Let’s Talk About Ruby Rose

I never expected to talk about RWBY again, but I saw this video talking about Ruby and I decided, “Why not?” Of all the characters on RWBY, Ruby Rose is my absolute favorite, I like her weapon, I like her Semblance, she has a great personality, Lindsay Jones does a great job voicing her, and I’d like to see Ruby be more awesome. I say that because I’m going to do my best to not turn this into a thing where I’m going to just say that she’s the greatest and shit like that. Because, that video I saw from Vexed Viewer made me realize the shortcomings Ruby received as a result of this show’s writing, and I feel I can talk about them.

 

Agency:

The one thing that’s been hurting Ruby Rose as a character is that she lacks agency. Let’s talk about that. Starting from the first episode, they made her out to be the main character and talked about her motivation: she wants to be a Huntress since that’s what her parents did, Yang read her fairy tales talking about Huntsmen and their exploits, and she just wants to help people. And when she went to Beacon, things were going great. Volumes 1 and 2 helped to show how she needs to be a good team leader when in reality she goes off on her own every chance she gets, and during the dance Ozpin tells her about how she needs to take a moment to just enjoy being a teenager and not run off to kill Grimm every chance she gets. And in Volume 3, she’s unable to save two of her friends from dying, even with her Semblance. And in Volume 4 she starts to feel the losses of Penny and Pyrrha, even as she goes off on her own as part of the newly formed team RNJR.

 

We’re getting somewhere, we’ve set up what could be some flaws for her: she feels she needs to be the hero every chance she gets. She doesn’t take a minute to appreciate the little moments. She’s so selfless that she doesn’t do anything to fulfill a selfish desire (like Sayaka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica).  Some have said that Ruby’s cheerful attitude is a facade, and while I haven’t seen evidence for that, that could work if we see evidence for that.

 

But then “A Much Needed Talk” happened and Ruby learned about the Maidens and the Relics.

 

Have I mentioned how I hate the Maidens? This is why. Following this, Ruby’s character isn’t anything relating to her such as her coming to terms with the reality of being a Huntress. It’s all about trying to stop Salem and defend the relics in the name of Ozpin. Ruby and all the now former Beacon students are now just pawns for Ozpin in his battle against Salem. And you wanna know something else that could make this worse? When Yang met Raven, Raven went on about how Ozpin isn’t a man to be trusted, and what happens when Ozpin tells of his conflict with Salem? Ruby completely buys in, content to follow Ozpin in Oscar’s head like a stray puppy that was taken into somebody’s house.

 

In the Battle for Haven, Ruby gives two impassioned pleas to join the side of good, first to Raven who just says, “You sound like your mother.” (Translation: Take your offer and shove it up your ass.), and then to Emerald saying that they don’t have to fight, only for Emerald to continue attacking her. This feels like a bad omen; Ruby doesn’t develop because her idealism makes her an easy soldier for Ozpin to use for his own ends (that sounds kind of wrong). The only logical conclusion I can see happening from this is that Ruby ends up being a part of Ozpin’s inner circle, or the Ozluminati as some fans are calling it. Why? Allusions of course! RWBY’s big thing is that a shitload of characters (if not all of them) are supposed to be allusions to specific characters in stories (with the exception of JNPR who are supposed to be historical figures that disguised as the opposite sex in their stories/legends):

 

  • Ruby is Little Red Riding Hood
  • Weiss is Snow white
  • Blake is Beauty from Beauty and the Beast
  • Yang is Goldilocks
  • Cinder is Cinderella

 

And those are just some of the confirmed ones. I’m going to speculate about what the unconfirmed ones are because that’s not my way to enjoy a Saturday. Ozpin himself is supposed to be The Wizard from The Wizard of Oz. Among his inner circle:

  • Qrow is the Scarecrow
  • Ironwood is The Tin Man
  • Lionheart was the Cowardly Lion
  • Glynda is Glinda, The Good Witch of the South

 

And my prediction is that Ruby will be invited in and she’ll be the Dorothy of the group, and Zwei will be the Toto. If that happens, that’ll just be another thing you can file under “things that are predictable and obvious that RWBY as a show thinks are groundbreaking and game-changing and shocking.” This one will hurt because it’s so on the nose. And it’ll also cement Ruby as one of the worst written characters on the show because any of the interesting directions you could take her character will most likely never be taken.

 

Silver Eyes:

I’m talking about Silver Eyes again because this shit’s important this time. I’ve said before about how this show should have focused this on the next big power instead of the Maidens. And I’ll concede the fact that it came out of nowhere to take out Cinder and advance the plot with zero foreshadowing. The reason I’m more forgiving than others is that the moment itself when it was unleashed was really cool and I think that there are ways you can expand that power and the lore of the show. The problem is that Nothing has come from it in two volumes since we first saw them. And that Vexed Viewer brings up that it’s on Ruby that she hasn’t brought them up, especially since Qrow pointed out that Ruby’s a prime target of Salem since the fall of Beacon. As it pains me to say, I have to say that he’s onto something. Ruby hasn’t asked one question about the Silver Eyes since Volume 3, let alone approached Qrow or Ozpin about harnessing their power. It hurts even more since during the Haven fight, she uses them again. I wouldn’t go as far to say that she’s a complete moron, but the longer she avoids this, the worse it really makes her look. In the novel Goldfinger there’s a line I think is amazing and can explain a lot of things, ““Once is happenstance. Twice is a coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”” We’re about to enter the third volume since Silver Eyes were introduced. If we don’t get anything out of Silver Eyes in Volume 6, I’ll be thinking a bit less of Ruby and the writing of this show, and it’s got some glaring flaws already that’s hurting it substantially.

