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RWBY - Tropes U to Z

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    Tropes U-V 
  • Umbrella Drink: In the Yellow Trailer, Yang swaggers up to the nightclub bar, orders a drink, and adds as an afterthought that she wants one of those little umbrellas in it.
  • Unflinching Walk: Subverted in "Fall". After seemingly defeating Yang with a barrage of shots, Mercury starts to walk away, smirking, before an explosion behind him (caused by Yang powering up her Semblance) causes him to turn back around.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: While Oz makes it clear that he doesn't think the heroes are anywhere near ready take on Salem's forces, he and Qrow try anyway because they have no alternative plan for protecting either the school or the Relic of Knowledge. During the confrontation, the group unsurprisingly does not do well against the villains. What Oz didn't know was that there were two other plans in play at the same time: Blake rallying the Faunus of Menagerie is what stops the White Fang assault on the school and Raven playing Cinder like a fiddle is what prevents Cinder from obtaining the Relic. While the heroes all learned about Blake's plan, only Yang knows the role that Raven played.
    Qrow: I don't know how, but we did it, Oz.
  • The Un-Reveal: The show plays with this trope more than once already, starting from Velvet's box in the end of Volume 2, and Qrow's scythe in Volume 3, episode 3.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In Episode 8, all Ruby says is "I've got a plan, cover me!" A minute of combat elsewhere and the plan is being put into place.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Ironwood is very dependent on technology and science. Cinder uses that to exploit him when she hacks Vale's CCT. Eventually, she hacks his personal scroll as well, gaining a lot of classified information, including the secret of Penny's true nature. Later, a freed Roman exploits this further by hacking his forces of Atlesian Knights and Paladins to increase the chaos during the attack on Vale.
    • In Volume 7, Watts meets with Jacques to make an offer that will help Jacques win the election. He strongly implies that the reason he's come to Jacques is because Jacques has a problem with Ironwood and wants to curb Ironwood's power, but Jacques is only interested in how Ironwood is affecting him. When Weiss asks Pietro who in Atlas has access to the Atlesian security network, Pietro tells her that the councillors, top security and the people in charge of certain key systems such as water treatment and the heating grid has them. Due to the SDC working in partnership with the heating grid, Weiss realises there's a connection between her father's company and security clearance via the heating grid, but she doesn't know Watts exists and is therefore unable to reach the necessary conclusions. While a council meeting takes place in Atlas that includes Ironwood, Jacques, the other councillors and even Robyn, Watts shuts down Mantle's heating grid.
  • Verbal Backpedaling: Sun engages in a very awkward bit of this in "Menagerie" when Blake's dad doesn't take his comment of Blake "having moves" very lightly.
  • Villain Episode: Episode 7 of Volume 3, "Beginning of the End", focuses solely on Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury, detailing their formation as an alliance as well as Cinder's true intentions and master plan.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Roman Torchwick in Season Two's finale: Blake is given a level in badass by combining Dust cartridges with her Semblance, and she surprises him by being a much more challenging opponent.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Roman Torchwick has a personal one against Ruby when she confronts him on the Atlesian airship he hijacked and takes Neo out of the picture. He resorts to furiously whacking the girl with his cane while punctuating the beating with a speech about how her Heroic Spirit is pointless and how it's going to get her killed while he'll keep cheating and surviving. And then he gets gobbled up by a Griffon Grimm.
    • In Volume 4, Tyrian (who's already Ax-Crazy), has a big one when Ruby amputates his scorpion stinger with Crescent Rose in retaliation for stinging Qrow. It's enough to get Tyrian to grace RWBY with its first ever Precision F-Strike ("YOU BITCH!"). It gets worse: Tyrian retreats and returns to Salem, who quietly tells Tyrian that he has disappointed her, and this is enough to reduce him to a sobbing wreck. And then he pounces on a waiting Beowulf, still sobbing, and begins angrily carving it up with his wrist-blades, his sobbing turning into mad laughter.
  • Villainous Crush: Volume 5 reveals that Ilia has one for Blake.
