Why the hell doesn't RWBY Chibi Season 3 have more episodes! D: I hate this! I need my fix before October!
Fate Grand Order Code 837 049 774! I side with only the powerful...
I finished Volume 5 and…ugh.
So…here's the thing: much of Volume 5's issues are nothing new. That in my eyes, they're issues that have plagued the series from the beginning. The issue, of course, is that these problems reached their peak and just snowballed into this volume.
-Too much boring plot
As well known by now, RWBY's major flaw since the beginning has been it's boring plot. That it's been weighed down with overly simplistic Light vs Darkness conflict played too straight, tropey McGuffin plots with the Maidens and the Relics, more "it's your Destiny" nonsense, and the politicking between factions and characters we don't really care about. While all of this is stuff that's nothing new…the issue is that the show has quadrupled down on this aspect of the story.
As has been noted by many others, Volume 3 was a shift in direction in that the series became much more story-driven then action-driven of Volumes 1-2. This shift has continued in Volume 4, and even more into Volume 5. But instead of really improving on and making the plot stronger and more interesting…it just added more of what was already there. Suffocating the action pieces and characters that the show had previously known for.
Which leads into…
-A lot of exposition dumps (and talking)
As discussed before…yeah way too much talking and exposition.
It's also kind of baffling that we have so much exposition dumps…on top of the existing World of Remnant Lore series, we STILL have to stop everything to explain things. The aforementioned bit of Raven dropping Ozpin's "secret", Ozpin explaining (partly) his true nature and relationship to Oscar, Ozpin having to stop to explain Hazel's backstory, it just keeps going. And that's on top of the constant Telling of the story instead of Showing: characters talking about their character and developing, progressing the plot by talking about it, instead of doing anything to show it.
It even rears up during my favorite scene of the whole volume: Weiss and Yang reuniting with Team RNJR, them having dinner with each other, and everyone just bantering and interacting with each other, and was a microcosm of everything about Volumes 1-2…but then it comes to a halt when the characters ACTUALLY STOP TO DECLARE WHAT THEIR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WAS LIKE.
It leaves the impression that the setting, lore, and story have become way too big for the production team to reasonably matter and use.
-Too much set-up, unsatisfying payoff
Although in Volume 5's case it's more about the unsatisfying payoff since the "too much set-up".
A historical problem with prior volumes stretching out setting up and foreshadowing plot points. Volume 5 payed off some of that set-up…but badly. Where the degree of set-up in these developments doesn't really match the degree of pay-off given. A chief example was, as I mentioned before, Raven's "reveal" on Ozpin's dark secret…and how said secret turned out to not be really special. Both on the new information given, but also how that information was presented being overall underwhelming. Other notes of underwhelming payoff include:
[*]Yang's pursuit for Raven - one of the main character goals for Yang since the beginning is finding her mother Raven. For wanting to know why she abandoned her and what could possibly be more important than her own flesh-and-blood daughter. And yet when the two finally have their big meet-up…Yang is just concerned on meeting back up with Ruby. Doesn't even bother questioning her mother the way she promised, all the way back in Volume 2. Oh but then they do get a proper verbal confrontation when they meet back up in the Spring Vault but it still felt…off. It wasn't REALLY focused on why Raven wasn't there for Yang and her family…or if it is it goes about it in such a roundabout way to not be obvious. And it ends unsatisfyingly as Raven kinda just…fucks off and lets Yang grab the Relic of Knowledge.
[*]Blake and Adam - The past few volumes Blake has had the most tangible character arc. Her fear of getting others hurt in her personal conflict came to a head with Yang in Volume 3, prompting her to run away, and Volume 4 lead with her dealing with her self-doubt and insecurities, with the rest of Volume 5 on her finally overcoming it and taking a stand against everything wrong with the White Fang. And it culminates in her confronting Adam, with Blake declaring that she won't stand for Adam and his hateful ways and won't be afraid of him anymore. On top of the militant arm of the White Fang being taken a huge blow when their fellow Faunus stand against them…and then the wind gets taken out of it when Adam fucking runs off and evades capture! Even though now any conflict with Blake has been completely resolved, and his future appearances will be completely pointless. WHY. DRAG. IT. OUT. IT'S OVER. IT'S DONE. ROOSTERTEETH, STAHP PLEASE.
