Tag Archives: Yang Xiao Long

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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Script RWBY White Trailer Analysis

Hello everyone, it’s Kernook here, and it’s time for my RWBY White Trailer analysis. This is not to be confused with my review of the trailer. That is a separate video.

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Before I begin, I just want to make it clear that this is not the first video production of my analysis series, and there is other content available. There was a lull in making these videos as they take time to make, and I was super slow with them for a larger number of reasons. That being said, the RWBY Red Trailer Analysis and the RWBY Red Trailer Review were completed some time ago, and these two blog posts each come with video content as well.

Kern’s RWBY Red Trailer Analysis

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.

Kern’s RWBY Red Trailer Retrospective

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.

At the time though, admittedly, I was still figuring out my personal style at the time. Due to that, you’ll notice a lack in the quality of those older videos compared to the video that I have for you today.

RWBY White Trailer Retrospective Review

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.

In any case, after those two posts were complete, I slowly moved onto Weiss Schnee and the RWBY White Trailer Review. From this point on, I’m going to assume you have some insight into the RWBY series, and that you’ve watched at least the first volume.

If you haven’t done that, go watch the series. It is free on the Rooster Teeth website. As always, please support the official release.

You can either read the blog post or watch the video. I hope you enjoy this trailer analysis.

RWBY White Trailer Analysis

The video production of this particular blog post.

Previously, in my RWBY Red Trailer analysis, which can be found on this blog here, I stated that the RWBY series has a lot of themes embedded deeply into the subtext of the narrative. That despite the many flaws within the show, there rests a much deeper and compelling story than you’d find on the surface. Fan theories take on a life of their own, and perspectives on the show are as vast and deep as you can imagine.

Therefore this is only my take on the series. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I say, and I don’t consider my viewpoint to be the end-all, be-all interpretation of the show. This is only how I’ve interpreted the series, so please bear that in mind.

With the mindset that hindsight in the RWBY series really is of utmost importance, let’s go back and study all that the RWBY White Trailer has to offer when it comes to understanding Weiss Schnee. Before we do that, though, we must reflect upon a few lyrics found in the RWBY Red Trailer. It is absolutely paramount to do so, because all of the trailers build upon one-another for the greater narrative.

I’ve stated before that Ruby’s trailer is a simple view of the world. A nutshell, if you will. The lyrics that reference Weiss in the song Red Like Roses state this:

This is the first real interpretation we have of Weiss. Furthermore, this is a very apt description of the RWBY White Trailer and the themes of the RWBY series in regards to Weiss Schnee. Moreover, it allows us a lens upon which to view the RWBY White Trailer. You couldn’t get more obvious about that unless the creators beat you over the head with with the concept using Nora’s hammer, but I digress.

So, here we are then, in the RWBY White Trailer, and one such royal test is playing out in plain view. Weiss is on stage, and she’s about to sing a song, all while facing up against a rather formidable opponent in her memories. Her introductory character song is named “Mirror Mirror” which is more than a little fitting.

In my RWBY White Trailer review, I mentioned the fact that the song almost breaks the fourth wall. That Weiss seems to be speaking to us, the viewers as if we were the mirror in question. When I said this, I was using the lyrics as a basis for this assessment. At the time of this trailer, we have no voice acting. The song composition and battle mechanics were all that we had to go on.

Using the ethos that the trailers help to train the viewer to really enjoy the RWBY series to the fullest, subtext is the foremost tool that a viewer can use to dig into Weiss this early on.

So, let’s dive into the lyrics of Mirror Mirror, and how they apply to the greater narrative properly. The song begins with a soft and gentle melody along with these lyrics.

Mirror, tell me something,
Tell me who’s the loneliest of all?

The question is melancholic and gentle. At first, we can assume from this that Weiss is talking down to her reflection that stands upon the stage, her mirrored image. However, the lyrics then repeat and extrapolate further.

Mirror, tell me something,
Tell me who’s the loneliest of all?
Fear of what’s inside of me;
Tell me can a heart be turned to stone?

By this point, the song has reached a sense of urgency both in musical composition, and lyrical narrative. It is now almost bombastic compared to how the song started. At this point Weiss is reflecting on a battle she once had to face down, likely in recent memory.

It is at this point that we can begin to dig deeper into the content. We can begin to think outside of the box. I’ve always taken this to mean that perhaps Weiss isn’t speaking to her reflection at all, but rather the audience that she sings to. We viewers can be seen as part of that audience she performs for. These questions are abstract, but she’s asking for an answer.

