Animation Break: RWBY Vol. 3 Review (Spoilers!)

Volumes 1 and 2 were an interesting introduction to the world of “RWBY” and to the series itself. It familiarized us with the world of Remnant, how it works, the main characters the audience will follow throughout the series, and also set up the foundation for the overarching plot surrounding the entire series. Volume 3 builds upon all of this and then some, as we start seeing the pieces fall into place as things that have been building up from Volume 1 start to come to fruition here, allowing for a season that doesn’t hold back its punches. Aside from this, the “RWBY” team at Rooster Teeth had some big shoes to fill after series creator Monty Oum unexpectedly passed away in early 2015, months before Volume 3 was premiered. However, all in all, this volume, despite the challenges, was a great one, and includes some of my favorite episodes of the series (so far).

Volume 3 kicked things off with the long awaited Vytal Festival Tournament, which allowed us to see different teams from different schools competing against each other. This allowed the world to expand more for the viewers not only in terms of world building, but with the secondary characters as well.

This volume also Ruby Rose’s (Lindsay Jones) and Yang Xiao Long’s (Barbara Dunkelman) Uncle Qrow Branwen (Vic Mignona), as well as Weiss Schnee’s (Kara Eberle) older sister Winter (Elizabeth Maxwell). Introducing these two in this volume not only ramped up what was going on behind the scenes, but it also allowed viewers to take a better look at Weiss’ and Ruby’s characters, through their respective idols and how they interact with each other. Interestingly enough, it also highlighted the differences of the sibling dynamics between two sets of siblings- Winter and Weiss and Ruby and Yang.

Aside from the tournament battles and the character development, this volume took a definite shift in tone as things became darker towards the end of the volume. This only allowed for it to reflect the seriousness of the events that ended up happening, as well as how high the stakes are for our protagonists. This shift in tone was actually, for me, a very welcome thing, as it raised the stakes higher and made me feel that the overarching plot was truly moving forward.

However, despite the darker tones, Volume 3, aside from having smoother animation and cinematography, was also able to balance out its sense of humor, especially in the first parts of the volume.

Characterization wise, aside from Team RWBY, Jaune Arc (Miles Luna) and Pyrrha Nikos (Jen Brown) got even more attention this time, and Pyrrha’s new struggles added a dimension to her that allowed us to delve even more into her character and her relationship with Jaune.

The fight choreography wasn’t as good as the first two volumes, but there were some amazing fight scenes that were definitely worth it.

Aside from this, this volume delved heavily into the mythology and lore of Remnant itself, with several interesting revelations that were connected to the overarching story arc of the series.

All in all, Volume 3, despite everything, was a great volume, and to be honest, a volume or season that I loved quite a lot.

Alright. You know the drill, beyond this point, there will be spoilers!

warning-spoilers-final

Before anything else, I’d like to mention that you should pay extra attention to the lyrics of the opening credits of each volume as it greatly reflects and foreshadows many things that will happen during the season or volume. For Volume 3, the opening credits foreshadow the darkness that is about to come, and how the dark will somehow triumph over the light or good.

First off, let’s talk about Pyrrha, as her shocking death in this volume was also foreshadowed by the fact that her story had really, in a sense had come full circle with her embracing her destiny to become the next Fall Maiden (The Maidens, who reflect each of the seasons, are powerful beings whose power is passed on from one host to another, and whose powers the main antagonists of the series want).

From the very beginning, Pyrrha was the “golden child”, the famous one, the one who many saw as destined for greatness from the start. Pyrrha had a lot of expectations already set on her, so it is no wonder that she tried to control the parts of her fate that she could control, such as deliberately picking Jaune as a partner.

Volume 2 showed her difficulties and struggles as “the golden child” and with her unrequited love for Jaune. However, it is also in this volume that the two get closer to each other.

Volume 3 sees her struggling to accept her destiny as the next Fall Maiden, as she truly just wanted to be a huntress whose pace matched Jaune’s. In the end, she ended up not only sacrificing herself, but her love for Jaune as well, as she made sure that he was somewhere safe before confronting Cinder, which ultimately led to her death. This death, which I believe should remain permanent will in the future, also serve as a catalyst for Jaune to grow and develop more so that he can reach his full potential in her name.