I could go on: smaller stuff like the tease of Nora's backstory in Volume 4 isn't followed up on, Neo still remains mysteriously absent, Jaune's Semblance being unlocked through a death fakeout on Weiss, and once again YET ANOTHER VOLUME GOES BY WITHOUT EXPLAINING WHAT THE FUCK RUBY'S SILVER EYES ARE.
So…the main selling point of the whole show, the WHOLE REASON why a fanbase for Monty Oum even exists…and are still underwhelming.
Now granted, from my perspective the fight scenes within RWBY have been heavily flawed, even during the Volumes when Monty was still around.
Previous volumes, while exciting, dynamic, and fun to watch they still felt kind of…one note. That after a while all the fight scenes started to blend together and feel like the exact same fight, over and over again. The reason why fights like RWBY & JNPR vs Death Stinger & Nevermore from Volume 1 and the Food Fight at the beginning of the Volume 2 isn't JUST the fight choreography but everything else surrounding it. From the location of the fight, to the narrative context, or just set piece moments. Because outside of that? None of the fight scenes stood on their own. I could not tell you a think about the fight scenes at the end of Volume 1 and 2 without going back to rewatch the episodes. Because the context surrounding the fights are so one-note and forgettable, without big moments to set them apart.
Within Volumes 4-5, it continued to carry those issues…and more.
As has been stated before, the fights in Volumes 3-4 have become more…grounded. In the sense that fights become less dynamic, less air-time, and less visual flair. Compounding with the show's existing issues of lackluster narrative context, this makes the fights stand out even less. I can't tell you about any of the fights in Volume 3-4, much less 5. These issues still remain in Volume 5. That said, 5 has a much bigger issue with the fights (which I THINK also had roots in Volume 4, but I can't quite recall)…and that's the ruined flow due to dialogue. Where characters stop to talk in during a fight, making the pacing of the fight grind to a halt, or the classic "character standing on one side of the" This is among the worst tropes associated with the Shonen action genre, and is regularly ridiculed whenever it crops up, and rightfully so. RWBY has always faced criticisms about using and relying on anime tropes unironically, with no self-awareness, and lazily enough to not do anything interesting with them. YMMV on how you feel about that (I personally was fine with it)…but it becomes an even bigger issue if they start using the BAD tropes.
Either that or the much more atrocious editing of fights, where a fight would start…but then where we instead cut to different characters not engaged in any action, and once again back to the boring as hell dialogue scene. Breaking any pacing and flow in what are already mediocre fights.
The ONE exception to this…was the Raven vs Cinder fight. This was by far the most memorable fight in the whole volume. This whole scene really gave off the impression of two goddesses clashing. They were zipping around the (open air) space of the Spring Gate doing air juggles and combos. It's one Seasonal Maiden versus another. Cinder using the full amount of her summoned weapons, Raven keeping things simple with her sword. The (admittedly well-worn) fire vs ice aesthetics…it all comes together so wonderfully!
So yeah…Volume 5 is currently RWBY at rock-bottom. While I feel it was never the animated classic that some people consider it, even with the association to Monty Oum, it still had a likeable charm to it. That charm is all but gone now. And the worst parts are getting magnified and deepened for everyone to see, with nothing really being done to address them. Aside from just adding more to it. And the series' future, if nothing is addressed, is dire.
…yeah, I think I'll do a thing reflecting on the series as a whole…later.
And now my thoughts on RWBY as we stand right now.
So, just so I can clarify where I'm coming from: I only consider myself a casual Monty Oum fan.
I enjoyed the hell out of Dead Fantasy and Haloid when I first stumbled upon them. The parts where he did the fight scenes in Red vs Blue was among the best moments yet. When it came to RWBY, I was right there with everyone on the hype train when the Red trailer first dropped. And (obviously) followed through on it until Volume 5. That said…I'm not a hardcore fan of Monty. I didn't closely follow with the BTS docs for RWBY, I haven't seen most of the World of Remnant shorts, nor have I been hanging on every word the man has spoken in interviews, podcasts, panels, etc. My feelings on him as an artist or his work hasn't fundamentally changed since his passing.
While he and his life story was many people's Spark of Inspiration…he just wasn't for me. I understand why he was for others. Just not me.
I say this because there is the sense online that those who are diehard fans have been…defending RWBY more then they reasonably should. That because Monty is gone, that we have to do everything to keep his passion project alive, and support in unconditionally regardless of quality of the work. Sorry, but I disagree with this mentality. No artist's/creator's work is immune from criticism, no matter the circumstances. In fact, I'm of the belief that the hardcore fans SHOULD be the ones who are the most vocal critics. They're the ones who have invested into the work. They're the ones who know exactly how and why they enjoy the work to begin with. And not bending over backwards to make everything in series of works are the best thing ever.
