Anime, Shows

RWBY Volume 6 Gives the Real Story of Salem

Anime Review:

RWBY Volume 6

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • Memorable heroes
  • Effective villains
  • Focus on pivotal character backstories
  • Unique weapons and apparel
  • Phenomenal fight scenes
  • Interesting setting
  • Original music
  • Attractive intro
  • Balance of comedic and dark moments
  • Groundbreaking American anime
  • Beautiful art style and animation

Cons

  • No specific cons

Warning: Spoilers below!

Review

Trigger Warning: Suicide

There are so many things I love about this season. The new characters and Grimm, the epic fight scenes, the beautiful intro, the depth of the character backstories….

Let’s start with my two favorite new characters…

Maria Calavera is a wonderful addition to Team RWBY. Her eyes, once grey like Ruby’s, were destroyed by the villain Tock. She has mechanical goggles that allow her to see, even though they need tuning from time to time and they cause her to be colorblind. As the Grimm Reaper, she was highly skilled and even inspired Qrow to make a weapon modeled off of hers. I love the part where she tries to get away with using a military airship by using jargon. She pulls off the jargon, but is given away because the military does not employ the elderly.

Tock

Even though Tock is a side character shown only briefly in a flashback, I found her character design to be fascinating, and her semblance and focus on the passage of time interesting. She was inspired by the crocodile from Peter Pan and carries a watch with her. Tock’s semblance allows her to be invulnerable for 60 seconds, although it does sap almost all of her aura. She tends to play with those she intends to kill. Formidable, snarky, and sadistic, she is a character to be appreciated. Before her death, she was trusted enough by Salem to be a part of her inner circle.

The Sphinx is one new type of Grimm the heroes face pretty early on in the volume. The train fight is phenomenal. You can see how the characters have grown as fighters.

The Apathy are by far the creepiest Grimm I have ever seen. They slowly sap one’s will and volition to live. They killed a whole town because the people slowly lost the will to move and died in their beds one morning. Their cry is frightening, and they don’t even have to be fast because their prey will move slower and slower as its energy is sapped.

The battle of the team vs. the Colossus, which is manned by Caroline Cordovin, is utterly fabulous. I love that when the good guys finally get the upper hand, the city is threatened by a Leviathan. And they just took down the only thing capable of stopping the Leviathan. The guilt and determination are superb as enemies turn to reluctant allies. Ruby using Jinn to stop time was super smart and gave her what was necessary to succeed. Then Cordovin drilling into that Leviathan Gurren Lagann style…nice!

The intro is great, creating so much foreshadowing and tension. You can tell that it is shaping up to be a great volume just from watching the intro. I know some people ship Ruby and Weiss so I bet that final scene with Weiss helping Ruby up will make them happy–it looks very sweet.

Also, can I just say, the animation of this volume was much better? It really was. People were even freaking out about the detail on the trees near the beginning of the volume. A big improvement.

The backstory for Salem and Ozpin is phenomenal. Their love story seemed so sincere…until love turned to hatred. Salem went to terrible lengths to try to bring Ozpin back to life. She even turned the humans of the world against their gods, and every human was obliterated except for her. She became immortal until she could appreciate the value of life and death…a terrible sentence for the crime of turning against the gods and trying to bring back the dead. Salem tried to commit suicide at least twice, once by the sword and again by casting herself into a pool of darkness.

I found it interesting that the brother gods got along decently well despite their vastly different outlooks, one being creation and one destruction. They respected each other, and were not enemies even though their goals did not altogether match.

Qrow’s struggle with alcoholism and his loss of authority over the younger characters were pivotal in this volume. The younger characters decide to do things their way and Qrow’s permission is no longer sought or needed. This changes the power dynamics in the group. Luckily, things turn out pretty well after the the young’uns take charge.

I loved this volume and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys action and anime. Did you watch this volume? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Anime, Shows

“Struck by lightning, didn’t die. Crazy Thursday”

Cover Art for RWBY Volume 5

Anime Review (with spoilers!):

RWBY Volume 5

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

Overview

Pros

  • 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
  • Beautiful art style and animation

Cons

  • No specific cons, just overall felt like a 9 star volume.

Observations

  • Animation much better than in early seasons

Review

First off, I want to say that the cover art from this volume, shown above is beautiful. There is only one part I don’t like about it and that is the fact that Blake is several times the size of the other characters – that seems to make the whole image somewhat asymmetrical. A small complaint for an attractive piece of cover art.

