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RWBY provides examples of the following tropes:


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    Tropes H 
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Amity Colosseum (the arena used for the Vytal Festival) randomizes the arena with two or more terrain modules, plus the neutral centre stage. RWBY's fight with ABRN, for example, got the namesake combination of Lethal Lava Land and Slippy-Slidey Ice World.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Grimm are often cut in half by Huntsmen. Ruby uses her scythes to cut Grimm in half, while Blake uses her blades. Coco can cut Grimm in half by using her minigun. Qrow later uses his scythe to cut a Gryphon in half, protecting Ironwood in the process. Penny is cut in half by her own wires when Emerald tricks Pyrrha into using her full power against Penny's swords.
  • Headbutt of Love:
    • In "Ultimatum", Ruby and Yang's teams reunite at the Schnee Manor; while Blake is unsure how to greet Yang, Yang cradles her face for a moment before they sink into an embrace that includes tenderly touching their foreheads together.
    • In "Risk", Ren and Nora have a heart-to-heart about everything that's been happening and finally establish exactly where they stand with each other. They conclude their talk with a hug that ends with them pressing their foreheads together.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: All the girls on Team RWBY love Zwei the puppy. (Except Blake.)
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In "Never Miss a Beat", Weiss attempts to take out Flynt by tackling him onto a flame-spewing vent when he's about to target Yang. Weiss ends up depleting all of her Aura, and Flynt survives by the skin of his teeth, but is weak enough to be taken out by Yang. Once the battle is over, Flynt acknowledges her courage in the act.
    • In the Volume 3 finale, Cinder attempts to destroy Beacon Tower, but the teachers are too far away to intervene, leaving someone else to step into the role of protecting the tower until the teachers can arrive. Pyrrha gives Cinder a hell of a fight, her Semblance going toe-to-toe with Cinder's Maiden powers. Unfortunately, Semblance requires Aura, while Maiden powers do not. When Pyrrha runs out of Aura, Cinder kills her.
  • Hero of Another Story: Averted; JNPR was originally supposed to be the B-Team, but Word of God states that somewhere in production they 'became a second A-Team.'
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Losing his first love and then Summer, his second wife, caused Taiyang to suffer a bout of depression for an unknown period of time—long enough that Yang effectively had to take over in raising Ruby. Fortunately, he's recovered, and Yang doesn't resent him in the present day.
    • Yang ends up suffering one in Vol.3 Episode 8 as a result of having been made to look like she attacked Mercury Black after the match unprovoked a couple of episodes before, turning the crowd against her and getting RWBY disqualified from the tournament. She ends up resigning herself to the team dorm. Later, it becomes long-term after Adam cuts off her arm.
    • A much more extreme example is likely at the end of Ep. 9 in Vol. 3. Penny gets chopped in half and both Ruby and Pyrrha are in a state of shock.
    • Ruby herself got struck by this from Ep. 9 to the middle of Ep. 12 Vol. 3 where everything turned to chaos and a few of her friends got victimized. She has dreams in Remembrance suggesting that she is still suffering from the losses.
  • Hero-Tracking Failure: In Vol.2 Episode 11, Roman and his goons are unable to hit Ruby while she's fleeing from them towards her friends.
  • Heroism Motive Speech: Ruby Rose talks to her friend Blake about how she was inspired by stories and fairy tales of heroes and grew up wanting to become just like those heroes of legend.
    Ruby: I love books. Yang used to read to me every night before bed. Stories of heroes and monsters... They're one of the reasons I want to be a Huntress!
    Blake: And why is that? Hoping you'll live happily ever after?
    Ruby: Well, I'm hoping we all will. As a girl, I wanted to be just like those heroes in the books... Someone who fought for what was right, and protected people who couldn't protect themselves!
  • He Was Right There All Along: In the Black Trailer, Blake and Adam carry out a train heist to steal a cargo of Dust. When they enter the relevant carriage, they have to fight an army of Atlesian Knights just to gain access to the cargo. Once they finally reach the cargo and confirm it's what they're after, they discover there's one more threat in the carriage they'd never noticed: an enormous Spider Droid drops from where it was silently positioned on the ceiling to confront them.
  • High Heel Hurt: When Ruby leaves the school ball to investigation potential trouble, she finds herself at a disadvantage during a fight with Cinder because of the high heels she's wearing. She favors combat boots and spent the ball complaining that she couldn't even walk in the heels, never mind dance or fight. Her partner, Weiss, however, fights on a daily basis in very high-heeled wedges.