 

Summer:

If there’s one selfish thing I want from RWBY, it’s talking about Summer Rose, Ruby’s mother. All we know about her is that she was the leader of Team STRQ, and she was a great mom. The Red Trailer had Ruby at her mother’s grave before she fought Grimm, and Volume 3 had Ruby at her mom’s grave a few times.

Also, going by Red Like Roses, Part II, when Ruby learned her mom died…she didn’t take it very well. First off, if the only way we see that angle addressed is on the soundtrack…that’s fucking pathetic. If you tell people to listen to a soundtrack song to get away with not doing character development because “the songs are in their point of view”, that’s worse than telling and not showing, that’s worse than lazy writing, that’s just taking money from fans and expecting them to do your job for you. And I’m not going to stand for it.

 

Back on topic. Summer’s interesting because of what it could mean for Ruby. Maybe she knows how great a Huntress Summer was and she wants to be like her. Maybe she wants to specialize in saving families that are being attacked by Grimm because she doesn’t want a family to be torn apart like hers was before she could even realize what a torn family even meant. Maybe part of Ruby’s character development will be trying to be her own Huntress and not what her mother was. Maybe she could come face to face with the same situation that killed her mother.

 

Hell, Eren went through something similar in Attack on Titan when he came across the Titan that ate his mother, and it led to one of the biggest and most important moments of that entire manga.

 

I’m not sure if Ruby will go through something that intense, but the fact that Summer Rose was Ruby’s mother and a Silver Eyes could go a long way in developing Ruby and helping us to understand how she views the world. Raven said that Ruby sounds like her mother when she talks idealistically and optimistically, so the hints are there. The thing that these two share is that there’s potential for these characters to be realized. Whether or not that potential is realized or wasted lies solely on the competence of the writer, whether it’s a fanfiction writer or it’s Miles and Kerry writing the actual canon.

 

(Off topic, I know, but I still always have that feeling it’s unfair to say a fanfiction is better than canon even though sometimes it is and I find myself saying it’s sad that a fanfiction does X thing better than the actual show. I’ve only had that feeling with Ruby though I’m sure other shows have that sensation as well.)

 

Hand to Hand:

A lot has been said about Ruby being not very good at hand to hand combat and overly reliant on Crescent Rose. At face value, that’s not a bad thing. Although after Volume 5, I guess the problem I’m seeing is that the show wants us to think that she got over it after just one scene of training and giving one headbutt to Mercury. One. If the idea is to say she can hold her own…that’s fine, I guess? I think the problem lies in the fact made it a big deal that her hand to hand is lacking. As in, “If Ruby doesn’t have Crescent Rose, she’s fucked.” Maybe if her skills were, “needs work”, it’d get a pass. Was it built up as a major weakness, like how Raven’s power was so hyped that we get things like her being the Spring Maiden.

 

My headcanon was that her fighting style could still be scythe heavy, but when disarmed, she could hold her own, and her hand to hand fighting would be like a fight in hockey: sloppy and scrappy, but still able to deliver some pretty nasty blows. And apparently, the show wants us to think that with some offscreen training and one onscreen headbutt, her hand to hand skills are the fusion of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali. I don’t get what the show or the fans want when it comes to hand to hand for Ruby. Maybe if more time was dedicated to it (one person I follow on Tumblr said that the show needs to either add 10 more episodes to each volume or 10 minutes to each episode), there’d be something regarding actual answers to this hand to hand question.

 

As I said in the beginning, Ruby’s my favorite character and the way she’s been handled lately has got me going. A Reddit AMA Miles and Kerry did have the two of them on record saying that some of the feedback they considered when they started writing Volume 6 was that Ruby needs more attention and meaningful conflicts. Volume 6 is the all in proving ground. Either Ruby develops as an actual character and it’s her story, or she’s forever lost in the sea of confusing lore and inconsistent powers and abilities that this show is created, domed to just follow Ozpin and his inner circle in the bigger endgame that is defeating Salem. And that’d be probably the 4th or 5th worst thing this show’s writing has done. I don’t want the only way that I follow the show is by reading episode summaries on Wikipedia.

 

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RWBY Rant

It’s been three years since I first saw the Yang vs Tifa Death Battle. It’s been three years since I saw Volume 3. I was there when shit went down. I saw Ruby’s character short that hyped up Volume 4. Sure it was a glorified Red trailer, but I found it to be pretty freaking awesome. Like Darth Vader’s Hallway scene in Rogue One, it was just one character at their most badass. Volume 4 was what turned me into an actual fan as opposed to just a guy that watched the episodes. And I still consider myself a fan after Volume 5. However, this hiatus has caused me to look at the show more critically, all thanks to a Youtuber named Mediaocrity4. And thinking about this past volume and talking about it on Discord has caused me to go as far as making this.  There are some things that happened in Volume 5 that made me…nettled, to say the least. If you’re fine with what I’m about to say, more power to ya. I will say, I’m going to do my best and stay level headed and not just rage like a maniac, even though this is labeled as a rant. Let’s go.

