“RWBY” Season 3 – The Threat and the Cost

RWBY Season 3

   “RWBY” is a show that just keeps getting better. In this we meet more great side characters, have loss and cost, which establishes the threat of our villains and get more of the mythology of the world and how the rules of it work. Seriously, this is one of the best seasons of any show I have ever watched.

      Rooster Teeth has done it again and it saddens me that Monty Oum, the creator of this series died this month (February 1st). He will be missed greatly, he truly was great mind.

SPOILERS ahead

    This season starts out with the Vytal Festival Tournament where different schools put their against each other to win glory for their nation, team and school. Things are not as they appear though as Cinder and the ones she serves plans begin to unfold during the tournament.

The Pros: The Tournament – The backdrop of the tournament is great as it immediately puts all eyes on Beacon and the world is paying attention to Hunters and Huntresses and those who use them, which makes it perfect to turn the populace against them.

The Tone – The tone is one of the glory but also dark as the epic and danger of the fights takes a dark turn and shows that all of this was being used by something much greater.

The Soundtrack – The soundtrack is once again amazing and really shows the different characters’ personalities really well. The Williams once again do an amazing job.

The Characters – The characters have always been the strongest part of this show, and in this we get more of their backstories and motivations behind what they do as they face the consequences of those past relationships and the end game consequences from them.

Flynt – Flynt is a great minor character. He fights with a trumpet that he uses to play jazz songs. I really like him and the fact that he stands with the heroes in the final battle. He’s an honorable guy who I hope we get more backstory from.

Nora – Nora goes from a character we see rock every battle she faces, to being one of the remaining survivors who still has purpose as she joins the new team at the end to solve the mysteries of the Grimm and stop them.

Penny – Penny’s friendship with Ruby is shown before Pyrrha accidently destroys her when her powers are shown to be more powerful due to illusion spells by Cinder’s team leading to Pyrrha completely annihilating her. I’m glad we get her backstory and got to know her.

Pyrrha – This season is really about Pyrrha as she is given the world changing decision…will she become one of the Goddess Maidens of Fall since Cinder and her team nearly killed the last one. In the end she decides too but is destroyed by Cinder who becomes the Maiden in the process. Her story is a tragedy as we are given a few episodes of her wrestling with the choice.

The Council  – The Council is pretty cool and you get why they chose Pyrrha as Pyrrha is the most talented of the students and has a quite wisdom to her. She sees the bigger picture where others don’t and is wise beyond her years. I also like that the Council doesn’t get along and that Cinder’s plan turns the world against them.

Ozpin – This is the season where we get to see Ozpin’s power as we get to see a God Powered Cinder and him face-off as they come to a standstill. We also see his is the Dumbledore/Gandalf as the rest of the council doesn’t know fully what’s going on with his plans, but trust him with their lives. Qrow is his enforcer we learn too.

Qrow – Qrow is Yang and Ruby’s Uncle and he is awesome. The man who trained Ruby is also a huge drunk who sees just how desperate the situation is and how even when the students think they’ve won it has played into the Darker powers plan. He believes in nothing but loves his family and wants to fight for the good. He is a fascinating character.

Glynda – In this we see Glynda’s power and leadership again as well as her being one of Ozpin’s counterpoints as she is the questioner to hone his decisions. I hope we get more of who she is and her motivations soon.

General Ironwood – The man who has all the robots ends up eating the consequences of last season as Roman and Cinder take control of his army and reek havoc upon the populace of Beacon. I felt bad for the guy as he has thought might always wins, when we learn this time that the Grimm are smarter than that.

Our Heroes – Our heroes are explored more too and thus far this is their darkest season.

Weiss – Weiss’s sister comes to the school and after losing her battles in the tournament she is brought home by her dad who at this point she has turned against. This is her going from her highest to becoming a prisoner from the tendencies and family she’s been growing apart from the last 2 seasons.

Blake – Blake realizes that she isn’t strong enough this season when she faces her lover Adam, who runs the White Fang and just wants to escape as her entire world comes crushing around her. She loses her friend Pyrrha and finds the school she is a part of. I felt bad for her character and hope she can take the White Fang back. Everything she knows has been broken.

