RWBY

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RWBY
RWBY Cover.jpg
Volume 5 cover
Genre Adventure, science fantasy
Created by Monty Oum
Written by
  • Monty Oum
  • Miles Luna
  • Kerry Shawcross
Directed by
  • Monty Oum (Volume 1–2)
  • Kerry Shawcross (Volume 3–)
Voices of
Theme music composer Jeff Williams
Opening theme
  • "This Will Be the Day" (Volume 1) performed by Casey Lee Williams
  • "Time to Say Goodbye" (Volume 2) performed by Casey Lee Williams
  • "When It Falls" (Volume 3) performed by Casey Lee Williams
  • "Let's Just Live" (Volume 4) performed by Casey Lee Williams
  • "The Triumph" (Volume 5) performed by Casey Lee Williams[1]
Composer(s)
  • Jeff Williams
  • Steve Goldshein
  • Alex Abraham
  • Mason Lieberman
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 66 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Koen Wooten
Production company(s) Rooster Teeth Animation
Release
Original network
Original release July 18, 2013 (2013-07-18) – present (present)
External links
Website

RWBY (/ˈrbi/, "ruby") is an American anime-style web series and media franchise[2] created by Monty Oum for Rooster Teeth.[3][4] The show is set in the fictional world of Remnant, where young people train to become Huntsmen and Huntresses to protect their world from the creatures of Grimm. The name RWBY is derived from the four main characters' forenames: Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, as well as their associated theme colors Red, White, Black, Yellow.[5] Following several promotional trailers, the first episode was screened at the Rooster Teeth convention event RTX and then released on their website in July 2013. Subsequent episodes were released approximately weekly, first to Rooster Teeth's subscribers and then to YouTube a week later. The series became a viral hit, and a second season, subtitled Volume 2, was released in July 2014.

During production of Volume 3, on February 1, 2015, Oum died after falling into a coma that was caused by an allergic reaction during a medical procedure.[6] This left the future of the series uncertain for a brief period of time until Rooster Teeth Animation Head Gray Haddock announced that the series would continue, and that Volume 3 would premiere in 2015 as planned.[7] Volume 3 was released on October 24, 2015.[8] Meanwhile, the first two seasons were released to home media and made available on streaming services such as Netflix and Crunchyroll, the latter of which would include releases of the current season in their simulcasts. In October 2016, the fourth season was released. The series has also been dubbed in Japan and broadcast by Tokyo MX,[9] in partnership with Warner Bros. Japan.

Rooster Teeth released a game called RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, as well as a spin-off series which is called RWBY Chibi, in 2016. The fifth volume premiered on October 14, 2017 and concluded on January 20, 2018.[10] Volume 5 teaser shorts for the characters Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long were released, as well as a second season of RWBY Chibi. A third season of RWBY chibi was released after the end of volume 5.[11] A sixth volume is currently in the works and is set to premier in Fall 2018.

Summary[edit]

The story takes place in the world of Remnant, which is filled with mysterious and malevolent creatures known as the "Creatures of Grimm." Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. In the present day, Dust is used to augment people's abilities and powers. Those who train to battle the Grimm are known as Huntsmen or Huntresses.[12] The series focuses on four girls, each with her own unique weapon and powers. Together, they form team RWBY (/ˈrbi/, "ruby") at Beacon Academy in the kingdom of Vale, where they are trained to become Huntresses alongside team JNPR (/ˈnɪpər/, "juniper"), team SSSN (/sʌn/, "sun"), team CRDL (/ˈkɑːrdɪnəl, -dənəl/, "cardinal"), team CFVY (/ˈkɒfi, ˈkɔːfi/, "coffee"), and various other student teams.[13][14]

When numerous dust thefts organized by local crime lord Roman Torchwick sweep through the kingdom's eponymous capital (home of Beacon), Team RWBY begin investigating the thefts on their own accord. This brings them into conflict with Torchwick and an associate, Cinder Fall – whose ulterior motives require the stockpiling of the volatile commodity. Fall's plan is to lead the White Fang - a terrorist group seeking equality for the human/animal hybrid Faunus race - in a terror attack on the Vytal Festival, an annual inter-academy competition. In the chaos, Cinder seizes power from a deeper conspiracy weaved amongst the academy Headmasters. Through Volumes 4 and 5, a scattered Team RWBY each make their way to Haven Academy in Mistral, which brings them (intentionally and otherwise) into conflict with Cinder, new and old villains, and their master Salem, the series' antagonist.

