RWBY Recap – Volume 6, Episode 6 – The Eyes Have It

RWBY Recap – Volume 6, Episode 6 – The Eyes Have It

I don’t know anymore, you guys.  This reviewing thing….  It just doesn’t feel fun anymore.  RWBY is getting stupider and stupider with each passing volume, and watching it now feels like a chore.  I want to quit; there’s just no point to doing this, or anything really, anymore.  All I want to do these days is curl up into a little ball and sleep, because I’m just so, so exhausted….

 

Joking aside, it isn’t hard to not be apathetic about this week’s stunning episode of RWBY.  (Oops, I did it again.)  It is effectively a resolution to the whole “why is this sleepy little ghost town abandoned?” storyline, which is nice, because I’m glad it won’t be dragging out for the rest of the volume.  It was a neat little story-within-a-story, and I like that we’re getting more than one new Grimm per volume now.

In this episode, Ruby and friends survive the night in the sleepy little ghost town and prepare to leave in the morning.  (Heck, they even make it to the afternoon, because Drunkle Qrow slept through sunrise.)  Maria, however, starts to suspect something has gone awry as she reads the diary of the deceased homeowner….

By now, the exhaustion they feel isn’t the only negative emotion hitting the group hard.  Qrow drinks harder than usual, Yang’s Yangrier than before, and Ruby’s pushed to the point of wanting to just throw the genie lantern relic down a well because from her perspective, there’s simply no point in going on.  Failure is inevitable.

But something moves at the bottom of the well that jars the poor girl out of her reverie.  She drops the lantern in shock more than anything else, and the entire team RWBY goes down to investigate.  Meanwhile, Maria realizes just in time what’s down there.

These new Grimm, the Apathy, are particularly interesting because not only are they drawn to negative emotions, they generate them as well.  And when you’ve got an entire pack of them in the underground tunnels, no amount of sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, or a caboodle of cute little Zwei puppies can remedy the effects of their infernal screams.

Ruby tries to use her Silver Eyed Warrior powers to fend off the Apathy; it takes a pep talk from Maria Calavera for her to succeed.  Which finally confirms what I’ve been wondering for a few weeks now: who is Maria Calavera, really?  Why, she’s a Silver Eyed Warrior too … or, she was when she had functioning eyes.  (A while back in Volume Four, didn’t Tyrian speak about taking out Ruby’s eyes…? o.O  That poor, poor woman.)

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 5 – Look Who’s Back!

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 5 – Look Who’s Back!

This week’s episode marks the return of yet another fan-favorite character, whom we haven’t seen since the end of Volume 3.  She’s back, and she’s very angry at Cinder Fall for the death of her dear old Dum-Dum….

It really was nice seeing Neo Politan back in action.  What can I say?  Three ice cream flavors rolled into one adorable villainess is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.  I’m only a little sad to see that her glossy, tricolor hair doesn’t look quite as detailed with her Autodesk Maya render.  But she’s back, and that’s what matters.

Neo blames Cinder for the loss of Roman Torchwick in Volume 3, that much is apparent.  But like before, Neo cows at the sight of Maiden powers.  Anyone else remember how she retreated from her fight with Yang, despite having the upper hand, when a masked Raven portaled in?  So they agree to a truce, and a time to “talk.”  (Hahaha.)

The rest of the episode explores RWBY’s findings in the apparent ghost town, where they’ve chosen to wait out the worst of the winter storm.  There’s a delightful horror-film vibe to the ensuing scenes, which I enjoyed very much: it turns out that the village’s residents are all dead in their beds.  The causes of death (or is it cause of deaths?) remaining a mystery to our heroes … who are oh-so-noticeably succumbing to sudden exhaustion.

While Ruby and Weiss look for food in a village tavern, Yang and Blake go off to find transportation.  During this time, each of them get to have a heart-to-heart conversation about whatever it is that’s bothering them.  Yang still suffers from PTSD (I’m glad they’re not brushing that off), and she’s still hurt by Blake running away; Blake tries to reacquaint herself with Yang following the trauma, and is rebuffed; Ruby worries that Qrow is handling the stress badly, and Weiss really doesn’t want to go back to Atlas.

