Tag Archives: Winter Schnee

RWBY Ice Queendom Episode 1 Review

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, finally ready to begin reviewing the RWBY Ice Queendom series properly. In all honesty, it was off to a shaky start when the first three episodes released as promotional hype.

You can read all about my RWBY Ice Queendom first impressions here. That’s just a broad look at the first three episodes, mind you. For now let’s dive into the actual and proper review, shall we?

To begin, I want to say that the first episode is as rushed as it could possibly be. I don’t think anyone should go into this anime as their first experience with RWBY. It isn’t exactly what I would call a strong start for those unfamiliar with the main series.

You see, we knew going into Ice Queendom that the first two episodes would rehash a lot of plot elements from Volume 1. My god, did it ever do that… but I’m going to be honest here. It is super fast, and it’s not for a non-fan to try to absorb.

No newbie can hope to truly understand the depth of what is actually going on without having seen Volume 1 of the original show first… so if you’re going to watch Ice Queendom, awesome!

Just… uh… watch Volume 1 first too, okay? I promise if you did feel a little lost, don’t be too concerned… even I felt a little lost, but we could have a diamond in the rough here, so let’s not be too hasty.

That said, we did get some pretty stellar moments, and we got some clunky ones. Spoilers ahead, be warned

If they were going to re-hash volume one, they should have done it from scratch. Enough is changed in this iteration to argue a complete and total overhaul. Here’s the thing, the first volume of RWBY is only two hours long. That means they could have rehashed all of what they needed to do in six episodes (no I’m not joking). They should have done that.

Take for example the Weiss battle from the RWBY White Trailer and compare that fight to this one. The battle is cleaner in Ice Queendom for sure, but it lacks some of the emotional character development we get from the Weiss Trailer and her introduction song. Also, the battle feels just a little rushed and choppy. Thanks to the break-away scenes with Blake and Adam running around doing a separate fight entirely, the combat feels very segmented.

Winter’s inclusion so early in Ice Queendom is a welcome addition, but it is just a little jarring without context… Winter wasn’t in the RWBY White Trailer and didn’t make an appearance until a later volume. The same is true for all the Schnee family.

It is very nice that some of these plot points were touched on in the first episode, but why not slow down and really contextualize it? I don’t understand the need to rush, and that is a bit annoying.

I do like this fight, though, and I think Studio Shaft had the best of intentions. It was merely that those intentions fell a little flat. The same is effectively true for a great deal of the first episode during the re-hash scenes. They’re a bit cobbled together, demanding you have some concept of the show to start with, and not particularly caring to slow down if you don’t.

That said, there is a highlight moment every now and then when Ice Queendom extrapolates where the original RWBY series never does. For example, at least Taiyang isn’t strangely absentee this time around, which is something I’ve brought up in my character analysis of him. His lack of development in the original series really paints him in a really bad light.

It’s nice to see him as the father we knew he could be, and not the complete jerk-ass father that the original series implies him to be. Again, super nice gem here. Whoever had the mind to add this in and push it through should get a standing ovation.

Taiyang’s scenes with Yang, and later Ozpin, really help to flesh out what Volume 1 failed to really cover earnestly.

However, a few good narrative calls doesn’t help the show when the rest of it can be somewhat crammed together at such a break-neck pace. There’s little room to breathe.

This may sound harsh, but I’m not trying to rip on the show here.

I’m just pointing out that there are some really good choices when the creators choose to take the time to flesh things out. When they do, it’s amazing. When they choose not to take that time, it’s obvious. In some ways that’s very annoying to me as a fan.

Ice Queendom is “canon adjacent” or so they call it. That means some canon remains the same, and some become different… when you do this, you need to be clear about what changes and how it changes.

You can’t be vague about this. Many of us aren’t coming into the series with fresh eyes. We’re coming in as fans from the original show. We have preconceived notions and biases that needed to be challenged under these new ideologies.

In any case when the fights are this clean, they’re pretty good. If you just want action with no combat choreography or subtext, this will do you just fine. It feels fun and it’s entertaining, that’s for sure.

