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Romance in RWBY: Blake/Ruby

Hello, Kernook here. It’s time for another “romantic pairing” posts. As usual, first, I’ll talk about all the reasons why you should “ship” these characters for a romantic pairing. Then, I’ll talk about reasons why other pairings might fit better.

If you have different opinions than mine, that’s okay. Everyone is allowed to like different character pairings… I like many of them. I don’t believe in “one true pairing” particularly in the RWBY universe as there are so many vast ways to explore the characters. I think RWBY is a fluid universe when it comes to romance with plenty to explore, so let’s dive into that reguarding Ruby and Blake, shall we?

I’ve already done one of these styles of posts regarding the “Arkos” pairing, which is between Jaune Arc and Pyrrha Nikos. If that pairing interests you, well then you may just want to check that one out. If not, no big deal, but i wanted to let you know it happens to be here if you cared.

In any case, the key thing to keep in mind when reading this particular post, or any others like it, is that I do ship a lot of characters. I think combinations offer interesting insights and ways to explore the series when you break out of the typical molds on canon ideology. Or at the very least, what passes for canon ideology.

“Canon” Verses “Fannon”

When I talk about “canon”, that means there is firm implication or proof in the series that something actually happens romantically between these characters. When I talk about “fannon”, I am speaking about things that the greater fan-base has concluded based on subtext, or clues in the series. Fannon is a very loose term, because it can almost mean anything depending on who you talk to.

Example: Saying that Blake and Ruby both read books for enjoyment is a canon fact in the series established all the way back in the first volume. However, saying that Blake and Ruby might enjoy curling up and reading together is fannon at best. We’ve never seen this happen in the show, and we can’t even assume they keep a preference for the same genre of books considering that Blake reads adult literature.

That said, the Blake/Ruby pairing, also known by fans as “ladybug”, is not a cannon pairing in the series. It is strictly “fannon” or commonly called “fan fiction fodder”. The pairing is made up by the fan-base. It has very little cannon ground to stand on. It will remain that way until the RWBY series proves otherwise.

Frankly, I doubt the animated series will go in that direction. It seems as though the creators of RWBY are headed towards the cannon pairing of Yang/Blake, also known as “bumblebee”.

I’ll cover the “bumblebee” pairing at a later date.

I tend to sail many ships, and “ladybug” just so happens to be one of them. I have written fan fiction on AO3 regarding this pairing, and I will continue to do so. That said, let’s get into the reasons why you should ship them.

Reasons to “Ship” Blake and Ruby (Ladybug)

Ladybug is a weak romance ship in the canon argument debate. However, their strongest argument, the best one in my opinion is their intended lifestyle and their future ambitions. From the start of the series Blake and Ruby are versatile and tactical fighters in the series and they’re both ruthless in combat against their target foe.

For Blake this is the White Fang, and for Ruby this is the Grimm. They both have goals to better the world, and even if they don’t know how to do that, they’re going to do their best to try.

This is explained during the mountain Glenn arc of the series. Neither of their teammates share that same ruthless tenacity early on.

Yang and Weiss just don’t have the same huntress oriented focus based upon bettering the world around them. We see this down to the core combat style of the characters too. Weiss is more defensive in combat, often acting as a support fighter. She has no clear enemy or direct focus upon which to aim her blade. For her being a huntress is a family focused center, and that will shift as the series progresses… more on this later.

Yang is more aggressive early on, but that’s because she loves to fight. Her semblance requires her to be in the heat of battle to really utilize it. That being said though, Yang’s goal to be a huntress has nothing to do with bettering the world either. She just wants to get out to see it, and being a huntress lines up with that.

Early on though, during the Beacon volumes of the show, Blake and Ruby are the most compatible when it comes down to their life and their future goals. This continues well into Volume eight, and no, I’m not kidding. It’s the one constant that they both have.

Secondly, they’re both outliers in their team. They have a difficult time forming bonds with others. This is another trait that is exclusive to the two characters early on. Ruby is the youngest, notably so. Blake is the only Faunus on the team. Both of them face adversity from these dynamics (Blake more so than Ruby).

Furthermore, arguably, Blake has the most life experience outside of the kingdom’s walls, but it’s to her disadvantage when it comes to forming meaningful bonds. Meanwhile, Ruby has the least life experience, and remains far less cynical as a result. As the series progresses Blake makes note of Ruby’s youthful optimism and tells her that she came to respect Ruby due to that seemingly “youthful” optimism that she once thought of as childish. She has come to admire Ruby deeply. This is a canon event in volume eight.

Opposite to this, their teammates just can’t relate to them. Weiss has spent her time in the spotlight. She’s famous, and she can be very narrow-minded. She’s standoffish by choice early on. Yang seems to fit in with everyone so long as her temper doesn’t get in the way.

This means that Blake and Ruby share an unspoken bond merely because of their nature. They’re outcasts to a point, and that perfectly explains why in the early parts of the series they have no decent character interaction together. Ruby’s too awkward, and Blake always had much more important things on her mind. This also makes for great fan fiction fodder, because writers can play with that topic in all sorts of ways.

Thirdly, and this heavily ties into the first point of a life’s goal, they both know exactly what they want out of being a huntress. The only question in their minds is how to attain it. They both want to be huntresses for the greater good of society. That’s a trait you can’t ignore. It’s so integral to Blake and Ruby as characters that Weiss and Yang just can’t measure up in the lifestyle awaiting them because of what huntresses truly are.

Ruby wants to be a huntress to help people. Blake wants to be a huntress to aid in the Faunus plight. This directly juxtaposes their other teammates. In later volumes, Yang struggles with taking the heat of that decision, such as in volumes seven and eight. As for Weiss, she’s more firmly grounded in the ideologies of a huntress by that point, but Blake and Ruby still have the firm upper hand on her there.

In the end for Weiss and for Yang, being a huntress offers freedom in some way shape or form from family related struggles. Being a huntress is about finding catharsis that comes down to the heart and core of these two characters and their personal family related demons. For Yang this is her mother, Raven, and for Weiss it comes down to her father Jacques.

When it comes to long term “work and life balance” capability the ladybug ship wins the war of ambition by a large and fast margin. This aspect of shared ambition and their emotional ethics is important. Blake and Ruby treat the act of being huntresses as an altruistic endeavor. It’s arguable that Blake and Ruby would grow up into a romance very well as adults. This becomes even more paramount in later volumes.

After a team disagreement, Yang actually leaves the core members of team RWBY for a while to work with their other friends. However the fact is, she leaves Ruby, Blake and Weiss based on that disagreement. Blake stays, she doesn’t choose to go with Yang, this is a core growth. Blake the runner, stays put. Yang, takes another step forward to understanding Raven’s reasons for lashing out and leaving for good. When the group reunites, they’re all stronger for these learned lessons… but what I said above holds true, when the chips are down, and you have to make the hard choices, Ruby and Blake will always choose what being a huntress truly is.

Even their weaponry reflects this. They both use equipment that is complex and dangerous to use. Crescent Rose and Gambol Shroud both have the ability to transform into scythes. Blake’s weapon is classified as a “Variant Ballistic Chain Scythe”. It’s important to note that Ruby is a weapon fanatic with a love of scythes that as she says “is also a gun”.

