RWBY Season 4 Begins
When last we left our intrepid heroes in team RNGR (or JNRR, there is some disagreement on this point) they had struck out across the continent in the hopes of finding out who was behind the destruction of Beacon Academy, and the devastation of Vale.
This episode takes place between 6 and 18 months since the last one and there have been some developments....
For one thing, Cinder's underlings managed to drag her broken, crushed self out of the tower. She's lost an eye, the use of her left arm, is horrifically scarred and can barely speak, but she IS alive. Her employer, Salem, who we met at the end of the last episode has a team of lieutenants worthy of any Sentai villain....at least with regards to disposition.
The other members of the evil council of evil...emote...and it is decided to send one of them to collect Ruby, since silver eyed superpowered women are a potential complication to their plans.
I do note that even Cinder's surviving underlings (two stone cold murderers) are appalled to discover what their employer's employers are capable of.
Meanwhile, our heroes have been doing good deeds, as they've traveled through the countryside. Most recently they agreed to dispose of a.....ummm.....huh.
This is something we haven't seen before, and it's a particularly tough enemy
Really, really tough. Jaune, despite being without so much as his sword, does figure out how to kill the thing, and Ruby exercizes title character privilege to land the killing shot.
During the course of the fight, we do see that both Nora and Ruby have had their weapons upgraded, The reason that was possible for four kids in the wilderness with no resources, is that our heroes, being competent PCs, have been parlaying the good will they've generated in various towns into trade credit at blacksmiths. Jaune was without a sword during the fight because his was in the shop.
He received new armor and had both his sword and shield reinforced. The blacksmith commented on the amazing quality of the metal Jaune gave him to work with...it appears that it was from Pyrrha's armor. He had the shield decorated with Pyrrha's crest. It was only then, that I realized he was wearing a replica of her sash.
And so our heroes are off, unaware that they are being actively pursued by the coalition of evildoers.
This person, despite not a whit of dialog, seems to be significant.
We do learn several things, including the true nature of Pumpkin Pete, but mostly that three years of practice and a major increase in budget allow for a tremendous boost in quality. This looks gorgeous! The fight sequence was much more in the spirit of Monty Oum than the trailer, which I was somewhat critical of. the voice work is still very good and the pacing is excellent.
On the debit side, most of the new additions to the villian side seem to lack the panache of the ones we know, and seem to be mimeographs of cardboard cutouts, though their screen time was brief and that may well change moving forward.
This series went through a dramatic shift in tone and direction at the end of last season to something rather darker than many of its fans had grown accustomed to. That hasn't changed, however it is refreshing to see that the show has not lost its sense of humor or heart. This season is starting off promising.
Note that as I type this, RWBY is not on Crunchyroll's front page, but it is viewable there.
The necessity of such a ridiculous idea as "proof of age" is made more obvious by the fact that the "clothing" in the video in question is relatively tame. Wouldn't want to be subject to complaints that you're sexually objectifying minors, oh no!
Try this one (no nudity; but may not be appropriate for some workplaces).
Some people just mark all their stuff R-18 because they don't want to deal with complaints that item X is too skimpy.
Brick's comment is... in the early days of the industry there was a lot of adult content, but clearly they were massively uncomfortable with porn with identifiable schoolgirls. So a lot of things got "translated" into "colleges" where all the girls happened to wear sailor suits etc. "She's not under 18, honest!" That's mostly fallen by the wayside as the bluenoses pretty much ignore anime (Japan is massively inconvenient to their narratives and thus they usually pretend it doesn't exist.)
The back half of the comment is something that you saw on a lot of domestic porn from fairly recent, where you'd see that kind of disclaimer before the show.
It used to be that every J track at Amazon was tagged "[Explicit]" - even instrumental ones. Unfortunately, that was actual text in the track title, encoded on MP3, and not even in Comment like "Amazon Song ID: XXXXXX". Fortunately Amazon has moved on from that particular idiocy.
