villain Song: "One Thing" plays during Neo's battle with Cinder in Volume 6. Cinder is initially mystified about why a former ally is attacking her until she locates the real Neo. Upon seeing that Neo is now wearing the deceased Roman's signature derby hat, Cinder realises that Neo blames her for Roman's death. She tells Neo that her blame is misplaced and that she should be blaming Ruby. She then offers Neo the opportunity to join her so that they can both seek vengeance against Ruby together. The song lyrics are about the singer's desire to avenge the death of a close friend, and it's later used to represent Neo in BlazBlue.
  • Villain Team-Up: Neo uses Little Miss Malachite's services to track down Cinder, seeking revenge for Roman's death while in Cinder's employment. During their fight, Cinder convinces Neo that her blame is misplaced, and that the person she needs to target for revenge is Ruby. Neo stops fighting Cinder when she is given a demonstration of the Fall Maiden's full power, but becomes a little irritated with Cinder's suggestion that they talk it out because she doesn't speak, something Cinder momentarily forgets.
  • Waif-Fu: Neo is the smallest adult human and stands around 4'11" tall when including heels. She is also one of the most expressive, graceful and acrobatic of all fighters, dodging the blows of enemies with ease, using moves such as pirouttes, somersaults, kicks and fencing or parrying with her parasol. She also appears to deflect attacks with her parasol or legs the rare few times they do appear to connect. She easily defeats the much taller, super-strong Yang, who can't even land a blow on her; she fights evenly with a villain as dangerous as Cinder in non-magical combat; and she can easily defeat multiple opponents. If she does ever end up in a corner, she can fall back on her Semblance... creating illusions that can fool multiple opponents at the same time.

    Roman Torchwick 

Roman Torchwick

Voiced By: Gray Haddock [EN], Shin-ichiro Miki [JP]

Debut: Yellow Trailer
"I wouldn't exactly call it a little operation..."

"As for me, I'll do what I do best. Lie. Steal. Cheat. And survive!"

A crime lord who tries to steal Dust from a store Ruby is visiting. He has been stealing an enormous amount of Dust in recent months, and is working with the White Fang, though for what purpose is unknown.

Roman's weapon, Melodic Cudgel, appears to be an ordinary walking stick, but when activated it raises a crosshair and fires an unstable explosive round resembling a roman candle.

