RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 10 – …But Mechs!

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 10 – …But Mechs!

If you’re getting tired of the Atlesian military outpost clowns, you won’t like this episode. If I’m projecting my own opinions on you, reader, I apologize as well.

Last week, Jaune had a plan. Sort of. Part of it involves Weiss, Jaune’s sister, and Maria delivering an Emmy-winning performance for Cordovan and her cartoony cohorts and commit Grand Theft Airship. Maria played all her assumed roles convincingly and comedically; I can’t say the same for the rest. :p

Another part of the plan involves Blake taking out the CCT tower, with Yang serving as the getaway driver. Seems these two are getting along well again, at least in this time of great need. Did their dissent in the ghost village stem from the Apathy, or was it simply amplified?

Meanwhile, the rest of the party waits by the coastline. Qrow is still pessimistic, which prompts yet another Speech(TM) from resident motivational speaker and cut-grownups-down-to-size-er, Ruby Rose.

Honestly, Ruby the Lecturer just doesn’t cut it for me. Only a few months ago, she was, frankly, a pipsqueak who laughed uncontrollably for uncomfortably long periods of time. Now we’ve got a pint-sized Peter Capaldi giving speeches every other episode. I imagine the writers are trying to transition her character into that of a true responsible leader, but the way she’s going about it ends up coming off as sophomoric. This isn’t how to be assertive. And if she’s going to tell off an adult for being stifling and overprotective, she’s really barking up the wrong tree with Uncle Qrow, the cool uncle!

Amidst all this dissent and discord, the team fails to notice that Blake hasn’t carried out her part of the mission until it’s too late. Turns out she’s gotten a little sidetracked … by none other than Adam Taurus.

Yup. Adam is real.

Or is he?

See, Yang has been having PTSD-induced hallucinations of Adam for the past couple of volumes. Every time she has these visions, he’s dressed in his Volume 3 costume — that’s what she remembers from the night he sliced her arm off.

An early PTSD-induced vision of Adam, seen while Yang recovers on Patch Island. (Volume 4)
On the train to Argus, though most footage in the opening montages should be taken as symbolism. (Volume 6)
Outside the mayor’s barn in the abandoned village (Volume 6)

This, on the other hand, is what Blake saw when she uncoupled the traincars headed to Argus during the Grimm attack:

Viewers were left wondering if this was actually Adam, and if so, why did he look so different? This episode confirms that Adam was, indeed, following Blake from Mistral to Argus. His outfit has been redesigned, yet he retains some form of eye-protection. (What does he have to hide, when he’s no longer part of the White Fang?)

This has been a guide to determining whether the Adam you see on your screen is real or imaginary.

Also, do you like Mechs? Rooster Teeth Animations likes Mechs. And they really, really want you to check out their new show about Mechs. Even Cordovan has one. And like her, it looks really stupid. But Mechs!

On that note: Who wants to see Gen:Lock recaps? Judging by the previews accompanying the past few episodes of RWBY, the show will have strong language and violence. Assuming that’s all it has in terms of mature content, I’m game to give it a try.

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 9 – Second Thoughts and Afterthoughts

RWBY Recap: Volume 6, Episode 9 – Second Thoughts and Afterthoughts

This week’s episode is all about second thoughts, second thoughts that characters have and characters who really should’ve been given second thoughts ages and ages ago.

We’re given a rare glimpse of Cinder’s cronies, Emerald and Mercury, who clearly grieve in different ways. Emerald, as predicted, is starting to recognize how futile her alliance with Salem’s faction is without Cinder’s protection. (After all, wasn’t she going along with this strictly out of loyalty to the sole mother figure in her life?) The feeling is apparently mutual apropos Salem and higher-up members of the team.

Mercury, on the other hand, shows himself to be heartless and greedy where Emerald’s finally realizing she has a conscience (or something). As they wage a clumsy, emotionally charged duel, someone in the CRWBY thought it was a good idea to have Mercury give a villain’s monologue further clarifying his origin story. No time like the present, I suppose, to learn some cool things like Mercury’s actual lack of a semblance — his father, who abused him, had a semblance of his own that could take others away. (Honestly, this sounds vaguely familiar, though I cannot recall where else in RWBY this might’ve come up. WoR, maybe?)

