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RWBY

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RWBY (pronounced "ruby") is an American animated web series created by Monty Oum for Rooster Teeth Productions.[1][2] The show is set in the fictional world of Remnant, which is filled with supernatural forces. The series focuses on Team RWBY, which consists of Ruby Rose (Lindsay Jones), Weiss Schnee (Kara Eberle), Blake Belladonna (Arryn Zech) and Yang Xiao Long (Barbara Dunkelman). The first episode was released on the Rooster Teeth website on July 18, 2013, following an exclusive screening at RTX.[3] The second volume premiered on July 4, 2014, at RTX and to the general public on July 24, 2014, followed by the third volume on RoosterTeeth.com on October 24, 2015.[4]

Following its announcement, the show became a viral hit, resulting in many cosplays and fan adaptations. One of these adaptations, a fan game titled RWBY: Grimm Eclipse, was later officially adopted by Rooster Teeth, and is currently under development.

On February 1, 2015, Oum died as the result of a coma that was caused by an allergic reaction during a medical procedure.[5] This left the future of the series uncertain for a brief period of time until voice actor Gray Haddock announced that the series would continue, and that Volume 3 would premiere in 2015 as planned.[6]

Production

RWBY had been a long-standing concept of Oum's for years before it began development. Towards the end of his work on the 10th season of Rooster Teeth's Red vs. Blue, he developed the color-coding approach to character names and design as a hook for the series.[7] During production on Red vs. Blue season 10, Oum asked series creator Burnie Burns if they could produce RWBY following the conclusion of that season. Burns, worried for the production schedule, told Oum "If you finish Season 10, then you can do whatever you want." Production on RWBY began as intended, with the first trailer being finished within two weeks and premiering after the credits of the Red vs. Blue season 10 finale on November 5, 2012.[8]

Oum designed the characters with assistance from artist Ein Lee. The characters utilize designs inspired by classic fairy tale characters.[7] Each character has an associated color, and it is the first letters of these colors, red, white, black, and yellow, that give the series its name.[9] The series is written by Oum, along with fellow Rooster Teeth employees Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross.[10] Oum was initially concerned about a story focusing on female characters being developed by a primarily male crew, but said they managed to do well developing the female characters.[8] The series is animated by Rooster Teeth's internal animation team using Smith Micro's Poser software.[11] The series' music is composed by Jeff Williams, who previously composed the soundtracks for Seasons 8–10 of Red vs. Blue, and features vocals by Williams' daughter, Casey Lee Williams.

A series of four promotional trailers, one for each lead character, were released in the lead-up to the series premiere. They were primarily produced by Oum and assistant animator Shane Newville.[12] Each trailer begins by unveiling one of the four primary characters and then showing a detailed action sequence.[10] The "Red" trailer was shown after the credits for Red vs. Blue's season 10 finale in November 2012.[10][13] It was followed by the "White" trailer in February 2013.[14] The "Black" trailer was unveiled at a PAX East panel at the end of March and was the first to include voice-acted dialogue.[12] Following the premiere of the "Black" trailer, Oum noted with regret that the first two trailers were shorter and had less character development.[12] The "Yellow" trailer was shown at Rooster Teeth's A-Kon panel on June 1, 2013.[15] Music from the trailers is being sold for digital download on several online retailers.[16]

The first episode premiered on July 5, 2013, at a panel at RTX 2013.[17][18] It premiered online two weeks later on July 18, 2013.

Series overview

The story takes place in the world of Remnant, which is filled with supernatural forces and shadowy creatures known as the "Creatures of Grimm". Prior to the events of the series, mankind waged a battle of survival against the Grimm before discovering the power of a mysterious element called Dust, which allowed them to fight back against the monsters. In the present day, Dust is used to power abilities and weapons. Those who use these abilities to battle the Grimm are known as Huntsmen or Huntresses.[19] The series focuses on four girls, each with her own unique weapon and powers. Together, they form team RWBY at Beacon Academy in the city of Vale, where they are trained to become Huntresses alongside team CRDL (pronounced "cardinal"), team JNPR (pronounced "juniper"), team SSSN (pronounced "sun"), team CFVY (pronounced "coffee"), and various other unnamed student teams.[7][20]