This is a constant theme all through Volume 1 for Weiss Schnee. She is a teenage girl, standing in a place between her dreams and expectations. Aspirations melting under the weight of what she knows to be cold hard reality. The two cannot stand as equals. She often demands answers from others to find out what the truth really is.

A few key examples would be in Volume 1. Firstly, when she asks Professor Port why she shouldn’t be the leader of her team. Secondly, when Weiss and Blake fight in sections of the show such as “The Stray” or the “Black and White” finale in Volume 1. Weiss prefaces all of her moral questions with opinions, but really validation is a secondary goal in most of these cases. She’s looking to find a deeper truth hidden beneath what she finds to be mere conjecture.

Weiss isn’t always successful in her search for answers, but the context here gives us good reason for why she so easily comes to accept both Blake’s existence as a Faunus, and Professor Port’s rebuttal about leadership. People often say that having Weiss so readily accepting Blake at the end of Volume 1 was poorly handled, but as we can see, the subtext was here from the start.

If we look at this song from the viewpoint that Weiss is singing to us directly, and that we are the metaphorical mirror in question, then we are seeing the real person buried deep beneath the Schnee family mask. What we expect of her as a Schnee cannot live up to the reality, because she has no desire to act and think in such a way to begin with.

The next part of the song contains haunting operatic vocals, and while this is wonderful for atmosphere, it adds a context for Weiss as a person. We can see the true struggle that Weiss has within herself. The singing here is as delicate as it is strong. A tone that fights with its own duality. This could be seen as a window into the moral questions that Weiss wants answers for. She’s an inquiring mind, she demands these answers, they’ve just never been given in a way she can truly accept. There has always been something missing for her.

Continuing on, we have even further proof of her unanswered questions. The next set of lyrics give us insight to this, and once again there is an urgency here. The lyrics go like this:

Mirror, mirror, what’s behind you?
Save me from the things I see!
I can keep it from the world,
Why won’t you let me hide from me?

This, once again certainly reflects the struggles Weiss will face in Volume 1 surrounding her teammates, her academics, and her goals as a huntress. Her teammates and Professor Port will challenge her birthright given authority. Blake’s heritage as a Faunus will challenge the conjecture of the victim-hood Weiss carries around like a shield.

She sees the world in a way that terrifies her, it isn’t a safe place. She can’t trust it. She wants to, desperately so, but in these lyrics we see a terrified little girl screaming out at the world. A little girl that likely grew into what she became when Weiss decided to become a huntress. In this way, Weiss and Ruby are very similar.

While Ruby’s lyrics in Red Like Roses seems to compare herself with the world on a surface level, Weiss seems to use the lyrics in “Mirrior Mirrior” to pull that world inward. A reflection of it within herself that she cannot break free of. She is a product of her upbringing and she knows this. With an incredibly high intellect at her disposal, she can see the true nature of her own cruelty. She isn’t blind to it, and she even hates it. To a point, you may even say she hates herself.

However, to get rid of the qualities she dislikes about herself, would put her at risk too. She is more at peace with the things she doesn’t like about herself, than she is with the idea of letting them go.

She asks can a heart to to stone, after all? Can she hide from the darkest parts of herself?

That is the larger question, but for her narrative, the answer is no. She cannot be an unfeeling person, and despite herself, she isn’t a hateful person either.

She isn’t a bigot, even if it would be easier to simply hate Faunus. She distrusts them, but she doesn’t hate them. For her past and her upbringing it would be easier to see herself as superior because she is a Schnee. She knows there is no joy in that for her. There is no solace for a person who cannot find the greater good beyond the darkness of the world.

Weiss knows that, and it scares her.

Finally, we go back to the core question that Weiss has in the next set of lyrics. The selfsame question that began the whole song to begin with. We get one last repeat of the lyrics:

Mirror, mirror, tell me something,
Who’s the loneliest of all?

Weiss can only wonder this, because loneliness itself is a burden that cannot be understated. The trials and tribulations of Remnant are not things that characters should face alone. Be it the Faunus plight, grief, homelessness, the Grimm themselves, or so many other factors, it really doesn’t matter. Those struggles are not solitary fights, and in solitude they tend to end badly.

Even in the real world, the mindset Weiss keeps before the events of Volume 1 is impossible to uphold. You cannot discover yourself as a person without discovering the ideologies that best suit your personal ethos. To expect someone to forge their own path alone, with very little help at all, forges an echo chamber of negative thoughts. This cultivates dangerous biases that have to way to be challenged.

