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. The title is pronounced "Ruby."

Canon

RWBY stars the titular Team RWBY, consisting of Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, Yang Xiao Long, four high school-aged girls. The group meets while attending Beacon Academy, a battle school where students train to become Huntsmen and Huntresses and learn to fight the Grimm - monsters that threaten their world.

The end of Volume 3 is noted to be a turning point in the show, at which there are multiple character deaths, the stakes of the show change, and the tone becomes darker. RWBY Chibi was created as a spin-off for younger audiences after RWBY became more mature.[1]

There are a number of different fantastical elements/systems in the world of RWBY, known as Remnant. Dust is a crystalline or powdered energy source with a variety of qualities that is often used in weaponry or technology. Aura is the manifestation of a person's soul, which is trained and used primarily as protection from physical harm. Developing one's aura leads to unlocking a Semblance, a personal and unique ability with effects varying greatly from user to user, like a superpower. Remnant has two races of intelligent people, Humans and Faunus; Faunus are similar to Humans, except for the fact that they share certain traits with animals. They are essentially Kemonomimi, though they are generally restricted to one physical animal trait (e.g. a Faunus can have cat ears or a cat tail, but not both). It is later revealed that magic, which can only be used by a powerful few, also exists.

Characters

Major characters in the series include:

Team RWBY on the cover of Seasons Of Remnant

Supporting characters:

Fandom

FNDM Beginnings

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 was 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, personalities, and relation to each other. Due to the long wait between the first previews and the debut of the first season, there are already a not insignificant fandom that had expectations, interpretations/theories, and headcanons about the show, characters, story, tone, etc. From the earliest days of the post-V1 fandom, there was some dissent from fans who were unhappy that their expectations had not been met.

As with many Rooster Teeth productions, RWBY gained a large following after volume one was released, with nearly 2 million hits for the first episode on YouTube by the end of 2013.[2] The fandom that emerged after volume 1 also took to calling itself the FNDM, as a reference to the RWBY team naming style.

The show's creators encourage fan involvement, for example, by uploading a video about cosplayers of the series during volume one[3]. Monty also encouraged fans who wanted to make original characters by sharing the naming rules in the RWBYverse.

RWBY cosplayers at San Japan

Fan theories also became very popular in RWBY, and has maintained throughout the duration of the series. Theories often involve analysis of the fairy tales or stories that characters are based on.

Appeal

Several aspects of RWBY attract fans to the series, one popular example being RWBY's creator, Monty Oum, who was specifically known for his fluid fight animation. Many have stated to overlook weaker aspects of RWBY's storytelling due to overall enjoyment of its fight scenes.[4]

Another aspect enjoyed by fans is that RWBY's main protagonists comprise of four young women. This can be paired with the fact that RWBY is an action/adventure series that allows all of Team RWBY to be given the spotlight at different points in the story to show their fighting skills.

The series starting as an independent production that tries to capture the look and feel of anime is also a draw for some. With production being based in the US it is far easier for english-speaking fans to connect with its crew on social media or conventions, something that would normally require a translator for most anime fandoms.

These different aspects of RWBY that appeal to fans and their subsequent hopes and expectation for the series has been a major factor in the fandom division that came in the run up to Volume 3.

Fandom Divide

While the fandom has always critiqued various aspects of the RWBY the divide between vocal fans and vocal critics became far more apparent following the the untimely death of Monty Oum on February 1st 2015. In the immediate aftermath an outpouring of art and dedications were produced by fans as the future of the show was at that point uncertain.

After the initial sadness, shock, and worry for the show's future, from this point on, the tone of the fandom took on a drastically different timbre. Many tried to act much more positive with their views of the show than before, as if they all wanted in no way to wrong the man who made his dream a reality. But on the darker side, others abused Monty's absence as a pretense to confabulate what they think he would have wanted in order to bully and berate others. [...] And from V4 up to now, a noticeable rift has steadily been widening between the pieces of this community—though some are too quick to point it out, and others are skeptical of the problem's degree of enormity.[5]

Communities

The fandom is active on several platforms, besides Rooster 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.[6]. In 2017 and 2018, RWBY was the second most popular Web Series fandom on the platform.[7][8]

In November 2012, the /r/RWBY subreddit launched and became one of the most active communities. 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 or The Power That Be.
  • 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.

The earliest shipping in the fandom came after the second trailer introduced Weiss. She was shipped with Ruby, being the only other character to exist at that point, though 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,[9] followed by a still sizeable amount of het and gen works. Male slash is 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.

The fandom's largest ship war is between two Blake ships: Bumbleby vs Blacksun.

Pairing Names

The fandom's approach to pairing names has a lot of variation. Fans generally try to develop names based on characteristics of characters and how they would combine.

This started in the fandom's early days with ship names based off of the characters' trademark colors, such as Monochrome for Weiss and Blake's white and black color scheme, and Bumblebee for Blake and Yang's black and yellow color scheme. These color-based names became less common when the cast expanded, and there were fewer characters clearly identifiable by single signature colors. After some time, alternative spellings of common words came into use to make the ship names more easily searchable, such as Bumbleby developing from Bumblebee, or Cloqwork. Other ship names come from aspects like physical or character traits, often involving wordplay, such as Crosshares and Nuts and Dolts. However, there have also been portmanteau names that became standard, like Renora, Arkos, and Ironqrow.

Fans tend to start coming up with pairing names as soon as they start shipping a pair. Thus ship names can be created quickly with little context or knowledge of new characters. Often multiple names catch on at once, and ships usually don't have a single clearly favored name until they become significantly popular. Because many of the pairing names are not straightforward portmanteaus, fans have created numerous spreadsheets over time to catalogue every possible pairing name. Examples can be found here, here, and here.