  • Affectionate Pickpocket: When he is visited by Mercury and Emerald in ''Best Day Ever", his initially acts friendly to them in order to steal the address slip from Emerald in order to find out where they were all day. Though this allows Emerald to steal his lighter.
  • Arch-Enemy: Ruby. By the time they meet in Heroes and Monsters, he's so fed up with "Little Red" that he gives her a Motive Rant and Breaking Speech just to rub in what he thinks of her idealistic heroics.
  • Back for the Dead: He missed the majority of Volume 3 after he got arrested at Volume 2's climax. Neo frees him in PvP and he gets to enjoy the freedom for two episodes before he gets Swallowed Whole by a Grimm Griffon in Heroes and Monsters, after which said Griffon is sent crashing into the Atlesian ship's deck courtesy of Ruby.
  • Bad Boss: Aside from Neo, he's very abusive and demeaning to any employees under his command, particularly if they happen to be White Fang members.
  • Badass Normal: By comparison to most other characters in the show. Roman never discovered his Semblance, and thus never had abilities beyond those of a typical Huntsman, but was nonetheless deadly enough to both keep up with Blake and Sun and outright beat Ruby in a one-on-one fight using only his wits, skill, and a bit of Dust.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Roman is positively gleeful at destroying government property. His speech at a White Fang rally also gives this impression. And when he gets the chance to destroy the Atlas air fleet in Volume 3, he's absolutely thrilled.
    Roman: I'd like to mention the fact that you and I all have a common enemy! The ones in control, the people pulling the strings, the dirty, rotten humans that run our kingdoms. Government, military, even the schools. They're all to blame for your lot in life!
  • Boom Stick: His cane can be used as a gun, with the base of the weapong flipping up to both expose the barrel and act as a targeting sight. When the cane fires, it uses explosive rounds that resemble a Roman Candle in design.
  • Breakout Villain: He was originally going to be a first-episode-only villain who does little fighting, but positive reception led to Monty making him more significant in the grand scheme of things (and more dangerous too).
  • Cane Fu: Roman has designed the cane to function as a gun, complete with the base flipping up to function as a targeting sight. However, the cane can also be used like a fencing sword or a club. When he is attacked by both Blake and Sun, is able to overpower Blake while at the same time parrying every shot from Sun's twin nunchuck-guns. When fights Ruby on top of an airship, he uses the cane in every single possible way while fighting her: as a gun to shoot her from a distance and as a means of blocking her bullets and her scythe-blade. When she goes down, he uses his weapon as a club to beat her into the floor while he rants about the short-sightedness of her heroic optimism.
  • Captain Ersatz: DVD commentary points out he's Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, wearing a Derby Hat, a white jacket, using a cane as a weapon, and even having Alex's eye tattoo. While Roman isn't Ax-Crazy like Alex, he's certainly a ruthless criminal mastermind.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Defeating him is just not enough to get him to shut up. Seriously; he has one-liners for almost every single instance his plans have been thwarted by the heroes.
  • Classy Cane: Roman is always smartly dressed in black trousers and a red-lined white overcoat. He accessorises with black gloves, a grey neckerchief and a red-banded black Derby hat. To finish off the look, he carries a hook-handled cane that is designed to fit in with his clothing: the handle is white, the staff is black, and there is red finishing where the handle meets the staff and at the base of the staff. The staff is designed to be a weapon; he usually fences with it or uses it as a gun, but he can also use it as a club where necessary. The weapon is designed to suit his style and his classy appearance.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The moment Ruby turns to tell Penny to stay back, he takes full advantage and blasts her. And when both arms are blasted off the Paladin he's piloting, he still kicks Yang away with the legs - not to mention having shoulder-tackled her into a pillar before that. When Ruby is knocked down by one of his blasts and on the verge of falling off the hijacked airship, Roman immediately walks up and tries to finish her at point-blank range.
  • Curse Cut Short: When Blake sneaks up on him in Black and White:
    Roman: Oh, for fu—
  • Dastardly Dapper Derby: He wears a Derby as his hat of choice and he's appropriately a suave villain. Volume 6 reveals that it somehow survived when he was Eaten Alive, as Neo shows up wearing it as a Tragic Keepsake.
