RWBY Fans on All Ages of Geek

RWBY UNBIASED: Volume 1 Part 2: The Shining Beacon

by: @arkd3v

Episode 2 opens with the season’s, well, opening song, “This Will Be the Day.” Jeff Williams wrote the lyrics while his daughter, Casey Lee Williams, sang the lyrics. She is also Weiss’s singing voice and has both sung and composed several other tracks for RWBY.

I like it. “This Will Be the Day” establishes the important characters, the world, and the threats Remnant faces. The guitar and echoing lyrics give the music a unique feel. RWBY continues to use colors well in its presentation; I love how the difference between the brightly colored heroes and the more monotone villains helps contrast their roles. The action sets up the heroes as they prepare for a battle against the forces of evil, ending with a silhouette shot of Ruby posing alongside her iconic scythe.

I have a few nitpicks. For one, I wish we had learned more about character motivation. Instead, we get Ruby’s as she mourns over her mother’s grave as winds trail behind the cloak of her late mother’s ghost. It’s a haunting image. 

But instead of delving into the other three members of the show’s main roster, we get a shot of Jeanne gazing reluctantly up at a statue. While it conveys his potential character struggle of feeling inadequate as a warrior, I don’t understand why the opening doesn’t treat the other leads the same, especially Yang, who already appeared in episode 1. The most we get is her riding on her motorcycle which could signify that she is willing to dive head-first into the action. We see Weiss in a dark room and Blake on a rosy tree branch, but I am unsure what they mean by their character motivations. Meanwhile, the only notable thing Jeanne has going for him is a lukewarm motion sickness gag.

Also, is it me, or does the camera shake as the guitar riffs play? It makes the experience weird to watch. 

Overall, I like this opening. Let’s see if the rest of the episode reaches or surpasses its quality.

The first scene is one I like. It involves the main characters getting off the plane and meeting each other with humorous hijinks that establish their characters well.

 We meet the rest of the main girls, starting with Weiss Schnee. Her design is almost entirely white with bits of red, accentuating her fiery and snobby attitude, which contrasts her otherwise pristine and elegant appearance. She is rude to Ruby, but justifiably so, as Ruby accidentally knocks over her Dust and then accidentally sets off an explosion in her face due to some Fire Dust leaking. 

She’s carrying all this Dust because Weiss is the heir to a massive Dust manufacturing company, the Schnee Dust Company, which is huge for worldbuilding. Now it makes sense why people can find Dust in stores if massive corporations distribute them worldwide, making it easily available for the average person to obtain this invaluable resource. Blake Belladonna, the last main lead, implies the company bearings status akin to royalty when she calls Weiss “heiress.” It’s also not a perfect organization, with Blake revealing their less-than-honorable labor practices.

Blake is mysterious, but I like how she doesn’t talk and prefers to watch while reading her book. You get the idea that she’s observant and has strong views on how she talks to Wiess, but Blake is also kind, stepping in to help Ruby when Weiss is chewing her out. I wish we had learned more about her motivations, but there’s enough definition for the other leads that I am willing to bear some mystery.

The already introduced characters get some definition too. We see Ruby devolve into an excited Chibi caricature while gawking at the other student’s weapons, and we see her awkwardly struggle to interact with her fellow student body. Yet she stands up for herself when Weiss starts chewing into her after Ruby apologizes. These traits carry over into other parts of the episode where Ruby shows off her scythe to Jeanne, hoping he would be impressed enough to like her, and later bonds with Blake over their love of stories. Finally, we learn that it was stories of heroes that Yang read to her as a kid that helped forge her dream, her values, and who she is today.

Yang is Ruby’s opposite. She is generally outgoing and has several friends she ditches Ruby to hang out with. “Ditch” is a strong term, though. It’s clear to me how Yang is only leaving Ruby like this because if she doesn’t, Ruby will cling to her and not make friends, showing maturity. 

It also pays off since Jeanne comes over to help Ruby when she gives her a helping hand after her failed attempt to befriend Weiss and Blake. The two start an awkward friendship. The two awkwardly talk, and we learn about Jeanne’s struggles to hold to his family legacy, carrying a simple sword and shield passed down to him by his great-grandfather, tying back to the opening. This also contrasts well with Ruby, who made her weapon and designed it to be this loud scythe and sniper rifle combo. We later see he is interested in girls but struggles to talk to them, although he is in luck as a well-directed shot shows a redheaded girl taking an interest in him. The two seem to get along but realize they are lost and rush to the orientation. 

The next scene is an orientation, where Ruby meets up with Yang. Yang then protects her sister from an angry Weiss after the Schnee heiress overhears Ruby’s ramblings about the earlier situation. The scene itself is funny, but what’s interesting is Ozpin’s speech. Not what he says, but the characters are remarking as if he isn’t there. RWBY established holograms exist, but Ozpin appears in person. I wonder what this could be.

The final scene involves all the students sleeping in a huge room in sleeping bags. Yang embraces the situation and is excited about finding boys, while Ruby is more concerned with fitting in and making friends. This episode and scene, in particular, really highlight the enjoyable dynamic between Ruby and Yang. They are sisters who care for each other and have unique strengths and weaknesses.

The final interaction with Blake highlights these differences. After Ruby complains about her struggles making friends, Yang notices Blake reading in the corner. After Ruby points out how Blake was at the explosion, Yang forces Ruby to approach Blake. Ruby struggles to make small talk, so Yang steps in to help. However, Blake isn’t interested in Yang’s conversation starters and shuts her down, to which Yang gives up. Then, Ruby rises to the occasion and connects with Blake over her book. I love these sorts of character interactions as it helps highlight who they are without directly telling us.

The humor is also significantly better in this episode, especially any interaction between Ruby and either Yang or Weiss. 

Overall, I greatly liked this episode and am excited to see more. Hopefully, we get to see some Grimm soon.  

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