They both stand up firmly for what they believe, sometimes to their own detriment. Both of them prove to be strong leaders in their own way. Ruby is the leader of her teammates. Blake showcases her skill in leadership the Menagerie arc, learning to unite fellow Faunus together. Yang and Weiss just aren’t the same in this capacity. They’re happy to play “second fiddles” to wider narrative arcs.

They’re not leaders, and despite the complaints Weiss has in volume one, she quickly learns she’s not fit to be a leader at all, that’s not her strength.

Yang shows absolutely no skill in leadership at all. For Weiss the desire to lead the team is short-lived. She learns to be happy falling in line behind Ruby as the “best partner” that Ruby will ever have.

All-in-all as future huntresses, Blake and Ruby are very compatible. They have aligned skills and noble ambitions. They have a true desire to triumph over adversity, and they have the gumption to do so.

They would likely be happy traveling together helping the world after graduation. This is the strongest argument to make in favor of the “ladybug” pairing. Being a huntress isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Blake and Ruby wish to live as huntresses in similar ways. This could pave the way for a long term relationship. In “ladybug” fan fiction it often does.

There is an argument to be made about Ruby and Blake sharing a few interests and traits. In my personal opinion there isn’t much in this category, but I’ll go over some of them anyway.

Both of them have a fondness for reading. Ruby has her love of fairy tales. Blake has an appreciation for trashy romance novels. In the series, Ruby attempts to befriend Blake when she sees the Faunus reading in the corner.

Both of these characters share a deep empathy towards others, although Blake chooses not to make that obvious until volume eight. Ruby comments about Blake’s “cute kitty” ears early on in the show, showing at least a little interest in Blake as well.

As you can see, this is the weaker argument to make in favor of the pairing. Sadly, Ruby and Blake don’t get much screen time alone together. They don’t have time to bond. The few scenes they do share are mainly in the early volumes of the series when they’re at odd’s with each other. Sadly, most of those scenes aren’t even positive dialogue exchanges. Now later volumes, namely Volume eight, once again gives us a tiny bit of fodder to play with, but it’s weak at best without the wider view of the huntress lifestyle to back it up.

The subtext in the series is that Blake and Ruby interact by default as team members. We don’t actually see a deep bond form between them. Clearly there’s a deep friendship there in some capacity, but we can only speculate the extent of it.

Fans have often criticized the show for a lack of content regarding Blake and Ruby as friends, and that is often why shipping them can be difficult. Still, when you think about the perspective in this way, it actually makes a lot of sense. There’s a slowly growing chemistry here and one that’s pretty natural when you consider team dynamics, and how Yang and Weiss play stronger supporting roles for their team members.

Ruby and Blake don’t have strong moments together, because frankly, they’re both on equal footing and don’t need the emotional back-up from each other. They get that from their partners. Blake from Yang and Ruby from Weiss.

Until they’re separated and work as partners themselves, we don’t have to see it. Volume eight proves that their bond is just as strong, though… perhaps stronger in this way, even if only in this way. If you care to look for this subtext, there’s a whole wealth of it to find here.

Reasons to Sail a Different Ship

In all honesty, I will sail the “ladybug” ship until it sinks, just as I will sail the bees and our beloved roses. That said, ladybug does have a lot of downsides. Writing fan fiction for “ladybug” can be very difficult. It’s not that the pairing is impossible. Rather, it’s that you have to go looking for commonalities in somewhat strange places.

Blake is obviously more mature than Ruby when it comes to romantic relationships. At the start of the series Blake is reading adult media. The implication is that she’s engaged in at least some of those acts before entering Beacon. This can be a major issue for fan fiction that takes place during the Beacon/Vale arcs of the RWBY series. The two year age difference between these girls might as well be night and day. That’s fitting though, at fifteen you hit separate milestones than you do at seventeen and eighteen which is about the age of the other Beacon characters. Remember, Beacon is closer to a university than it is a high school.

On her team, Blake has more chemistry with Yang and Weiss from the get-go. You could even make an argument that she has a stronger chemistry with Sun and Ilia than she could ever hope to have with Ruby outside of the profession and lifestyle of what a huntress needs to be.

To contrast that, Ruby has her own strong chemistry line-up. Weiss is obviously the strongest. Little miss “shut up, don’t touch me” is still very willing to hug Ruby back, and that’s a mirrior of the hug between stand-offish Blake and a very physically driven character like Yang.

For someone like Ruby, Jaune sticks out fairly well as a strong contender too, but even Penny, Pyrrha and Oscar make the fan fiction rounds a fair bit. If you want to get really weird and do the sibling romance thing, Yang’s a strong contender too. No shame for those who do, but I’m on the fence about how I feel about that one.

Either way, frankly because there’s hardly any canon material for Blake and Ruby as a romantic pairing, other pairings just make more sense on a surface level. Blake gets more valuable screen time with Sun, Weiss, Ilia, and Yang than she does with Ruby. Those scenes are central plot elements for Blake and they can’t be easily ignored.

The same could be said for Ruby, though. Her key cannon material revolves around Weiss, Penny, Pyrrha, Jaune and in later volumes Oscar.

Now we come to the final nail in the “ladybug” coffin. For all of the arguments I made to support the pairing, most people can make a very valid counter rebuttal. I’m about to do that here…

Firstly, Blake is practically a ninja and she benefits more from fighting alongside Yang or Weiss. Both of them have semblances that compliment Blake’s fighting style in a way that Ruby’s just can’t. The same can be said for Ruby, she benefits more from fighting alongside supporting fighters like Weiss. As it is, both women are better off sticking with their cannon combat partners after graduation.

They have weaponry that is complex and dangerous to use. This is all the more reason not to be fighting side by side. Neither of their weapons are entirely predictable. Ruby’s odd fascination with weaponry doesn’t end with scythes, and wouldn’t end with Gambol Shroud anyway. She would be just as enamored with any weapon type that she hasn’t seen before.

Secondly, Ruby is the youngest and that is a huge problem in early volumes. She might be a prodigy, but early on she’s incredibly naive in all of the ways that Blake isn’t. Also, because Blake’s a Faunus she has the potential to have other interesting character pairings. Weiss can be narrow-minded because of her family and her upbringing. Overcoming those odds is a classic “odd couple” sort of romance. Honestly, that’s a driving force in most Weiss/Blake fan shipping, also known as “monochrome”.

A defiance of social norms and adversity makes interesting plot points both in the series and in fan fiction between these two characters. Monochrome has incredible strength by nature throughout the entire series because of this.

Thirdly, they both know exactly what they want out of being a huntress, and that’s a problem. Those desires are similar, but also very different down at the key crux of it all. Given Blake’s character and her motivations, it’s possible that one day she would cease to be a huntress. Chances are good that Blake will end up leading a re-established group like the White Fang. This would turn into a conflict of interest. All that Ruby ever wants to be is a huntress, that is her entire ambition. It’s arguable that both women would be better served by finding other relationships and living their lives elsewhere.

Where Yang and Weiss are intent to follow, Ruby and Blake are natural born leaders, and to heads in this case sometimes aren’t better than one. The emotional support, and team turned family unit relies on this family to maintain its equilibrium to a degree. Weiss is very keen to keep it that way, and her protectiveness of that unit is a good argument for why the romances would never shift. Weiss is particularly territorial over her friends and her teammates down in the subtext… she’s actually a mirror of Sun in that way. If you screw with them, you screw with her, and end up in a garbage can as a result.

