RWBY

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Fandom
Name: RWBY
Abbreviation(s):
Creator: Monty Oum/Rooster Teeth
Date(s): July 2013-present
Medium: animation
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: Rooster Teeth, Youtube, Crunchyroll
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RWBY is a CGI animated series from Rooster Teeth. It stars four high school-aged girls who attend Beacon Academy, where they learn to fight the Grimm - monsters that threaten their world - using magical technology based on a mysterious substance called Dust.

Characters

Major characters in the series include:

Fandom

Much of the early RWBY fandom came from Rooster Teeth's already established fanbase and the following Monty Oum had. Monty was known in anime and video game communities for his fan animation, most notable his Dead Fantasy series, and so there are excitement when it was announced he would be heading his own series after finishing work on Red vs Blue. As the first four character trailers were released between November 2012 and June 2013, fans speculated on the characters backstories, personalises, and relation to each other. As with most Rooster Teeth productions, RWBY gained a large following for a web series after its first volume was released, with over 13 million hits for the first episode on Youtube alone.[1]

The show's creators encourage fan involvement, for example, by uploading a video about cosplayers of the series during volume 1[2]. Monty also encouraged fans who wanted to make original characters by sharing the naming rules in the RWBYverse. The fandom that emerged after volume 1 also took to calling itself the FNDM, as a reference to the RWBY team naming style.

Following the untimely death of Monty on February 1st 2015, an outpouring of art and dedications were produced by fans of the show and its creator. While the future of the show was at that point uncertain, it was later confirmed that production of RWBY Volume 3 would go ahead as planned.

Volume 4 marked a complete overhaul of all the models used in RWBY as production moved to using more industry standard software such as Maya. This was also the first volume that Monty had no involvement in and thus was heavily debated. Generally there was much approval of the the new art direction and outfits. The story, as had always been the case, received mixed feeling from the fandom mostly due to team RWBY being split up. This made their reunion a popular topic for fanworks at the time.

Communities

The fandom center on several platforms, besides Roother Teeth's own forums it is also popular on Tumblr, Twitter, Fanfiction.net and Ao3. According to fandometrics on Tumblr, RWBY was #3 on the Top Web Stuff list in 2016.[3]. In 2017 and 2018, RWBY was the second most popular Web Series fandom on the platform.[4][5]

On September 24th, 2012, a Facebook fan page was created in anticipation of the show, with its first posts appearing on November 7th. The page has since gained over 335,000 likes. Also in November, the /r/RWBY subreddit launched, attracting more than 90,000 subscribers as of 2019. The r/RWBY subreddit is a very active fandom community. Fannish activities include a weekly "Fan Fiction Friday" (FFF) thread, and a Monthly Fanfiction and Fanart Contest (MonCon).

RWBY also has a dedicated Youtube community, with many channels producing episode reactions, news updates and video essays. Over time the reception to these channels has become mixed in other parts of the fandom due to a rise in negative commentary on the series. However, this line of thought has also received pushback as it can seem to be favouring uncritical commentary that only seeks to praise the source material.

Terminology

  • CRWBY: The cast and crew that work on RWBY at Rooster Teeth.
  • FNDM: Name for the RWBY fandom.
  • Lettergate: The fallout surrounding Shane Newville's open letter in 2016 (see Controversies below).
  • RWBYTuber: RWBY Youtubers - Channels or individuals that dedicate much of their content to RWBY episode reactions, news and video essays.
  • RWDE: A tag typically used on Tumblr for criticising RWBY or any part of its fandom that would otherwise be "rude" to put in the main tag.
  • M&K: Miles Luna & Kerry Shawcross, the writing team from Volumes 4-6. Often invoked in comparison to Monty.

Shipping

Shipping is a huge part of the RWBY fandom. While there are juggernaut ships, multishipping is still very prominent and almost every pairing combination exists somewhere within the fandom. Fans have adopted various pairing names, most often based off of the characters' trademark colors, such as Bumbleby and Monochrome, while others come from aspects like weapons and physical traits, such as Crosshares and Nuts and Dolts. Because many of the pairing names are not simply portmanteaus, fans have created numerous spreadsheets over time to catalogue every possible pairing name. Examples can be found here, here, and here.