    Ruby: Can we have a serious discussion about how Weiss fights in these?
  • Hired Help as Family: Weiss was practically raised by her butler, Klein Sieben, because her parents were either neglectful or abusive. Weiss is clearly more affectionate to him than either of her parents, loosening up and laughing around him and giving him a hug before running away from home. After she returns to Atlas, she's devastated to learn that he'd been "let go" for his role in her escape.
  • Hit Stop: In "Tipping Point", as Tyrian is violently curbstomping Ruby, everything slows down right as we see Tyrian launch a kick into Ruby's abdomen that finishes his depletion of her Aura.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • During Neo's 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.
    • Adam is able to overpower Blake and Yang during the Battle of Beacon because Blake is still terrified of him and feels powerless in his presence while Yang is an unthinking, predictable fighter who relies heavily on her Semblance to get her out of any trouble. As a result, they are easily defeated and severely injured in ways that leave permanent physical scars. Yang recovers at home where she learns from her father how to confront her flawed battle style and fight in a much smarter way. Blake flees Vale and travels home to Menagerie to find herself, but her family learn that Adam is planning an attack on Haven Academy. Adam decides to kill Blake's parents to spite Blake and teach Menagerie a lesson about power; it backfires, leading Menagerie to form a militia that protects Haven and breaks Adam's control over the White Fang. Seeking revenge, Adam stalks Blake across Anima before confronting her and Yang at Argus for a final battle. Blake no longer feels frightened and powerless around Adam and Yang's new fighting style makes her harder to defeat. However, Adam hasn't changed in either mentality or fighting style; he fights alone while Blake and Yang use team-work and tactics, and he keeps using the same Semblance-powered sword-strike even after Blake explains to Yang how his Semblance and sword are linked together. As a result, while Adam only cares that Yang is not faster than she was at Beacon, she is able to set him up to be separated from his sword. Without either Aura or his sword, he is finally able to be killed.
    Yang: I may not be faster, but I'm smarter.
  • Holographic Terminal:The computers in Remnant have holographic interfaces. The desks in the offices of both Professors Ozpin and Lionheart can generate screens and keyboards for both computer use and monitoring the city; people can interface their scrolls with computers (including the aforementioned headmasters' desks) to create holographic interfaces for, especially for strategy planning; video games are played through holographic interfaces and the Atlesian Paladins are controlled via holographic projections of both screen and keyboard.
  • Horrifying the Horror: It's said that people with silver eyes are destined to become warriors that even Grimm, soulless monsters that are drawn to negative emotions, are afraid of.
  • How We Got Here:
    • The seventh episode of first volume ends with Ruby falling from the sky. The eighth starts by showing exactly where Ruby fell from. How she and Weiss got up there in first place, however, is never shown.
    • "Beginning of the End" is a flashback episode that shows Cinder's activities before the series, including the circumstances under which she attacked the Fall Maiden.
    • The Volume 6 premiere, "Argus Limited", opens with RWBY, JNR, Qrow, and Oscar fighting Grimm on top of a running passenger train which is interrupted by a tunnel, then it cuts to before they even boarded the train.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Atlesian military is capable of building big robots that are piloted from a cockpit within by humans. The primary use of these creations is to fight the Grimm. Some of them are therefore towering behemoths that can fight extremely large Grimm. The small Atlesian military base just off the coast of Argus contains within its mountainous fortress a massive mecha that Jaune believes is designed to fight the very large Grimm that are capable of threatening the City of Argus from the deep ocean. It possesses the ability to protect itself with a shield made of Hard-Light Dust and fire a wide range of Dust cartridges from an Arm Cannon to kill the enemy.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The role of Huntsmen and Huntresses is to protect the people of Remnant, which they do by hunting down and slaying the creatures of Grimm.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • From Episode 7:
      Weiss: I'm not bossy! Don't say things like that!
    • Followed by the beginning of Episode 8:
      Yang: [flares up, with her eyes turning red] I can't take it anymore! Can everyone just chill out for two seconds before something crazy happens again!?
    • Episode 4 of the second season has Yang disdain Weiss for making a pun, complaining it wasn't very good... after she said she always kicks her semesters off with a Yang in the first episode of the season.
    • Nora's response to Blake storming out of the library?
      Nora: [throws up her hands] Women.

