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RWBY provides examples of the following tropes:


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    Tropes O 
  • Odd Couple: All the pairs in "The First Step" end up being this, in some sense. Many are also Red Oni, Blue Oni. Childish Ruby with the know-it-all Weiss, hotheaded Yang with quiet Blake, The Ace Pyrrha with clumsy and incompetent Jaune, and the classic pairing of Genki Girl and Deadpan Snarker, Nora/Ren. The last one is lampshaded by Glynda.
  • Odd Name Out:
    • The names of the four alt outfits for the RWBY crew are Slayer (Ruby), Intruder (Blake), Hunter (Yang) and SnowPea (Weiss).
    • The names of the Huntsman academies and combat schools mentioned so far have names related to either a sense of relief (Shade, Haven, Sanctum) or of hope (Beacon, Signal). Except for Atlas, its name is notable in that it is a less direct, non-definitional reference to protection.
  • 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.
  • Adam does this twice to Grimm attempting to attack him and Blake in Beacon's Cafeteria. The first so he can have his revenge, then to defend himself once Blake escapes with Yang's unconscious body.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One of the animation gags in the first volume had characters leaving a dotted outline where they were previously standing before the camera angle changed.
  • Off with His Head!: In "Heroes and Monsters" Adam decapitates what he thinks is Blake, but when "Blake" dissolves into smoke he realizes it's one of Blake's semblance clones, which is when he turns and sees the real Blake running away with Yang.
  • Ominous Obsidian Ooze: The Creatures of Grimm are born from pools of black ooze that litter the landscape of Salem's domain, pulling themselves out of the muck before heading off to kill any human they find. Volume 6 reveals them to be the Pools of Annihilation, the liquified essence of the God of Darkness.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Neo's response to Raven showing up in "No Brakes" can be summed up as "utter panic".
    • Likewise Neo's reaction to Ruby opening Neo's Parasol, atop the edge of an Airship, high over a city swarming with Grimm, flying and not.
    • In Volume 3, Mercury also loses his usual smugness when he sees Qrow arrive at Beacon.
    • Ruby's reaction to the announcement of Penny facing Pyrrha at the end of "Destiny".
    Ruby: (hangs head briefly, looks back up with widened eyes) No...
    • Ironwood lets out a genuinely alarmed "No!" in "Battle of Beacon" when his group of Atlesian androids go rogue under the influence of a hack and point their guns at him.
    • Winter has this reaction in "Sparks" when Jacques reveals that he's closing down all nonessential SDC operations in opposition of Ironwood's embargo, which incites riots once people all over Mantle lose their jobs. Which means the Grimm will be drawn to all those negative emotions.
    Winter: I think... I think Father may have just provided the spark that's going to set this kingdom on fire.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: In the series premiere, Jaune vomits from motion sickness on the flight into Beacon. By the time of volume 7, Ruby has Jaune listed on her scroll as "Vomit Boy" and he still fights the urge to vomit during an aerial battle between his airship and a Teryx.
  • One-Man Army:
    • In the Red trailer, Ruby destroys dozens of Beowolves all by herself.
    • In the Black trailer Blake (with some help from Adam) destroy dozens of Schnee robots during their train heist.
    • Penny in Vol. 1 Episode 16, where she thrashed some White Fang goons and destroyed at least one of their planes.
  • One Steve Limit: Mostly played straight, with the major aversion of two characters named ‘May’ - May Zedong, a student from Shade and a member of Team BRNZ, and May Marigold, a member of the Happy Huntresses.
  • One-Word Title: All titles in Volume 8 are a single word with the exception for the final episode.
  • Open Secret: Blake doesn't want people to know she's a Faunus so she can avoid the discrimination they receive, yet lots of people know about it. She told Team RWBY and Team JNPR, Ozpin (and possibly the rest of the senior Beacon staff) and Sun figured it out by themselves, Neptune was told by Sun, and Torchwick and his mooks know since it was revealed during a fight with them.
  • Orchestra Hit Techno Battle: How the battle between Yang and Junior's night club is framed during the Yellow Trailer. Yang visits the same bar in the show proper in season 2 and the same music is playing, but everyone involved comes to a tense armistice rather than a fight.
