RWBY Retrospective: The Heroes

Once Upon A Badass Time…

Spoiler Warning: Some spoilers for the first two seasons of RWBY and the first half of season three will be discussed. 

Blake:The real world isn’t the same as a fairy tale.
Ruby: “Well… that’s why we’re here. To make it better.”

RWBY “The Shining Beacon” (Season 1, Episode 2)

The world of Remnant is under siege by The Creatures of Grimm. Combat academies train children to become Huntsmen and Huntresses, super soldiers inspired by myth and legends that can fight the Grimm. But unseen enemies plot in the shadows.

RWBY is a web series created by the late Monty Oum and Rooster Teeth. Its popularity has grown over time, allowing the show to branch out into books, video games, and other media. DC Comics has written two crossovers with them. One will be adapted as the two-part Justice League/RWBY: Superheroes & Huntsmen debuting in 2023. So is the show worth the hype? Who are these Huntsmen and Huntresses? Let’s find out.


Dust: A mysterious mineral that can generate energy and imbue weapons with elemental effects. Most technology runs on Dust. It is non-magical.
Aura: A Huntsman’s power source generated by their soul. Aura provides super strength, speed, agility, a force field, and a unique superpower called a Semblance. Too much damage will temporarily shatter an Aura, removing those powers.
Faunus: A subspecies of humans with one animal part (usually ears or a tail) and night vision. They are heavily discriminated against.
The White Fang: A formerly peaceful organization campaigning for Faunus equality. It has become a terrorist group seeking to defend Faunus by any means, though some members seek Faunus supremacy.

RWBY: It’s pronounced ruby, like the gemstone.

Ruby Rose: Red Like Roses

Inspiration: Little Red Riding Hood, Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz)
Played By: Lindsay Jones

Jaune:Is that a scythe?!
Ruby: “It’s also a customizable, high-impact sniper rifle.
Ruby:It’s also a gun.

“The First Step” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Ruby Rose is a fighting prodigy and weapons nerd. She is caught in a robbery and fights off most of the crooks before being saved from their leader by professional Huntress, Glynda Goodwitch. After an interview with Headmaster Ozpin, Ruby is invited to join Beacon Academy two years early. 

Ruby’s anxiety and shyness initially create struggles for her at Beacon. During an entrance exam, she is partnered with her sister and two newcomers to form Team RWBY, with her as the leader.  Ruby slowly comes into her own just as things get really bad in Remnant.

Ruby’s signature weapon is Crescent Rose, a scythe-sniper rifle hybrid. Her Semblance allows her to become a mass of petals, granting super speed, flight, and limited phasing powers. Ruby isn’t aware of everything she can do, and wise characters immediately notice that she has Silver Eyes.

Weiss Schnee: Mirror, Mirror

Inspiration: Snow White
Played By: Kara Eberle (speaking) Casey Lee Williams (Singing)

Weiss: “My father was not the start of our family name, and I refuse to let him be the end of it!”

“Search And Destroy” (Season 2, Episode 9)

Weiss is heiress to the Schnee Dust Corporation, Remnant’s biggest distributor of Dust. She learned from the best teachers what money could buy as long as she obeyed her abusive father. Weiss convinced him to let her become a Huntress, using Beacon to escape her broken home.

Weiss begins as a haughty know-it-all. She knows that the SDC exploits Faunus and wants to redeem it, despite being a priority target of The White Fang. Weiss struggles to open up to the rest of Team RWBY, and eventually comes around.

Weiss wields Myrtenaster, a rapier that channels Dust for elemental attacks. The Schnee family’s Semblance is hereditary, granting the user glyphs that can be enhanced with Dust or used as platforms. They can also summon defeated enemies, although Weiss struggles with that ability.

Blake Belladonna: This Time

Inspiration: Belle (Beauty and The Beast)
Played By: Arryn Zech

Blake:The masks are a symbol. Humanity wanted to make monsters out of us, so we chose to don the faces of monsters.
Sun:Grimm masks… That’s kind of dark.
Blake:So was the guy who started it.
Sun: [sighs] “Always sunshine and rainbows with you…

“Painting The Town…” (Season 2, Episode 4)

Blake Belladonna is a former member of The White Fang. She joined to fight for Faunus equality and was convinced to remain by her boyfriend, Adam Taurus. He abused her, and Blake eventually left when he stopped caring about civilian casualties from their actions.  

Blake joins Beacon to atone for her crimes. She is initially aloof, but also warms to the team. Blake has a strong sense of justice and will not overlook crimes involving The White Fang, often dragging Team RWBY into investigations.

Infiltration is Blake’s forte. She uses a pistol/sword/grappling hook hybrid called Gambol Shroud. Her Semblance creates illusory shadow clones to absorb damage for her. Combine those tools with Blake’s natural abilities as a cat Faunus, and she would be a perfect assassin.

Yang Xiao Long: Armed and Ready

Inspiration: Goldilocks
Played By: Barbara Dunkelman

Yang: “Nice one, sis. You aren’t always going to be able to run away from your problems. Sometimes, you have to stand your ground and fight, no matter what.

