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RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 11 – Sympathy for the Adam

The Mech fight continues. While the sheer ridiculousness of it all is, in my opinion, unforgivable, the falling action gave us plenty of footage of RWBY, JNR, Qrow, and even Maria kicking butt. (Plus, bonus points for an onscreen transformation from man to bird and back again for Qrow — I’d never seen him actively use his magical ability in battle prior to this, and it’s awesome.) Even so, the very idea that a grown woman (well, she didn’t grow a lot, but she’s nevertheless an adult) in a gigantic mech would so publicly shoot at a bunch of teenagers is a stupid premise. Obviously she’ll be dethroned after this display of immaturity, but I’m frankly surprised it was allowed to last this long. It becomes clear, however, that Cordovan’s beef is with Maria and Maria alone; hopefully, next week’s episode will conclude, but not without a fight of Snowbird proportions. (For the record, I do NOT ship Cordovera. I do not. We have to stop shipping anything that moves or bickers with one another.)

While that plot point is weak, I have to give the CRWBY immense credit for coordinating the Blake + Yang vs. Adam fight in a way that utilizes the animators’ strength: PvP, one-on-one fighting scenes. While, in past sequences, inactive battle participants kind of just stagnated in the background, they wove this into the plot spectacularly: Blake ran out of breath and had to rest, prompting Yang to cover for her and pull Adam away.

It was beautiful to see the two girls help each other (I suppose that remark was an attempt at profundity), and thrilling to see Yang finally go toe to toe with the cause of her trauma (and survive). While I still feel Yang and Blake need to talk about whatever tension/unresolved issues they have, it’s clear now that much of those things are water under the bridge.

A recurring theme throughout this volume has been trying to garner sympathy for the villains. Does it work? Well, I do have an ounce — a single ounce — of concern for Emerald, but Salem and Adam are not as deserving in my opinion. This episode, by showing (not telling — good job, Ruby could learn a thing or two from this) a hitherto unknown part of Adam’s backstory that was teased in Adam’s short: the reason Adam wears a mask.

Well, part of it. See, Adam’s face is branded, rendering him blind in one eye, or at least permanently scarred. The brand has numbers, and I guess that’s supposed to disturb viewers greatly or evoke events of the Holocaust. I don’t know what to make of it. In recent times, to signal virtue, television writers have so belabored Holocaust, World War II, and Nazism references that whatever the CRWBY was trying to do here just doesn’t move me at all. I’m too numb to this line of reasoning to even be annoyed or offended at the misappropriation of my history anymore. If — a big if — that’s the direction they were even going.

Adam Taurus, while not always the head honcho of the White Fang, was a prominent leader of the organization, and clearly had a lot of say in how they operated. Blake mentioned early on in Volume Two that White Fang members wore masks to symbolize the monstrosities Humanity made of the Faunus comminity. I cannot help but wonder if they actually wear these masks because Adam is insecure about his own face…? Perhaps, like the oddly-animated Prince Adam of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, behind his beastly facade/mask, he’s really just a blah sort of humanoid dude with vanity issues.

Ultimately, a lot of things get damaged on this episode:

  • Cordovan’s dignity
  • Cordovan’s mech
  • Adam’s mask
  • Adam’s dignity
  • Blake’s sword
  • Yang’s bionic arm

Whether these things are damaged beyond repair (or reappearance, apropos Ren’s guns) remains to be determined. We’ll just have to keep watching, I guess.