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RWBY - Tropes A to B

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    Tropes A 
  • Abusive Parents:
    • From the start of the series, Weiss heavily implies that her father, Jacques, was abusive towards her and possibly her sister while they were growing up. He received a lot of stress from dealing with the White Fang's terrorist acts against the Schnee Dust Company, so he often would come home from work in a less than pleasant mood. Once we see him in Volume 4, he's revealed to be a merciless sociopath who only cares about the family name - which he, in fact, married into and took for himself - and has no qualms about disinheriting Weiss for disobeying him one too many times.
    • Mercury implies his father, Marcus, is this as well as being an alcoholic. Later in a flashback episode, when Cinder first meets him, Mercury is found severely injured, his face is bruised and his legs are bleeding and nearly crippled, and he has just finished killing his father.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: According to Pyrrha, the friendships she has made in Beacon are this for Jaune. He approached her knowing nothing of her Famed In-Story status and combat prowess, completely sidestepping one of the main reasons of her Lonely at the Top woes. In turn, her interactions with the Butt-Monkey made Pyrrha look more approachable to other people, which helped to partially subvert her Attractiveness Isolation.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • During a Traintop Battle, Oobleck yells out to decouple the caboose to prevent certain death. Oobleck's voice actor, Joel Heyman, also voiced the character Caboose in another Rooster Teeth production, Red vs. Blue, where there was a Running Gag about the amount of teammate kills he was responsible for.
    • Scarlet David is on the receiving end of a Groin Attack like his actor, Gavin Free, frequently is in other Rooster Teeth productions, and he's dressed like a pirate as nod to Free playing as "the Dandy" in past Assassin's Creed games on Achievement Hunter.
    • Qrow calls both Ruby and Oscar "pipsqueak" in the Volume 3 and 4 finales respectively. Qrow's actor, Vic Mignogna, also voiced Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, while Oscar is voiced by Aaron Dismuke, who also voiced Alphonse Elric for the first season. Ed goes berserk when Al mocks his size, so in the Volume 4 finale, "Ed" finally gets to turn the tables on "Al". Hilariously enough, Al's Japanese voice actor, Rie Kugimiya, voices Oscar.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • One of the locations surrounding Beacon Academy is called the Forest of Forever Fall.
    • "The Badge and the Burden" and "Forever Fall" in season one.
  • Adult Fear:
    • In "Burning the Candle", Yang tells Blake about her childhood, how she and Ruby ventured outside their home and were utterly defenseless against the Grimm that were waiting for them. If Qrow hadn't shown up in time, they would have been killed and Taiyang would have lost his two young daughters after already losing both wives.
    • As the fight in "Tipping Point", draws to a close, we see Qrow running as fast as he can towards it, clearly terrified even though he's a fully-trained Huntsman. He only just manages to arrive in time to block Tyrian from seriously injuring the fallen Ruby, and visibly breathes a sigh of relief.
  • Advice Backfire: In the Volume 5 episode "Known by it's Song", when Raven warns Yang not to trust Ozpin, she advises her daughter to question everything she's told. When they confront each other again at the end of "Haven's Fate," however, Yang throws this advice back in Raven's face and calls out the latter on both her hypocritical cowardice as well as her perception of strength. A distraught Raven can only whisper a tearful apology before she flees out of regret.
    Yang: I'm starting to ask questions, like you said.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: It's called Remnant, and it's filled with monsters, with only the rare beacons of civilization (the kingdoms of Vale, Vacuo, Mistral, and Atlas) and Dust holding them back. Civilization is protected, and able to exist at all, through the efforts of Huntsmen whose careers are either mission-based, going on adventures to fight the Grimm, or academy-based, teaching the next generation to fight the Grimm and control the missions the other Huntsmen go on.
  • Aerith and Bob: Remnant is an eclectic mixture of people with names from various different cultures or words in various languages, and some from none at all. This includes characters with traditional names – such as Ruby, Blake, and Nora – and characters with names based on recognizable languages, cultures, and mythologies – such as Weiss (German for 'white'), Jaune (French for 'yellow'), Pyrrha (a name borrowed by Achilles), and Yatsuhashi (a Japanese treat). However, the Beacon headmaster's name is Ozpin, a made-up name reflecting the character's inspiration from the the Wizard of Oznote , and his colleague Glynda's name is inspired by Glinda from the same work. The In-Universe justification for the variety of names is that the world experienced a terrible global war from which freedom of expression has become one of the planet's most cherished gifts... something Ozpin's name mysteriously does not conform to.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Qrow Branwen's introduction consists of him sitting at a bar in the middle of the day, drinking heavily while watching the Vytal tournament on television. When he leaves the bar, he staggers badly as he moves and his attack on Winter's cybernetic bodyguards is done through his perspective, showing how badly he's weaving as he walks and how blurred his vision is. When Winter defends herself in private to Ozpin, Ironwood and Glynda by pointing out how drunk Qrow is, Glynda retorts that Qrow is always drunk: meanwhile, Qrow is drinking from a hip flask right in front of them. While he carries the hip flask everywhere and drinks constantly from it, his confrontation with Leo in Volume 5 sends him straight to a bar afterwards. When Qrow returns, collapsing in an insensible heap on the couch, Ruby's frustrated reaction indicates it's not uncommon to see him in this state. It is, however, how Oscar is able to find Qrow: he's always propping up a bar.
    • Although Jacques is mentioned several times and his corrupt business practices are Weiss's motivation to become an honourable Huntress, it takes her much longer to begin talking about her mother. In Volume 4, Weiss's query about the location of her mother results in her brother indicating that Mrs. Schnee regularly spends all day sat in the garden doing nothing but drinking. In Volume 5, Weiss opens up to Yang about her home life, explaining that her father's lack of interest in her 10th birthday party led to Jacques confirming to his wife that he married her solely to obtain the prestigious Schnee name and company. Weiss states that her mother's breakdown began as drinking glasses of wine regularly but quickly progressed to drinking entire bottles; she no longer takes any active part in her children's lives.
