Review: RWBY

A review of the American anime-style web series from teen blogger, Timothy.

War is an inevitable fate; a monster designed by mankind to crush nations, and seize control for ourselves. Since the dawn of time, nations have been fighting for power, pitting best friends and even lovers against each other, spilling the blood of many. But have you ever wondered what the world would be like if every day, each of us had a choice to stand up and join together in fighting an un-winnable war fuelled by our very own ambitions? If so, then let me introduce you to the world of Remnant...

“RWBY” follows the story of 4 young girls as they grow into strong young women while training to become fighters, but their stories go far beyond this. The first chapter begins with the introduction of Ruby Rose, a girl whose dream is to become a Huntress at Beacon Academy and help protect innocent people from monsters known as ‘Creatures of Grimm’ who feed off of the negative emotions of humanity like a vampire does blood. Ruby at first is shown to be a very timid young girl, but when she feels threatened, she is able to unleash havoc with her scythe known as Crescent Rose. When she arrives at Beacon Academy after some “mishaps," she is introduced to her team consisting of Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and her older half-sister Yang Xiao Long, forming RWBY.

At first, the girls have their differences. Weiss acts like a spoiled princess; Blake, like a bookworm; and the two sisters like high-strung children. But as they complete their first few missions they learn to trust and depend on one another and treat each other as family, as they have all lost family. During their time at Beacon in Volume 1, the team meet team JNPR comprised of Jaune Arc, Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos, and Lie Ren who become some of their greatest friends, and also some of their driving force to fight against the Grimm and the villains who control them.

As the story progresses, these 8 young Hunters & Huntresses in training face many hardships, and meet many new and mysterious faces such as Professor Ozpin, Glynda Goodwitch, Roman Torchwick, and Cinder Fall who guide them through their training, but may also end up being their downfall. One of these hardships they face is the “White Fang” a group started by Faunus - humans with animalistic traits such as  ears, fangs, tails, scales, and gills- with good intentions. The Faunus originally started the White Fang as an empowerment group to fight against discrimination and for equal rights, but when a change of leadership occurred so did their views. Instead of working to become equals with the human race, they began to view humans as beings of lesser worth doing everything they could to crush them, leading some in the White Fang to take this to the extreme and end many innocent lives for the "greater good."

During the events of Volume 2 and onward, the group of eight begin to wonder what it is they’re fighting for. Sure, they’re fighting to protect humanity from destruction, but they feel like they’re being used. That by fighting in this war, they’re saying goodbye to their once innocent and carefree lives and instead knocking on death’s doorstep, asking to be ripped to shreds by the world we’ve created- a world where honesty doesn’t exist, and secrets thrive in the darkness left behind.

RWBY is an interesting series, as it starts out by looking like a happy cutsie world, but quickly becomes dark.  Not only does it look at the darkness of war from a young child and teenager’s eyes, but also the idea of discrimination shown by some humans’ hatred towards the Faunes, which is meant to parallel the discrimination people in our world face because they’re of different ethnicities and sexual orientations.RWBY’s music alone is a very powerful image, and portrays multiple lessons that not only foreshadow the events of the show, but also how people control us. It shows themes such as in life and how we need to stand up to them and take back our lives if we want to win this war and stop the oppression and hate towards others. Many different problems in our society are shown by the music played in certain episodes, such as “This Life is Mine” which talks about Weiss being oppressed by her power-hungry father who views her only as a pawn that he controls and not a person. Another powerful example shown is in “Red like Roses” which shows Ruby talking to her mother who passed away when she was very young, and how she’s mad that she left her daughter all alone in this horrible world, and that although she understands why her mother sacrificed herself, she doesn’t feel it was fair to herself to be forced to grow up without a mother.

Another thing that makes RWBY stand out from other stories is that not only are all of the characters in RWBY are named after a colour or shade of a colour, but also many of the characters are inspired by famous characters of historical or mythical influence, and as such their individual stories work together with that influence, but they are not defined by those traits and inspirations . An example of this is Jaune, who is influenced by Joan of Arc, and Ruby who’s inspiration comes from Little Red Riding Hood. These inspirations even provide some foreshadowing or even weapon choice for their corresponding character, such as how Nora’s weapon of choice is a hammer that can channel electricity, and Pyrrha’s is a spear and shield.

RWBY’s story carries a very heavy topic with it, but it helps to teach an important lesson; that if you don’t stand up for what you believe in, and let others take control of your life, you will be ruled over and tied down, beaten and forgotten. If you don’t take initiative in your life, and stop others from doing something that could hurt innocent people just because you’re afraid, you could lose someone you love; and sometimes war demands sacrifice, but if humanity gave up it’s feuds and squabbles, there would be no war. There would be no death of innocent children, but we don’t learn from our mistakes. Instead we repeat them, and make useless sacrifices that aren’t needed to keep the world spinning just so that we can fuel our own prides and ambitions. We train the next generation to be sacrificed for one huge lie, telling them that they are heroes when really they are just weapons pointed at our enemies so that we can claim the victory from their sacrifice.

“Were we born to fight and die?
Sacrificed for one huge lie?
Are we heroes keeping peace?
Or are we weapons?
Pointed at the enemy
So someone else can claim a victory?”
                                                - Volume 2 Opening

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