Cinder:

Cinder Fall is a wasted character. One thing I found myself thinking is that Volume 3 may end up being the show’s peak. Sure, creator Monty Oum died and people STILL say the show isn’t as good as it could be and that the fight scenes have gone down several levels, and Volume 3 the test of how RWBY would manage. And people said that Volume 3 passed with flying colors. Why? It changed the game and course of the show forever, the villains wrecked shit, and it had the heroes hitting rock bottom, and it was all thanks to Cinder Fall. She stole the Fall Maiden powers (We WILL get to that), orchestrated Beacon’s fall, she gave a massive speech before shit hit the fan, she killed Phyrra, and she can probably be pinned for Penny’s death as well. She was terrifying, she was sinister…and then she got hit by Ruby’s Silver Eyes, lost her voice, lost her eye, got her arm replaced with a Grimm arm, got a hate boner for Ruby, got her voice back, speared Weiss, fought Raven, fell down into an abyss, was frozen solid, and I presume her to be dead. Why do I say she’s a wasted character? Well, there’s the fact that she died before either Ruby or Jaune could really have a climactic one on one fight with her to avenge the death of those that they lost. Also, in Volume 4, they set up her training to get revenge on Ruby for the injures inflicted on her. And what does she do when she Ruby again? She ignores her unconscious body, throws a spear at Weiss because reasons, and goes down into the vault, only telling her underlings to take Ruby alive because…Salem’s orders. Instead of just hurting Ruby some more and taking her to your evil lair and just…I don’t know, torture her, say that Ruby will die by her hands just like Summer did, gouge out one or both of her eyes to keep them as trophies, do what the Internet would probably do with this scenario and keep Ruby alive to serve as her sex slave because…Internet, evil, and many people consider Cinder to be an attractive woman. Instead, she goes out to someone some fans consider to be out of her league, and we don’t know shit about her aside from her vague “I want power” motivation.

Can we talk about that for a bit?  Cinder wants power. That has to be the worst villain motivation I have ever heard in my entire life. I don’t even think you can make that work if you’re trying to be funny, like in abridged series. Sure, Goku wants something similar, getting stronger to fight tough opponents, but he gets a pass because fighting’s fun for himself and he loves the thrill of it…basically, he fights for the fun of it and the challenge, like a weightlifter looking forward to the day new maxes are recorded. Cinder on the other hand, wants power because why? At least with a “take over the world” motivation, there’s a tangible end where you can say that goal has been reached. With “wanting power”, what’s enough power for you? Cinder is basically a druggie going to different crack houses and street corners looking to get her next fix. Additionally, what’s your backstory, Cinder? Sure, you could reveal TOO much and you could kill any and all speculation and not match expectations, but this went too far in the opposite direction. By revealing nothing about Cinder or where she came from or why she follows Salem or why she does what she does, I can’t think of any way she’s interesting. I can’t come up with any headcanons or suggestions for others to think about, I have NOTHING. And it pisses me off.

Adam:

Adam Taurus, you are the epitome of “Peaked in Volume 3”. If the show doesn’t end up peaking in Volume 3, you certainly did. You were tough, you had a blade that could take anything out in one strike, you told Blake you’d destroy everything she loved and held dear, you cut off Yang’s arm, you were in two character’s heads. And what happened afterward? You were taken out in one shot, and not even a cool one at that. The swing you used to slice of Yang’s arm like nothing was cool. And how Blake took you down was freaking pathetic. Why did this show disrespect you? Why did this show make you so goddamn toothless? You know what you are now, Adam Taurus? You are that angsty kid from the early to mid 2000s that listened to Linkin Park and Sum 41 in their room, yelled at their parents to leave them alone, and just looked at a picture/drawing of Sasuke Uchiha and said how Sasuke was the only one who understood them. You certainly look the part. I’m sure that if you were wearing some band shirt, there were some kids in my middle school and high school where’d you blend in, meatbag. Welcome to Rock Bottom. I don’t know how you’re getting back. I don’t know how these writers could destroy a badass and ruin what could potentially be the final showdown that’s been building up since perhaps the Black trailer. If this isn’t the last time we see you, these writers are kicking the can down the road until we see you face Blake and/or Yang for real. I’m not sure how you come back. I’m not sure if your backstory will make you anything resembling interesting. And if that theory I heard on Discord where anything interesting that was planned for you was given to Ilia, I’m going to lose some respect for Miles and Kerry. I can’t think of a way an antagonist was given this bad a way to go out. Fuck all of this. Fuck it all.

Raven:

Hi, Raven. You got your own volume where we spend some time with you. Apparently, some reaction is mixed. I want you to meet prequels Anakin Skywalker. You too can talk about how you guys were so hyped up and speculated and theorized over for years in fanfictions, Reddit posts, and YouTube videos. Hell, I found something that I consider your backstory and past adventures that I consider my vision of canon in a fic called Scattered Petals (https://archiveofourown.org/works/8924407/chapters/20442730). What did we get in reality? I’ve heard people call you stupid, not thinking things through, and part of a twist that some felt was shit in the form of you being the Spring Maiden. My thoughts? Fuck you for taking away the Ruby/Cinder showdown that started getting buildup all through Volume 4. The scenes where Yang confronted you…the scenes fans have been waiting for and written out for years before this volume…kind of went the way I thought it would in the form of Yang chewing you out. I’m not sure what people wanted in the form of Yang confronting Raven at last. I’ll have to bring that up with people because that was the big moment for you.  Again, I bring up the big thing: you were overhyped the moment you did something in a mask and people considered you to be a badass. I genuinely think that the idea making you the Spring Maiden was a way to try and have you live up to/justify the hype that’s been built up since you scared off Neo in Volume 2. It can’t be helped, it happens to every mysterious character that does something awesome that fans love when you’re not the main character. You weren’t the first character to get this treatment. I feel comfortable in saying you won’t be the last.

And now we get to the Maidens. Good God, the Maidens.

