A Review of RWBY, an American Anime-Influenced Web Series

RWBY is an underrated show filled with adventure and friendship.


Benzir Raida

Here is a work of art that I created of Ruby Rose, one of the main protagonists of RWBY, surrounded by rose petals.

RWBY is a series created by Monty Oum, about four main characters– Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang– who go to Beacon Academy with the intention of becoming huntresses. In this world, creatures called the Grimm roam all around the world of Remnant, bringing chaos and putting humanity in constant danger. Grimms are attracted to highly negative emotions and it is the hunters’ and huntresses’ goal to defeat as many Grimms as possible in order to keep humanity safe. In order to do so, each hunter and huntress has a weapon they designed or use that will be with them in every combat. These weapons are an extension of themselves and only the most trusted teammate can handle their weapons. Along with that, they each have a semblance, which acts as their power. Every semblance is unique to the individual. 

Currently, RWBY has eight volumes and the ninth volume is expected to come out in January 2023. The show does a great job presenting the main characters’ development from the beginning of entering Beacon Academy to trying to accomplish their goal of saving humanity by traveling around Remnant. 

Leading the team RWBY is Ruby Rose, an optimist who will do anything she can to help her teammates. As the leader of the group, she constantly does whatever it takes to find different solutions to a given problem. As one of the main characters, she has a sense of justice and a duty to protect Remnant.

Like her younger sister, Yang Xiao Long – older sister of Ruby – also has the same sense of justice, but portrays it in a different way. Yang is very protective and will do anything she can to make sure her teammates are safe not only from the main antagonists, but also from the people that were closest to them. Her loyalty to her friends and family truly sets her apart from others. Yang can get hot-tempered at times, but she is an amazing individual. 

Weiss Schnee is the daughter of a wealthy family in Atlas that controls the operation around the Dust Company. From a very young age, Weiss grew up in a household where her parents were strict and emotionally unavailable. Weiss was determined to go to Beacon, instead of Atlas Academy, as it was what she wanted for her own life. She did not want to go to Atlas Academy as it would mean that her parents would have more control and Weiss would never truly be independent. She is proper, precise, and acts unfriendly at times, but she is also very caring. She will always be an amazing teammate that provides support. 

Blake Belladonna is a Faunus who grew up being mistreated simply because of her looks. A faunus is a human that has animal traits (for example, some faunus have cat ears or scales). Because of this, Blake helped the organization, White Fang, advocate for Faunus’s rights, but soon left, seeing how this organization used violence to achieve their goals. Like the other main characters mentioned, Blake is fiercely loyal and will do anything she can to keep her friends and family safe. What sets Blake apart is her calm nature and ability to be like the glue in the team RWBY. 

As the series progresses, they all grow up to face the harsh reality of their world and continue to at least keep the little optimism they have to save the world. These themes such as maturity, grief, and loss of innocence are very prevalent in this series. Not only were the main characters well developed, so were the side characters. Unlike other shows, RWBY does a wonderful job of getting the audience to empathize with the characters as well as love the side characters, no matter how new or old they are to the show. For example, characters like Pyrhha and Penny had detailed backstories to the point their stories became an integral part of the whole plot.

This is further shown by connecting each character to a specific fairy tale or story told as the years pass on. For example, Weiss represents the fairytale Snow White. Although Weiss’s personality does not at all match Snow White’s personality, Weiss’s home life reflects that of Snow White. RWBY adds little motifs behind the characters to help the audience better understand the kind of situation the characters are in. It gives the audience an idea of why the characters did the things they did. This question is extremely important to answer and something to look out for if you do decide to watch RWBY.

Just like the protagonists, the show’s antagonists are incredibly dynamic. Many shows depict these characters as someone who is evil without explaining the motivations behind their action. The antagonists in RWBY are complex and make you feel sympathetic towards them, especially because of the kind of treatment they have experienced. For example, one of the main antagonists introduced in the very first scene is Cinder Fall. From just her name, it is clear she represents the fairytale Cinderella. The rough childhood she had is the reason behind her actions. 

The detailed character design and the well-thought out backstories are the main reasons why the show appealed to me, but another reason that many people continue watching is the music. One of the main musicians in RWBY is Jeff Williams. Williams worked closely with the creator, Monty Oum, until Oum passed away. Williams still continues to write and create amazing music with the help of his daughter, Casey Lee Williams. The musicians did a great job putting together songs that further add to the mood in each episode, but also add more plot that wasn’t explicitly mentioned in RWBY. 

Before the show was released, four trailers came out introducing the main characters one by one. Each trailer had a designated song to explain the backstory of our protagonists without revealing too much of the plot. The songs in the background were “Mirror, Mirror” (Weiss), “Red Like Roses” (Ruby), “From Shadow” (Blake), and “I Burn” (Yang). When looking more closely into the lyrics, the audience will find more clues as to what will happen next and see that the songs are foreshadowing something big. 

From the animation, character design, and the music, it is clear the show has a huge audience of fans. One of the fans from Bronx Science is Yvonne Fong ’23. Fong has been watching RWBY since she was in seventh grade and is the reason why I started watching RWBY. Fong likes RWBY for “the diverse cast of characters. There are so many unique characters with different personalities, quirks, and struggles, that there is bound to be someone with whom every viewer can relate,” said Fong. RWBY emphasizes that the characters are part of different communities, which is crucial for many people to know. 

Now, should you watch this show? As Fong said, “Definitely! I personally feel like the show is charming enough to worm its way into people’s hearts. The show has a lot of heart and soul, and I wish that more people would give the show a chance.”

To watch RWBY (subscription required), click HERE.

From the animation, character design, and the music, it is clear that RWBY has a huge audience of fans.