Last Thursday was the start of something magical: a fantastic new webseries created by Monty Oum (of Dead Fantasy and Haloid fame) and Rooster Teeth Productions (the makers of the long-running Red Vs. Blue series). This series is a love letter to anime like Soul Eater and fighting games like Final Fantasy, with a dash of rock music by Jeff Williams and great voice acting from the folks at Rooster Teeth.
The series focuses on four girls who attend Beacon Academy, a school that trains Huntsmen and Huntresses in the use of magic–or “Dust”–to fight the numerous monsters that have plagued the world since the dawn of time. With a combination of Dust and extremely powerful weapons, the four girls of Team RWBY (Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long) set out to save the world from villains and demons alike.
While the first full episode, “Ruby Rose,” premiered last Thursday, there’s been quite a lot of buildup for the series since last November. Four trailers emerged over the course of several months, introducing each of the four girls, their respective fighting styles, and the overall tone of the show. Ruby’s a boisterous and plucky acrobat with an enormous sniper-scythe. Weiss is an elegant swordswoman, surrounded by snow and sorrow. Blake is a strong fighter with a whip-blade and gun, tormented by her dark past and a relationship with the equally dark Adam. And then there’s Yang, blonde and perky as she uses superpowered gauntlet-guns to beat her enemies into submission with a smile on her face.
But the first episode, after giving us a short monologue on the monsters that populate the world and the Dust that humans use to fight them, puts the focus on Ruby. When she nearly stops the robbery of a Dust shop, her skill with Crescent Rose (a.k.a. her High-Caliber Sniper-Scythe) attracts the attention of Beacon Academy. Ruby is invited to join the school, where her sister Yang is already enrolled and eager for her to join.
“Ruby Rose” sets up both the fantastic world in which RWBY takes place and the premise of the show: magical girls fighting villains and monsters with insanely-powerful weapons and grace. But in between the beautifully animated action scenes that are Monty Oum’s trademark, there’s still plenty of comedy (Ruby is quite the adorable motor mouth) and some nice subtle moments of introspection and drama. It gives the audience its adrenaline high, then brings it down in a gentle lull with jokes and curiosity about the world that Oum and Rooster Teeth have created.
If the trailers and the first episode are anything to go by, then this series is going to be action, adventure, and art in one very alluring package.
Bibliography: RWBY. Directed by Monty Oum. Written by Miles Luna, Kerry Shawcross, and Matt Hullum. Produced by Burnie Burns and Kathleen Zuelch. Music by Jeff and Casey Lee Williams. Rooster Teeth Productions. July 18, 2013 – present.