I feel like RWBY would be a much better show if it had ended with Volume 3. Yes we would have a million different questions un-answered, but considering where the next three seasons have gone and where Volume 7 is going to go, leaving an open ended inconclusive end to where the story was going to go is much better than a show that is a shell of its former self.
Sure the show was left with a cliffhanger that clearly teased a fourth season, but considering how cliched and boring the reveal ended up being and how little it impacted the characters' development, it might as well have been nothing.
RWBY was a show that truly had its heart and soul behind every aspect of its production. Even if it wasn't exactly professional or high budget, it at least tried. I'm only watching out of obligation to see where this ends at this point, not because I care or like the show now, which is not a good thing.
Let me recap each season quickly.
The first volume introduces the world and characters rather well although messily. Ruby Rose grew up reading tales of how Huntsman and Huntresses protect the world from evil and wants to train to be one, and will do anything to be a hero to keep fighting against the evil monsters called Grimm.
A bit cliche as we've seen this sort of main character a million times before but still, she's a good enough starting point for the show. Then she's enrolled at Beacon Academy, becomes the leader of a team of other Huntresses in training, her half sister Yang Xiao-Long, a stone cold heiress Weiss Schnee, and a mysterious introverted girl Blake Belladonna.
The first volume has some cool fights, but the animation, voice acting, and writing looks like a PS1 game and gets by by the skin of its teeth.
Sure the focus and execution is a bit all over the place, but it does enough to get you to like the characters and see where they go. How volume 1 ends is formulaic but still left me wanting more.
The second is essentially pure filler and set up for the third volume, but has enough cool fight scenes and character moments to get you to keep watching and feel invested. A weak season on its own, but cool and fun enough to be just that cool and fun.
The third is by far the show's peak. New characters, plot and character development, and stakes are introduced and the status quo is really changed. Before this point, where the plot seemed to be going and the tone and feel of the show really seemed to be clearly a fun little action romp with what're essentially character shorts in-between to give the action some background.
Then it all changes, that's all I'll say.
Volume 4 is when things start to get... bad. None of the interesting new character directions the girls were left with after the end of Volume 3 seem to impact them in any way. They don't really grow, change, or mature. They just sort of bumble along with the plot with the occasional action scene, which really has gotten worse since many of the animators of the previous volumes were either let go, fired, or passed away (Rest in Peace Monty Oum.)
So basically, you have a set of characters bumbling along with the plot while not really being developed in any way, with action that used be its selling point now thoroughly diminished.
But because the plot was pretty messy to begin with, and is now rushed, inconsistent and boring, and was never the highlight of the show, making it the selling point all of a sudden when everything else is mediocre at best is pretty strange.
You can see why the show has begun it's downward spiral (TM of Emplemon.)
The next Volume does not improve on this at all, as well as the sixth. Neither rectify the fourth volumes pacing and character development issues, instead it seems to amplify them.
There are some hidden gems in the rough though. My personal favorites in the mediocre boredom of Volumes 4-6 are between characters we've rarely seen interact such as Weiss and Yang, and Yang and Raven.
Unfortunately these scenes leave a lot to be desired, and the characters never build new dynamics because the show refuses to let them interact with each other in new ways. It's always Qrow and Ruby or Yang and Blake, never Ozpin and Blake or Weiss and Jaune who seemed to have a great dynamic that was suddenly dropped somewhere in Volume 2, or anything that you know, could be compelling?
I've talked about all these problems with RWBY, the worsened fight animation, weaker character writing and now boring plot, and I haven't even mentioned Rooster Teeth's questionable handling of the production and execution of its trademark and best known property. Now Volume 7 seems like it will as bad if not worse than the previous three, and I don't see any saving grace in all this except that people will eventually stop paying Rooster Teeth for pumping out this stuff on a rushed schedule when they're focusing on other products.
Final Thoughts: I hope that RWBY will pick up the slack, take it's time in creating new and interesting plot and character threads, deliver the same fun and tense action we got in the first three seasons, and actually stop and think about where it's going. But considering the past three Volumes, this seems to be wishful thinking. I really miss how the show used to be, now it seems realistic to call it a slowly worsening mess that people are watching in the hope that it will get better.
Final Score: 7.0/10 (Very close to a failing "D" grade). This show is barely passable because the first half and about half of its second half are pretty enjoyable once you overlook all of its problems. Needs some serious improvement, and am hoping to see it step up its game.
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