  • Didn't See That Coming: When he fought Blake again in "No Brakes" she managed to surprise him by incorporating Dust into her attacks, a trick she hadn't displayed in their previous battle.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Roman and Ruby are fighting while surrounded by Grimm. Roman gains the upper hand, knocks Ruby to the ground and beats her with his cane while ranting about the idiocy of her positive, heroic idealism in a world where huntsmen die young and the only thing people can do is just try to survive however they can. Just as he emphasizes he's a survivor instead of a hero, he is abruptly swallowed by a Griffon. His rant had been highly negative, and Grimm are attracted to negative emotions, but the death is very abrupt, and unexpectedly mundane by this show's magical standards.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Yellow Trailer is the last prequel before the show begins and introduces Yang fighting Junior, a bar owner, and his men, when Junior fails to provide the information she's looking for. When Yang first enters the bar, Roman can just be seen in the background finishing a conversation with Junior and leaving. Roman is introduced in the show's pilot episode, robbing a Dust store with men he's hired from Junior's bar. The hired men don't do any better against Ruby than they did against Yang, much to Roman's sarcastic disgust.
    Roman: You were worth every cent. Truly, you were.
  • Eaten Alive: Right as he's in the middle of a loud rant to Ruby on why she should just give up, a Griffon lands behind him and chomps him. When it roars a second later, there's no sign of Roman.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The only time he shows any slight concern for any life other than his own is when Neo is blown off the airship by Ruby. He reaches out and calls her name as she's blown off the ship.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Roman is defined by his over the top personality. He can be superficially polite and makes jokes with people he dislikes as if they’re good friends, but always in a way that comes off as condescending, treating younger people like wayward children he has to deal with. When he runs into problems while out in the field his attitude changes to snark and heavy sarcasm. He can delve into melodrama and exaggerated theatrics as shown by him dramatically gesturing towards the dust he's stolen when Cinder questions him about not taking care of Tukson earlier. Other times he acts like a child, pulling faces at Cinder’s subordinates as she’s admonishing them and expressing a childlike glee in destroying things when he takes over an Atlesian battleship.
  • False Reassurance: In Vol. 1 Ep. 1 he and a few goons visit the From Dust Till Dawn shop. He assures the shopkeeper that he doesn't want any money... right before ordering his men to steal the Dust.
  • Fantastic Racism: Has a low opinion of Faunus and badmouths some hired Faunus mooks. The DVD Commentary clarifies that his racism isn't exaggerated to show villainy; it's Remnant's standard human perception of Faunus.
  • Foil: To Ruby. She's a naive, idealistic teenage girl who sees the best in everyone, has close friendships throughout her school, and wants to always do the right thing. He's a jaded, older male gangster who hates the people he's working with, has one ambiguous friendship with Neo, and whose only goal is self-preservation.
  • Gentleman Thief: Subverted, while Roman likes presenting himself as a dashing, polite gentleman as he's being a crime boss, he's willing to use violence when necessary; namely, when an Action Girl has just pulverized all his goons. He's still skilled at the thief part, and is able to fill an entire warehouse with stolen dust.
  • Giggling Villain: When he fights Sun and Blake, he lets out a series of maniacal, though low-key, cackles.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Torchiwick is the only character in the show to have been seen smoking and, like any good crime boss, he favors cigars. In the pilot episode, he stubs his cigar out on a glass display cabinet while intimidating a shopkeeper as his men rob the store of all its Dust. He also smokes for stress-relief, as he tries to smoke one after being threatened by Cinder at the beginning of Volume 2; he is thwarted because Emerald pick-pockets his lighter without him noticing.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Roman usually uses his cane as a gun, where the length of the staff acts as the barrel of the gun and the base flips open to act as a targeting sight. However, the hooked handle of the cane can be fired to grab a target and pull it back in towards Roman. He uses the grappling function in Mountain Glenn to capture Ruby when she tries to run away from him.
  • Guyliner: Roman's visible eye is traced with black eyeliner that contributes to his Pretty Boy looks, which contributes to his Alex Delarge appearance.
  • The Heavy: He is the only key villain focused on during Volume 1. The media mentions the manhunt for him and every time the protagonists run into a villain, it's Roman. In the pilot episode, he appears to order his female get-away pilot to fight Glynda while he takes over the controls, but The Stinger at the end of Volume 1 reveals that the shadowy, faceless woman in the pilot episode is actually his boss, and his Dust thefts throughout the volume have been ordered by her. In Volume 2, Roman remains the face of villainy for that the protagonists are trying to track down and stop while Cinder, Mercury and Emerald infiltrate Beacon as students. Once he's captured by General Ironwood's forces at the end of Volume 2, Cinder replaces him as The Heavy for Volume 3.