RWBY Volume 5 was released in 2017 and was created by Rooster Teeth. Rooster Teeth teased this volume by saying:

The huntresses of Team RWBY continue to search for answers on their individual journeys toward Haven Academy. Will the four finally reunite? What fate awaits the broken world of Remnant?

Rooster Teeth

Where pros or cons were too similar to the information in reviews for previous seasons, I did not include details. See other reviews for more information.

Spoilers beyond this point!

It is so refreshing to see Weiss finally escape the trap of her family home by airship. The pilot is not just an extra–although he remains nameless and is killed off quickly. His refusal to help people in need is very human, but he is not just one note.

Weiss vs. the Lancers is an interesting battle to watch, with Weiss utilizing the cargo of dust to obliterate her enemies. The crash is unfortunate but not unexpected, and the pilot’s subsequent death is not shown. I think that it should have been shown or at least alluded to, even though it can be implied since Weiss is the only one to emerge from the wreckage.

I also like that Oscar Pine’s first words to Ruby are “You have silver eyes.” If you remember, those are also Ozpin’s first words to Ruby. This underscores the similarities between Ozpin and Oscar and points to the fact that eventually their souls will merge and become one. While tragic, I found this choice to be creative and to raise the sense of loss that permeates the RWBY series and rears its head from time to time, such as in the death of Pyrrha.

Adam’s coup was also well-executed and tragic. Sienna Khan, the head of the White Fang, was interesting–I wish we had seen more of her. There is a trailer that shows her in action a bit more, but that’s about it. Hazel is exceedingly polite when he deals with Sienna, and is clearly disappointed when Adam kills her.

I love Vernal’s name because it suggests Spring. All signs point to her being the Spring Maiden, so when Raven is revealed to be the Spring Maiden instead, it comes as a shock.

We get to learn more about the semblances of the heroes. Ren can mask emotions, while Nora can channel electricity into power. She discovered her semblance by accident.

Struck by lightning, didn’t die. Crazy Thursday.

Nora Valkrie

Jaune’s semblance is only revealed when he heals Weiss by amplifying her aura. He can do the same with his own. It is great to see Jaune developing in power and character.

I love how Blake tells Sun that she tries to understand people by a single word representing what they stand for. For Ruby, “purity.” For Weiss, “defiance.” For Yang, “strength.” Adam is harder for Blake to pin down and understand. At first, she thinks he represents “justice.” Then she amends that to “passion.” Finally, she if forced to admit that Adam embodies “spite.”

Illia’s crush on Blake is sweet and poignant, but makes their rivalry even more intense. It is good to see some representation of LGBTQ+ characters.

Weiss truly realizes who she is as a person when she defies her family and leaves them for good.

I am more than a name.”

Weiss Schnee
Yang and Raven

The final battle between Raven and Cinder is epic. Yang confronting her mom is one of the best scenes too.

You might be powerful, but that doesn’t make you strong.”

Yang Xiao Long to Raven

The songs in Volume 5 are not as good as some of the others from the earlier seasons, but they are still fun to listen to. Posting some good ones from Volume 5 below.

The trailer is beautiful and exciting, using the song “The Triumph.” It definitely got me interested in what was to come.

Overall, I would recommend this volume and RWBY in general to anyone who enjoys anime and epic battles. I would say that the overall series is best for ages 13 and up, even though this particular volume might be okay for people who are younger. This my not my favorite volume, but I still found it very enjoyable.

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Anime, Music

My Top 10 Favorite Anime Songs in 2021

In 2020, I completed my first top 10 anime songs list. Now that it’s 2022, I am taking a look back at 2021 to see how my top ten has changed.

One thing I changed since 2020 is that I now use Spotify instead of Pandora for all my musical needs. It’s just better for me–I can look up specific tracks from various anime and add them to my playlist. Below is a sneak peak of my full anime playlist on Spotify.

One of the major differences you will notice with my new top ten is that it doesn’t include any songs from Fairy Tail. That is not because I don’t like those songs any more. It is because I have been introduced to new anime since then that have broadened my tastes. A few songs like those from Angel Beats made a reappearance, but my top ten has certainly changed.

Why do I listen to anime songs? Some I listen to because they remind me of anime I enjoyed. Some I listen to because they have a great sound. And some I listen to because I have read and appreciated the lyrics or translations of the lyrics.

Below I have listed my favorite anime counting down from #10 to #1.

#10: Netsujō no Spectrum by Ikimono-gakari

I will preface this by saying that I do not actually like The Seven Deadly Sins at all so far. I do, however, enjoy the first intro song for this anime.

The song is all about love. The singer explains that the love and words of another person have changed her. It has a great sound to it, which is why I liked it even when I hadn’t known the translation.