Cast and characters[edit]

Lead voice actresses Lindsay Jones, Kara Eberle, Arryn Zech and Barbara Dunkelman at RTX 2017

Development[edit]

"My vision for the show was to present a two-dimensional, toon-shaded look, but with all of the depth and complexity of a 3D-animated production. I wanted to be able to move the cameras and characters freely while still capturing the essence of the flat, line-drawn look of traditional anime."

— Director Monty Oum[15]

Monty Oum, the creator of RWBY

RWBY had been a long-standing concept of Oum's for years before it began development. Towards the end of his work on the 10th season of Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue, he developed the color-coding approach to character names and design as a hook for the series.[13] During production on Red vs. Blue season 10, Oum asked series creator Burnie Burns if they could produce RWBY following the conclusion of that season. Burns, worried for the production schedule, told Oum "If you finish Season 10, then you can do whatever you want." Production on RWBY began as intended, with the first trailer being finished within two weeks and premiering after the credits of the Red vs. Blue season 10 finale on November 5, 2012.[16]

Oum designed the characters with assistance from artist Ein Lee, utilizing designs inspired by classic fairy tale characters.[13] Each character has an associated color, and it is the first letters of the main character's colors, red, white, black, and yellow, that give the series its name.[17] The characters' names also share the same letter and the meaning as the colour (e.g. "Weiss Schnee" translates to "snow white" in German). The series was originally written by Oum, along with fellow Rooster Teeth employees Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross.[18] Oum was initially concerned about a story focusing on female characters being developed by a primarily male crew, but said they managed to do well developing the female characters.[16] Regarding the design, Oum wanted to "present a two-dimensional, toon-shaded look, but with all of the depth and complexity of a 3D-animated production." Seasons 1 to 3 were animated by Rooster Teeth's internal animation team using Smith Micro's Poser software, out of assets built on Autodesk Maya.[19][20] Starting in Season 4, episodes are now being animated in Maya. The series' music is composed by Jeff Williams, who previously composed the soundtracks for Seasons 8–10 of Red vs. Blue, and features vocals by Williams' daughter, Casey Lee Williams.

Promotion[edit]

A series of four promotional trailers, one for each lead character, were released. They were primarily produced by Oum and assistant animator Shane Newville.[21] Each trailer begins by unveiling one of the four primary characters and then showing a detailed action sequence.[18] The "Red" trailer was shown after the credits for Red vs. Blue's season 10 finale in November 2012.[18][22] It was followed by the "White" trailer in February 2013.[23] The "Black" trailer was unveiled at a PAX East panel at the end of March and was the first to include voice-acted dialogue.[21] Following the premiere of the "Black" trailer, Oum noted with regret that the first two trailers were shorter and had less character development.[21] The "Yellow" trailer was shown at Rooster Teeth's A-Kon panel on June 1, 2013.[24] Music from the trailers was sold as digital downloads at several online retailers.[25]

On July 5, 2013, at the RWBY panel for their RTX 2013 event, Rooster Teeth premiered the first episode of RWBY,[26][27] and would post the episode to their website on July 18.[28]

Release[edit]

Following the premiere of RWBY in July 2013, Rooster Teeth posted new episodes for the first season, subtitled Volume 1, streaming weekly on their website, with access two hours early for their sponsors.[29] The new episode would be uploaded to YouTube the next week. On August 16, 2013, streaming site Crunchyroll announced it would simulcast RWBY.[30][31] Volume 1 ran for 16 episodes, varying in length. Volume 1 concluded in November 2013, and was then released to DVD and Blu-ray.[12][32]

The second season, subtitled Volume 2, was screened at RTX on July 4, 2014, and premiered on July 24.[33] It consisted of 12 episodes, with the final episode released on October 30, after which it was released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Volume 3 premiered on October 24, 2015 along with an episode of the RWBY backstory series World of Remnant.[34] For Volume 4, Rooster Teeth producer and co-director Gray G. Haddock said that Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross were writing for the series.[35] The season debuted on October 22, 2016. In January 2017, a fifth season was announced to be in development,[36] and was released on October 14.