  • Orgasmic Combat: The crew have acknowledged that while the girls are recording their yells and grunts for fight scenes, there's two ways they can sound: like they're having sex, and like they're taking a poo. Blake in particular can get very loud in her fights, like in the "Black" trailer.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Grimm, creatures of Living Shadow with red and white masks. They are stated to have no souls, are attracted to negative emotions, and their origins and motivations (besides Kill All Humans) are unknown.
  • Our Souls Are Different: All living beings have a soul except the Grimm. Souls create Aura, which can be locked, trained or manifested passively. Aura can create effects such as a Deflector Shield or Ki Manipulation, and fuel Semblances, a unique ability shaped by an individual's personality. Aura can also be channelled into inanimate objects, empowering weapons and armour; science has even created an Aura-using robot. Rare, secret events can cause soul and Aura mergers that risk the loss of the original independent selves. Ozpin attempts an artificial soul merger between Amber and Pyrrha to prevent Cinder obtaining Amber's full Maiden powers. Ozpin himself underwent a soul merger when he was a child, and later soul-merges with a young farm-boy called Oscar, causing them to share thoughts and memories.
  • Out of Focus:
    • For most of Volumes 1-3, Team JNPR's storylines focus more on Jaune and Pyrrha, with Nora as comic relief. Ren, however, remains mostly in the background as a quiet boy who doesn't talk much, isn't flashy, and only reacts to the events around him. From Volume 4, his role increases significantly, with Volume 4 building up Ren's past to create the season's climax.
    • In Volumes 2-3, Sun and Neptune get screentime, but their team-mates Scarlet and Sage have no role in the plot. They have one cameo as background characters in Volume 2; in Volume 3, while they do appear for Team SSSN's tournament fight, Sage has little focus and is eliminated very quickly, while Scarlet gets a couple of lines and brief fight before he is also elminated. They do appear during the climactic battle of the volume, but only as part of the student ensemble.
    • In Volume 4, Yang's storyline remains based in Vale. Although Oobleck and Port visit Taiyang's house to find out how Yang is doing, Glynda stays out of the spotlight in this volume save for a cameo that uses stock footage from Volume 3. Oobleck, Port and news updates indicate she's leading Beacon Academy's cleanup efforts and also in charge of Beacon's recovery attempts.
    • Following Cinder's defeat at the end of Volume 5 and subsequent exile from Salem's forces, both Mercury and Emerald see a significantly reduced screen presence in favour of setting up and carrying out the villainous plot of Volume 7, for which they're not required. As a result, they only make two appearances throughout all of Volume 6 and are completely absent from Volume 7 but they do return for Volume 8 in which Mercury is upgraded to Salem's group, but sent out of the volume early to prepare for the Vacuo Arc, while Emerald gets a Heel–Face Turn and joins the main cast as a hero.
    • After being a Supporting Protagonist for much of the Mistral volumes, Volume 7 benches Jaune. He's is the only member of RWBY or JNR to not have any importance on the main plot, although his comic relief mini-plot does turn out to be useful for the climax at the end of the volume.
    • After having a prominent role in Volume 6, Maria is largely in the background during Volumes 7, remaining at Pietro's side as his aid while the others work with General Ironwood on protecting Atlas and Mantle. In Volume 8, both she and Pietro are reduced to largely background roles, disappearing from the plot completely after an early episode.
    • After fulfilling their primary mission in Volume 8, Ruby's group squats at Weiss's manor for a majority of the Volume where they don't have a major focus save for one episode where they fight the Hound compared to Yang's group.

    Tropes P-Q 
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Painting The Town", Blake and Sun infiltrate a White Fang meeting with their only disguises being Grimm masks, Blake's slightly different outfit, and Sun's shirt being buttoned. Justified because nobody bar Torchwick would recognize them in the first place, and being in a large crowd prevents him from immediately spotting them. Once he does spot them, he recognizes Blake immediately.
  • Parasol of Pain: Neo uses her umbrella as a shield and bludgeoning weapon. The hilt also contains a dagger.