Weiss is isolated due to the way she sees the world, and those circumstances are not simple or easy to navigate. Doing so alone, as she feel she has, only complicates the issue. Letting go of her stringent upbringing and narrow views would bring Weiss validation, and a sense of belonging.

We know this to be true, and see the reality of this come to fruition in her later volumes and character songs. However, for now that fruition has yet to happen, and the song ends on these final lyrics:

I‘m the loneliest of all.

This is a statement, not a question, not this time. This means that she is telling us what she knows to be fact. She is lonely, she doesn’t like the person she is becoming. She doesn’t want to be this way, and if there were a way to change herself, she would. This is evidenced by all of her key character progression in Volume 1.

These are hard won battles for Weiss, no different than her hard won battle with the knight that leaves a scar on her face. It never comes easily for her. She had to relinquish blood, sweat, and tears to reach that victory, and in volume 1, she will go through that turmoil again.

In order to shape herself into a better person once more, she has to. That is the path Weiss really wants to take. In the depth of these questions, she knows continuing on as she is won’t make her happy.

We have one final clue to all of this insight, and it is found within the quote at the beginning of the trailer. It says this:

It is here that we find that direct line of sorrowful ideology. Weiss stands her ground in every emotional and physical fight she gets into during volume 1, but here we see how she really feels. In this quote, we see that she never thought Blake’s ideologies regarding Faunus to be something pointless. She never really though Ruby to be a lesser person. Instead, it comes down to one simple concept.

To Weiss those fights are worth having. Anything that matters at all, is a thing that matters enough to fight for, and to fight hard enough to win. This is why she continues pressing Blake about Faunus. To Weiss, fighting the matter out helps her to understand. That she eventually stands down in these arguments proves that she begins to understand the heart and soul beneath the battles.

To both Ruby’s leadership and Blake’s heritage, Weiss accepts these outcomes because they fought so hard for it. That they too, sought validation they way she does. That they too, while emotionally wounded, needed someone to listen.

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Weiss chose to listen, and in turn she finds a place to belong.

She finds her implied commonalities, because her teammates are not so different from herself. In the early volumes of the RWBY series, it all really comes down to the heart of the matter. For Weiss her strongest content and progression really comes down to teammates most of all. When it comes to fighting for ideologies in Volume 1, they are her strongest allies and adversaries. In later volumes, Yang plays a much larger role her progression particularly in volumes 2 and 3, when Weiss begins to act more carefree, and starts to take every day as it comes, an ideology that Yang seems to teach her. All of this is buried within everything the RWBY White Trailer has to offer.

This is why I say that Weiss’s choice at the end of Volume 1 didn’t come out of left field. It wasn’t abrupt. It wasn’t mishandled. It had no need to be extrapolated upon, because it was all here from the start. The subtext speaks loudly, nothing has gone to waste when it comes to outlining Weiss and her future among her team.

At the end of her trailer, she sees a glimpse of her mirrored image, and what she is capable of. For us, the image is blurry, but Weiss probably sees it clearly. She will ask the world her questions, she will demand answers. She will forge a new path because of them, that isn’t a spoiler, that’s simply her determination as a person at play.

It isn’t that Weiss wants the answers to her questions to be satisfying, it’s that she wants to know the truth. She can handle the truth, if it’s honest. We see this in all of the volumes. This is a character trait that never leaves Weiss, not even as late as Volume 8. Once she knows enough to get by, she leaves the inconsequential details by the wayside.

In volume 1, this culminates in her two largest arguments. Blake is no longer in the White Fang, and does not support their violence. Ruby is doing her best as a leader. Those facts are the ones that matter. When Weiss states that she doesn’t care to get into the finer details, that is honesty too. In truth, she doesn’t need to know them right then and there.

The fight was worth having, the insight she gained was enough.

Weiss is many unflattering things in Volume 1, but she is also honest. Even if it is sometimes to the point of cruelty. That she expects this same sort of honesty offered in return is something I will dive into when I dig into the meat of Volumes properly.

For now, this is where I leave the trailer. There is more to speak upon regarding Weiss. Her contradictions and flaws linger deep in the subtext, but I need to dive deep into the volumes to explain that, and those are other videos. In my next analysis, I’ll be covering Blake’s trailer analysis, so I hope to see you there.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Character Spotlight: Taiyang Xiao Long

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here, back with another character spotlight. Today I’ll be talking about Taiyang Xiao Long. This analysis content was voted on by our small Patreon community.