Weiss has already made the promise to be the best partner that Ruby will ever have. She fully acknowledges and accepts Ruby as a leader. Weiss is a pragmatist at heart. She sees the value in following Ruby’s orders… and to a greater degree, following Ruby’s ideologies when her own fail to measure up to “be the better/less cynical person” that she wishes to be.

Yang shows no interest in leadership at all, and she willingly follows Blake’s lead at the drop of a hat. Yang has always been as supportive of Blake as possible. To be honest, cannon just slaughters the argument in favor of the “ladybug” pairing when it comes to this point.

Looking at everything from this angle, we can come up with a few different conclusions.

While its true that Blake and Ruby are very compatible as huntresses, they require other teammates to be truly remarkable in combat. They have aligned skills and noble ambitions, but that will lead them in vastly different directions in life. Chances are good they’d be even happier with their other teammates after graduation. Being a huntress isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle.

There’s a good chance that Blake will move on, and if Ruby wishes to live as a huntress she may end up alone. Weiss becomes embroiled in the trade after renouncing her family name, and it’s clear she views her team as her family, stating so to her asshole of a father in volume 7. while it’s unclear if they will be a canon ship or not, whiterose has and will always be a very powerful shipping contender… and the way she maintains and upholds the concept of this new family unit really can’t be understated. She truly becomes the mother hen to the wider group, a position that Yang used to fill.

As I said before, there is a very weak argument to be made about Ruby and Blake sharing a few interests and traits. This is a very pairing specific issue. The rebuttals I would make depend entirely on what “ship” I would be trying to sail instead. Listing everything would be impossible, I’ll just say that the rebuttals here are endless, because they literally are.

Final Thoughts

The ladybug pairing is a ship best explored in small fluff pieces, alternate universes, or fictions where ideology play a strong factor in the narrative. That’s because Ruby and Blake don’t have the same sort of natural progression that other characters do. Most of their important scenes together are in volumes 1, 2,3,7, and 8… volume 6 has some content, but it’s not particularly powerful. That honor goes to the roses and the bees, particularly the bees.

The “ladybug” pairing is ultimately unique. Unlike the other shipping combinations of team RWBY and beyond, there isn’t a lot to work with. In fact, “ladybug” shippers probably have the hardest time making a relationship between Ruby and Blake seem believable. However, that being said, the subtext is particularly strong depending on how you choose to view it.

A good deal of Ruby’s friendship or possible romance with Blake remains implied. It’s never shown in direct detail. They don’t have any interactions that turn into long-running direct core plot points, either. All of the other teammates do, but Ruby and Blake just don’t.

Trying to romanticize what little we do see, requires creativity. You can’t sail this ship if you’re following strictly cannon screen time. You need to step out of the box and be willing to suspend some of your disbelief to truly enjoy it.

That being said, “ladybug” is one of my top ten pairings in RWBY. No matter what your view is, I will avidly sail this ship until it sinks.

What are your thoughts on Blake/Ruby as a ship? Love it? Hate it? Tell me why down in the comments below.

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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Character Spotlight: Kali Belladonna

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. Welcome to a segment called Character Spotlight, a series dedicated to why I enjoy particular characters from various series.

In this series, I’ll talk a bit about the fandom surrounding the character, and why I really appreciate their inclusion within their respected series. Today, I’m going to be talking about Kali Belladonna from the RWBY series, also coined as the real “super mom” by many fans of the show.

Really, there’s no question as to why that is. Many of the parents in the RWBY series are lackluster at best, and completely flawed beyond repair at worst. In the show absentee parents, alcoholism, and broken homes define a large section of the narrative backstory. Really, the number of halfway decent mothers in the series can be counted on one hand.

Most of those mothers are dead and gone, so frankly Kali just doesn’t have much in the way of competition. Even if she did though, she would probably stand above the rest, or at least equal to them in her parenting style and overall gentle nature.

Fandom Perspective

Kali is the mother of Blake Belladonna, and the spouse of Ghira Belladonna. This was a plot point that turned a lot of the ideologies of early fandom on its head. Prior to Volume 4, Blake’s parents were assumed to be out of the picture entirely. Either dead and gone, or still among the corrupted White Fang. Fan theories contained both of these ideas in spades, and fan fiction at the time reflected that, including my own written fan fiction.

In general, Kali is depicted among the fandom in two ways.

The first is the loving wife and mother that we all know and love. It’s not very common to see her removed from that mold, simply because it suits her so well.

However, when the mold is broken, Kali tends to turn into a shipper’s paradise. Honestly, when she’s contorted into that, fandom ends up with plenty of questionable adult content, particularly in the fan fiction side of the fandom. This is true for a lot of characters though, so it’s not a situation that’s exclusive to her… Glynda Goodwitch also tends to suffer much of the same fate.

Fandom gets weird sometimes, that’s just the way it is. For better and worse.

Thankfully, due to Kali’s nature, the vast majority of fan related content plays off of her genuine love and care for her family. Her characterization as we know it seems to be very well received among the greater fan base, so that is generally how she is depicted.

The Countless Merits of Kali Belladonna.

Often times it can be said that Kali has a lot of the characterization that Blake should have had. However, saying this disregards one of Kali’s key merits. Her age, and the perspective that comes with it.

Kali has time on her side. A lot of it. She has marched with the White Fang in her youth, fallen in love, and raised a daughter to the best of her abilities. Kali has her failings. That Blake ran away from home is proof of that, but Kali has always loved and supported her child. She has been waiting for Blake to return, and when she does, Kali embraces her without a moment’s hesitation.

This unquestionable devotion to her family is one of the key cornerstones to Blake’s own development, even if it is mostly just subtext. Kali has lived through many struggles that Blake just hasn’t yet, because Blake hasn’t had the time to do so.

Meanwhile, the struggles that Blake has faced are gritty, messy, and oftentimes don’t have a right answer. When at a loss for how to be helpful, Kali and Ghira offer unconditional love, because that meaningful acceptance is one thing the series often lacks when it comes to parenting. Kali takes her support a step further, welcoming Sun Wukong with open arms because that’s just the way she is.

Now, for this I’m just focusing on Kali. Ghira is worth talking about later, and he will get his own spotlight. However, that’s a different topic. His parenting methods are a bit different. He deserves his own analysis all about that directly.

On the topic of Ghira and Blake though, one thing I will say, is that the Belladonna family is fundamental to the series lore. The implications are absolutely staggering, given who the White Fang are, and what they hope to achieve. That being said, Kali is an interesting looking glass into in that history. One that we just don’t have the luxury to have with Blake or Ghira.

In the Belladonna family, Kali is the outlier to many questions that are never answered cleanly. In a show that has many conflicting themes, Kali is a breath of fresh air. She is bogged down by implication and metaphor, just most of the other characters. However, her implications doesn’t leave a foul sense of injustice behind.

Rather, Kali’s character offers themes of hope, acceptance, and unity, because Kali is not one to drown in sorrow. It is rare to find a parent, particularly a mother, like this in the series.

