Victory is in a Simple Soul

Gabriel Silvas, Columnist

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In the world of Remnant, humanity was not at the top of the food chain. In the beginning, the physical manifestation of darkness, the Creatures of Grimm, nearly wiped out the fledgling humans, who were defenseless against the horde. It wasn’t until the discovery of Dust that mankind was able to fight back against the darkness and claim their land. Since then, warriors from all over the world, the Hunters and Huntresses, have dedicated themselves to protecting the people of the Four Kingdoms from those that would harm them. Of course, not all threats to the people come from the Grimm. This is where a certain 15-year old, socially awkward prodigy of a huntress-in-training with a love for cookies and weapons comes in.

Teased at the end of Red vs. Blue Season 10 and finally released in the summer of 2013, Rooster Teeth and Monty Oum brought us RWBY, their newest 3D animated show. Prior to his work at Rooster Teeth, Monty was known for his independent 3D animations that were characterized by crazy action and fight choreography. Of his previous works, Haloid, a Metroid and Halo crossover, and Dead Fantasy, another crossover between Team Ninja’s Dead or Alive and many of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, are perhaps his best-known creations prior to RWBY.

The story focuses on the eponymous Team RWBY, formed by Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long. Ruby is one of the youngest people to join Beacon Academy, probably the most prestigious school for Hunters and Huntresses in all of Remnant. Having to skip two years from Signal Academy due to her impressive skill, she feels out of her element, but eventually fulfills the role as leader of Team RWBY. Weiss, being the heiress of the Schnee Dust Company, feels entitled and that she deserves the spot of leader, but eventually gets taken down a few pegs and accepts Ruby. Blake is a rather mysterious and aloof girl that remains distant with a secret she doesn’t dare reveal. Yang, Ruby’s older sister, is a boisterous bruiser with a penchant for puns and is very protective of her little sister and hair.

Alongside them is Team JNPR, who at first were supposed to be one-shot characters, but ended up gaining large popularity and quickly became the B-Team of the show. Their leader is Jaune Arc, a hopeless dork who SOMEHOW managed to get into Beacon, yet has no idea how to fight and doesn’t know about Aura. It helps that he has Pyrrha Nikos, one of the most talented fighters from the Kingdom of Mistral, at his side to help him learn to be a leader and fighter. Nora Valkyrie is… energetic. No one but her childhood friend knows what goes on in her head, but with her grenade launcher hammer, something else will be going through other people’s heads. Speaking of said childhood friend, it’s a wonder Lie Ren hasn’t been sapped of all of his energy years ago. Even so, he and Nora have always been together and nothing will change that. Though, as Nora says, they aren’t “together-together”, but the fandom begs to differ. Other side characters include the faculty and students of Beacon Academy and family and friends.

The Grimm come in all manner of different types and appearances, all characterized by a black coloration and white, boney armor that gets spikier and more jagged as the Grimm ages and becomes larger, more powerful, and smarter. From King Taijitu, to Creeps, Nevermores, and Goliaths, the sheer number of Grimm justify why humanity has been pushed to the brink multiple times before, but that’s not the only threat Team RWBY faces. Crime lords like the suave Roman Torchwick, the once peaceful protest group now turned terrorist organization known as the White Fang, and the enigmatic Cinder Fall all serve as threats to the main cast.

Much like Red vs. Blue, the voice cast are comprised mostly of Rooster Teeth employees. Lindsay Jones, Kara Eberle, Arryn Zech, and Barbara Dunkleman provide the voices for Team RWBY, with JNPR including the voices of Miles Luna, one of the writers, Samantha Ireland, Jen Brown, and Monty Oum. Other RT employees help with the side characters, like Ryan Haywood, Jack Pattillo, and Michael Jones from Achievement Hunter as Peter Port, Hei “Junior” Xiong, and Sun Wukong, Shannon McCormick (Agent Washington) as Headmaster Ozpin, Joel Heyman (Caboose) as DOCTOR Bartholomew Oobleck, and noted cosplayer Jessica Nigri as Cinder.

RWBY is a bit tamer then Red vs. Blue and X-Ray and Vav in terms of content. While featuring some heavy themes such as the discrimination of a race of humans with animal-like features called Faunus, the loss of a loved one, and hints of an abusive childhood, it doesn’t feature strong language that would be present in the other two shows and can be considered to be cleaner than most things made by Rooster Teeth, though there are some jokes that can slip under the radar. As such, this is probably the more “family-friendly” of their content, something both younger kids and older adults can enjoy.

Volume 3  premiered in Fall of 2015, but prior to its premiere announcement, it was touch and go for a while. Early in the year on February 1st, Monty Oum had passed away due to an allergic reaction during a medical checkup. This hit the entire community hard, even people outside of Rooster Teeth. Monty’s works had inspired many people to follow their own dreams of working on their own projects, with dozens of well-known Internet personalities giving their condolences and the event even catching the eye of major newspapers. Despite his passing, his brother, Neath, will take over as the voice of Lie Ren and the fandom eagerly awaits and supports the team as they continue to keep moving forward, with Kerry Shawcross taking over as director.

Despite some animation flaws here and there, the show is a very fun experience with well-choreographed action scenes, good writing, and excellent music. Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available to watch on the main Rooster Teeth website and their YouTube channel, as well as being available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray. Some other merchandise like figures and plushies are available to buy on the RT Store as well, if you have money to burn. I highly recommend the show, especially since Volume 2 is a big improvement compared to Volume 1, and Volume 3 seems to be shaping up to be even better than its predecessors. If the above has piqued your interest, you’ll probably have a fun time watching a 15-year old girl eviscerate Grimm with a scythe that also doubles as a high-velocity impact sniper rifle. In her words, it’s also a gun.