This has been a difficult couple of weeks for the Rooster Teeth family, with the sudden loss of Monty Oum, the employees and fans pulled together not only to mourn but to celebrate everything his young life achieved and in a timely fashion the series he helmed, RWBY, was finally added to Netflix.
I already reviewed the first season and discussed how much I enjoyed the characters and action now let’s see what’s been going on in Remnant since the premiere of season two. Last we left Team RWBY and Team JNPR got into quite a picturesque battle of baguettes, a turkey gauntlet throwdown, and a sword fight that involved an actual swordfish. It was fun and cute and it reminded us that despite the heavy burden of saving the world that awaits them outside the walls of Beacon Academy they are still children and they should enjoy the blissful time they have left.
Right away we are introduced to a handful of new characters; Emerald and Mercury: two deceptively menacing henchman and Neptune: a friend and teammate of Sun’s from Haven Academy. Also we now have some serious screen time with side characters from the first season such as General James Ironwood and Cinder Fall who was seen squaring off against Glynda in the series premiere. Somehow the set up for this season’s nefarious plan is balanced perfectly well the silliness of the student’s youth.
One thing I greatly appreciate is being dropped into a new world without the storyteller holding my hand and over-explaining every situation and leaving me feel like I have countless hours of exposition to study. I like the mystery and the unanswered questions that come with an expanded world. This season handles that very well, they let you take a longer look at the secret plans that Cinder has in store, the history of the Grimm, and the corruption of politics amongst the leaders of the kingdoms but it leaves you hanging just enough to keep you happily coming back for more. I’m not asking for Lost levels of confusion and emotional abuse, I just want enough moments of squinty-eyed “what the fuck does that mean” bewilderment to have me reeling with theories.
Another thing this season did a great job of accomplishing was filling in some backstory gaps and personal motivations. At some point Weiss, Blake, and Yang are questioned on why they wanted to become huntresses and while they all have answers ready it isn’t until later than they confide in each other their lingering doubts and concerns. This is wonderful to watch because they all feel strongly about doing the right thing, protecting the innocent and whatnot, however they are still teenagers who haven’t figured everything out yet. It’s easy to forget that kids are watching this show and yearning to find themselves in these characters so I’m glad they haven’t abandoned the angst and unease of that age.
Along with more backstory they show off some seriously impressive character semblances. A “semblance” being an extra ability that stems from one’s personal power. Think of it as a melee attack. In season one we watched Ruby move at supersonic speeds, Weiss create her magical glyphs, and Pyrrha user her powers of polarity to seem untouchable. But now more about Yang and Blake’s semblances are revealed which leads to some pretty brutal fight scenes. Even Sun gets to use his briefly in one of my favorite battle scenes of the season. As a diehard X-Men fan anytime a special power manifests I feel like I am personally leveling up and it only makes me even more enamored with the show.
One thing I didn’t expect to like as much as I do are the soundtracks. While both opening theme songs are incredibly strong I didn’t give much thought to the other songs until recently, on a whim I opened them up on Spotify and holy hell I am absolutely smitten. The first season’s soundtrack mostly consists of the songs from the individual trailers for the girls which is perfect because they were strong introductions to our protagonists. The season two soundtrack seems to have more Team JNPR-centric songs, which I am more than happy about. Also a song for Team CFVY, who only appears for a couple minutes but manages to steal the show during the final battle scene. Jeff and Casey Lee Williams have done a spectacular job of giving us some dance tracks to kick ass to.
If I really liked season one enough to date it and maybe even let it get to third base after I’ve had too many whiskey sours then I’d like to publicly announce my full commitment to season two. We’re moving into together, we’ve discussed getting a rescue dog and maybe hitting up the farmer’s market on Sundays. This is serious, we’re in love. I’m happy with the direction the show is taking and I’m too attached to all these characters and their drool-worthy weapons.
In a time when it’s easy to fall into a bout of sadness over losing the show’s creator, it’s comforting to see this show on Netflix and know that people who don’t spend hours watching Let’s Plays and Rage Quits can find the beauty and heartache of RWBY too. It took me months to finally catch up and I’m glad I did; this only inspired me even more to create my own worlds because that’s what Yang and Pyrrha and Monty would want me to do.