  • Villainous Friendship:
    • Roman Torchwick and Neo Politan seem to go along really well and actually care about each other. When Ruby send Neo flying off the airship they had captured Roman scream her name genuinely worried, then proceed to curb-stomp Ruby.
    • Emerald and Mercury also qualify. While they snark at each other quite often, they do also seem to care about each other to some extent and they sure make an excellent team on the battlefield.
  • Villain Song:
    • "I'm the One" plays during Emerald and Mercury's tournament battle against Coco and Yatsuhashi. The song is sung from the perspective of Emerald and Mercury, talking about how their pasts have placed their combat and Semblance abilities far above those of their opponents. Some of the smack-talking and boasting in the song coincide with dialogue and actions that occur during the fight. Coco and Yatsuhashi, who are considered some of Beacon Academy's star fighters, are completely curb-stomped by the villainous duo, confirming how dangerous Emerald and Mercury are to student-level fighters.
    • "Divide" first plays during the ending of the Volume 3 finale, which introduces the Big Bad, Salem. During the show's pilot episode and the final episode of Volume 3, Salem gives a long speech about the origin of legends and humanity, and how Ozpin's correct to consider humanity stronger when it unites. She boasts of her plan to divide humanity and destroy everything that Ozpin has worked for, concluding that she can't wait to watch him burn. The song "Divide" takes its lyrics from Salem's two speeches, also ending with the desire to watch him burn. From Volume 4, certain refrains from the song play in the background whenever she is on screen and scheming.
    • "Lionize" is introduced during the Volume 6 Character Short which details how Adam became a villain. The song is a self-aggrandising boast about how a lifetime of torture and abuse at the hands of humanity creates a hero that will become immortalised as a legend for crushing and subjugating humanity. The Short is about how the Faunus elevate Adam in power and status for being the hero they've been yearning for, to fight humanity for their rights. However, the Short also ends with Adam losing everything because ego, selfishness and obsession leads to everyone who once had faith in him turning on him for becoming a monster.
    • "One Thing" plays when Neo returns to the screen in Volume 6, explaining why she's decided to fight Cinder. It hints at her past, suggesting that she was alone and without purpose until Roman Torchwick changed her life and gave her a name. She blames Cinder for what happened to Roman and that she's fallen onto hard times once more since his death. The Neo that fights Cinder is wearing tattered clothing and Roman's hat, and Cinder has to directly address the death of Roman to end the fight.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ruby and Weiss are best friends who spend most of their time willfully disregarding each other's opinions, and in Weiss's case, denying that they're best friends.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Compared to what was heard in the trailers, the voice acting in episode 1 has improved significantly. Played with as it's not actually the actresses. Complaints about Ruby's voice in the Yellow trailer were revealed to be hollow, as they were recorded after the first episode. Michael Jones, husband of Ruby's actress, pointed out that it's less about the acting and more about the delivery of the dialogue, as well as post-editing done by the sound team.
    • At the start of the series, Ruby's voice is not high-pitched as it would become later on, as it's actually closer to her actress' natural voice.
    • Volume 3 has had another noticeable shift in the voice work. Blake and Weiss sound a little more like their actresses' natural speaking voices, Emerald sounds a little older and wearier, and in general the quality of the performances has improved a lot.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • Episode 1 ends with Jaune Arc getting airsick and vomiting. The view during the scene is of exterior the airship they are in.
    • Episode 2 begins with an immediate follow up to this scene. This time, we see Jaune on screen, but he turns around so his body obscures the vomit.
    • "Destiny" has Nora vomiting into a trashcan directly after consuming some of Ren's "health drink" for Pyrrha.