  • Karmic Death: When Ruby fights Roman and Neo on top of a flying battleship, she's knocked down and hangs from the side of the ship helplessly. Neo leans on her unopened weaponised parasol to kick Ruby off the ship, allowing Ruby to grab the parasol's catch; it opens, catches the wind and blows Neo off the ship, while Ruby regains her footing. Roman then brutally beats Ruby to the ground, ranting about her misguided idealism in a savage world where most huntsmen die young. His heightened negativity attracts the negativity-sensing Monsters of Grimm, and one swallows him whole just as he's stating that the only thing that matters is survival skill.
  • Know When To Fold Them: He's a very good fighter, but he knows better than to get into a prolonged fight with the main cast, so whenever it looks like he's just about to face some trouble, he hauls his ass out. It's implied that this was the reason he joined Cinder in the first place.
    Roman: I may be a gambling man, but even I know there are some bets you just don't take.
  • Laughably Evil: Roman's a ruthless crime lord whose every interaction with both allies and enemies is laced with condescending, sarcastic wit. He talks down to younger allies and enemies as if he's a parent and they're wayward children, and sarcastically flirts with female allies and enemies alike. He has a childish, petty attitude that makes him pull faces at allies when they're being reprimanded and excitedly press random buttons just to see how much destruction the Atlas ship he's commandeered can cause. When spanners get thrown into his plans, he becomes melodramatic and bombastic, such as when Cinder implies he hasn't been pulling his weight and he objects by theatrically unveiling the city's entire Dust stockpile that he's stolen for her.
    Roman: [when Cinder sends him Mercury and Emerald] Oh, look! She sent the kids again! This is turning out just like the divorce.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Cinder keeps Torchwick on a need-to-know basis about their plans, and although he doesn't like not knowing what is really going on, he keeps his mouth shut out of fear of Cinder.
  • Nice Hat: With the exception of his mugshot, he is never seen without his stylish black bowler hat.
  • The Nicknamer: He calls Ruby "Red" during their first encounter and continues to use it in future ones. His first encounter with Weiss results in him calling her "Ice Queen" due to the ice attacks she was using on him. He doesn't know others call her that because of her personality. After seeing Blake's cat ears, he refers to her as "Kitty Cat" during their next encounter.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: He has a right-sweeping fringe that is so long it hides the top half of the right side of his face and ear, almost down to the nose. His right eye is almost never seen.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: He's arrested in the Volume 2 finale, but remains completely confident and taunts Ironwood when he tries to interrogate him; it's part of the plan.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Despite being a villain, his scenes during the fall of Beacon are some of the few funny moments in the otherwise tense and dark situation. Him playing with the controls of the Atlas ship like a kid in a candy store, is one example.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He looks down on Faunus and calls them animals to their faces. He does acknowledge that they're both people and dangerous, particularly if the 'dangerous' aspect means in danger of getting his arse kicked by any nearby Faunus who are offended. It's a downplayed example because his attitude isn't because he's a villain; Faunus discrimination is wide-spread in Remnant, which is why the White Fang originally formed to fight for equal rights.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: When Cinder reprimands Mercury and Emerald for killing Tukson, Roman taunts them by childishly pulling faces behind Cinder's back. During the battle for Beacon, he's given control of an Atlas ship and randomly begins pressing buttons like an excited child to see what they do; blowing up an Atlas ship with the touch of a button thrills him into exploring what other chaos he can wreak.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After Ruby forces Neo off the ship, she argues with him that she's going to stop him no matter what he tries. He drops the cute one-liners and executes a volley of moves to regain the upper-hand and rants about her determination to be a hero. He points out what a dangerous, crappy world Remnant is, that people who try to be a hero just get themselves killed, and that the only thing Huntsmen do well is die young.
    Roman: You've got spirit, Red, but this is the real world!! The real world is cold!! The real world doesn't care about spirit!! You want to be a hero!? Then play the part and die like every other huntsman in history!!! As for me? I'll do what I do best! Lie, steal, cheat, AND SURVIVE—!!!