Like Ruby Rose, Kali is an absolute altruist at heart, but unlike Ruby, she understand where the line is. She believes in the concept, but she realizes that you can’t always use it. For Kali there are impossible ambitions that no one could ever achieve, and then there’s reality. The line is a grey area for Kali, but she believes in her personal moral code, and it shapes her in all ways.

For example, the subject of Menagerie becomes much less sinister when viewed through Kali’s lens instead of Blake’s. While her daughter sees Menagerie as a consolation prize for the Faunus plight, claiming it has done nothing to further the cause, Kali gives us a different way to look at the world of Remnant at large.

While Blake claims that Menagerie changes nothing, Kali stands as a reason for why Menagerie has changed everything in small ways. Kali showcases why it should exist, and why more communities like it should be built openly and willingly by the Faunus community, and arguably other communities at large, such as the mistreated workers found in Mantle’s slums.

Why? That’s simple, Kali is happy. She is not suffering. She is not in pain. She is at peace with life on the island, and she understands that one island does not diminish the greater plight than many Faunus rise up against.

In real life, people of like-minded world views gather together, and that’s just the way people are by nature.

Let’s face it, we don’t want to be friends or neighbors with people we don’t like. The Faunus of Menagerie don’t want to argue or deal with humanity anymore. They’ve rejected it, and found a safer harbor to build a life.

Kali doesn’t seem to feel that same distaste for humanity. In fact, she seems to have no issue with humanity at all, but she still lives in Menagerie because she understands that you can’t force your opinion upon others. Aiding and leading the peoples of Menagerie along side Ghira is simply the best way for them to help the movement at that moment. To still lead and guide, just in a different way.

Ghira stepped down from the White Fang, because they refused to follow his guidance anymore. You can’t make demands and expect everyone to comply. If he had done that, he would be no better than Adam, and brute force is not Ghira’s ethos, it’s not Kali’s either. They could have stayed with the White Fang, but at what real cost?

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Kali shows us that sometimes finding your own safe place is the better option for some people, and that’s what some Faunus chose to do. That doesn’t make the Faunus of Menagerie horrible people, and it doesn’t invalidate them. The plight can still make steps forward even with Menagerie’s existence, and arguably because of it.

Through Kali’s lens we see that the Faunus living on the island seem to live a fairly peaceful and happy life. Before the White Fang come to make havoc, the people living on the island are just happy to mind their own business. It isn’t the absolutely awful place that Blake wants to believe it is. Her personal convictions go beyond Menagerie, and well beyond the White Fang.

The same can be said for Kali, it’s just that Kali is older and wiser too. She understands and accepts that not every Faunus will feel the way her family does. Some will be perfectly happy on that island, and Kali’s incredible personality shows us the good side of that choice. It shows us what Faunus communities can truly become, and that there is no shame in the pursuit of personal happiness and fulfillment.

They harm no one by living this way, and Kali has that perspective because she lives among them. It’s only the White Fang that seeks to cause harm, not the rest of the Faunus in general.

Kali is both internally and externally consistent in her conflict of world views. She is very complex as a character, and she will occasionally contradict herself. However, it is never in a way that defies her moral codes and ethics. No matter what contradictions she showcases, she never looses the characterization that makes her uniquely Kali Belladonna as a person.

The Moral Ethos of Kali Belladonna

It is probably her morals and ethos that makes her so deeply loved by the fandom. Kali lives and loves with a free spirit, willing to allow herself to feel the full scope of emotions life has to offer.

She is by and large a pacifist more times than not, but she has a limit to just how much crap she’ll put up with. If she absolutely has to, she won’t hesitate to bring out a can of whoop-ass. It’s just that all other options need to be exhausted before she reaches that point. The fact is, fighting in any way, shape or form just isn’t her preferred method of handling conflict. She would much rather talk things out, but she’s not a pushover.

She’s willing to fight if she has to though, and that’s something we see showcased in Volume 5. Without a weapon and only a tray in her hands, self defense and the defense of others seems almost second nature. Given her obvious history among the White Fang, that makes complete sense.

In Volume 5, the Faunus of Menagerie stand together to face down the White Fang’s attack, we see that there is strength in numbers. This nuanced disposition shows us exactly what the old White Fang under Ghira’s command probably looked like, and how it ran. Appealing to a greater sense of community and unity, rather than forceful persuasion.

If we were to look at this situation completely through Blake’s eyes, we miss out on these tiny details. We lose the greater story. For Kali it is very clear that Menagerie was a victory, not a consolation prize, and not a loss for the Faunus plight. Rather it was a stepping stone, admittedly a small one. However, it was one that could have gone much further if Ghira had not stepped down as the High Leader. If the White Fang had been respected on their personal merits and not feared outright, more close ties between humans and Faunus could have been built.

Therefore, the loss was one not against humanity, but rather the Faunus themselves. Among their own factions, and the ideological divides that have separated them.

This is why I love Kali as a character. Yes, she is a “super mom”. Completely supportive and loving in the face of a world that has so much hate and neglect. She stands tall as a woman, both as a housewife and mother foremost, and secondly a leader upon which many Faunus can look up to in their own way. Seeing her peaceful path, and choosing that for themselves does not diminish their existence or hardships, nor should it.

Sometimes taking a few steps back is paramount to the greater goal. A breath, a break, and peace can offer respite in world that wouldn’t offer such a thing otherwise.

This is a fact Blake cannot accept early on, even when Kali does. Yet those two steps back pays off for all of the Faunus. It is only after those two steps back that the Faunus of Menagerie finally come to understand how monstrous the White Fang has become. Seeing the atrocities of the White Fang first hand, without their perspective on humanity to cloud their judgement, they can think more objectively.

They can come to terms with their own denial, and find the strength to move forward. To fight for a better world anew, and this time for the good of everyone. Human and Faunus alike.

All in all, this is a lens we can see manifest in Kali from the very start of her introduction. The echoes of a painful past linger here, and the healing process takes time. Kali is a validation for a plight that receives so little recognition. That so little is shown, is only further proof of just how much the greater society still needs to grow.

This is why the Belladonna family is important. They are proof that steps forward can and will be made, and that each step towards that goal, is one to hold aloft and in high esteem. While Blake sees fit to “fight the good fight” Ghira and Kali understand the strides in the movement, and just how far it has obviously come.

Adversity is not something you can change overnight. Sometimes, it is best to stop and take a breath. To live and love life for what it is, before gathering the strength to move forward once more. The difficult path itself is worth the journey, but to overcome adversity you must be emotionally prepared to stand against it. That’s not an easy thing to do, not in the real world, and not in the RWBY series.

Kali is the complete and total proof that the world is a better place than it once was. Even if it has a very long way to go, there is nothing wrong with savoring and appreciating that one step for what it is. Knowing it is only a step forward, but one that shouldn’t be disregarded. Progress is made on those small steps, and every movement in history had a least a few small steps like this.

For Kali, those steps are empowering. Sitting with Sun and Blake around the table while listening to stories about Beacon Academy, that is her reward. That is her personal accomplishment. Her joy is in knowing that her daughter could find a place to truly belong.

So long as Blake stands by her team, she will have no need for a place like Menagerie. It is clear that Kali still hopes that one day, no Faunus will. They are liberating because they mean that there were victories. That Blake and Weiss could even exist on the same team, proves what the next generation is capable of.