The earliest shipping in the fandom came after the second trailer introduced Weiss. She was shipped with Ruby, though at the time little was known about their personalities. The same happened once Blake and Yang were introduced in their trailers and it became common in the fandom to ship characters who are partners within a team.

Femslash makes up the largest proportion of the shipping fandom,[6] followed by a still sizeable amount of het and gen works. Male slash it by far the minority. White Rose and Bumbleby were the juggernaut ships within the fandom when the series first began, and are still some of the most popular ships. FanFiction.Net also has a larger amount of fanworks involving original characters than AO3.

Popular Ships

See also: List of RWBY Pairing Names

Fanworks

RWBY has a large community of visual artists, writers, musicians, and animators, all of whom have contributed to fandom in their own ways.

Since Monty Oum was best known for his fan animations before moving to Rooster Teeth, many fans have been inspired to do the same with RWBY. These animations can be with the RWBY characters or OCs made to fit in the show's universe. Fan animations became more popular after the release of Grimm Eclipse as the models were ripped from the game and ported to Source Filmmaker and MikuMikuDance. RWBY has strong support in the MMD community, with fans recreating characters and new outfits shown within the series as well as making original content.

While more time-consuming in nature, there is also a sizeable amount of fangames being created for RWBY. Many of these games are visual novels as the genre is already popular within anime fandoms and the free game engine Ren'Py makes them relatively easy to make for newcomers. One of the most notable RWBY fangames is Grimm Eclipse, which went on to become an officially released Rooster Teath game.

Common Tropes & Fanon

  • Future Fic: Early fanworks often had this take place after the main characters have graduated from Beacon and are working as Huntresses. However, since the fall of Beacon, Future Fics now tend to take place in a post-war setting.
  • No Powers AU: This is typically the set up for other AUs such as Modern Settings, College AU and High School AU.
  • Pyrrha Lives: Those unhappy with Pyrrha's death often have Pyrrha live in exchange for Jaune dying in her place.
  • RWBY Rock: The fandoms collective Band AU.
  • STRQ Era: The team of Ruby and Yang's parents during their time at Beacon.
  • Racebending Fanart sometimes portrays the characters as being dark-skinned. Blake and Yang are particularly popular for this trope.
  • Faunus AU: Where none faunus character's become one. These often have Ruby as a wolf faunus and Yang as a dragon or bear faunus.
  • Futanari: The RWBY fandom has the largest amount of fanworks tagged as futanari on all of AO3. "Futanari" is the Japanese word for hermaphroditism.
  • Original Characters

Notable Fanworks

Animation

Comics

  • Henceforward: A manga created by Kuma, the story takes place in an alternate timeline that shows a future team RWBY with strife, betrayal, and an illness that is pushing societal tensions to a breaking point. Kuma's work also drew the attention of Rooster Teeth and they have since worked together in creating official promotional art for RWBY: Grimm Eclipse and the Japanese DVD covers.
  • RWBY Quest: An alternate universe webcomic/choose-your-own adventure game created by Rontra, that is influenced heavily by Ruby Quest. The series was completed, with an epilogue, on October 12, 2015.

Games

  • RWBY: Grimm Eclipse: Originally a fan game created by Jordan Scott. The game's demo was released to the public on April 1st, 2014,[7] the 10th anniversary of the founding of Rooster Teeth. The overwhelmingly positive fan reaction drew the attention of series creator Monty Oum, who contacted Jordan less than 24 hours after the game's release.[8] At the RWBY Panel at RTX '14, it was announced that Rooster Teeth was hiring Jordan and officially adopting Grimm Eclipse. Jordan continues to develop the game alongside the newly-created Rooster Teeth Games team. On July 5th, 2016, the new official game was released for PC on Stream.
  • Summer Rose Court: A fan-made visual novel based off RWBY. Set in an alternate universe, the player takes on the role of Ruby Rose, the lost princess of the Kingdom of Vale, and heir to the Summer Rose Court. The game's demo was released in July, 2014 and the full game was release in August, 2018.

