Monyreak "Monty" Oum (June 22, 1981 - February 1, 2015) was an American animator* and writer, whose education was entirely observational. He was responsible for some of the most awesome Web Animation around, most of which relied on Rule of Cool.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he gained early fame for Haloid and Dead Fantasy, two of his most famous works and the two that really put him on the map. He was hired by Rooster Teeth to work on never-before-done (at the time) animation for Red vs. Blue, for which he worked tirelessly to make Tex even more awesome than previously thought possible. After finishing up season 10 of RvB, he launched a new web series under the name of RWBY, something he said he'd always wanted to do since he got into animation. As the director and lead animator of RWBY, he took employees and writers from all sections of Rooster Teeth, including fan favorites from Achievement Hunter, to produce the series. In between his movies, he was working on an adaptation of Hatsune Miku for M.U.G.E.N.
He also worked briefly as a combat designer for Midway Games and Bandai Namco Entertainment (as a combat designer for the former and combat designer/animator for the latter's Afro Samurai game). His long-term goal, aside from making movies for his fans, was to make the most awesome fighting game ever. Some fans have begged for him to make a game based on RWBY, something he somewhat hinted at◊ before a RWBY game, Grimm Eclipse, was confirmed at RTX 2014.
He died on February 1, 2015, at the age of 33 after suffering an allergic reaction that left him comatose two days earlier, even though a fundraiser was set up to help with paying for the expenses. In his memory, Rooster Teeth has challenged everyone whose lives were touched by Oum and his works to use their creativity to make the world a better place.
His older brother, Monyneath "Neath" Oum, took over voicing Monty's role on RWBY, Lie Ren.
Works with animation by Monty Oum:
- Dead Fantasy
- Red vs. Blue (Seasons 8-10) (produced by Rooster Teeth)
- RWBY (produced by Rooster Teeth)
Voice Acting Roles:
- RWBY: Lie Ren (Volumes 1 + 2)
Monty Oum and his works provide examples of:
- Action Girl: When it came to creating his own works such as RWBY, he became renowned for including prominent female fighters.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: This is played for laughs when he appeared as a guest "martial arts instructor" in an episode of Immersion.
- Author Appeal: Action Girls and fluid fight scenes permeate his works. Even Haloid had Samus fight out of her armor, and it turns out the SPARTAN in the video was a woman all along.
- Awesome, Dear Boy: He mentioned at one point that he could have worked as an animator at another studio, given his impressive résumé, but he wanted to direct his own awesome projects rather than be stuck working on someone else's ideas.
- Doing It for the Art: This is why Oum worked for hours and hours longer than considered healthy every day; he was just that dedicated to seeing his vision come to fruition. Additionally, he found out that making a webseries yearly instead of a video game that takes three years (as he did so in the Afro Samurai game) was more artistically rewarding.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- Recoil Boost: His animations often have characters use the recoil from their guns to propel themselves at high speeds. Oum said that his goal was to make fights fluid by conserving motion, which means integrating the recoil from firearms into combat maneuvers.
- Rule of Cool: The only rule he lived by. Oum's fight scenes are powered by "what would be awesome here". He freely admitted he was terrible at writing stories, and he often derailed story hooks or already-animated scenes by thinking of something incredibly cool that could be inserted at that part of the animation. This often meant that the animation team would be animating right up to publication deadlines to finalise scenes because of something awesome that he had thought of at the last minute.
- What Could Have Been: Freddie Wong of Rocket Jump had spoken to Oum beforehand about maybe collaborating on some projects, which they'd supposedly gotten far on. Because of Oum's sudden death, these plans were nixed.
- Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things: Oum used to be very active on Facebook, often chatting with and exchanging ideas with fans, alongside posting character model turnabouts and information such as weapon names. This changed when he started getting bombarded with comments and messages demanding he finish Dead Fantasy. A photo of him and his family at his mother's wake getting these comments was the last straw, so he turned his Facebook page into a like page and rarely visited it any more. Twitter was the only social media outlet that he updated regularly until his death.