  • All for Nothing: In Volume 5, Raven only agrees to go along with Cinder's plan to steal the Relic of Knowledge because it gives the former the opportunity to steal it for herself. In the end, however, her plan becomes a lost cause. Qrow renounces Raven as his sister; Vernal, her lieutenant, died because she was a decoy; and she exposed herself as the Spring Maiden to the enemy, something that would effectively put herself on Salem's hit list. When she finally attempts to obtain the Relic, Yang confronts her and tells her that Salem would see her as an even greater target if she took it. In the end, she allows Yang to take the Relic, and tearfully apologises before leaving.
  • Alliterative Family: The three Schnee siblings, Winter, Weiss and Whitley all have names that begin with the letter 'W' and which are designed to evoke the colour white. note  This doesn't stem from their grandfather, who made the family famous, because his name was Nicholas. Their father, who inherited the company from Nicholas, married into the family and was therefore Nick's son-in-law. His name is Jacques. It's therefore not explained where the preference for the alliterative names comes from.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Early on, Pyrrha is in love with Jaune, who has a crush on Weiss, who likes Neptune, who seems somewhat ambivalent towards her because of his Casanova-ish tendencies. Jaune ultimately seems to reciprocate Pyrrha's feelings, but that only becomes apparent right before Cinder kills her.
    • Also, it's revealed in Volume 5 that Ilia was in love with Blake when they were in the White Fang together, while Blake had fallen for Adam.
  • All There in the Manual: Volume 2 introduces an information series called "World Of Remnant", providing additional information about how the setting works. Monty Oum also disseminated and clarified certain meta-knowledge via Twitter, Facebook and interviews.
  • All There in the Script: Several characters' last names are only revealed in the credits.
  • Alphabet News Network: VNN: Vale News Network.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American artwork for volume 3 shows Ruby and her team anticipating the Vytal tournament. In contrast, a poster for a Japanese limited edition release of the volume shows Ruby angrily crying Berserker Tears while Cinder smugly smiles above the two women she slays.
  • An Adventurer Is You: Oum says Team RWBY is based on a standard RPG group. Yang is the Fighter/Tank, Weiss is the Mage, Blake is the Thief, and Ruby herself is possibly the Archer. While Ruby appears to be the special character of the show, the set-up ensures she's not the only useful character in the show. Others have skills and necessary roles, too.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • At some point in Mercury's past, he lost both of his legs and had them replaced with prosthetic limbs. This eventually becomes extremely useful to the villains: Mercury is very sensitive to Pyrrha's magnetism Semblance and is able to assess her abilities after only seconds of sparring allowing him to gather valuable intelligence about her that Cinder can exploit. He is also capable of withstanding Yang's Semblance-empowered attacks and make it appear as though his legs are broken without being genuinely harmed. This allows Emerald to use her powers to frame both Yang and Pyrrha, and by extension Ozpin (as their headmaster), without Mercury being injured or anyone catching on.
    • During the invasion of Beacon, Adam decides to destroy everything Blake loves as revenge for abandoning him. He starts by cutting off Yang's right arm. This triggers character arcs for both Yang and Blake. A guilt-ridden Blake goes on the run, returning to her roots to confront everything she hates about herself. Yang is forced to confront everything she refuses to think of about herself and her family situation, including her thoughtless attitude in battle, which led to her arm loss.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: In "Alone Together," Ilia angrily confesses that she had always wanted Blake to look at her like she'd looked at Adam, while holding her whip to Blake's throat.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • White Fang's emblem is a wolf, and they share their name with the book White Fang, which is about a wolf-dog and his relationship with both the wilds of nature and with humans.
    • Team CRDL as well with their names references to birds (and their team name is pronounced 'Cardinal').
  • Animation Bump:
    • The fight scenes in Volume 1 would get one in comparison to the rest of the season.
    • Volume 2 has better, more fluid animation, and more nuanced facial expressions and colour palettes. It also helps that each episode is much longer compared to the first volume.
    • Volume 3 has far more detailed and natural-looking backgrounds, more 2D animation mixed in to alleviate the technical shortcomings that the 3D animation still has, and minor touches such as realistic tears.
    • Volume 4 is the show's first volume with new animation software (Maya instead of Poser), and the style shifts more towards Cel Shading with focus on lighting and such.
    • Volume 5 showcased massive advancements as the CRWBY was getting used to using Maya software. Even as early as the first character short, there were vast improvements in particle and special effects.
    • Volume six featured more fluid animation than ever, as well as more expressive facial models. The real glory goes into environments, as some locations and water effects were almost photorealiatic.
  • Animesque: The animation and character design resemble anime in general. Certain visual and artistic conventions that apply to anime are therefore reproduced for this show as well. The director researched several anime while designing the series. When Crunchyroll began streaming the series, certain people began demanding the show in the "original" Japanese instead of English "dub". It has gained both Japanese and Chinese fan followings as a result, and Fanfiction Dot Net classifies it as an anime.
  • Animal Jingoism: Referenced when Zwei is sent to Ruby and Yang; everyone warms up quickly to the idea of having a Precious Puppy staying with them... except Blake, who trees herself to get as far away from Zwei as possible.
  • Anime Theme Song: All Volumes thus far come with OPs that wouldn't look out of place on anything coming out of Japan. The OPs, all composed by Jeff Williams and performed by Casey Lee Williams, are as follows:
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In "Beginning of the End", this is how Cinder and her associates "convince" the White Fang to work with them, with Cinder igniting a circle of fire beneath Adam's feet and her associates cutting down their entire camp.
  • Answer Cut: "Never Miss a Beat" ends with Ozpin describing the girl that he believes will be a strong maiden candidate, as we see Pyrrha entering the elevator of the Cross Continental Transmit tower.
