DVD Review: RWBY Season 1

rwby 1This American-made anime (from webseries maestros RoosterTeeth) centres around a character named Ruby Rose, who rocks a demure Little Red Hiding Hood outfit but who has an ungirlish passion for large, deadly weapons, her favourite being an oversized scythe-cum-sniper rifle that goes everywhere with her. Together with her older sister Yang, she’s packed off to a special academy where she can learn to hone her fighting prowess, and a good thing too, as all kinds of social discontent and criminal activities are brewing in the background.

The story is solid, if not very original. Once at the academy, the students are divided into teams and sent on training missions, a la Naruto, with a tournament or two for good measure. Battling gigantic monsters, the students have to cease bickering and get in some serious team bonding, while Ruby has to stop being such a weapon geek and become more of a people person. It’s a tale zestfully told, however, with voice acting and music both above average, and the series is given a real lift by the quality of the wise-cracking dialogue and the liveliness of the subsidiary characters, such as class bitch and know-it-all Weiss and Jaune, a hapless wimp who suffers from motion sickness and a lack of confidence but who gets taken in hand by Xena-type warrior girl Pyrrha.

Ultimately, though, how much you enjoy RWBY will depend upon whether you can take rwby 2the show’s 3D CG animation, which has a decidedly cheap and cheerful look – stiff shoulders and banana fingers are the order of the day. Still, if you can get past that, there’s a lot to enjoy in this bright, good-humoured series. 6/10

EXTRAS
2-mins of footage of some cosplayers dressed up as the characters. ~ 7-min behind-the-scenes with the director, writers and producers, with some insights into the thinking behind the show, its development through the script stage and the 3D modelling. ~ 2 audio commentaries, one with the director and writers, the other with some of the voice cast – both are chatty and lively, although with the amount of in-jokes and laughter, it’s a bit like eavesdropping in on a private conversation in a bar. 7/10

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