Genre: manga, fantasy, magic, adventure
Content warnings: none
Thank you to VIZ Media for providing me an advanced copy in exchange of a honest review.
RWBY is a popular animated series that has been running for over 7 years. The series is an American production by Roosterteeth and works with 3D animation and motion capture. It became so popular that now it has an official japanese dub (with some pretty famous voice actors) and it inspired several manga anthologies, adaptations and even some novels. I have been following the show from the early seasons and I was really excited to be able to read this new manga adaptation!
The manga is a retelling of the first few years of the show, as the subtitle “The Beacon Arc” indicates. We are introduced the main characters and we get some explanations about the world, so if you never watched the show don’t worry.
The first chapter felt a bit rushed, at times it was hard to tell what was happening or where our characters were, there just wasn’t a lot of background environment drawn. I knew where these scenes took place and I knew Ruby was in the store, so it didn’t bother me, but I felt it might be a bit of a confusing start for new people. However, from chapter two the story and the paneling really picks up and I enjoyed the story a lot.
We follow Ruby and her sister Yang as they are headed to their new school, Beacon, and we learn a bit about the world of Remnant, and the monsters that exists there, the Grimms. The Grimms are usually drawn by negative emotions and are a threat to humans so people train to fight them. Our protagonists are future huntsmen and huntresses.
This volume covers our introduction to the two main teams the story will follow, team RWBY (“Ruby”) and JNPR (“Juniper”) and we see how their teams get assigned. The fights and the action scenes are written really well and they are really dynamic. Since the focus is mainly on team RWBY here, I felt that some characters didn’t get a lot of time to shine. Such as, Jaune, one of my all time favorites. He is present yes, but one of his defining moments was cut really short. Originally, he is the one who comes up with a plan to win the fight we see and that is why he gets assigned to his future team, this felt glossed over, with only a short mention. One of his funniest scenes was also cut, where he runs screaming from a monster.
The characters were a lot of fun. Each character uses their personal aura to help them fight, and these manifest in unique ways. Some are granted speed, some gain super strength. Other than this, they all also have their own style of dressing and fighting and have their customized weapons. These are represented well in the manga and I appreciated where we get a little bit of explanation about auras and powers in the story.
The character’s colors, weapons, clothes and names are also fun games. Each character is a reference to something (mostly fairy tale characters, but not always) and their teams are also picked to fit a common theme. It can be fun to try and guess on your own, but the wikia pages also have all the info on these. The team names fit this as well, the acronyms stand for the team members’ initials but also refer to their theme.
Overall, I found this an enjoyable read after the rocky start. The art is great and the pacing is really good once the action starts. I am surprised how little progress we made in terms of the story, but since there was a lot of lore and plenty of characters that needed introduction I can understand that we only got to see the initiation.
I feel like this is a great read if you feel nostalgic about the early RWBY days or if you want to see if the story is something you could be interested in. As this is an introductory volume, it barely hints on the character developments and the complex and engaging story the show has. I will keep an eye out for the next volume, hopefully it will cover more of RWBY’s plot.
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