It’s finally time to tackle some of the biggest problems of the series. These two episodes are the main reason why I started this project in the first place. So how am I gonna fix it? That…
Is a difficult question. But I’ll give it my best shot.
The final story arc opens in their history class. Here, the students are taught the history of the Faunes War. This explains that the Faunes used to treat Humans as lesser beings, with some even taking human slaves, due to their animal abilities making them stronger. However, when the Semblance was first discovered, the Humans overtook the Faunes in power, sparking a massive war. Now, the roles have been reversed, with the Humans discriminating against the Faunes due to the history between them. While everyone groggily pays a little attention, Blaike is giving her full, undivided attention.
This scene establishes a few things. One: the Faunes do not have Semblance powers. They make up for this difference in power with their animal abilities, such as cat-like agility and greater vision in the dark. Two: Semblance abilities are more powerful than the average Faunes, but we know already that not everyone has one, such as Ruby (or so we think at the moment) and Weiss.
By changing the history between the Humans and Faunes, I aim to make the Faunes related story-line make more sense and work better. In the original, the Faunes were only discriminated against because they were different, and that’s about it. By giving the two races a history of conflict (which the Faunes want to move on from, and the Humans are unable to forgive), we can give the discrimination a little more depth as well as building extra logical depth to the world.
Cutting to much later in the day, the RWBY girls are in town once again, enjoying a bit of R&R after a brutal day of school. Here, they see a ship full of students from another Hunter school arriving at the docks for the Festival (which would be foreshadowed in the background of different shots throughout the season). Here, we introduce a new side character: Son.
Son rushes through the crowds, jumping around using his monkey-like agility. Behind him, we can hear his teammates shouting for him to slow down and relax, but their words fall on deaf ears. Son rushes past team RWBY, where he and Blaike take note of each other, before he vanishes into the city.
Because having him stow away on a random boat when he was gonna partake in an official competition between schools is fucking stupid.
Once he’s gone, Weiss expresses her distaste, wondering why the schools let in such ‘barbaric animals’. Blaike glares at her, about to snap, when Ruby quickly (and desperately) changes the subject, suggesting that they head back to the dorm for the day. While Yang whines that she wants to meet some of the new guys from the boat, both Blaike and Weiss agree with her.
On their way back, they run into Penny, who is darting around town with wide eyes, as if everything around her is new and amazing. Noticing them, she dashes over and introduces herself. Before any of them can do the same, however, she looks them over and states their names, registered Semblance powers, and schools. This, unsurprisingly, creeps the four out, with Ruby being the only one curious enough to ask how she knows all of this. The question clamps Penny up, and she remembers that she shouldn’t, quote, ‘rely so much on that data’.
Because if she’s gonna be a fucking android, the least we can do is foreshadow it.
Penny’s mood completely shifts, going from a bright eyed clueless child to a dour, slumped over and quiet one. She apologizes and sulks away, but she cheers up again when Ruby awkwardly comforts her and, having noticed that she doesn’t know her way around, offers to give her a tour. Before they know it, Ruby is being dragged away by Penny, leaving Weiss, Blaike and Yang to head back to the dorm without her.
Once they get back, Yang realizes that it might have been a bad idea to leave Ruby alone with a stalker-like crazy girl, and Blaike assures her that Ruby will (probably) be fine. Weiss expresses more concern with the crazy Faunes boy than Penny. Yang scolds her, telling her to ease up, but Weiss only keeps going, and Blaike gets more angry by the moment. After Weiss finally steps too far, Blaike snaps, and for the first time, she yells at Weiss and storms away. Shocked, it takes Yang a moment to go after her, and Weiss remains sat at her desk, completely flabbergasted.
The next scene is very similar to the original. Blaike runs into Son, reveals the totally shocking I swear twist that she’s a cat Faunes (except our version, she’d take the ribbon off at the cafe table instead of the middle of the street for no fucking reason), and she explains her story to him. She was a member of the White Fang back in their pacifistic days, but she left when they started becoming more violent, with them now wearing masks and carrying weapons. Her parents, eager to get her away from her own past, did everything they could to get her into Beacon and help her escape. When he asks why she wore the ribbon, she explains that her parents were worried she’d get into more trouble without it.
Blaike thanks Son for listening, and she rises to go back to the dorm. But Son stops her, quickly telling her about an odd shipping container he found at the docks while running around town. He initially wrote it off, but after hearing her describe the White Fang masks, he remembers that he saw someone dressed like that guarding it. Remembering the Dust shop incidents, Blaike decides to go investigate, and Son follows behind to back her up.
Meanwhile, Yang finds an exhausted Ruby and an excited Penny in the city. She explains what happened, and that she can’t find Blaike anywhere. Worried, Ruby tells Penny that she has to go and find Blaike. Before she can go, however, Penny offers to help her out if she’d give her a moment. Both Ruby and Yang are confused, but they eagerly accept her help. Penny spins around really quick, sits still for a moment, then tells them that she’s moving towards the docks. When asked how she knows that, Penny dodges the question and tells them to get a move on, acting as their guide.
The rest goes similarly to the original. Blaike and Son fight Roman and the White Fang at the docks, Ruby, Yang and Penny come to the rescue, and Roman escapes. In the scuffle, Penny disappears, later being seen in the limo being scolded by her ‘father’. After the battle, they return to the dorm and meet up with Weiss.
Here’s where we differ from the original. See, one of the biggest writing flaws of the original was the relationship between Weiss and Blaike. Weiss was raised in a house where the Faunes where considered wild animals, and Blaike is… well, a Faunes. But in the original, Weiss simply stops being racist right away because… friendship. Rushed, poorly written friendship.
Because we all know it’s that easy to get over your own upbringing and become a better person.
In our version of the story, both Ruby and Yang accept Blaike as a Faunes, simply asking why she didn’t trust them enough to tell them. Weiss, on the other hand, has a much harder time of it. She is shocked to see Blaike reveal the truth, and she nearly goes into another rage, but Yang steps between them and firmly tells her to shut up and leave her be. Weiss is clearly frustrated, but she does as she’s told and simply goes to bed without a word.
Baby steps guys. For an arc like this, we’ve got to take baby steps.
The season ends with one last scene of Roman. He looks over the remaining Dust that they’ve secured, and asks a shadowed figure if it’s enough. Cinder emerges into the light, revealing her face for the first time, and smiles, stating that it’s more than enough.
And that’s a wrap! That’s our version of volume one. It’s far from flawless, but I feel it’s a step up from the original.
Look, what I did isn’t impressive. It’s a lot easier to iron out flaws like this than it is in the heat of production. Take these posts, for example. While I do feel my version is a small step up from the original, it still has many flaws in itself. Which is why I plan on putting them all together into one massive ‘Fixing Volume 1’ post, in which I’ll try to iron out those very issues and further refine our version of the story.
And don’t worry. If I decide to do Volume 2, I’ll cut out the middle man and make it all one big post.
Now, we’re not quite done yet. We still have one more thing to fix: the setting. This will include the Semblance system, some of the lore, and a bit of the world’s history.
I hope to see you then.