RWBY: Volume 5 delves into emotional depths

On Saturday, Jan. 20, the online company RoosterTeeth launched episode 14 of Volume 5 of the hit animated show “RWBY.” “RWBY” has been around for several years now and the show has developed through multiple different animation crews, different animation programs and even different creators since Monty Oum, the original creator of the show, unfortunately passed in 2015. Still, with the help of Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross, “RWBY,” reflecting the show’s very message, kept moving forward.
Volume 5 kicked off with the four original heroes in different places across the fictional world of Remnant. Ruby Rose was in the kingdom of Mistral with her uncle Qrow, friends Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren, and Oscar Pine, who was the physical reincarnation of the spirit of their old mentor, Professor Ozpin. Yang Xiao Long was recuperating from a traumatic event in which she lost her arm and was on her way to find her mother. Weiss Schnee was fleeing from her oppressive home life to find her sister in Mistral. Blake Belladonna was working with her parents and friend Sun Wukong to stop a rebellious organization called the White Fang from terrorizing the human nations in the name of the faunus, which are otherwise normal people with various biological similarities to animals, including Blake’s cat ears and Sun’s monkey tail.
“RWBY” is quite different in this volume from other anime in the sense that it keeps the pace relatively slow and tries to continually build up the tension in the world through use of emotional connections and the growing evil in the world. This might turn some people away who might be used to fast-paced stories like “Full Metal Alchemist” or “Attack on Titan.” Even compared to previous volumes, the most recent story places action-packed fight sequences in the back seat in exchange for character development.
To give credit where it’s due, RoosterTeeth’s decision to make emotions the forefront of the story worked out well; the entire show was brimming with emotion. Every character has motivations which are initially obvious but then delved into later to discover that there’s a lot more beneath the surface. For example, Volume 4 initially explored the discovery that Ren and Nora were orphaned when a monstrous creature known as Grimm ravaged their village. In the same volume, viewers saw Yang’s initial trauma with losing her arm as well as learning how to keep her temper down in fights. Volume 5 only teaches us more about each of the characters we’ve grown to love and hate over the years.
Volume 5 also introduced one of the more well put-together characters of the show, Ilia Amitola. She’s a chameleon faunus who used her camouflage abilities to fit in with humans in school and avoid discrimination. However, when her parents died, her friends laughed at the prospect. Subsequently, these events drove her to join the White Fang in its infancy, when it strove for equal rights for faunus under the direction of Blake’s father, Ghira. Her friendship with Blake was put to the test when they faced each other as opponents on the battlefield in Volume 5. This development had an absolutely unpredictable storyline.
Overall, Volume 5 did a great job of expressing emotion all the way up to the climax of the final two episodes in the season. A lot of story questions were answered, and while the action was on the low side, it was my pleasure to witness the story told in such an expertly-crafted manner.