RWBY - The Hindenburg on which Rooster Teeth rests its hopes, dreams and future

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Jewelsmakerguy

Domo Arigato
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The character designs in the first three volumes were great, but the designs in later ones look really boring, too realistic, or downright ugly, as demonstrated in The Judgemental Critter's video regarding the subject.
And that's not even mentioning how bland and plastic-looking everything is after they switched animation software.
I blame a lot of that on the shaders, lighting, and post production they use for the seasons. It makes everything look super soft, and the textures look like a low-budget Wii game whenever they actually bother to use textures. It doesn't help that they barely clean up the motion capture data for the character movements making them come off as super floaty and weightless. And it caries over to the times they actually try to use keyframe animation, like it's mistimed or something.

As someone that absolutely hates the redesigns, I have to agree. Though like you said, I still think the character designs of early seasons were really good, and in fact, they are one of the biggest reasons the franchise has lasted this long as people fell in love with the potential they had.

Volume 4 redesigns kinda worked like the alternate outfit for a character in a fighting game kind of way. I can see Judgemental Critter complaints and she has a point for all the new characters not standing out very well, but the redesigns still made sense for artists experimenting with a variation.

Volume 7 redesigns are just horrible. No question. In particular Blake's and Weiss. The former seems like they just tried to cash in on how well-received her mom's design was, and the later went from an elegant fencer to Fate's Altria ripoff.

Why people praise those is beyond me. Or maybe it's just me? The lack of complaints about them really disappointed me.
The main thing I'll praise the Vol. 7 redesigns for is that they ditched the sausage fingers that persisted into the first three Maya-animated seasons. Otherwise it feels so garish in all the opposite directions the Vol. 4 redesigns felt. And I'm someone who feels like those outfits weren't that bad things considered.
 
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Sayon

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Did I talk about RWBY never having good villains yet? Like, Roman and Neo were fun enough but Roman's dead and Neo's just one of Cinder's thugs now. Cinder herself is a slutty smug gurl with a lousy voice actress (who's a cosplay thot) who's way too pathetic to be taken seriously but is still taken seriously. Salem is just sitting there as a bad Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain (recall the scene where Team HEM reports back to Salem like they were Skeletor's goons). Adam was always more interesting in fanfics than in the show.

Also, the showrunners have no idea how to make "the universe revolves around RWBY" flow well. Hence you're told that other lands also have academies churning out huntsmen but in V7 these other huntsmen are either absent outside of cameos (FNKI) or are incapable (Ace-Ops).
 
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Robert James

Not your average John Smith
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Did I talk about RWBY never having good villains yet? Like, Roman and Neo were fun enough but Roman's dead and Neo's just one of Cinder's thugs now. Cinder herself is a slutty smug gurl with a lousy voice actress (who's a cosplay thot) who's way too pathetic to be taken seriously but is still taken seriously. Salem is just sitting there as a bad Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain (recall the scene where Team HEM reports back to Salem like they were Skeletor's goons). Adam was always more interesting in fanfics than in the show.

Also, the showrunners have no idea how to make "the universe revolves around RWBY" flow well. Hence you're told that other lands also have academies churning out huntsmen but in V7 these other huntsmen are either absent outside of cameos (FNKI) or are incapable (Ace-Ops).
I think the issue is that the villains have wasted potential, Adam could have really worked if they didn't listen to the hypocritical super fans bitching because he abused blake. You had a man that was willing to do anything to prevent more Faunuses from suffering the way he did, who had possibly one of the more traumatic childhoods as his branding was also a way to cripple him. It would have pushed the oppression narrative so well and if they used it to call blake out on her shit it would have been amazing. It would of been a great way to tackle how dark skinned blacks feel about the light skinned or frankly how the same members of an oppressed group feal about those who could pass as the norm. Adam was branded everyone knew he was a faunus and he represented the faunus that couldn't make it in the human world but blake was a princess that grew up in privilege but still claims to be oppressed and to top it off blake passed. Them braking up could have not only been because blake had enough but because Adam to some extent hated her since she had no idea what he went through but she acts like she has it worse. You could of even kept him being abusive but have it be because he was a broken man who only knew how to show his beliefs through pain.

I mean I'm getting a little fanfictiony here but a lot of RWBY's villains fall into the missed potential catagory either because the writters were too lazy or were too focused on providing fan service. I mean that's the entire reason Adam went out like a bitch was because the fandom lost their shit anytime the "abuser" of their precious lesbian cat was ever humanized let alone allowed to succeed.
 

