Okay, let’s talk RWBY. As I mentioned in a previous article, it seems as though RWBY is intended to pick up the action slack for the much more mellow Red vs. Blue this season. As such, I, like many fans, really want to fall in love with this show (forget like, this viewer is ready to settle down). Unfortunately, at this point, RWBY has ended up being a platter of half-baked cookies—still good, but something is a bit off.
The most important thing to recognize is that while the series had more hype than all of the Twlight films combined, (high-five human race, we’ve been vindicated), it is just starting out. As such, there is a certain amount of exposition that must take place in order to prepare the viewers for significant development. That said, so far, the presentation of this exposition has been surprisingly dull. In particular, episode 2 of RWBY released this past Thursday is guilty of a very common crime: frontloading the series with a ton of backstory so that you can hurry up and get to the good stuff. Although there is some merit to this approach, it also comes with a distinct loss of quality in the first few episodes.
More specifically, let’s take a look at the concept of dust vs. the character introductions. The introduction of the energy source of dust was provided in episode 1 and has received very little explanation as to its composition and/or significance. All the audience really knows at this point is that it is valuable and apparently combustible. Considering the series is so young, this is perfectly fine. The viewers can fill in the gaps as needed and this fundamental knowledge is enough for now. Will it need to be developed? Absolutely, but for now, the vague, but creative and dynamic introduction of dust is functional.
In stark contrast are the character introductions, which are regrettably subpar due to the aforementioned frontloading of information. The exposition is just so blatantly thrown in for audience understanding that all sense of creativity seems to be tossed out the window. Most apparent are the introductions of Weiss Schnee and Blake Belladonna (White and Black Respectively). In all fairness, I will say that Blake’s character was given a more appropriate introduction, demonstrating her personality and knowledgebase more than her background. Weiss on the other hand was given a personality and a distinct background in one or two lines. Right away, we know that Weiss is a rich girl whose father owns one of the largest energy propellant companies in the world. Although this information is certainly pertinent for the viewers to learn, and quickly, there was probably a much more natural way in which this information could have been presented (i.e. more than one line).
Don’t start breaking out the pitchforks and asking for my head yet—I do concede that there is some definite good to the series so far. While the character introductions were a bit half-baked, their personalities are intriguing and should make for some interesting storylines/character development later in the series. In particular, the character of Jaune Arc seems intriguing. I’ll admit, I am a sucker for the humble comedic relief turned hero, so I am really hoping that he becomes more than “vomit boy” as the season progresses. Also, Ruby herself was given a bit more fleshing out as we see the true extent of her unique situation through the discovery that she built her scythe (sniper? Scyther?). It is moments like these that make it clear that RWBY would benefit from a bit more of this showing and a little less telling.
Shortcomings aside, RWBY is off to a good start, as unlike Red vs. Blue, it has a distinct story progression to follow at the moment, thus giving viewers a reason to return each week. Now, it must demonstrate that it can capitalize on this interest with an entertaining story and appropriate character development. If Rooster Teeth can do this, it seems probable that RWBY may indeed surpass the flagship series in popularity, and perhaps even quality.