You Ever Wonder Why We’re Here?

Gabriel Silvas, Columnist

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Well, it’s one of life’s greatest mysteries, isn’t it? I mean, wouldn’t you think the same thing if you were stuck on one end of a boxed canyon with nothing to do? True, there are those OTHER guys that stay on the other end of the canyon with their own base, but seriously, those guys are jerks. You’re supposed to beat the other side and nab their flag, but that’s just too much trouble. Plus, you’re not exactly the greatest soldier ever, so where’s the harm in throwing your life away to get some fluttering piece of cloth when you can just stand around and just talk about random stuff, doing nothing. Besides, nothing big is ever going to happen… right?

The web-series that pioneered machinima and put Rooster Teeth Productions on the map in 2003, Red vs. Blue follows the everyday misadventures of the eponymous red and blue soldiers of Blood Gulch Outpost #1. Since then, the series has gone on to accumulate 13 seasons, dozens of awards, and continually evolve as the series utilizes the different Halo games and their engines, even adding 3D animation in later seasons. Seasons 1-5, known as the Blood Gulch Chronicles, use Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, while Seasons 6-10 uses a mix of Halo 3, which is what is primarily used throughout these seasons, Halo: Reach for Season 9, and 3D animated sequences, starting with Season 8. Seasons 11-13 have seen the use of Halo 4 and the 3D animation.

Over the years, RvB has garnered a rather sizable cast of misfits, psychos, and Spanish-speaking robots, though, for right now, focus will be given to the main cast. First, we have Blue Team, more or less led by Leonard Church, the closest person the show has a main protagonist, who is short-tempered, snarky, and a HORRIBLE shot with the sniper rifle. Second-in-command is filled by Lavernius Tucker, the unashamed pervert of the team who is surprisingly efficient with a sword and sniper rifle (even though Church will never let him have it). Then we have Michael J. Caboose, who is quite possibly the dumbest, yet most insightful person this side of the galaxy. The inner workings of his mind are a very strange place and are best avoided. Finally, showing up from time to time, we have the Freelancer agent known as Texas, easily the best soldier on either team and the series’ resident butt-kicker. Other characters affiliated with Blue team include Sheila, a talking Scorpion tank, Andy, a taking bomb made by Tex, Sister, the, well, sister of Grif of Red Team, Captain Butch Flowers, the former leader of Blue Team, Agent Washington, another Freelancer like Tex, and Freckles, a Mantis that Caboose adopted.

Opposing them (if you can even call it that), we have Red Team, who is led by the staff sergeant who’s name is literally Sarge, a cocktail of every 50s stereotype you can think of. His subordinates include Dick Simmons, the second-in-command who never fails to try to kiss up to Sarge, Dexter Grif, the laziest person in the history of ever, Franklin Donut, a very chipper and flamboyant man, and Lopez, the aforementioned Spanish robot who is constantly irked by the fact that NO ONE makes an effort to understand him. Finally, we have Frank “Doc” DuFresne, a medic that, while aiding both teams, usually hangs out with the Reds. That is, when he’s not being possessed by a murderous and hammy A.I. known as Omega, who also goes by O’Mally.

Starting with Season 6 onwards, Red vs. Blue started to implement a more serious and intriguing plot, particularly regarding that of Project Freelancer, a rogue military project that would combine super-soldiers with specialized equipment and A.I. assistants. Headed by the mysterious Director, the project eventually came crashing down for unknown reasons. Texas and Washington were part of this program, along with York, Carolina, the Dakota siblings, Wyoming, and Maine, who would go on to become the Meta, a super-persistent hunter that’s a mix between the Predator and Terminator, hunting down surviving Freelancers for their A.I. and equipment. Seasons 11-13, moving past the Project Freelancer plot, has seen the rise of Locus, a cold and efficient mercenary with a strange obsession of Washington.

The 3D animation portions of RvB didn’t become a thing until Season 8, where late Rooster Teeth animator, Monty Oum, animated a very memorable sequence in which a Warthog crashes through a wall in the map Valhalla. Since then, the 3D animation has been used to create fight sequences that would have been impossible to choreograph in traditional machinima. Season 9 and 10 saw heavy use of this, since flashbacks to the days of Project Freelancer were entirely animated this way, with the present day using machinima instead. The animation quality has always been fluid and looked good at the time, but compared to Season 13’s sequences, it can be easy to see that earlier seasons were a bit jerky in comparison and the character models not as well defined.

As far as the voice cast goes, Rooster Teeth employees or friends of the company voice most of the characters, though some more high profile names, such as Elijah Wood and Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, who voice the A.I. Sigma and Captain Flowers respectively. The main cast includes Burnie Burns, Jason Saldaña, Joel Heyman, Matt Hullum, Geoff Ramsey, Gus Sorola, and Kathleen Zuelch, with additional work by Michael and Lindsay Jones, Gavin Free, Gray Haddock, Shannon McCormick, and Miles Luna, with many others helping out.

Being one of the longest running web-series on the Internet, Red vs. Blue has inspired many people over the years with its sense of humor, its pioneering of the machinima genre, compelling and surprisingly deep story, and excellent voice cast. Boosting Rooster Teeth into prominence, the company has gone on to form several other animated shows, such as RWBY, a 3D animated show with anime-esque influences and art style, and X-Ray and Vav, a traditional 2D cartoon following the misadventures of Gavin Free and Ray Narvaez Jr.’s “superhero” alter egos. Seasons 1 through 12 are currently available on Netflix, though the plot-critical side series, such as Out of Mind and Recovery One, are not included. These can be seen on the Rooster Teeth website, so if you want to waste a day or two, you have plenty of opportunities to do so.

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