Meanwhile a mysterious life form watches from beneath a wine cellar….  I suspect that next week, the Big, Undefeatable Grimm will finally come out to play.  We just … have … to stay … yaaawn … awake until then.

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 4 – Qrow Did WHAT?!

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 4 – Qrow Did WHAT?!

This episode, in some respects, seemed a bit insubstantial to me on the first pass.  The episodic content:theme song ratio in this thirteen-minute segment did not look promising to me.  But I got to watch it with my friends after an awesome outing to a local anime convention, so I can still look back on the viewing experience positively.

Instead of shifting the perspective from QROWBY to, say, Team JNPR back on the train, the episode continues to show us how Qrow and RWBY are taking in the information from the genie’s vision.  Also, Ozpin reveals that at this point in time, he has no concrete plan for defeating Salem.  So, in a fit of indignant rage, Qrow punches Ozpin’s current vessel: a child, Oscar Pine.  Granted, Qrow feels like his life’s work has been a waste, given how much Ozpin has kept from him, but punching a child … that’s low, Qrow.

The middle portion of the episode is spent on Salem’s faction.  Emerald, Mercury, and “OOZZZPIIIIN” Guy return to her dark castle to report their failure.  Tyrian the creep taunts and torments them, and there’s a general feeling of unease as Cinder has, to their knowledge, fallen and can no longer protect her puppets from Salem’s rage.

And honestly, I’m surprised that Salem is this enraged.  She should know better.  If she’s immortal and truly undefeatable, why didn’t she just wage her battle against Ozcar, a mere child, in person?  What is the point of entrusting the battle to mere mortal fallible pawns?  Granted, having multiple minions to divide and conquer each of the Huntsman academies seems like a good idea, but she isn’t even doing that — she just sends them all to whichever school RWBY have arrived at, to battle them.  In hindsight, her plan has serious flaws.

The episode ends with QROWBY + Maria Calavera finding an abandoned village where they intend to spend the night.  At the beginning of this volume, I was optimistic that we’d have a change of transportation pace because the characters were getting on a train.  But now I’m getting some serious Volume Four flashbacks: there’s been lots of walking, and now we’re going to an abandoned Mistralese village…..  If there isn’t another big, bad undefeatable monster Grimm here, I’ll be very surprised.

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 3 – Irreconcilable Differences

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 3 – Irreconcilable Differences

This episode has a delightfully one-track plot. No more half-truths or silly jokes. No  diversions to Cinder, Adam, or Roman’s hat’s perspectives. We dive right into the origin stories of Salem, the lonely girl in the tower (who is totally analogous to Rapunzel), and her rescuer, the valiant warrior Ozma.

You read that right.  Ozma. Read more

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 2 – Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Cane

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 2 – Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Cane

Maz Katara has a name now: Maria Calavera. She’s apparently the first Hispanic woman in the World of Remnant, which is further emphasized by her Day of the Dead-styled skull cane. Yay, diversity. So yeah, we’re calling her Maria Calavera now. Sounds similar enough to the old moniker, doesn’t it?

For a sixteen minute episode, this one is packed with plenty of shocking and noteworthy moments.  For starters:

 

Cinder is Back. 

Yup, she’s not dead. Just resting after a lengthy battle with the Spring Maiden.  The shadowy figure with the claw hand on the Volume 6 promotional art was an indication of this, but I was hoping she’d stay dead.

Her fall (haha) last volume was a startling, unexpected end for the character, deliberately ambiguous with an air of much-deserved finality.  Bringing her back seems like a lazy way to renege on this very powerful decision.  Understandably, Cinder (and her voice actor, the stunning cosplayer/model Jessica Nigri,) are fan-favorites; but since when do the CRWBY bow to demands for fan service outside of the Chibi world?