Yang – Yang like Blake has her will broken. Her arm is cut off and she has given up. She’s not as strong as she thought she was and she feels the abandonment of her mom leaving and the world thinking she’s a horrible person for punching someone, when really it was just an illusion. She’s one of my favorites and I hope she comes back from her dark place.

Ruby – Like the rest of our heroes Ruby learns she isn’t invulnerable. She manages to freeze a dragon Grimm but she can’t change how the world sees her friends, she wasn’t able to save Pyrrha and she couldn’t stop the Grimm. The season ends with her going out to investigate where the Grimm come from.

Enemies – The main enemies are awesome and really drive the action. Their minions I could care less about (except the Grimm) but the folks have personality and ambition and it makes them interesting.

Adam – Adam is using the Grimm to his own ends so that his people can rule. He’s arrogant and a bit of a Robin Hood/Magneto and I am super curious to see where his arc goes as he rejects Cinder until he sees that Cinder is all powerful and that he can die a martyr or embrace power and use to his own ends.

Roman Torchwick – This “Clockwork Orange” man is back and seeing him cause chaos on Beacon is wonderful as his being trapped by Ironwood leads to him taking control of the A.I. and using the robots on the populace. This guy is always a lot of fun, and he has no powers to boot.

Cinder – This is Cinder’s rise and unless Ozpin can defeat or injure her nothing is going to stop her from causing the end of the world. Seeing her bring her team together was pretty cool as well as her manipulation of Adam. She thinks long term and thus far is the most powerful character we’ve seen fight and win.

The Grimm – We got Grimm for days. Grimm Elephants, Wolves, Bears and a Dragon that takes all of Ruby’s power to freeze (but even she can’t kill it and it knocks her out). Seeing the diversity of the Grimm is awesome as well as their power.

Okay: Jaune – He’s still just of there and his arc only exists to give Pyrrha a choice…given that I don’t care about his character and haven’t been given a reason to, I felt for his pain because I like Pyrrha, but he’s still the most useless member of the students.

Cinder’s Team – Her supports are alright but they don’t have any personality. We learn one is insane and killed his father and the other was a thief but they have no complexity or mystery. Cinder is the only thing making them mean anything. Without her the villains would be weak this season without the greater threat of the Grimm.

   This season really sets the tone for things to come as we see a Lady who is entirely Grimm White naturally with glowing eyes in a hellish landscape saying everything is going according to plan. Hopefully she doesn’t become a Thanos (not doing anything only just implied awesome) and we actually get to see her in action. I’m also hoping Pyrrha doesn’t come back, and she is one of my favorite characters on the show. Death must have consequences and this show deserves to let our heroes face what happened and earn their victory.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

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“RWBY” Season 1 – Unique Animation and a Story That Shows Promise

RWBY_Volume_1_Soundtrack_Cover

   “RWBY” is a show that I ended up enjoying. It was made by Rooster Teeth, which is the same production company that created “Red vs. Blue” and you tell that they put a lot of passion into this. The story does have issues, that I’ll get into later, but as a base concept it looked like they were trying to create an epic cell-shaded anime and they succeeded mostly.

     The show was created by Monty Oum, who was one of the directors and writers as well. Kerry Shawcross was the other writer and director and Miles Luna was the last writer.

    The story takes on the world of Renmant in a battle between the darkness and light. There is a school that trains warriors to becomes Hunters and Huntresses to fight the darkness and protect Dust (which powers magic and weapons) and  fight the creatures of Grimm and we follow Ruby, the younger trainee at Beacon Academy and others must stand against them as the plot of the darkness unfolds.

The Pros: The Animation – The cell shaded animation is really neat. I haven’t seen anything like this outside of “Windwaker” and they handle the diverse array of characters and technology really well. It can be a little slow at times, but they make up for it in how flowy so many of the fights are.

The Soundtrack – Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams did a great job on this soundtrack. It gives an epic final fantasy feel to the series, which works as that seems to be where it got a lot of it’s inspiration from.