For instance, as much as I'm on the side of the fence that enjoys Final Fantasy XV, I completely understand why people feel that game just didn't live up to past games, 10 year development cycle or not.
So when I say that RWBY has always been a flawed mess, please understand it's not out of malice for the show, or of being deliberately disrespectful to Monty's memory. This is just one guy's honest opinion and nothing more.
But…yeah, the show has always been flawed from the beginning. While entertaining, but still flawed.
+Energetic, fun fight scenes
+Entertaining, likeable, and relatable characters
-Fight scenes happening with little-to-no proper narrative context
-"Rule of Cool" creating diminished dramatic tension and stakes
+Bold status quo change
+Intersection of characterization and plot development
+Steadily more polished presentation
-Status quo changing too much, too fast
-Too many character deaths at once
-Beginning of more "grounded" and less dynamic fight scenes
+Current peak of polished presentation
+Expanding the world
-Tropey as hell plot revelations
-Insignificant-to-no plot progression
-Rushed, half-baked character development
-Continuing "grounded" fight scenes
-Downplaying of RT-style comedy
+Still current peak of polished presentation
-Unsatisfying storyline payoffs
-Questionable metaplot revelations
-Characterization taking a back seat to plot
-Doubling down on the bland and boring plot
-"Grounded" fight scenes at their worse
-Almost complete absence of RT-style comedy
So in my opinion, the show has never reached its peak. There was always just too many issues getting in the way from ever being something great. More depressingly, the depiction of the show promised in the early Red, White, Black, and Yellow trailers? That vision of the show hasn't been achieved yet. I'm still waiting for the show to achieve that potential. Although with each passing Volume…that confidence on that coming to past is getting less and less.
The Great Stowaway
Soundtrack is out, have at it!
The Great Stowaway
There's probably good stuff in here but Season 5's soundtrack just left so little impact on me.... I remember when I used to watch Season 2 and 3 and I'd be just eager to get whatever rips I could just to loop because I was so into the music, but outside of the themes these last two seasons have just been so unmemorable. I don't remember any of the musical choices at all from them outside of Qrow's song in Season 4.... Well, that and Weiss's "screw off, dad" song, but I just wasn't a fan of that one at all.
I personally love the v5 soundtrack, mostly because of how its varied and gives depth to characters.
Smile: Shows either Ilia's image of her parents or her actual parents view on things, which goes towards why she is how she is. Further adding more depth to Ilia. I really hope they bring Ilia along to Atlas, even though I doubt Prismatic Ponytail (Weiss/Ilia) will become the lgbt-Renora to BB's lgbt-Arkos. She'd just be so good on the prejudice angle.
All That Matters: Shows Yang as complex character who has insecurities. Not to mention her being totally in love with Blake. It even validates what people like myself have said in Yang not approaching Blake before out of insecurity and not wanting to impose on her, not because there isn't interest. Yang's view on Blake is blatantly wrong to the point its as if they're putting up a neon sign saying "going to be addressing this", especially given the commentary that says that things aren't resolved and that there will be more diving into things (not directly stated but BB is the one that has the most needed focus as the others (though I'd still want some Ruby and Blake time just cause they've barely interacted at all). I can't wait for Blake to prove Yang wrong (which she even wants) and show her how much she loves and cherishes her as well. Also they're treating BB with the respect as a serious, deep, and mature relationship that it deserves by not dodging the issues; unlike another brotp where the issues were side-stepped/brushed off. Also Wings is BB going by both the callback in this song and when Blake and Yang lock eyes. So much emotion in this song. Not to mention this being the pre-Bmblb section of the timeline, though I've seen some suggest that Bmblb is Blake's response to this.
All Things Must Die: I think this is the "Sacrifice" of the songs, in being the song I put on repeat for hours.
This Time: Confirmed by Jeff as being a Ghira and Blake song. I like this, though I really hope that in the future Blake gets her own solo song. Girl needs to be treated like the other female mains in being given her own songs, I get wanting to keep her mystique and how she was more withholding on the feelings aspect but that isn't the case atm.
"...Love is love & it's beautiful no matter where & who you find it with."
Also, Chibi comes back on June 30th
The Great Stowaway