    Tropes W 
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Invoked in the blurb on the Rooster Teeth website for all episodes of Volume 2.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: If you're from Vacuo, you show off your abs. Apparently Vacuo's idea of formal attire, at least for men, is to literally just button up their shirt. When the students from all four kingdoms are lined up in their formal military attire, Vacuo stands out because their "uniform" is literally "We're all wearing shirts now." (Though somewhat justified in that Vacuo is a desert)
  • War Is Hell: A World of Remnant short finally goes into detail regarding the Great War, and it's as horrible as one would expect. One hundred years of world tension erupted into ten years of grueling conflict. While soldiers were dying killing each other, countless villages were left defenseless to increasing Grimm attack with their best protectors participating in the war. Mankind came perilously close to wiping itself out entirely if not for the final battle at Vacuo.
  • Wave Motion Gun: In the Black Trailer, Blake and Adam carry out a train heist. Their cargo is guarded by a Spider Tank that possess cannons. When it merges its cannons, the resulting blast is powerful enough to send the pair flying.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: And how. No one on the show thus far has used a weapon even vaguely similar to anyone else's, with extreme examples such as a weaponized flame-throwing thermos and projectile wrist-mounted buzz saws (although some weapons do have some similar forms).
  • We Help the Helpless: In one of Professor Port's lectures he describes the job of Huntsmen as being there to protect people who cannot protect themselves.
  • Weird Moon: Remnant has a moon that is partially shattered. While it does appear to rotate relative to Remnant, it doesn't show any sign of the lunar phases associated with Earth's real life moon. Remnant's moon is always depicted in full glow, but the degree of shattering that's visible depends on the moon's rotation. There is a phase which displays the unbroken face; during that stage, there's no sign the moon is damaged at all, and no sign of any of the blasted chunks. As it rotates, more and more of the shattering appears. When the shattered face is fully in view, the blasted fragments seem to extend out towards Remnant slightly; the full view of the shattered side of the moon has only been seen during a period the characters described as 'the night of the full moon'. It is revealed in "The Lost Fable" that the moon was shattered by the gods leaving the earth.
  • Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Ruby's reaction to Weiss is to call her princess after Weiss scolds her for 'exploding a hole in front of the school'.
  • Wham Episode: Fall. Remnant's history of fairy tales are discussed, and it's revealed that some of them are actually true stories that were deliberately disguised as fairy tales to protect humanity from panic and chaos. There are four Maidens who represent the four Seasons. They were gifted with incredible, magical power by an old man who possessed incredible, magical power of his own. Cinder has attacked the Fall Maiden and stolen half her power. The Fall Maiden's protectors want Pyrrha to inherit her remaining power. Confirmed in livestream interviews with the creators that the Maidens were invented between the end of Volume 2 and the beginning of Volume 3, resulting in the original plot needing to be rewritten and no foreshadowing for them having occurred. The Maidens turn out to be the key to everything that is happening in the plot, having been created by Ozpin, who is the old man of the fairy tale and who possessed this magical power as part of a curse bestowed upon him by the gods for failing to have defeated Salem thousands of years ago.
  • What Does This Button Do?: In "Battle of Beacon", Torchwick says it word for word while playing with a hijacked Atlesian airship, seeing what different buttons do. He even has the childlike mentality, to boot.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "The Shining Beacon", the first thing Yang does when she and Ruby arrive at Beacon Academy is ditch Ruby and rush off with her friends. However, when Ruby finds her way into the school hall where the new students are gathering, Yang has saved her a spot and her friends are nowhere in evidence. Later in the same episode, Ruby tells Yang that being pushed ahead by two years means that, unlike Yang, she didn't get to bring her friends with her to Beacon Academy. However, after this episode, any reference to the two sisters having friends in Signal Academy is never again mentioned, not even the friends of Yang that came with her to Beacon Academy.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: When Team RWBY attempts to stop Roman's train in the tunnels underneath Mountain Glenn, they discover that each carriage contains a bomb that detonates at set intervals, creating sinkholes that allow the Grimm to enter the tunnels from the surface. The train's purpose is to blast a hole through Vale's defences so that the Grimm can enter the city. To stop the White Fang from succeeding, Team RWBY have no problem throwing their opponents off the top of a speeding train into the waiting jaws of the Grimm that are chasing them. When the attempted invasion is successfully foiled, the girls are merely worried about getting some rest after their hard work. Meanwhile, the villains debate the impact on their wider goals that will be caused by the sheer amount of White Fang members that have died in the tunnels as a result of Team RWBY's intervention. They're more concerned about the deaths than Team RWBY are.