On February 1, 2015, Rooster Teeth announced that both volumes of RWBY so far were available for streaming on Netflix.[37]

In 2017, Rooster Teeth announced that Rooster Teeth First members would get episodes one week earlier than the general public.[38]

International releases[edit]

The Blu-ray and DVD releases in Australia were handled by Hanabee Entertainment.[39] The first volume was released in the UK by Animatsu Entertainment on May 4, 2015, on DVD.[40]

On August 15, 2014, Rooster Teeth announced that a local Japanese dub was being developed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Japan. Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum declared they would be marketing the show as an anime: "This is the first time any American-made anime has been marketed to Japan. It definitely usually works the other way around, and we're really pleased about that."[41] Warner Bros. has also acquired local merchandising rights as well.[42]

Volume 3 was screened in select theaters on December 3, 2016.[43][44] Volume 4 was released in select theaters for a limited two-week run from October 7 to October 20, 2017.[45] To promote this, the show was broadcast on Tokyo MX in July 2017 under the title RWBY 1-3: The Beginning, which featured episodes from volumes 1 to 3 condensed into 12 episodes.[9][46][47]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Commentators discussing the promotional trailers lauded the show's animation style and its musical soundtrack. The trailers prompted enthusiastic anticipation for the series premiere.[18][21][23] When the first episode premiered at RTX, it was popular with attendees to the point that seating was full at all three screenings. Amanda Rush, writing for Crunchyroll, noted the anime and Western influences of the series, and praised it as "quick-witted, exciting, lovely to look at" saying fans of anime would enjoy it.[12] The Yakima Herald-Republic called it "thrilling" and "captivating" and praised its "beautiful" 3D character animation.[48] The Austin Chronicle described the premiere as making Oum the "rock star" of Rooster Teeth.[49] The series has reportedly contributed to a 9% increase in views for Rooster Teeth's official YouTube channel.[50] Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis praised the series for its clever use of fairytale elements, fun and enjoyable dialogue, and the fighting choreography, but was critical about the short nature of the episodes, stating that, "The biggest drawback in doing a micro-series... is that there is precious little time for good characterization". He was also critical of the technical issues of the animation, mentioning that the animation is good when the audience is unable to see the character's feet. He believes that RWBY is "a good first step into a world of possibilities."[51]

Response to marketing as anime[edit]

Reaction to Matt Hullum's statement made on August 15, 2014 about RWBY being an anime has been mixed. Lindsay Jones said "Funnily enough, we showed our Japanese cohorts RWBY and they started arguing about whether it was anime or not! But seeing the reception from audiences is so surreal, and we never expected it."[52] A Movie Pilot blog listed the RWBY as anime topic among its "flame wars you don't want to be part of.[53] Anime News Network writers Paul Jensen and James Beckett wrote: "We don't have any formal reviews of RWBY here on ANN, but it is kind of cool to see an American production make it to the release encyclopedia."[54] Michael Mauer of The Cornell Daily Sun wrote that the issue was still being debated among the anime community,[55] while Sabrina Pyun of ComicsVerse wrote "The show is known for many things, from its dubious status as an anime to its unique 3D animation style."[56] However, mainstream news articles dated after Hullum's statement and previewing later seasons and the franchise have referred to RWBY as an American anime, including Variety,[57] Collider,[58] iDigitalTimes,[59] Entertainment Weekly,[2] Adweek,[60] and Deadline Hollywood.[61]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee Result
2014 International Academy of Web Television Best Animated Series RWBY Won[62]
4th Streamy Awards Best Animated Series RWBY Won[63]
Best Original Score Jeff Williams Won[63]
2015 5th Streamy Awards Best Animated Series RWBY Nominated[64]
2016 6th Streamy Awards Best Animated Series RWBY Nominated[65]
2017 7th Streamy Awards Best Animated Series RWBY Won[66]