#9: No. 7 by Jibaku Shonen Band

I love, love, love this anime. The art style is beautiful, the animation is superb, and the characters are loveable. The anime is called Toilet-bound Hanako-Kun.

I know, weird name, right? I didn’t expect to like it when I heard the name, but it was recommended by my best friend and so I couldn’t pass it up.

The song is great, except it starts with weird whispering that I can’t figure out if I like or not. Otherwise it probably would be rated higher.

#8: Gurenge by LiSA

I really enjoyed Demon Slayer Season 1, even though it is not the typical style I like to watch. I generally prefer lighthearted anime, and this anime is a bit dark. I love the bond between the two main characters, siblings Tanjiro and Nezuko.

The song is all about becoming strong for someone else. I love the way the song flows. It sounds beautiful.

#7: Sincerely by TRUE

Violet Evergarden is one of the most touching anime I’ve ever watched, and the intro song is beautiful to listen to. It is all about the power of words and that fits the anime so well. Violet has spent her whole life being trained and used as a weapon, and it is not until after the war ends and she takes a job as a ghostwriter that she learns empathy.

#6: The Red Means I Love You by Madds Buckley

This song is not from an anime, but it is inspired by one. The Red Means I Love You is based on Himiko Toga, a girl from My Hero Academia who drinks blood from people in order to change her appearance to match them. She only drinks the blood of those she is infatuated with–guys and girls alike. The song is about her obsession with blood and her feeling of being an outcast.

#5: Goya No Machiawase by Hello Sleepwalkers

This song is a bolder rock song with the theme of moving on from the past, even if it means metaphorically killing your past self.

#4: Kōkai no Uta by Sayuri

This song I mostly like because of the way it sounds, but it has decent lyrics about moving forward when you don’t have the strength. Eri is an amazing little girl from My Hero Academia and I associate this song with her because the outro that included this music was filled with glimpses of her life.

#3: Brave Song by Aoi Tada

Brave Song FULL VER. - Lyrics and Music by Angel Beats ! arranged ...

This song is the outro to the anime Angel Beats. It is about a lonely girl who is struggling to be strong in the face of adversity. It ends with the realization that she will someday be left only with memories of her friends.

The song fits the anime well, which is definitely one of the saddest anime I have ever watched. The song seems to refer to Yuri, who has a tragic backstory that explains the brooding nature of this song.

Spotify doesn’t have a good version, so here’s the Youtube one.

#2: Ichiban no Takaramono (Yui final ver.) by Girls Dead Monster

This song is so incredibly sad and happy at the same time. I can’t say much more without spoilers, so I’ll leave it at that without explaining what the song is about. The English translation of the title is “My Most Precious Treasure.” This is not on Spotify, so the Youtube link is here.

#1: Red Like Roses Part II

Okay, a quick disclaimer. Some people consider RWBY to be an anime, some do not. The people who do not consider RWBY an anime generally hold the position that all anime must be from Japan.

However, there is so much overlap in styles now, with western countries exploring traditionally Japanese styles, and Japanese companies exploring traditionally western themes. As a result, the line between what is anime and what is not has been blurred.

Furthermore, RWBY appears on the anime streaming service CrunchyRoll.

Personally, I will refer to RWBY as an American anime. If you disagree, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Red Like Roses Part II is about the tragic loss of a loved one and dealing with grief. It is a fast-paced rock song, and unlike the others in the list, this one is completely in English.

I love the imagery used in this song, such as describing blood as “red like roses.”

While glancing through the comments on Youtube, I found that many people could relate to the songs theme of loss, especially the line: “All the joy that I had known for all my life, was stripped away from me the minute that you died.”

The wonderful thing about the songs from RWBY is that they reveal more about the characters and create depth. They also are just good stand-alone songs even without the anime – the lyrics are relateable for many people even without the context of the show.

I fully recommend checking the song out because it is my absolute favorite.

Conclusion

Even if you haven’t watched anime, I would recommend you listen to these songs and see if you like them. Who knows, maybe you’ll like them.

I plan to analyze most of them at one point or another so you’ll be seeing them again.

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Anime, Shows

Team RWBY is Scattered

Spoiler-Free Anime Review:

RWBY Volume 4

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 stars

Intro

This volume is a bundle of emotions and difficult choices for the characters. I’ve watched it twice, and both times it was frustrating and enjoyable. The first time I watched it with my siblings and the second time with my roommate. To be honest, the volume’s main purpose seems to be working on all the character’s development, and it does well at that job.