Once again though, welcome to my biases at play here. I’m a huge fan of the original show, there is a lot to live up to here in terms of combat. This show has big shoes to fill and I’m not entirely sure that it could have hoped to live up to the original fight scenes.

If you want actual choreography that sticks with you and hits home, this just won’t hold a candle to a lot of the battles in Volume 1. Sorry, but for me it holds true. If you don’t mind losing some of the charm of choreography and just want a good brawl, this will do just fine as it is though… it’s serviceable.

In losing some of the charm in the fights, we do lose a little something in the characters too. That is the main issue here.

All of the characters feel watered down and distilled in ways that just pull me out of the experience. Yang especially feels so watered down I don’t even recognize her as Yang anymore. We just don’t have the time with her to really get a sense of who she is, what she wants, or how she feels as an aspiring huntress.

There is no combat at the bar scene to really amp up her temperament, or showcase some of her poor decision making. To highlight my point look at these two comparison photos.

Let’s be real honest here guys, which one best represents the Yang that’s adventuresome, ready to throw down in a fight? Yang is a complicated, deep character. She spends all of volume one trying to get Ruby to go out and make friends, find her own way, get on her own team, and become a huntress. That’s not the Yang I see portrayed in Ice Queendom even slightly… she doesn’t get enough screen time to get that portrayal.

Now, that’s not to say I expect Yang to be the same… or any character for that matter. At this point in time, I just don’t know who she even is as a character. I’m a huge RWBY fan. I should have a very firm idea of who Yang is, but she’s not really anything at the moment.

I want to know who these girls are in this iteration of the show, and the show itself doesn’t seem to want us to know.

It’s like that with all of the characters to one degree or another, even Weiss… considering Weiss is supposed to be the focal point, that’s a problem here. I’m only using Yang as just the most notable problem with this in the first episode… and I know it will be a problem with JNPR in episodes two and three because I’ve already seen those episodes.

You can’t scream canon adjacent in one breath, and fail to really take the time to flesh out these characters in the earliest episodes. I just don’t think that’s the best way to endear fans to a series that we’re not coming in completely blind on.

So my final thoughts on RWBY Ice Queendom are simple. Let’s wait and see. It might be a trash fire, it might get really good. As of right now, there’s just no way to tell. There are enough tidbits to make me feel like we’re going to get something good, and enough red flags to have me concerned. Either way, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Another take on episode 1 can be found here, reviewed by DoubleSama. I’m not entirely sure that they have seen the original RWBY series, but I do think their take adequately describes some of the confusion a person might feel if they are going into RWBY Ice Queendom entirely blind, or rusty on the wider show. That’s why it might be worth it to give it a look.

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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Writing Fan Fiction – Consider The Characters

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. I’ve written a few posts about “fan fiction” before, basically centered around the impact of fandom and how to combat writers block.

These posts are not for people that want to be best selling authors. If you want to do that, you shouldn’t be writing fan fiction. They’re also not for those looking to make a quick buck, as that’s not the heart and soul of what fan fiction is. .. not to mention, that’s a questionable act besides.

No, these posts are low stress, low expectation, built around discussions based on a hobby that I care for greatly. I know many other people do too. When it comes to fan fiction, I read it, I write it and I love it.

I am such a huge supporter of fan fiction that I even choose to to read it over many best selling books. I made a blog post regarding that already. However, my view stands strong and I’m not likely to change that opinion any time soon. You can check that one out if you care to, I’ve linked it for your convenience.

To be succinct though, my preference comes down to the way the medium is handled. It isn’t perfect, far from it.

Fan fiction often lacks the punchier written format we expect from professionals, and to me that’s the main appeal. It will always be a diamond in the rough. That’s usually a good thing, as it means fans are enjoying thier ability to explore thier own creativity.

With my views of fan fiction laid bare and transparent for all to see, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes of this post. First though, I have an important question for you…

What is the one thing a good story cannot do without?

Well, there’s only one thing really… characters. Well-written, compelling characters are the single strongest asset to the fan fiction medium.