Time and again, my eye keeps drifting back to the red-banded bowler hat that flutters past the hooded woman we know to be Cinder in the opening montage.  Look, if Cinder can be resurrected by the powers of fan service after falling from a great height, there is clearly hope for a man quite thoroughly digested by a giant Nevermore….

 

Little Miss Muffet

One minor thing that I find noteworthy is the introduction of a side character, a spider-obsessed Kelly Clarkson doppelganger named Little Miss Malachite. I’m curious to know if she’s related to the twin partygoers from Yang’s Gold Trailer, circa Volume One.

 

Flashbacks are Weird

In terms of pacing, this episode was somewhat disjointed. In addition to Cinder’s return scene, we got a flashback to when QROWBYNGR was still in Mistral. They discuss the relic and its abilities, though Ozcar neglects to reveal how attracted the Grimm are to it.  Because of how difficult it is to tell what’s a flashback and what isn’t, I now have questions about the passage of time in the previous episode.

Like, did the scene with Adam killing the White Fang mutineers occur on the same day that QROWBYNGR left for Argus?  Because if that was Adam we saw on the train, there’s no way he could’ve killed the rebels, cleaned up, gone clothes shopping, and followed them to the train that quickly.

 

Give Aaron Dismuke an Oscar!

At this moment, the distinction between Oz and ‘Car is further strengthened and defined.  Oscar is learning to wrest control from Ozpin over his body, and once again, Ozpin’s nefarious side is brought out.  In portraying this dynamic, I am really impressed by how well Aaron Dismuke transitions into Shannon McCormick’s Ozpin speech pattern for scenes where Oz is talking through Oscar.

 

The Inappropriate Genie

The second biggest revelation of this episode is that the relic is actually a magic lantern containing … a naked genie.  (Could this be why the episode was titled “Uncovered”?)  But that’s not the shocking aspect of this point that I wanted to talk about.

Unlike most genies who grant wishes, this genie provides answers to three questions per century — and there are still two questions remaining.  Ruby and company clearly intend to capitalize on this, much to the fear and chagrin of Professor Ozpin’s spirit, because their first question is, “What is Ozpin hiding from us?” And Oz doesn’t take it very well.

Just as he lunges to stop Ruby (a major red flag that I believe all Rosecar shippers should be wary of), the four girls are transported to that familiar, all-white realm of sci-fis past.  It is the as-of-yet final resting place of Captain Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine, and the place where Morpheus showed Neo the reality surrounding the Matrix.

 

Sympathy for the Villain

In this realm, RWBY and Qrow are individually shown a presentation about a lonely girl living in a lonely tower. You may recognize her as the girl looking up at an Ozpin statue in the opening montage. Her name is….

…Zelda?

…Okay, how about Rapunzel?  Nearly everyone in RWBY has a fairytale analogue.

Oh, no, now that would be too easy.

It’s Salem.

Yup, get this: Salem was once an ordinary human. Like you. Until she took a metaphorical arrow to the knee.

I was pretty shocked at this revelation the first time I watched this. On the one hand, I’m excited to see the narrative continued in the next installment; we’re getting some background on the series’ main antagonist. But after my second viewing, I’m feeling a wee bit cynical.

What I think is most likely going to happen is the writers will attempt to give Salem a tragic, sympathy-garnering backstory. After all, bullies become bullies because they were once bullied themselves (so we must sympathize with, and even befriend our abusers). This backstory reveal would definitely give her character dimension, but I really don’t want to sympathize or, worse, empathize with Salem.

Perhaps by learning how she came to be the evil sorceress of the past, we’ll be able to find a weakness, her Pyrrha’s heel….  (I’m so not sorry!)

RWBY Recap: Volume 6 Episode 1 – I Like Train Battles!

RWBY Recap: Volume 6 Episode 1 – I Like Train Battles!

First off, let me just say that this episode exceeds my expectations in so many ways.