    Tropes I 
  • I Call It "Vera": Ruby's Crescent Rose — the only explicitly character-given weapon name so far. Every other main character's weapon has been named elsewhere, but Ruby is the only one who treats her weapon with quite that level of affection.
  • I Can See My House from Here:
    • When Ruby and Yang leave home to attend the prestigious Beacon Academy, Ruby really isn't looking forward to being the youngest student in a strange boarding school, having been pushed two years ahead of her age-group. As the airship they're travelling on approaches Beacon Academy, giving the new student intake their first view of the school, Ruby spots the distant sight of her old school which was very near her home, a small island just off the coast. She concludes, with some comfort, that home isn't as far away from Beacon as she thought. Her older sister points out that Beacon is their home now.
      Ruby: Look! You can see Signal from up here! I guess home isn't so far, after all.
      Yang: Beacon is our home now.
    • When Blake and Sun travel to Menagerie, Sun - who has never been to the Faunus-only island before - is overwhelmed by how many Faunus are living in one place. Blake is underwhelmed, explaining to him that the Faunus are living on top of each other, as the habitable part of the island is overcrowded. When they reach the highest point of the region they're in, Sun pauses and asks Blake if she can see her house from this vantage point. She points out her house, which is visible... the huge stately mansion in the middle of the town.
  • Iconic Logo: Done as an "In Memoriam" moment. Volume 3's first scene ends with birds flying in front of the sun in the same pattern as Monty Oum's old signature.
  • Idiot Ball: When Team JNR and Oscar confront a single opponent, Jaune tells them to give up due to being outnumbered. They then proceed to attack their lone opponent, one after the other, as individuals. Their opponent is therefore able to easily dispatch each one in turn before the next one attacks. When Neo disappears, they're forced to run when guards spot them. However, Oscar is so exhausted, he cannot keep up with Team JNR and loses sight of them. Despite the fact they were supposed to protect Oscar and the Relic, this oversight makes him easy prey for Neo. In order to set up the loss of the Relic to create a new conflict for Volume 8, it requires Team JNR to be incapable of team-work despite the fact that its leader, Jaune, is supposed to be the natural tactician amongst the heroes of both teams.
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Ren's health drink of a blend of herbs and vegetables that he offers to Pyrrha in "Destiny", which already looks unappetizing, with a sickly green color and cauldron-bubbling sound effects. Then Nora reluctantly drinks some of it and immediately throws up.
    "If it looks the same coming up as it did going down, then there's something wrong."
  • Ignored Enemy: In Volume 3 Episode 2, Team JNPR get into an argument about code names during a tournament match. The fight is completely halted for about half a minute as their opponents look on confused.
  • Inconsistent Episode Lengths: Episodes generally only cover one event or plot, lasting from 4 minutes to 28 minutes as needed. Episodes became longer as the show went on, with Volumes 3 to 6 being roughly 15 to 20 minutes, and starting Volume 7, episode lengths were more tighter in the 17-20 minute range, with finales being a few minutes longer than usual.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • When Ruby first joins Beacon Academy she's very worried about the fact she's been pushed ahead two years. She doesn't want to be considered special, she just wants to be treated normally. However, once she has settled into her new team, the problem stops being mentioned. DVD Commentary states that she worries less about it as the show advances so that by the time she learns she was born with a special power, she doesn't have a problem with it.
      "I don't want to be the bee's knees, okay? I don't want to be any kind of knees! I just want to be a normal girl with normal knees!"
    • Pyrrha is recognised only for her accomplishments and is forced to live a life that meets the high expectations placed on her. As a result of being placed on a pedestal by everyone, she has been unable to live a normal life, make proper friendships or date in a normal way. When she meets Jaune, he has no idea who she is and treats her like everyone else. This attracts her to him and helps her make friendships that will last a lifetime.
  • I Lied: Said jokingly by Jaune when he was trying to serenade Weiss in "Extracurricular".
    Jaune: [knock knock knock] Aw, come on! [knock knock knock] Open the door. [sounding resigned] I promise not to sing...
    Weiss: [opens the door]
    Jaune: [singing] ♫ I LIED!!! ♫
    Weiss: [face palms]
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Seen in Vol. 2 Chapter 11, where Torchwick and more than five or so mooks fail to shoot an escaping Ruby, with her somehow maneuvering through all of the rounds fired without a scratch and with her back turned. No wonder Torchwick got so upset.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: So far, the only characters who don't have multi-use weapons are Jaune, with his basic sword-and-shield combo, and the Malachite sisters', whose weapons are merely bladed shoes and a pair of claws.
