“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

“RWBY” Season 2 – The Stakes Rise

RWBY Season 2

    “RWBY” Season 2 manages to be a better story than the first as all our main characters get explored, we are introduced to more characters and we see the villains in action outside of stealing Dust. I severely enjoyed this season and will into more depth further in the review.

    Team RWBY is in year 2 and goes on the first away mission with Professor Oobleck. From here more of the villains main plot is revealed as our characters must face this newest challenge.

The Pros: The Animation – The animation continues to be stunning and one of the best aspects of this show. There isn’t really anything like it so it gives the whole show it’s own character that can’t really be found in any other anime or animated show.

The Soundtrack – The soundtrack continues to be wonderful and epic and really captures the magic of this world. Jeff and Casey Lee Williams did a great job.

The Action – This is a show that knows how to fight scenes and establish rivalries between characters. In this we see some of the rivalries still to come get explored as well as a great fight between Ruby and Roman.

The Characters – This is a character driven show and in this the cast is expanded and explored as we get to see some more relationships and what they do.

Professor Oobleck – Oobleck is the fast talking teacher who we see help Team RWBY to find their motivations for why they fight, as it is with him they go on a mission to explore the conspiracy from last season. In the end we see his weapon is his thermos which can also turn into a flamethrower. He became one of my favorite characters after this season.

General Ironwood – This is the series where see Ironwood and Atlas take control of a city to fight back a Grimm invasion. It is powerful and we see that this was all part of Cinder’s plan as she is using the Grimm for her own ends. The population is saved, but fear has grown and the military is in control.

Professor Ozpin – Ozpin’s goals are still a mystery, though he does let Team RWBY leave with Oobleck to investigate the problem so he seems to believe in heroes as a way to stop the Darkness and the Grimm. They are the main characters so his trust is most likely well founded.

Penny – Penny appears again (she appeared briefly last season) and we learn about her life as an A.I. and how torn she is about her nature as she can make choices and has passions but can’t help but see herself like an enforcer even though she represents her organization as so much more too. Her friendship with Ruby is really touching as well as Ruby doesn’t see any difference between them.

Weiss – Weiss has mellowed out a lot this season and we see how deeply she cares for Blake. Her and Neptune kind of have a thing as well and we see that she is avoiding talking to her family. Weiss is seeking to redeem the evil actions of her family and the business they own and that is a major motivation of why she is a hunter.

Blake -Blake is explored more in this as we see that she has become driven with taking out the White Fang to the point that she’s grown distant from her friends. It isn’t until Blake tells her about her obsession with finding her own mother that she understands and mellows out knowing it is okay to live and still follow those goals. Blake is driven by her sense of justice to become a hunter just as that is a huge part of why she was a part of the White Fang. We also see her take out Roman and the Faunus who nearly defeats Weiss.

Pyrrah – Pyrrah is shown to be a great friend in this as she helps Jaune find honesty in his feelings and after he gets over Weiss their friendship grows. She also is shown to be one of the best fighters and easily the strongest in the school.

Yang – Yang is explored in this as we see her mom left her and she’s been seeking her this entire time. She is also beaten by Neapolitan (one of Cinder’s Team) but is saved by her mother Raven. We also see that thrill seeking is why she wants to become a hunter but there are other reasons too.

Ruby – Ruby is driven by an overwhelming sense of justice and hunting as the right thing to do. We see her leadership come out in this as she is there for her teammates in the village, though she does end up captured by Roman at one point when she discovers the White Fang base and train leading to the final confrontation of the season.

Cinder and her Team – Cinder has a pretty awesome team and we see Neapolitan (a girl who fights with an umbrella and kicks to neutralize Yang) and Roman in action as they try to cause mass panic, and succeed since even though the bombs are stopped…Atlas military comes in to save the day and the Grimm invade a city. The good guys win but Cinder’s plan advances and Adam, the leader of the White Fang is ready to deal further with them.

The Final Fight – The final fight is awesome. With Oobleck taking on the robots with Ruby and trying to stop the train, Weiss defeating Roman and Yang vs. Neapolitan and Weiss against a large Faunus with a chainsaw. It’s a pretty awesome fight.

The Revelation – Raven is Yang’s mother and Cinder’s plot of militarizing the society and having Ozpin lose face and power advances her goals and creates greater fear at the school and among the populace. We also see her team who has infiltrated Beacon and the fact that she hacks Beacon’s data during the dance.