  • Appeal to Familial Wisdom: When Jaune and Ruby are both brand-new to Beacon Academy, they're both nervous and team up together to trying and navigate their new surroundings. Regarding the fact they don't know anyone at this school yet, Jaune tries to cheer them both up by quoting his mother's advice about handling new situations.
    Jaune: My mom always says "strangers are just friends you haven't met yet".
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Dust is a crystal that can be triggered by Aura to cause various effects depending on the type of dust used. It is commonly formed into charges which are mechanically ignited (Huntsman ammunition), but can also be manually triggered, woven into clothing, or even embedded directly into a person's body.
  • Arc Number: Four is an important recurring number. There are four Kingdoms, each with a four-year academy. Academy teams consist of four people, each based on four colors. There are four basic types of Dust, four Maidens representing the four seasons, and four gifts to mankind and their subsequent artifacts. Not to mention the fact that the story starts right before the 40th Vytal Festival. Character-wise, the past four generations of Jaune's family were heroes, and Pyrrha is a four time champion of the Mistral regional tournament. The opening credits for Volume 6 feature four of Ozpin's past incarnations.
  • Arc Words:
    • There is a lot of use in both the show and songs of words that bring to mind the idea of light, especially light against darkness. There are Academy names like "Beacon" and "Signal", descriptions of humanity as a light against the darkness, and references to "sparks" or "burn" regarding the fire of humanity to fight for survival. By contrast, the main threat to humanity's existence (the Creatures of Grimm) are described in terms of darkness and shadow, and the villains take on these aspects as well. The only reference to light and darkness that is turned on its head is Vacuo's academy, Shade. Based in a desert, Shade is the symbol of hope and life against the unrelenting, destructive desert sun.
    • Volume 3 focuses on the concept of "fall". The intro song is called "When It Falls", the Big Bad's name is Cinder Fall, the Volume itself takes place during the fall season, the song "I May Fall" plays during a battle, and the episode in which the villains really get the upper hand and the plot takes a noticeable turn towards darkness is called "Fall". Pyrrha is selected to become the next Fall Maiden and the volume ends with the fall of both Beacon and Pyrrha, at the hands of Cinder.
  • Armies Are Evil: Invoked. Ozpin explains that an army is a symbol of conflict, and bringing one to the Vytal Festival is just going to scare people and make them wonder what that army is meant to fight.
  • Armor Is Useless: Played With. Since Aura protects their users from damage and cures minor wounds most huntsmen and huntresses tend to wear outfits that wouldn't be too practical otherwise and it works out well for them. Still, some combatants - notably Jaune and Pyrrha - choose to wear armor into battle and no one considers it weird or impractical, even if it slows them down a little. Apparently using armor is seen as an acceptable, but not a necessary tradeoff, making it something of a Downplayed Trope.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • After the new students' first class, when Weiss expresses frustration about Ruby being named team leader instead of her to Port, he asks her, "So the outcome did not fall in your favor. Do you really believe that acting in such a manner would cause those in power to reconsider their decision?"
    • During their first field exercise, Oobleck interrogates three out of four of the girls over why they've chosen to become Huntresses. For every answer given, he immediately exposes the flaw in their reasoning with a very simple question. For example, when Blake claims she wants to fight corruption, he asks "How?", leaving her speechless. The trio are left very troubled both by the answers they've given to Oobleck and by the fact Oobleck has not asked Ruby the question at all.
    • In "It's Brawl in the Family", Ozpin says this to Ironwood after he tries to justify his bringing a whole fleet to the Vytal Festival.
    "A guardian is a symbol of comfort. But an army is a symbol of conflict. There's an energy in the air now. The question in the back of everyone's minds: if this is the size of our defenses, what are they expecting to fight?"
    • In "True Colors":
      • When meeting with Raven to help her lure Qrow into a trap at Haven in "True Colors", Leo admits that he sided with Salem out of fear of what the latter can do to him and how distraught he is in selling Ozpin out. Despite Raven trying to assure him that he did what was necessary to survive, Leo asks, "Who are you trying to convince?" This doesn't sit well with Raven, who silently leaves.
      • Blake gives one to Ilia, asking her if she really thinks that her parents would approve of what she's doing as part of the White Fang. This triggers the start of Ilia's breakdown as she breaks into tears and responds that she doesn't know what to do anymore.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Ruby's rig was updated from the trailer to the show itself. Compare the 3D model of her in the premiere trailer and the series.
    • Beowolves also changed.note 
    • Volume 2, in comparison to Volume 1. Darker, more holographic parts, more detailed extras (bystanders are not just black silhouettes anymore), and smoothed-out animation.
    • Volume 3 as well, in comparison to Volume 2. The animation is now a mixture of 3D models and 2D backgrounds, which look a LOT prettier than the old 3D ones.
    • The graphical improvements across the board for Volume 4 add a lot of detail and expressiveness to the series, if the Character Short is anything to go by. Grimm radiate smoke and their eyes have a trailing glow; Ruby has a more detailed and expressive model, such as having actual modeled lips. Blake's ears are notably more expressive, too.
    • Raven's model has also changed somewhat between Volume 2 and 4 to differentiate her more from Yang. In her first (unmasked) appearance she had exactly the same hairstyle and face as her daughter.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Present in a number of fights. Most noticeable in the Volume 2 opener food fight, thanks to the seemingly-indestructible food items used as bludgeons - and the cans of soda that behave more like grenades. It is likely justifiable by way of how Aura works.
  • Artificial Limbs:
    • Mercury's legs are prosthetic in nature, as revealed in the battle against Amber (this presumably has something to do with his father). Ironwood is also revealed to have this (the entire right side of his torso seems to be mechanical).
    • After Yang loses an arm a metal prosthetic is made, which she uses reluctantly.
  • Art Shift:
    • A news report shown in the first episode is done in hand-drawn animation.
    • Comedy moments will involve cutesy artwork: Ruby turns into a chibi as she gushes over student weapons, Ruby and Yang's catfight is shown as a Big Ball of Violence and Ruby's thoughts while running through the forest being stylized as comic characters (Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures style, to be precise).
