If you’re in the mood to catch up, here are some links to the previous parts of this little project.
With the Emerald Forest out of the way and the teams all assembled, we can finally start making some of the meatier changes to the story. Unfortunately, that also means that I’ll be removing many parts of the story that, while lacking in story quality, I found to be quite charming. So this is going to be a little more difficult for me, emotionally speaking.
But if it didn’t stop Thanos, it won’t fucking stop me!
After the Emerald Forest Arc, the original story slowed down considerably to focus on developing the characters. And by develop I mean show us things we already knew and telling us information that we don’t care about. The only real substantial thing that happens is Weiss complaining that she isn’t leader and Ruby complaining about being the leader.
And after these episodes, it’s never brought up again. Ever. In the entire series.
Let’s fix that, shall we?
Our version opens with Ruby snoring comfortably in bed the day after the Emerald Forest test. Yang tries to wake her up for the day, gently rocking her and whispering her name, but her efforts prove to be in vain. Frustrated, Weiss simply screams for her to get up, at which Ruby shoots out of bed, knocking her head on the top bunk above her.
(Oh yeah, I’m completely cutting out that stupid scene where they organize their room. It takes up way too much time and it leads to nothing. Plus… it really wasn’t even that funny.)
Stumbling out of bed, Ruby takes a moment to collect her wits, rushing to get dressed while being chided by her teammates (politely by Blaike, lovingly by Yang, and not so much of either by Weiss). Once she’s dressed and ready to go, she flips through her class schedule, which reads as follows:
8:30 AM: Breakfast
9:30 AM to 12 PM: History LVL 1
12:30 AM to 3 PM: Combat Training LVL 1
3 PM to 3:30 PM: Lunch
3:30 PM to 6 PM: Grimm Biology LVL 1
This may seem like an insignificant change, but it actually holds more weight than you’d think. A big problem in the original was that it was unclear what was actually taught at Beacon. We didn’t know what made it such a revered honors school in the first place. It just was. By adding a schedule built entirely around being a Hunter, we can add a lot to the world building.
For example, note that the only one of the three classes is teaching a subject not related to killing monsters: History. This communicates a few things to the audience: one, other subjects such as math and science have already been taught in prior school years to this one, which makes the world feel more alive. And two, it communicates that Hunters need to know the history of the world they’re dedicating themselves towards protecting. The reasons as to why this is an important subject can make for an interesting lesson in the class that provides context into the world of RWBY as a whole without feeling forced to the audience.
After looking her schedule over and noting that they have about ten minutes until breakfast, Ruby’s body relaxes, and she slumps back onto her bed to rest until it’s time to go. Upon doing so, Weiss immediately chides her for being lazy, to which Yang chides her for being the worst. Blaike steps in before an argument can begin, and she asks Ruby what the plan is.
Confused, Ruby sits up and asks for clarification (which Weiss finds quite upsetting). Blaike explains that the time after their final class is dedicated to whatever the leader of each team decides. As such, it isn’t put on the schedule, as it is universal to all students in each year.
A sudden weight of stress sinks into her stomach. Ruby looks up at all of her teammates, looking at her and waiting for her response. Panicked, she starts to stutter for a response before Yang comes to her rescue, stating that they have the entire day to think about it. Accepting that argument, the team moves out for breakfast, with Ruby staying behind with Yang to ease her racing heart.
Before moving on, Yang takes a moment to talk to Ruby. In this exchange, Ruby confesses that she doesn’t feel fit to be leader, and Yang assures her that she can do it, and that she’d be making her mother proud (important use of the word your and not our). Though she remains unconvinced, Ruby thanks Yang for all her help, and the two follow after Blaike and Weiss.
The next episode (remember, we’re sticking with the Volume 1 pacing as much as possible) starts with a brief scene in the dining hall (in which the RWBY and JNPR members meet up and share a brief and friendly interaction) we cut to their History class, where we meet Doctor whats-his-name (Oobleck, I think?). He explains that History is an incredibly important subject for a Hunter to learn, and asks if anyone in the class is already confident in their knowledge on the history of Remnant.
At which Weiss immediately raises her hand.
