Last year, Rooster Teeth was really hyping up the community for the fifth volume of RWBY. This was quite evident when they released some well-made character shorts for the main titular characters and other forms of teasers. All I can say that the crew behind RWBY has done an excellent job in the production of this volume.
The fifth volume follows the events after team RNJR’s journey to Mistral. When they arrive, a goal has been set: to recruit some new hunstmen to help them in their fight against Salem and improve themselves from training. Only to find out that the key pieces are already moving faster than they had anticipated.
It was exciting for me, as a fan, to see RWBY transitioning from the light-hearted tone it had in the first three volumes and have it descend to dire and realistic themes in which our characters had to go through. The fifth volume of this series further solidified that gradual change of tone when animation and story started to get more and more graphic. There was no hold-backs when it came to portrayals within this volume.
Although there is some problems I have in understanding the timeline in which each episode of the volume is set in. There are time-skips being set into place without any warning and it just leaves the audience, including me, confused on the developments within the story.
There were certain inconsistencies in regards to Salem’s attack on Haven. An episode would say they have a month to prepare, the next one they’d mention it’d be a week from that time – that difference in time is so important yet it just passes by in front of us without any audience awareness. I think this is what made RWBY’s fifth volume rather confusing for me to understand, if we were to discuss about the story.
Character-wise, there is a lot of to talk about. What’s interesting about this volume is the introduction of Oscar Pine, the reincarnation of the deceased Beacon Academy headmaster Ozpin. Not only it was compelling to know more about Oscar and his background, it was great to understand Ozpin in a much more grounded and personal way in comparison to the first two volumes.
We got to know more about Ozpin – how he is not just some ordinary teacher but he has been in existence for as long as the World of Remnant has existed. It was interesting to understand that he reincarnates from one life to the next in the body of a like-minded soul with one major goal: to ward off forces of evil which, in this time, Salem.
Another great development would be Ruby and her truthful reactions to everything happening around her – how the divide of team RWBY, losing her friends to Cinder, her older sister Yang and her dismembered arm, and many other tragic events have changed the way she views herself in relation to the world. It’s no longer the same old fairy tail where hunstmen and huntresses go out and earn fame, power, and glory.
It’s becoming a darker world for Ruby and she wants to be a little bit of silver light into it.
There’s so much character development being shown off for this fifth volume that it probably deserves its own other separate article for proper discussion.
Animation-wise, Rooster Teeth has been amping up their quality with the harmonious usage of key animation and three-dimensional, computer-generated animation. You can see that quality come into culmination all throughout the volume’s last fight between the two maidens.
Emotions have been given much more emphasis, mouth-to-voice syncing has drastically improved and the way the elements move within the screen appear so much realistic and smooth now.
In terms of music, Casey Lee Williams has transcended on a higher level of singing. There were tracks that came out so wonderful that I barely noticed that Casey was actually the vocalist for that song track. Nevertheless, great usage of soundtrack revolving around rock n’ roll instruments.
RWBY, in its entire fifth volume, has been a blast to watch. Although it is not as perfect as other animated series would be, I think that this volume has solidified that it should be deemed as anime. It has all the ingredients to become a proper action-packed anime series. Hopefully, Rooster Teeth can bring this entire series to newer heights – possibly television.
If you are a fan of indie animated shows, I suggest you watch RWBY starting from its first volume up to its fifth. The way this series improves, both in story and quality, just brings you that feeling of also growing with the studio working hard on it. Highly recommended.