  • Parental Abandonment: Raven Branwen, the mother of Yang, abandoned her daughter at such a young age that Yang didn't even know who she was. She then proceeds to abandon her yet again after saving her life.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Ruby is visibly disgusted when Qrow promises to share some "inappropriate stories" about Team STRQ (the team he was on with Ruby and Yang's father and their respective mothers) back when they were younger.
  • Parodies for Dummies: In their first meeting, Weiss is furious when Ruby's sneeze inadvertently triggers an explosion of Fire Dust. Later, Weiss shoves a "Dust for Dummies and Other Inadequate Individuals" pamphlet in Ruby's face; she recites the disclaimer in a voice that becomes comically fast and high-pitched before ordering Ruby to read it and never speak to her again.
  • Personality Powers: When Team RNJR realizes that Oscar doesn't know what a Semblance is, they explain the subject. Ren states that nobody knows whether or not Semblance is connected to personality; some people theorize that the power is based on the personality, some people theorize that the personality is based on the power, and other people don't think there's any connection between the two. Semblance is therefore something of a puzzle to the people of Remnant. The only main character that has discussed how they personally see Semblance is Blake, who once told her team-mates at a low point in her life that she thinks she's a coward because she runs away from her problems and that her Semblance reinforces her sense of cowardice by creating clones that take the hits meant for her.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: In Volume 3, Cinder indicates that Huntsmen of any given academy are stronger than the national army of their Kingdom because they're so powerful. She uses this as part of a lie that the Kingdoms will be going to war.
  • Pet the Dog: In Volume 4, Whitley hints that he tries coping with his father Jacques's abuse by imitating him. Once away from Jacques's influence four volumes later, his behavioural changes surprise everyone. After discovering that his sister's group is struggling to care for the critically injured Nora, Whitley secretly calls for the medically-trained Klein. Thanks to Weiss admitting she's proud of him, Whitley becomes a friendlier individual, especially towards his family.
  • Points of Light Setting: The Creatures of Grimm are found everywhere throughout Remnant, seeking to destroy humanity and their creations. In the countless years that humanity had roamed the planet there have only been four locations that have survived throughout the centuries. Those being the four Kingdoms, Vale, Vacuo, Mistral and Atlas, only surviving due to humanities tenacity and the natural barriers, such as mountains and frigid temperatures, keeping Grimm away. Although small villages have been built, they do not last long thanks to the Grimm. There is also the island Menagerie, a safe haven for the faunus, though two-thirds of the island is covered in desert and there is deadly wildlife keeping people from expanding.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: Because of the strict security General Ironwood placed on the nation of Solitas, as well as the Dust embargo cutting off most of Atlas and Mantle's export business, the impoverished people of Mantle are at an all-time high in public tension and resentment. When the heroes first arrive in Mantle, they find people complaining about the constant military patrols, argumentative drunks hanging around the streets, and see young children throwing stones at security drones. When Jacques Schnee shuts down all "non-essential personnel", he announces that people should blame Ironwood and vote for him because, once on the council, he can get them their jobs back. Mantle's response is a full-blown riot in the streets.
  • Power Crystal: The material known as Dust powers most of the weapons in RWBY. It appears to also come in a powder form (possibly the natural one, judging by the name), or at least something that requires a flask to hold, judging by the tubes on the walls of the Dust store in the first episode.
  • The Power of Glass: Variation. Cinder Fall's Semblance allows her to superheat objects, which she mainly uses for turning earth into various glass-shaped weapons; the glass is always obsidian, in keeping with her fire and volcanic themes. This is in keeping with her Fairytale Motif of Cinderella, who is famously associated with glass slippers.
  • Precious Puppy: Ruby and Yang's family owns a corgi named Zwei. Ruby and Weiss gush over how adorable it is.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • The lyrics of various songs will stray into swearing territory: one variant of "I Burn" includes a guest verse by Lamar Hall that initially included f-bombs until it was censored. "Red Like Roses, Part II" mentions being "trapped inside a nightmare every single effing day".