Cast and characters

Main article: List of RWBY characters

Main cast
  • Lindsay Jones (Saori Hayami in Japanese)[21] as Ruby Rose[22][23]
  • Kara Eberle (Yōko Hikasa in Japanese)[21] as Weiss Schnee[24][25][26]
  • Arryn Zech (Yū Shimamura in Japanese)[21] as Blake Belladonna[27][28][29]
  • Barbara Dunkelman (Ami Koshimizu in Japanese)[21] as Yang Xiao Long[30][31]
  • Miles Luna (Hiro Shimono in Japanese)[32] as Jaune Arc[33]
  • Samantha Ireland (Aya Suzaki in Japanese)[32] as Nora Valkyrie[34][35][36][37]
  • Jen Brown (Megumi Toyoguchi in Japanese)[32] as Pyrrha Nikos[38]
  • Monty Oum and Neath Oum[a] (Sōma Saitō in Japanese)[32] as Lie Ren
Supporting cast
  • Michael Jones (Tomoaki Maeno in Japanese) as Sun Wukong
  • Kerry Shawcross as Neptune Vasilias
  • Taylor Pelto (Megumi Han in Japanese)[32] as Penny Polendina
  • Shannon McCormick (Kazuhiko Inoue in Japanese)[32] as Professor Ozpin
  • Kathleen Zuelch (Masumi Asano in Japanese)[32] as Glynda Goodwitch
  • Vic Mignogna as Qrow Branwen
  • Jason Rose as General James Ironwood
  • Gray G. Haddock (Shin-ichiro Miki in Japanese)[32] as Roman Torchwick
  • Jessica Nigri (Yūko Kaida in Japanese) as Cinder Fall[40][41]
  • J.J. Castillo (Volume 2) and Yuri Lowenthal (Volume 3) as Mercury Black[42][43]
  • Katie Newville as Emerald Sustrai
  • Garrett Hunter as Adam Taurus

Episodes

Main article: List of RWBY episodes

Volume 1 consists of sixteen episodes, with episodes being around 12 minutes long. However, all episodes except the first episode, fifth episode, and finale were released in two six-minute parts, comprising sixteen parts in total. Volume 1 concluded in November 2013, and was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the same month.[19][44] Episodes premiere to the public Thursdays at 7 pm Central Standard Time (UTC-6) on the Rooster Teeth website and are released two hours early for sponsors.[45] They are uploaded to YouTube a week later. Crunchyroll announced on August 16, 2013, that RWBY would be simulcast on the video streaming site.[46] Volume 2 premiered on July 24, 2014, following its exclusive screening at RTX on July 4, 2014.[47] Volume 2 featured twelve episodes, each at around 12 minutes long; the episodes were no longer released in parts. The twelfth and final episode of Volume 2 aired on October 30, 2014, after which it was released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Volume 3 was confirmed at the Rooster Teeth panel at PAX Prime 2014, where Oum stated that he planned to go straight into development of the next season as he was nearly completed with Volume 2.[48] It premiered on October 24, 2015 as stated in the backstory series World of Remnant.[49]

Reception

Critical response

Commentators discussing the promotional trailers lauded the show's animation style and its musical soundtrack. The trailers prompted enthusiastic anticipation for the series premiere.[10][12][14] When the first episode premiered at RTX, it was popular with attendees to the point that seating was full at all three screenings. Amanda Rush, writing for Crunchyroll, noted the anime and Western influences of the series, and praised it as "quick-witted, exciting, lovely to look at" saying fans of anime would enjoy it.[19] The Yakima Herald-Republic called it "thrilling" and "captivating" and praised its "beautiful" 3D character animation.[50] The Austin Chronicle described the premiere as making Oum the "rock star" of Rooster Teeth.[51] The series has reportedly contributed to a 9% increase in views for Rooster Teeth's official YouTube channel.[52] Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis praised the series for its clever use of fairytale elements, fun and enjoyable dialogue, and the fighting choreography, but was critical about the short nature of the episodes, stating that, "The biggest drawback in doing a micro-series... is that there is precious little time for good characterization". He was also critical of the technical issues of the animation, mentioning that the animation is good when the audience is unable to see the character's feet. He ends by saying that "RWBY is a good first step into a world of possibilities."[53]

Awards

At the 2014 International Academy of Web Television Awards, RWBY won the award for Best Animated Series.[54]

At the 2014 Streamy Awards, RWBY won for Best animated Series and Jeff Williams won for Best Original Score.[55]

Distribution

The Blu-ray and DVD releases in Australia are handled by Hanabee Entertainment.[56] A local Japanese dub is being developed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Japan, with plans for release on Blu-ray and DVD in 2015, marking the first time an American-produced anime-inspired series has been marketed in Japan.[57] Warner Bros. has also acquired local merchandising rights as well.[58] On February 1, 2015, Rooster Teeth announced that both volumes of RWBY so far were available for streaming on Netflix.[59] The first volume will be released in the UK by Animatsu Entertainment on May 4, 2015, on DVD.[60]

Other media

Music

Volume 1 Soundtrack

The official soundtrack for RWBY: Volume 1 was released by Jeff Williams on November 12, 2013, hitting #1 on iTunes and beating out the movie soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.[61] It includes all the songs used in the trailers, the intro to the series' episodes, and also the score music to each episode. The soundtrack also contains previously unreleased songs such as "I May Fall" and "Wings".[62] These songs were, however, briefly played at the end of various episodes.

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