I need to quote directly from the RWBY Wiki(a) for this one. And I quote…

There are four Maidens in existence at any time, each one corresponding to the four seasons – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

Powers and AbilitiesEdit

While the full extent of their abilities is not known, Amber, the previous Fall Maiden, displayed several astounding abilities, including levitation, aerokinesis, telekinetically control leaves and freeze them solid to create deadly projectiles, manipulating the weather and bring lightning down upon her enemies, as well as shoot deadly fireballs. When she uses her Maiden powers, her eyes appear surrounded by a fiery glow. Cinder Fall gained the same abilities when she became the Fall Maiden but continued to show her preference toward fire. The current Spring Maiden, Raven Branwen, has been shown to be able to summon lightning bolts and create ice.

The Maidens are able to use any elemental power they choose, not being limited to their season.[1]

The power of the Maidens is independent of Dust use and distinct from a Semblance, drawing comparisons to “magic”. It is tied to each Maiden’s Aura in some way, but they do not need Aura to use their powers.

The Maidens are also each tied to a Relic, designated either through power or design to be the only ones who can open the chambers that the Relic is hidden in. Spring can access Knowledge, Fall: Choice, Summer: Destruction and Winter: Creation.”

I went there to look that up because I wanted to know exactly what they do before I started the process of writing this and going through with recording my feelings on video. And this was an eye opener. When I first committed to this airing of grievances, I was going to talk about how I hate the Maidens on a fundamental level. I still do. First, I hate how they make the world and the story and the lore of RWBY more complicated than it needed to be. I also hate how every plotline involving the Maidens makes not just Ruby, but every member of Team RWBY and what’s left of Team JNPR, nothing but pawns in the chess game between Ozpin and Salem. But then, I read this line I know bears repeating…

“The Maidens are able to use any elemental power they choose, not being limited to their season.”

That according to the note/citation, that came from the RWBY aftershow RWBY Rewind that I don’t watch nor care for in the slightest. My first thought when I read that line was, “OH MY GOD, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?!” Miles, Kerry, do you two know what you’ve done? You’ve managed to make a character that has the potential to be more OP than Superman, and you’ve made four of them! Some may hate how Raven being the Spring Maiden is a weak twist. Some may hate how Raven being the Spring Maiden destroys the lore of RWBY. Some may hate how Raven being the Spring Maiden makes Ozpin and his inner circle look given what’s happened in the show. I’d say get pissed about how the maidens can dwarf even the main heroes even at their absolutely realized full potential. Even if Ruby masters her Silver Eyes and that power is capable of wiping out an entire city, all I can see is Raven or any of the other three maidens curb stomping her ass, and telling her, “git gud, you fucking scrub.” If Maidens pissed me off before, I’m at wanting to punch a wall levels after reading that. This is the one time I’d say that someone should have told Miles and Kerry no. Not just no, fuck no. Shit like this is why I hear things like Miles and Kerry are surrounded by yes men and are so in love with the smell of their own shit that they’re content to put out things that they think are cool that they don’t stop to think things through. Sure the Rule of Cool is a thing and you can throw out your brain to take it in, but there HAS to be someone there to hold you back and tell you to breathe and think things through and maybe ask WHY you think that what you have is cool. What I’m getting at is I genuinely wonder if there’s a limit to the Rule of Cool and you can only get so far on Rule of Cool alone, and stuff like the Maidens makes me think RWBY as a show can’t run on Rule of Cool alone as far as it thinks it can.

Apologies for that tangent. I still hate the maidens for how they made the show change for the worse because it wants to be big. The only thing I can see happening with the Maidens is Raven dying and passing on the Spring Maiden powers to Yang in a moment of, “Awww, Raven really does care about her daughter.”  But if it’s part of some redemption for Raven, I’m not sure how it’ll be received because I know for a fact that everyone watching will compare it to the redemption arc for Prince Zuko, and since Avatar: The Last Airbender is the absolute greatest thing that was made in the history of animation if not fiction period, Raven’s arc will be seen as inferior by a wide margin.

This wasn’t part of my original outline, but can we just take a minute that RWBY can be predictable at times? I’m not complaining; this is something that comes with something going on for a long time and lots of fanfiction and speculation posts and videos being made. The problem comes with thinking that you’re doing something groundbreaking and blowing people’s minds. If I ever go on to create something that gains a huge fanbase, I’m going to make a genuine attempt to just make a story that’s not to outside my skills, in that I’ll challenge myself if I want to and it seems interesting, but not do something that I know for a fact is out of my league. I’m getting off topic. Let’s talk about Volume 3 again. I really feel that through killing Penny and Phyrra, destroying Beacon, breaking Yang’s spirit along with slicing off her arm, giving the villains their biggest win, revealing the Silver Eyes, and revealing Salem as the main villain, RWBY has exhausted perhaps all of their chances to truly shock the audience. What has RWBY done since Volume 3 and what can RWBY truly do going forward that hasn’t been predicted already been speculated and fleshed out in fanfictions, posts on Reddit and Tumblr, and YouTube videos? Some may point to Raven being revealed to be the Spring Maiden…okay. But aside from that, what else? Let me see if I can predict the revelations that’ll come:

  •      Summer’s fate: She died because she got involved in Ozpin and Salem’s chess game.
  •      Team STRQ’s backstory: They were badasses and Remnant’s version of Green Berets.
  •      Qrow’s drinking: brought upon and/or driven to how we see him drink now by guilt over Summer dying.
  •      Weiss’s mother Willow: Going by fanfictions, she was a drunk.