 This was a great season that raises the stakes further as we see every win the good guys do advances Cinder’s plot. What that plot is remains to be seen but it is tied to fear as the Grimm feed off it and after the Grimm invasion and Atlas occupation there is going to be a lot of fear among the people.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 43 – “Target: Earth” – Zechs’s Challenge

Gw-ep43-target-earth

    It’s getting real as we arrive closer to the final battle. In this we see that Treize is still noble and good at his core (at least now anyways) and that Zechs is still aware of the Colonies and doesn’t see them as  means to an end (unlike Dorothy who just wants war). It’s a great episode that has some powerful character moments as well as Quatre showing how much of a rock he is for the rest of the team.

    “Target: Earth” was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Takeshi Yoshimoto and written by Akemi Omode.

     The story involves OZ forces taking over a Colony (the one where Katherine and the Circus are) and holding them hostage to get back Battleship Libra. Treize lets them go as he believes they don’t represent OZ as the Gundams, lead by Trowa rescue the Colony from OZ Forces. Around this time Zechs is heading towards the Colony and Earth and a decision is at stake as Relena advocates for him to live by the Peacecraft name.

The Pros: Relena – Advocates for peace even at the expense of her life and is nearly killed in the process. Turns out her willingness to put herself out there to change Heero isn’t just Heero, it’s everyone. A bit of a martyr complex, but she’s interesting.

Trowa and Quatre – Trowa manages to control Wing Zero after Quatre reminds him he is more powerful and that fighting should not consume him. It’s a great scene. Also, I can’t be the only one who is slash fictioning these two. They have more chemistry than Trowa has with Katherine who he is going on the rescue mission for in this episode.

Team Gundam – Noin feels powerless over how Zechs has changed, Sally is the Guardian over the Pilots, Heero is the leader. Duo holds OZ forces hostage when Trowa takes on the forces outside and Quatre saves Trowa from himself. Team Gundam is awesome.

Zechs – Zechs acts like he is going to sacrifice the Colony to destroy the OZ forces in space, but it turns out he knew the Gundams would save the Colony and instead attacks the Earth to challenge Treize and see what he does next. He knows that the OZ attack will rally the people of the Colonies behind him too. He also nearly kills Relena and is a complete devotee to his cause at this point.

Treize – Treize abandons the OZ forces because he sees they are unethical, showing he is a good guy on some level. I’m curious if he is going to try and use the Gundams against Zechs, Libra and Epyon.

  This was a great episode, and I like that the White Fang fought Zechs when they thought was going to sacrifice the Colony to defeat OZ. it showed that the White Fang hasn’t forgot the people and even though it uses OZ methods is still coming from a good place in it’s ideals of Colonial Independence. Once more, looking forward to see where things go from here. My one issue is that no one has really died. Even Lady Une isn’t dead, there hasn’t been sacrifice really at all, just statistics. No one cared about Tsuberov or Dermail.

Final Score: 9 / 10

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 42 – “Battleship Libra” – Know Your Enemy

msgw42

This is the episode that Wufei finally finds purpose and gets outside of himself, as well as us also learning what finally happened to Lady Une and what Treize’s motivation is, to a degree. I’m curious how things are going to unfold from here as Zechs is an enemy, an interesting enemy, but an enemy nonetheless, and this is something that all the Gundam Pilots learn.

“Battleship Libra” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Nana Harada and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story begins with Wufei being picked up by Noin, Quatre and Heero and when a White Fang force arrives Heero lets him use Wing Zero so he can learn who his enemy is. Lady Une arrives on Earth as well, having been saved from the destruction of Barge and Dorothy arrives at Battleship Libra as Relena makes her way there too.

The Pros: Wufei – Wufei is finally likable! The guy realizes that the Gundams are his allies and that all of them are needed to defeat Treize and Zechs who are his true enemies. It’s a powerful scene as he realizes that he’ll die fighting alone (having lost the last two battles he fought alone). He’s likable when he actually works with people.

Heero – Heero shows why he’s the leader when he gives Wufei Wing Zero to use for the battle and it then we see that Heero cares about the other pilots and has the moment he got to know them and realized they weren’t enemies. He’s growing and Relena is rubbing off on him.

Team Gundam – Sally, Wufei and Heero are on their way to the Peacemillion to finish upgrading Heavyarms and Shenlong Gundam. Their faction is getting ready for the final fight.