    • Flashbacks tend to get a 2D anime-style animation, ranging from Blake's White Fang idealism as a child to the dark, gritting forest nightmare that almost got Yang and Ruby killed as very young children.
  • Ascended Meme: Various fandom ships gained names based on which pair was being shipped. In Vol.2 Ep.4, those ship names get acknowledged in-universe in the form of team RWBY's tactics, involving the relevant pairs combining their techniques and abilities when fighting Torchwick.
    • In "New Challengers", Jaune calls for a team meeting when their team is fighting Team BRNZ and tries to execute code-named team attacks named after the Nora/Ren and Jaune/Pyrrha ships, referencing them by name ("Flower Power" and "Arkos", respectively).
    • The name of Jaune and Pyrrha's pairing, Arkos, has to be explained to newcomers rather frequently. The show lampshades this by having Pyrrha herself question it in Volume 3.
    • In "The Next Step", Ren and Nora argue over whether their team should be called "JNRR" or "RNJR", mimicking the same arguments fans had after the end of Volume 3 considering the new team of Ruby, Nora, Ren and Jaune.
  • Ash Face:
    • Volume 1, Chapter 2 has Ruby launching a Dust-powered sneeze that covers Weiss in ash. She's not happy.
    • In "Never Miss a Beat", after tackling Flynt onto a fire-spewing vent, the extent of Weiss' injuries is being covered in soot. The areas around her eyes are perfectly clean, though.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The Great War only came to an end after ten bloody years when the Warrior-King of Vale was forced to take to the battlefield on Vacuo. Legend claims that his actions were single-handedly so apocalyptic for everyone that the leaders of the other three kingdoms immediately surrendered and offered him their kingdoms. He was able to use the situation to broker a peace treaty at Vytal, force the kingdoms to all revisit and redesign the structure of kingdoms and how they're run, and create the four Huntsmen Academies. However, he refused control of the offered kingdoms and ended the Vale kingship, becoming a teacher at Vale's new academy.
  • Asshole Victim: Marcus was the victim of murder by his own son's hands, but he was also an abusive alcoholic father and an infamous assassin.
  • Asskicking Pose: Team RWBY frequently assemble in chromatic order before attacking together.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha:
    • Team RWBY has developed special tactical maneuvers based on the principle of Combination Attack. Two members of the team combine their powers and fighting styles to produce special attacks. The decision on which moves to make at what point in a fight is made by the team leader, Ruby.
      • "Freezer Burn" involves Weiss and Yang, using snow and fire to produce a dense fog and slippery surface to cloud the enemy's vision.
      • "Checkmate" is initiated by Weiss and Blake, using Weiss's glyphs to power up Blake, increasing her speed and making whip attacks even more effective than normal.
      • "Ladybug" is done by Ruby and Blake, using a series of dashing strikes to the Paladin's legs, going back and forth between them too fast for it to focus on them, and ending with a jumping downward slash that severs one of its arms.
      • "Bumblebee" is carried out by Yang and Blake, using Blake's whip to catch Yang after the Paladin had knocked her away, and then whipping her around at it to build up speed for a devastating strike.
      • "Ice Flower" is utilized by Ruby and Weiss, using Ruby's firepower and Weiss's ice to freeze their opponent solid with ice that settles in the shape of an ice flower.
    • Played for Laughs with Jaune attempting to do the same during the tournament, only for the rest of Team JNPR to get confused and try to figure out what he is talking about.
  • Author Appeal: Left-handedness is common because of Monty's left-handedness, and Weiss is a fencer because he had studied fencing. The show is also full of strong Action Girls because Monty liked those kinds of characters.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Huntsmen and other warriors that live long enough to become tutors or truly old are extremely dangerous people by virtue of having a survived a dangerous job with a very high death toll. This can cause its own problems as Discussed in-universe. There is a conflict between General Ironwood and the Beacon staff because Ironwood believes in closely associating authority with the amount of ass-kicking that authority is capable of. It's why he insists on bringing an army to Vale for the Vytal Tournament. By contrast, Ozpin, Qrow and Glynda fear such displays will backfire rather than be helpful. The lesson the Beacon teachers seem to teach their students is that authority requires leadership ability rather than combat skill, something that Ozpin makes a point of telling Ruby to make her take responsibility for her position as team leader; this is a lesson that Ruby then passes on to Jaune, for the same reason.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Most major fight scenes are accompanied by vocal rock songs:
  • Avengers, Assemble!:
    • Team RWBY understandably does this numerously and sometimes winds up together out of sheer coincidence.
    • Taken to an extreme in "Battle of Beacon", with not just Team RWBY, but Teams JNPR, SSSN, CFVY, ABRN, and FNKI.

    Tropes B 
  • Baby Talk: Weiss is reduced to this in "Field Trip" when trying to insult Ruby and Yang's corgi Zwei to his face, only to be won over by its impenetrable cuteness. Afterwards, she always talks to Zwei in this manner.
    Weiss: Are you telling me that this mangy...drooling...mutt is going to wiv wif us foweva? Oh, yes he is, oh yes he is! Oh, isn't he adorable!
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
    • All of Team RWBY in the Volume 1 opening — they stand in a loose circle facing outward, baring weapons against the many monsters surrounding them. Actually, it appears they are searching for the enemy, who turns out to be floating above the center of the circle.
    • It's also how they begin Volume 2, Chapter 12 facing off against a lot of Grimm.
    • Done twice in "Battle of Beacon" with Oobleck and Port, and Weiss and Blake; both pairs are fending off Grimm.
  • Badass Boast: "I May Fall" is basically one long badass boast. Its message is that one day, the singer will be facing their Darkest Hour, alone and hopeless; on that day, even if they are defeated, they're going to go down fighting.
  • Badass Adorable: All of team RWBY and half of team JNPR are cute girls who kick serious ass. Most notable examples are Ruby and Nora who are perky cheerful girls with Super Speed and Super Strength respectively. Velvet from team CFVE is a cute, shy girl, who can unload everybody's signature move in a row.