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For the first two volumes Taiyang Xiao Long is a non-character. We don’t know anything about the man. Then volume three hits and we get our first glimpse of him through Ruby’s monologue. This monologue is as deprecating as it is full of love. Ruby stands over her mother’s grave, Taiyang has wandered off someplace. Ruby mentions Yang has learned a lot of her combat style from their father, and finally he returns. We get a glimpse of him in the distance.

This is the first and last time that Taiyang will be referenced heavily as a man that is both deeply loving and terribly flawed to the point of no return. The next time we see him, he will display these traits, and you’ll either have to take him or leave him.

Honestly, I’ve always been rather conflicted in my views of Taiyang. The series paints him in a very distinct, often unflattering view. Honestly, it’s all very intentional when taken into view with the wider contexts of the show. To be honest though, I find it difficult not to take a separate set of issues with him as a character. My personal problems with him aren’t the ones that the series likes to wag a finger at.

The man has problems that aren’t addressed, but damn-well should be. This isn’t bad writing, the characters pointedly ignore or avoid his failings, and this leads to even larger problems.

Frankly, his bad habits have passed onto his daughters. To get into why, we need to look at what Taiyang is to Yang and Ruby. Namely he’s their father. He’s not a huntsman in their eyes, he’s just their dad.

We can see that’s how he wants to be viewed, and really, that’s all he’s got going for him these days. He may be a teacher at Signal, but we never see him teach or even mention his own abilities as an instructor.

The RWBY series has a very odd way of dealing with parents and parenting styles. This holds doubly true for the wider ethos of the hunting profession. Among parents and parental figures who take up the trade themselves, it can be a mixed bag. There is no stranger character as a huntsman than Taiyang Xiao Long himself. He is an enigma at best, a contradiction to everything a huntsman is at worst.

When it comes to the themes showcased within the wider narrative, Taiyang is the one of the most inconsistent characters when it comes to word and deed. Honestly that’s a very hard thing to do considering that he’s also internally consistent as a character.

Yeah, you read that correctly…

It isn’t that he’s a poorly written character, but rather that he’s just a guy that’s a hypocrite. He isn’t cut out to be a father and he knows it. I’m hesitant to call him a bad father, because I do think he does try to be a good one. However, I do think he has a toxic parenting style that lends itself to doing more harm than good, more often than not.

The key takeaway is that he knows he’s failed he daughters, you can see it in the way he acts. So, who is Taiyang Xiao Long, really? What do we know indisputably?

We know he’s the father of both Yang Xiao Long and Ruby Rose. We also know he’s a teammate (or perhaps more aptly put former teammate of the now defunct team STRQ). We know he has a somewhat messy relationship past, and we know that he allows his daughters to find trouble more often than not. That’s about it with this guy, right?

Or is it?

I say it isn’t… I know it isn’t… and I can prove it.

Fandom Perspective

Generally there’s a few ways to look at Taiyang, and it largely depends on how you see him as a character. I’ve said this before in my blog post about how I handle RWBY analysis content, which can be found here, but to paraphrase, many things impact the way we view something within a given show. RWBY as a series is no different.

Before I begin, do keep in mind that Taiyang can be viewed differently based on your own personal moral values, and what you personally deem important. You may see Taiyang in a different light than I do, and that’s perfectly okay.

Due to this detail, in fandom some depictions of Taiyang are much more flattering than others.

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Some people think he’s entirely useless both as a man and a father. Others believe he’s done the best with what he’s been given, and they feel bad for him. Another demographic tends to blame the writing in RWBY for his lack of strong and positive paternal role. No matter how you view him though, there’s no question Taiyang is a troubled man, just like Qrow.

He’s just harder to point the finger at, because generally Taiyang can be pretty likable when compared to other fathers in the show. Then again, there’s not a lot of strong competition in the fatherly line-up. Jacques is an unquestionable asshole any way you slice it, and Ghira is hit-and-miss depending on what angle you’re using to analyze him.

However, given the way Yang and Ruby were put into danger as children and that none of their key memories seem to include him, the harsher views placed upon Taiyang might not be a completely unfair assessment.

More importantly though, unlike other characters, we can’t look at the world through Taiyang’s lens. The guy doesn’t have one, or rather what he does have just isn’t logical or even realistic. He’s a man trapped in his own bubble, and that’s probably why Ruby and Yang act the way they do in the early parts of the show.

Don’t believe me?

Well, we just don’t see him interacting with a world outside of his home. Where other characters can display a core ethos regarding the world around them, Taiyang can’t do that. He’s stuck at home, and the scenes in which he is talking with others have an uncomfortable feel to them. To be honest, it just shows just how out of touch he is with characters and the world in which he lives. In the context of the wider series, he’s a nonsensical hermit at best..