Dorothy – Dorothy grew up with Treize and Zechs and convinces him to let her on the Battleship Libra as she wants to be a part of the battle to come. It’s a good conversation as she is able to reach Zechs who has become lost in his role as leader of the White Fang.

Relena – Is wondering why Zechs has become so lost and thinks about her Father who reminded her of the importance of pacifism. She still holds onto it, even as the world crumbles around her.

Treize – Is motivated to bring about Peace in the same way Zechs is, by ending it in the final war now that the Earth is united (as are the Colonies). Both see things as a means to an end and in their own ways are trying to look after Relena, though completely missing the point in their means to an end approach.

Nichol – Takes Lady Une to Earth, finally stops fighting like an OZ soldier and sacrifices himself in the fight to help Wufei. Good moment of awesome for a minor character.

Zechs – Is a villain now, but an interesting one.  I get why he believes what he does, though it has consumed him to the point where he nearly destroys Dorothy until she sells him on the fact that she wants to be a part of the Great War and be by his side when it ends.

Battleship Libra – Has an awesome design, and is super deadly. Can’t wait to see it in action. Libra and Epyon are going to be the main threat since I don’t know what Treize has to fight with at this point.

This was another perfect episode. I didn’t mind Zechs being the villain again even, it was so wonderful. I am looking forward to the final fight and how it will play out among all the factions. It has been great so far as usually character development is part of the action, it isn’t simply action for action’s sake, which I appreciate.

Final Score: 10 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 41 – “Crossfire at Barge” – Zechs, Guardian of the Colonies

Gw-ep41-crossfire-at-barge

Well, we know Zechs’s motivation now for wanting to destroy the Earth, and he isn’t wrong…especially with a militarized Romafeller Foundation again now that Treize that has taken charge…and between the two of them, I’d choose Zechs over Treize. Zechs is a real, Treize is manipulative. More on my thoughts on the episode though further down.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Tetsuya Watanabe and written by Akemi Omode.

The story begins with OZ’s forces using the Barge to destroy the incoming White Fang forces. A great battle ensues with Zechs leading the charge in Epyon. Around this time Noin, Quatre and Duo arrive to confront Zechs to join them but it doesn’t go well as they witness the destruction of a Colony by the Barge. This leads to an all out assault by the Gundams against it. On Earth Treize overthrows the Relena faction and puts himself once more in charge of the Romafeller Foundation for the coming war with the Colonies.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs is truly motivated in saving the Colonies. This leads to him destroying Fortress Barge single handily and ignoring Noin when she pleads for him to stop the fight now that Relena is in charge of Romafeller. Zechs truly believes Earth is the problem, which given what happened to the Sanc Kingdom, he has every reason to believe it.

Team Gundam – Quatre, Duo, Trowa and Noin – These are the Pacifist Faction now and are a bit lost since Epyon is much stronger than they are and Noin is not able to get through to Zechs. He’s a true believer and has lost his humanity in the process. Trowa also goes to protect the Colonies from the battle.

Major Sally – She’s back! She also delivers Heavyarms to Heero so that Trowa can get his Gundam back. It is great to see her again and that she is there fighting just like Noin.

Okay: Relena – She wants to try and stop Zechs, but she didn’t fight her position at all. That was a disappointment as she has no reason to trust Treize, since he killed her adoptive Father.

Treize – Why did he want to take control of Romafeller again? He seemed to believe in the Gundams, does he anymore? His reasons for coming out of the shadows are still a mystery.

Dorothy – Dorothy if following Relena to space, her ends are still an unknown.

This episode was great but could have been better. It was a good exploration of Zechs but we got almost no exploration of Treize, Relena or Dorothy. I hope we see that change in the coming episodes as they are all still major players in this.

Final Score: 8,7 / 10.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 40 – “A New Leader” – The Fall of Dermail

Gw-ep40-a-new-leader       This episode is things coming full circle. What once began with the Earth wanting to conquer space and conquer or destroy the Colonies,  now has the militarized Colonies doing the same thing under the leadership of the White Fang. It’s a powerful message showing how militarization and conquest lead to the oppressed doing the same. This is ironic too since Romafeller is becoming like the Colonies used to be making the Colonies the new future oppressor.

“A New Leader” was directed by Nobuyoshi Nishimura and Yasunao Aoki and written by Katsuhiko Chiba.

