Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here, and it’s time for my RWBY White Trailer analysis. This is not to be confused with my review of the trailer. That is a separate video.
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Before I begin, I just want to make it clear that this is not the first video production of my analysis series, and there is other content available. There was a lull in making these videos as they take time to make, and I was super slow with them for a larger number of reasons. That being said, the RWBY Red Trailer Analysis and the RWBY Red Trailer Review were completed some time ago, and these two blog posts each come with video content as well.
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. … Read More Kern’s RWBY Red Trailer Retrospective
At the time though, admittedly, I was still figuring out my personal style at the time. Due to that, you’ll notice a lack in the quality of those older videos compared to the video that I have for you today.
If Ruby’s trailer is all about sentimentality and holding the things you cherish the most close to your heart. Then, the trailer for Weiss is all about the rejection of emotional sentiment. Of leaving behind childish whimsy, and losing one’s own identity in the process. … Read More RWBY White Trailer Retrospective Review
In any case, after those two posts were complete, I slowly moved onto Weiss Schnee and the RWBY White Trailer Review. From this point on, I’m going to assume you have some insight into the RWBY series, and that you’ve watched at least the first volume.
If you haven’t done that, go watch the series. It is free on the Rooster Teeth website. As always, please support the official release.
You can either read the blog post or watch the video. I hope you enjoy this trailer analysis.
RWBY White Trailer Analysis
The video production of this particular blog post.
Previously, in my RWBY Red Trailer analysis, which can be found on this blog here, I stated that the RWBY series has a lot of themes embedded deeply into the subtext of the narrative. That despite the many flaws within the show, there rests a much deeper and compelling story than you’d find on the surface. Fan theories take on a life of their own, and perspectives on the show are as vast and deep as you can imagine.
Therefore this is only my take on the series. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say, and I don’t consider my viewpoint to be the end-all, be-all interpretation of the show. This is only how I’ve interpreted the series, so please bear that in mind.
With the mindset that hindsight in the RWBY series really is of utmost importance, let’s go back and study all that the RWBY White Trailer has to offer when it comes to understanding Weiss Schnee. Before we do that, though, we must reflect upon a few lyrics found in the RWBY Red Trailer. It is absolutely paramount to do so, because all of the trailers build upon one-another for the greater narrative.
I’ve stated before that Ruby’s trailer is a simple view of the world. A nutshell, if you will. The lyrics that reference Weiss in the song Red Like Roses state this:
This is the first real interpretation we have of Weiss. Furthermore, this is a very apt description of the RWBY White Trailer and the themes of the RWBY series in regards to Weiss Schnee. Moreover, it allows us a lens upon which to view the RWBY White Trailer. You couldn’t get more obvious about that unless the creators beat you over the head with with the concept using Nora’s hammer, but I digress.
So, here we are then, in the RWBY White Trailer, and one such royal test is playing out in plain view. Weiss is on stage, and she’s about to sing a song, all while facing up against a rather formidable opponent in her memories. Her introductory character song is named “Mirror Mirror” which is more than a little fitting.
In my RWBY White Trailer review, I mentioned the fact that the song almost breaks the fourth wall. That Weiss seems to be speaking to us, the viewers as if we were the mirror in question. When I said this, I was using the lyrics as a basis for this assessment. At the time of this trailer, we have no voice acting. The song composition and battle mechanics were all that we had to go on.
Using the ethos that the trailers help to train the viewer to really enjoy the RWBY series to the fullest, subtext is the foremost tool that a viewer can use to dig into Weiss this early on.
So, let’s dive into the lyrics of Mirror Mirror, and how they apply to the greater narrative properly. The song begins with a soft and gentle melody along with these lyrics.
Mirror, tell me something,
Tell me who’s the loneliest of all?
The question is melancholic and gentle. At first, we can assume from this that Weiss is talking down to her reflection that stands upon the stage, her mirrored image. However, the lyrics then repeat and extrapolate further.
Mirror, tell me something,
Tell me who’s the loneliest of all?
Fear of what’s inside of me;
Tell me can a heart be turned to stone?
By this point, the song has reached a sense of urgency both in musical composition, and lyrical narrative. It is now almost bombastic compared to how the song started. At this point Weiss is reflecting on a battle she once had to face down, likely in recent memory.
It is at this point that we can begin to dig deeper into the content. We can begin to think outside of the box. I’ve always taken this to mean that perhaps Weiss isn’t speaking to her reflection at all, but rather the audience that she sings to. We viewers can be seen as part of that audience she performs for. These questions are abstract, but she’s asking for an answer.
