Cartoons, Daily Rant, RWBY

Day 237: Fixing RWBY Volume 1 Part 1: Episodes 1-2

I haven’t exactly been quiet about my love-hate relationship with RWBY. While I do enjoy the series, I equally enjoy pointing out it’s many flaws and picking it apart piece-by-piece. But today, I’m not gonna tear it down and leave it in pieces. I’m gonna flex my creative muscles and try to make the series better.

Today, I’m gonna take the plot of RWBY Volume 1 and make it better! Perfect? Of course not, nothing is perfect. But I aim to make it better than it was before. How? By ironing out the flawed character writing.

And if you’re thinking, ‘Wow! Mother’s Basement already did this with the Fairy Dance Arc of Sword Art Online! This is eerily similar!’ Yes. Because I just watched that video again and felt like trying my hand at it. So if you want to check out the influence for today’s post, feel free to click the link right here, which you totally should. It’s a solid video.

Now, let’s set a few rules. First, I’ll be using the same story beats the original show did. After all, animation is expensive, even when it’s as rough around the edges as season one is. However, I will be transforming these beats to be better developed and more interesting. Second, I won’t be adding any new characters to fit my changes. I aim to instead make all of the underdeveloped characters running around the first season better.

With those in mind, let’s get started.

In episode one of the original show, we’re introduced to Ruby in a shop listening to the show’s theme song ‘This Will Be the Day’ at full volume in her headphones. When Roman and his gang run in and start robbing the place, Ruby leaps into the fray and fights them off, which establishes Ruby as heroic. She dashes around using her super-speed Semblance, and she only hits a roadblock when a yet unseen Cinder attacks her, and she’s rescued by Ms. Teacher Lady.

Now, there’s only one thing I’ll really change here. If you read my post about how flawed the Semblance system is in RWBY (you can check that out right here if you want), then you can probably guess where I’m going with this. Instead of having super-speed and kicking everyone’s ass, our version of Ruby will rely entirely on her skills, as our version doesn’t have a Semblance.

After this, the first episode mostly goes as it did in the original. Ruby meets Ozpin, who notes her Silver Eyes (which foreshadows her actual Semblance in our version) and, after learning of how she’s always been put down by her peers because of her lack of a Semblance and how she worked hard under the tutelage of her Uncle Qrow to keep up, he offers her a place in Beacon, despite her being too young. Confused but desperate, Ruby accepts, and we cut to the scene where Yang and Ruby catch up on the air ship.

Now, there is one more change we need to make to this scene before we move on. In our version, Ruby tells Ozpin about why she wants so desperately to become a Huntress: to find out the truth on how her mother died. Upon hearing this, Ozpin tries to deflect her away from that, insisting on the story she’s heard her whole life: ‘She was killed on a mission’. However, Ruby doesn’t believe that, and she believes that becoming a Huntress will give her the necessary tools to find the truth.

This will solve the biggest issue with Ruby’s character. In the original, Ruby doesn’t really have any real motivation. She just wants to become a Huntress because helping people is cool and fun! It’s not a very grounded or relatable goal. Now, in our version, she has a goal that remains pertinent throughout the entire story, even after Beacon falls.

Which we’ll get to if we decide to fix the other seasons.

Getting back on track, we spend the rest of the episode with Ruby and Yang. In this final scene, we see Ruby on the brink of a panic attack as she begins to wonder why the hell she chose to leap ahead two years. Looking around, she sees the remaining members of the cast (these being Weiss and Blaike, as well as all the JNPR members) and feels a crippling sense of inadequacy, as everyone else is both older and stronger, only finding a minuscule amount of comfort in Jaune’s nausea (yes, I’m keeping that) and in the sight of new and cool weapons. Yang tries desperately to comfort her, telling her that she earned her place here even more than anyone else did and tells her to put her fear aside and get pumped up, all while expressing great excitement at being able to go to school with her little sister.

This is where I try to fix Yang’s character. While she does still have her original personality, this scene is my attempt to add extra depth to her character. By having her desperately try and fail to comfort her panicking sister establishes two things: one, she’s familiar with Ruby’s anxious personality, and that she’s incapable of comforting her, despite her best efforts. And having her try nonetheless while having her display great excitement at being able to be with her sister establishes her genuine love for her sister.

