497: RWBY

So, RWBY (pronounced "ruby") has been a really fun little excursion of mine these past few weeks.  For those who don't know about it: Rooster Teeth, the famous YouTubers / webcomickers / creators of Red Vs. Blue, recently began their newest web series - a CG-rendered anime.  Taking its name from the colors Red, White, Black, Yellow (as well as from the names of the four main characters), the anime follows a group of high school students in a fantasy world filled with magic, foul beasts, and futuristic technology.  Watch as our heroine, Ruby Rose, struggles to fit in with her new classmates, all the while facing unspeakable dangers around every corner from shadowy monsters, dastardly criminals, and worst: cheesy teen-angst dialogue.  Only with the help of her friends and her trusty (badass) gun-scythe can she ever hope to prevail.

Now, if this is starting to sound like a weird combination of "totally awesome" and "exasperatingly stupid," it's because that's exactly what the show is.  It's abundantly clear from the very beginning that the show's creator, animator Monty Oum, is a HUGE fan of anime - because he copies every single anime cliché you can possibly imagine.  Every character is some well-established trope, the school drama is the same generic stuff you've seen a hundred times before, and the dialogue comes across as super, SUPER corny the majority of the time.  Not to mention that the episodes are short, and the animation has to be done pretty cheaply.  All of these faults are incredibly noticeable right from the start, BUT - it's not actually as bad as it sounds.  The characters are tropes, but they are not harmful tropes in any way.  The dialogue is cheesy, but it's adorably cheesy, almost endearingly cheesy.  The drama is cliché, but you like the characters enough that you root for them regardless.  And even though the animation isn't the best, it shines amazingly bright during the show's strongest scenes: the action scenes.  The dialogue and drama might be amateur, but the fights, the weapons, and the fantasy aspects of the show are some of the most inspired and totally-fucking-baddest-ass things ever put in a web series.  The fight choreography is amazingly well done, mind-blowingly cool, and surprisingly easy to follow even at high speeds.  The enemies are big, fun, and don't go down very easily, which allows the action to continue for long, satisfying lengths.  And best of all are the weapons.  Each character has a unique type of weapon - sword, scythe, gauntlets, hammer, spear, all classic fantasy stuff - but there's an awesome twist: every weapon has a gun in it.  It's not a scythe, it's a sniper-scythe.  They're not gauntlets, they're shotgun-gauntlets.  It's not a hammer, it's a grenade-fucking-launching hammer with pretty pink hearts on it.  This concept allows for amazingly unique, surprising, and intense fights, and they utilize the concept and the weapons to their fullest extents.  It makes sitting through six episodes of the silly school stuff TOTALLY worth it.  Just watch one of their amazing promotional trailers here to get an idea of what you're in store for. (And see more by clicking "next" in the playlist.)

And of course the last aspect of the show is the music, which is the whole reason I'm talking about it here.  As I'm sure you could hear in the video, the music is freaking amazing.  Composed by Jeff Williams (Red Vs. Blue), it consists of normal background orchestrations, upbeat heavy metal songs, and really fucking powerful, really fucking emotional singing, provided by the composer's daughter Casey Lee Williams.  Williams has released all of the awesomest songs from the series on iTunes and Amazon as singles, and let's just say they've been getting a lot of repeated plays on my ipod these past few weeks.  Watch the trailers, listen to the songs, and adore this adorably silly, surprisingly cool American anime series.

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