This is a constant theme all through Volume 1 for Weiss Schnee. She is a teenage girl, standing in a place between her dreams and expectations. Aspirations melting under the weight of what she knows to be cold hard reality. The two cannot stand as equals. She often demands answers from others to find out what the truth really is.
A few key examples would be in Volume 1. Firstly, when she asks Professor Port why she shouldn’t be the leader of her team. Secondly, when Weiss and Blake fight in sections of the show such as “The Stray” or the “Black and White” finale in Volume 1. Weiss prefaces all of her moral questions with opinions, but really validation is a secondary goal in most of these cases. She’s looking to find a deeper truth hidden beneath what she finds to be mere conjecture.
Weiss isn’t always successful in her search for answers, but the context here gives us good reason for why she so easily comes to accept both Blake’s existence as a Faunus, and Professor Port’s rebuttal about leadership. People often say that having Weiss so readily accepting Blake at the end of Volume 1 was poorly handled, but as we can see, the subtext was here from the start.
If we look at this song from the viewpoint that Weiss is singing to us directly, and that we are the metaphorical mirror in question, then we are seeing the real person buried deep beneath the Schnee family mask. What we expect of her as a Schnee cannot live up to the reality, because she has no desire to act and think in such a way to begin with.
The next part of the song contains haunting operatic vocals, and while this is wonderful for atmosphere, it adds a context for Weiss as a person. We can see the true struggle that Weiss has within herself. The singing here is as delicate as it is strong. A tone that fights with its own duality. This could be seen as a window into the moral questions that Weiss wants answers for. She’s an inquiring mind, she demands these answers, they’ve just never been given in a way she can truly accept. There has always been something missing for her.
Continuing on, we have even further proof of her unanswered questions. The next set of lyrics give us insight to this, and once again there is an urgency here. The lyrics go like this:
Mirror, mirror, what’s behind you?
Save me from the things I see!
I can keep it from the world,
Why won’t you let me hide from me?
This, once again certainly reflects the struggles Weiss will face in Volume 1 surrounding her teammates, her academics, and her goals as a huntress. Her teammates and Professor Port will challenge her birthright given authority. Blake’s heritage as a Faunus will challenge the conjecture of the victim-hood Weiss carries around like a shield.
She sees the world in a way that terrifies her, it isn’t a safe place. She can’t trust it. She wants to, desperately so, but in these lyrics we see a terrified little girl screaming out at the world. A little girl that likely grew into what she became when Weiss decided to become a huntress. In this way, Weiss and Ruby are very similar.
While Ruby’s lyrics in Red Like Roses seems to compare herself with the world on a surface level, Weiss seems to use the lyrics in “Mirrior Mirrior” to pull that world inward. A reflection of it within herself that she cannot break free of. She is a product of her upbringing and she knows this. With an incredibly high intellect at her disposal, she can see the true nature of her own cruelty. She isn’t blind to it, and she even hates it. To a point, you may even say she hates herself.
However, to get rid of the qualities she dislikes about herself, would put her at risk too. She is more at peace with the things she doesn’t like about herself, than she is with the idea of letting them go.
She asks can a heart to to stone, after all? Can she hide from the darkest parts of herself?
That is the larger question, but for her narrative, the answer is no. She cannot be an unfeeling person, and despite herself, she isn’t a hateful person either.
She isn’t a bigot, even if it would be easier to simply hate Faunus. She distrusts them, but she doesn’t hate them. For her past and her upbringing it would be easier to see herself as superior because she is a Schnee. She knows there is no joy in that for her. There is no solace for a person who cannot find the greater good beyond the darkness of the world.
Weiss knows that, and it scares her.
Finally, we go back to the core question that Weiss has in the next set of lyrics. The selfsame question that began the whole song to begin with. We get one last repeat of the lyrics:
Mirror, mirror, tell me something,
Who’s the loneliest of all?
Weiss can only wonder this, because loneliness itself is a burden that cannot be understated. The trials and tribulations of Remnant are not things that characters should face alone. Be it the Faunus plight, grief, homelessness, the Grimm themselves, or so many other factors, it really doesn’t matter. Those struggles are not solitary fights, and in solitude they tend to end badly.