The story begins with Dermail doing a power play after Dorothy says he should consolidate his power in space and prepare for war as war is coming and that is how he could lead. Relena also calls for a disarming of Romafeller forces which leads to Heero not assassinating her. This leads to him heading to Fortress Barge. Around the same time the new Cruiser that the White Fang is constructing is attacked by Wufei, after he is fought back they believe the Gundams are fighting for Earth and think destroying Earth is the only way to safeguard the Colonies.

The Pros: Zechs – Zechs is the new leader of the White Fang under the guise of Miliardo Peacecraft. The irony is powerful but I get why he is driven this way. He lost his home and now all he can see is that the Colonies must be protected at all costs since he could not protect the Sanc Kingdom.

Wufei – Wufei realizes he can’t do it alone but he’s right in his fight in space as White Fang has become OZ and just as bad and brutal with just as much disregard for life. He’s in the place now where he can join up with Noin, Quatre, Trowa and Duo.

Team Relena – Team Relena is coming together, as in those fighting to protect the innocents and promote a peace where there is freedom in identity. Those people who support Relena’s cause are Noin, Trowa, Quatre, Duo and the scientist Howard. Heero also is as well after Zechs declares war on the Earth.

Heero – Heero does have a good heart in the end and is ready to risk his life now that he knows Relena does support peace and isn’t a hypocrite or tool of the Romafeller Foundation. He lets her live and chooses to end Zechs since Zechs is living how Romafeller once was.

Dermail’s Fall – Dermail goes to space to consilidate power after Dorothy advises him (she’s a great X Factor as what she wants is unknown beyond love of battle). He make it space but doesn’t bring enough forces as Zechs and a militarized White Fang are now the most powerful force besides the Gundams.

This was a perfect Gundam Wing episode that really illustrated everything I like about this series. Characters and organizations grow and change, loss actually happens and we see the sign of the battle to come now that things have come full circle with the Colonies as the new enemy, when before the enemy was Earth under the Alliance, OZ and the Romafeller Foundation.

Final Score: 10 / 10

 

 

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – Season 1, Episode 39 – “Trowa’s Return to the Battlefield” – Power Plays

Gw-ep39-return-of-trowa

The stakes are raising and bad is becoming good. When Relena was made Queen of the World and leader of the Romafeller Foundation Dermail didn’t realize what he stepped in and how much it would change things within his own foundation. The thing is, most of the others don’t realize that change either as both Zechs and Heero take action against Relena in different ways in their fight against the Romafeller Foundation. But more on that in the assessment.

The episode was directed by Shinichi Sakuma, Hitoshi Waraya and Kunihiro Mori and written by Katsuyuki Sumizawa.

The story begins with politics in the Romafeller Foundation as half the Foundation forms together in backing Relena while Dermail has the other half. Zechs is approached by the Leader of the White Fang named Quinze and Noin, Trowa and Quatre face off against a squadron of OZ troops who believe them to be White Fang forces.

The Pros: The Romafeller Foundation – Part of what makes this show so great is how it subverts expectations. You think things are one way, and after they change. We see this in Romafeller aligning with Relena’s dreams of Democracy peace against Dermail and how they plan to stop him.

The White Fang – Their leader Quinze is a pretty cool guy. He looks like one of the scientists and is driven in his desire for a the Colonies to be one free nation and to use any means necessary to protect them. This is why Zechs joins them I think as he points out that Miliardo was once fighting for peace on the Colonies.

Zechs – Conflicted soldier who finds a reason to fight again through the White Fang. He worries about his Gundam though as he realizes how it changes the mind to make all enemies.

Noin, Trowa, Quatre and Duo – Duo saves the day after Noin, Trowa and Quatre expend all their resources in the fight against the OZ forces who attack them. They are united now and their own faction who want to help make Relena’s dream a reality.

Heero – Is off to kill Relena again as he sees her as Romafeller and Romafeller is his enemy.

The Cons: Feels Unfinished – This episode feels like part of a whole and doesn’t stand as strongly on it’s own because of it. This was my only issue with the episode though.

This was a great episode and well worth checking out! Our players are getting aligned on the board and the nature of the factions is changing due to power plays by Zechs, Relena, Heero and the slow uniting of the Gundam Pilots together to protect civilians and the people. This episode truly is a great look at what is to come.

Final Score: 9 / 10.