Oh, the things I could say about RWBY. Starting as a mere experimental project to becoming one of the biggest animated web shows in the West, RWBY dominated fan culture sites from Tumblr to Twitter, with praise coming in for every aspect of it. Only to start having a graceless fall when its inspired plot line became derivative and aimless. RWBY was a step forward for CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) anime projects, but did it stay that way?
Personally, RWBY is not worth the watch, not in its current state at least. Maybe seven years ago, when it had just launched, it was something you could invest your time in. Lovingly created by Mikey Oum for the digital media company, Rooster Teeth, in a style so distinctive for its time, it released the pilot to near instantaneous viral fame. And for three volumes, that acclaim was justified. It was, in all honesty, a cool show. But then, what happened?
A couple of years down the line, you’d expect a show that started amazing to have a good run and then have a proper resolution so it can end off on a high note. Except RWBY didn’t do that. And there isn’t much to salvage from a story that drops important plot lines like they never mattered. It is now, for the lack of a better phrase, like dragging a dead horse.
And it might sound like I’m being overly harsh. And perhaps I am, but I remember when this show was at its peak. And how everything it did defied the norm for Western animation. Armed with a great soundtrack, incredibly detailed lore, and a basic premise that just worked, RWBY was reaching amazing heights. So, when it fell from its greatness, it was a sad, sad descent. Here’s why I think RWBY just isn’t it anymore.
RWBY: A Story That Lost Its Way:
RWBY is a story inspired partly by more intricate universes such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, with a general outline that is very much like most Shounen anime out there. And when you combine the two, you have the foundation for a pretty promising show.
We start in the fictional world of Remnant, where people are trained from a young age to become warriors known as the Huntsmen and Huntresses. Their job is to shield their world from the Creatures Of Grimm, monsters that were created by the God Of Darkness to be harbingers of destruction. It took inspiration from religious lore for its characters, such as Joanne of Arc, Thor, and more. The blend of dark fantasy with an almost military-style fighting dynamic made it an easy action-packed show to sink your teeth into.
But somewhere down the line, the plot and the characters involved lost their way. RWBY’s major claim to fame was how it was inspired by anime and games such as Gurren Lagann and Kingdom Hearts for its writing. And that was the case for the first few seasons until everything just became aimless.
Characters died with no finality, coming back, and going as the plot demanded. There were no real stakes beyond making them go through a weird form of PTSD, leading to the same flavor of edgy traumatized protagonist amongst each of them.
The variety in the plot was replaced with a doom-and-gloom that just wasn’t worth watching anymore.
Animation That Started Off Experimental But Became Lazy
Now, calling the strange animation style that RWBY is created in ‘bad’ is in poor taste. In hindsight, it was innovative. You had all the color and shading of a two-toned anime, with the movement and versatility of a 3D production. It was very different for its time, and later projects such as Ajin and Beastars made amazing use of it.
But where it was nicely animated in the beginning, it was clear that the animation department started suffering some setbacks. The animation became clunkier, with more jarring motions instead of fluid takes. The fighting sequences probably suffered the most, with slow action that was becoming a chore to sit through.
Again, it wasn’t like this before. The show was doing pretty good when it came to visuals in the beginning, but the quality of animation took a nose-dive later on.
Is There Any Hope For The RWBY Franchise Yet?
RWBY has had a lot of mainstream success. With multiple spin-offs and now an anime adaptation called RWBY: Ice Queendom, it isn’t like the franchise is dead, by any means. But is it worth starting all over, from the very first pilot?
No. With how bad the conclusions are for the later volumes, plus plot twists that never really go anywhere? I don’t think the web show is worth picking up. However, there has been a lot of praise for the anime project.
With only a part of the story out, I think I’d recommend that much more.