    • The show initially began with very clean scripting, but as the plot line has entered darker territory, the adults have become harsher with their language. "Damn" first starts being used when Qrow demands to know whether or not Ironwood "give[s] a damn" about being discreet; when the battle for Beacon kicks off, an Atlesian ship's captain uses "dammit" twice; Jacques admitting that he doesn't "give a damn" about Weiss's ambitions, Qrow tells Team RNJR that he thinks Salem is doing a "damn good job" of destroying humanity, Yang uses "dammit" in a bout of fury when Raven refuses to help her locate Qrow and Ruby, and Jaune expresses his disgust at Cinder being able to live with what she's done "all with that damn smile on [her] face". The harshest language thus far is when Tyrian calls Ruby a bitch when she cuts off his scorpion tail for hurting Qrow.
  • Prepare to Die: In "Breach", Coco uses this as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner against a Beowolf.
  • Production Foreshadowing: Ruby's tray attack on Pyrrha during the food fight in Volume 2 is nearly identical to one of Reese's hoverboard attacks on Blake in Volume 3.
  • Product Placement: "Lessons Learned" begins with an ad for Rooster Teeth's Christmas items, and "Never Miss a Beat" and "Fall" both begin with an ad for the new RWBY: Grimm Eclipse game.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal:
    • Mercury Black has prosthetic legs. They're revealed via flashback in an episode after he performs a Deliberate Injury Gambit on Yang.
    • The entire right side of James Ironwood from the shoulder down is robotic.
  • Protagonist Title: "RWBY" is the name of the team that is made up of the four protagonists. It's also pronounced as "Ruby", after main character and team leader Ruby Rose.
  • Protectorate: To unleash the powers of the Silver Eyes, a warrior uses the feelings they have of family and friends to generate a powerful energy that is driven by the need to protect all life. Ruby's powers first manifest when she tries to rescue Pyrrha, and later to save Jaune from a suicidal attack on Cinder. Her power first manifests when she witnesses Cinder killing Pyrrha during the Battle of Beacon, and again when she fears the same thing will happen to Jaune during the battle of Haven. In Volume 6, she meets an old woman who helps her trigger the power to save Blake from being killed by The Apathy. Maria is an ancient warrior whose best days are behind her, but she was born with silver eyes and teaches Ruby that life is so beautiful and precious that it must always be protected.
  • Properly Paranoid: Unlike most of the world, Ironwood knows about Salem; he knows about the Relics and the Maidens, and the threat that's facing the world. He knows who was behind the fall of Beacon Academy, and he knows the other three Academies are in danger. However, his decision to cut off Dust trade with the rest of the world to cut off supply to the villains drives Jacques up the wall, given that it cuts into his business profits. Ironwood has obtained intel that Haven is the next target, and he doesn't trust Haven's headmaster to deal with the matter properly. He's also still angry over Beacon's fall, feeling Ozpin never listened to his advice. He therefore decides to seal up Atlas, preventing anyone coming or going and implies he'll take control of the entire kingdom if he has to. Jacques points out this is extreme, echoing Glynda's earlier observation that Ironwood struggles to trust people. Unbeknown to them, Ironwood's instincts about Haven are correct - the headmaster is in league with Salem.
  • Pun-Based Title: "PvP", a term which usually means "player versus player" (the episode is the first time two protagonists square off against each other), but in the context of the episode also refers to the fight between Penny and Pyrrha.
  • Punny Name:
    • From Dust Till Dawn, a Dust shop whose owner has become a recurring character.
    • And Roman Torchwick (as in Roman candle) whose weapon is a firework launcher.
    • The representatives of Team FNKI that we see in "Never Miss a Beat": Flynt Coal (a name created in Let's Play Minecraft that alludes to flint and coal) and Neon Katt (Nyan Cat).
  • Putting the "Pal" in Principal: Professor Ozpin is looked-up-to by just about every student in the school and is willing to bend the rules a few times for his students' benefit.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Pyrrha Nikos has a name of Greek origins. While her first name comes from a word meaning "flame-haired", her surname means "victor of the people". The term "pyrrhic victory" comes from the name of King Pyrrhus, whose name shares the same origin as Pyrrha. Pyrrha's name therefore can translate to "Pyrrhic Victory". During Pyrrha's tournament match against Penny, she defeats Penny but only in a way that leaves her feeling devastated. As a result of Emerald making her see a threat that doesn't exist, Pyrrha uses the full force of her magnetism Semblance to repulse Penny's swords. As Penny is a secretly a robot who is controlling her swords via wires, Pyrrha's act accidentally entangles Penny with the wires, garotting Penny so successfully that her body is torn into pieces on live television.