  • What Is Evil?: In "The Stray", Weiss and Blake argue about whether or not the White Fang is evil. Weiss describes them as "pure evil" but Blake argues that the discrimination they receive from humanity is the reason why they hate humans and use such drastic measures.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Volume 7, Ironwood is being seen by both the citizens of Mantle and at least some of the heroes as increasingly dictatorial and unreasonable in his decision-making process and the human suffering he's willing to overlook for the sake of achieving the "greater good". When he responds to Robyn's increasing attacks on the construction supplies being diverted from Mantle to Amity Tower, he contemplates the possibility of enforcing martial law on Mantle but a frustrated Nora quickly challenges it. When he tries to defend it by saying everyone must make sacrifices, Nora angrily notes that Mantle is bearing the burden alone.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "Dance Dance Infiltration" ends with the symbol of a chess queen flashing across a video screen as Beacon's clock tower strikes midnight. It turns out to be Cinder hacking in so that she can have control over the matchups of the Vytal Festival battles, as seen in Volume 3.
  • White Mask of Doom:
    • The Grimm are jet-black creatures with certain bone-white protrusions across their body that functions like armour and the creatures appear to exist for the sole purpose of destroying humanity. All of them have these bone-white protrusions covering their faces like masks, highlighting the glowing red eyes within. The masks often have a few red spiral tattoo designs on them.
    • Members of the White Fang wear white masks that hide their identities. The person who came up with the idea (implied to be Adam) wanted to evoke the terror and horror of the Grimm in the minds of humanity whenever the White Fang commit acts of terrorism. Ordinary members have plain white masks, but high-ranking members have white masks with red tattoo designs that again resemble the red markings of the Grimm.
    • Raven's mask is similar to that of a high-ranking member of the White Fang, being white with some red tattoos. It is shaped like the face and beak of a raven, however, and she is not a member of the White Fang. She is the leader of a tribe of bandits. The mask is used to hide the highly visible fire that comes out of the eyes of a Maiden whenever they use their magical power; she has been hiding her identity as the Spring Maiden to try and throw Salem off her scent.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • "Beginning of the End" shows how Cinder met Emerald, Mercury and the White Fang, and how she stole the Fall Maiden's powers. The last few minutes, however, cut back to the present.
    • "The Lost Fable" reveals how Ozpin and Salem met, the cause of their conflict, why Ozpin reincarnates, and how the moon was shattered. The last few seconds, however, cut back to the present.
  • Wicked Witch: Cinder is introduced in the pilot episode as a shadowy figure, whose face is lost in the shadows and only her legs are visible, wearing distinctive shoes made of glass. She rescues Roman when he robs a Dust store, and fights Glynda with an array of what seems to be magical ability. She creates glowing golden runes around her, as the gold thread in her clothing glows, and the only thing in her shadowed face that is visible are a pair of glowing golden eyes. She's later confirmed to be the Fall Maiden, who illegally stole the powers of the real Fall Maiden; while she can use the full range of elemental magic, she favour fire magic above all others.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises:
    • When Cinder's group first attack Amber, Amber is able to put down Mercury and Emerald. As she is about to kill Emerald, Cinder shoots her in the back. As the arrow strikes, Amber's head jerks up, her eyes widening and irises shrinking in reaction to the injury and the ambush.
    • When Yang is having a nightmare about losing her arm to Adam, she starts to fight back until she realises she's suddenly defenceless. When she realises that Adam is abruptly right in front of her, about to strike, her eyes become huge and her irises shrink.
