Background first: I(John) am not known as an avid fan of anime. Not until recently, anyway. Sure, during elementary and middle school I was aware of Dragonball and Dragonball Z. I watched the Pokemon anime with regularity. But beyond that, I did not explore. So when friends recently got me to watch new anime, I was(somehow) surprised by the sheer diversity of the different kinds of stories and tropes you run into. I would call my first real intro into anime somewhere in 2010 when I watched the entirety of Suzuka(a high school romance) over a period of two days. From there I began exploring various genres, finding Vampire Knight, Bleach, Gurren Lagann, My Little Monster, and Psycho Pass, just to name a few.
So when Emma mentioned RWBY in passing, I figured, “Hey, that could be something to check out when I’m bored one day, Netflix keeps recommending it anyway.” Well, several months later, Emma finally sat me down and made me start Volume 1, and, let me tell you, I was hooked fast. I learned early on in the watching process that it was made by Rooster Teeth. Now, I started watching Rooster Teeth’s Red Vs Blue, waaaaaay back in 2004, right at the start of high school, but kind of lost track of what they were doing around 2008 when high school was over. For those like me, let’s just say they’ve graduated from RvB to creating their own animated series, rich in both lore and character development. Which, if you remember anything about RvB, comes as no surprise.
Starting right with Volume One, I could tell I was into something special. Sure, the animation seemed just a little bit...off, but that endeared the show to me even more. Volume One really got things kicked off with teaching us about our main characters and the world they inhabit. At first glance, this may seem a lot like your standard battle school anime, and you’re not wrong. But pay a little more attention to the side characters, the teachers, even the environment around the characters, and you can see something lurking under there. There’s this feeling that warns you everything is not as it seems. Listen to it. You’ll see the changes, within characters and relationships as the Volume progresses. There is more to this show than meets the eye, and you worry about what will happen to these kids when things inevitably hit the fan. There is a darker undertone that really starts to come out in the transition from Volume One to Volume Two.
Volume Two comes with a darker subplot and much improved animation. More side characters are introduced, as compelling and well constructed as our main crew. Not only are new storylines and characters being introduced, but we begin to learn even more about our main characters. Through the exploration of these backstories, more is revealed about the universe and the different organizations and groups vying for dominance in what I can only describe as a post-cataclysmic world. Without giving too much away(I’m trying to remain spoiler-free), pay attention to both the night sky and the various city scapes shown.
Overall, my favorite part of this particular show is the way they tell the story. We have these beautifully flawed, compelling characters, and a world we know basically nothing about. What seems to start off as simply a character study, the way small tidbits of information are seeded along the way leads to an interesting bell curve. By Volume Three we suddenly realize we have all this information about the world that we didn’t realize was important or involved in the story. There is a subtle transition from standard battle school anime to an epic quest with a civil-war-esque backdrop.
Now that I’ve gotten through that(mostly) spoiler free overview, I have a Volume Four to impatiently wait for. It’s coming very soon, but there’s enough time to watch the whole thing before you get left behind! Remember, the internet is rarely spoiler-free! We here at Geek Potpourri have our own RWBY team in the works, maybe we’ll write about it. Maybe we won’t. I can neither confirm nor deny that Charlie has started drawing our characters. Come join our fandom! There is laughter, tears, swearing, and maybe a bit of confusion, but RWBY is a trip well worth taking. For those who are on the fence, or think anime isn’t for them, stop that bullshit and watch. You won’t regret it.