  • Quarreling Song: The full version of "Red Like Roses, Pt. 2", which includes the mother's reply and a final back-and-forth.
  • Quotes Fit for a Trailer: The 30-second advert for "Battle of Beacon" ends with Cinder saying "Do not miss what happens next." In the episode, the line occurs when Mercury is broadcasting a live feed of the devastation that's occurring to Vale. She is instructing him to capture the next stage of the invasion.

    Tropes R 
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Ozpin's been keeping a lot of secrets regarding his Secret War with Salem. In Volume 2, Ironwood tells Glynda he's certain that Ozpin's hiding something. He becomes so mistrustful of Ozpin's placid attitude that he reports him to the Vale Council, who strip Ozpin of responsibility for the Vytal Festival's security. Raven also states she turned her back on Ozpin's war because the more she learned about it, the more she mistrusted Ozpin until she abandoned him entirely. She's baffled and angry that her twin brother Qrow has never seen the light. Teams RWBY and JNPR become increasingly frustrated with Ozpin's secretive behavior throughout Volume 5, until it blows up into a big argument at the beginning of Volume 6. The tipping point for the heroes is learning that the Relics attract the Grimm after they've carried the Relic of Knowledge onto a train full of people. That leads to the revelation of the secret that Ozpin's been hiding, causing all the heroes — including the ever-loyal Qrow — to turn on Ozpin completely. A broken Ozpin locks himself away in the back of Oscar's mind; the heroes spend Volumes 6 and 7 trying to navigate the truth-bomb that's been dropped on them, and feeling like they'll never trust Ozpin again.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Salem grills Hazel, Emerald, and Mercury after the failure of Haven and becomes increasingly angry the more she hears from her subordinates. When Hazel tries to take responsibility for the failure in Haven, she throws the conference table to the side, but otherwise doesn't harm anyone and focuses on interrogating the truth from them via inciting terror of what she'll do to them. However, when Hazel tells her that Ozpin led the protagonists at Haven and is currently in charge of the Relic, she falls silent. As the windows start cracking around her, and black smoke starts swirling out of her body, she orders everyone to leave. Once the doors have closed, she takes a deep breath in a futile attempt to calm down before releasing her rage with a powerful scream that shatters every single window in the room.
  • Rash Promise: Ozpin mentions in Volume 1 that he has made more mistakes than anyone else on the planet. One of those includes a promise he made in the heat of the moment, which has come to define his entire existence, for both good and ill. A rash acceptance of the God of Light's offer to reincarnate to redeem humanity, allows Ozma to reunite with his lover, Salem, in defiance of the god's warning that she's changed for the worse. It takes him too long to recognise the truth, and their tragic falling out locks them into a cycle of pain and violence; the pair have been fighting over the fate of humanity for millennia, both lying to their allies for different reasons: heroes tend to turn on Oz when they learn Salem's an Invincible Villain, and villains tend to turn on Salem when they learn she's trying to destroy the world instead of creating a new world order.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: The Volume 8 finale, "The Final Word", is a dark ending for the heroes, who lose much... but not quite everything. Atlas and Mantle are permanently destroyed; Salem gains two Relics; Penny and Vine sacrifice themselves; and Team RWBY, Jaune and Neo are all lost to the Void Between the Worlds. However, the Relic of Knowledge running out of questions means Salem can't use it; the Winter Maiden's power remains with the heroes, allowing Winter to save the refugees from sandstorms and Grimm hordes; it's heavily implied a new kingdom can be built because the heroes evacuated the people and believe kingdoms are people, not infrastructure; and the The Stinger implies that characters who fell into the Void are alive and trapped rather than dead.
