Thoughts About RWBY Volume 8

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Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. This is an off the cuff post, it’s not carefully edited, I’m literally just writing this and tossing it, but I really liked Volume 8, and I wanted to discuss why.

This isn’t a review of the volume. I’ll get to that one day, as I’ll begin to do review and analysis content starting where it all began on April 9th, which is on Friday. I believe reviews take careful personal reflection, but now that most of the fandom has had the chance to finish watching RWBY Volume 8, I want to take the time to express my thoughts on it.

First let me just say, I thought RWBY Volume 8 was a large step above Volume 7. I really disliked many of the narrative choices in Volume 7, and found that it felt rushed in too many ways. I wondered if I would have liked them more if there had been a bit more time to flesh them out. Penny’s revival for example took place in Volume 7. As much as I love Penny, and I really do think she is a wonderful character, I wasn’t happy with the way she was brought back simply because it felt so unaddressed by important characters. I wanted a little more exploration emotionally, I suppose you could say.

That wasn’t the only instance where the feeling of being rushed is what ultimately made me feel as the heart and soul of the series was truly lost. However, I’m happy to say that RWBY Volume 8 brought the feeling of the show that I loved back into fruition in a lot of ways. I’m happy for that, even if I’m not in agreement with every single thing that took place. In some areas RWBY Volume 8 felt rushed too, but those were far different reasons this go around. Many of them at least made sense to me when it came to the greater narrative, so I am not nearly as bothered by that.

I don’t really want to linger on the particular details of the show at this moment. Penny’s death, Jaune’s involvement with it, the way certain characters gained small victories, and the progression regarding Nora are all very interesting points to discuss at length. There are a vast many ideas held by the fandom about these topics and more, but I just want to sit back and think about the larger feeling of RWBY Volume 8 for now.

What I feel is a small sense of comfort. The thing about Volume 8 that I love most is how it mirrors Volumes 1, 2 and 3. In so many ways it felt like an early Volume. This time the story wasn’t about the bigger plot, but those tiny emotional details. For me, I like the RWBY series the least when we get what I like to call the “mindless Power Ranger moments”. You know the moments I’m talking about. Big and flashy, but ultimately empty in the aftermath, and RWBY Volume 8 kept that to a very distinct minimum this go around.

What we had this go-around was special. Early volume purists, this was OUR volume. This was our time to love the series anew. I think later volumes have jaded us to what used to be so simple. I’ve seen a lot of people say that Team RWBY got shoved on the back burner this volume, but I staunchly disagree.

We got something really special here, buried under the apocalyptic end of the world garbage. We got character progression in a way that well and truly hits home in this volume, and has the strong potential to hit home again later on. There is so much wonderful stuff here, and I really want to talk about that, so let’s dive in.

The moral disputes between Ruby and Yang were mirror images of early volume story lines between the siblings. In Volume 1, Ruby and Yang have an argument in the Beacon Academy locker room before initiation. Ruby is being very clingy, and Yang is trying to teach Ruby about being part of a team, and how important that really is. In Volume 8, that argument is mirrored. Ruby and Yang don’t see eye-to-eye any more. We get a full story arc of these two sisters having a huge blowout argument, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Weiss and Blake had the fight about bigotry in volume 1.

The blowout split the groups for a bit, and culminates in another huge plot drop. The discussion of Grimm being made from humans, and what that might mean for Summer Rose. That has been a fan theory found in fan fiction ever since the early volumes. Some of those written works back then were truly loved and adored for what that explored. Now, we writers have that as a factual possibility…

Isn’t that awesome? I think it is, because that gives us a lot of material to expand upon.

We have even more than that, though. We have the moment with Blake and Ruby, tying into reason why Blake was so closed off in those early volumes. Why she was so distant is wonderfully explained here. Blake’s time with Ruby in Volume 8 gave us some truly wonderful moments for shippers of “Ladybug” as well. It does it in a way that doesn’t hurt the Bee’s ship in the slight either. It does no harm, but a world of good.

The shattering and reforging of emotional bonds among certain members of team RWBY and Penny are right up there with Volumes 2 and 3. This only scratches the surface. Winter and Weiss as siblings had some huge progression as well, and other loved characters had their moments to come into the limelight.

As for the decision about Jaune killing Penny, I have mixed thoughts. However, one thing comes to mind the most. I think it is perfect possible progression for team RWBY as a whole. Jaune did something Ruby couldn’t bring herself to do, and ethically likely wouldn’t do. What will Ruby say in the face of that? I can’t help but wonder.

The RWBY series has always been mired deep in the concepts of morals and ethics. Be it the core themes, or merely ideological disagreement, this has been the entire crux of the series. Weiss facing down against Blake in Volume 1, Character plots like Yang and Raven’s, or the Schnee family as a whole, moral conflict has always been the driving force of the show.

RWBY Volume 8 returned to that in ways we haven’t seen since those all too early volumes, and returned to it in spades. It’s not perfect, not by far, but I love Volume 8, because it makes me recall why I loved this show in the first place.

I’m an old volume purist, but I think Volume 8 deserved to stand among them, because it does what volumes 4, 5, 6, and 7 failed to do. It brought us back to the moral themes that stands as the foundation upon which the characters stand. It did it with love, it did it with care, and most of all we as a fandom have more plot to chew because of it.

These are things to hold as a success, even if the volume itself was far from perfect. It is much like its predecessors in that way, all of them, including the old volumes.

What did you think of Volume 8? Leave a reply and let me know. I’d love to talk about the volume with you. This has been Kernook of the Demented Ferrets…

“Where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course…”

The Demented Ferrets…

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