Music[edit]

Jeff Williams

The music for all volumes of RWBY has been composed primarily by Jeff Williams, with additional composition by Steve Goldshein and Alex Abraham. Williams was a member of the band Trocadero, who did the music for Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue, and eventually composed by himself the music for the three seasons of Red vs. Blue that preceded RWBY. Most of the vocals are provided by Williams' daughter Casey Lee Williams, with some additional vocals by Lamar Hall and Sandy Casey.

RWBY's soundtrack features a variety of genres, most notably intense, fast-paced rock music. In an interview with Rooster Teeth, Williams mentioned that he uses his lyrics to foreshadow future events on occasion. In developing the songs, Williams uses the show's script and picks out random words and phrases that he thinks are cool. He would also get advanced knowledge as to the character's development, their background stories and lives. He then picks out the emotions related to the scene, adds tempo, drumbeats, rhythm, and eventually composes the song from there.[67]

Volume 1 Soundtrack[edit]

RWBY: Volume 1 Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Jeff Williams
Released November 12, 2013
Genre Film score, rock
Label Rooster Teeth Productions
Jeff Williams chronology
Red vs. Blue: Season 10 Soundtrack
(2012)Red vs. Blue: Season 10 Soundtrack2012
RWBY: Volume 1 Soundtrack
(2013)
RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack
(2014)RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack2014
Singles from RWBY: Volume 1 Soundtrack
  1. "Red Like Roses"
  2. "Mirror Mirror"
  3. "From Shadows"
  4. "I Burn"
  5. "This Will Be the Day"
  6. "RWBY: Chapter 1"
  7. "Red Like Roses Part II"
  8. "Gold"

The official soundtrack for RWBY: Volume 1 was released by Jeff Williams on November 12, 2013. It includes the songs used in the trailers, the intro to the series' episodes, and also the score music to each episode. The soundtrack also contains previously unreleased songs such as "I May Fall" and "Wings".[68] These songs were, however, briefly played at the end of various episodes.

Volume 1 reached number one on iTunes and beating out the movie soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.[69] The soundtrack reached number 22 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums charts.[70]

Volume 2 Soundtrack[edit]

The official soundtrack for RWBY: Volume 2 was released on December 2, 2014. The soundtrack reached number 6 on Billboard's Hard Rock Albums.[71]

RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Jeff Williams feat. Casey Lee Williams
Released December 2, 2014
Genre Film score, hard rock
Label Rooster Teeth Productions
Jeff Williams feat. Casey Lee Williams chronology
RWBY: Volume 1 Soundtrack
(2013)RWBY: Volume 1 Soundtrack2013
RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack
(2014)
RWBY: Vol. 3 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2016)RWBY: Vol. 3 (Original Soundtrack & Score)2016
Singles from RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack
  1. "Time to Say Goodbye"

Volume 3 Soundtrack[edit]

The official soundtrack for RWBY: Volume 3 was released on May 3, 2016. The album reached number 5 on the Billboard's Hard Rock Albums chart,[72] and number 12 on the Top Rock Albums chart.[73]

RWBY: Vol. 3 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
Soundtrack album by Jeff Williams
Released May 3, 2016
Genre Film score, hard rock
Label Rooster Teeth Productions
Jeff Williams chronology
RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack
(2014)RWBY: Volume 2 Soundtrack2014
RWBY: Vol. 3 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2016)
RWBY: Vol. 4 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2017)RWBY: Vol. 4 (Original Soundtrack & Score)2017

Volume 4 Soundtrack[edit]

The official soundtrack for RWBY: Volume 4 was released on June 16, 2017. The album reached number 79 on the Billboard Top 200.[74] It also reached number 6 on Billboard's Hard Rock Albums,[75] and number 18 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums.[76]

RWBY: Vol. 4 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
Soundtrack album by Jeff Williams
Released June 16, 2017
Genre Film score, hard rock
Label Rooster Teeth Productions
Jeff Williams chronology
RWBY: Volume 3 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2016)RWBY: Volume 3 (Original Soundtrack & Score)2016
RWBY: Vol. 4 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2017)
RWBY: Vol. 5 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2018)RWBY: Vol. 5 (Original Soundtrack & Score)2018

Volume 5 Soundtrack[edit]

The official soundtrack for RWBY: Volume 5 was released on June 8, 2018.

