It’s Otaku Thursday yet again. Though existentially, I wonder if an Otaku Thursday is aptly named on a blog that is all otaku all the time? Today IRL it is incredibly snowy from a blizzard that came out of nowhere, so we’re bundled up inside catching up on shows. One show, that I watched today, was the newest episode of RWBY. The long-awaited, episode one of season nine. With bated breath fans waited for it, then it didn’t come out. Then we were told “soon”–for over a year. And it’s finally here. And it was…not worth the wait. But that might be because I’ve had some problems with RWBY recently. Let me break it down.
There was a time I was an avid fan of RWBY. So much so that my brother and I went to see the premiere of season five in theaters. This is just to say that I don’t have anything against RWBY overall. I also jumped on the train for it late (like season four) so I’m not an OG superfan either. I am–or perhaps, was–just a general fan. Which is why it was so hard to watch it recently. See, I’ve had a slowly growing problem with RWBY ever since–well, ever since volume nine didn’t come out like a year or more ago. Of course, back then it was just an inkling of irritation. Okay. We could wait another year. At least they told us, right? Except then came the promises that it’d come out soon. Or that there would be news soon. And then there never was. It felt like it kept getting pushed back every time ‘news’ on the new season was supposed to be out. It frankly sucked. But then they released the first six minutes of season nine and it was–only alright. It wasn’t a lot but it was okay. Felt like a good teaser.
Rooster Teeth also partnered up with Crunchyroll for an anime of RWBY. A legit anime. I know a lot of people were really happy about this but I was getting pretty skeptical at this point. It wasn’t supposed to be an animated version of volume one–but it wasn’t a complete spinoff either. I didn’t know what that meant so when it came out, I avoided watching it as long as I could. But then I did watch it and–well it was bad. You can read my full thoughts here, but what made it exceptionally bad was that the story was like an alternate timeline of season one that all happened in a dream. YES. It all HAPPENED IN A DREAM. The cop out of all cop outs when it comes to storytelling. Here they had an opportunity to tell a story that normally wouldn’t have fit into the narrative of RWBY, and they chose to focus on the same main characters, take bits and pieces of the story thus far, and create an anime. It felt like an unnecessary marketing ploy. I didn’t appreciate it. I talked to my brother too, who was a fan of RWBY since the beginning, and he wasn’t in favor of it either because it felt like it wasn’t a good story for either a first time watcher OR an avid fan. PLUS this is likely what was being worked on in lieu of volume nine.
But now, because Rooster Teeth teamed up with Crunchyroll, they also ended up in an exclusive contract with said streaming service. Which meant when a release date for volume nine came out, it was mentioned that it would stream exclusively on Crunchyroll and wouldn’t be available on the Rooster Teeth website until a year after airing. Now this? This was some major bull. A Rooster Teeth subscription starts at 5.99 a month. Crunchyroll starts at 7.99, though their most popular is 9.99 a month. Totally fine if you’re only paying for one. But if you’re a fan of many Rooster Teeth productions, then you are going to be paying for both just to watch RWBY when it comes out. Absolutely ridiculous. It’s literally asking for you to pay for multiple services to get all your Rooster Teeth content. If you’re only a fan of RWBY, it’s more reasonable. It’s two dollars more than normal, and you still get to watch it when it comes out. Either way, wasn’t a huge fan of the crunchyroll switchover as I had to cancel a Rooster Teeth subscription just to buy a slightly more expensive crunchyroll one (the 9.99 one so that my brother and I can both watch at possibly the same time).
It’d all be worth it if season nine was lit right? Well, it might be too early to tell but good LORD. The first episode of volume nine was a huge letdown for me. Let alone it didn’t feel like a lot of content, it was also just…boring? I wasn’t invested in it, it was even hard to empathize with the characters even though I was so emotionally invested at the end of volume eight. It was just weird. Oddly paced. I have words. Like yes, I know it’s the beginning of the season so I should forgive it, but like–how’d it go from RWBY seemingly lost in place to everyone finding each other so quickly? Why did Yang have an arm missing and brush it off like “you wouldn’t believe me” when asked what happened? How come Weiss held on so long to telling what happened when they fell? And more importantly, why did that scene feel like it was just stunted emotionally? I don’t expect all those to be answered, but I had expected the first episode to evoke something in me and it just didn’t. But what made it SO much worse was the concept of this season that Blake so simply pointed out at the end of the episode. This season, this limbo place–it’s a fairy tale. Characters based on fairy tales are now in a fairy tale. I am literally so done. Like, could’ve been a cool concept but it just feels like something that is really random. It’s like the dream concept from the anime. It gives the opportunity to just tell whatever story. I know the characters will probably get hella growth from this, but like…I don’t know. It feels like an odd place in the overall story to have it happen. Maybe I’m picky and sour but it’s odd man.
Now, I am using this post just to complain. I will outright say it. But my brother also told me that a lot of the creators who have been working on RWBY for years have been slowly pulling out of the project. I don’t know if this is true, admittedly I haven’t done research, but if it is true? Not good my friends. The narrative story of RWBY may be far from over but at this rate, I don’t really know where the show is going anymore. Much like team RWBY currently, it seems very, very lost. And I don’t know if it’ll ever find itself again.
P.S. I will keep watching and if this season is amazing I will eat my words