Well damn. That was certainly an introduction to a new volume.
For the sake of being part of a huge fandom, and putting out more stuff on the blog, I gotta write about Volume 4. I have to, there’s so much hype!
But yes. Volume 4 started, and man, it’s glorious. If you haven’t watched it, go watch it. Obviously, whenever these episodes come out, there will be some spoilers!
That Quality Though
First of all, goodness, the animation quality SKYROCKETED. Of course, considering Roosterteeth’s transition to a new animation program, some differences were to be expected, but…man. It felt as if everything got shinier, smoother, more detailed, everything! The new models of the characters look great, but beyond that, I’m personally rather impressed with how they kept the same RWBY style in the new program. Their facial expressions are far more detailed, they look ten times more vibrant, and man, these character designs are AWESOME.
Just in general, it looks like Roosterteeth is showing off just what their new software can do: the backgrounds and liquid particle effects in particular have been immensely improved. For the sake of comparison:
So yes. From an animation standpoint, Volume 4 is looking strong.
New and Old Characters
I really like how they handled the introduction to the whole of Volume 4. Among the first things we see are a whole new host of characters, who all come off as intimidating in some respect. Doctor Watts, Hazel, and oh man, Tyrian, seem like they have great potential as villains. They were all speaking down on Cinder very casually, making me think that these guys, even if Salem disregarded their insults, must have quite some status, to be so comfortable with treating the main villain of the past three seasons so callously.
On that note, we got Salem! In the first five minutes of the volume, no less! I actually think that including her at the beginning was a great move plot-wise, simply because it emphasizes the fact that there will be danger, there will be some overarching plot that Ruby and the remainder of JNPR will have to deal with.
Essentially, the first five minutes of the Volume were GREAT setup, filled with bombshells about Cinder’s crippled status, Salem’s general personality, and the new characters’ dynamic.
With all that in mind, the introduction of team RNJR, or, sorry, JNRR, was pretty great. We’re getting to hear more from Ren, Ruby sounds a bit more mature (but not too much), Jaune is more confident, and Nora is…well. Nora! The fight scene was a rather basic way of introducing us to the main characters, but that was all we really needed, I think. It cemented team RNJR as a working team, and gave us an idea of what their goals were.
The last character portrayed prominently that I’d like to talk about, is the farming kid. The farming kid… who knows, honestly. It came out of nowhere, and depending on what happens in the next episode, I can imagine this particular scene being either way out of place, or slight foreshadowing. My first thought actually, was: “black hair, yellow eyes…a relative of Blake?” But on second thought, nah. Doesn’t sound right. Perhaps related to the Spring Maiden somehow?… We’ll find out.
The Little Details
In terms of actual story and characterization, I’m very much hopeful for the future, given what was shown in this episode. One of my FAVORITE things is that, near the very end, when Jaune, Nora, and Ren are talking among themselves, there’s a shot of Ruby, who looks rather uncomfortable. I LOVE this, because it shows that Ruby potentially misses her old team, it shows that, potentially, we can get some great character development for her!
That being said, however, it’s interesting how the Ren, Nora, and Jaune have reacted to Pyrrha’s passing- at least for this episode. It was great seeing Jaune rework Pyrrha’s helm into his shield, and seeing his new equipment, but I really, really want more elaboration on how he’s dealt with her death. There wasn’t any hint of his, or the team’s, needing to get over Pyrrha, but ya know, that could be good or bad, I think. If Volume 4 decides to address her death in another manner, that’s fine, but I really, really want to know how JNPR reacted to her passing: it seems like such good potential character growth, it’d be a shame if that emotional avenue wasn’t explored more at some point.
Lastly, I haven’t mentioned her yet, but as far as Weiss is concerned, I’m really liking the decision to end the episode with her: it gives a framework for how the rest of the season will go. However, in regards to how Weiss is doing as a character, it’s interesting to note that her ponytail is still to the side, her symbol of defiance is still there. There wasn’t enough on her to really talk about for now, but Weiss radiated a rather melancholy aura, almost resigned, and for now, going into episode 2, that’s definitely enough.
That’s all I have to say about episode 1 of RWBY Volume 4 so far. It’s good so far, a great introductory episode, and I’m totally ready for the new episode next week!