  • Razor Floss: The primary purpose of Penny's sword wires are to help her control her swords when in battle. However, they're so sharp that they can function as garrotes. Penny's sword wires end up wrapping around her during her match against Pyrrha, and they split her into pieces.
  • Reaction Shot:
    • A quick one by the robot guards in the "Black" trailer after Adam takes out the first one.
    • A great non-human one from the pair of ursae in Episode 6 after Yang notices a strand of her hair floating down.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • In "The Badge and the Burden, Pt. 2", Weiss dishes one out to Ruby after getting sick of her antics, spelling out to her just how immature and unfit for leadership she thinks Ruby really is.
    • In "Tipping Point", after overhearing a woman insulting Vale at the Vale charity event, Weiss snaps and gives one to the rest of the partygoers, telling them off for their lack of real care for Vale.
    • In "Haven's Fate", Yang verbally lets Raven have it when challenging her for the Relic of Knowledge. Yang points out that she's willing to fight Salem despite her fears, and outs Raven as the coward she really is. It causes a tearful Raven to flee the Vault.
    • In "Ultimatum", Watts finds his life on the line and furiously deconstructs his attacker's behaviour. Cinder intends to kill him and steal the Winter Maiden's power, but Watts angrily points out how her entitlement and pride keep setting her up to fail every time she tries to steal Maiden powers. His words are so impactful that Cinder stops threatening to kill him and instead breaks down in tears.
  • Recoil Boost: Characters will often use the recoil from their guns to gain bursts of speed, change direction in midair, or power up their attacks.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Adam wears black trousers and a red top, over which is a black jacket with red designs on the front and back. His gloves and shoes are black, but the shoes have red soles. His hair is red, with either black horns or two black tufts of hair designed to look like horns. His rifle sheathe is black while his sword's blade is blood-red. When he activates his power, his hair becomes an even brighter red. His white mask carries intricate red designs. He is one of the leaders that deposed the old guard to drive the White Fang down a path of violent terrorism. He has no problem killing humans, even when he doesn't need to and his goal is the destruction of humanity rather than equal rights for Faunus. He regards Blake's defection from the White Fang as a personal betrayal and is determined to destroy everything she cares about in revenge. His current behaviour, including victim-blaming her for "forcing" him to hurt her, indicates that he is abusive towards her.
  • Red Herring:
    • A quarter of the way into Volume 3, Cinder comes across blueprints for Penny. Knowing that she has Atlas' systems wrapped around her finger one can easily assume that she'd hijack Penny at some point, especially since she makes a point of how this simply accelerates her plans. However, it's eventually revealed that it's simply the knowledge of Penny being a robot that helps accelerates her plans, as she pits her against Pyrrha...
    • The entire character of Vernal is a red herring. Both the characters and the viewers are led to believe that she's the Spring Maiden, which is very much not the case.
  • Reduced to Dust: Cinder's Semblance allows her to convert particles (such as sand or dust) to glass. With the Maiden powers, she has the ability to do the opposite. When she chooses, she can touch something and incinerate it to dust as she demonstrates during the Volume 3 finale. During the Battle of Beacon in the Volume 3 climax, Pyrrha attempts to protect Beacon Tower by fighting Cinder, even though she knows Cinder has obtained the Fall Maiden's full power. Cinder kills her by firing a burning arrow into Pyrrha's chest. The arrow dissipates into tiny glowing embers. As Pyrrha takes her last breath, Cinder gently touches her head and Pyrrha's body dissolves into ash embers that billow gently away on the breeze. The only thing left behind is Pyrrha's circlet.
  • Reforged into a Minion: In Volume 8, Salem unveils a new experimental Grimm called the Hound, which is custom-modified for the specific task she needs it to complete. The Hound is capable of shapeshifting, human intelligence and can even talk. The core of the creature turns out to be a dead Silver-Eyed Warrior who has been transformed into a Grimm that is completely loyal to Salem. A horrified Ruby speculates that this is the reason why Salem wants her captured alive, and concludes that Salem must have conducted this same experiment on her own silver-eyed mother, who was presumed killed-in-action long ago under mysterious circumstances.