Speaking of Weiss, did anyone think she would die after she got speared in a cliffhanger? Being one of the title characters (kinda)? After we spent a whole volume setting up her personal arc (taking back the Schnee Dust Company from her dad and brother and restoring it to its former glory)? How many people think that Jaune’s Semblance involved healing since he’s the leader of the team of main supporting characters? (Sorry for that thing that could be seen as an attempt as a joke/being clever.) My point is, that turn of events where Jaune heals Weiss came across as so predictable when I first saw it happen, or at the very least Weiss not dying. Everything about that came from the show trying to shock its audience, and failing to do so because this show can’t shock me anymore. And that’s one of the things plaguing RWBY now thanks to this death fakeout: it’s becoming predictable, but likes to think that it isn’t and its revelations are grand and game changing and not clichéd and most likely already called by fans in whatever way they choose. Star Wars: A New Hope may have been classic hero’s journey stuff at its most basic, but George Lucas at least didn’t try to claim his little space opera was nothing more than a silly space opera and relic to the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s. Addittionally, given how the iTunes releases and Netflix releases before them featured the season as one long movie, the predictability upon first watching stands out even more.  I’m sure everyone has also made their prediction on who’s gonna die next. I remember a lot of them picking Qrow as the next one to kick the bucket.

Silver Eyes

Now let’s talk about Silver Eyes. When they were first introduced, it was awesome. That flash had to be what I imagine kids in the 90s felt when they saw Goku go Super Saiyan for the first time. Then, you got Qrow’s speech about how they make the Grimm shit bricks and I was sold. Now, that one intro, a flash that caused Emerald to knock Ruby unconscious…then, nothing. I’m sure that Emerald knockout was nothing more than Miles and Kerry addressing complaints that Silver Eyes power was OP and nerfing them greatly. (Surprised no Smash memes came from that scene now that I write it out as I did.) Even with all that I have some questions that need answering:

  1. Why do Silver Eyes make the Grimm shit bricks?
  2. Is Ruby the last Silver Eyes?
  3. What happened to the Silver Eyes?
  4. Is the Silver Eyes a bloodline, a gene/trait, or is it a group of people like the Branwen tribe?
  5. Why are Ruby and Summer the only Silver Eyes we know of?
  6. Did they die in genocide?

Those questions are what came to me when you really think about Silver Eyes, and this show has answered none of them. Silver Eyes reminds me of the Titan Shifters from Attack on Titan where even after they reached the basement, what we learned about them only serves to make them even more interesting and adds more intrigue…though I’d say that’s probably the one thing that Attack on Titan did right after they reached the basement. Even simple, shallow answers that only give Ruby extra power like her semblance being able to make her go faster than the speed of light is better than nothing at this point. This is the big thing to build up the story RWBY should be focusing on instead of the Maidens. Maybe after you complete developing the Silver Eyes, you could have handled the Maidens, but then you’d probably still end up with what I’d say about the Maidens. God, I hate the Maidens.

Grimm:

Now let’s talk about the Grimm. These were supposed to be the mindless killers of every man, woman, and child in Remnant, right? People have already talked about how the Grimm have no threat since they regularly get killed by Huntsmen in training like they’re nothing, so I’ll go with my angle that I’ll continue to bring up: going back to Attack on Titan, the Titans are the Grimm but done SO MUCH BETTER. Sure they may look like stoned, naked zombies, but they do their job. Go back and see when we saw the Beast Titan for the first time in Season 2. That was intense. That’s what the Grimm are supposed to be, according to RWBY. When people see the Titans, they shit bricks. When people see the Titans, shit goes south real fast. We see the Survey Corps lose people like nobody’s business. And when there’s a strategy to take down some major Titan, you can see things go wrong pretty regularly and there’s no guarantee that our heroes are making out unscathed. In RWBY, every plan goes smoothly and the heroes make it out okay. And the big Grimm that are supposed to be boss fights? You feel like they were meant to be scary in the buildup before they’re taken out like any other Grimm and are immortalized in shirts that you can by at the Rooster Teeth store. There’s a fic I’m reading called Scars (https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11923192/1/RWBY-Scars), and among the bigger more mature themes it plays up because the show doesn’t, it actually shows the Grimm being some real nasty beasts. Whether it’s delivering blows that are fatal if it wasn’t for Aura but still leaving horrible wounds and scars, but also having the Grimm explode into blood and guts instead of just disintegrating into smoke.

Also, I want to bring this up: RWBY is a show made for the Internet. And I think I just realized something as I wrote this: I wonder if YouTube and their brand made them not be able to go as deep as this show could. They’re family friendly, they can depict some dark things (but not too dark I imagine) since they don’t have to answer to the FCC or anyone else that I’m aware of. Why don’t they take advantage of being on the internet and embrace darkness? You can still have RWBY Chibi for the lightheartedness. Are you afraid that you’ll be seen as too edgy and you’ll be no longer able to sell your stuff at Hot Topic or something? (Off topic, but I’m willing to bet Adam shops at Remnant’s version of Hot Topic).

So that was my rant. I hope I didn’t get too angry that this was unwatchable. The wait is killing me, which is what made me make this thing. I’m still a fan, and I’m hoping that RWBY improves in Volume 6, though I am nervous that things won’t improve. I’m optimistic that things won’t get worse than they were after Volume 5’s finale. I’m in this show for the long haul and while I don’t see anything that could happen that could cause me to drop the show, I do feel like there’s something telling me that this show couldn’t be as great as it could be, and that has nothing to do with the fact that Monty Oum died.

Shirobako: Learn How Things Are Made

It seems that I’m doing a lot of reviews with each of my passing posts, huh? It’s not intentional, it’s just that this is what I consider to be interesting and I think that the titles I feature here are worth sharing. I’m not sure if this is where I say “deal with it” because I don’t do this frequently enough. Eh.

