RWBY Volume 3 is finally here and fans are rightfully impressed.
Having waited for nearly a year since the conclusion of Volume 2, RWBY fans were beyond anxious to continue the adventures of Ruby Rose and her friends at Beacon Academy. With a snappy tone and vibrant sets, RWBY Volume 3 does not disappoint.
One of the greatest strengths of the episode was the use of quick transitions. Given that the episode is much longer than previous seasons, it was important that the creative team kept the story moving. Writers Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross demonstrate an appreciation for this right from the beginning.
Episode 1 opens with a rare quiet and somber scene as the main character, Ruby, visits her mother’s grave. After capitalizing nicely on this close moment, the scene then immediately jumps into an action-packed arena filled with intense music and thrilling fight choreography. This alone sets the tone for the rest of the episode, promising a tightly written and developed product.
The settings, while derivative, also manage to stand out in this episode. When introducing the concept of a tournament into a story, it can be very easy to fall into a repetitive story structure, altering nothing but the order of the blows, and occasionally the outcome. The changing arena in particular has significant potential for building tension and diversity in the coming episodes that are certain to be filled with fight montage after fight montage.
Perhaps most importantly, the creative team handled the absence of show creator and lead animator, Monty Oum, in a commendable fashion.
After the tragic loss of Oum in February 2015, RWBY was temporarily put on hold while the company grieved and came to an agreement on the fate of the show. Fans were delighted to hear that Rooster Teeth had adopted a “show must go on” mentality and were helping Oum’s legacy continue. Unfortunately, this also came with delays and quite a few questions.
In particular, many wondered how the creative team would handle the character Lie Ren, originally voiced by Monty Oum. Although a number of options were thrown around, the ultimate decision was to recast the role, giving Monty’s brother, Neath Oum the chance to get involved. While not without its growing pains, Oum’s performance provides a tone for the character that is similar, but distinguishable from that of his brother. With time, he has the potential to take the character in new directions, both tonally and otherwise.
The premiere was certainly not without its flaws however. Although most of the combat scenes have fluid movement, the animation in calmer scenes leaves much to be desired.
This is especially evident in the opening scene in which Ruby’s father is awkwardly standing behind her (or more appropriately, photoshopped behind her). When an animation team can’t even be bothered to give a new character so much as a shift in posture, you know you have a problem. While this may not be a huge issue overall, it negates the suspension of disbelief early in the episode. It also does not instill much confidence for the rest of the season (animation-wise).
Although the show still has room to grow, RWBY Volume 3 is a welcome addition to the series. A steady pace, dynamic setting, and intriguing characters have ensured that Volume 3 will be a season that RWBY fans will not want to miss.