The next episode starts the same as the original did, except for a few changes. In our version, Yang doesn’t immediately abandon Ruby to go off with her literally colorless friends. Remember: our Yang is well aware that Ruby is terrified and confused, and our version is a much better sister. As the two go off, Ruby stares down at the ground in order to avoid everyone else’s gaze as much as possible. Which brings us to our next change.

In the original, Ruby being pushed forward two years is almost immediately disregarded. The only real use of it as a narrative point is when Weiss yells at Ruby for being a child. Everyone else just treats her the same as everyone else. It’s a huge waste of potential drama.

Which I won’t let go to waste.

In our fixed version, Ruby being pushed forward a few years is a big deal. Everyone else gawks at her in both shock and disdain, with some commenting on how Beacon must not be as great as they thought if they’re letting kids in. Ruby shrinks down further at these comments, while Yang bites back and yells at everyone to fuck off and leave her sister alone. This gives you the sense that Ruby still has to earn her place in the school, and it gives more depth to Yang, as it is an easy way to show off her extreme temper.

Among this crowd is Weiss, who is even more cruel and savage than in the original. While everyone looks down on Ruby because of her youth, Weiss looks down on everyone because of her status as a Schnee. However, unlike the original, she isn’t followed around by family servants carting copious amounts of luggage. Instead, she simply has a large, ornate suitcase, which we’ll use to quietly foreshadow her strained relationship with her family. Everyone else sucks up to her, recognizing her and trying to get in her good graces due to her family’s status.

Another change we’re making is Ruby and Yang’s knowledge on Weiss. In the original, neither know who she is, despite her family being the single richest and most important in the whole entire fucking world. In our edited version, they are fully aware of her. While Ruby awkwardly tries to get away from her, Yang steps up to fight, baring her fangs and telling her to back off of her sister while Ruby desperately tries to get Yang to stand down. This adds more depth to all three of their characters: in the original, Weiss and Yang basically had no relationship with each other aside from ‘We’re teammates’. Here though, she doesn’t just hate one of the sisters; she actively dislikes both of them.

This is where Blaike comes in. She slips in between Weiss and Yang with extreme stealth and speed, foreshadowing her ninja-like skill set. She glowers down at Weiss, telling her to shut up and move along, and displays a calm but firm demeanor with Yang, telling her to calm down and step away. She is short spoken, firm, and unflinching at either Yang’s shouting rage or Weiss’ bratty attitude. At this point, Ms. Teacher-Lady arrives and breaks up the fight before it can begin.

As Weiss storms away, Ruby awkwardly thanks Blaike for her help, while Yang fumes about Weiss. Blaike smiles at Ruby and encourages her, telling her not to let everyone get her down, and she calmly strides away. This establishes many things about our version of Blaike: she is calm, quick, and unafraid, all while being very kind and level-headed. Her short-spoken interactions help establish her quiet nature, and her quickly walking away from the two sisters tells us that, while she is socially capable, she is still very introverted.

Unlike in the original, when she was just ‘edgy’ and ‘book obsessive’.

After Blaike leaves and Yang calms down, Ruby catches her breath in an attempt to slow her heart, and Yang echoes Blaike’s advice to not let anyone else get to her, especially Weiss. With her wits collected, Yang leads the way forward, following behind the crowds, and Ruby follows close behind her sister, the butterflies in her stomach going berserk, and episode two comes to an end.

Now, I’m far from done. Remember: there are sixteen episodes in Volume 1. And I intend to fix the full season. Just not all in this one post. If I did, this would be well over five thousand words long.

Is it perfect? Not really. All I’ve really done is add a little depth to the main four characters and transform their starting relationship with each other. Luckily, these two episodes are mostly just table-setting, and we’ll be able to make more substantial changes in the next few.

But that’s for tomorrow. I hope to see you then!

5 thoughts on “Day 237: Fixing RWBY Volume 1 Part 1: Episodes 1-2”

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