Kern’s RWBY Red Trailer Retrospective

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Video Production of This Script

This is the finished video regarding the script. It is written, edited, and read aloud by Kernook of “The Demented Ferrets”. You can watch the video on this blog and on YouTube. I hope you enjoy the content.

Opening

If you haven’t seen the RWBY Red Trailer, go do that. It’s on the Rooster Teeth website, and it’s free. As always, please support the official release of the series.

Have you done that? Good. Then let’s move onto the meat of this content. I’d like to go back and re-evaluate my perspective on RWBY, a series in production by Rooster Teeth. That’s why on top of analysis videos for the series, I will also be doing retrospective reviews, like this one.

This retrospective will only be an honest, heartfelt look at RWBY from beginning to end. This won’t be like my analysis content. This is largely based on personal opinion, and very little else.

Prior to RWBY the only thing I cared about from Rooster Teeth was Red vs Blue, a Halo related series. I was only a small fan. Beyond that nostalgia of early seasons, I didn’t care for Red vs Blue, and I still don’t. It filled its time in my life for what it was, I am more than happy with it. I still watch the old seasons on occasion.

Rooster Teeth wasn’t really on my radar again until the RWBY Red Trailer and the announcement for RWBY as a series. Everyone I knew kept talking about it. I couldn’t avoid the trailer, it was plastered everywhere on social media, and bandied about at our favorite bar.

At first, I just didn’t see the spectacle in it. The musical backdrop was interesting. I enjoyed that more than the visuals in front of me.

Ruby was a cute looking character, sure. Yeah, she had this gigantic kick-butt scythe. She was even slicing monsters left and right. Some of her attacks looked very similar to job abilities found in the Final Fantasy games. Since I am a huge Final Fantasy XI fan, and enjoy the Dark Knight job, the concept of a scythe wielding bad-ass appeals to me.

Knowing that the RWBY series creator, Monty Oum was a Final Fantasy fan as well is what originally drew my interest to the trailer. Ruby didn’t fit the mold that I expected, but I knew that the series was influenced heavily by his own passions for fandom, and that knowledge is what had me strapping in for the wild ride that the RWBY series was promised to be. I was skeptical, but also hopeful.

At first, I didn’t see what was so amazing about the trailer. I’d watched plenty of anime before, and that heavily influenced my perspective. It still does, to be honest.

In my analysis post, I stated that the RWBY Red Trailer does strictly what it sets out to do. I stand by that. It doesn’t fail in its goals, not even slightly. It’s just not perfect, either. Then again, nothing really is, so let’s dig into this thing.

As I see it, all of the trailers had three basic goals to accomplish. Firstly, to showcase the four main girls. Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long respectively. The second goal was to teach the viewer how to enjoy the combat in the series. The final goal was to give viewers a taste of the world through the eyes of these characters.

The RWBY Red Trailer introduces us to the first of these girls. Ruby Rose, a young huntress in training.

Ruby’s trailer is all about sentimentality. Although, you might not realize that detail on the first watch. It won’t become clear until after you’ve seen at least Volume 1 of series, it is an important note. However, it’s core themes carries on even now, into Volume 8. I suspect it will carry Ruby Rose and her personal story all the way to the end of the series.

The RWBY Red Trailer is bare bones. It wasn’t cutting edge, and it didn’t try to be. With as low budget as the RWBY series was at the time, it couldn’t afford to pretend to be more than it was. It just didn’t have the budget.

Instead of top of the line animation, fans received animation that focused more upon careful choreography and subtle distinctive movements that define each character. Instead of soundtracks played by full orchestras, music was crafted to resonate with the characters directly. These two things combined is what ultimately made the early volumes of RWBY entertaining to watch.

This makes complete sense, because Monty Oum, the creator of RWBY had several ethos in his life that he spoke about often as animator. You’ve likely heard of these before. One of them is “the rule of cool” which I will speak about at a later time.

Another ethos he had was that to be a good animator, you needed to be good at watching how people lived their lives. This ethos matters for the trailer and his ideas of how characters should be brought to life in general.

Small expressions and actions are the key foundations to characterization. Even in the trailer we see this in spades. I even have a few examples for you.

Notice Ruby’s small smirk, when she’s face to face with the Beowolf. It almost breaks the fourth wall.

It’s almost like she asking us to watch her fight these things. That little smirk doesn’t last long, but it says it all. She’s a little impish, but in this moment she’s self-assured and confidant. Now, compare that moment to the way she walks around in the forest prior to that fight.

Her almost lackadaisical steps across the snow covered land are gentle. They seem light, as if she’s trying not to leave deep tracks.