  • Badass Family:
    • Ruby and Yang are sisters, and either one of them can ruin your day if you get on their respective bad sides. In Volume 1, Chapter 1, Ruby also mentions an uncle who taught her how to fight, just cementing this further. In season 2, it's further explained in Yang's flashback that their parents were Huntsmen too. It's worth noting that both of their mothers were Huntresses who were previously on the same team as their eventual husband and Qrow. Yang's mother, Raven, is so powerful, that the seemingly invincible Neo freaks out and runs from her. Even the family dog has been show to be able to slay Grimm on his own.
    • Downplayed in Jaune's case. At least three generations of his family were warriors and heroes (possibly including his sisters). Jaune himself? Not so much.
    • The Belladonna family are this as well. The White Fang attempts to assassinate them in force and kidnap Blake in season 5, but the Belladonnas all fight back. Ghira only gets a stab in the shoulder that doesn't slow him down at most. Plus Kali taking out an assassin with a tea tray.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The club that Yang enters in her trailer appears to be a gathering place for criminals, as the owner Junior sells his services (such as hired muscle) to known criminal Roman Torchwick.
  • Bag of Holding: The tiny cylindrical package that Yang and Ruby receive from their father in episode 8 of Season 2. At first a tiny corgi dog pops out of it. Yang then reads a note that he also packed a lot of food for the dog, and many cans of dog food pour out when she flips the container downward.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The Volume 2 and 3 Credits gives the four main characters action-packed fight scenes against the four main villains of each volume, pairing each protagonist and a villain. Blake is paired with Roman in Volume 2 and Adam in Volume 3, reflecting her conflicts in the two volumes. Ruby and Cinder are paired together in both as symbolism of the leaders of the two groups while Yang is paired together with Mercury, which sets up their Volume 3 storyline. That leaves Weiss and Emerald; they end up having no direct conflict with each other in either volume, but are the left-over characters from both groups in the opening credit sequences.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • Jaune and Pyrrha show an early indication of this during the fight with the Deathstalker in Episode 8, using their similar equipment (swords and shields) in a very smoothly compatible manner. Incidentally, it foreshadows their relationship in their team.
  • Professors Oobleck and Port are almost always paired up when a big enough battle to warrant the teachers' involvement develops, often paired with Back-to-Back Badasses and friendly banter.
  • Back Blocking:
    • In the second episode, Jaune wonders where he'll find a quirky girl to talk to. Then he walks off-camera, revealing Pyrrha in front of the group of silhouette characters.
    • The Volume 2 opening appears to show Ruby standing by herself a la Volume 1, but then pans to show Weiss, Blake and Yang standing alongside her.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Quite a few female characters have worn outfits like this. Yang and Blake notabley, plus, Neon Katt, Cinder Fall during the tournament, Emerald, recently Ilia in the volume 6 premiere. Neo also has a new outfit that does this in the volume 6 finale.
  • Batman Gambit: General Ironwood's paranoia and insistence of keeping order during the Vytal Festival causes him to bring a large section of the Atlesian robotic army and airship fleet with him as security. Cinder anticipates this, and forms a part of her plans to focus on hijacking control of the army by inserting a virus into the flagship Amity's computers. How does she pull this off? By letting Ironwood capture Torchwick and having Neo slip in as part of the guard rotation.
  • Battle Aura: As explained by Pyrrha, every human can manifest their soul in a way that creates this, blocking attacks and healing injuries. (Animals, too, though not Grimm.) Word Of God (via the director's commentary), confirms that this is why most human characters (not to mention animals like Zwei) are so tough—they're using their Aura to defend against injury.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Ursa variant of Grimm are 10 to 15-foot-tall, spiky-armored bears.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The leaders of the four major Huntsmen academies are working together behind the scenes to protect everyone from the threats that exist on Remnant - both the threats people know about, and the ones that are kept secret. Ozpin, Glynda, Ironwood, Qrow, formerly Lionheart, and the Vacuo academy leader work together against threats, the knowledge of which could alter everything people believe about themselves and their world. One of their core motivations for secrecy is the desire to avoid causing panic, which would draw hordes of Grimm to the cities.
  • Big Bad: Volume 1 makes Torchwick appear to be the main villain, but eventually reveals he's subordinate to the true Big Bad, Cinder Fall, and is merely carrying out Phase One of her plans. And then the Volume 3 finale introduces Salem, and reveals that Cinder is merely her subordinate.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Ruby and Yang enter one in Volume 1 Chapter 3 while play-fighting.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In her first fight at Beacon Academy, Ruby's cape gets caught when a Giant Nevermore pins it with a barrage of feathers. Yang tries to reach her before a giant Deathstalker kills her but is stopped by another bombardment of feathers. The Deathstalker is just about to kill Ruby when Weiss streaks into view; having used her Glyphs to race to Ruby's rescue at super-speed, she is able to freeze the Deathstalker just inches from Ruby's face.
    • When the team attempt to stop Roman from breaching the city's walls with a runaway train, Yang fights Neo but is easily defeated by her and knocked unconscious. As Neo unsheathes her blade to stab Yang to death, a portal unexpectedly opens in the ceiling and a masked woman with a huge sword drops out of it to the floor. Clearly recognising the woman, Neo backs off in obvious terror and flees. The woman then departs without a word to the now semi-conscious Yang. It's later confirmed that the masked woman is Yang's Missing Mom, Raven.
    • During the Battle of Beacon, Cardin finds himself surrounded by some Atlesian robot soldiers that have been hacked by the villains. Just as he's about to be killed, the soldiers' heads are blown off... by their general. Ironwood, who has just survived the hacked soldiers crashing the airship he was on, walks into view, gun first. Cardin stares in open-mouthed awe as Ironwood single-handedly destroys every single soldier present. His clothes are in rags from the plane crash, revealing that the entire right side of his body has been replaced by cybernetic body parts.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Happens between Jaune and Pyrrha in the Volume 3 finale.
