Volume 3 of RWBY is in the books and man was this one hell of a volume. It was definitely the best volume they’ve done so far though definitely not perfect. As such I thought I’d review the volume to say what they did right and wrong. Light spoilers follow after the Bread:
Firstly the series animation has once again taken a step up in quality
as the character models, environments, and fight scenes compared to the previous volumes. For example that Bread GIF up top is from Volume 2, this one directly below is from Volume 3:
Not bad right? Also after three volumes we finally got a functional looking walk animation:
It’s not perfect, but as you can see it’s a lot better than it was in previous years:
Anyway up next we have the developments in Volume 3's storyline. The central story arc of the season follows the Vytal Festival Tournament, an interschool competition that had been built up in the previous two volumes but wasn’t dealt with until now and revolves around the various characters competing in and manipulating the tournament. The main manipulators of course being the series big bad’s Team Evil (Or whatever they call themselves) who finally get some character development and motivations after two volumes of no development and motivations that were basically just “Doing evil things because we’re evil.” Now, the actual motivations of the group were not all that complex in the end, any reason is better “For the Evilz” in my opinion.
On the other side of things Team Ozpin (Or whatever they call themselves) also gets some character development in the form of being the worst Illuminati knockoff ever, having a dumb plan, and being easily fooled. I don’t have a lot of issues with Volume 3 but the majority of the ones I do have are based around how Team Ozpin was written during this volume. The idea behind Team Ozpin is that they’re supposed to be a behind the scenes group that know how the world “really works” and are apparently familiar with the series central villains. However in spite of this they spend the majority of the season as being fooled by Team Evil’s antics and not questioning any of the questionable things going on around them even though they knew that Beacon Academy and the tournament had been infiltrated. Now maybe I miss understood the situation and Team Ozpin isn’t quite in the know as they’re made out to be (Which is a separate problem then based how they’ve been written) but even so, they’ve been written as characters who are supposed to be smart and yet were written as complete fools. (As a final note on this I would like to add that the Vytal Tournament has been around for hundreds of years and apparently in that time no anti-fight fixing measures have been put in place to prevent fight fixing. This seems like a glaring oversight.)
In regards to the rest of the cast, the price of Team Evil and Team Ozpin getting character development apparently meant that majority of the other main characters were pushed to the side for most of the season. And this was quite a large list too as only Ruby, Weiss, Yang, and Pyrrha had ongoing storylines until final quarter of the season when the others started getting some story development as well. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing since the less time spent with Jaune the better but it also meant that majority of the characters didn’t get significant screen time.
Another significant change that was made this season was a giant swerve into some dark territory. Now, RWBY has always been a fairly dark show so the shift was really out of place, but the majority of the dark subject matter was just subtext or of a “we’ll get to it later” kind of thing. Well, we finally got to it and rather abruptly too as the shift from light material to dark material occurs over the course of one minute and doesn’t let up afterwards. Like I said though this isn’t a bad thing as the shift to darker material both upped and defined the stakes in the storyline to actually threatening levels as well as adds a sense of urgency to the final portion of the Volume. Another good side effect of the stakes being defined is that the finale had an ending that both wrapped most of the Volumes storylines and set a clear path about where the story is going next. This something neither of the previous two volumes had done, with both of them having rather abrupt endings that left plotlines dangling and gave no clear idea of where the plot was going next. Not this time though, this time we know what the story going into Volume 4 will be and what the characters will be doing.
In conclusion I liked this Volume of RWBY quite a lot. It was a big step up quality wise in both the animation and storytelling departments. They still need work in both departments as well but they’re improving which is the important thing. But all in all I’m actually excited for the next volume and I look forward to when it presumably returns in October.
If you want recaps and reviews for each individual episode here’s a list below:
- Chapter 1: Round One & Chapter 2: New Challengers
- Chapter 3: It’s Brawl in the Family
- Chapter 4: Lesson Learned
- Chapter 5: Never Miss a Beat
- Chapter 6: Fall
- Chapter 7: Beginning of The End
- Chapter 8: Destiny
- Chapter 9: PvP
- Chapter 10: Battle of Beacon
- Chapter 11: Heroes and Monsters
- Chapter 12: End of the Beginning