Anyway, today we’re talking about another anime, and this time, it’s Shirobako. This little piece of Japan came out in 2015 and tells the tale of five friends who made an animation in high school together and made a vow to enter the anime industry and work on an anime together. The main aspect of the show is Aoi Miyamori, a production assistant at Mushashino Animation (it’s not a real company, I checked), and the Mushashino team as they work on anime projects and all the obstacles that come with them. Along the way, we also see Aoi’s friends:

  • Ema, an animator at Mushahino
  • Shizuka, a voice actor
  • Misa, a 3D computer graphics operator
  • Midori, a story writer

For the most part, though, we stick with Musashino and the people that work there, which I consider the thing that provides this anime’s biggest positive and negative. The positive is that you get a pretty decent course in the process of making anime. I’m a big fan of learning how things are made, especially when it comes to entertainment so if you’re like me and like behind the scenes featurettes, you’ll get something out of this.

In addition to learning how anime is made, you also see the characters talk about why they got into anime, which to me was a testament to what it’s like to take creative work seriously and pursue a career in the field, and anime can be replaced in this line of thinking with anything creative, such as movies, TV, or comic books. I got that message, especially in the last few episodes, and in a sense, you can put this on and binge it if you feel you need something to kick yourself into gear and work on whatever project you’re on, like me with writing. I also kind of feel like Aoi in the sense that I’ve had that position where I didn’t know what I wanted to know what to do in my field in terms of what discipline I wanted to pursue. It took until my sophomore year of college. So, there’s the connection aspect hooking me.

One of the things that I didn’t like about Shirobako was that for the most part, it seemed focused on Aoi and Mushahino, and the other girls would show up rather sporadically. In addition, that high school animation that we see in the first episode (and the one that got the girls interested in making anime and entering the industry in the first place, doesn’t get mentioned much after it’s introduced, but I think that’s a story thing as it’s more about the girls and their current jobs. That being said, I can’t help but feel that not revisiting that first animation is kind of a missed opportunity. It can help that Aoi is the main character and we see everything from her point of view in that she’s the one that’s undecided about her future in the industry, but the fact that we spend most of the time with one studio where only two of the five main characters are working just screams “wasted potential” to me. I really believe that had Shirobako lasted more than the 24 episodes it did, we could see more of these girls and their careers and the final season could be them working on that high school animation and updating it to be even more awesome thanks to their skills…but since Shirobako isn’t an anime that’s an adaptation of some mega-popular shonen manga, it’s just 24 episodes. And that makes me sad. I’ll just have to deal.

As for the score for this anime, I feel pretty comfortable giving this a 7/10. It’s got a good concept and rolls with it, and it has emotional moments that I believe any person in a creative field would be touched by, but at the same, time I really can’t shake the wasted potential and the main characters that are put to the side by an admittedly decent supporting cast.

If you’re ever interested in learning how anime is made, I’d suggest Shirobako is an anime worth checking out. Alternatively, you can just watch this video. But either way, Shirobako is a pretty cool anime, and I enjoyed watching it.

More Guardians!

I’ll be honest, I’m not the most well-versed person when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve only seen one Thor movie, I’ve never seen Age of Ultron, and even though I’ve seen two Iron Man films, I don’t remember much. That’s not to say they’re not all bad. I enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger, I think Black Panther looks awesome after seeing the trailer, and I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy.

And that brings me to my watching and subsequent posting of my thoughts of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. In this movie, Star Lord finds himself learning about his past, and the rest of Guardians are along for the ride as the whole movie starts once Rocket Racoon steals from a planet’s government they were hired by. Yeah, it’s pretty insane, but still believable from this team.

I consider Guardians of the Galaxy to be my favorite part of the Marvel universe. The first film I remember as a great mix of humor and music, with some pretty good action. This movie, on the other hand, didn’t have as many jokes in its quiver and it actually presented more emotional moments because this was a movie that really helped to develop mainly Star Lord. Though that’s not to say that this movie is devoid of jokes. I found myself laughing at some of Rocket’s antics and a bit of Groot, albeit with some eye rolling. What this movie lacks in humor, it makes up for in action in what’s kind of a flip from the previous movie. I really think that writer/director James Gunn sees this series as his baby, and I like how he handled this sequel.

And now the thing that makes Guardians of the Galaxy pretty awesome: the music. This movie didn’t have the big hits that the last movie had, but at the same time, there’s a good sense of using the songs to make a good soundtrack. That is something that I like a lot in a good movie and it’s something that I do when I write, mainly for fight scenes. The way the songs play, you see how the songs make the world tick, as if the songs are specifically chosen for a particular thing. Maybe that’s how soundtrack songs are, but it’s probably one of those things that you have to talk about when it’s done very well.

Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s currently the only thing out of Marvel I put a mental note to try to go see in the theater, or watch it on Netflix or TV the first chance I get. That being said, this movie wasn’t as good as its predecessor. It’s not really knocking the movie, I just think between the two, I’d pick the first Guardians film over this one.

I’m going to give Guardians of the Galaxy: Vola 7.5/10. Good action, great music selection, just not as good humor, which is kind of a letdown when these movies are what I feel the comic relief of the MCU.

What’s going to happen when the Guardians of the Galaxy return? I’m not sure, but it’s going to be hard to be a better Marvel path for me than the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Your move, Black Panther 

Dickens. What a man.

It’s been a while. Too long, some of you may be thinking. I really need to do something to make this have a set schedule before I think about apologizing, should I? Well, I know one way to make up for the lack of material: a movie review! And boy, do I have a movie for you. Today, I’m going to review a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a while with The Man Who Invented Christmas.

