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DVD Review

DVD cover

Volume 1


Starring (voice): Saori Hayami, Yōko Hikasa, Yu Shimamura and Ami Koshimizu
Distributor: Animatsu
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 29 June 2015

Four young friends, Ruby, Blake, Yang and Weiss are part of the RWBY team, who use their special abilities to fight against the encroaching darkness, the Creatures of the Grimm, protecting the world of Remnant...

RWBY: Volume 1 (1 hr, 52 min, 49 sec) is a flash animated show from Rooster Teeth, very heavily based on Japanese anime. This is not like a remake, but a direct copy of a Japanese anime school comedy, like there weren’t enough of those around already. Now you may personally feel that this is the show's greatest strengths - certainly the makers are likely to be steeped in anime to create a show which actually feels like an original anime.

The show centres around Ruby, a fifteen year old girl, who has been accepted into the Beacon Academy, to train as a Huntress. The show follows her acceptance into a group of similar young fighters and their progression towards competence against the Grimm.

The team have done such a good job at recreating a Japanese anime show, you do wonder what the point of it is, after all the world is not exactly short of anime shows. The overall story is not bad and uses many of the Japanese tropes; which usually translates as paper thin plot, but lots of action. As the show is available on the net I also am not sure what the point is of releasing it on DVD. It’s a fair bet that if you don’t watch it free on YouTube, because you don’t own a computer then, likewise you’re not going to be able to read this review.

That’s not to say that the show is a bad watch, depending on your feelings about its particular style of animation. Personally I though it made the show look like anime on a budget.

Like other Rooster Teeth DVDs, where the disc really shines is in the extras. For a start you get two full length commentaries: one director's, one cast, which are a combination of explanation and people having fun. It’s useful for getting behind the thinking of the makers of the show.

The show was originally episodic, so the menu gives you the choice between watching the whole thing or watching individual episodes, of which there are ten, not including the end credits.

RWBY Cosplay (2 min, 35 sec) has a bunch of people dressed up as characters from the show. Behind the Scenes (7 min, 02 sec) discusses how the show came about, including a look at its design. Red Trailer (3 min, 29 sec) is a lengthy trailer for the show, as is White Trailer (3 min, 47 sec), the Black Trailer (5 min, 13 sec) and the Yellow Trailer. What sets the four apart is that they focus on a single individual. Colour is very important in the show and each of the four main characters have not only a distinctive look, but also clothes consisting of mostly one primary colour, hence the trailers.

The last extra is Fan Art (4 min, 41 sec) which has some of the makers of the show going through some fan art, which for the most part is pretty impressive.

I have to admit to being very conflicted about the show. When I first started watching I really didn’t like the animation, but then there is something about it which grows on you. The colours are striking and you certainly wouldn’t mistake this for some other show. The vocal acting is very good and I guess it helps that it’s not a translation of a Japanese script. It’s probably worth checking out as while it adds nothing new to the genre it does have a charm of its own.


Charles Packer