RWBY: Vol. 5 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
Soundtrack album by Jeff Williams
Released June 8, 2018
Genre Film score, hard rock
Label Rooster Teeth Productions
Jeff Williams chronology
RWBY: Volume 4 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2017)RWBY: Volume 4 (Original Soundtrack & Score)2017
RWBY: Vol. 5 (Original Soundtrack & Score)
(2018)

Other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

Jordan Scott, the creator of RWBY: Grimm Eclipse

For Rooster Teeth's anniversary in 2014, fan Jordan Scott created a video game based on RWBY, titled RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, using the Unity game engine.[77] It was in development for a total of five months.[78]

Based on the events in the first trailer, the demo was a "hack 'n slash survival" featuring Ruby facing escalating waves of Grimm attacks. Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku praised its combo system, which "excellently mirror[ed] its animated counterpart," and its unlockable skills, saying, "you'll feel like an unstoppable badass akin to Ruby in the series."[79]

At RTX 2014, Rooster Teeth announced that they had hired Scott, and officially picked up the game. An early demo of the game was available for consumers to play at the event, and the game's title was changed from "Grim Eclipse" to "Grimm Eclipse" to match the spelling of the creatures in the show. Rooster Teeth CEO Matt Hullum stated, "RWBY is a natural choice for us to focus on for our first in-house produced video game. Fans can expect that we will bring the same level of originality in action, comedy and design to the video game that has made the RWBY animated series such a hit."[80][81] On December 1, 2015 the game was released as an Early Access title on Steam,[82] with the full PC release on July 5, 2016. The game was released for macOS on October 13, 2016, and was later released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on January 17, 2017. The game allows one to four of the main characters in any combination(s) to battle through waves of Grimm. They are also on the trail of a mysterious company and its founder. The action takes place in the Emerald Forest, Mountain Glenn, Forever Fall and ultimately to an island named after the antagonist, Doctor Merlot.

At the Evo 2017 gaming event, it was announced that an upcoming fighting game called BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle by Arc System Works would feature cross-over characters from BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night In-Birth, and RWBY.[83] Ruby Rose was a featured participant in the game's first teaser trailer,[84] and Weiss was confirmed in the second character introduction trailer.[85] Arc Systems later announced that Blake and Yang would be available as free downloadable content.[86][87]

Manga[edit]

The November 2015 issue of Shueisha's Ultra Jump magazine announced that Dogs manga author Shirow Miwa would be illustrating a manga adaptation of RWBY, which debuted on November 19, 2015.[88] The manga would "reveal mysteries of the four trailers."[89] Volume 1 of the manga concluded in February 2017 while featuring a teaser for a follow-up.[90]

RWBY Chibi[edit]

RWBY Chibi is a comedic animated spin-off of RWBY compromising 24 3–6 minute long episodes. It was first announced as part of Rooster Teeth's 13th Anniversary celebration on April 1, 2016, and Episode 1 premiered on May 7, 2016.[91] Its first season concluded on October 15, 2016. Each episode consists of several scenes where aspects of RWBY's characters are usually exaggerated for comic effect. The episodes follow no strict chronological order, nor do they follow strict canon of the main show. In January 2017, Rooster Teeth confirmed that a second season would launch that May.[36]

Appearances in other media[edit]

Yang appeared as a combatant in the online series Death Battle by ScrewAttack! (a division of Rooster Teeth), where she fought Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII.[92] The series creator, Ben Singer, talked with Oum about including a RWBY character on Death Battle before Oum's passing.[93]


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