Through that lens, we see the Faunus plight anew. Through the eyes of a woman that speaks of love and peace, harmony is her core message that she can continue to have faith in, until that day finally comes. There is something deeply profound in that ideology. A comfort, a warmth and a promise that is so difficult to come by.

From a narrative standpoint, Kali is one of the best characters in the RWBY series, and one of my absolute favorites.

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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RWBY White Trailer Retrospective Review

Kern’s Note: Sorry that this thing was so late in coming out. We were having a few difficulties and had a lot of things to do in order to fix the issues. Now that it is here we are super proud of it. Audio issues were sorted out too, so that makes it even more awesome!


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The Retrospective Review

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

Last week I kicked off my retrospective series with the RWBY Red Trailer. For a brief recap, I mentioned that the four character trailers that kicked off the series had three goals in mind. They were as follows:

  • To introduce the main four girls.
  • To teach the viewer how to enjoy the combat in the series.
  • And to give viewers a taste of the world through the eyes of these characters.

When the RWBY Red Trailer first released, I wasn’t exactly a huge fan of what I saw.

As I said last time, hindsight for the series is 20/20. Retrospection matters. My love of the RWBY series didn’t come until I saw the release of the RWBY White Trailer and the introduction of Weiss Schnee.

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.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look. The trailer opens slowly, a quote flashes across the screen. This quote reads like this:

Then a spotlight shows overhead, the garbled mutterings of an announcer calls her name. The audience cheers as a white haired woman takes the stage. Her face is elegant, but there’s a slender scar blemishing her skin over one eye.

She’s dressed in white, with a splash of red, and a hint of black. Her expression stays serious in front of the crowd. The soft fluttering of of a piano begins to play as the crowd cheers.

By this point in the trailer, less than 30 seconds into it, I had already found myself captivated by Weiss Schnee as a character. Where the RWBY Red Trailer failed to instantly grab my attention, the RWBY White Trailer had captured me from the very beginning.

Weiss looks out to the crowd, takes a breath and closes her eyes. Then the song begins in earnest. Unlike Ruby’s song that was merely playing as a music backdrop and only had a few lyrics, this time Weiss is performing her personal story for the world to see.

Her song, known as “Mirror Mirror” is a testament that Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams really know how to make a soundtrack shine.

This song is probably one of the saddest in the original soundtrack for the first RWBY Volume. As the song plays, Weiss is shown to be singing it, although, her actual voice actress didn’t do the vocals. The woman singing is Casey Lee Williams.

This trailer turns into a flashback as Weiss continues to sing, her eyes still closed. The camera pans lower and the stage fades to black. A reflection of Weiss glows from the dark abyss as she stands atop it, a perfect reflection.

If you haven’t noticed by now, this is a far deeper, far more introspective sort of trailer on it’s face. This make sense. Weiss is the most reserved of the main four girls. She’s cold, almost needlessly cruel in the first volume of the series. However, that’s well and truly a facade at best.

Without this trailer for character context, which I will get to in a moment, Weiss would be little more than a complete and total ass during Volume 1. Episodes like “The Stray” and notably the episode “Black and White” which is the Volume 1 finale, rely on this trailer. It explains everything about Weiss and her eventual blind acceptance of Blake.

The reason is because Weiss isn’t actually an ass, and she’s doesn’t really carry the hyperbolic thoughts and feelings that she’s expected to have. She spouts them, but they’re not real. This trailer is a looking glass into all of it, literally. It gives us all of her key struggles, and allows us to see this girl behind the Schnee family mask.

Anyway, at this point her eyes are closed. It is now implied that anything beyond this point is a flashback of a memory. When her eyes open, kneeling in front of her is a gigantic armored knight. It bows to her in reverence, as if she were its queen.

Then, it stands to its full height, grasping its sword as the tempo of the music changes.

No longer just a soft piano melody with gentle singing, string instruments and percussion are added into the mix. The soft classical music begins taking on new urgency as Weiss faces down her opponent. Swords clash as Weiss faces down this armored giant, deftly avoiding his blade.

Her combat is almost like a dancer’s grace as she continues flitting around the arena floor like a ballerina. She uses her sword with frontal swings and forward jabs just like a fencer. Weiss relies on a complicated mix of pure skill, dust, and her semblance to gain the upper hand.

As I said before, the trailers build upon each other. In Ruby’s trailer, combat was the thing breaking the fourth wall.

For Weiss it’s the lyrics of her song, breaking the forth wall instead. This is her personal story. She’s telling us who she really is as a person, and she’s not going to wait for us to figure it out.

Just like how she treats Ruby in Volume 1, she’s not going to dumb herself down for our sake. The lyrics are poetic and layered in symbolism. I will speak about that in the analysis of this trailer, which is a separate post. For now let’s just focus on the poetic storytelling at play.

Viewers need to stand on Weiss’s level emotionally, and understand what she’s telling us. We viewers, are the mirror she’s talking to. It’s not just that she’s talking to herself. She wants to be heard, she has asked us if we can hear her in the song directly. She’s asked us if she needs us, because we are that mirror.

She’s not sure if her own merits are good enough. She wants to be taken seriously. She feels that she isn’t. That she is somehow inferior.

Now, this is exactly what Ruby’s trailer referenced in regards to the color “white”.

While those lyrics were a factual assessment, Weiss attempts to explain those facts in poetic and lyrical way, using ambiguity.

Ruby’s trailer is self-assured and confidant. She knows she wants to be a huntress, and she’s ready to show off what she can accomplish.

Weiss is far less sure of herself. She wants the validation of others, but she’s afraid to ask for it. So, she’s asking us, the proverbial mirror.

Her faster and far more ruthless combat is an undertone to this as well. While Ruby shows us a fight that’s fun, Weiss shows us one that’s necessity. Weiss needs to fight this battle. It isn’t a choice. It’s an obligation, like so many other things in her life.

Unfortunately for Weiss, she’s still just a teenager trying to pretend she’s an adult. The adult world of Remnant will bring her down a few pegs, and so does the knight she’s fighting. She cannot stand on the world’s stage alone and hope to succeed that way. She needs others, she needs a place to belong.

In spite of her skill, this isn’t enough to stop the knight from countering every attack she lands on him. Finally he swats her aside like a paper doll.

She lands on the ground looking disheartened, defeated and bleeding…

Then the scene faces to black and Weiss is on stage again. Slowly she opens her eyes. Haunting operatic vocals fill the air as the moon overhead appears from behind dark clouds.

Weiss is still young, and just like Ruby, she’s a dreamer of bigger and better things. It’s just that those dreams don’t align with the world as she currently understands it. Her memories and expectations hold her down.

She’s asking us, the viewers, if she can really stand a chance to reach for her dreams. If she’s even worthy of those dreams at all.

Her eyes close again, and her memory continues. The flashback of how she got the scar in the first place is fresh in her mind.

The knight is still ready for more, and Weiss lifts herself up from the ground. There’s blood on her face, and determination in her eyes. Weiss won’t let herself be put down from a little thing like a head injury.

Instead she prepares herself for another clashing of blades. She’s smarter this time, going on the defensive and waiting for the right moment to take him down.