    • During the climax of Volume 5, Cinder comes to a shocking realisation that results in her eyes opening very wide and irises shrinking in utter horror. During the battle of Haven, Raven and Cinder fight over who gets the Relic of Knowledge. Raven defeats Cinder by kicking her into the abyss below them, breaking Cinder's obsidian mask in the process to reveal the scarred left half of her face. Shocked by her defeat, Cinder's surviving eye widens and the iris shrinks, just as Raven freezes her to ice, leaving her face fixed in this expression as she falls.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: The soundtrack albums has a few surprise appearances by Lamar Hall, delivering rap verses in "I Burn", "Caffeine", and "Like Morning Follows Night".
  • Word Salad Lyrics: While most of the time Jeff manages to make thematically coherent song, "Caffeine" is full of nonsensical if cool-sounding lines, and Volume 6 opening theme "Rising" is mostly cryptic Meaningless Meaningful Words.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • During the Volume 2 climax, Team RWBY has to split up to stop a train from breaching the kingdom's defensive walls. Neo's first fight in the show is against Yang, the team's power-fighter. However, Yang is barely able to land a solid hit on Neo, who is acrobatic and keeps dodging or deflecting Yang's attacks. Neo's taunting style of fighting also aggravates Yang's quick temper. When Neo defeats Yang and renders her unconscious, she doesn't suffer a single injury from Yang.
    • In Volume 1 Episode 8, the entirety of team RWBY and most of team JNPR spend most of the episode taking down a Nevermore, a giant bird monster, and a Death Stalker, a giant Scorpion monster. In the Volume 2 finale, Coco destroys several in a few seconds with her minigun. Coco is then effortlessly trashed in Volume 3 to show how tough Mercury and Emerald are compared to the students of the school they've infiltrated.
  • A World Half Full: Past the humor and high octane action, RWBY's setting makes it increasingly clear that humanity has only survived with a foothold of civilization. Even with Dust to fight back the Grimm, there are only four truly safe havens on the entire planet, and this is already considered unprecedented. Attempts to expand often fail, and atop that, violent prejudice and criminal conspiracies are still opting to tear this all down. Ultimately, though, the show makes it clear that solutions can be found, and it first starts with a positive outlooknote ; specifically, humanity's already lasted this long, and it wasn't just because of Dust - enter the fifteen-year-old-girl with (reasonably common!) superpowers...
  • World of Badass: This story takes place in a world that is filled with werewolves, giant suits of armor, magic-like Phlebotinum called Dust, Humongous Mecha, humanoid robots with optional machine guns for hands, Mix And Match Weapons and Swiss Army Weapons. The focus is on Beacon Academy, where becoming a Huntsman/Huntress is about as certified-Badass as it gets, and already having superhuman combat abilities is an entry requirement. Even the resident Butt-Monkey is capable of decapitating a ten-foot demonic bear with one swing of his sword.
    • Yang and Ruby's dog Zwei shows that in Remnant, even small corgis can be outlandishly badass.
    • The From Dust Till Dawn shopkeeper, despite appearing to be little more than a normal old man, throws Weiss' declined credit card into the counter ninja star style, causing it to get stuck in the counter and even making it crack slightly.
  • World of Ham: There is as much over-the-top action as there are over-the-top interactions between the cast. The overly serious characters are few and far between, and even then are not above indulging in their companions' shenanigans.
    Ruby: Justice will be swift! Justice will be painful! It will be DELICIOUUSSS!!!
    Weiss, Blake, and Yang: YEAH!!!
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • The Vytal Tournament has plenty of female contestants. So naturally we have scenes like Sun landing a brutal flying kick to Octavia's face in "New Challengers".
    • Some of the villains, like Torchwick and Tyrian, have no problem with hitting girls like Ruby.
  • Wretched Hive: Mistral is home to Remnant's largest black market, a place to find illegal goods and hired killers, and the ideal place for "thieves and traitors" to hide due to the size of the kingdom and a lack of central authority making it difficult to enforce the law in the outer cities. That being said, the kingdom is still a place of high culture and technology, and for the upper class it is the fashion, architecture, and entertainment capital of the world.