Pyrrha’s battle against Penny Polendina (Taylor McNee), wasn’t just the last straw and signal for all hell to break lose, but here, we see Pyrrha at her lowest. Emerald expertly manipulated her perception to make it seem that more than ten times the amount of Penny’s swords were coming out at her, causing her to use all of her powers, which ultimately led to Penny getting ripped into two. However, it was Ruby and Jaune who had to snap her out of it so that she could fight back against the invading Grimm.

Jaune was also more developed here thanks to his interactions with Pyrrha.

Pyrrha’s epic fight with Cinder, however, is an awesome fight sequence; while Cinder’s fight with Ozpin was definitely really cool.

By the way, that particular episode, “Destiny” was one of the most beautiful episodes I’ve seen of the series so far, and it makes me tear up and have a shiver of dread up my spine during the end of that episode.

A lot is shown in this volume about Ruby and Weiss through their respective idols- Qrow and Winter.

With Ruby, we see why she fights the way she does, and, in a way, her fighting spirit and strength. With Weiss, we see how she, in a way, is following in her sister’s footsteps by not becoming a businesswoman, and how, despite how strong she wants you to think she is, still has some hang ups that still need to be worked on.

Ruby, though, I realize, is a character that is also surrounded by a lot of death- her mother, Penny, and then Pyrrha. Watching Pyrrha die in front of her, was the last straw and the catalyst for her silver eyes to become activated, something that I hope we will learn more of and something that she can hopefully master in the future. However, despite all of this, Ruby still champions on, never giving up and losing hope, facing challenges head on, and this is something that I relate too and something that I admire about Ruby. Also, her fight with Neo and Torchwick was definitely something.

Another interesting thing here, aside from Blake craving for fish all the time, is how her past reared its ugly head, and caused another shocker in the series- during her fight with Adam Taurus, he deliberately cuts off Yang’s arm. This causes Blake to blame herself and run away, in a misguided effort to protect others from getting hurt.

And finally, there’s Yang. First, there was the fact that Emerald’s perception abilities caused her to attack Mercury so that it seemed like she hurt him due to her infamous temper, then there’s the fact that Blake had a hard time believing her at first, then the revelation that Qrow could connect her to her long lost mother, and then there’s her arm getting cut off. Yang’s normally upbeat and strong spirit definitely took a beating here, and at the end, she’s down for the count for now, with Ruby coming out as the stronger on in the end.

I loved how in the end, Ruby and the rest of Team JN(P)R set out for Haven, especially as Qrow implanted that idea into her head, and how he took off and followed them as a crow, with Ozpin’s cane.

I also liked seeing Taiyang Xiao Long (Burnie Burns), and that we are getting more glimpses on how Ruby and Yang were raised.

Ozpin continues to remain a big mystery for many reasons. We have no idea how powerful his semblance is, how old he is, what his connection with Salem really is, and if he really is dead or not. We know that Ozpin has been fighting this battle for a long time, making me wonder if he is related to that wizard in the story of the Fall Maidens, given that he is based off of the character of the Wizard in the “Wizard of Oz”.

Another big mystery is Team STRQ, and in particular Summer Rose’s mysterious disappearance (coupled with the fact that she also has silver eyes), and how Raven Branwen caused the disbandment of the team. However, my gut feel is that Team STRQ is very much connected to Ozpin and the fight against Salem.

With regards to fight scenes, my favorites include the initial Vytal Tournament fight with Team RWBY; Yang and Weiss versus Neon Kat and Flynt Coal; Qrow versus Winter; Emerald, Mercury and Cinder versus the Fall Maiden Amber; Pyrrha’s fight with Cinder; Ruby’s fight with Neo and Torchwick; and Ozpin’s fight with Cinder.

Volume 3 marked a definite shift in the show’s tone, and it advanced the main plot forward. This all made for a fast paced season with action scenes and revelations dropping left and right, leaving us unable to truly catch our breaths and to sit down and think about major revelations such as the malevolent and mysterious woman at the end of the entire volume and the bigger fight that the world of Remnant is up against. It had its flaws, but it definitely expanded the world of Remnant and its lore.

Did you like the third volume of “RWBY”? What did you like and what didn’t you like about it? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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