Even in the real world, the mindset Weiss keeps before the events of Volume 1 is impossible to uphold. You cannot discover yourself as a person without discovering the ideologies that best suit your personal ethos. To expect someone to forge their own path alone, with very little help at all, forges an echo chamber of negative thoughts. This cultivates dangerous biases that have to way to be challenged.
Weiss is isolated due to the way she sees the world, and those circumstances are not simple or easy to navigate. Doing so alone, as she feel she has, only complicates the issue. Letting go of her stringent upbringing and narrow views would bring Weiss validation, and a sense of belonging.
We know this to be true, and see the reality of this come to fruition in her later volumes and character songs. However, for now that fruition has yet to happen, and the song ends on these final lyrics:
I‘m the loneliest of all.
This is a statement, not a question, not this time. This means that she is telling us what she knows to be fact. She is lonely, she doesn’t like the person she is becoming. She doesn’t want to be this way, and if there were a way to change herself, she would. This is evidenced by all of her key character progression in Volume 1.
These are hard won battles for Weiss, no different than her hard won battle with the knight that leaves a scar on her face. It never comes easily for her. She had to relinquish blood, sweat, and tears to reach that victory, and in volume 1, she will go through that turmoil again.
In order to shape herself into a better person once more, she has to. That is the path Weiss really wants to take. In the depth of these questions, she knows continuing on as she is won’t make her happy.
We have one final clue to all of this insight, and it is found within the quote at the beginning of the trailer. It says this:
It is here that we find that direct line of sorrowful ideology. Weiss stands her ground in every emotional and physical fight she gets into during volume 1, but here we see how she really feels. In this quote, we see that she never thought Blake’s ideologies regarding Faunus to be something pointless. She never really though Ruby to be a lesser person. Instead, it comes down to one simple concept.
To Weiss those fights are worth having. Anything that matters at all, is a thing that matters enough to fight for, and to fight hard enough to win. This is why she continues pressing Blake about Faunus. To Weiss, fighting the matter out helps her to understand. That she eventually stands down in these arguments proves that she begins to understand the heart and soul beneath the battles.
To both Ruby’s leadership and Blake’s heritage, Weiss accepts these outcomes because they fought so hard for it. That they too, sought validation they way she does. That they too, while emotionally wounded, needed someone to listen.
Weiss chose to listen, and in turn she finds a place to belong.
She finds her implied commonalities, because her teammates are not so different from herself. In the early volumes of the RWBY series, it all really comes down to the heart of the matter. For Weiss her strongest content and progression really comes down to teammates most of all. When it comes to fighting for ideologies in Volume 1, they are her strongest allies and adversaries. In later volumes, Yang plays a much larger role her progression particularly in volumes 2 and 3, when Weiss begins to act more carefree, and starts to take every day as it comes, an ideology that Yang seems to teach her. All of this is buried within everything the RWBY White Trailer has to offer.
This is why I say that Weiss’s choice at the end of Volume 1 didn’t come out of left field. It wasn’t abrupt. It wasn’t mishandled. It had no need to be extrapolated upon, because it was all here from the start. The subtext speaks loudly, nothing has gone to waste when it comes to outlining Weiss and her future among her team.
At the end of her trailer, she sees a glimpse of her mirrored image, and what she is capable of. For us, the image is blurry, but Weiss probably sees it clearly. She will ask the world her questions, she will demand answers. She will forge a new path because of them, that isn’t a spoiler, that’s simply her determination as a person at play.
It isn’t that Weiss wants the answers to her questions to be satisfying, it’s that she wants to know the truth. She can handle the truth, if it’s honest. We see this in all of the volumes. This is a character trait that never leaves Weiss, not even as late as Volume 8. Once she knows enough to get by, she leaves the inconsequential details by the wayside.
In volume 1, this culminates in her two largest arguments. Blake is no longer in the White Fang, and does not support their violence. Ruby is doing her best as a leader. Those facts are the ones that matter. When Weiss states that she doesn’t care to get into the finer details, that is honesty too. In truth, she doesn’t need to know them right then and there.
The fight was worth having, the insight she gained was enough.
Weiss is many unflattering things in Volume 1, but she is also honest. Even if it is sometimes to the point of cruelty. That she expects this same sort of honesty offered in return is something I will dive into when I dig into the meat of Volumes properly.
For now, this is where I leave the trailer. There is more to speak upon regarding Weiss. Her contradictions and flaws linger deep in the subtext, but I need to dive deep into the volumes to explain that, and those are other videos. In my next analysis, I’ll be covering Blake’s trailer analysis, so I hope to see you there.
This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.
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