This episode starts with the banner being put up for the reopening of the Vale dust store that was robbed and damaged last season. We are introduced to a new character who asks the old man who runs the shop for directions. We find out her name is Emerald and she, along with her partner Mercury, are thieves. They also can barely stand each other’s company. The pickpocket pair walk into the local bookstore, Tuckson’s. They are greeted by the shop owner, a man named Tuckson and begin grilling him on which books he carries, but no interest in buying any of them. Finally Emerald strikes on a book he does not carry, The 3rd Crusade, before revealing their true intentions. It turns out Tuckson is a Faunus (part human part animal) and a member of the White Fang, The anti human group explained in the first season. Tuckson has plans on fleeing town to escape the Fang. Upon questioning Tuckson tells that he knows who they are and why they are there, before sprouting claws from his fingers and going on the offensive. We aren’t shown the results but Emerald and Mercury walk out of the store without much of a care.
So it’s the second semester for our merry band of fighters. We go to the dining hall of Beacon Academy as Team RWBY, The carefree Yang, Faunus Blake, weathy heir Weiss, and team leader the younger Ruby are sitting down to eat. Ruby plunks down a huge binder and tells that classes start tomorrow for the next semester and they should do one fun thing together. As the conversation is going on, Yang is catching food in her mouth being thrown by the hyper Nora of team JNPR at the next table. Nora misses Yang’s mouth and bops her with a red tomato, that gets a green tomato thrown in response (you should know where this is going). Nora flings a cream pie that splats Weiss right in the face. During the conversation we find that at the end of the semester is the large fighting tournament that was mentioned in the first season.
We then run into Sun (a monkey Faunus)who is talking with team member Neptune about how great the people are from this school and to “be cool”. Meanwhile through the windows we see things start to degenerate. The come inside just as everyone flees and the start on an EPIC food fight/martial arts scene between team RWBY and team JNPR. Between the 8 they manage to pretty much destroy the inside of the building and cover each other in food before Ruby ends the fight by using her super speed to create a vortex of food and broken tables that splatters the members of JNPR against the wall. Becon Academy professor Glynda comes in and puts the room back together and when about to scold the group, is held off by Prof. Ozpin, who wants them to enjoy being children while they still can.
We are then sent to Torchwick’s base where Emerald and Mercury arrive. Torchwick doesn’t seem pleased to see them anymore then the pickpockets like each other. They squabble a bit before we are introduced to Cinder, who is the one who has been giving orders. She is not pleased that Mercury and Emerald got their hands dirty but isn’t any more pleased that Torchwick didn’t handle things himself. Torchwick defends his lack of action against Tuckson (who we find out was killed) with showing that he along with the White Fang have collected almost all the Dust in the Kingdom. Cinder tells Roman he’s on a need to know basis for his info, and that he is to pack up all the Dust he’s collected and relocating as they start Phase Two.
This show is fast becoming a favorite of mine. The characters are a little on the cliché side if you a fan of Japanese Animation, but they still show their own personalities and are not grating or obnoxious. We didn’t get to be reintroduced to everyone in depth right off, but they made wonderful use of the 15 minutes length of the episode to get every point across. The new characters are shown their personalities and relationships to those already established very well.
The overall story of the show is a solid one. I’m not sure if it was explained with great detail what these characters are being trained to fight, but they’ve got plenty to defend themselves from it seems. In this episode in particular it told a story more of reintroducing the characters and bringing in the new ones. As awesome it it was, the food fight seems to be without much advancement to the story, but when Ozpin explains they are just being children, you get more of what that scene was trying to get across.
The weak point of the series, at least in the first season, is the animation itself. To me the animation in the first outing was disappointing, not because I wanted to compare it to more professional style animation, but because of the program they used, Poser. I have experience using a much older version of Poser than what was used in the first season. Now, while I do not have a background in animation or was doing anything on this scale (I make still picture style comics) I have some understanding what Poser can do. I was very disappointed visual with the show’s first season. The lack of shading/shadows, the brightness of certain characters, and a few other point made me feel like while these folks put a lot of work into this show, they didn’t use the program to it’s full potential. Between the two season there was some shifts with their animation personnel and it shows. While it’s not the best I think they could make this show look, it is an improvement from the first batch of episodes. This crew is showing they are getting better, the change from only animating important characters (leaving background characters all black) to full animating everyone is a sign of that. They’ve got room to improve, but they have made a big step already.
Overall, this is a wonderful show. The short run times leave little for pointless dilly dallying and get right to the point. The characters are wonderful and the setting in pretty cool. The animation style lacks a little bit but it could be a whole lot worse.