  • Recurring Boss: The main cast do keep running into him. He and Ruby are introduced together when they run into conflict with each other while he's stealing Dust from a shop she's in. He later takes on Sun and Blake in two-on-one combat, fights RWBY, Sun and Neptune in a giant mecha, climaxing in a huge confrontation between RWBY and Roman's group that leds to Roman's capture - although being captured appears to be part of the plan.
  • Sedgwick Speech: During the Battle of Beacon, Roman goes on a furious rant when he believes that Ruby has been beaten. In his arrogance, he completely ignores the on-going battle and the numerous flying Grimm all around him. His speech is cut short when a large Grimm lands behind him and swallows him.
    Roman: As for me, I'll do what I do best: Lie, steal, cheat, and survive! [Griffon swoops down and eats him]
  • Sigil Spam: A jack-o-lantern face is carved around the cane's tip. Judging from the episode 8 credits, it's probably his symbol.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The show depicts Remnant as a world where humanity clings to existence within four protected kingdoms while villages outside the kingdoms live a precarious, often short, existence. This is due to the Creatures of Grimm swarming all areas of the world, hunting down and trying to destroy humanity. While Huntsmen do their best to fight the Grimm and protect humanity, there are far more Grimm than Huntsmen, and Huntsmen often die young as a result. Ruby dreams of being a Huntress so that she can protect humanity like the heroes in the fairy tales she grew up reading; her desire to protect even extends to dealing with prosaic villains like Roman, who is a thief and killer. When he finally loses his temper with her constant attempts to 'save the day' he rants about her idealism being completely at odds with the reality of the world. He points out that Huntsmen always die young, and the only way to live in such a dangerous world is to become a pragmatic survivalist like him — cheating, lying and murdering as necessary for his continued survival. It doesn't dent her resolve.
    Roman: This is the real world!! The real world is cold!! The real world doesn't care about spirit!! You want to be a hero!? Then play the part and die like every other Huntsman in history!!!
  • The Social Darwinist: Episode 11 of Volume 3 gives him shades of this, when he tells Ruby that, since she wants to be a hero so much, she ought to die like one, while he does what he does best: "lie, steal, cheat, and survive!"
  • The Social Expert: Being a stylish and charismatic crime boss, Roman can walk onto a stage in front of a mob of angry Faunus, use himself as an example of why Humans Are the Real Monsters, and still have them cheering for him by the end, courting them over to his side even when they are interrupted by Sun and Blake. His nature makes him a valuable pawn for Cinder, who herself is forced to rely on An Offer You Can't Refuse in order to recruit people.
  • The Sociopath: Is referred to a "a destructive sociopath" in-universe. He's a ruthless crime boss who has been pulling a string of dust robberies all over Vale, which is revealed to have been done under his boss, Cinder Fall's orders. He has loads of charisma, as shown during a White Fang rally where he manages to sway dozens of Faunus onto his side, and drives an underground train armed with bombs towards Beacon in order to draw Grimm into the city. When he escapes from his imprisonment near the end of Volume 3 and hijacks an Atlas airship, he shows great pleasure in destroying other nearby airships, as shown when he presses a button on the controls pondering "What Does This Button Do?", and when it blows up another Atlas airship, he says, "Oh, fun!" He doesn't check all the requirements though, as he shows genuine concern when his right-hand gal, Neo, is blown off the side of the airship when Ruby unclips her umbrella.
  • Starter Villain: In the first episode, he organizes a simple store robbery only to be thwarted by Ruby and Glynda. His popularity among the fans and the voice actor's skill with the character convinced the creators to give the character a more long-lasting role as the face of the villainous threat Ruby's team begins to investigate while the real threat works undercover, unrecognised by Ruby and her team.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When he gets control of an Atlas warship, he spends all of his time figuring out how which controls make the best explosions.
    Roman: What does this button do? [distant explosion] Oooooh, fun!
  • Super Reflexes:
    • Despite Sun and Blake's superior speed, he's still able to keep up with both of them attacking him near-simultaneously, and able to dodge and/or deflect almost everything the pair sends his way, including point-blank shotgun blasts courtesy of Sun.
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", he's quick enough to shoot a round from Melodic Cudgel, grab it with the cane's handle, then redirect the shot to Ruby.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: In the pilot episode, he has hired men to help him rob Dust stores. They're defeated by the teenaged Ruby in less than a minute. He's not at all impressed by the money he wasted on them.