Fast forwarding onto the Combat Training class (taught by teacher-lady Goodwich), she quickly explains that this is exactly what it sounds like. She goes on to elaborate, stating that each day will be either a field exercise, sparring with a partner, or some other physical activity to prepare everyone for the straining life of monster hunting. She asks who is confident in both their physical ability and skill.
At which Weiss is the first to raise her hand, and Ruby being the last.
Cutting forward once again to Grimm Biology (taught by Mr. Mustache Man) who explains that knowledge is power, and this is the class where they’ll learn about the different types of Grimm and how to kill them. Much like the other teachers, he asks who is already confident in their knowledge on monsters.
This time, both Weiss and Ruby raise their hands simultaneously.
Unlike the other teachers, however, Mustache-Man asks them to come down and prove their skills, presenting them with a caged Boar Grimm. This is where the original comes back into play; however, in this version, both Ruby and Weiss are teamed up together to fight the monster while Blaike and Yang look on in worry.
A very justified worry.
Moments before the fight begins, Ruby tries to form a strategy with Weiss in which Weiss knocks the creature onto it’s belly using her Dust while she distracts it, but Weiss simply tells her to stay out of her way. Ruby continues to press, and Weiss continues to press back. It’s not until Blaike and Yang yell at them both to focus that they realize the fight has started, and the boar is bearing down on them.
After a short, awkward and fruitless battle (in which Blaike and Yang, the JNPR members, and the background characters all stare on, with the six other characters being uncomfortable and the extras being quite amused) Ruby and Weiss pull it together and slay the creature using Ruby’s original plan. Afterwards, Mr. Mustache scolds them on their lackluster team work but compliments them on getting it done in the end before dismissing the class, and Weiss storms off.
Chasing after her, Ruby confronts Weiss on her stubborn attitude, and Weiss does the same on Ruby’s poor leadership skills. As the argument escalates, Weiss loses her cool, and shouts that she should’ve been the leader and not Ruby before storming off. Hurt very badly by this, Ruby simply sulks away.
The rest goes very closely to the original. Ruby runs into Ozpin and asks why he’s done so much for her, from admitting into the school early and making her the team leader. Ozpin explains that she shows great promise as a Huntress, from her being Summer Rose’s daughter to her exceptional hard-working attitude. After listing all of this, his demeanor changes again, and he once again brings up Ruby’s silver eyes.
Meanwhile, Weiss runs into Pyrha in the courtyard, who is simply relaxing and reading a book (she explains that Jaune decided they’d take the rest of the day off and he’d come up with something more productive tomorrow). When Weiss confides her frustrations with Ruby, Pyrha asks why she’d say something so cruel to her leader. At this point, Weiss confides in her original goal: become the leader of a team and earn the approval of her sister. Pyrha nods in understanding, but tells Weiss that her throwing a temper tantrum about it won’t bring her any closer to her original goal. Instead, she encourages her to try and find another way to earn her sisters approval.
After both of these interactions, Ruby sulks back into the room, where Blaike and Yang are waiting. She apologizes for being gone so long, which Yang simply shrugs off. Blaike, however, is more pressing, asking what happened between her and Weiss. As if on mark, Weiss returns to the room. After a moment of awkward silence, Ruby begins to apologize to Weiss, but Weiss stops her. Reluctantly, Weiss apologizes for her attitude, but states that she expects Ruby to surpass her expectations as a leader in the future.
Awkwardly accepting Weiss’ apology, Ruby promises to try meeting her expectations, and Weiss thanklessly goes to sit. Noticing that today’s conflict seems reasonably resolved (and simply accepting that they’ll be taking baby steps), Blaike asks Ruby what the plan for the rest of the day is, and the episode ends with Ruby asking for a list of everyone’s moves.
Now, I want to make it clear: the conflict is far from over. In the original story, this was the story that marked the end for all Ruby-Weiss conflict of any significant narrative value. Our version is taking that growing relationship much slower; baby steps, if you will.
Y’know. Cause that’s how real life works.
Now it’s tomorrow that I’m super excited for. Because I get to finally fix the Jaundice story arc.
By removing it entirely.