Sadly, that nonsense becomes his ethos.

This is the scene that truly showcases how much of a hypercritical jerk Taiyang really is capable of turning into. When it least suits the situation, he acts out of turn. Yang and Taiyang end up having a petty fight similar to what we see back in volume 1 content. If you watch this scene and it feels like the same sort of bickering you’d hear from Yang and Ruby in volume 1, it should… that’s exactly the sort of stupidity it really is.

Within the scene, Bartholomew Oobleck and Peter Port are visiting him. They’re laughing it up, having a good time, and then Yang comes down the stairs. They talk about the Branwen twins in a less than favorable light, but up until that point Taiyang was acting up just as much as the other two… then the scene takes a sharp turn.

Word for word, Oobleck says this: “The Branwen twins have always been interesting to say the least.”

Then Professor Peter Port says this: “That sure didn’t seem to stop young Tai.”

From there Taiyang scolds them for saying that in front of his daughter. Peter rebuttals by saying that if Yang can fight monsters and train to be a huntress, she can handle the conversation going on around her. The truth is she can. She was handling the conversation just fine. I wouldn’t take an issue with Taiyang scolding them, but then Taiyang’s next comments are so damn insensitive and flat out idiotic that I wondered if volume 1 Weiss just manifested into his body out of the ass end of nowhere.

Read these lines and you’ll see what I mean.

Word for word, Taiyang say this: “Adult or not, you’ve still got a long way to go before you’re ready for the real world.”

That’s what Taiyang says when Yang says that she can be directly spoken to, like… funny that, an adult. Yang is university age, she’s not a child. She’s lost an arm to combat, and nearly lost her life once before that. If Raven hadn’t saved her in Volume 2, Yang would be dead. She’s lost friends, she’s seen hell at this point, and Ruby has gone off with the surviving members of JNPR.

Yet, Taiyang thinks that Yang is unready to live in the real world? The real world cut off her arm. The real world and the ramifications of being a huntress has been in front of her, and it has been for her entire life. Qrow’s drinking, her mother leaving her, Summer Rose is no longer with them, and Yang has faced near death experiences left and right since childhood.

Let’s be honest here guys, if she’s not ready for the harsh lessons of the real world by the time she goes off to Beacon Academy, what were the last seventeen years of her life really for? Moreover, why let a child go to Beacon Academy to face those dangers if she’s not ready for the adult realities that will inevitably bring?

Yang rightfully calls him out saying this: “Oh my god, does every father figure have the same three condescending phrases?”

Then Taiyang makes a jackass of himself: “Yeah, but we only use them when we mean it! If you honestly think that you’re ready to go out there on your own… Ha, well I guess you lost some brain cells along with that arm.”

Seriously, if that doesn’t feel like the early insult laden fights from the first volume, I don’t know what else would. Let’s be honest, that’s not only the wrong reaction to have, it’s a childish one for an adult man. His words and actions are so far from “okay” that everyone else in the room is taken aback by that statement.

Now to be fair to him, Yang eventually laughs it off. Still the fact she even has to laugh it off after the look she gives him prior, it really speaks volumes. That was a bridge too far for Taiyang, and it’s not okay. You don’t talk to your kid like that, not when she’s suffering from PTSD.

The hypocrisy is so prominent here, it’s a little disgusting. Peter can’t make a small joke at Tai’s expense, but Taiyang can say something like that to his own kid?

Sorry, no… hard no from me… no dice on that one… let’s just assume Peter crossed a line for Taiyang emotionally for a second. Even if so, you just don’t take that out on your kid. That’s vitriolic at best, and it is just a little emotionally abusive to say that to someone who just lost an arm in a fight for her life and the lives of her friends.

All of the above illiterates one thing. Taiyang never learned how to grow up. When characters like Sun, Ren and Jaune can act more like grown men than the actual father in the series, you need to take a few steps back and understand that this is all very intentional.

Taiyang is a troubled soul, he’s lost a great deal, and unlike Jaune Arc’s loss of Pyrrha Nikos, Taiyang’s loss of Summer Rose didn’t forge him into a better man than he was….

It downright crippled him.

Again though, I’m not saying Taiyang is an inherently bad man. Far from it. He’s not awful, he’s just not aware of himself or the wider world. He’s out of touch with what it means to be a family man, a father, and a person respectful of his own daughter’s limitations. He doesn’t know how to be more than he is… a man that has anger management issues much like his daughter, and a man that doesn’t learn from his mistakes… unlike Yang and Ruby who continue to learn from their own.