The song changes tempo again. This time, it’s not haunting, it’s empowering. She prepares her weapon, adjusting her stance, and strikes. A flurry of dust shimmers with every attack. A wave of ice spiking up from the ground as she returns the armored knight’s attack tenfold, effectively disarming him.

Then it’s time for her final attack. She readies her glyphs and the dust inside her sword. Trapping the the knight, she sends herself flying into the air, slicing a pinpoint attack into the knight. This turns him into a powder-like snow.

Sparkles of this now defeated knight fall onto the stage as she finishes her song. The blood on her face fades away. She opens her eyes and looks around as if trying to remember where she is. The crowd cheers for her.

When you saw this trailer for the first time, you probably cheered a little too, even if it was just to yourself quietly. I know that I did.

That’s because in the context of the series, Weiss is person worth cheering for. She’s worth her dreams and her ambitions. She wants to hear that cheering, she wants us, the mirror to tell her that she’s worth it. That’s what makes her so relatable even as early as the trailer itself.

Everyone wants to be told they’re worth something. That they’ve done a good job. Everyone wants just that one moment of satisfaction. That one thing that nobody can take away from them, because they earned that success themselves. That they are worthy of standing upon the worlds stage, accepted based on their own achievements.

In that way, Weiss resonates with that small part of humanity. We are the mirror she’s talking to, and we give her just that tiniest glimmer of hope.

Weiss looks out toward the audience and she offers her final bow. Her reflection is still there, a perfect mirror image upon the floor. Only she can see it truly clearly. The curtains close, and the trailer ends.

It’s as if through the eyes of the viewer, she’s finally seeing her true self. The person she really wants to be. The person she can become.

The RWBY White Trailer is a showcase of characterization at its finest. A lot of fans claim that Weiss is one of the most interesting characters in the series, at least, on her own merits. I wholeheartedly agree.

In this trailer we’re given far more depth to her character than we ever saw in the RWBY Red Trailer. This trailer built upon everything we were told previously, and extrapolated upon them.

The thing is, Ruby’s trailer focuses more on factual information. For Weiss, her trailer is almost entirely emotional. The fight was in her point of view, and the song lyrics reflect that as well.

The song stands in a league of it’s own, the animation is absolutely fitting, and the fight is captivating from start to finish.

All in all, this trailer is my absolute favorite one in the early volumes. I love this thing.

However objectively, I wouldn’t actually say it’s the best trailer we received. No, in my opinion, that credit goes to the RWBY Black Trailer, featuring Blake Belladonna. It is the textbook definition of what a trailer should be. Join me next time as I cover Blake’s trailer. You don’t want to miss it.

Also be sure to check out some related content, in case you missed it before. Don’t forget to check out the page “All Things RWBY” to see all of our related RWBY fandom content.

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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Kern’s RWBY Red Trailer Analysis

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Opening

The RWBY series toes a fine line between wonderful storytelling and awful storytelling. The world of Remnant is both unfathomably deep, and yet contemptibly shallow.

There’s a lot to unpack in the entire series. Some things are up to personal opinion, and others are vague enough to spark discourse even years down the line. This is my analysis of the series.

I’ll be honest, the RWBY series has flaws. The volumes can be clunky and inconsistent. It isn’t perfect, but I look at RWBY now as a diamond in the rough. So, let’s look back on what sparked this exciting hype-train so long ago.

From here on out I’ll be speaking as if you’ve watched the trailer and that you have at least surface level knowledge of the series. If you don’t have those two things under your belt, you really should watch at least the trailers and Volume 1 before you come back to read this post. You can watch it on the Rooster Teeth website.

At the time of this blog post, RWBY Volume 8 is in full swing. Volume 9 has been announced. However, I am going to be starting where it all began. The RWBY Red Trailer

Let me make one thing absolutely clear…

The RWBY Red Trailer does strictly what it sets out to do. It introduces us to Ruby Rose, a young huntress-in-training. In that regard it stands out with flying colors. With that said, let’s dive deeper.

Subtle Clues of Ruby’s Character

There are subtle hints to plot elements that were carefully woven into all of the trailers. Each one piggy-backs off the others in some way. This is a moment of great storytelling, showcased perfectly thanks to Ruby’s introductory song. This is my highest praise for the trailer. “Red Like Roses” is a lyrical masterpiece. It compliments everything about Ruby, from her disposition to her attire.

“Red Like Roses” flows perfectly with the scene as it unfolds. However, that’s not the only thing that makes this trailer so powerful.

Doleful tones carry gently as Ruby stands over her mother’s grave. Religion seems largely forgotten about in the series, but Ruby wears crosses that lay at an angle. Crosses like these are common in Christianity. The cross is known as a Missionary Cross.

Now this is important, as it signifies Ruby Rose as a missionary. While I doubt Christianity holds any real sway over the series, the intent of hunters could be seen as a spiritual endeavor. Something personal and deeply meaningful to that person.

Sanding over a gravestone, and carrying the symbology Ruby does, it’s hard not to see the similarities.

Particularly since when her hood is up, it looks as though she’s praying, or at least invoking the image of spirituality in some way. Think a nun, or the Virgin Mary herself.

In various christian faiths going on a missions is often a charitable thing. It’s all about crossing divides and spreading some sort of message onto others. Those are two things Ruby does in the series, although it has little to do with religion.

Ruby stands by her personal beliefs. She exhibits the desire to share them with others. She wants the world to be a better place, and voices that several times throughout the series. Furthermore, she believes that huntsmen and huntresses are intrinsically endowed with the means to do so. That to a degree, they must do so.

Now, in the series we see more often than not that huntsmen are not always altruistic people. However, that said, Ruby believes they should be.

This almost biblical imagery combined with the song, sets a strong tone that carries through the rest of the trailer and all through the volumes of the series.

As for the fight with the Beowolves, I appreciate it far more after watching the series. In the trailer, initially Ruby comes off as an overpowered little girl. Seeing the fight now, I can truly appreciate Ruby’s drive and her cunning. This mixed with the religious symbology makes for complex character.

She’s an expert in tactical combat for her age, showcased wonderfully in her fight with the beowolves. However, this is also a credit of her character design. Wars have been fought purely based on ideology since the beginning of time, and in the series this holds true as well. The show is full to bursting with Ideological conflict, and Ruby’s viewpoint is challenged time and time again as the series progresses. In later volumes, it’s challenged to the point she actually goes against her own morals on occasion. Particularly in volumes 7 and 8.

Also, as far as this trailer is concerned, hindsight is 20/20. Now that I’ve watched the series, I know she’s not overpowered. Far from it. She’s actually fairly weak in many ways that almost cripple her in the early volumes. Particularly, her social skills are completely lacking at the start of Volume 1. Her skill in combat is what earns her the respect of others when her awkwardness, and failure to spread her personal message doesn’t.

The Lyrical Symbolism

The opening lyrics go like this: “Red like roses fill my dreams and brings me to the place you rest. White is cold and always yearning. Burdened by a royal test. Black the beast descends from shadows. Yellow beauty burns… Gold.”

What I’d like to point out is that while these lyrics take nods to the main four girls, they also all apply to the way Ruby sees the world.

Now she’s just a young teenager at the start of this series.

About fifteen years old, and due to this the lyrics are simplistic. This mirrors the way she treats her teammates in Volume 1, and the conflicts she will ultimately have to face throughout the volume.