The Man Who Invented Christmas is a movie about Charles Dickens and the process he went through to write his enduring classic A Christmas Carol. As somebody who tries to write often enough to consider himself something of a writer, I can say that this movie tried to speak to me. Seeing the characters come to Dickens as he struggles to write is something that I think most writers go through. I haven’t been fortunate to see the characters come to me, so maybe that’s something that only happens when you’re in a situation Dickens is in in this movie: on a deadline and having to deal with the fact you’re reeling from flops.

The thing that makes this work the most is Dan Stevens, who plays Charles Dickens. He’s having so much fun in this role and you can see him just beaming like this gigantic ball of kinetic energy in every scene he’s in. While I haven’t heard anything about Charles Dickens in his personal life, I feel that this may be something that’s just for the movie. I guess this may be one of things that falls under “it is what it is”. Also, there are some things that Dickens does in this movie that made me go, “You can’t spell Dickens without ‘dick’.” Another great aspect is Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge. He and Stevens play off each other really well and you get that character/creator relationship coming off well. He’s also got some funny lines as well. One character that struck as entertaining is Tara, one of Dickens’ maids. Keep an eye out for her, because she was really cool.

If there was one thing I had a problem with this movie, it was how they had some of the A Christmas Carol aspects may have been a bit too on the nose for my liking. One scene has Dickens see a kid with a crutch similar to the one Tiny Tim has and you’d probably know where that goes. They also have the line “God bless us, every one” line a few times, and that’s not the only thing that they take from the book. Having only seen small adaptations of it (read: vague memories of reading it in picture books as a kid, and one of them was with Disney characters) so I can say I know the story. It feels like some lines were taken verbatim from the book, but as the movie went on, I felt myself not being bugged by it.  I think that has to do with me having seen Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, I can safely say that when it comes to taking direct lines into a work, you can do much worse. Also, the fact that the dialogue fits the time period helps a lot.

Another issue I had was that in some parts, it felt like it was going for the typical second act low point that you see in a lot of movies, and Dickens had to get out of it. However, the way that that’s resolved is actually rather clever, and if you’re a fan of A Christmas Carol, is pretty damn cool.

And now the score. I’m a fan of historical stuff, and a fan of learning how creative things are made, I was excited about this movie when I saw the trailer for it. And I can safely say I wasn’t disappointed. Even the problems that I had made were persistent which is admirable in that it can correct its problems quickly. However, those problems are still there, as small as they may be. Me nitpicking? In the long run, maybe.

I’m going to give The Man Who Invented Christmas a 9.5/10. If you’re a fan of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, that fluffy holiday feeling, or if you’re just looking for a great movie this season, this is a great movie for you. It’s an amazing story of how a classic came to be.

Talking RWBY

So, it seems we’re getting closer and closer to the Volume 5 premiere of RWBY. And while it seems that I should be excited about this upcoming premiere, I’m writing here from a position of…looking forward to it, but not super hyped.

For starters, let’s go over what the series is. RWBY is created by the production company Rooster Teeth and its been airing on their website, first to their subscribers and then to the general public a week after release including on their YouTube channel, since 2013. Here’s a plot summary that comes from the show’s Wikipedia page (Warning, here be a sliver of spoilers):

The story takes place in the world of Remnant, which is filled with mysterious and malevolent creatures known as the “Creatures of Grimm.” Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm, and their opposing kingdoms, before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust, which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. In the present day, Dust is used to power abilities and weapons, but a more archaic form of this is weaving it into clothing. Those who use these abilities to battle the Grimm are known as Huntsmen or Huntresses. The series focuses on four girls, each with her own unique weapon and powers. Together, they form team RWBY (/ˈrbi/, “ruby”) at Beacon Academy in the city of Vale, where they are trained to become Huntresses alongside team JNPR (/ˈunəpər/, “juniper”), team SSSN (/sʌn/, “sun”), team CRDL (/ˈkɑːrdnl/, “cardinal”) team CFVY (/ˈkɔːfi/, “coffee”), and various other named and unnamed student teams.

Volume 1 focuses on the introduction of the characters of the story, marking the events that lead to their team formations. All the while, mysterious thefts of Dust are occurring around the city of Vale, notably organized by the show’s antagonist, Roman Torchwick. Volume 2 follows up from these events of Volume 1, and team RWBY sets out in order to investigate the meaning behind these thefts. They aim to discover the villain’s plans for the city of Vale before the Vytal Festival—a festival between the four kingdoms of Remnant where they have their best students demonstrate their skills and abilities in celebration of the peace between all four kingdoms. Volume 3 starts with the beginning of the Vytal Festival; however, a sinister plot lurks behind the celebratory events, and the heroes can only do so much to prepare for the evil that is coming. Volume 4 takes place six to eight months following the events of Volume 3, with the members of Team RWBY separated and in different parts of the globe, mainly trying to get to “Mistral” (another location in the series) where another Huntsman Academy is located, to prepare for a new evil.

 All I did was correct what I thought was a typo.

I got into this show after watching an episode of DEATH BATTLE! featuring Yang Xiao Long, one of the main characters of this show, where she fought Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII. This followed reading tons of fan-written Death Battles featuring Yang from DeviantArt. This was right before Volume 3, when every RWBY fan will tell you shit got real and the story began in earnest. I’ve seen everything this show has done and…I feel like I’m not as hyped as other RWBY fans.

I think I know why that is: I got started with this show pretty late.  I started watching this show two whole years after the show began, forcing myself to catch up by watching the first two seasons on Netflix, where the first two seasons (the entire show at the time) was broadcast like a movie instead of 10-30 minutes episodes, which probably helped to explain the pacing issues I felt when shit hit the fan in Volume 3. Maybe I would have felt it if I followed it week to week back then as well. And I also felt it this past Volume 4. I know I shouldn’t be so hard on Rooster Teeth for episode length because of the many reasons that go into production, but maybe pacing could be an issue that can be addressed, especially if this show continues the cycle of using volumes to build up to an event in a volume that becomes a MAJOR plot point. Even with that in fact, I don’t think I’ll rush off to watch the earlier adventures as opposed to other titles I’m fond of like Fairy Tail or Attack on Titan.