Fan fiction will inevitably be separated from other writing styles simply because the concept has already been laid out in front of you. Whatever your fandom of choice, there are already fans of it. You’ve already been given a set of predetermined parameters in which to work with. When we talk about gaming, anime, movies and television, the characters within the series are by far the bread and butter of any piece of writing.

The reason for this is because established characters we know and love are ones that we want more of. When the main series ends or takes a break, the fandom remains. It’s fun to interpret major set pieces in your own way. The characters are typically the first touch-stone fans use to do that… now clearly they aren’t the only building block of importance, but they are the one I want to look at today.

Aside from a few key examples where settings, and their obligatory set pieces become particularly noteworthy, those things will never tower over the characters themselves in a fan written work. When you boil it all down, the reason why is simple…

A story is about what happens, and the characters are who it happens to...

If characters aren’t compelling, readers just won’t give a rat’s ass what happens to them. Impeccable action sequences and mindfully placed drama doesn’t add anything if we can’t be brought to care about who those things are happening to.

No amount of skillful writing can save a story that has poorly written characters. Thankfully in the world of fan fiction, you aspiring writers out there already have a perfect template. The characters you know and already love. You’ve got the whole tool chest right in front of you. You know how they should look, you how they sound, you know their dialogue and vocal patterns.

The characters in the fandom you’re writing for have already been made. Like a child playing pretend, it’s up to you to decide how you want to play around with your imagination. There’s all kinds of ways you can do this.

You can choose to subvert what you know. I highly suggest this. Add a little flair, amplify key character traits and lessen others to background static to suit your needs in your fan fiction. Do you want to take your favorite action hero and cram him in a coffee shop? You can do that. Actually, funnily enough coffee shop fan fiction tends to be pretty popular too.

What to mix and match your favorite characters across different series, you can do that too! I’ve done that myself using Final Fantasy XI and RWBY. Both series have a lot of the same thematic elements, personal character struggles and compelling undertones to explore. These two series play off of each other particularly well for combat too.

Don’t believe me? Find a mage in a Final Fantasy game that casts “haste”, and then check out Weiss Schnee when she battles with yellow dust during Roman’s fight Atleasian Paladin in the RWBY series.

The clock Weiss makes for Blake really is a neat thing. and the skill as a dust mage plays off logic found in the mages of Final Fantasy games.

Both of these skills do the same thing. Speed up character attacks. These are two universes I absolutely love, and combining aspects of both really appealed to me. Putting aspects of both into the same fan fiction was just par for the course for me.

For my fan fiction, I chose to take Curilla V Mecru from the video game Final Fantasy XI, and place her into the RWBY universe in my fandom related writing.

Why was I compelled to do this? Easy, it’s because Curilla’s homeland of San d’Oria reminds me heavily of the kingdom of Mistral in RWBY.

This mixed with the fact that she shares so many common personality traits with Weiss Schnee and Winter Schnee of RWBY makes me wonder what these characters would be like if they could be friends (and perhaps romantic interests).

I decided to explore that, and fan fiction was my gateway through that journey.

The takeaway; the key of good characterization is to focus upon what interests you the most.

We’re likely to notice the aspects of characters that mean the most to us. Perhaps it’s their fighting style, their personality, or maybe it’s just the way they chose to dress. There are always aspects we, as fans, cling onto. Traits we love and tidbits we’re drawn to. However, it’s not just what we love about the characters that matters. It’s typically a well placed character flaw that seems the most interesting to explore.

Ultimately we won’t be brought to love every single thing about our favorite character. To be sure, if there isn’t a flaw someplace… well, that’s a huge issue and it is bad writing. You can still love a flaw while respecting that it is a flaw, though. When writing, play with those flaws and your readers will thank you.

At the end of the day fan fiction thrives not on the story you craft, but the interesting dynamics of the characters and world you showcase through your own eyes.

This has been Kernook of the Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time. Meanwhile, check out some of our other great content below. Be sure to join us over on Patreon to support more content like this. Also, we have a Twitch channel for gaming, come check us out!

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