As I reintroduce myself back into the world of anime I have found myself more than mildly biased when it comes to Rooster Teeth’s RWBY.
When I first started watching RWBY I was already committed because I love Rooster Teeth. Among their countless series I avidly watched almost everything they make so it’s not surprising that I enjoyed a story about four girls who are training to be huntresses. Let’s start there.
RWBY stands for Ruby, Weiss, Blake & Yang: the four main protagonists. While each girl has a very distinctive personality they don’t necessarily fall into team stereotypes. Ruby is the youngest member and the leader. She typically shows endless enthusiasm and optimism along with a natural talent for assessing situations. Due to her constant appreciation of her teammates she knows exactly how to use each of their strengths. She is sweet and endearing but not overly confident or shy. She walks the line between speaking her mind and also not wanting all eyes on her. It seems natural for a 14 year old girl thrust into a higher education level two years early.
Weiss would be the snobby princess character except that she is seen trying to overcome her own set prejudices throughout the first season. While she definitely gets snappy and bitchy when things don’t go her way, it’s not so much that she’s spoiled but that she is used to order. She takes life seriously and why wouldn’t she? She admits that her whole life has prepared her for the war against evil and unlike Ruby and Yang who grew up with idealistic views of heroes, Weiss knew with grim determination that this was her only option. She doesn’t balk at the thought getting dirty or rough; she knows exactly what becoming a huntress entails and doesn’t let a dress get in her way.
Blake might be my favorite, but I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Maybe it’s that while at first she seems very standoffish and pretty aloof by the time the team is officially formed she’s just as happy to have found a small family as Ruby and Yang. It’s not that she’s anti-social; she just prefers quiet reading because she grew up in an aggressive militia. What makes her seem like the character with the most potential is her choices. She was practically born into the White Fang but she chose to leave. She chose to hide her Faunus heritage from Beacon Academy. She chose to have faith in White Fang even though her gut was warning her to stay away. I really can’t wait to find out more about her past and if she ever reveals to rest of the school that she’s a Faunus.
Lastly we have Yang, who is most like her voice actress Barbara Dunkleman. They both share a love of puns and astonishingly soft-looking blonde hair. Yang is immediately seen as the much cooler older sister in comparison to Ruby. She has the most revealing outfit but it totally fits her overly confident personality. While Ruby’s perkiness can be blamed on youthful ignorance Yang is more perpetually bubbly. She will be the first person to make eye contact and offer a helpful smile. One thing the first season never answered from the Yellow Trailer was the mysterious woman Yang was looking for. Does she know something we don’t? Possibly something about Summer Rose? Either way, if I was a cosplayer I would have started on my Yang costume literally the minute I saw it.
What I think I enjoy most about RWBY, besides identifying voice actors, is how natural the team dynamics feel. It’s a struggle to get along even though they are all quiet fond of each other. That’s what all families are like. Even after Ruby and Weiss adjust to their newfound partnership they still jump at each other’s throats when pushed too far. I love that because it always feels forced when teams seamlessly fall into place without any friction. You cannot put four teenage girls in the same room and expect nothing but giggles and late night gossip sessions.
Aside from the actual character development the first season isn’t exactly perfect animation-wise. Not really surprising considering they had a fairly small staff and a tight schedule so a lot of the background scenery and characters aren’t fully formed but if that bothers you and really takes you out of the story then maybe you should just skip season one and go straight to season two.
Season two just premiered this week and my goodness was it beautiful. It’s amazing what a bigger staff and a higher production budget can do for your anime. The first episode features a devastatingly awesome food fights with playing throwbacks to past actions scenes, a solid plot set-up, and introduces some intriguing new characters. It has all the best parts of season one just elevated!
I know this show might not have the finesse of other animation studios but I think the story is strong and only getting better. The characters are fun and the weapons are like gorging on fantastical desserts you could only imagine when you were a child. If you want something cute and funny to watch and are willing to bring your snobby nose back down to Earth please give RWBY a shot.