Shipping Week

See also: List of RWBY Challenges

The fandom hosts a fairly high amount of shipping week challenges throughout the year, primarily on Tumblr and Twitter. Many are annually events have have been run by the same mod team for a number of years, such as Bumbleby Week and Whiterose Week. Others are one time events, mostly for pairings involving characters not in the central cast, such as Catmeleon Week. Fans have taken to creating a calendar in order to keep track of each challenge.

Popular Ships

See also: List of RWBY Pairing Names

Common Tropes, Fanon, & Theories

  • 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-Salem setting.
  • No Powers AU: This is typically the set up for other AUs such as Modern Settings, College AU and High School AU.
  • Everyone Lives: Became popular after Volume 3, when a number of fan favorites died. Alternately, different characters may be killed instead.
  • RWBY Rock: The fandoms collective Band AU.
  • STRQ Era: The team of Ruby and Yang's parents during their time at Beacon.
  • Racebending
    • The racial identities of RWBY characters are questionable/unclear, as the story takes place in an original universe that does not have clearly equivalent continents, but which are noted to be inspired by different cultures, and the series overall is considered an American anime. For example, Yang Xiao Long and her father both have Chinese names, but are blonde and have white voice actors, so whether they should be interpreted as white, Asian, or mixed is debated.
    • 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 and have some sort of Kemonomimi trait. 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: Along with original teams following the series's standard naming conventions. The RWBY Fanon Wiki is a wiki solely for fans to list their original team and characters.
  • Reunion: A popular topic for fanworks when Team RWBY were separated in Volume 4. There is also interest in the return of other minor characters not seen since Volume 3.
  • Semblance: Each character's unique power is a topic of interest in speculation, as it is usually relevant to fights and can be revealing in regard to a character's personality. There may also be AUs in which Semblances are changed.
  • Outfits & Redesigns: This practice has become more common over time due to the in-canon changes characters have gone through, which have included new CGI models roughly every three volumes. The new designs are highly anticipated and critiqued. There is often fanart or edits celebrating new looks or offering one's own take on a redesign.

Fanworks

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

Animation

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 RWBY: Grimm Eclipse as the game models were ripped 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.

Examples

Artwork

RWBY has a huge array of artists producing fanart. The popularity of certain artists or pieces of fanart within the community has lead some official collaborations with Rooster Teeth.

Examples

  • Reverse RWBY AU Masterpost by bastart13: "Reverse RWBY is a roleswap AU." "tl;dr: Salem and Ozpin’s forces have been switched from good to evil and vice versa along with their ages. Teenage Team WTCH are now the protagonists attending Beacon, run by its headteacher, Salem, and they fight the grimm and Ozpin’s forces."

Comics

In addition to regular fanart RWBY also has a number of run running comics/manga.

Examples

  • 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.
  • Dumb_RWBY: A parody comic of RWBY,

Doujin

The Japanese RWBY fandom has a small but active community of doujin creators. Doujin's became more popular once RWBY was given a official Japanese dub and manga series. The fan event RWBY BANZAI!! has been held several times over the years and has been a source of many new doujin releases.

Examples

Games

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.

Examples

  • RWBY: Grimm Eclipse: Originally a fan game created by Jordan Scott. The game's demo was released to the public on April 1st, 2014,[10] 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.[11] 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

Examples

Zines

RWBY has a small zine community, though it is not as popular a medium compared to other active anime fandoms, such as My Hero Academia. One of the first zines produced was Warriors of Remnant in 2016 after which a few zines have been released every year since, with a growing focus on shipping.

Examples

Discussion & Controversy

Story & Writing

  • Jaune Arc: Jaune Arc is highly criticized by some fans. Common complaints are that he is overly involved in the plot and takes agency away from the lead characters, that he is a self insert for series writer Miles Luna, and that the focus on him counts as manpain.
  • 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, particularly how fans' expectations for his role ultimately differed from canon.
  • At times, the writers have acknowledged what they feel is reasonable criticism. For example, Miles and Kerry said that starting in Volume 6 they were making efforts to ensure that Ruby, who has been called a poor protagonist, was a more compelling and active, and said that they regret not understanding the importance of casual LGBT representation in early Volumes. Bringing on Kiersi Burkhart and Eddy Rivas as main writers in Volume 7 also seems to have been an effort to better the show's writing.

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.[12] [13] 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 blamed Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross, the remaining writers. There are also those who defend Miles and Kerry against presumptions of bad faith. For more, see Monty's Vision.
  • Vic Mignogna as Qrow Branwen: At the beginning of 2019 Rooster Teeth cut ties with Vic Mignogna, the voice of Qrow, after a number of sexual harassment allegations surfaced.
  • 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. ^ Rooster Teeth Animation moves to new building ahead of 'RWBY Volume 4', October 17, 2016
  2. ^ Episode 1 on YouTube. Wayback Machine. December 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Behind the Scenes of RWBY Cosplay!, posted Aug. 8, 2013. Accessed April 17, 2014.
  4. ^ What do you love most about RWBY? Quora.
  5. ^ Why do you think the FNDM is so divided? Is it divided? If so, how do we fix it? reddit. Feb 22, 2019.
  6. ^ 2016’s Top Web Stuff
  7. ^ 2017′s Top Web Series
  8. ^ 2018’s Top Web Series
  9. ^ RWBY Fandom stats Accessed Dec 22, 2016.
  10. ^ RWBY: Grim Eclipse - Original Trailer, accessed Dec 22, 2016.
  11. ^ Rooster Teeth RTX 2015 Indie Game Development, accessed Dec 22, 2016.
  12. ^ plsno-mmd's rwby tag
  13. ^ Plagiarism