Meta

Artwork

Discussion & Controversy

Story & Writing

  • Jaune Arc: Jaune Arc is a much loved and hated character in RWBY, depending on the fan. Some believe he is overly involved in the plot and takes agency away from the lead characters, most notably Ruby and Pyrrha, as well as believing him to be a self insert as he is voiced by series writer Miles Luna. Focus on Jaune, which is more than more other non-main protagonist character, and sometimes more than the protagonists, has been called manpain. Others enjoy his character and see his involvement in the plot as a non issues given that he and his team are important secondary characters.
  • LGBT representation: CRWBY has often been accused of queerbaiting and failing to deliver of promises of major LGBT representation. Blake and Yang's relationship and Bumbleby ship is the point commonly cited as queerbait.
    • However, there is also a significant contingent of fans who have been unhappy about the LGBT rep that the show does include. These fans are frequently at odds with pro-LGBT fans. They accuse the creators of pandering or caving to audience demand, or argue that LGBT characters are unnecessary, inorganic, or unlikable.
  • Adam Taurus: Much discussion has taken place around Adam's character. Some believe his character was "wasted potential" as a villain to Blake and Yang rather than a leader in the White Fang. Others felt that the fandom became too attached to their own headcanon's of Adam before his backstory was fully revealed and reacted negativity when said headcanon's did not line up with canon.

Production

  • Model Plagiarism: Some fans noticed the similarities betweens aspects of RWBY's characters models and those created by fans for use in the animation software MikuMikuDance.[9] [10] It is believed that some of these model parts were bought from the online store Turbosquid, and that they themselves had stolen parts used. However, fans noted that this did not account for all the similarities and that Adam Taurus' model still appeared to use parts from an officially licenced Bleach game.
  • Monty Oum's "Vision": Many fans have a negative view of the show post-Volume 3, after Monty Oum was no longer part of the production due to his death. There are frequent complaints that the quality of animation, fights, writing, design, characterization, etc. has dropped. These fans often blame Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross, the remaining writers, for any and all issues, accusing them of deviating from "Monty's Vision" and insulting his memory. Countering these views, it has been pointed out that Miles and Kerry worked with Monty from the beginning of the show, that the plot is still following the story that Monty planned out, and that not all change should be considered bad.
    • Shane Newville's open letter: In May 2016, Shane Newville released An Open Letter to All Who Treasured Monty Oum, a controversial 36-page document giving a detailed personal account of his time working on RWBY and the events following Monty Oum's death. Rooster Teeth did not publicly acknowledge the letter but its contents were discussed within the community.[11]
  • Vic Mignogna: At the beginning of 2019 Rooster Teeth cut ties with Vic Mignogna, the voice of Qrow, after a number of sexual harassment allegations surfaced. Rumours of such allegations had been in circulation for years and had already lead some to be uncomfortable with Mignogna's role in RWBY. However, there are Vic Mignogna fans who vocally maintain that he is innocent.
  • Crunch Culture: In June 2019, Rooster Teeth's Glassdoor page was given numerous negative employee reviews. These reviews noted Rooster Teeth's "crunch culture" - oppressive working conditions, forced unpaid labour with zero benefits, and poor management. A thread detailing these complaints emerged on r/roosterteeth which Rooster Teeth then officially responded to and apologised for.

Archives & Fannish Links

Archives

Reddit

Tumblr

Wikis

References

  1. Episode 1 on Youtube
  2. Behind the Scenes of RWBY Cosplay!, posted Aug. 8, 2013. Accessed April 17, 2014.
  3. 2016’s Top Web Stuff
  4. 2017′s Top Web Series
  5. 2018’s Top Web Series
  6. RWBY Fandom stats Accessed Dec 22, 2016.
  7. RWBY: Grim Eclipse - Original Trailer, accessed Dec 22, 2016.
  8. Rooster Teeth RTX 2015 Indie Game Development, accessed Dec 22, 2016.
  9. plsno-mmd's rwby tag
  10. Plagiarism
  11. Shane Newville: An Open Letter To All Who Treasured Monty Oum