  • Big Entrance: During the fight to repel the Grimm invasion in the Volume 2 finale, Sun and Neptune step in with their newly acquired badges and loudly announce their intent to kick ass... before being drowned out by the even more dramatic arrival of the Atlas military, which catches nearly everyone's attention.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In "Best Day Ever", Ruby lets out one during the Food Fight when cradling Weiss after she is thrown into a pillar by Nora.
    • In "Battle of Beacon", Ironwood lets out a genuinely alarmed one when he sees the group of Atlesian androids on his airship turning their guns on him after being hacked and turned rogue by Torchwick.
    • In "The More the Merrier":
      • Ruby lets out one when she sees Jaune and Cinder charging at each other since she gets a flashback to witnessing Pyrrha's death and refuses to be a bystander and watch another friend die at Cinder's hands.
      • Jaune lets out one right before Cinder impales Weiss with her spear.
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • In "The Badge and the Burden" Weiss snaps at Ruby for distracting her during her fight with a Boarbatusk.
    • In "Tipping Point", after telling a man who had been bothering her to leave, an already irked Weiss overhears a woman from Atlas unapologetically insulting Vale, saying that it deserved what happened to it. This makes her reach her tipping point, making her loudly yell "SHUT UP!" and attract everyone's attention.
    • In "Punished", Oscar gives one of these to the voice of Ozpin that he's hearing when it keeps pestering him.
  • Big "WHAT?!":
    • Weiss in "Search and Destroy" after Oobleck says that they've been spotted by Grimm.
    • Cinder in the Volume 3 finale when she sees Ruby revealing unforeseen power, enveloping everything around her in white.
    • Blake and Sun in "Menagerie" after Blake's mom reveals that Blake's dad has been dealing with the White Fang.
    • Weiss in "Punished" when her father says that she will stay in Atlas until the two come to a consensus about her future.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Schnee" is German for snow and "Weiss" is the German word for white (weiß) pronounced okay but the W would make a V more like "Veiss" (vice).
  • Black Hole Belly: Pretty much everyone, including tiny characters like Weiss, can eat mountains of food without any change in appearance afterwards.
  • Blackmail: In Volume 1, Chapter 12, Jaune reveals to Pyrrha that he forged his application to Beacon, hence why he's so underwhelming compared to everyone else at that school. Unfortunately for him, Cardin's room was just below, and he happens to overhear this. He blackmails Jaune into doing his homework and chores for him for the next two chapters, until Jaune finally stands up to him and saves him from a rampaging Grimm.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • The knight's blade lands at a near 90 degree angle when Weiss disarms it in the White trailer, though it does fall over after a brief time.
    • Pyrrha's spear lands at a similar angle in Volume 2, Chapter 5 when Mercury briefly disarms her.
    • Sage's sword does this when he's knocked out of the match in Volume 3, Chapter 2.
    • In Volume 3, Chapter 9, all of Penny's swords fall flat, but one blade slams into the ground, point-first to pin some fabric to the ground, symbolically signifying the end of the battle.
  • Blank White Eyes:
    • Ruby in Volume 1, Chapter 4, when Ozpin drops the bomb on how the team matchmaking works.
    • Ruby again in Volume 1, Chapter 8, as she is falling from the sky. She then gets intercepted by Jaune who was tossed by a Death Stalker, and then develops Circling Birdies (actually, circling wolves) shortly afterwards. Happens to her again later as her reunion with her sister is suddenly interrupted by Nora.
    • Weiss, Blake and Yang do this in Volume 1, Chapter 15, when Ruby agrees to Penny's notion that she's her friend (her teammates vehemently deny this and mime to Ruby to reject it); they collapse to the ground afterward.
    • Weiss again in Chapter 8 of Volume 2 when the girls find out the huntsman they'll be shadowing is Professor Oobleck, who doesn't seem like the typical badass Huntsman they envisioned—initially.
  • Blessed with Suck: Everyone's got a Semblance, a special power that only they can do. However, it's later established that not all Semblances are cool and useful; your Semblance can be, for instance, to cause misfortune to the people around you...poor Qrow.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The Grimm don't bleed, they disintegrate when they've been defeated. As a result, slaughtering Grimm does not cause blood to flow. When people fight each other, Aura protects the body from serious injury, also ensuring there is limited to no blood flow. As a result, blood is used to indicate that a person has received a life-threatening injury, usually when Aura has broken and usually happening on an individual level rather than through carnage examples: for example, Cinder impaling Weiss at Haven, causing blood to soak through Weiss's clothes. Sometimes it's to represent a life-changing injury such as flashbacks revealing bloody bandages on Mercury's legs that sets up the reveal that he's a double-amputee or bloody bandages cover Yang's arm after her arm is severed. The exception is Adam, who tends to shed a lot of blood when he slaughters humans, showing both his threat level and his descent into villainy.
  • Blown Across the Room:
    • Inverted, guns are powerful enough to throw the shooter across the room and is used as a form of locomotion, while no one that gets shot is thrown around thanks to their Aura.
    • Ruby does get knocked backward by a rocket shot from Torchwick's cane in "Black and White". She's fine though.
    • Happens repeatedly during the super-powered Food Fight in Volume 2, Chapter 1.
  • Boobs of Steel: Yang Xiao Long is a powerhouse who uses Good Old Fisticuffs (her fighting style being too unrefined to be boxing despite seeming to have training in it) equipped with Ember Celica and is physically one of the strongest characters of the series, she also tops most of the adult women in the bust department.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The song "From Shadows" is a powerful song with hard rock and metal elements as the singer speaks of revolution — of the down-trodden rising up from darkness to take back what's rightfully theirs. However, the introduction and close book-ends a song of revolution with a slow and lonely piano solo.