This is also what I mean by Yang and Ruby also keep and showcase his failings. Where he hasn’t grown from his troubles and tribulations, they obviously do. In Volume 4, Yang’s come a long way from the Yellow Trailer version of herself that grabbed Junior’s crotch. She’s mellowing by the day at this point, due in large part to her teammates. Ruby’s not the sort of person that babbles inconsistent nonsense so much anymore, like she did when facing Weiss down in Volume 1.

This scene when viewed in the context of the wider show just proves his lack of responsibility, and the responsibility he hypocritically expects from his children. Particularly, since if he actually feels that Yang is still a child, he never should have allowed Yang to wander to a bandit camp on another continent all by herself. If he doesn’t actually feel that way, why say something not only entirely insensitive, but also factually untrue?

Based on the events of the series as they’ve been portrayed by everyone, including himself, the hypocrisy here shows in spades.

This is where we get into the core problem of Taiyang Xiao Long. He’s a loving father who just doesn’t know how to be a parent. Unlike the Schnee family patriarch, Jacques could have likely been a wonderful father if he just gave a rat’s ass to be one. Taiyang never really grew up and simply can’t be a wonderful father, because at the end of the day, he’s still immature himself.

That is the core takeaway of this man. Taiyang doesn’t know how to be a father, and he never really learned at all. He ended up muddling his way through life without important lessons being learned the first time… which is why so many mistakes repeat over and over for his daughters.

Taiyang Xiao Long and Questionable Parenting

While even troubled characters such as Qrow and Raven seem to keep tabs on Yang and Ruby, Taiyang simply doesn’t. At the very end of the fourth volume, he sends Yang on her way to go meet with her bandit of a mother, Raven. That is a questionable detail, given just how dangerous the world of Remnant truly is. While Qrow at least follows Ruby’s rebuilt team, Taiyang stays behind… and this is a large theme with Taiyang in general… emotionally, he’s never really there when he’s needed.

Raven at least saves Yang during the train incident in volume 2, and she doesn’t flat out lie to Yang or skirt the details in any scene with her daughter. She is always honest with Yang, though she is also sometimes cruel about that honesty. Meanwhile, Taiyang can be cruel as shown by the scene above, but his dishonesty puts Yang and Ruby in danger as small children. Lies of omission are dangerous ones in the RWBY series, and they always end with something bad happening.

Refusing to talk about Raven until he absolutely must is a key problem for Taiyang.

The central flashback scene in which Yang describes the danger, it’s Qrow that shows up to save them in the flashback. She was able to sneak out with Ruby after Taiyang left the house. She says Ruby was a toddler at the time. Qrow saved the day, thankfully, or else they’d both be dead. This sort of inaction from Taiyang continues even when Taiyang becomes a fully realized character in the show.

Taiyang doesn’t leave with Yang at the end of volume 4. In volume 8, Taiyang just stands there and looks at the television screen when it cuts off, standing there and hoping Ruby comes back online. Frankly, the series makes one firm and clear depiction of Taiyang throughout the series.

Taiyang is not an active father, he’s largely inactive until he’s forced to act at all. Raven is absentee physically, but it’s Taiyang who is absentee emotionally. He may have put a roof over their heads, but he didn’t raise his daughters…

Let me be clear: he tried to, perhaps, the glimpses are there. Yet, to be honest, his failings are also clear in the lack of regard characters keep for him in general.

Yang can blow up bars in her character trailer, Ruby can pick a fight with thugs in the first episode of volume 1, but Taiyang is nowhere to be found in those incidents. His daughters can pointedly find trouble and danger as little girls, but all we know from Taiyang is that he wouldn’t tell Yang anything about her past.

He won’t talk about Raven until volume 4, when he has no other choice. Truth be told, it’s not the conversation Yang really needs to hear. Even that falls onto Raven’s shoulders. Taiyang isn’t the one to impart crucial details about the dangers of working with Ozpin.

I *would* call it bad writing, if we didn’t have such a clear and pointed view of the other family figures being referenced in the early volumes. Ruby discusses how Qrow trained her. Yang makes mention that Summer Rose was a lot like a “Super Mom”, but where’s Taiyang in those references? While Raven and Qrow both get rescue moments to save Yang, and Summer Rose is praised for being an influential figure, Taiyang doesn’t get anything like that.

He has no clear and pointed memorable mention of which to speak of. He has no moment to really stand out as a good father to them. By the time we get one, it’s already clouded over by the way he hasn’t been mentioned, and the ass he makes of himself.

