The World of RWBY
The Online Series withe the Fantasy World that Stole my Heart
The world of Remnant. It is a fantasy world that many who will read this are probably unfamiliar with from the hit online series RWBY. The world of RWBY is fascinating for many reasons extending from the work itself and even outside the narrative. It was a world crafted from a dream and a few coincidental moments experienced by the series' late creator Monty Oum. This series left a deep impression on me when I first discovered it online five years ago. When you break it all down, it's not hard to see why this series and this world has a vibe that is in sync with so many. This series is very near and dear to my heart. It is one I would cite as my favorite series and indeed my favorite fantasy series of all time.
RWBY stars four female protagonists, diversifying it wildly from many other fantasy stories that usually center around male protagonists. The team of four starts with the leader Ruby Rose, the youngest member of the group at fifteen years of age who is somewhat of a prodigy in combat. She is a kind, pure soul whose wants and desires begin and end with wanting to help people and wanting the world she lives in to be a better place. This simple character motivation doesn't hold her back in the slightest. Her persistent wish gets tested constantly. Ruby's mettle as a person is pushed to the grindstone repeatedly and only made more solid in most cases by the adversities she overcomes.
Weiss Schnee is the heiress of a twisted company that overwhelmingly provides an essential resource to all the people of her world. She struggles with upholding and coming to terms with the legacy set before her by her family. Weiss wants to continue and improve upon that legacy in the future. Starting snobby and spoiled, she becomes one of the team's softest and most approachable members.
Blake Belladonna is an equal rights activist for the still actively oppressed people that exist in her world. She understands that you have to be able to do whatever is necessary to ensure your goals. Still, you have to be sure that what you're doing is needed, and there isn't a better way.
And Lastly, Yang Xiao Long. The older sister of Ruby Rose, Yang, seems like the most superficial, most straightforward character. She's someone who internalizes her grief and suffering to ensure the people close to her are doing their best. A majority of her struggles are internal. Her story focuses on learning to drop the barriers she keeps around herself and preconceived notions about the people in her life. She goes through a process of needing to allow people into her heart to gain a more accurate understanding of them and a deeper level of emotional maturity for herself.
They all attend school at a place called Beacon academy. This place is a school designed to teach young people to become Huntsmen and Huntresses so they can fight the monsters that infest the four girls' world, the creatures of Grimm. The world of Remnant in RWBY has a dystopic, urban-fantasy feel that is a dark mirror reflection of our own. They have much the same technology we do, but their world lives in fear of the monsters that coexist as a natural part of this world. Along with technology, nearly everyone in RWBY has a unique ability called a Semblance. A person's Semblance reflects their very soul. The power they get is often related to a personal aspect of its wielder. How these abilities develop and change throughout the story also act as milestones for their growth.
This series is built almost wholly off the backs of well-known fairy tales and myths. The main heroines, for example, are all based on a heroine of a different adventure or story. Ruby Rose is Little Red Riding Hood, Weiss Schnee is Snow White, Blake Belladonna is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Yang Xiao Long is Goldilocks. They, and the other allusions the series builds from, are often flipped on their head, distorted, or in some cases played too straightforwardly. This tactic leads to an exciting mix-match of ideas boiling down into a solid, cohesive narrative. RWBY takes stories and ideas everyone is familiar with and presents them in a new and dynamic way. Doing this allows you to grasp the narrative aspects very quickly while enjoying the unique flavors that are added in by the creators.
When I call the angle they take with these well-known fairy tales "new and dynamic," I mean it! Have you ever wanted Little Red Riding Hood to wield a combination scythe/Sniper Rifle and slay hordes of big, bad wolves? Have you ever thought about Goldilocks taking it to the three bears with shotgun gauntlets? Ever wanted to see Snow White manipulate the outcome of a battle with mystic runes related to her Semblance? Have you ever thought about Bella from Beauty and The Beast being an ex-terrorist equal rights activist? RWBY gives all of this and much, much more.
RWBY's dynamic nature also lends itself well to the portrayal of over-the-top and satisfying action, which is a significant grab for the series. The physics-defying and grandiose choreography and sequences leave some of the biggest impressions on fans of the series, including myself. Ever wanted your main character to run one hundred feet vertically up a cliffside who follows it up by decapitating a gigantic monster perched at the top? RWBY has that. Fight other huntsmen and huntresses? Check. Fight goons and baddies of every shape and size? Check. The only limit to the action written is RWBY is the creators' imagination, and it hasn't run dry yet!
RWBY has an interesting setup and extraordinary action pieces; surely the characters can't match up to it all? I'd strongly argue that they do! You experience interesting interpersonal dynamics that you don't see portrayed often in other fantasy settings. All the characters have deeply rooted personal issues that affect the narrative. Every one of the main heroines has a legacy they either have to live up to or subvert. The ramifications of their choices did and will continue to shake the core of their world. RWBY has a strong cast of main characters and a substantial ensemble of principal and supporting characters, many of whom you will fall in love with...sometimes to your detriment!
You'd think for a story that is almost entirely composed by collaborating allusions to other stories and ideas that you'd get into some very predictable story beats. The plot would be too straightforward and unsatisfying because of it. I'm happy to report that RWBY doesn't disappoint. RWBY as a series isn't afraid to push characters past their limits and then keep pushing harder. The twists and shocking outcomes hit hard, but they never come out of nowhere. The narrative doesn't just do this once or twice, but constantly, so you are forever waiting with bated breath at what's going to happen to your favorite heroes and heroines next. What pain are they about to go through? What additional trauma are they getting ready to endure?
A highly-rated element of the RWBY series is the music composed to lend a hand to its storytelling. The scoring can balance emotional, humorous, and high-octane action with great ease. The lyrical tracks resonate with your core and compel you to sing along and learn the words. The music and lyrical tracks also offer background details about the characters, their changing worldviews, and the ever-growing complexity of their motivations. Having this sense of growth allows you to put all the pieces of music about a specific character together and listen to them back to back. It's like you're taking a quick recap journey through the growth of the characters.
The RWBY series is a truly unique creation. As I mentioned earlier, the main person behind all of this, Monty Oum, tragically passed away early on in the series' run. His co-creators and the motley crew of people he brought together to bring this world to life were left to pick up the pieces and continue in his name. And continue they did, as they brought the everlasting themes of the narrative to life. Themes such as togetherness, redemption, recovery, handling grief, never compromising with evil simply because it seems necessary. These and much will have you cheering on the four central girls as they try to work through the insanely complex world of Remnant. It is truly a series I would recommend anyone look into because you will find something you enjoy.