  • Wrong Context Magic: The Maidens are introduced as this. They have special abilities that normal people are not capable of and which even trained Huntsmen cannot achieve. The abilities do not come from Dust and are not Semblances. Unlike Semblances, Maidens can continue using their power even if their Auras have broken. Their powers are explicitly described as magic, which is something the people of Remnant don't believe exists. The secret history of Remnant reveals that humanity is actually on its second attempt at existence. The original human race all possessed magic before they were destroyed by their gods. Humanity found a way to be reborn, but only as a fractured remnant of its original potential. The existence of two members of the original human race means that magic is not entirely gone from the world; it's from one of these two people gifting his magic to four sisters that the Maiden magic comes.

    Tropes X-Z 
  • X on a Stick: Nora uses a watermelon on a stick as an improvised hammer during the Food Fight in Vol. 2 Episode 1. She swings it hard enough to punt Yang through the roof of the cafeteria.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Salem is a being who combines the powers of Creation and Destruction to achieve the threat level she now poses to the entire world. Cursed by the Pool of Life to have infinite life, Salem tried to kill herself by drowning in the Pools of Grimm, waters of infinite destruction. However, waters of infinite destruction cannot destroy a being of infinite life. Instead of dying, she emerged as an unkillable force of pure destruction. With the magic she still possesses from her mortal life and the control over the Grimm she now possesses, she is unstoppable by both mortal and magical means.
  • You All Look Familiar: Background characters seem to be generated from a pool of possible features (skin color, hair style etc.) As such, some of them tend to look similar to each other. Some of these features seem to be recolored versions of the main cast, to boot. Most noticeable during Season 2.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: As of the Volume 3 finale, Beacon has been overrun by Grimm and the dragon's presence is attracting even more.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Despite numerous opportunities and near-misses, the heroes fail to stop the train impact from unleasing Grimm in the city; the villains infecting the control tower with a virus; Yang from being manipulated into (apparently) attacking a defeated opponent on a live broadcast; Pyrrha from being manipulated into killing Penny on a live broadcast and an ensuing villainous speech over the captured airwaves sparking a Grimm invasion; the defeat and collapse of the city and its college; and the last part of the Fall Maiden's power from being stolen. Aside from Ruby freezing the Grimm Dragon at the very end, every single part of the villainous scheme in Volume 3 went off without a hitch, with the only small setback being that Cinder got heavily maimed.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: There are many characters with exotic hair colors, such as Neptune's blue hair or Ruby's unnatural shade of red.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Sun gets one in "Heroes and Monsters" when he sees an enhanced Paladin coming to fight them after the whole crew was spent from fighting two baseline ones.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: When a Maiden dies, their power transfers either to a young female who is in their thoughts as they die, or jumps to a random, unknown eligible female if the Maiden's last thoughts are about a man or an older, ineligible woman. This power transfer can be deliberately manipulated by having a young, eligible woman murder a Maiden to obtain the power by ensuring the dying Maiden's final thoughts are of her killer.
  • You Know What They Say:
    • In "Heroes and Monsters", as Torchwick and Neo have trapped Ruby in a perilous situation, Torchwick notes that the people he works for are going to change the world, and tries to communicate the message of "If you can't beat them, join them", but Ruby activates Neo's parasol before he can finish, sending her flying off the airship.
    "You know the old saying: 'If you can't beat 'em...'"
    • In the Volume 6 finale stinger, Emerald and Mercury watch Salem preparing the Grimm with a mixture of confusion and fear. Hazel explains to them what's going on by telling them about the old saying "if you want something done right, do it yourself".
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Blake's opinion on the White Fang group. She believed that they were still fighting for faunus rights like their original intentions were. Though she does seem to think they have crossed the line after they become increasingly more violent.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Various combat uniforms involve mini-skirts, mini-dresses and thigh-high boots or stockings, such as Yang's Hunter uniform, which consists of a micro-skirt combined with gartered thigh-high stockings. The school uniform can also accommodate this, such as Yang combining her mini-skirt with thigh-high stockings.

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