Meanwhile, a drunk Uncle Qrow is regarded in a better light than their own father. While smashing up the campus with Winter Schnee, Ruby cheers for his actions. We really do need to question why… and that’s not to say Qrow doesn’t get a wake-up call as Ruby grows up. He gets a hard one by Ruby Rose standards in volume 6, but Taiyang never faces any repercussions like that.

Like Qrow, he really should have gotten the firm wake-up call, but for him it never comes. I really cannot let Taiyang slide on that one point.

The continued danger his daughters face, aren’t things he has any firm or direct dealings with. The times he has the opportunity, he fails to live up to it. Even just seeing him make a mad dash for the door in volume 8 before the screen cuts off would have been better than the way he just sits there. At this point he continues to prove he’s entirely useless to anything and everything.

The Belladonna parents get their moment to redeem themselves along with the Faunus of Menagerie. We get mentions of Glynda Goodwitch putting the city back together. From Taiyang, we have nothing of value to the greater society or to his own family. He’s no help to Vale, and he’s no help to his children. He’s not even any help to the family dog.

As a father who already lost people he loves, he now risks once again to lose the family he cares about. This time, his own flesh and blood, his daughters. Once again, he doesn’t do anything. With all of this being said, the series gives us a very clear cut view of Taiyang.

He’s no true huntsman, and deep down, he’s not the father he wishes he could have been. All that’s left is a lonely man, in a lonely, empty house…

He doesn’t have anything to show for all of his efforts, and we have to wonder how hard he really tried in the first place. How you choose to see those efforts are in your hands, and the series intends it that way.

As for me, I find it hard to have any real empathy for Taiyang. I do think he tries his best, but even Qrow stands as a stronger paternal influence to these girls, and that holds true from the very start of volume 1.

Taiyang has been absentee in a way worse than Raven could ever be in my eyes. He’s basically the male version of Willow Schnee, but without any outside oppressor, only himself to blame. He has no gumption to even attempt to do anything when faced with the difficult realities in front of him…

I’m not saying Willow is much better, but at least she knows well enough to know where Weiss really belongs. It’s not in that damned mansion, and Willow knows it. While Taiyang clings so hard he risks to lose everything, Willow knows when to let go.

Taiyang’s daughters habitually wander off, early and often. They get into danger, also early and often. Much like Ozpin allows trouble to take place within the school, Taiyang allows it to happen within the home. Otherwise it wouldn’t keep happening every time his back is turned or his daughters win the argument.

I think that alone says a lot about Taiyang.

When the other absentee parents, either emotionally or physically get a moment of redemption, he doesn’t. Qrow learns to follow Ruby’s lead. Willow learns how to make amends. The Belladonna’s are said to be reforming the White Fang. Raven learns to put faith in her daughter, because Yang is stronger emotionally than Raven will ever be.

What does Taiyang get?

Nothing… he gets nothing except for his own solitude. A man sitting in a dark room, all by himself, with his head in his hands… little more than a showcase of his failings.

Time will tell if Taiyang will ever get a redemption arc as a father, but for now, he’s pretty bottom of the barrel as far as RWBY parents are concerned. It seems to me, that’s exactly how the series wants it.

In my opinion, Taiyang is the foil to Willow. Both of them are emotionally absent to their children. One has lost herself due to an oppressor that terrorized her home, while the other is oppressed due to the failings and misgivings he simply couldn’t find the courage to correct.

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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Thoughts About RWBY Volume 8

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. This is an off the cuff post, it’s not carefully edited, I’m literally just writing this and tossing it, but I really liked Volume 8, and I wanted to discuss why.

This isn’t a review of the volume. I’ll get to that one day, as I’ll begin to do review and analysis content starting where it all began on April 9th, which is on Friday. I believe reviews take careful personal reflection, but now that most of the fandom has had the chance to finish watching RWBY Volume 8, I want to take the time to express my thoughts on it.

Video Production of This Script

This post now has a video to go along with it. This is the finished video regarding the script, so you can watch instead of read.

First let me just say, I thought RWBY Volume 8 was a large step above Volume 7. I really disliked many of the narrative choices in Volume 7, and found that it felt rushed in too many ways. I wondered if I would have liked them more if there had been a bit more time to flesh them out. Penny’s revival for example took place in Volume 7.

As much as I love Penny, and I really do think she is a wonderful character, I wasn’t happy with the way she was brought back simply because it felt so unaddressed by important characters. I wanted a little more exploration emotionally, I suppose you could say.