    • In "Lessons Learned", the first and last shot of the scene of Winter tutoring Weiss is of a caterpillar, which acts to identify the progress Weiss is making in developing her Semblance. The scene starts with Weiss's lack of faith in her Summoning ability while the caterpillar crawls alone in view of the camera. The scene ends with the caterpillar being stopped by a tiny summoned sword as Weiss and Winter depart, unaware that Weiss has started to manifest her ability.
    • Pyrrha's first appearance in Volume 3 is accompanied by Ruby flinging her arms wide and calling out her name in delight when Pyrrha appears just in time to solve the problem they were facing, which is that Weiss's credit card has been declined so they can't pay for their food. Pyrrha's final appearance in Volume 3 is also accompanied by Ruby flinging her arms wide and calling out her name. This time, Ruby's cry is despairing; she tries to reach Pyrrha in time to save her from a major problem — fighting the too-powerful Fall Maiden, Cinder — but instead arrives just in time to witness Cinder murder Pyrrha.
    • The "beginning" of the opening act in the machinations of the villains' occurs in the pilot episode. The show opens to a narration by a mysterious woman that ends with a male narrator refuting her darkness by expressing faith in a "smaller, more honest, soul". The same episode quickly reveals the male narrator to Professor Ozpin, headmaster of Beacon Academy. The next three volumes consists of Ruby and her team trying to develop their skills at Beacon Academy while also trying to figure out what the villains are up to. Volume 3 closes with the same mysterious woman narrating a response to Ozpin's pilot episode objection; as she announces the close of the first stage of her plan and her intention to begin "the end" of Ozpin.
    • Weiss's Volume 4 storyline is introduced to the audience with the sight of a subdued girl being summoned by the butler from the isolation of her sunlit room to walk through long, empty hallways as her heels loudly echo in a silence that only broken when she reaches her father's study and overhears him arguing with General Ironwood about the General's decision to inflict a Dust embargo on the world. Her Volume 4 storyline ends with the same butler again triggering her to walk through the long hallways. This time, her heels are muffled by carpet and she's determined rather than subdued. She is again stopped at the doorway to her father's study, overhearing him arguing with General Ironwood, this time about Ironwood's latest decision to close the Kingdom's borders to movement in either direction. While the first study argument led to her subjugation throughout the volume, the second study argument leads her to lock them in the room while she escapes from the mansion to freedom.
    • Cinder's first and last line in Volume 5 is "Shut up!" in response to being mocked. In the first scene, her retort to Watts mocking her lost eye reveals that she's recovered from her injuries and can be sent back out against the protagonists. In the last scene, her retort to Raven reveals that she's lost control of the battle and is about to be defeated as a result of not paying attention to an enemy whose presence she should not have forgotten.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The chainsaw-wielding White Fang lieutenant Weiss takes on in "No Brakes". Despite his relatively unassuming appearance, he proceeds to tank dozens of hits from Weiss before knocking her out practically as an afterthought. Later in the same episode, after seeing what he's done to Weiss, Blake decides to run away rather than even make an attempt at taking him on.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • In a world where Phlebotinum, guns, and blades intersect, Jaune uses... a plain old sword and a collapsible shield/scabbard. Ruby lampshades this, saying that it's good to have a healthy respect for the classics.
    • General Ironwood's weapon of choice? A simple revolver. It's a damn big one, but there's nothing else really notable or crazy about it. It really should tell you everything you need to know about the world of Remnant when a Hand Cannon is this trope. It seems to have two barrels and two triggers, but that is still far more normal than most weapons in the setting... and it still kicks ass.
    • Have your fancy weapon knocked out of your hands? Just bash the enemy on the nose. Qrow does this in his fight with Tyrian in Volume 4. A volume later, Ozpin teaches Ruby a lesson about the art of headbutting an opponent, which she puts into practice during the battle of Haven when Mercury knocks her weapon out of her hands.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Weiss's mistrust of the White Fang stems from her family having waged war with them for years. She's seen family, friends and board members executed. As a result, she tends to view any Faunus as a White Fang recruit waiting to happen. Blake is angry with that view because it paints all Faunus with the same brush and even most White Fang members have a history of peaceful protest, since it's only recently the White Fang has become violent, in part due to the bigotry of people of like Weiss. Weiss is right about the criminal nature and violence of White Fang, while Blake is right about the mistreatment of Faunus having backed them into a corner.
  • Brand X:
    • Shi-nee brand toothpaste (assumed name).
    • Pumpkin Pete's Marshmallow Flakes (cereal).
    • Udder Satisfaction (on a carton of milk at the start of the food-fight scene).
    • People Like Grapes & Dr. Pipper Soda
    • Gentleman's Best Friend (canned dog food)
    • Samurai Shampoo
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Team RWBY are put together as a team by the Beacon headmaster and have to learn how to work together as a team both academically and in combat in order to graduate school. After the villains invade Vale at the end of Volume 3, the team is forced to separate. They don't reunite as a full team until the end of Volume 5. Yang loses her right arm in the battle that destroys Beacon Academy, and spends Volume 4 at home learning how to cope with the trauma of her loss. Jacques Schnee comes to Beacon in person to force his daughter, Weiss, to return home to Atlas with him. One of the villainous forces is led by Adam Taurus, Blake's ex-boyfriend; seeking revenge for being abandoned by Blake, Adam cuts off Yang's arm solely because Yang is someone Blake cares about; Blake disappears without a word to her team, going on the run and ending up at her parents home in an attempt to come to terms with what's happened.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Torchwick was supposed to have been a one-off character for the first episode only. They liked how he came out and his voice actor's skills so much so that they made him a major part of the Volume finale, as well as a major player in the group of villains in the second volume.
    • Velvet was meant to be a one-off character demonstrating the challenges of being a Faunus. However the fandom response was so strong, she was turned into a recurring character with her own team.
