Blake Belladonna/Yang Xiao Long

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Pairing
Pairing: Blake Belladonna/Yang Xiao Long
Alternative name(s): Bumbleby, Bumblebee, Blang, BMBLB
Gender category: femslash
Fandom: RWBY
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: Popular
Archives:
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Blake/Yang, also known as Bumbleby, is a RWBY femslash pairing involving Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long.

Canon

Blake and Yang are teammates and partners. During the Beacon Academy Initiation, Blake appears to be following Yang through the forest. When Yang confronts a pair of Ursai and defeats one, Blake jumps in to kill the other. The two girls seem to get along well, although due to Blake's silent personality, they don't talk much. By the time of the festival, the two have a stronger bond.

During the Battle of Beacon, Blake's ex-partner Adam attacks Blake and claims he intends to take away everything she loves, starting with Yang. After seeing Blake get stabbed in the abdomen by Adam, blinded by rage, Yang attempts to attack Adam for hurting Blake. Adam severs Yang's arm, causing her to fall unconscious. After having retreated to safety and as they are both on the ground recovering, Blake reaches out for Yang, apologizing and crying. After the Battle of Beacon, Blake runs away without a word, which wounds Yang even further. Yang mentions on several occasions that she doesn't understand why Blake left, and that she needed Blake to be there for her.

The two reunite when Black rejoins the team. Yang is still suffering with PTSD and they repair their relationship slowly.

A major point in their relationship is when Adam, who has been stalking the group, ambushes and attacks Blake. When Adam is about to overpower her, Yang arrives and they are able to fight him together. They say they are not along and are protecting each other. Several points of this scene can be interpreted as explicitly romantic - they hold hands, and Adam seems particularly angered by their closeness. The two fight and eventually kill Adam, then embrace.

Fandom

Blake/Yang is one of the most popular pairing in the RWBY fandom alongside Ruby Rose/Weiss Schnee. Their ship name, Bumblebee, comes from each of their respective colour themes of black and yellow. The name is often spelt "Bumbleby" so that it can be found easily in searches and avoid pages of actual bumblebees. In a somewhat confusing consequence, Yang's motorcycle is also named Bumblebee.

Tropes and Fanon

As most of RWBY's characters are based on fairy tales, the Beauty and the Beast trope is often used in Blake/Yang fanworks and discussions of the possibility of a canon relationship between the two. There is also some debate over who fits the role of the "Beauty" and who is the "Beast". On the surface Blake Belladonna's name and love of books is a clear reference to Belle, with her ex-partner Adam representing the Beast due to his violent nature. Yang's character is based on Goldilocks and doesn't seem connected with the tale, however some link her hot temper in battle to that of a beast. Additionally, the song "Red Like Roses", which featured in the first "Red" trailer, has lyrics relating to each member of team RWBY. It refers to Blake and Yang as: "Black the beast descends from shadows. Yellow beauty burns gold." This switches up the roles, having Blake as the Beast and Yang as Beauty.

Challenges

Statistics

  • In 2018, Bumbleby ranked 67th on Tumblr's Top 100 ships of 2018.[1]

Rooster Teeth Interactions

Like any modern production company, Rooster Teeth is very aware of the activity of its show's fandom, including RWBY. This has lead to several interactions with the Bumbleby shipping community which some fans see as light-hearted ship teasing or nods to the fandom, while others view it as queer baiting.

Some instances of this include:

  • After hitting the 140k dollars threshold during the Extra Life Charity live stream event in 2013, the voice actors for Yang (Barbara Dunkelman) and Blake (Arryn Zech) read part of a Bumbleby fic, "Please Don’t Leave", by xekstrin.
  • In Season 2 of RWBY, Team RWBY use existing pairing names as the codenames for two-person attack combos. Blake and Yangs attack was, of course, named Bumbleby.
  • In celebration of Dunkelman and Zech attending the Hanabee Supanova convention in Australia, a limited edition Team Bumbleby T-shirt was produced.
  • Zech has said in several interviews and Q&A's that she likes the Bumbleby ship as it feels like it could actually happen and that both seems suited for one another. She has also added, however, that her position of the ship has no effect on future canon.
  • CRWBY has also been accused of queerbaiting and failing to deliver of promises of major LGBT representation.

BMBLB Song Controversy

There was controversy over the release of the song "Bmblb" in the Volume 4 original soundtrack. Like all of the original soundtracks, the song was created by Jeff Williams. Fans were delighted that the romantic song clearly referenced the Blake/Yang ship name, and took the official song as confirmation that the ship was canon. However, Rooster Teeth employees responded by saying that the songs was made without their involvement, and the song was simply a dynamic that Williams wanted to explore, and did not indicate canon romantic feelings between the two.[2]

Example Fanworks

Fanfiction

Fanart

Links & Resources

References

  1. 2018’s Top Ships
  2. Arryn Clear Up Discussion around Bmblb Song on Twitter