Because of this, I’m not what you’d consider up to the times with the RWBY fanbase. Even being subscribed to the r/RWBY subreddit, I can safely say that I’m nowhere close to being the biggest RWBY fan, nor am I likely to gel with any other fans. Let me explain the reasons:

  • I have never been a fan of the music. While I have listened to the theme songs, nothing has made me inclined to listen to any of the songs outside of the context of the show, let alone listen to any of the songs on the soundtrack. Nothing there really pops out as super awesome.
  • I’m not what you’d call a “shipper” I have found no two characters that have clicked romantically AT ALL. Most of it may stem from not looking for romantic hints and hoping for a connection deeper them wanting to see them bang, but all the ships I’ve seen have either not hooked me in, I don’t see what the shippers see or I see them as friends at best. As for what happens in terms of romance on the actual show or what other people ship…do your thing, people. I ‘m not gonna stop you. I’m just some loser.
  • I don’t really care for any Rooster Teeth content besides RWBY. It seems that a lot of the people that are fans of other Rooster Teeth shows migrated to RWBY. I never cared about Rooster Teeth, nor even knew about them before discovering RWBY, so I probably have nothing in common with a lot of RWBY fans.

That’s not to say it’s all negatives. I enjoy reading the fanfics, though a lot of them tune me out because of the combination of romance and an unappealing premise that serves to help that romance. Although I’m not opposed to all romantic RWBY stories, I pass on a lot. In addition, I like seeing great fanfiction for this show, and I’ll admit some of the fanfic helped in making Ruby Rose (the main character) my favorite out of everyone on the show. And I will admit that some of the things that when it comes to shipping, I may come to ship something, though that probably won’t happen in the foreseeable future.

What does this mean for me and my small place in the RWBY fandom? Hard to say. Does anything I wrote here impact my feelings toward RWBY in the long run? I just hope that they fix the pacing issue and Rooster Teeth doesn’t drill the “two volumes of buildup for 1 mega moment in the third volume” into the ground, which is a fear I have considering Volume 5 is coming up. Aside from that, not really.

I guess you could call this an editorial or a mini-review, so I’m going to put this in my review section.

If there are any RWBY fans that read this, I hope I didn’t piss you off too much and I hope we can be something resembling friends.

Let’s talk Ninjago

First off, I’m sorry that I’ve been away for so long. I have no excuses, and I hope that this blog can somehow continue to grow.

That out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this thing.

I got to see The Lego Ninjago Movie. After seeing The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, I came to the conclusion that this Lego film franchise is my favorite film franchise. Why does this take the cake over the stuff offered by the likes of Marvel, Dreamworks, and the Disney Animated Canon?  Mainly the fact that every movie in this series is a movie I look forward to seeing as soon as I can, and this was no different.

What’s this movie about, you ask? The Lego Ninjago Movie takes place in Ninjago Movie where a teenager named Lloyd leads the charge to protect the city from the evil Lord Garmadon as the Green Ninja. There’s a little wrinkle to this: Lord Garmadon is Lloyd’s father. That’s a big source of humor for this movie, although that aspect can take a while to see some payoff. Also, as the movie goes on, the interactions with Lord Garmadon and Lloyd lead to the emotional moments that this franchise has beneath the comedy. These emotional moments also take some time to show up, although when you see them, you’ll probably get the feeling that they’ve been earned given what you’ve seen Lloyd and his friends have gone through. The other thing I can say is that if you’re going to mix comedy and emotional moments, you need to know when to apply each, and this movie knows when to do that most of the time. I’d say that this franchise knows how to do that particular skill pretty damn well.

And now let’s talk about what I loved the most from this movie: Jackie Chan as Master Wu, Lloyd’s teacher in all things ninja. Jackie Chan had the best lines in the movie, I was just smiling in every scene he was in, and in terms of the best character, I’d say it’s a toss-up between him and Lord Garmadon. When I walked out of the movie, I told my mom that I think Jackie Chan makes everything better, while my mom said that Jackie Chan was the best part of the movie and was pivotal to the movie’s success. I will say that I came into this not knowing who the cast would be, so I don’t think I’m in a position to talk about this aspect, although I will say that Jackie Chan was a good call to have in this movie if I could say so myself. I don’t think this is one of those things I can explain. I honestly can’t think of someone who could take that role and play it as well as Jackie Chan did.

In terms of how good this is compared to the other Lego films, I’d say that it’s not as funny as The Lego Batman Movie, but it’s still pretty good when it comes to providing laughs. Compared to The Lego Movie, I’d say that it’s kind of a different situation in that this movie is more for the Lego connoisseur as it’s based on a particular Lego line instead of something the general public such as the fun of playing with Lego blocks or Batman. I honestly don’t know anyone that knows Ninjago, though that may have to do with the fact that Lego Ninjago started when I was in high school, and I don’t know anyone that plays with Lego, let alone knows of the Lego Ninjago franchise.

As for score? I’m going to give The Lego Ninjago Movie a 7/10. This movie may take a while to find its groove, which may have to do with the fact that it kind of needs to establish the world it’s in, but once it does hit its groove, it’s super enjoyable. Also, Jackie Chan is the man. Jackie Chan is a treasure. Jackie Chan is the best part of this movie.

And now, I leave you with Jackie Chan singing “I’ll Make A Man Out of You” from Mulan. In Chinese.