    • The named characters' weapons include Ruby's Rifle-Scythe, Weiss's Aura-casting Revolver-Rapier, Blake's Killer Yo-Yo-Katana with a sharpened scabbard, Yang's paired Shotgun-Gauntlets, Junior's missile launcher that turns into a club, Adam's Katana with Rifle-Sheath, and one particular weapon, Pyrrha's, that transforms into a sword, rifle, and a spear that flies with the rifle's recoil, Nora's rocket propelled hammer that is also a grenade launcher..
    • Episode 16 introduces Sun Wukong's Bo staff, which splits into a pair of Nunchucks that also function as sawed-off shotguns.
    • Coco carries a ladies' bag — that unfolds into an enormous gatling gun.
    • Raven wields a sword that's about as long as her legs, in a sheath that appears to contain enough Dust for a dozen of Weiss's Myrtenasters. She also appears to use the sword to create portals.
    • When a group of students struggle to take on one Paladin, Velvet's weapon allows her to take on two of them alone and take one out. She takes pictures of other people's weapons and then re-summons them as hard-light copies for her to use with equal abilities.
  • Improvised Catapult: How Nora gets Jaune to the far side of the broken bridge in Players and Pieces.
  • Improvised Weapon: A bunch in the first episode of Volume 2. All food-based.
  • Inconvenient Parachute Deployment: In Volume 3, Ruby opens Neo's parasol while they are on top of an airship, causing Neo to fly away and leave just Ruby and Torchwick.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • Ruby says that she wants to kick the semester off with a bang, to which Yang replies that she likes to kick her semesters off with a Yang. Everyone present groans. Even the background music reacts temporarily.
      Nora: [throwing a tomato at Yang] Boo.
    • Weiss, surprisingly, makes one after Torchwick and his latest minion escape in "Painting the Town". Even more amusingly, it's Yang who's most annoyed by it (apparently, there's a time and a place for jokes).
      Weiss: Was this not it?
      Yang: No, it just wasn't very good.
  • Incredibly Long Note: Near the end of "When it Falls", Casey holds one for ten seconds.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: When Cinder forces Raven to help her get the Relic of Knowledge, it's clear from the start that only one can get the Relic, and both sides have knives ready for that moment.
  • The Infiltration: Cinder, Mercury, and Emerald do this in Volume 2 when they infiltrate Beacon Academy.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Yang was designed after her voice actress, Barbara Dunkelman, and she uses her normal voice.
  • Innate Night Vision: According to "Jaunedice (Part 1)", many Faunus possess this trait.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Team JNPR consists of two boys and two girls sharing a room together. Not entirely innocent as Pyrrha harbors feelings for Jaune and Nora Cannot Spit It Out in regards to her feelings for Ren. Regardless, they are far from the only mixed-gender team living in the same dormroom at a huntsman academy, and no one ever bats an eye. Understandable, as huntsmen and huntresses are expected to sleep next to one another during missions such as the case of Team RJNR through out their journey to Mistral.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Done twice in "Destiny", both times to Pyrrha, who is already troubled with the weighty decision of assuming the powers of the Fall Maiden with the potential risk of losing her identity.
    • Ren tells her that she'll be defending Beacon's honor.
    • Jaune advises her to let nothing stand in her way if it means fulfilling her destiny.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • By word of Weiss, that's not a dress she's wearing, it's a "combat skirt." Ruby agrees.
    • Neptune is not a nerd. He's an intellectual.
    • It's Doctor Oobleck. He didn't earn his PhD for fun, thank you very much!
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Cinder and Raven throw everything they possess at each other when they fight in Haven Academy's underground vault. They spend part of the fight battling on the floor of the vault until the scale of their battle forces them to move locations. As they are both Maidens, much of their battle involves the use of enormous magical power, which includes the ability to fly. It shakes the very ground above their heads, loosening massive stalactites that hang from the roof of the cave they're in. As the stalactites begin to fall, they jump from rock to rock. Cinder slices through stone in her attempt to reach Raven, who kicks her through several large boulders. The fight ends as the stalactite they're on slams into the vault floor, depleting both of their Auras in the process.
