Animation Break: Vol. 4 Review (Spoilers!)

I know that my usual schedule for posts are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but as something has come up this Friday, I decided to post it a day earlier, even though my last post was yesterday.

Volume 3 was truly a fast paced and action packed volume, to the point that there was hardly any time for the characters and us to catch our breaths. A lot happened during Volume 3, from plot points all the way to revelations; and in a way, it felt like things were actually starting to move forward, plot wise. Because of all of this, Volume 4 was a much needed break, as it explored the aftermath of the events of Volume 3. This meant that the pace was a little bit slower, and it also saw the transition of animation team using Maya instead of Poser. This volume definitely seemed like the calm before the storm, and, in a sense, our main characters also grew up and changed, even if it was just a little bit.

One of the things that was noticeable right from the start of this volume is how different the animation looks due to the switch to Maya. To be honest, I actually liked the change, as I felt that the animation looked smoother, and it seemed to give more color and depth to the characters themselves.

I also loved the new costumes and outfits that they gave our main protagonists. The character designs, however, for the new characters were awesome as well.

Ever since Monty Oum’s passing, many have felt that the action sequences have not been up to par, and while this is true, I love that they are beginning to explore the main story and that we get to see more of Remnant and learn more about this world’s lore.

By the way, I just love Menagerie, as it reminds me of my own home country, the Philippines, an archipelago situated in South East Asia. Aside from that, it felt like Menagerie was a cross between the Philippines or any South East Asian country, and Hawaii.

This plus the supplementary “World of Remnant” episodes allows me to always be pleasantly surprised at the amazing world building that Monty Oum and Rooster Teeth have done for this series.

The slower pace for this particular volume was a good choice to make, however, there are some little details that I also didn’t like.

It was also interesting how they explored how each character dealt with the aftermath of what happened in Volume 3, and it did give us a little more character development along the way. I think that most of them did, in a sense, grow up a little bit more during this volume.

True, not everyone had enough screen time as there could have been, or enough character development for some at times, but all in all, I am pretty satisfied as to what they gave us.

However, I did like how we got more Taiyang, and more backstory on Lie Ren (Neath Oum) and Nora Valkyrie (Samantha Ireland). My favorite episodes of this particular volume are “Remembrance” and “Koroyuri”.

All in all, Volume 4 was a chance for both the characters and the audience to digest new information and to deal with the aftermath of the events of Volume 3 before being thrust back into the storm again.

Now, you know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers!

warning-spoilers-final

Volume 4 actually takes place after an indefinite period of time after the events of Volume 3. Actually, this time skip is something that is debated about by fans, as at first it was stated that Volume 4 took place six to eight months after the fall of Beacon, and then Rooster Teeth took that back. Personally, I think that it makes sense to set Volume 4 a few months after the Fall of Beacon, maybe give or take four or five months, but definitely not half a year. However, that’s just my interpretation of the matter.

This volume sees Team RWBY scattered across Remnant, as they dealt with the aftermath of Volume 3 in their own ways. Yang Xiao Long (Barbara Dunkelman) had PTSD and had to come to grips with the loss of her arm; Weiss Schnee (Kara Eberle) found herself dealing with the aftermath alone in the cold Schnee mansion under the careful eye of her father in Atlas; Blake Belladonna (Arryn Zech) decided to go home to Menagerie to collect her thoughts and was followed by Sun Wukong; and Ruby Rose (Lindsay Jones), and the rest of Team JNPR teamed up to form Team RNJR to make the journey towards Mistral and Haven, followed by Qrow Branwen (Vic Mignogna) in crow form.

Meanwhile, a young farm boy named Oscar Pine (Aaron Dismuke) discovered that Professor Ozpin’s (Shannon McCormick) soul and aura has combined with his, and thus, he started hearing Oz in his head, urging him to go to Haven Academy.

While this was all happening, Salem (Jen Taylor) dispatched her minions across Remnant on different missions. Tyrian Callows, a scorpion Faunus, was sent to retrieve Ruby due to her silver eyes; Hazel was sent to meet Adam Taurus to meet up with the White Fang leader, Sienna Khan; and Dr. Arthur Watts was sent to Mistral to meet up with an informant. Meanwhile, Cinder Fall (Jessica Nigri), who had lost an eye and her voice, underwent training so that she could defeat Ruby the next time they fought.

Now, let’s focus on the individual characters.

With Oscar, I like how he ended up deciding to trust the voice in his head, and headed to Haven Academy, but I wish we saw more of him and him actually making that decision to leave the farm and leave. Since he is an important character, I hoped we had more screen time with him. However, I loved his scenes, which were reminiscent of calm, farming games.

Blake, in this volume, decided to come home and face her parents, even though she sort of left the house to be with the White Fang and Adam, accompanied by Sun, who quite literally just followed her home.

I love Blake’s parents, and I’m glad that Sun actually told her that pushing your friends away because you feel the need to protect them is quite selfish, as true friends will really risk life and limb (yes, pun intended) for you, no matter what the consequences. I also liked how she decided that they wouldn’t destroy the White Fang, but make it better by taking it back. After all, her father was the leader of the group before.