For starters, the animation quality is phenomenal this time around. It is far more coordinated than it’s been in the previous two volumes, and really shines in the first act of the episode. Viewers are taken right into the heart of a battle sequence on the train that highlights Team RWBY’s excellent teamwork. But how did they get there in the first place? Just watch on….

As I predicted, it seems that at this point, the production team isn’t shying away from death. There is a lot of it in this episode, even if it’s only minor characters so far. There were two characters who I could tell right away would either die horribly or end up very hurt before the day was over.

Then, there’s the slaughter of any White Fang members who planned to rise up against Adam Taurus for his cowardly betrayal in the last volume…. Let us just say that Adam has some serious anger issues he needs to deal with.

The next act of the episode shows us the hours leading up to the Grimm battle on the train. QROWBYNJR are gearing up to leave Mistral for Atlas by way of Argus.  Can you guess what mode of transportation they’ll be using? 😛  Even though Mistral will soon be left in the dust, we’re still treated to a few parting shots of the kingdom’s charming, Asiatic architecture in the train station.

I, for one, am relieved that they’re not attempting this leg of the journey on foot; otherwise, we’d be stuck in Mistral for another three volumes at this rate.  Perhaps, now that they have one of the four Relics, Qrow and Ozpin have made the decision to move quickly.  The Grimm, after all, are revealed to be attracted to the Relic.  What a handy plot device — now we can watch them fight Grimm every week!

These early scenes are generally lighthearted in tone, but this doesn’t detract from the overall episode plot. In the last couple of volumes, I’ve felt that Ruby’s childish nature didn’t jibe well with the otherwise darker setting of this arc, but it looks like things are finally balancing out. Plus, did anyone else notice Ruby’s voice has deepened ever so slightly?

Once they board the train, the tone transitions to a more somber, back-to-business vibe. We get our first official look at the mysterious elderly lady I’ve dubbed “Maz Katara,” before focusing on Team RWBY’s dynamic as they’re adjusting to being together once again. Blake and Yang still have some unresolved issues, but Yang assures Blake that things will be fine. (Blake’s ears are SO expressive, by the way. I’m happy at how much this little detail has evolved throughout the years.)

Following a brief “team-building exercise,” which was a tad more serious than Ruby had initially planned, we’re shown how the battle with the Grimm started. Once again, the fight sequence animations are stupendously well-done. Everyone has a way to contribute to the fight, and there’s even a little throwback to one of Qrow’s early fighting moves with the scythe, only now he’s teamed up with Ruby.

Blake and Yang’s teamup moment against the new Grimm, which is apparently called a Sphinx, had me thinking of Spiderman’s quip in Captain America: Civil War.  “Do you remember this really old movie called The Empire Strikes Back?” 😀

In terms of character development versus accurate character performances, Oscar Pine is getting his fair share.  When the episode starts, Oscar seems more resistant to letting Professor Ozpin’s spirit take over.  Only in a time of necessity, when lives need saving, does Oscar give his consent to “the other guy.”

The opening title sequence seems to hint at exploring the Wizard’s backstory, specifically in terms of the Wizard’s past hosts.  I’m looking forward to understanding this aspect of Ozpin better, though I wonder why the Wizard’s voice remains sounding like Ozpin when we hear him.  Is it the convenience of retaining Shannon McCormick as a voice actor, or is it perhaps the Wizard attempting to present himself in a way that’s most familiar to those he’s working with?  It could be both. 🙂

The episode winds down with Team RWBY + Qrow parting ways with the remnants of Team JNPR.  RWBY will disconnect the storage cars, fend off the Grimm, and JNR will get the passengers to safety.  (Oh well, I guess some of them will be going on foot after all….)  One traveler, however, opts to stay behind with RWBY.  And another unidentified figure (who bears a slight resemblance to Adam Taurus) remains with the train….

Who are these new people?  Only time (and the next several installments of RWBY: Volume 6) will tell.