WARNING: This review does not contain any significant spoilers for Volume 4, but it does contain major spoilers for earlier volumes.

Background

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 4 was released in 2016 and is currently free to watch with ads on Youtube.

Summary

Team RWBY is separated in the wake of the Fall of Beacon. Ruby, Jaune, Ren, and Nora venture toward Mistral. Yang deals with the trauma of losing her arm and her memories of being defeated by Adam Taurus. Weiss must face her father and brother in Atlas. Blake heads to Menagerie.

Pros

  • Fun new characters
  • Ren and Nora’s backstory
  • Much better animation
  • Balance of humor and tragedy
  • Handled the depiction of grief and trauma well
  • New Grimm
  • Phenomenal music as always
  • Beautiful intro

Cons

  • No serious cons, but I feel that this volume is not as distinctive and impactful as some of the other volumes.

Review

Characters & Weapons

Qrow Branwen is the uncle of Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long. He is frequently drunk, but is reliable when he is needed the most. According to Fandom, his character both alludes to the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz and Muninn from Norse mythology. Similar to the Scarecrow searching for a brain, Qrow searches for intelligence for Ozpin. His frequent drunkenness may also be connected to the Scarecrow’s supposed brainlessness, because of alcohol’s reputation for affecting judgment. Muninn likewise is a bird that searches for information for Odin, which alludes to Qrow’s name (pronounced “Crow”).

His name fits the color naming rule Monty set because “Qrow” suggests the color black like the bird and “Branwen” means “white crow/raven.”

Qrow’s weapon is called Harbringer and can change from a sword into a scythe. He based his weapon off of the trademark scythe of the Grimm Reaper, a famous huntress from legend.

Ilia Amitola is a member of the White Fang, a Faunus with chameleon characteristics. When feeling different emotions, the color of her skin and the patches on her skin change. She can also do this on purpose regardless of her emotions. She is confirmed to be a lesbian.

According to Fandom, her name also follows the color naming rule. The name “Ilia” comes from a purple butterfly, and her last name “Amitola” is the Sioux word for “rainbow.”

Her weapon is called Lightning Lash and works like a whip. She is highly skilled with it, which leads to some engaging battles.

Oscar Pine is a young farm boy from Mistral who gets caught up in the struggle of good vs. evil that has enveloped the world. He has no combat skills nor a weapon to call his own when we meet him.

According to Fandom, Oscar alludes to Tip from The Marvelous Land of Oz. I know very little about this character from the second Wizard of Oz book. What I am aware of is that they were both farm boys.

His name may refer to a specific shade of gold called Oscar Gold, and Pine obviously brings to mind the color green. So it can be said to be loosely following the color naming rule.

Backstories

The backstory of Ren and Nora is perhaps the best part of Volume 4. I love these characters, so any new information about their pasts is welcome.

Animation

The 3D animation of RWBY is made using Poser, and thus differs greatly from most other anime. The animators have improved at using shadow and light, and the overall quality of the animation of this volume is an improvement over previous volumes.

Balance

There is an effective balance between the tragedies of the past juxtaposed against the successes and failures of the present. Humor is maintained at proper moments, shown especially in Sun’s interactions with other characters. I’m a little disappointed that Rooster Teeth introduced a bunch of characters at the school in Beacon and then abandoned their character development when the school fell. I really hope they come back later.

Grief and Trauma

Yang dealing with the loss of the arm is done well. She doesn’t get over it right away. The trauma of losing that fight and losing a part of her is serious and affects her day-to-day life as she is recovering. The bold Yang we all know is somewhat changed by the experience.

Ren and Nora’s grief about the past is well-executed as well. It makes sense why it isn’t something they initially would have shared with everyone else.

The most poignant loss though is Pyrrha. How Team JNPR begins the process of grieving and being able to live with the loss of a friend is tragic.

Grimm

The Grimm in this volume are both harrowing and more creative. The ones that stood out to me were the Geist and the Nuckelavee. The Nuckelavee’s name came from Orcadian mythology and is a kind of demon. That one to me was one of the creepiest Grimm so far.

Music

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.

In my opinion, the best songs from this volume are “Bad Luck Charm” and “This Life is Mine.

Intro

The intro is attractive and interesting. It makes me so sad that the shot shown above has a space where Pyrrha would have been. The intro depicts all the main villains of the season and some of the new characters, as well as featuring old ones such as Qrow.

Conclusion

Even though this volume seems kind of like a bridge to future volumes, laying down the groundwork, it is still a masterpiece in its own right. I would definitely recommend it.

Rating System

If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.

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