Wednesday, February 17, 2016

RWBY RWBY RWBY (S1-3)

 I love RWBY and want so much out of it. With the passing of Monty Oum, (creator and lots more for the production), that hope is pretty shaken. S3 has shown us that they can still make RWBY arcs and storylines that are worth watching, but I am worried moving forward.


An aside first: I consider this an anime. It's made by an American production company for both Japanese and American audiences (or at least dubs). I don't care if you think that makes this not an anime because really, whatever. It's an animation done in the Japanese style with both Western and Eastern influences and presented as an anime, so it's an anime. Anime is a French term adopted by Japanese to describe ALL animation (such as Looney Tunes for instance). Japanese animation as we know it came from manga (Japanese comics) which as a media owes way more than you might expect to American comics from American soldiers after WWII. So what is the bar for being an anime according to me? Presenting yourself as an anime, being in the "anime style", or a fan thinking, "hey, that's an anime". Remember all of those Western cartoons you loved as a child in the 80s and 90s? They were all drawn in Asia and presented as Western animation, so they're Western animations. You're welcome to consider them anime if that's your schtick, but I consider them Western cartoons. If you're so concerned about what is and isn't anime, maybe pronounce the word correctly. It's アニメ, that's "ah-nee-may", not "ann-uh-may". I don't pronounce it correctly and I've yet to meet an American that does. That's all I'll say about the semantics of the word "anime" for this post.

Sorry, that was mostly in response to people getting mad at RWBY being on Crunchyroll (it's also on YouTube) and doing things like refusing to review it because it's "not an anime". Hey, whatever you want to do to limit your enjoyment of life, that's your decision.

Moving on . . .

I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late to dinner.
I have reviewed S1 previously (here) and I feel that a lot of the production issues have been mostly resolved. Now we're firmly past S3 and the episodes are a consistent length (if still too damn short!) and the art quality doesn't have peaks and valleys anymore (it's consistently OK).

The Final Fantasy style action—which is what most people come to the show for—is still going strong and they've picked up the rate of action scenes per season as well, which should be good . . .

Unfortunately, it seems like they are doing action for action's sake in S3 especially. S2 has the absurd food fight, but it was with characters that you had come to know over the previous season and yeah, you can definitely see those characters doing those things. In S3, we have this tournament artifice that introduces super random characters that have no backstory, but seem to be an exercise in making characters that look fun to cosplay with random powers and abilities, and watching them fight with our characters. Every one of these fights (which took up a lot of screen time for such a short show), meant that the plot wasn't going to be advancing very much when they happened and less time was spent on the relationships between the characters.

And by less time, I mean really, practically no time. Thinking back on the super-short season of super-short episodes, I can't tell you a single thing about our main characters or their relationships with each other that was advanced (with the exception of meeting some of their family members).

Also, if you're curious about the White Fang people, you definitely need to watch the character trailers to S1 (specifically, Blake's) for the necessary backstory. These weren't trailers so much as mini-prequels, and they're all full of some of the highest quality action of S1.

I'll just post them here for convenience sake:

First, here's the link to ALL of the RWBY videos on YouTube: Rooster Teeth RWBY

At the time of posting, S3 still has a few episodes to go on YouTube (it's finished on Crunchyroll).

Trailers:

Ruby



Weiss



Blake



Yang

The action really is incredible in this show (as you've just seen if you didn't know already), but the humor and characters are just as entertaining in seasons 1 and 2. The world-building itself is also pretty damn interesting. Season 3 really isn't bad, but it feels more like filler for the interim between 2 and 4 than something that will be good on its own in hindsight. Everything just feels a little more forced and a little more railroaded in S3. My BIGGEST complain with RWBY though is that there's not more of it.

RWBY seems to be a hugely successful show for Rooster Teeth, and I don't get why they can't produce longer episodes to let us enjoy the plot and action equally. The break between 3 and 4 is supposed to be shorter than past seasons, but I can't help but feel like we're in limbo waiting for 4, especially with all of the drastic changes that happened at the very end of the last episode.

If you're worried about cliffhangers, I'd say feel free to marathon 1 and 2, but maybe wait for 4 before starting 3 (although 1 is more of a sprint than a marathon). Again, I love this show and really can't get enough of it, so the short episodes and this last season of low development of characters and random development of plot not to do with the main characters and with SO MUCH AT THE END BEFORE CLIFFHANGERS GAH!!! is beyond frustrating.

Have you seen RWBY yet? What did you think of it? If you haven't, you're really missing out. I can't get enough and am eagerly waiting for our next scheduled dosage of awesomeness. (The fact that it's totally free is also pretty rad.)