RWBY: Ice Queendom Improves on Original; First 3 Episodes on YouTube

RWBY: Ice Queendom was a long time coming, an anime adaptation of the Rooster Teeth CGI animated series RWBY (pronounced "Ruby", an acronym for its four heroines Ruby, Weiss, Black, and Yang) created by the late Monty Oum. Crunchyroll has released the first three episodes on YouTube. The original story has been turned into a full-on anime and is better for it.

RWBY: Ice Queendom: Improves on Original, First 3 Episodes on YouTube
"RWBY: Ice Queendom" poster art, Crunchyroll

If you've seen the original RWBY, RWBY: Ice Queendom is a surreal experience in relation to the origin. Monty Oum created RWBY after directing and choreographing the elaborate action sequences of Red vs. Blue, the Machinima series that uses the visual assets of the Halo video game to tell a semi-comedic story about warring Spartans that gradually became a mythology-filled saga separate from the games. Red vs. Blue helped put Rooster Teeth on the map, but RWBY was the company's first successful attempt to create an original series or IP as the business departments like to call it.

Here are the first 3 episodes of RWBY: Ice Queendom:

RWBY was a mix of influences that Oum and Rooster Teeth's main fanbase like anime and wuxia-style action. Oum had a particular genius in designing Hong Kong-style wire-based martial arts sequences that used its characters' surreal superpowers and otherwise everyday props into an original brand of CGI animated action that tried to outdo Hong Kong martial arts and epic anime action. However, Oum and his writing team were also learning screenwriting and storytelling as they went along, and the early episodes were often thin on storytelling, concentrating on character moments and very slow reveals in the world-building. The early episodes mainly concentrated on the Harry Potter-esque depiction of teenagers with powers studying at a school in preparation for becoming official superpowered peace officers of some sort in their world. It took at least three seasons and episodes of varying lengths before the fantasy world of the show was more fully revealed.

The original 12-minute pilot for RWBY, which relied on an opening voiceover to provide context to the story, is below:

RWBY: Ice Queendom, scripted by Japanese Science Fiction author and veteran screenwriter Tow Ubukata, retells the story of the original show in a more efficient and precise manner. It preserves the personalities of the characters and the set-up of the world from the original so that longtime fans would recognize them immediately. What it does better is introduce the four heroines, their powers, and their motivations, all within the first ten minutes of the pilot episode. The series also reconfigures the characters' behavior and plot to the tropes and dynamics of anime while the original Rooster Teeth version followed a more American dynamic in its character interactions. It's a roundabout way for the story to find its way to its true aesthetic home which is anime produced by the Japanese that Monty Oum and his collaborators were paying homage to, and to compare both Rooster Teeth and anime versions is an interesting lesson in storytelling dynamics. It's as if RWBY has finally come home.

RWBY: Ice Queendom and the original RWBY (dubbed into Japanese and recut for Japanese broadcast) are both streaming on Crunchyroll.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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