The sway of her movements imply she’s enjoying herself out in these wilds, she’s likes it here. She also likes fighting these Grimm. It brings her some level of personal satisfaction.

All of this is certainly backed up by the musical composition found in the trailer. As an anime fan, I can easily appreciate when carefully utilized musical talents are pushed to the extreme. “Red Like Roses” manages to pull that off.

The song begins slowly, with a soft melancholy and gentle ambiance as Ruby stands over her mother’s grave. Then, it sets a strong tone that carries through the rest of the piece. Kicking up the beat for Ruby’s fight with the pack of Beowolves keeps the fight interesting when the combat alone couldn’t keep me entirely entertained.

As for the fight scene itself, the choreography is wonderful. Allow me to highlight why. You can anticipate the entire battle, and you can follow along with the flow of the fight. The animation leading up to this showdown has given you everything you need to enjoy this battle.

You can feel each jump and flip, the weight of Ruby as a person.

Since she had been walking light on her feet before, it matches the bunny hops that eventually turn into flips and rolls during combat. The battle here is slower and more precise than we usually see, but since she’s not with a team, and this is a trailer, that makes sense.

The trailer is almost training us, the viewers, how to experience combat in in the series. It’s teaching us how to enjoy these fights, and most of us probably never even noticed that it was doing it.

How is it training us to do this?

Well, this battle keeps the training wheels on for the viewer. Ruby is naturally fast, but she’s slower in this fight, and she does that on purpose. Remember when I said she almost breaks the fourth wall? Well, this would be why I pointed that out.

She’s slower to pull the trigger and fire rounds in her trailer than you usually see in the series. She more mindful of the area around her. When she flips atop a Beowolf, takes the thing’s head off, and then catches some air, we can see this was a carefully planned attack. She did that in order to see her surroundings and the Grimm she’s fighting.

This is what I mean by great choreography. If we’re not following exactly what Ruby’s doing and why, we’re only a single pace or two behind her thoughts and actions. Before the final burst that ends the battle, the music slows and she seems to look at the viewers again, though arguably it’s the wolves off screen that she’s looking at. Still, it’s almost like she’s saying “this is it, what I can really do.”

The she takes her time to load her weapon and puts a serious look on her face. When she’s about to go “all-out” so to speak, the music ramps up a final time. Then, only after one last pause, she lets loose. After the fight, bullets fall through the air, and Ruby looks self-assured once more. A job well done.

When the scene fades to black viewers are left with two things. The first is a basic concept of physics within the RWBY series. The shattered moon over head, the snow upon the ground, character movements, and other small details have opened us up to this wonderful and vast new world.

The second concept it leaves us with, is a metric upon which all other characters can be evaluated. Now that we’ve seen Ruby fight in a way that almost feels like a game tutorial, we’re more prepared for the later trailers.

The same is true for the songs. We know the lyrics here probably mean something, and we’re prepared to hear the next one and begin putting puzzle pieces together.

Fans did this in spades. Even after the first trailer, theory crafting was flooding the internet. If you were in the fandom during the earliest days, you have the luxury of really remembering this. As the other three trailers came out, a dedicated fan base was already forming. By the time Volume 1 happened, that fan base was already foaming at the mouth for more content.

Final Thoughts

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The trailer is everything it needed to be. A tutorial, an introduction, and a taste of the world. Thanks to the trailer, we have all three. On it’s own this trailer isn’t too remarkable. What makes it stand out is the hindsight you gain after digging into the series properly. I speak of this in my analysis, but the RWBY series is covered in foreshadowing. Every trailer is layered in symbolism that you can extrapolate into deeper meanings for the early volumes.

In the RWBY series, hindsight really is 20/20. It’s important to go back and re-watch the series, trailers included.

This trailer is a touchstone. It’s what started everything. You could say it is the first pebble in puddle, one that would become an ocean of content much later. It is easy to forget that this trailer is really what began the fandom. It may have been the first real taste of the series that fans received in mass, but it is no lesser than its counterparts. In fact I’d argue that historically speaking it’s the most important one.

The first step in a very long journey…

So this is where I leave this trailer, and this post. I’ll continue watching it fondly every now and then. I’ll continue to look back on it, and then I’ll look ahead to the minutia of details buried under its surface.

Maybe now, you will too…

In the next RWBY related post, I’m going to review the trailer that showcases Weiss Schnee, and her battle of mental fortitude, the RWBY White Trailer. I’ll see you there.

Do you want more content until then? Did you know that Kreshenne and I have a Twitch account? We stream games every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Sometimes I stream solo on off days. We also have a Twitter account and a blog. There are links in the description. Please check them out, and don’t forget to like and subscribe.

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