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.
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's always been wanting 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 (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 off RWBY, something he somewhat hinted at◊ before a RWBY game 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:
- Ascended Fanboy: Oum was a big fan of BlazBlue. Three years after his death, RWBY got to cross over with said franchise.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played for laughs when he appeared as a guest "martial arts instructor" in an episode of Immersion.
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Between Red vs. Blue and RWBY, Dead Fantasy was hit hard by Schedule Slip. Unfortunately, due to Oum's death in 2015, the lattermost will never be updated.
- 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.
- Author Existence Failure: A shocking and tragic example. He was entirely fine and healthy until mid-January 2015; two weeks later, he died from a severe allergic reaction. At the age of 33, he should have had decades more work in him. As a result, Dead Fantasy wasn't completed, and while RWBY continued, it always had a heavy cloud of What Could Have Been hanging over it.
- 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: 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.
- 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 in Facebook, often chatting with and exchanging ideas with fans. 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 anymore. Twitter was the only social media outlet that he updated regularly until his death.