Weiss is cold by her nature at first, and always striving to be the best.

Failure isn’t an option for Weiss, and she treats Ruby like a naive child for a strong majority of Volume 1. Even when she’s being nice to Ruby, it’s the same sort of niceness you’d give to a child. Probably a young one that says things without knowing any better. It isn’t until Volume 2 that Weiss truly begins to see Ruby as an intellectual equal, instead of a child.

Blake is a shadow that looms over Ruby. A person she can’t understand or even get close to.

Every time Ruby attempts to reach out, Blake keeps her distance. This culminates in the final conflict of Volume 1, where Blake is so far out of her reach, that Ruby’s own voice gets lost between her teammates. While Blake runs off and Weiss is quick to anger, the burden to keep her team together falls on Ruby’s shoulders. She doesn’t handle it very well at all, requiring Yang to mollify Weiss.

Yellow beauty is a nod to Yang, Ruby’s older sibling. In the series, Ruby idolizes her at first.

Yang’s popular, has a lot of friends, she is more mature and she’s beautiful. As a younger sibling, Ruby has a lot to live up to. The nods to Summer Rose are certainly prevalent in the song, but the nods to Yang are too.

Entering into Beacon Academy, is terrifying for Ruby. As much as it’s her dream to be a huntress, it’s not her dream to be a team leader. It’s not her dream to be in the spotlight, and it’s not her dream to hold all of that immense responsibility on her shoulders.

All Ruby wants to do is help people… nodding back to the religious symbolism and missionary work, the message that Ruby truly wants to spread becomes difficult for her to talk about in Volume 1. This showcases in the “Black and White” arc. Team unity, helping others, and finding her own place as a “normal girl, with normal knees”. All of that truly takes a back seat to being a team leader. All of this is buried deep in the subtext of the lyrics, and it is truly masterful.

Now on a quick nod to the Grimm:

Let’s talk about the early Beowolf design. I actually like this design better than the show’s counterpart. They look feral and vicious, something to truly be intimidated by. I think the different design we received in Volume 1 was good, but this one is just better in my opinion.

Take notice, they have bloody looking mouths and eyes. They have a shadowy coat and wispy looking claws.

It seems as though they are truly creatures spawned by the depths of hell itself. 

With Grimm looking like this, it fits the lyrics better in my opinion. The implication is that it is her dream to become a huntress. Their red mouths and eyes are a nightmare. They fill her dreams with that nightmare, and the only way to be at peace with herself is to become a slayer of those nightmares, the creatures of Grimm.

Meanwhile, The Volume 1 Beowolves are plated with bone and white claws. There’s nothing wrong with them, they just look more like an animal and less like a hellspawn.

That’s the point I take from the song personally. Without the context of Grimm design “Red like roses” sounds like Ruby’s focused on the horrors of blood and carnage. While it is still completely serviceable to utilize the song that way, the lyrics lose some of their poetic charm under that new lens.

There isn’t much more for me to say about the RWBY Red Trailer. I can’t compliment it more without digging into Ruby’s character. Since this is just supposed to cover her trailer, I’ll have to refrain for now. I have plenty to say about her, but, that will need to wait until I cover the RWBY volumes properly.

All in all, the RWBY Red Trailer is a foundational touch-stone of the series. It’s helped to shape the fandom that we know today. It gave us our first tastes of RWBY as a series, and Ruby Rose the character.

 At first, we fans didn’t know quite what to expect, and that alone held our collective interests. Since the series is still ongoing, and it hasn’t died a slow death yet, I’ll let that impressive accomplishment speak for itself.

In the next analysis I’m going to cover the RWBY White Trailer

 Do you want more content until then? Well, Kreshenne and I have a Twitch account. We stream games every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. 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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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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Kern’s RWBY Red Trailer Retrospective

Please don’t forget to follow the blog. You can check out our platforms for great content too! It would be best to follow us on Twitter in order to see all of the content we have to offer as it comes out. This includes gaming live streams, and YouTube video essays regarding anime and other media.

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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.

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

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.”

Then 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.

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Final Thoughts

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.

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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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RWBY Analysis: How Mine Works

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Hello everyone, it’s almost time for my full breakdown of the RWBY series. I will be doing that by making YouTube videos and accompanying blog posts.

Before I do that, I wanted to make this post. Under my previous pen-name, and under my old blog, I had begun doing a retrospective episode-by-episode review of the RWBY series, and I plan to revitalize it and bring it here. I will also be doing analysis content too. The blog posts will also include the video that goes along with it. That way you can watch the video instead of reading about it, if you wish to.

The first two videos, and the blogs regarding the RWBY Red Trailer will go out on Friday, April 9th. This is going to be a massive undertaking, but I really love the RWBY series, so it’s about time I throw my hat in the ring and do more than write fan fiction.

In order to do that, I think it would be best that you understand my way of thinking. This post will contain my analytical basis and how I’ve decided to analyze each episode.

Firstly, I need to issue a standard disclaimer before I begin. Every analysis and review post regrading RWBY will cover my thoughts and opinions on the show. With that being said, an opinion is strictly that. It’s not meant to force you to agree with me.

In fact, I suspect many of you will disagree on several points. I heavily encourage you to formulate your own opinions on the series, as that is the hallmark of a healthy and functional fandom.

The Basis for Analysis

There are four key points that I use for any analysis. They are the following:

  • Diversity of opinion
  • Culture
  • Personal experience
  • Critique

These are in no particular order of importance, but they are things that I use. That being said diversity of opinion, culture, personal experience and critique are fundamental in fandom. This inclusion is the only way to keep a fandom from stagnating. No two minds will think exactly alike. It is important to respect each other, even if we don’t see eye-to-eye.

These four things are what I use to analyze any show, and that includes RWBY. Therefore, I’d like to discuss each one and how it applies to this analysis of the RWBY series.

Opinion

As you can guess this is going to impact my entire view of the show. The awesome, the terrible, and everything in-between. If I like something, I like it. If I don’t like something, I don’t. It’s that simple.

For example, I love the food fight scene in Volume 2. To me, that scene is awesome! That being said, it breaks all logic as we know it in the show. So even while I praise it, I will also point out that it is a very broken scene connotically. 

When a swordfish can remain a functional weapon while pillars are breaking and ceilings are being smashed through, it’s broken.

Awesomely broken, but broken none the less under a strict analysis. That’s why I will also be doing reviews along with analysis content. I cannot simply disregard scenes that break the mold. I wouldn’t want to, because they’re vastly important. The series was created by Monty Oum, and Monty had a rule. He called it “The Rule of Cool”.

If something seemed cool to animate or even just plain stupid fun, sometimes he put it in the show. The food fight scene sticks out to me as one of these moments.

The early volumes, particularly 1, 2 and 3 have plenty of “The Rule of Cool” moments in them. They break logic for the sake of entertainment, and that is a totally functional purpose. Later volumes also have these moments, but they aren’t done in the same way, and therefore shouldn’t be compared. Each volume as it’s own take on these moments, and they evolve accordingly, so to hold them all up to the same level would be flat out stupid.

However, if I were to disregard these moments, or bypass them entirely, I would be doing the series a huge injustice because these scenes are memorable and loved by fans.

