This is not a review, as I don’t want to give spoilers for the first three episodes released today on Rooster Teeth and Crunchyroll for paying members. These episodes don’t release properly until July.
Therefore, the following statements are just very vague opinions, as I can’t dive into details right now. I don’t want to ruin the show for anyone… plus, this is a hot-take, obviously, as this series just went public today.
I want to start off by saying if you have never seen RWBY before, this IS NOT the place to start. RWBY Ice Queendom is canon adjacent. After viewing the first three episodes, I firmly believe you will be best served if you have some concept of the show and universe going into it. Failing that, and you will probably be lost…
These first few episodes condense down key aspects of RWBY‘s Volume 1, but without all of the context required to assess what’s actually going on here. I’ll be honest it is very interesting, but sometimes it’s just sloppily done as well.
While the show does diverge a fair bit from its other animated counterpart, and gives viewers new bones to chew, to me that’s not enough to go into this completely unaware of RWBY.
if you don’t know who these characters are… it’s a tough sell…
These early episodes do a very piss poor job of conveying key character traits and personal motivations to the viewer… but rehashing old content is not the draw of this show. I may be harsh in my above statements, but I do love what we have.
I just don’t believe this new series has a simple entry. I don’t believe it is made for someone who isn’t already a fan of the series. But, we already have RWBY as a series after all, we don’t need a carbon copy of the same show in a two-dimensional anime format.
RWBY Ice Queendom needed to do more than that, and do it quickly. Therefore, I’ll forgive the rush feel of the narrative, and the sloppiness of bouncing around doing scenes.
There’s a lot to like here, particularly with our favorite characters coming back to tell this story. That’s not to say that you should expect deeply beloved characters to be the same though. Even looking at Klein, you can tell he isn’t the same man we all know from the RWBY series. He’s much more stern in appearance and very much a “butler”. He’s not the jovial impressionist that will crack jokes while attempting to cheer her up.
All of the cast is this way. There are firm and clear differences between the RWBY characters as we know them, and the way they’re presented in Ice Queendom. We can’t hold these characters to the standards we’re used to. That’s the takeaway I’ve gained from the viewing experience thus far.
The animation is okay, but the Grimm monsters in the show look like complete and total crap. They feel like a bargain bin, rejected Pokemon to me… the fights are lackluster too. Again though, that’s because they feel rushed, poorly planned and have a lot to live up to.
RWBY Volume 1 did one thing astoundingly well and that was to offer the fans amazing fight choreography. You just can’t rehash or breathe life into thought old fights and expect them to objectively hold their ground. We’re all going to have our preferences… Ice Queendom fails in this regard for me. I don’t like the combat here.
What I do like are the themes being toyed with and the possibilities offered to us from the new show. So many changes were made, even to simple scenes we come to expect from the show. While old fans will remember the scenes fondly and get a boost of nostalgia, we’ll also get a new spin on the old formula we’ve come to expect.
There will come a time when old expected habits, patterns and routines will shift over to an entirely new story. This small taste certainly feels like that story is coming sooner rather than later. RWBY: Ice Queendom gives us a good peak at what we’re in for, and as I said, no spoilers…. but I’m excited to see it.
I’ll give a proper cohesive and reflective opinion on the series episode by episode, but for now, we’ll just have to see how it goes.
Here’s to hoping the story it has to tell is a good one, I believe it will be.