The World – The World of Renmant is cool as it has a deep mythology of taking on the Darkness and Grimm, which it implies will always be around and uses people and changes things around it. It’s a lot like The Dark Side in “Star Wars.”

The Creatures of Grimm – The creatures look pretty awesome as they are black, hairy and have crystal protrusions. They look like mutated animals too, which works for what the Darkness is supposed to do.

The Characters – There are a few characters I didn’t like or were forgettable but the characters who work, really work and I enjoyed seeing them in action.

Professor Ozpin – Ozpin is the guy who brings Ruby to the school and set up the challenge that lead to the different teams. We see he is manipulative and is hiding something and seems to be quite passive. Curious to see what he’s hiding and what his long game is.

Pyrrha – Pyrrha is probably my favorite character on the show. She’s a master of magnetism (we learn at the end) and should really be the leader of her team, not Juane Arc who is incompetent and a coward. She likes him though (which is annoying). The only reason he has any wins at all is because of her talent and leadership.

Glynda – Glynda is the serious teacher who takes on the big bad at the beginning and does a great job of it. She is much more aware of the students and their flaws and takes a lot to impress. Curious to see her in action down the line and learn more about why she became a Huntress.

Yang – Yang is Ruby’s older sister and is high energy and popular. She is a lot of fun too and sticks up for Ruby to Weiss and on many other occasions. She should have been in charge of Team Ruby in my opinion as she is a commander and easily the strongest of all the people on the team.

Blake – Blake is a Faunus and was once part of an organization fighting for their rights. She hides the fact that she’s a faunus and calls out Weiss for her racism. She’s a pretty cool character too and very much the outsider of the group. Where this will go in the future remains to be seen now the Darkness is using the organization she used to be a part of.

Ruby – Ruby is the youngest student at the Academy and her arc is learning to be a leader and take responsibility. She is a huge help to everyone around her and her greatest weakness is just wanting to be liked. She still hasn’t got to the point of letting go of what others think of her, which I think will play a part later.

The Antagonists – The main antagonists are Cinder and Roman and both are interesting. I can’t wait to see how they are explored next season.

Roman Torchwick – This guy looks like he’s straight out of “A Clockwork Orange,” from the eyeliner, the white suit and the cane and general love of causing chaos. The character is a lot of fun and as a normal human being he does a good job holding his own against all the people with special weapons and powers. He hasn’t been caught yet.

Cinder – Cinder is who seems to be the big bad so far as she saves her servant Torchwick who is stealing Dust and she manages to take on Glynda and Ruby and come out of it fine. She’s really powerful and the Season ends with her coming to Torchwick for the next part of their plans.

The Cons: Anime Tropes – In the beginning there were some major tonal clashes, which they stopped doing as the series progressed but some of the tropes I hate were complete animation change for excitement and fetishising the characters. By the end this wasn’t going on as strong, so the writers and animators must have learned.

Jaune Arc – Juane Arc is the awkward nerd who is made leader of his team in the school for some reason, which he quickly fails at when he lets a bully blackmail him as he wants to be tough. The guy is a joke, though he does have a moment of awesome at the end whe he manages to take on a creature of Grimm.

Weiss – Weiss is an entitled brat who is also racist. When one of her friends is part animal and used to be part of an organization fight for their freedom she just dismisses her and bullies her. This doesn’t even include all her needless cruelty throughout Season 1. Seriously, she’s intolerable and a terrible human being.

    The first Season gives us a very promising start as we see the different factions that make up this world and how they relate to one another. I’m curious to see what the forces of Darkness and Grimm have in store and what they will use the Dust for and I want to see our main characters continue to grow. The show got better about having less of the anime tropes after the first few episodes and it was stronger because of it. It is okay to take inspiration from something, but so much of what makes something great is is it finding it’s own beat and not being wholly derivative. By the end of Season 1 I felt that “RWBY” had found that uniqueness within itself. I look forward to the future Seasons.

Final Score: 8.6 / 10. Solidly really good.