  • Break the Badass: Yang loses her right arm when she confronts Adam during the battle for Beacon Academy. Volume 4 is set several months later, where Yang is struggling to adjust to the loss, and having nightmares of Adam. She doesn't initially want to start wearing the cybernetic arm she has been given because her situation has left her afraid. She was originally an adventurous, out-going thrill-seeker who loved to fight, but she only puts the cybernetic arm on once she realizes that her father is having to choose between his two daughters because Ruby is off searching for the villains while Yang is suffering at home, and Taiyang cannot be in two places at once.
  • Break the Cutie: Yang's cheerful, motherly attitude and bubbly, happy-go-lucky personality is put through the wringer towards the end of Volume 3. Her aggressive, take-no-prisoners style of fighting is used against her by the villains, who set her up for a battle that turns crowd against her, ruining her reputation just to smear Ozpin's. When she tries to defend herself, even her closest friends and family struggle with her version of events. The entire televised world witness her attacking a defenseless opponent who is curled up on the ground; Emerald's illusions make Yang think Mercury is attacking her from behind, forcing her to strike him to protect herself. When Beacon is attacked, Yang tries to save Blake's life only to have her right arm amputated by Adam. Blake then appears to abandon Team RWBY and run away while Weiss is forced to return to Atlas by her father. Yang remains in bed for months, unable to handle everything that's happened.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In Volume 1, Chapter 4, Nora thinks she and Ren should have a secret signal, such as a sloth call. Ren tells her he doesn't think sloths make any noise, leaving her thinking it's ideal because Ren's quiet, too. In Volume 1, Chapter 7, when Ren defeats the King Taijitu, he hears a weird sound from the trees which turns out to be Nora. He tells her that he still doesn't think that's what a sloth sounds like.
    • In Volume 1, Chapter 11, Nora suggested to her team (and team RWBY) that they should break Cardin's legs for being such an ass which is dismissed as a not-serious suggestion. In Chapter 12, Pyrrha attempts to cheer up Jaune by letting him know that she'd be willing to break Cardin's legs for real.
    • Weiss gets called "Ice Queen" by several people, much to her irritation. This is used for humor again, several episodes later, when Roman, who has never met her before, says "Ladies, Ice Queen, always a pleasure". Weiss is not amused. In Volume 3, Qrow references "Ice Queen" himself, much to Weiss's indignation, only for her to discover that Qrow is actually addressing Winter, not Weiss.
    • Jaune instead calls Weiss "Snow Angel" per his attempts to woo her. When she first meets Neptune, he calls her that and she's flattered. Jaune can't believe it, especially since she's been dismissive of his attempts so far.
    • In Volume 2, Chapter 5, Jaune tells Pyrrha that if she can't get a date to the prom, he'll go in a dress. In Chapter 7, during the dance itself, he finds out Pyrrha didn't get a date... guess what he proceeds to do.
  • Broken Pedestal: Raven used to trust Ozpin to the point that she was willing to leave her tribe to serve him. However, when she learned about the conflict between Ozpin and Salem, her distrust of Ozpin grew until something finally shattered her trust in him. Thus, Raven abandoned him and returned to her tribe. She doesn't want Yang to get involved in what she believes is an unwinnable conflict between Ozpin and Salem, warns her that Ozpin isn't the man Yang thinks he is, and mocks Qrow for continuing to trust Ozpin to Yang's anger. Yang and Weiss take just enough from her words to distrust Ozpin, a feeling that is increasingly shared by the rest of the group. In volume 6, when Team RWBY learns that the Relic of Knowledge is attracting Grimm to its location, putting an entire train full of people at risk, they use the Relic to find out Ozpin's secrets. When they learn the awful truth about Ozpin and Salem's intertwined past, that Salem cannot be killed, and that Ozpin has no plan for defeating her, Qrow snaps. He punches Oscar's body into a tree and tells Ozpin that nobody accepted him because of his cursed Semblance until he met Ozpin. His unwavering loyalty to Ozpin, even when others like Ironwood and Raven broke their faith in him, was because Ozpin had given him a place in the world and the feeling he was finally achieving something good with his life. He now feels that meeting Ozpin was the worst luck of his life. Shocked by Qrow's reaction, Ozpin accepts the former's conclusion and locks himself inside Oscar's mind to the point where Oscar can no longer contact him.
  • Brutal Honesty: Most of the teachers at Beacon use this at least once:
    • Glynda Goodwitch's first two acts were to save Ruby when she picked a fight with Torchwick, and then to call her out for being so reckless.
    • Ozpin welcomes the new students to his school with a Dare to Be Badass speech which basically begins as a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
    • Peter Port gives Weiss a blunt "that's absurd" when she suggests that Ozpin made a mistake in making Ruby the team leader, then points out a few of her worst traits before giving her some sound advice.
    • Bartholomew Oobleck chews out Jaune and Cardin for not paying attention in class and telling them being accepted into Beacon means they're being held to a higher standard (with a hint of Oblivious Guilt Slinging since Jaune got in with fake credentials). He also makes Weiss, Blake and Yang re-evaluate their reasons for wanting to be Huntresses.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The old man who owns From Dust Till Dawn has been robbed twice, and his truck has a nice dent in the front.
    • Jaune can't keep up with his peers because he cheated his way in and is always the first one knocked out of a fight. He's also the one the slapstick happens to (or at least the one it happens to first), the one who makes himself look foolish and ignorant with the most regularity (he didn't know about Aura, landing strategies, using his scroll correctly in combat, and a lot of other stuff the rest of the cast takes for granted), and was on the receiving end of a lot of grief from Cardin who found out about his cheating and briefly blackmailed him into being his servant. The trope is deconstructed in the first Volume, as Jaune is suffering under tremendous stress from it. Fortunately for Jaune, he's gotten better since then.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes:
    • Pyrrha and Jaune in Volume 1, Chapter 7 after Jaune's torch goes out when he trips and falls into a puddle.
    • At the end of "Menagerie", Tyrian asks the Higanbana tavern waitress for help in finding someone, and as he devolves into a fit of his trademark diabolical laughter, everything fades to black except for his yellow eyes.

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