  • The Internet Is for Cats: In the manga adaptation, Ruby expresses her stage fright before a spar by wishing she were at home watching videos of puppies on the Internet instead.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    • When Ruby and Weiss first team up, their personalities clash fiercely. Weiss keeps ordering Ruby around despite having no idea where they're going, and Ruby keeps having immature tantrums. Eventually, Ruby demands to know why Weiss is so bossy. Weiss immediately turns on her; by snapping back that she isn't bossy and ordering Ruby to not say things like that, she instantly confirms that she is indeed bossy.
      Weiss: I'm not bossy! Don't say things like that!
    • During Port's class, Weiss fights a Boarbatusk. Although Ruby tries to shout useful advice from the side-lines, Weiss keeps telling her off for getting involved because she's still smarting over Ruby being made team leader instead of her. After class, she admits to Port that she thinks she should be team leader and that she proved that in his class with her fighting skills. Port agrees that she has exceptional fighting skills but that her big problem is that she has a very bad attitude. Weiss's immediate response to her own teacher's assessment is to tell him off for saying such a thing, thus proving his point.
      Port: All due respect, your exceptional skill on the battlefield is matched only by your poor attitude.
      Weiss: How dare you!
      Port: My point exactly.
    • When their train crashes, Yang complains about the situation and sums up how bad it is by concluded that they've ended up with a defenseless old lady. Maria objects to being called defenseless — but then acknowledges that she's hard of hearing and blind without her artificial eyes, which don't work properly. She concludes that she can see Yang's point, after all.
      Yang: Great! This is just great! We're stranded, we lost a third of our party, and we've gained a defenseless old lady!
      Maria: My name is Maria Calavera, and I am not defenseless! I'm just a little hard of hearing. And blind without my eyes, that are in desperate need of repair... Okay, I'm starting to see your point.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In "Painting the Town," Yang returns to Junior's club, only to be greeted with several guns, since she was so violent the last time. A volume later, in "Fall," Yang is surrounded by guns because she was being violent.
    • Halfway through Volume 3, Yang Xiao Long is framed by the villains and publicly disgraced. No one outside of her close friends believes her side of the story- Even her uncle Qrow thinks she's being crazy. He then tells her to get over it, as "Sometimes bad things just happen." At the end of the volume, after Beacon is overrun by Grimm, several friends are dead, Yang's arm has been cut off by Adam Taurus of the White Fang, and her partner Blake has run off, she repeats her uncle's words to Ruby as a clear sign that she's entered an Heroic BSoD.
    • Pyrrha's good-natured, comical "I'm sorry!" Catchphrase is played for drama in "Destiny" after she accidentally loses control of her Semblance and throws Jaune into a pillar. It's then played for tragedy in the Volume 3 finale when it becomes the last thing she ever says to Jaune before pushing him into a rocket locker to allow her to fight Cinder alone. She and Jaune both know it's a fight she can't win.
    • In "The Next Step", Ruby uses "Big mistake!" as a badass one-liner before firing a flaming projectile at the Geist's tree arm, prompting a reaction of excitement from Jaune. However, Jaune says the same line in pure Oh, Crap! mode when he sees that Ruby's contribution has just given the Geist a flaming tree arm.
    • In "Dread in the Air", Adam carries out some White Fang activities that leave Hazel questioning when he was going to inform him (and thus Salem) of his plans. Adam replies that it was "my business, not yours." Eleven episodes later, in "Downfall", it's Adam's turn to be thrown off-guard by some unexpected White Fang activities. Upon asking Hazel for advice, Hazel replies "This is your business, not mine."
    • The Volume 6 character short consists of flashbacks charting Adam's rise in status within the White Fang, starting with him helping a bunch of Faunus break into a Dust processing facility, saying, "It's time we got what we deserved." By the end of the flashback sequence, Adam is High Leader of the White Fang; as he prepares his attack on Haven, he states "It's time I got what I deserved."
  • Ironic Name: We find out in "New Challengers" that Neptune is afraid of water.
  • Irony:
    • When Glynda says to Jaune "We wouldn't want you to be gobbled up by a Beowolf, now, would we?", Cardin says "speak for yourself." Jaune later personally saves Cardin from being eaten by an Ursa, despite weeks of torment of many students, Jaune especially, and him trying to get Jaune to throw Rapier Wasps at his friend. If Jaune had Cardin's attitude, he'd be Ursa chow.
    • Neptune is named after the Roman God of the Seas, and shares a name with a famous WW2 naval mascot. He's terrified of water.
