The Beauty Of RWBY’s Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

The Beauty Of RWBY’s Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Over the last few months, the good people over at Rooster Teeth (the group behind machinima hit Red vs Blue) have been producing their own original game and anime-inspired web series called RWBY. And while it’s hardly deep, its first season provides enough action and imagination to draw anyone in.

Good — Fairytale Elements Abound

The Beauty of RWBY's Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

The world of RWBY is heavily rooted in Western fairy tales: The main character, Ruby, bears a striking resemblance to Little Red Riding Hood; one of her teachers is literally named “Glynda Goodwitch” and the monsters that inhabit the world are known as “the Grimm.”

But rather than a simple retelling, RWBY uses these famous tales as building blocks for a world that appears both familiar and magically new. Concepts, names, and character designs all serve to set the stage in various nostalgic ways but the story remains completely new and original. All in all, it makes for a captivating world you are just dying to know more about.

Good — Fun Dialogue

The Beauty of RWBY's Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

As expected from a show from Rooster Teeth, the dialogue of RWBY is often a highpoint. The banter between main characters — as well as that between the heroes and the villains — is both charming and witty in turns. The best points of dialogue come in the form of snappy one-liners that appear suddenly in the middle of an otherwise normal conversation. Even when dealing with exposition dumps, there is usually a verbal gag in there to get a laugh out of you and keep you from getting bored.

Good — Amazing Fight Choreography

The Beauty of RWBY's Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

As it is directed by Monty Oum, the guy behind Haloid and Dead Fantasy, it should really come as no surprise that the fight choreography in RWBY is excellent and stands far above any other aspect of the series. While not present in every episode by any means, the battles in RWBY serve as excellent climatic payoffs for the season’s two arcs. These scenes are so over-the-top and visually stunning that they would make the people behind the Devil May Cry series’ more ridiculous cutscenes blush. Moreover for video game fans, if you watch carefully you may recognise a combo or two from your favourite fighting games.

Perhaps the best aspect of the fight choreography is how visually distinct each character’s style is. This comes largely from the fact that each character has a unique, imaginative weapon. Ruby has a gun-scythe, Weiss a magical sword, Blake a gun-whip, and Yang a pair of explosive gauntlets. Of course, there are few things in the series as well realised as Nora’s sledge hammer-grenade launcher (which may single-handedly redefine the term “over-the-top”).

Simply put, as chaotic as the battles could appear, it’s impressive how easy it is to follow the action.

Mixed — Characters that Are Little More than Clichés

The Beauty of RWBY's Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

The biggest drawback in doing a micro-series, where each episode has to be wrapped up in a few scant minutes, is that there is precious little time for good characterization — especially with a main cast of eight. So when it comes down to it, in this two hour and fifteen minute season, many of the characters are left as little more than walking clichés with practically nothing in terms of real depth. Some of the heroes — Ruby, Blake, and Jaune — are starting to develop as characters but the rest of the cast can be summed up in one word each: stuck-up, easy-going, noble, love-struck, and silent. And the villains — as even their motivations have yet to be explained — tend to be less of a threat and more like practice dummies to be beaten up.

However, that is not to say that the characters are unlikable or unsalvageable. Rather, this first season has done an adequate job of building a character base — full of stereotypes as it may be — that subsequent seasons can build upon.

Bad — Floating Above the Ground

The Beauty of RWBY's Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

In general, the art style of RWBY (computer animated anime-style) works quite well — as long as you can’t see the feet. When the characters are walking or running, they never seem to move the right distance for the size of their leg movements. It makes them seem like they are either trying to run on ice (and are getting hardly anywhere at all) or are just gliding across the ground like on roller skates. And while the fight scenes by their over-the-top natures obscure this annoying flaw, it is particularly noticeable in any wide shot where the characters are moving around outside of battle.

Final Thoughts

The Beauty of RWBY's Fight Scenes Will Make Your Jaw Drop

All in all, RWBY is a good first step into a world of possibilities. It draws you in with the fight scenes and then gets you invested in the characters and the world little by little as the story moves along. If you love amazing fight choreography, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t give RWBY a watch.

RWBY was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 12, 2013. It can also be watched for free on Crunchyroll, YouTube and the official Rooster Teeth Website.


  • I’ve always had a problem with Monty’s fight scenes. They never really ever had any weight to them. Also, sometimes the fight choreography becomes so scripted that they feel unnatural. Same problem many people had with the Star Wars prequels. Too much choreograph, not enough weight.

    • I agree. I was so pleased to see RvB season 11 was almost all machinima. Monty Oum is good, but his style barely fit in Season 8. By seasons 9 and 10 it just looked kinda silly; they didn’t fit the kind of vaguely dark story the writers were trying to tell.

      • No way! Monty was the only reason I watched seasons 9-10. I haven’t bothered to look at 11 since they’ve gone back to paper-thin comedy gags rather than a heavy plot.

        I hear you on the weight; it’s definitely a very weightless style, but it’s intricate, and the hits are often heavy. Go see the Tex vs. Reds + Tucker fight in RvB for an example?

        • I think it all comes down to personal preference. Even in Season 8 the animation style had a kind of anime feel to it and this became more clear through Season 9 and 10. I think that’s what I dislike about Monty’s animation: Red vs Blue was about telling a story through very limited means while Monty’s style took away a whole lot of limits and suddenly the story became almost incomprehensible at times. Character development on the Freelancer side of things almost came to a halt as well which was really disappointing to me.
          So yeah, just my not-so-humble opinion.

  • Outside of battles the animation quality drops so horribly and generally looks like it was made on MMD (Miku Miku Dance) or something.

  • (I’m really whiney when it comes to what I watch, and I’m not a fan of anime and or any quasi-deriverative forms. You are warned. )

    The one liners are quite brilliant; I’ve laughed out loud many-a-time, but the rest of the banter was often unrealistic, and thus felt awkward. The worst of this happened when character’s relationships and attitudes towards one another would have to give way to the simple plots of the first season. I think on a whole, RWBY’s issue is that the elements of dialogue, plot, characterisation and visuals can all feel disjointed from one another,

    As the series goes on, I hope to see a ton more polish put in, so maybe these issues I have will all be remedied. This and the comments above (possibly below) are all things that I can’t really stand myself, but it’d be a shame to take the effort and skill that goes into making something like a web-series for granted.

  • I just wish they’d been a little more consistent with the action. It was only in the last few episodes that it really picked back up; a RWBY episode without any fights is basically one or two good one liners spread across six minutes.

  • I only watched the first 6 or so episodes before I got bored back when it was just starting. I really did find some of the characters one-dimensional. Interestingly enough, I couldn’t help but imagine the voice actors when the characters talk. Whenever Yang would talk, all I would hear is Barbara Dunkelman. It doesn’t help that Yang acts like Barbara as well.
    This is really strange, as I can never pinpoint voice actors in other animated shows/movies. I never even realise when Patrick Stewart is doing a role for chrissakes. I think my dislike might also have had something to with the wait between episodes.
    Maybe I should just watch them all in one go at some point.

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