  • Remember That You Trust Me: In "Welcome to Beacon", Weiss notices Blake's habit of sulking and alienating herself from the group coming up more than usual. She reminds Blake of her promise in "Black and White" to allow her team to help her with her problems.
  • Reminder Failure: Weiss mentally tells herself to charge at an enemy with the right foot first. She ends up running with the left foot first.
  • Repeat Cut:
    • Used as Ren destroyed the black head of the King Taijitu.
    • Ruby's initial "encounter" with the giant Nevermore during her team's Combination Attack gets a triple take. Weiss's ice attack a few seconds earlier gets a double.
    • Used repeatedly during the first Grimm encounter in "Search and Destroy".
    • Used pointedly during Ironwood's confrontation with a Beowolf.
    • Qrow's interception as Tyrian is about to kill Ruby in "Tipping Point" gets a triple take.
  • The Rest Shall Pass: This occurs multiple times during "No Brakes":
    • Yang fights Neo in the first carriage so the others can go on ahead, and is almost killed.
    • Then Weiss fights the White Fang Lieutenant, so Blake can go fight Torchwick.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Under Ghira Belladonna's leadership, the White Fang was originally a peaceful protest group seeking to end the second-class-citizen status of Faunus and achieve equality with humans. Impatient with the slow rate of progress, Sienna Khan led a coup of the old order to establish a more militant organization that is willing to use violence where necessary to achieve equality at a faster rate. Ghira Belladonna left the White Fang, disapproving of Sienna's methods even if they agree on the end-goal. However, Adam Taurus leads the Vale branch of the White Fang and is seeking a much more extreme form of terrorism. He has no interest in equality with humanity; he believes in Faunus superiority and wants humanity subjugated and enslaved to them. He uses violence as a standard tactic instead of a last resort and he has no problem in letting entire units of Faunus be killed if it will help him achieve his goal. He also has no tolerance for defection; defectors get hunted down and killed if they try and escape the organisation. His willingness to destroy symbols of human authority, such as Beacon Academy, puts him at odds with Sienna Khan, who seems him as a threat to the White Fang's existence and ability to eventually achieve peace with humanity. He responds by killing her and taking her place as High Leader of the full organization. When he learns that his defected ex-girlfriend and daughter of the original leader, Blake Belladonna, is attempting to recruit a Faunus army in Menagerie to protect Haven Academy from suffering Beacon's fate, he decides to honor a promise he once made to her — to destroy everything she loves just for turning her back on him and his cause. He sends assassins to murder Blake's parents and capture her to send a message to Menagerie that Faunus are either with him or against him. It backfires on him when the Faunus, who had been reluctant to put their lives on the line for humans, are so angry with Adam turning on his own kind that they unite together, save Haven Academy from being destroyed, and alert the Mistral Police Force to what Adam's doing. Adam is forced to go on the run leaving behind a re-energized Ghira Belladonna, who decides to create a brand new equal rights Faunus organisation.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Given the immense amount of planning that went into the story concept, the show is littered with many little details that seem insignificant at the time, but take on greater significance on subsequent rewatches. For example:
    • In the Yellow Trailer, Roman Torchwick appears for a split second, hiring the red-sunglasses-wearing thugs who show up in the first episode of the show. Roman himself becomes a major villain for the first two volumes.
    • Also in the Yellow Trailer, a black bird launches itself from a telephone wire as Yang dismounts from her bike and heads into the club. In Volume 3, a red-eyed raven watches Qrow and Winter fight outside Beacon Academy and the volume finale shows a red-eyed raven sitting in a tree outside the bedridden Yang's window. The Volume 3 stinger reveals that Qrow can transform into a crow, and the fourth volume very strongly implies that his red-eyed twin sister Raven is following him and Team RNJR in raven form. The fifth volume confirms that Raven can shapeshift into a red-eyed raven, and that she's been keeping tabs on her family. So, while Yang has been beating the streets looking for clues to her mother's whereabouts and learning to control her obsession with finding her mother, her mother's been right there watching her all along.
    • Once Pyrrha's Semblance has been revealed, it's possible to re-watch earlier episodes and see how she uses it in every fight.