Here's the first full length trailer for RWBY Season 4. It first aired at RTX in July and low quality phone cam pirates have been making the rounds since then, so it's a little disappointing that this has no additional footage after all the hype.
Still, it is very impressive in a lot of ways and unlike the fuzzy pirate versions, this gives a very good idea of just how much the production values have improved. Like seasons 2 and three this is a major leap the animation quality of the previous volume.
It's gorgeous, but the choreography is off. Monty Oum went to great lengths to make his fight sequences at least appear to be obeying some laws of physics. Inhumanely dramatic changes in momentum generally had some rationale, either they were the result of recoil, rocket boost, using leverage to redirect momentum or acknowledged wire work as with Blake's kusurigama inspired weapon. In this vid Ruby might as well be supergirl. That sense of movement and mass, and the implication of extreme skill is not present. In any of the "hang-time" movements (though the combat on the ground is pretty satisfactory in that regard). Monty Oum was truly a singular talent, and it is understandable that his sucsessors will go there own way, but this is the thing that stood out from this video...that and the fact that Ruby and Blake's new outfits are REALLY cool.
I also liked the attention to detail with Nora and Ren's hair, which gives a good sense of the passage of time and the little system status icon "Local Area Only" which is a nice reference to the communications situation in the wake of the events at the end of season 3.
Of course production values can be bought. The question is whether the story is any good. I'm hopeful. The last season ended rather jarringly and turned off many people but it was quite effective at surprising it's audience. I found it to be quite pongniant and have been looking forward to the continuation.
The sheer size of the body count was surprising, as well as the life changing traumas several of the characters had inflicted upon them.
Pyrrha's death was hard to watch, but it was one of the best last stands I've seen in a while. She died, quite horribly, but she actually won. Pyrrha had no illusions about facing off against a god, but her goal (clearly stated to Jaune) was to distract Cinder until help arrived. In this she was successful, and she thereby gave the world a chance.
Jaune...Oh man poor Jaune....and yet he is one of the three who follow Ruby on her quest.
The fact that these four whackadoodles are embarking on this fool's errand would seem to indicate that the series, while darker in tone, has not lost its optimism. These are good people, punching above their weight, just farther above their weight than they knew before. They've all failed at one point or another, sometimes with great cost, but they have not given in to despair.
With 19 days to go, it is probably time to review the current status of characters that underwent major changes at the end of last season.
UPDATE: OK...spoiler tag is not working, so the overview of major character developments goes below the fold. Note that sentence, which is an indicator of SPOILERS!
I didn't think RT would even do another series. I'm still not sure if they're doing something great, or just don't know what they're doing. Some of the gap between series appears to be explained now, anyway: RWBY looks very different now. Different software, updated models...looks like a ton of upgrades.
In a normal series, I would predict three primary storlines: whatever Blake is doing will be brought back around to giving Yang some motivation; Weiss has to find out what her family is doing which will connect with Penny and possibly Pyrrha (who isn't completely dead); both of which will come back around to connect with Ruby's quest to find out how the world actually works, which will involve learning something important that all the old folks already know and just never bothered to tell any of the kids.
Note: This is Ben's comment. I put his spoilers behind spoiler tags, but could not get it to post in his name.
Yeah, the new trailer warranted a massively updated post...
@Ben...I'm pretty sure that
Pyrrha is quite dead. If she does come back it will be as an illusion or somesuch to mess with Jaune. That was a pretty darned heroic death too.
I do wonder about
Penny. I put her in the "perhaps" category because she IS a robot after all. It is at least concievable (though unlikely) that she can be put together again.
On the flip side of this, Qrow appears at the very end of the episode holding something he ought not to have any hope of obtaining (Ozpin's sword) and he then turns into that sinister black raven we've been seeing. One possibility is that turning into a bird is his power, though that doesn't fit the other powers we've seen. Another is that he, has been killed, eaten and is now a disguise worn by Salem or (in the unlikely event she's alive) Cinder.