(Hi guys, this is your friendly neighborhood Emma here. Jackie here is going to be reviewing every RWBY Episode from Volume 3 with the final one being posted the same day Volume 4 begins. Enjoy!)
Chapter 1: ROUND ONE
This starts out pretty dang sad but I promise this isn’t all yangst (lol), there’ll be plenty of time for that in later episodes.
We open with Ruby on her iconic cliffside visiting her mother’s grave.
Ohhhh boy, my feels couldn’t handle that opening monologue she gave us. On the surface she’s simply talking to Summer, but…in lieu of Monty’s very sudden and shocking death during production of this season, I can’t help but read into those words. My theory is that this scene was added in afterward, as a way of acknowledging Monty’s passing, and the scene they chose couldn’t have been more perfect. When Ruby goes to leave but pauses, turns around and simply says ‘It was good to talk’ I died a little on the inside. The whole scene is laden with underlying feelings of love and sorrow that comes from loss, and it just really feels like Ruby is no longer talking to her mother, but to Monty, and Ruby is no longer herself but the audience. And then she turns around and the birds fly into the sun in a mimicry of Monty’s distinctive signature and it Hurts. So. Much.
I’m such a wreck for this show and the people who work on it. God, I could go on for DAYS about how brilliant Monty Oum was. But now I’m sad so let’s move on!
We don’t get to meet Taiyang quite yet, but we get a small taste of what he looks like in the background when Ruby mentions him!
Like I mentioned in my season review, the Vytal Festival has been alluded to since Volume 1, and boy did it live up to the hype. First of all, the matches take place in a floating stadium that appear to be powered by giant-ass Dust crystals?? How fucking neat is that?? Not only that, but Doctor Oobleck and Professor Port are the announcers, and their banter gives me so much joy. So much.
Now, I’m a sucker for a good fight sequence, as I’ve mentioned in the past. The majority of this episode is comprised of Team RWBY’s match against Team ABRN, which was Fan. Tastic. I could talk for daaaaays about how beautiful the fight choreography in this show is, or about how ingeniously the weapon shifts are executed, animated, and integrated into the fights. Reese’s dust-powered hoverboard was definitely a favorite of mine. Anyway, Team RWBY wins, obviously, with a glorious flying knock out delivered by Yang…
…and everyone is hella exhausted and hungry after the bout and as the team is heading toward food they run into Emerald!
As far as the bad guys in this show are concerned, I’m less than impressed with Cinder as a character, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a personal opinion. Mercury and Emerald, on the other hand….are my loves. I think it’s the snark, because I also really love Roman and Neo, the latter of whom somehow manages to exude snark without even opening her mouth. Maybe that’s it, Cinder just isn’t sarcastic enough for me? ANYWAY. Back to Emerald.
I really enjoy her and Mercury’s dynamic. Before this season, we didn’t get to see much in the way of substantive character interaction between these two, but that changes beginning with this episode. Knowing what I do about the later episodes, it’s very important that their characters be developed, and the subtle shift in importance is apparent. After Emerald and Merc split off from the girls, we get a cute little food sequence where Blake makes this face…
…and in that moment I relate to her on every single level. Weiss’s credit card being declined is a neat little way that the writers begin to set up the dynamic that she has with her father that’s been hinted at since the beginning, though we really don’t get a resolution during this season. That’s one of the things I’m hoping gets addressed in Volume 4.
Pyrrha swoops in and covers them, and the teams trade a bit of humorous banter about the tournament before JNPR depart for their own match against Team BRNZ. Before the fight can commence, the episode ends with a somewhat cheesy freeze-frame of them leaping into actions, but I adore it.
Then FINALLY, we get the new title sequence. Both of the previous ones have been pretty nice homages to the stereotypical anime intro, but this one gets rather heavy handed with the animus, though that isn’t a bad thing to me!! I love the nods to traditional anime that Rooster Teeth works into this show, it really adds a level of
Overall, excellent opening to a season. The details and minor animations obviously have gotten addressed, and that extra layer of detail to and stylization background characters and environments truly makes the aesthetic experience of watching the show that much better. Honestly, Rooster Teeth can only go up from here, and I’m so excited to see where they go with the show.