Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A RWBY in the Rough

I've talked a bit about this show at length when it was getting ready to be announced and then when it first debuted. Then I pointedly went silent. Well, there's a reason behind it all. RWBY, for those who don't know, is a project by Monty Oum in tandem with Rooster Teeth. It's a fully 3D animated show with four female leads at its helm.

I didn't want to give my episode-by-episode thoughts on the series when it first came out. Now it's currently eleven episodes strong with a twelfth coming out this week.

Well, what exactly do I think about this hardcore shoujo-style series? At first glance, I could say that it's very typical, but that is at first glance.

You get to know Ruby Rose, who is the shoujo equivalent of the loud mouth shounen protagonist. She's clumsy and loud and supposedly lovable. She can be a wee bit annoying, but mostly I have a tendency to catch secondhand embarrassment from here.

Weiss Schnee is an uppity, arrogant magic user who actually can be pretty nice, and while I was hoping she wouldn't be this way, naturally she destined to fit that trope as best as she could.

Yang Xiao Long is Ruby's sister (somehow), and she's energetic, appears levelheaded, and is the busty boxer of the quartet. All over, Yang has the humour and the appearance of the "girl next door", but she's incredible in battle—if not, a little hotheaded.

Finally, Blake Belladonna. I find her inherently masculine name quirky and charming at the least. She is the token cool, calm, and collected type. And she and Yang take their place as my favourites (if not for their colour schemes).

Though these four are the centerpiece (so to say) of the anime-style series, they're not entirely the focus. You have Jaune, Pyrrha, Lie, and Nora as well, characters of all different personalities. They all fit very well known tropes seen in anime. But does that take away from their value? No, but this is what I meant by this show is "typical", at first glance.

The major eight are all character types we've seen before and are executed in an almost similar fashion to their predecessors. But considering their setting, fighting styles, and interactions with each other, it doesn't 100% feel like recycled ideas or character types. Maybe it's the acting or the way the story is thus far written, but RWBY still manages to make the characters interesting. The way that they all mesh together makes things feel fresh.

The animation is a little stiff, and the voice acting can feel a little canned sometimes. And I won't blame the software that they're using either. But they're just getting started. They're trying to adjust to the idea they're working with, and the plot they have in mind. Personally, these are merely critiques, if not observations, that are in no way in the negative when talking about RWBY. It has its flaws, and even with them, the actual episodes itself are enjoyable. I like the direction it has and the characters within it. I'm actually interested in the way that the plot will develop.

Another thing to note is that almost every character has a primary weapon that shifts into a gun. Scythe? Flips into a gun. Spear? Flips into a gun. Gloves? Actually doubles as a gun. I won't say that that's a negative in any way, but it is a constant. So just be prepared for the sound of gunfire from almost everyone. I say "almost" because there are a handful of characters thus far who don't have a shifting primary weapon. Honestly, I think it's actually pretty cool! It takes a lot of thinking as to how these weapons can also double up as a projectile while still being efficient for quick combat. They all have various ranges and advantages based on the fighting style of a character and even the character in particular.

RWBY is still ongoing and so far, so good. I won't downplay it and say it's good "for what it is", because it actually is an interesting show that should be taken lightheartedly. Enjoy it for the show that it's trying to be. Enjoy it because of Monty Oum's hand in it. Enjoy it because Kerry has a part in it (as far as production goes). Enjoy it because it is something that I honestly think that people can watch and be entertained by. It has some typical cheesy, corny moments, but it's not overwhelming campy. It has flavour; it has heart above all else.

Don't go in with a critical eye and a hard mind because you'll find all of the errors you're looking for. Just watch RWBY and take it in on your own. If nothing else, the episodes are very short, and if you don't enjoy it too, too much, then it won't take a lot of time out of your day. I'm hoping that this builds in the same way that Red vs. Blue did, so I'm going to stick around.

And you should too.

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