“Yang Character Short” (Season 5)

Yang Xiao Long is Ruby’s sister who stepped up to keep the family together when their mother went missing before taking up a boisterous party girl lifestyle. She joined Beacon so she could explore Remnant and fight people.

When not training, Yang searches for clues about why her biological mother Raven abandoned her family. Yang has anger issues and rarely looks before she leaps.

Ember Celica is Yang’s weapon of choice. These gauntlets double as shotguns, letting her punch bullets into foes or use the recoil to maneuver. Yang’s Semblance draws kinetic energy from attacks that hit her, doubles it, and channels it to enhance her strength. Unfortunately, Yang over-relies on her Semblance, which can be overcome by a strong hit.

Jaune Arc: Shine

Inspiration: Jeanne d’Arc
Played by: Miles Luna

Jaune:The name’s Jaune Arc. Short, sweet, rolls off the tongue, the ladies love it.
Ruby:Do they?
Jaune:T-they will. Well, I hope they will.

“The First Step” (Season 1, Episode 3)

Jaune Arc is the secondary protagonist of RWBY and leader of Team JNPR (Juniper). He grew up amid stories of his famous ancestors and swore to become a hero, despite a lack of training. Jaune’s inexperience and cluelessness are used to explain concepts like Aura to the audience.

Jaune is headstrong and has awful luck, but his heart’s in the right place. He’s the weakest member of the cast and compensates with tactical thinking. He often supports allies in fights, taking hits for them while setting them up to win.

Jaune uses his great-grandfather’s sword and shield, Croeca Mors. They’re the only weapon that isn’t Dust-powered or a gun hybrid. He has a large amount of Aura, but takes a long time to discover his Semblance.

Pyrrha Nikos: Forever Fall

Inspiration: Achilles
Played By: Jen Brown

Pyrrha: [unlocking Jaune’s Aura] “For it is in passing that we achieve immortality, through this we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee.”

“The Emerald Forest” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Pyrrha Nikos is JNPR’s second in command. She became a celebrated athlete who won several combat tournaments as a teenager. She partners with Jaune during initiation, balancing out his inexperience and also helps educate the audience.

Despite her reputation, Pyrrha is quiet, mild-mannered, and hates being put on a pedestal. She quickly falls for Jaune, largely because he had never heard of her and treats her like anyone else.

Pyrrha fights with Miló and Akoúo̱. Miló can shift forms between a javelin, sword, and rifle. Akoúo̱ is a shield that can be thrown as a discus. These weapons are good, but her polarity Semblance is even stronger. Combining the skills of Wonder Woman and Magneto, it’s little wonder that Pyrrha is nicknamed “The Invincible Girl” although pride goeth before the fall.

Nora Valkyrie: Be Strong and Hit Stuff

Inspiration: Thor
Played By: Samantha Ireland

Oscar: [wounded] “His Semblance… Hazel can block out pain. That’s how he’s able to inject so much Dust into himself.
Nora:I don’t need him to hurt. I just need him to GO DOWN!

“Downfall” (Season 5, Episode 13)

Nora Valkyrie is RWBY’s comic relief. She was an orphan scrounging for food until her village was destroyed by a Grimm. She and the attack’s other survivor, Ren, grew close and eventually made their way to Beacon.

Nora is loud, direct, and loves fighting. She lacks tact and will jump to violence to help her friends. Jaune’s getting bullied? She’ll find the bully and break his legs! Underneath her exuberance, Nora worries that everyone sees her only as a berserker. She may not be smart, but she’s the team’s most observant member.

When Nora wants to bring the thunder, she breaks out Magnhild. This rocket-powered warhammer can transform into a grenade launcher that shoots heart-shaped explosives. Nora can amp up her already impressive strength by absorbing electricity with her Semblance. Nora isn’t fancy, but sometimes you just needs to be strong and hit stuff.

Lie Ren: Home

Inspiration: Hua Mulan
Played By: Monty Oum (formerly) Neath Oum (currently)

Ren: [Slashing the Grimm that destroyed his village] “For my mother… For my father… For all those that you’ve slain… [decapitates it] For myself!

“No Safe Haven” (Season 4, Episode 12)

Lie Ren is the son of a Huntsman. He grew up sheltered until his village was destroyed. He became Nora’s caretaker, helping her grow from a shy orphan to her exuberant self. Sure, Ren’s constantly exhausted and has to help her out of jams on occasion, but no one doubts that they’re close.

Ren is quiet and stoic, often dispensing wisdom and playing peacemaker. JNPR doesn’t know that he bottles his emotions. This causes problems during those rare moments when Ren is stressed and loses his cool.

Ren rushes into battle with Stormflower, a pair of bladed sub-machine guns. He is also very skilled at manipulating his Aura to enhance martial arts, allowing him to fight Grimm barehanded. Ren’s Semblance grants empathic abilities and the ability to project an emotion-dampening field on others. This makes Ren and his allies nearly invisible to the Grimm, which hunt by sensing negative emotions.

Didya Get All That?

Heavily armed fairy tale heroes.

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