  • Swallowed Whole: Gets swallowed by a giant Griffon just after finishing his rant to Ruby in "Heroes And Monsters". Ruby promptly trounces the Griffon and makes the Griffon, Torchwick, and the entire battleship explode.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: In the first episode, he chooses not to face Ruby head-on after she knocks his goons out. And in the sixteenth, he flees after watching Penny decimate the White Fang and destroy three airships in quick succession.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted in the Volume One finale. The moment Ruby turns to look at Penny and tell her to get back Torchwick blasts her with a direct hit from Melodic Cudgel. Averted again, this time against him, when a Griffon grabs him while he's monologuing.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • He clearly shows disdain for the Faunus, but he's forced to work with them under Cinder's orders.
      Roman: We're not exactly the most inconspicuous of thieves at the moment, so why don't you animals try and pick up the pace?
    • He can't stand Emerald and Mercury, and made it plain (and public) that Cinder is the only reason he hasn't tried to kill them outright.
  • Tempting Fate: He lectures Ruby that, in this harsh world, heroes just get themselves killed and she should do what huntsmen do best... die. He tells her that, unlike her, he's a master at surviving against the odds. He barely finishes the rant before he's swallowed whole by a Griffon, having forgotten they were surrounded by monsters that are attracted to negativity.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Roman is deliberately captured at the end of Volume 2 because Cinder's plan needs him on that ship. While Ironwood is happy to have captured him, Qrow is concerned it's an excuse for the "second head" of the enemy to work more freely. Cinder needs one of Ironwood's ships under her command to take out the fleet when she sets off the second Grimm invasion of Vale. Neo breaks out Roman, who takes control of Blue-2.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: He has a tendency to use a colleague as a distraction so that he can escape via a suddenly available airship. It's done in his debut departure in Ruby Rose and repeated in Black and White and Painting The Town.
  • Villain Has a Point: He has a point when he gives Ruby a good lecture for her idealism. Turns out in the real world, no matter how strong or determined you are, trying to be a hero when the odds are against you is a quick way to get yourself killed. He's proven right post-mortem when Pyrrha engages Cinder, who has now absorbed all of the Fall Maiden's powers, alone in a desperate attempt to save Beacon. This results in her dying tragically while Ruby can only watch on in horror.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Ruby forces Neo off the ship, she declares that she would never give up her fighting spirit no matter what he throws at her. Roman's fighting style becomes much more aggressive; he drops the cute one-liners and back-talk and concentrates on a swift execution of moves that overpowers Ruby and forces her to the ground. As she falters, he begins ranting at her and beating her over and over with his cane. He's so angry with her determination to be a hero that he doesn't spot the huge Griffon that lands directly behind him.
  • Villainous Friendship: While he treats most people like tools or morons, he does seem to legitimately care about Neo. The only time he displays anything nearing concern for anyone is when Ruby throws Neo off an airship.
  • What Does This Button Do?: While piloting one of Ironwood's ships in Battle of Beacon, he's seen pressing buttons on the control panel at random while saying this. One button sets off an explosion, while another causes the Atlesian Knights onboard to be jettisoned (though Roman thinks it doesn't do anything).
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ruby is a fifteen year old girl. Torchwick doesn't hesitate to fight her, and even when he's making his escape, he throws explosive uncut Fire Dust at her, requiring Glynda to intervene to protect her. In their encounter in Heroes and Monsters he gives her a real beating with his cane while she's curled up in the fetal position as he monologues to her about how meaningless spirit is in the real world.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Not only is he perfectly okay to beat up a fifteen-year-old girl with the brunt end of his cane, but he also gives a thinly-veiled Implied Death Threat to both Mercury and Emerald, both of whom are described as being children by Raven.
  • You Have Failed Me: Junior implies that Torchwick did this to his hired mobsters, seeing how none of them returned after their dust heist, though he may have just left them to be arrested after escaping with Cinder. He also implies this will happen to a White Fang member who momentarily objects to his order to start the train early.