Their fight is disrupted by the craziest resident crazy of this crazy cabal, who gives some ironically helpful parting advice: “Do what makes you happy, children.” Evidently, being a murderous psychopath is what makes Tyrian happy; but if Emerald is so miserable…. I thought she grudgingly appreciated Ruby’s friendliness, somewhere beneath the marching orders of Cinder’s last nefarious plan. I detect a defection.

After this ominous sequence, we return to the exploits of Team RWBY and their allies. Qrow is, for the moment, missing; Oscar is also missing; and like always, Pyrrha is missing from each of our hearts — especially Jaune’s. And that’s the most important part of this episode, you know. Suddenly, after two volumes of barely addressing the loss of Pyrrha beyond some poorly-executed lip-service; after going through the heart of Pyrrha’s home kingdom with no talk of her loss or a conversation between Jaune and her grieving parents; we get to talk about Pyrrha.

….Because smack-dab in the middle of this random little city on the outskirts of the kingdom is a gigantic golden statue of the Great One.

Okay, then.

Jaune stumbles upon this statue while searching the neighborhood for Oscar, who ran away from Jaune’s sister’s house some hours before. (But again, Oscar’s not important anymore.) Rather, he’s led by a single maple leaf. Here, Jaune meets Pyrrha’s mother, who leaves flowers at the memorial. We also learn that Pyrrha used to train in this city, which is why the statue was put up here.

Honestly, this feels like an afterthought on the writers’ part, in a mad dash to address Pyrrha while the characters are still in her old stomping grounds. At this point, I’m like, “Thank you for addressing Pyrrha; please talk about Penny more, because Penny can actually be brought back from the dead in the canon continuity for a change.” Pyrrha is, in every respect, dead, buried, and forgotten by this point — and until now, the attitude of the writers seemed to be just keep moving forward.

Plus, this came at the cost of a compelling “Where’s Oscar?” subplot, because when Jaune and company get back to the sister’s house after a fruitless search, Oscar is right there, giving the indication that he cured his hurt feelings with a bit of retail therapy.

Also, Qrow starts acting like an uncharacteristically grouchy old curmudgeon instead of cool, carefree/less uncle who happens to be middle-aged. The scene with Ruby telling him off just didn’t have the intended effect for me. None of this felt overly characteristic to me, but stress does bring out other sides of people that I simply may not have noticed before.

The episode closes with the important, albeit awkwardly executed message of not underestimating the youth. When we next see JNPR, RWBY, Oscar, and Qrow, they’ll be “winging” a way to get into the Atlesian military outpost. Here’s hoping the falling action of this volume, which started out so strong, will be a bit less awkward in pacing than this episode was.

Famous Characters Who Are Actually Time Lords

Famous Characters Who Are Actually Time Lords

The most famous time-traveling Time Lord we know of is the Doctor of Doctor Who; in fact, outside of Doctor Who, it’s rare to hear of these Gallifrey-hailing beings existing.  But I think they do.  There’s always the off-chance that a Dalek or Cyberman wanting to kill all remaining Time Lords in the galaxy might happen upon this list, so I’ve only named people I am confident would be able to fend for themselves against an onslaught of angry exterminators.  Without further ado, here’s my list of famous, fictional characters who I believe are actually Time Lords!

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RWBY Volume 6, Episodes 7-8 – More About Maria

RWBY Volume 6, Episodes 7-8 – More About Maria

Sorry I didn’t have a post last week; life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.  So that just means I have a little bit more ground to cover.