Yang, in the meantime had to come to grips with the loss of her arm, and to learn how to fight with her new arm, which was care of Atlas and the Atlesian army. It also gave us more time for us to see Yang bond with her father more.

Now, most people have issues with her story arc, because she had the least screen time, and it seems that she’s fully recovered by the end of the volume. However, I do believe that while she’s more physically fit than before, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she has fully recovered from her PTSD.

Weiss’ story arc, for me, was very compelling, and it informed a lot about why Weiss and her sister are like that. Poor Weiss had no one to really talk to, and then, she was stripped of her title after complying with her father’s wishes after she got mad at a guest during a fund raising event for Vale and Beacon after she accidentally summoned a boar. That, I believe, was the point in which Weiss truly realized she could no longer stay under her father’s roof, but decided to make sure that she had stepped up her summoning game, and boy she did.

Weiss’ scenes also gave as a little insight as to the political situation, thanks to the fact that James Ironwood (Jason Rose) was often there. Here, interestingly, it seems like Ironwood is being made into a future antagonist, but one who thinks is doing right by his people.

And now, for Team RNJR.

For Ruby, this volume allowed her to realize that being a Huntress isn’t a fairy tale and isn’t romantic at all. For the first time, Ruby’s eyes were opened to the harsh reality of things. And even then, even though there were moments in which she doubted herself, despite all the hardships, she still carried on with a little bit of hope in her pocket. Hopefully, these experiences will allow her to grow more as a character and make her a better leader. In fact, if you notice, Ruby wasn’t always her cheerful self in this volume, and was less talkative, and tried to be reassuring at times. However, I wish that they had explored why Ruby was getting nightmares, and why she could hear Pyrrha Nikos’ (Jen Brown) conversation with Jaune Arc (Miles Luna).

This volume was a good one for Jaune’s  character development, as he, of course, is still coping with the loss of Pyrrha. In fact, in honor of her, he now wears her red sash on his waist, and used the metal on her headpiece and gear to upgrade his own weaponry. Plus, there’s the fact that Jaune trains nightly to recorded practice videos that Pyrrha recorded probably somewhere in Volume 2 or so. Jaune became a little bit more skeptical this volume, and was angry at Qrow as he blames Ozpin and Ozpin’s inner circle, in a way, for Pyrrha’s death. However, Jaune shines the best when he’s doling out strategies, and when helps others in need. Jaune grew up a lot in this volume, and his fighting has improved a lot from Volume 1.

I loved that Volume 4 gave us backstory on Ren and Nora. They had to, as the area they were passing to get to Haven was their old village, which was destroyed by the scariest Grimm I’ve ever seen to date. Here, it was revealed that Nora was an orphan, and who had been caught stealing a loaf of bread to eat, while Ren lived with his Hunstman father and his mother in the village.

However, on that fateful night, the nuckelavee attacked, killing Ren’s mother and father. Little scared Ren ran under a bridge, and from there, spotted a crying Nora. Armed with only a knife, he remembered his father’s words about taking action, and his semblance- masking negative emotions- was activated while he ran to comfort Nora and enveloped her in his semblance so that the other Grimm wouldn’t notice them. After that, he gave her a wooden hammer on the ground, and they promised to keep each other safe.

This time around, Ren became too reckless while fighting the nuckelavee, prompting Nora to pull him under a hut, and slapping him to make him come to his senses in an interesting role reversal, allowing both of them to come full circle in facing their demons as they always do-together.

And finally, let’s talk about Qrow. It makes sense that his semblance is bad luck, and in fact, it had already been shown in Volume 3, with a bartender accidentally dropping and breaking a glass. Meeting Raven Branwen, Yang’s mom and Qrow’s sister, also gave us some insight into why he is the way he is. Interestingly, he was raised by bandits, but decided to become a hero in his own way by becoming a Huntsman and by forsaking his own people to work for Oz instead. Qrow is an interesting and complex character, and I’d love to see more of him in the coming volumes.

Volume 4 also gave us more insight into what’s at stake here, with Qrow telling them the story about the Brothers of Light and Dark, and that Salem is not only after the Maidens, but four relics, which, if one had all, that person would become the most powerful of them all.

Now, based on all of this, I think that Salem might just be the reincarnation of the Brother of Darkness, while Ozpin might just be the Brother of Light. It’s a wild guess, but I think that this makes sense, at least for me.

So, before this goes on any further, I’ll just say that I loved Volume 4, with all its flaws and its good points, and it allowed us to think about what just might happen next in Volume 5, which seems like it will be happier in tone, as I hope that Team RWBY actually reunites somewhere during the Volume.

All in all, Volume 4 was a great change of pace, with even better animation than before, and it now feels like things are REALLY getting started.

All of what happened in Volume 4 just made me even more excited about Volume 5.

So, for now, this is it for my “RWBY” reviews, as the Volume 5 just premiered. However, I will post a review of the entire volume once its fourteen episode run comes to a close.

Did you like Volume 4? What did you like and what didn’t you like about this volume? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s