Culture

Culture is in everything. You can’t avoid it. Sure, it has its problems sometimes. It’s not perfect, and it never will be. Culture sometimes changes, it sometimes shifts.

Without culture, we don’t have customs or traditions. We don’t have touchstones. Without it, we lose a great deal of our personal identity. Culture shapes all of us, in some ways it’s obvious. In some ways it isn’t. 

I’m a white person that has an extended family of mixed race. My niece and nephew have much darker skin tones than I do, and a culture that is not the same as my own. Therefore I’ve seen what happens firsthand when people use culture and race as a weapon to do harm.

My worldview is shaped through that lens, and when it comes to RWBY, I take issue on several fronts regarding cultural diversity and the lack of it within the series. I see both sides of the coin when it comes to the concepts of culture and diversity within the RWBY series.

Or rather, allow me to say it like this; I see what the story was trying to do, I also see how it failed massively.

However, I don’t see this failing as something completely useless. There are useful things to discuss even within the confines of that failing. I will be doing just that.

For a perfect example: while the racial implications in the series are certainly poorly attempted most of the time, that level of idiocy does mirror society in a LOT of ways. This is 100% a product of social failings, where people are blinded to the problems at hand.

I’d say in some cases this is actually what makes the racism in RWBY so powerful. We don’t see the Faunus plight very well, and in my opinion there is no worst sort of racism than the type that no-one cares to see. The sort of systemic racism that no one sees as a problem in the first place, or even if they do see it as a problem, aren’t inclined to rise up against it. When racism becomes so normalized it becomes a non-issue to the general public, it’s sickening.

I’d argue that this is the sort of systemic racism the RWBY series attempts to depict even as early as Volume 1. I have en example. No one steps up to help Velvet, although someone should have.

Even Pyrrha Nikos doesn’t lift a finger to be of help. She may be disgusted by what she sees, and even makes a comment to her friends about it. Think about that for a moment. The most altruistically inclined characters like Ruby and Pyrrha don’t stand up against Velvet’s mistreatment.

Yet, Pyrrha Nikos also tells Jaune “I really will break his legs” in regards to Cardin’s bullying of Jaune. If he had wanted her to intervene, she would have.

This proves my point that mistreating Faunus is considered a normal behavior for the characters in RWBY. It’s just the way things are, and even the characters that ideologically find it awful, see no need to lend a hand. Perhaps in a way, they see no point to do so, finding it a struggle they couldn’t win anyway.

The show is mostly through the eyes humans and not the Faunus themselves, so of course what would be depicted is through the eyes if the blindly privileged.

However, the fact the show often fails the Faunus and the real world implications are a point of concern. It is something I will be bringing up from time to time.

But, let me be clear.

Racism is awful, it is toxic, but that sort of normalized racism does exist in reality. It has through history, and that is just a fact. The failings of the show is not that racism is depicted in this way, but that ultimately, the one person who should have a voice to add to this nuance doesn’t often have the chance to voice it.

The Faunus plight is not often shown though the eyes of Blake Belladonna. Rather we see more meaningful scenes through the eyes of Sun or Ilia, and to me this poses the biggest issue when it comes to the Faunus plight.

With Blake Belladonna being a main character, central to the show in fact, her opinions should have been shown more in the totality of the volumes. We should have seen both sides of the coin more conclusively. The vast majority should not merely be the side of privilege that the humans of the series entertain. Then again, with the vast majority of main cast members being human, this ideology makes sense to a degree as well.

The issue isn’t a simple one, and there isn’t a “cut and dry” solution, either. The show could have very easily swung in the opposite direction, too. Blake and the other Faunus could have been over the top. That would have seemed preachy and on the nose.

Given my own personal family ties, I have a very particular perspective on this. However, I’ll speak more on that when I dive into the episodes where this becomes an issue. I won’t harp on Volume 1 too much, as it isn’t until Volumes 2 and 3 where Blake is a known Faunus among her team and trusted friends.

Personal Experience

Opinions and cultural backgrounds are powerful enough modifiers to change analysis on their own. However, personal experience adds to that in a way nothing else can.

All of our personal struggles and achievements are very different. No two people will have the exact same experience. My personal experiences certainly impacts the way I view RWBY, and the way I analyze it.

When it comes to the themes of the show, personal experience holds a lot of value to all of us as fans. It is what makes the characters relatable. Weather we like to admit it or not, it builds the foundation of whether or not we agree with the characters and what they do.

For example, I think Jacques is a terrible father, but I also don’t think Taiyang is a good father either. I think they’re both horrible in their own ways. One is just an asshole, and the other is just a flawed man. However they both have shortcomings as parents, and I will be addressing that.

Furthermore, I think Yang is certainly not the “best” older sibling in a lot of ways early in the series. I find that she is not a good role model or even all that supportive where it truly counts early on. That is not to say she is a bad character, far from it. If she was perfect in every way, that would be flat out bad writing from a narrative perspective. She’s just not perfect, either, as no one should be.

I’ll be highlighting those moments, since they appear constantly in Volume 1, and have resurfaced again in volumes 7 and 8. This does not mean that I hate Yang, or that I don’t enjoy her time on screen. It just means that I’m not going to let her, or any character slip through the cracks when they cross major a line. They all do from time to time, but if I call a character out on it, that doesn’t mean I inherently hate them.

I do have characters I hate, mind you. However, that’s just personal opinion. I won’t just bash them even if they aren’t one of my favorites. Most characters in the series have good qualities. Characters commonly on the chopping block for harsh criticism usually have their merits too, and I won’t ignore that.

All of this finally brings me to the last point…

Critique

All three of the above modifiers shape the critical thinking required to analyze a show like RWBY. My talking points, the issues I take with the show, and the praise I give the series all of that comes from the factors I’ve just listed. There are times I may overthink something, or not think much of it at all.

Either way, my critique is never going to be the end-all, be-all of a series.

If anything, it is just one deep dive of many. My love for the show, and hatred of some aspects are based upon the foundations that have shaped me into the person I am today, and I cannot completely remove myself from that lens. Although I will attempt to be as objective as possible.

Got all of that? 

Good, let’s move onto one last caveat. I believe strongly in the phrase “show, don’t tell”. This means that I won’t be taking about anything that isn’t in the series as factual, or even cannon. If it is *NOT* in the RWBY media someplace, it is *NOT* going to be considered for analysis. 

Furthermore, I’m going to consider RWBY a greater universe. Think Sailor Moon or comics in general. The light novels, manga, games, and animated series are all RWBY, but sometimes they heavily contradict each other or “retcon” something.

In general my analysis series, I will only be using what the media itself contains for its analysis. The other RWBY media will get it’s own separate analysis when it is time to do so.

In Closing

There is plenty to unpack regarding RWBY as a series, from in-depth critique of the show, character analysis, reviews and more. I plan to do just that.

Well, that’s about all I have to say for this post. With this out of the way, I can begin the analysis properly. 

Now I can dive into the series, starting where it all began. The RWBY Red Trailer with both an analysis and a retrospective review. They will be separate posts with differing content. One is critically based analysis, the other is just an opinionated review.

Both videos and blog posts will be posted on April 9th, which is this Friday. Keep in mind that patron supporters get videos a day early. Anyway, I shall see you Friday with this double post of content. 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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