    • Blake gets a few subtle parallels with Weiss through Volumes 1 and 2. In "The Stray," Blake gets defensive about Weiss' criticisms of White Fang, and insists they are misguided more than malicious, but she later admits that she left the White Fang because they became too extreme for her, and she wanted to become a Huntress partly to atone. Back in "The Shining Beacon," Weiss herself gets defensive about Blake's criticisms of her family's business practices, but she later admits that they have done wrong, and she also wants to become a Huntress to "set things right."
    • Bartleby's plan was to keep two Apathy Grimm trapped beneath the farm to artificially control the emotions of everyone living on the farm. By doing this, he thought he could save money by not hiring Huntsmen, as the Apathy would keep human emotions dulled just enough to prevent any Grimm from being attracted to the farm. However, capturing the two Grimm made the entire pack interested in the farm because they wanted to reclaim their missing members. Instead of sealing two weak, manageable Grimm inside the farm, Bartleby sealed up an entire horde; the emotions of the farmers weren't dulled, they were fully suppressed, destroying everyone's will to live at all.
    • When Oscar first tells Ironwood is okay to be afraid, Ironwood tells him he has no intention of ending up like Leo and wonders if the key to defeating Salem is to sacrifice his humanity so that he doesn't have to feel fear at all. Instead of caving in to Salem the way the terrified Leo did, Ironwood shuts down his humanity and begins making cold decisions, such as abandoning Mantle to save Atlas, sacrificing the Winter Maiden's life to put the powers under his control, and arresting the heroes for opposing his decisions. During his final confrontation with Oscar, Oscar tells him that he's become as dangerous as Salem. Ironwood rescinds his friendship with Oscar, and shoots him. In the end, Ironwood got his wish: he didn't become Leo, he became something much worse.
  • Instant Costume Change: In "Destiny", Nora changes from her regular clothes into a workout outfit between cuts.
  • It Can Think: The creatures of Grimm are generally mindless, but grow more powerful and intelligent as they age. The most powerful Grimm are smart enough to avoid humans rather than attack outright and will employ simplistic tactics in battle. This increases their survivability and threat level with time. Subverted by one type of Grimm that is introduced in Volume 8. The Hound displays human-level intelligence, battle tactics, and the ability to talk. However, this intelligence is not connected to the aging process, it's because Salem has started transforming people into Grimm.

    Tropes J-K 
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Weiss Schnee, despite being an Academic Alpha Bitch who goes out of her way to insult others, frequently makes good points:
      • While she's rather harsh with Ruby in episode 10, she does have a valid point given that Ruby, the supposed team leader, is a goofball who cheerfully slacks off in class. Professor Ozpin himself agrees with Weiss' point, telling Ruby that as her team's leader, she needs to act like it.
      • Towards the end of Volume 1, she and Blake argue about the White Fang. Blake lampshades Weiss's racism towards the Faunus, such as casually calling a stranger a criminal just because he's a Faunus. She points out that most Faunus aren't criminals and have legitimate grievances against the Schnee Dust Company. However, Weiss correctly observes that the White Fang have become murderous terrorists, who have turned every Faunus into objects of suspicion; her racism stems from the White Fang killing friends and members of her father's company. Now both girls are seeking to redeem themselves and their pasts by becoming Huntresses who protect the people instead of exploiting or murdering them.
    • Raven is a selfish Dirty Coward who only looks out for herself and her Bandit Clan. However, she warns Yang and Weiss Ozpin is hiding a terrible secret and Salem is unstoppable. She believes anyone who takes on Ozpin's fight is a fool who is a lost cause. It later comes to light that Salem was cursed by the gods to have Complete Immortality, thus she can't be destroyed. Ozpin has been keeping this secret because he fears people will lose hope if they know that even he doesn't know how to permanently stop an Invincible Villain.
    • In the Volume 6 episode "Lost", Emerald talks about how Cinder helped her and was the mother she never had, but Mercury tells her Cinder never cared about her. Although it is the most insensitive and cruel way to put it, the points Mercury makes are absolutely true: Emerald idolizes Cinder as a savior and refuses to admit that Cinder is actually a ruthless, abusive narcissist who has never shown genuine concern for her underlings. The extent of Emerald's denial is enough that she willfully helps commit atrocities for Cinder despite having no real reason to do so and later questions the morality of it all. It's only when she realizes that Salem is planning to destroy Remnant outright that Emerald defects.
