RWBY, Rooster Teeth’s hit web series which follows four huntresses-in-training, Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang, adventuring and protecting the world of Remnant from shadowy creatures known as Grimm, has been the subject of a certain debate since its creation. Namely, is RWBY an anime or not?
People usually point to the fact that RWBY is an American made series to argue that it’s not anime but we say otherwise. This action packed series is indeed an anime and we have the proof. So, here’s 10 reasons why RWBY is an anime.
10 The Art Style
One of the main things anime is known for is the art style. Anime tends to be very stylish, filled with characters with exaggerated features, like big eyes and wild hair, and wearing unique and usually crazy outfits. RWBY has this anime style in spades.
Sure, RWBY is a 3-D animated series while anime is typically 2-D, but the show’s art style is distinctively anime. The characters have big anime eyes that can be animated in over-exaggerated expression, something that can be found in just about every anime.
9 The Fight Scenes
If there’s one thing anime is known for, it’s the spectacular, over-the-top fight scenes. Impossible acrobatics, soaring through the air, and God-like strength are all cornerstones of action-oriented anime, and RWBY is no different. RWBY‘s fight scenes definitely don’t disappoint.
The characters are each armed with deadly weapons like scythes, swords, or hammers, and most of those weapons can transform into guns. On top of that, the characters have unique abilities called a Semblance. The combination makes for clever, over-the-top combat that stands toe-to-toe with just about any action anime.
8 It’s on Crunchyroll
Crunchyroll is a one-stop shop for anime fans. It’s got almost 1000 anime series to choose from, a few hundred Asian dramas, and dozens of manga. So, it should come as no surprise that RWBY is among the anime available streaming on the site.
The streaming site announced it would simulcast RWBY only a month after the series premiered on Rooster Teeth’s site. Volumes 1-5 of RWBY are currently available to stream on Crunchyroll, which begs the question: why would RWBY be streaming on an anime site if it wasn’t an anime?
7 It’s Broadcast in Japan
In addition to being on Crunchyroll, RWBY has the distinct honor of being the first American made anime exported to Japan. In partnership with Warner Bros. Japan, the series has been dubbed in Japanese and broadcast by Tokyo MX.
The series was marketed in Japan as an anime and has since become widely popular among anime fans. If the series is viewed as an anime in the birthplace of anime, and it’s popular among anime fans there, we don’t see why there’s still any argument about whether or not RWBY is an anime.
6 The Power System
Anime are renowned for their power systems. All the most well-known anime have distinctive power systems that give their characters strength. Hunter X Hunter has Nen, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has Stands, Naruto has chakra, and RWBY has Semblance.
Semblance is one’s innate power manifested as an ability unique to each person. A Semblance is a representation of a person’s attribute and a tangible manifestation of a person’s Aura. The world of Remnant has rules and limitations regarding Semblance usage, such as the inability to manifest one’s Semblance when Aura is depleted, that stop it from being too overpowered.
5 The Manga
Anime series are usually adapted from long-running manga but RWBY happened to do the opposite. RWBY‘s manga is adapted from the anime but the point remains. RWBY is indeed an anime that is accompanied by an official Japanese manga written by mangaka Shirow Miwa.
The first RWBY manga was published in monthly Ultra Jump magazine from November 2015 to February 2017 and explored original storylines. Then there’s also the Official Manga Anthology, put together by several manga artists and consisting of side stories during the plot of the series. Finally, there’s a more recent manga adaptation from manga artist Bunta Kinami published in weekly Shonen Jump.
4 The Memorable Villains
Every good action-oriented anime needs powerful and memorable villains, and villains is something RWBY excels in. The series has a ton of villains that cross paths with Team RWBY, each with their own unique powers and personalities that make them never feel like boring, generic villains.
Every villain in the show, no matter how minor, has their own set of goals which makes them feel like fully fleshed characters, and makes the story more compelling as a result. All the villains get a chance to shine, and many of them are connected to the protagonists in one way or another, like Adam Taurus’s history with Blake, or Salem’s history with Ozpin.
3 The Dead Parent
It’s a common trope in anime that the main protagonist has a parent who has either died before the start of the series or dies early in the series. In RWBY, it’s the former. Series protagonist Ruby’s mother, Summer Rose, has already died at the start of the series.
Summer Rose was a skilled Huntress and the leader of Team STRQ, which consisted of herself, Ruby and Yang’s father Taiyang Xiao Long, and Raven and Qrow Branwen. Team STRQ is hinted to have had a similar reputation and record of accomplishments as Team RWBY. It has not yet been revealed how Summer died but she’s believed to have died during a mission.
2 The Tournament Arc
Tournament arcs are one of the most common plot arcs in action-oriented anime and usually used to give character development to the lesser known characters. Hunter X Hunter has the Heaven’s Arena, My Hero Academia has the Sports Festival, Naruto has the Chunin Exams, and RWBY has the Vytal Festival.
The Vytal Festival is a combat tournament held every two years in which the students of the various Huntsmen academies compete against each other. The tournament is a reminder to the students to always strive for excellence. Team RWBY participated in the 40th Vytal Festival, which was held in the kingdom of Vale.
1 Because Monty Oum Says So
What more reason do you need to classify RWBY as an anime than the creator of the show explicitly saying so? Monty Oum, who created the web series in 2013, has since sadly passed away but he has gone on record saying RWBY is an anime.
The quote comes a feature on Crunchyroll, where Monty describes the idea that only one country being allowed to produce a certain art form, in this case with Japan being the only country allowed to make anime, is a narrow way of viewing art, and he has a point. RWBY might not look like a traditional anime, but all the ingredients of an anime are there.
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