    • In Volume 1, Blake's bow sometimes seems to twitch by itself, which could be animation glitches. Once it's confirmed that she is using the bow to hide cat ears, it's easy to see the ear movement occurring when the bow twitches.
    • Numerous scenes come off a lot differently with the revelation that Raven is the real Spring Maiden.
      • In her conversation with Qrow Raven never actually says that the Spring Maiden is a different person. Her tone becomes much more mocking when Qrow confirms what he believes and when she leaves an enclosed lantern goes out by itself.
      • When Yang and Weiss attempt to flee the Branwen camp, a lightning bolt strikes the ground and Vernal yells out "ENOUGH!", with Vernal holding her arm out and Raven thanking her, giving the impression that Vernal caused the lightning bolt. Vernal isn't actually shown throwing it though.
      • When Vernal is asked to show her powers to Salem's group, she keeps her eyes closed while Raven is wearing her mask.
      • Raven specifically told Vernal not to use the Spring Maiden Powers on Weiss, that she wasn't worth it. The whole point behind that is to keep up appearances in front of Cinder that Vernal is the Maiden and explain why she isn't using her powers.
    • After learning about Qrow's Semblance in Volume 4, rewatch his scenes in Volume 3 and catch when he causes seemingly random bad luck, such as when the bartender knocks over his glass.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: Adam is of the opinion that because Faunus are superior to humans (better night vision, various additional powers based on their animal part, interbreeding with a human often produces a Faunus child), his kind deserve to dominate humanity.
  • Robotic Reveal:
    • Penny reveals to Ruby that she's a robot at the end of "A Minor Hiccup".
    • Volume 3 Episode 7: Mercury has robotic legs.
    • Volume 3 Episode 11: Ironwood is a cyborg. The right half of his body is entirely cybernetic.
  • Rocky Roll Call: In "Players and Pieces", the gang all call out each others' names as they come together. Nora ends it by dramatically announcing her own name.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Both teams RWBY and JNPR are led by (and in RWBY's case, named for) their least experienced member.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Vale's king during the Great Offscreen War not only personally led the Final Battle in Vacuo, but was apparently so bloody, terrifying and awesome that when the dust settled the other three leaders knelt to him and offered him their Kingdoms. He decided to hammer out a global piece, set up new government structures and establish the Academies; he then left the kingdoms to get on with the job of governing while he taught students how to fight. and teach others how fight instead.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Downplayed. During the first few volumes, there was no swearing at all, not even minor cursing. Slowly, the profanity began to be added as the teenage characters became older and the stakes of the plot became higher. Initially, very mild profanity like 'damn' was slipped in at key moments until the fight between Tyrian and Qrow in Volume 4; the fight ends with Tyrian snarling 'You bitch' at Ruby. Since that fight, it's become a normal part of the show for characters to use mild cursing such as 'bitch' or 'bastard' when the situation becomes emotionally charged.
  • Rule of Animation Conservation:
    • If a character has color in their design and a distinct face, you can be pretty certain they're going to be important later on. This idiosyncrasy has been used for several visual gags.
    • Downplayed with most of CRDL. Other than Cardin, they so far have not been important, to the point where we haven't even seen their weapons outside of the Volume 2 opening. On the other hand, their styles are more generic than other characters.
    • Averted as of Volume 2, with bystanders no longer being rendered as mere black silhouettes and are now about as detailed as plot-important characters.
    • As of Volume 3, background characters are now being rendered using static, 2D images more often than in the previous volumes. And being rendered a 2D image does not exempt the character from becoming much more important in the story, like Taiyang.
  • Rule of Cool: Physics does not work that way and it is far too awesome for anyone to care.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jaune being thrown into the air. So far it's been done by a test launcher, a scorpion, and a hammer (twice). There was even one time where he was launched into the air in a locker, and in the first episode of Volume 2 he is thrown into a window off screen right before the Food Fight breaks out.
    • Weiss being flabbergasted by someone FlashStepping in front of her. First Ruby, then Penny.
    • Everybody being greeted normally with the exception of Weiss, with most characters calling her Ice Queen. Her response is always a taken aback "Hey!" She even cuts in with it during the song Dream Come True when it calls her "uptight".