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That wasn’t the only instance where the feeling of being rushed is what ultimately made me feel as the heart and soul of the series was truly lost. However, I’m happy to say that RWBY Volume 8 brought the feeling of the show that I loved back into fruition in a lot of ways. I’m happy for that, even if I’m not in agreement with every single thing that took place. In some areas RWBY Volume 8 felt rushed too, but those were far different reasons this go around. Many of them at least made sense to me when it came to the greater narrative, so I am not nearly as bothered by that.

I don’t really want to linger on the particular details of the show at this moment. Penny’s death, Jaune’s involvement with it, the way certain characters gained small victories, and the progression regarding Nora are all very interesting points to discuss at length. There are a vast many ideas held by the fandom about these topics and more, but I just want to sit back and think about the larger feeling of RWBY Volume 8 for now.

What I feel is a small sense of comfort. The thing about Volume 8 that I love most is how it mirrors Volumes 1, 2 and 3. In so many ways it felt like an early Volume. This time the story wasn’t about the bigger plot, but those tiny emotional details. For me, I like the RWBY series the least when we get what I like to call the “mindless Power Ranger moments”. You know the moments I’m talking about. Big and flashy, but ultimately empty in the aftermath, and RWBY Volume 8 kept that to a very distinct minimum this go around.

What we had this go-around was special. Early volume purists, this was OUR volume. This was our time to love the series anew. I think later volumes have jaded us to what used to be so simple. I’ve seen a lot of people say that Team RWBY got shoved on the back burner this volume, but I staunchly disagree.

We got something really special here, buried under the apocalyptic end of the world garbage. We got character progression in a way that well and truly hits home in this volume, and has the strong potential to hit home again later on. There is so much wonderful stuff here, and I really want to talk about that, so let’s dive in.

The moral disputes between Ruby and Yang were mirror images of early volume story lines between the siblings. In Volume 1, Ruby and Yang have an argument in the Beacon Academy locker room before initiation. Ruby is being very clingy, and Yang is trying to teach Ruby about being part of a team, and how important that really is. In Volume 8, that argument is mirrored. Ruby and Yang don’t see eye-to-eye any more. We get a full story arc of these two sisters having a huge blowout argument, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Weiss and Blake had the fight about bigotry in volume 1.

The blowout split the groups for a bit, and culminates in another huge plot drop. The discussion of Grimm being made from humans, and what that might mean for Summer Rose. That has been a fan theory found in fan fiction ever since the early volumes. Some of those written works back then were truly loved and adored for what that explored. Now, we writers have that as a factual possibility…

Isn’t that awesome? I think it is, because that gives us a lot of material to expand upon.

We have even more than that, though. We have the moment with Blake and Ruby, tying into reason why Blake was so closed off in those early volumes. Why she was so distant is wonderfully explained here. Blake’s time with Ruby in Volume 8 gave us some truly wonderful moments for shippers of “Ladybug” as well. It does it in a way that doesn’t hurt the Bee’s ship in the slight either. It does no harm, but a world of good.

The shattering and reforging of emotional bonds among certain members of team RWBY and Penny are right up there with Volumes 2 and 3. This only scratches the surface. Winter and Weiss as siblings had some huge progression as well, and other loved characters had their moments to come into the limelight.

As for the decision about Jaune killing Penny, I have mixed thoughts. However, one thing comes to mind the most. I think it is perfect possible progression for team RWBY as a whole. Jaune did something Ruby couldn’t bring herself to do, and ethically likely wouldn’t do. What will Ruby say in the face of that? I can’t help but wonder.

The RWBY series has always been mired deep in the concepts of morals and ethics. Be it the core themes, or merely ideological disagreement, this has been the entire crux of the series. Weiss facing down against Blake in Volume 1, Character plots like Yang and Raven’s, or the Schnee family as a whole, moral conflict has always been the driving force of the show.

RWBY Volume 8 returned to that in ways we haven’t seen since those all too early volumes, and returned to it in spades. It’s not perfect, not by far, but I love Volume 8, because it makes me recall why I loved this show in the first place.

I’m an old volume purist, but I think Volume 8 deserved to stand among them, because it does what volumes 4, 5, 6, and 7 failed to do. It brought us back to the moral themes that stands as the foundation upon which the characters stand. It did it with love, it did it with care, and most of all we as a fandom have more plot to chew because of it.

These are things to hold as a success, even if the volume itself was far from perfect. It is much like its predecessors in that way, all of them, including the old volumes.

What did you think of Volume 8? Leave a reply and let me know. I’d love to talk about the volume with you.

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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