By Erin Caine
Elm Staff Writer
In the summer of 2013, Texas-based company Rooster Teeth Productions LLC., released a 3D-animated web series called “RWBY” (pronounced like “ruby.”) The show quickly garnered a large and enthusiastic international following due to its imaginative premise, loveable characters, impressive soundtrack, and well-choreographed fight scenes. It even picked up a few awards along the way, such as two Streamy Awards for Best Animated Series and Best Original Score. The series, itself, came from the visionary mind of self-taught animator Monty Oum—who, to the shock of the fans, passed away due to health complications early in 2015, a few months after the end of the second season. Already in its fourth season, “RWBY” dropped the first episode of its much-anticipated new volume on Oct. 22, and it certainly did not disappoint.
The things fans expect coming into this next installment of “RWBY” are all there in this first episode: pulse-pounding action, great character dynamics, and an electrifying score courtesy of composer Jeff Williams. At the end of the previous season, fans were stunned by the sudden disbanding of the core group of the series—that is, Team RWBY. Volume 4 now finds our young heroines (Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang) scattering across the world, hopefully to discover for themselves moments of individual growth within separate story arcs. Whatever personal developments are in store for our main quartet by the end of the series, it will certainly be interesting for viewers to find out.
The opening scenes of the first episode interestingly focus not on our heroes, but on the show’s new circle of bad guys; in previous seasons, the villains only seemed to be periphery concerns to the story, but now it appears there is a conscious effort to place them squarely in the forefront with the protagonists. The scene is remarkably well-executed: the shots are varied and dynamic, the villains are each given a distinct personality without being outright cartoonish, and William’s immersive score gives it all a moody and atmospheric quality. When we finally meet up with our main character, Ruby Rose, we feel immediately that the range of the series has grown, and that the audience is now able to experience the world of Remnant on an even larger scope. The show seems poised to become something similar to “Avatar: The Last Airbender” in that it will allow the viewer to experience a journey through a vast, unique, colorful world along with the characters.
Overall, this first episode seems to indicate that “RWBY” is headed for new heights, both for the potential of its characters and for the complex world they inhabit. Fun, engaging, accessible, and with episodes that are relatively short, the show is undeniably binge-watch material for those who are thinking about getting into the series. All of “RWBY” can be found on YouTube, with new episodes of Volume 4 dropping every Saturday. This new season, with its new characters, bigger threats, and a wider, more expansive world, is definitely something to be keeping up with this fall.