    • In Volume 7, Weiss' abusive father Jacques is motivated to become a member of the council to try and restrict Ironwood's power and remove the Dust embargo that is eating into his company's profits. However, he makes reasonable points about how paranoid and tyrannical Ironwood's leadership is becoming and how he's increasingly relying on military classifications and loopholes to avoid the scrutiny of the rest of the council, and is correct that the embargo is severely damaging the economy of Atlas and Mantle; his corporation is taking a hit, but its workers and many others are quickly becoming destitute. Not only does the rest of the council share Jacques' concerns, but so do heroes such as Nora, Blake, and Robyn. Ironwood later proves his concerns right after Cinder triggers his PTSD, causing him to backtrack on all the good he'd done so far.
  • Jiggle Physics:
    • In Yang's trailer, her breasts can be clearly seen bouncing around when she reloads her Shotgun-Gauntlets. So far, this continues in the series itself.
    • This was applied to Professor Port's belly too, which could easily count as Fan Disservice.
    • The improved character rigging for Volume 2 suggests this will be more common when it makes sense given the character and the costume: Glynda demonstrates it when she barges in after the Food Fight.
    • Volume 3 has carried the torch. Winter has shown significant movement, both in battle and body language, and a younger Blake shows an unusual....bouyancy while walking behind Adam during a flashback.
  • Jump Scare:
    • In "Field Trip", when Ruby opens the door to Team RWBY's room after talking with Ozpin, the rest of the team suddenly rush up to the camera so quickly that it can easily be startling.
    • The Volume 3 opening starts softly with piano as we see a petal falling onto a rose...only for the loud as all hell rock theme song to burst in out of nowhere as the rose gets trampled by a horde of Grimm.
    • In "Kuroyuri", as the namesake town is being destroyed, Ren's mom tries to calm him right as their house suddenly and abruptly collapses.
  • Karmic Death:
    • While fighting Roman and Neo on top of a flying battleship, Ruby'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 beats the crap out of Ruby while denouncing her misguided idealism in a savage world where most huntsmen die young. Unfortunately for Roman, his heightened negativity attracts the negativity-sensing Creatures of Grimm, and one swallows him whole just as he's stating that the only thing that matters is survival skill.
    • From Volume 7, Ironwood's actions stem from his desire to protect Atlas, the two Relics and Winter Maiden from Salem, but he constantly shifts the goal posts on what that means. Believing himself to be their only hope, he loses his mind to stress and fear and descends into villainy, sacrificing everything else in the name of "protecting Atlas" and losing the trust of the heroes and kingdom's people. Abandoned by even the Ace Ops, he dies buried beneath the fallen ruins of the city he was so obsessed with saving after forcing the heroes to rescue the people instead of Atlas. Salem and Cinder successfully escape Atlas with two Relics and leave Ironwood to his fate.
  • Ki Manipulation: All living things can generate an Aura, which is basically the equivalent of Ki and allows:
    • Sensing: Allows them to expand their senses.
    • Healing Factor: Rarely comes up because most of the time, the aura is used to prevent the damage in the first place, and by the time the user is injured they are out of aura. However, it provides speedy recovery and allows Jaune to use his Super Empowering semblance to increase the healing factor to life-saving levels.
    • Super Empowering: Allows one to unlock the Aura of another.
    • Super Toughness: Withstand damage.
    • Usage of Dust.
  • Killer Gorilla: The Beringel, a large Grimm gorilla introduced in Volume 4.
  • "Kiss the Cook" Apron: When preparing a protein drink for Pyrrha Nikos, Lie Ren wears a bright pink apron that bluntly reads "Please Do Nothing to the Cook", befitting his more solemn nature.
  • Kubrick Stare:
    • Ruby does a badass one at the end of "No Brakes" after she sees people being terrorized by Grimm.
    • Cinder does this often while grinning dubiously to add to her mysterious, ominous persona. It helps that her hair covers one of her eyes.
    • In "Lessons Learned", as soon as Emerald and Mercury's Vytal doubles round with Coco and Yatsuhashi begins, they just back into the tall yellow grass, staring at them in this manner and smiling slyly.
    • In the above episode, a close-up shot of Qrow has him doing this as he tells Ruby and Yang of his last mission.
    • "Never Miss a Beat" ends with Pyrrha making an ominous smirk in this manner as the CCT elevator closes.