Spoiler-Free Anime Review:
RWBY Volume 3
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
I enjoyed Volume 1 and 2, but I have to say that Volume 3 exceeded my expectations. There were so many surprises, and a major turning point in the series. It’s my favorite volume so far. I watched it twice, once with my siblings and once with my close friend.
Warning! Although there are no spoilers for Volume 3 in this review, there are minor spoilers for earlier volumes.
RWBY is an American anime. Some people say anime has to come from Japan to be legit–I disagree. I share the opinion of many others that say anime is a style and not limited to the products of any one country.
Volume 3 was released in 2015. Before production began on Volume 3, Monty Oum had a severe allergic reaction, fell into a coma, and died on February 1, 2015. He was only 33. Despite this tragedy, new members of the team were hired and it was decided RWBY would continue.
The Vytal Festival Tournament is the ultimate battle of skill, pitting the world’s most powerful Huntsmen and Huntresses in training against one another… and it’s finally here! Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang are back for a season of over-the-top action, and they’re not alone. New fighters from around Remnant are ready to bring glory to their Kingdom, but there are those among them with a far more sinister goal in mind.”Rooster Teeth quoted on Fandom
Basically, RWBY is about four young women who seek to become huntresses and defend the world of Remnant from shadowy creatures called Grimm.
- Memorable heroes
- Effective villains
- Unique weapons and apparel
- Interesting character naming rules
- Phenomenal fight scenes
- Interesting setting
- Original music
- Attractive intro
- Balance of comedic and dark moments
- Groundbreaking American Anime
- Animation better but still developing
For my Volume 1 review I focused on Team RWBY, and for the Volume 2 review I focused on Team JNPR. For this review, I will focus on various favorite characters from Volume 3.
Ozpin is the principal of Beacon Academy, and has a lot of say when it comes to who attends his school and who will be teamed up with who. He makes what seem like strange decisions, such as choosing Ruby for the leader of Team RWBY even though she is the youngest and most immature in her group, and Jaune for the leader of Team JNPR even though he is the least experienced fighter. He has great insight however, recognizing that Ruby and Jaune exhibited leadership skills worthy of their positions. Ozpin has a mysterious past and says that “I’ve made more mistakes than any man, woman, and child on this planet.” Ozpin alludes to the Wizard of Oz.
Sun Wukong is a Faunus with monkey features, visiting Beacon Academy from the Kingdom of Vacuo. Sun became close friends with Blake during the events of Volume 1. He has a great sense of humor and is highly skilled at combat. He is the leader of Team SSSN. Sun is fun-loving, confident, and persistent.
According to Fandom, Sun alludes to Sun Wukong from the Chinese novel Journey to the West. Sun Wukong from the novel was also quite perceptive, had a similar power to Sun’s semblance, and is a monkey.
Neptune Vasilias is a skilled young man who is an incurable flirt. He is constantly trying to impress the girls, which makes him a really funny character. He is a close friend to Sun Wukong.
Neptune alludes to the Neptune found in Roman mythology. This is ironic, as you will see if you watch the volume.
Penny Polendina is an android with a soul, a loveable character whose catchphrase is “Salutations!” Upon meeting Ruby, she is intrigued by being called a friend and asks if it is true. Unsure how to react, Ruby reluctantly says yes at first, but then they do end up being close friends. Penny is curious, kind, loyal, and talented.
Penny is an allusion to Pinocchio, which makes sense since she was created. Even though she was made to be a weapon, she also just wants to do things like a real girl.
Coco Adel is the leader of Team CFVY. She is fashionable, confident, and generally likeable. She is never fazed by the Grimm, which suggests a lot of experience. The name Coco is an allusion to color because of Cocoa, which is brown.
I have to say Coco is one of the coolest characters. Seeing her in action is amazing. According to Fandom, her character design and name may be an allusion to 20th century fashion designer Coco Chanel.
Weapons and Apparel
According to Monty Oum’s Facebook, Sun Wukong’s weapon is a pair of nunchuks called Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang. They can switch between staff form, gun form, and nunchuk form.
According to Fandom, their name comes from the novel Journey to the West, where the character Sun Wukong’s staff is called Ruyi Jingu Bang.
According to Fandom, Penny’s weapon is called Floating Array. It consists of a grouping of sword-guns that come from inside her body and are capable of shooting a laser.
They have strings attached to them, which is likely an allusion to the puppet strings of Pinocchio.
Coco’s handbag is her weapon, which according to Fandom is called Gianduja. The name comes from an Italian confection made of chocolate and hazelnut paste, which hearkens back to the character name.
Gianduja looks harmless but is actually quite heavy. It can be used as a bludgeoning weapon in handbag form or as a machine gun in gun form.
Almost all character names and team names follow Monty Oum’s color naming rules, which basically require that all names should be inspired by color. The most notable exception is Ozpin, which makes sense later on.
In the past of Remnant, there was a Great War, during which art was destroyed and artistic suppression expressed. In response to that, later generations named their children based on color as a symbolic choice that meant they would not accept this kind of oppression.
Some examples are:
Ruby--an obvious color
Weiss–German for “white”
Yang–Chinese for “sun,” suggests the color yellow
Blake–Old English for “black”
Furthermore, some characters are named to allude to fairy tale characters, such as how “Weiss Schnee” is a reference to Snow White.
The fight scenes in the Vytal tournament are phenomenal. I won’t tell you which teams matched up, but just think of the most skilled fighters with the most creative weapons. That’s what it was, one after another. I will say that we finally figure out what Velvet’s fighting style is, which is super exciting.
The battle of Qrow vs. Winter is one of favorites and comes up early in the volume.
Amity Colosseum is a floating arena that usually resides in Atlas. It is mobile and moves to the host kingdom of the Vytal festival every time the festival is held. The ground can change terrain randomly and this is used to challenge the fighters and add to the entertainment.
Unlike with many anime, the music in RWBY was created exclusively for RWBY, with foreshadowing built into the songs and songs that seem linked to specific characters.
The music was composed by Jeff Williams, and his daughter Casey Lee Williams does a lot of the vocals. According to Fandom, Jeff Williams does not regard the songs as canon and asserts that they should not be taken literally.
To me, that just seems like he is covering for himself and Rooster Teeth in case the story ends up veering too far from the lyrics, but I know that so far the songs fit the theme and story very well.
My favorite song in Volume 3 is “Neon,” which is basically Neon making fun of a member of Team RWBY.
The intro is better animated than previous intros and highlights the darker nature of Volume 3. It shows important heroes and villains and foreshadows what is to come.
The intro also delves into the past a bit with well-placed hints.
Even though this volume is a bit darker than the previous ones, there is still a lot of humor. For instance, the dialogue is still funny at times.
Qrow: “They don’t give medals for almost.”
Ruby: “They do and they’re called silver!”
There is also a fairy tale quality to the past that Ozpin describes in RWBY. The villains’ threatening schemes add a dark element to this volume.
The 3D animation of RWBY is made using Poser, and thus differs greatly from most other anime. The animation is simple and does not involve a lot of shading and shadow like later volumes have. There are scenes like in the forest where it really shows how far the animators have come.
Contribution to Anime
RWBY is unique because it is one of the few American anime. It is filled with references to Western pop culture and folk tales, as well as some references to Eastern culture. Additionally, its animation style, while underdeveloped, sets out on a separate path from typical anime.“
Volume 3 is where RWBY really takes off and improves. If you like this volume, keep in mind that later volumes will get even better.
I recommend this anime for ages 13 and up.
If you’re interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.