Welcome back to another RWBY episode review, and this week is the “Badge and the Burden.” I liked it.
This episode focused more on developing characters, specifically Ruby and Weiss, and we meet a new character in Professor Port. So let’s see how they develop in this episode right now!
The Badge and the Burden Synopsis
The episode follows Weiss’s struggles to fit in with her crazy teammates and the new leader. Again, RWBY illustrates this well, with the first scene being Ruby waking Weiss up from a megaphone to unpack.
I love this scene for how much character it shows us. It tells us the team dynamics, with Ruby and Yang driving everything forward, Weiss being the voice of reason, and Blake just along for the ride.
We also get characterization with what they individually contribute. For example, Yang puts up a band poster, Weiss an expensive painting, and Blake adds some books while hiding one that falls under her “personal taste.”
We understand why Weiss is uncomfortable with this team. As she went from a life of luxury to living with disorganized teenagers, the Schnee heiress is out of her element. That makes me wonder whether Signal academies have dorms or commutes. If the former is true, Weiss should be used to this unless she had her room.
Weiss’s struggles continue in class, where she fights a small boar Grimm and almost loses. She then snaps at Ruby despite her team leader cheering her on, and each girl goes to a different faculty member to reevaluate Team RWBY’s leadership position.
We’ll start with Weiss since she is the focus of this episode. The Badge and the Burden continue the trend from the last episode of showing Weiss slowly learning to accept her teammates, especially Ruby.
Weiss starts the episode annoyed and angry, being the outlier of the team when they set up their room and, while flexible, isn’t a fan of their choices. When she fights the boar Grimm, we see she’s prideful of her skills and hates losing, snapping at Ruby even though she tries to cheer her on.
By the end of the episode, she eats a face of humble pie when Professor Port helps her realize how someone like her, who’s had almost everything she’s ever wanted, would naturally be upset when something doesn’t go her way. Weiss realizes how spoiled she’s been acting and strives to be a better person by the end. So far, she seems to have the most development, and I am all for it.
For Ruby, we see her struggle to get along with Weiss and her doubts about being a team leader, leading to a conversation with Ozpin that helps reaffirm her values. One thing I find a little confusing is that Ruby finds the in-class lectures boring but is actively studying afterward. I assume this is because she found the lectures boring, but since she seems interested in being a huntress, I’d assume she takes greater enjoyment out of lectures and pays attention.
If I were writing this, I would have Ruby take fewer notes, transcribe the lecture, and Weiss get upset at her poor note-taking skills. Instead, the show has her doodling, which is used to try and impress Weiss and fits her childlike side, but the idea could have done better.
The Other Characters
The other six don’t do much this time around. Blake is notable for being more fun-loving, enjoying Ruby and Yang’s vibes, contrasting how distant she acted before. Same with Glynda.
Yang and Team JNPR act as themselves, and the latter barely get any lines.
Ozpin is there but doesn’t show much outside his mysterious yet wise mentor trope.
However, the new character, Professor Port, is amazing. He is passionate about teaching and shares fun stories about his adventures as a huntsman. At the same time, he is also wise and good at helping his students realize their mistakes without being insulting, as seen with Weiss.
His attitude contrasts the dark world, and I want to see him more, barring the fact he winked at Yang during class, who is 17—moving on.
Animation and Acting
The animation continues its inconsistent quality, but it was more noticeable here. The faces and character movements move awkwardly, and their limbs sometimes resemble sticks animated in Adobe Flash.
Sometimes the models randomly slump into awkward postures, like when Weiss snaps at Ruby after class.
The voice acting is mixed. It’s fine when everyone speaks calmly, but it feels like things are off-key when they raise their voice.
Yes, I am including a section going forward talking about the Grimm. However, I like my creative monsters; this is my article, so deal with it.
We get a new Grimm this episode, a large boar that Port has Weiss fight in a mid-class demonstration.
I am not a fan of it. It looks like they pasted the Grimm bones over a basic boar model. The Grimm previously have mostly been reskins of other animals, but making them giant or changing a few proportions makes them go a long way.
Still, I liked that it can do a spin dash. Spinning is a good trick.
Overall, I liked this episode. Animation and acting could be better, but Ruby and Weiss got some well-needed development, something I complained about in previous reviews.
Let’s see if the next episode keeps up the characterization train.