Episode 7 focused opens with a flashback to Maria Calavera’s young-adulthood, when she had functioning silver eyes and the associated abilities at her disposal. Also, she has not one, but two epic scythes.  (Imagine the look on Team RWBY’s faces when they see a baby; that was my face when I saw Maria’s weapons.)   Maria turns a gigantic Nevermore to stone using her fabulous secret powers … but we soon see that she wasn’t completely alone, so it really wasn’t safe to unleash them.  Maria is jumped by a band of evildoers, likely early pawns of Salem, whose ringleader slashes the poor Huntress’s eyes!

In Maria’s prime, she was known as the masked Grimm Reaper, someone Uncle Qrow admits he really looked up to as a young Huntsman himself … until the Reaper disappeared.  Now, our heroes know why.

Just as Maria’s storytime ends, Yang’s super-strong motorcycle hauls the weary travelers up a hill, where they overlook their destination: the city of Argus.  They meet up with Team JNPR, who have been staying with one of Jaune’s seven sisters and her family, which includes, by the way, an insanely adorable baby. :hearteyes:  We catch up on what Jaune and company have been up to, which has primarily been trying to get into the Atlesian military outpost located in Mistralese Argus as part of some ancient peace treaty.  The episode closes abruptly with a shot of Team RWBY getting the gates slammed shut in their faces.

Maria’s unfortunate loss of vision, in my opinion, plays into a much larger narrative of some evil force, most likely Salem, that is, for whatever reason, obsessed with maiming and otherwise disabling Silver Eyed Warriors.  Remember in Volume 4, when Tyrian gleefully spoke of wanting to take out poor little Ruby’s silver eyes?  Clearly, Maria’s attack was before his time in the faction, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s had some part in harming other Silver Eyed Warriors in the past, at Salem’s command.  Why she wants Ruby kept alive, however, is beyond me, though I’m not complaining in the least that she does.

Episode 8 continues with Team RWBY, with Qrow, Oscar, and Maria standing awkwardly behind, in front of the gate, engaged in a battle of the wits (or lack thereof) with a very obnoxious pair of Thompson and Thompson analogues.  The ridiculousness of this sequence played out the way I might imagine a real anime trying to be funny; thusly, I didn’t find it very funny. 😀  Qrow manages to appeal to the guards by namedropping Weiss Schnee; and the woman in charge of this Atlesian outpost comes marching out.

From the way they described her, my reactions went from this:

…To this:

Instead of Winter, we get another old woman who has some kind of fractious past with Maria.  Imagine if Jacques Schnee’s stepsister Dolores Umbridge had a child with the brother of Edna Mode.  You’d get this random character.

Seriously, what a waste of an opportunity to reintroduce Winter to the storyline.  It would’ve explained right away why Winter wasn’t where Weiss was trying to meet up with her during the events of Volume 5.  Wherever that even was … it’s all a blur to me.

Qrow is evidently disappointed as well; he disappears halfway through the episode to go buy drinks.  Qrow’s alcoholism, interestingly, is no longer being played up as a joke; it sounds like the writers are staging what is effectively an intervention through this turn of events.

Jaune gets caught up on Ozpin’s quasi-betrayal of trust, and reacts essentially the same way Qrow did.  So I guess we can add him to the list of potenial Branwen progeny, along with Mercury and Ruby, since he looks/acts similarly to Qrow.  (Kidding!)  That one moment from the opening sequence actually comes to pass exactly as it was shown, who’d-a thunk it?

While everyone goes off to brood about Ozpin, Ruby goes outside, where she talks with Maria about her silver eyes.  In the process, Maria reveals a bit more about her history as an early Huntress and Silver-Eyed Warrior.  Her father had the power too, and used the little knowledge he had of his own situation to teach his daughter how to wield the power.  She speaks of bloodlines, and how for whatever reason, Salem wants them neutralized.  This all but confirms my suspicion that Ruby inherited the power from her own mother, which may explain why a) Ozpin was so surprised, and b) Qrow knows as much as he does about Ruby’s powers.

The informative moment is again abruptly cut short when Yang discovers Oscar has disappeared.  (Plus, Qrow is still gone.)  Honestly, given how he’s been pushed around so much, I totally get why Oscar would run off — I’m surprised it took him this long.

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.