Past Members

Throughout the ages, Salem has gathered followers to serve her purpose. Their lives and deaths were spent furthering her plans for Remnant.



Voiced By: Ruth Uruqhart

Debut: The Grimm Reaper

"And these... are the last sixty seconds of your life."

A crocodile Faunus that served Salem in the past, tasked with hunting down the Grimm Reaper. She successfully blinded the Silver-Eyed Warrior before meeting her own end. Tock fought with two sabres and her Semblance, which makes her Aura nearly indestructable for sixty seconds but immediately depletes her reserves after the timer runs out.

  • Ax-Crazy: Tock relished in her status as a "predator", modifying her teeth to enhance her frightening appearance and give her a devastating bite. She enjoyed playing with her victims ("food") to the extent that Salem warned her against it, but Tock enjoyed the game too much to give it up.
  • Cruel Mercy: Tock is sent to kill Maria but takes great pleasure in the fact that she blinded her instead. She mentions that she was sent to put an end to the power of Maria's silver eyes so concludes that blinding Maria is just as good as killing her. She offers Maria the chance to live in this blinded state, but takes it back when Maria refuses to lie down and die.
  • Delinquent Hair: She is a villain who is sent after the Grimm Reaper with the intention of assassinating her. As part of her appearance, she sports a green mohawk that is styled in a spiky fashion.
  • Dual Wielding: When she fights the dual-wielding Grimm Reaper, she draws a pair of swords, and fights with a combination of dual sword attacks and physical combat.
  • Evil Brit: She has a Cockney accent and has been sent to kill Maria because of the power of Maria's silver eyes. When she blinds Maria, she takes great delight in offering her the chance to live blind instead of dying.
  • Hour of Power: Her semblance amplifies her aura for 60 seconds, turning her invincible. The drawback is that once the 60 seconds end, her aura immediately shatters, leaving her vulnerable. To keep track of how long she has, she uses an alarm clock on her waist. She also tries to keep her fights within the 60 second time limit for the same reason.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Although she looks human, she's a Crocodile Faunus. She has pale green skin which is heavily scaled in a darker shade of green.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Tock was a Crocodile Faunus, and has replaced her teeth with a set of steel jaws similar to that of a bear trap. A single bite from those jaws allowed her to bite right through one of Maria's kama, breaking the dual scythe mode they were in and leaving Maria defenseless.
  • Off with His Head!: After being impaled in the back by one of Maria's kama, Tock is finished with a swipe of her other kama to the neck, decapitating her. The scene cuts to black just before the swipe is completed.
  • Posthumous Character: Tock and Maria fought decades before the series began, and their fight ended in Tock's death.
  • Sadist: After slashing out Maria's eyes, she gloats over it while Maria is screaming in anguish, and takes great delight in offering her the chance to live blinded rather than die.
  • Scary Teeth: Intentionally invoked to enhance her crocodilian appearance. Tock had razor-sharp metal teeth implanted into her mouth, allowing her to terrorize her victims and bite with enough force to break Maria's kama.
  • Slasher Smile: When Tock fights Maria, she enjoys flashing broad grins that show off all of her razor-sharp metal teeth.
  • Underestimating Badassery: When Maria has been blinded, Tock thinks she's now helpless and therefore drops her guard. However, Maria can remember where her weapons fell, allowing her to reach for the one that's lying next to her so that she can activate the Gravity Dust that recalls the second weapon back to her. Tock, who is standing in between Maria and the recalled weapon is impaled in the back by the returning kama's blade. This allows Maria to swing the other kama in front of her to decapitate Tock, whose Aura has been drained by the deactivation of her Semblance.


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