Pixy Misa

Your local evil magical girl.
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Did I talk about RWBY never having good villains yet? Like, Roman and Neo were fun enough but Roman's dead and Neo's just one of Cinder's thugs now. Cinder herself is a slutty smug gurl with a lousy voice actress (who's a cosplay thot) who's way too pathetic to be taken seriously but is still taken seriously. Salem is just sitting there as a bad Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain (recall the scene where Team HEM reports back to Salem like they were Skeletor's goons). Adam was always more interesting in fanfics than in the show.
Roman was and still is, hands down the biggest villain of the show IMO. The reason is that he thematically worked as a perfect foil to Ruby. While Ruby was all about childish idealism, Roman was all about adult cynicism.

Which I thought was actually very clever... until I learned Roman was supposed to be a filler Villain for Cinder so it was more of an accident that happened than any smart writing on their part.

As for why the other villains fail, simply put they don't have anything going on for them regarding realistic motivations. The writers seem to think that power equals a good villain. They couldn't be more wrong.

Take the Joker for example. The DC universe has ridiculous overpowered villains that can eat universes for breakfast, and of all of them, and for all their power, the most effective guy, the one that pushes the heroes to their limit and questions their values ( in AUs he has even succeeded in corrupting the big 3 to be as bad as he is), and the most popular in real life, is a literally just a guy in clown make up.

Salem for all her power and pseudo-philosophical speeches is nothing more than a bitter woman making a millennia-old tantrum.
 
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BroccoliBrain

my corpus callosum is green
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Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the main official artist for RWBY also the outfit designer? I won't bash perfectly good art but lol if they assumed just because she could draw it also meant she could design characters - which is a significantly different skill set.

I mostly agree with that video's sentiment but I'll throw RT a bone and say RWBY never took the fairy tale theme that fair, it's not like Fate where they're 'basically' Little Red Hood or Goldilocks. Jacque Schnee's design is fine, he's not a combat character, he's a businessman. Maybe they could've given him some more bling because he isn't extravagant enough, like blood diamonds from Faunus slaves but it's not like they do anything with that entire plot thread anyway. Since V4 during the time they were all travelling around Bumfuck Nowhere it makes sense for the colours to become muted and the fashion more grungy.

Still, there is something very wrong at the core of these newer characters from V4, Vernal didn't need to be as ugly as she was (fuck that stupid one-leg shorts garter thing that Yang now has), she was a goddamn Maiden and critical to the plot at that point so they should've weighted the cool factor into designs like hers. The same goes for Ilia, gay chameleon terrorist and she gets a dumb ponytail instead of a proper faunus tail and scales(?) on her skin that look like melasma or old scabs. The new designs just aren't cohesive for so many reasons, I could write another five paragraphs on it but fuck it, it's frustrating to look for me as it is for you guys to break down their writing, they're simply not very good at what they do and instead of trying to improve themselves or hire more competent people they just call it a day and cite their insanely dogmatic fanbase as proof they've made it.
 
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Sayon

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Roman was and still is, hands down the biggest villain of the show IMO. The reason is that he thematically worked as a perfect foil to Ruby. While Ruby was all about childish idealism, Roman was all about adult cynicism.

Which I thought was actually very clever... until I learned Roman was supposed to be a filler Villain for Cinder so it was more of an accident that happened than any smart writing on their part.

As for why the other villains fail, simply put they don't have anything going on for them regarding realistic motivations. The writers seem to think that power equals a good villain. They couldn't be more wrong.

Take the Joker for example. The DC universe has ridiculous overpowered villains that can eat universes for breakfast, and of all of them, and for all their power, the most effective guy, the one that pushes the heroes to their limit and questions their values ( in AUs he has even succeeded in corrupting the big 3 to be as bad as he is), and the most popular in real life, is a literally just a guy in clown make up.

Salem for all her power and pseudo-philosophical speeches is nothing more than a bitter woman making a millennia-old tantrum.
Eh, that interpretation of Salem is honestly more interesting than what the showrunners are doing with Salem. You'd need to properly contrast the great power she wields with the pettiness of her (she has such great might, yet in the end all she uses it is to just get revenge on her ex). This Alt-Salem needs to be a big loser who thinks she's a goddess.
 
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Pixy Misa

Your local evil magical girl.
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Eh, that interpretation of Salem is honestly more interesting than what the showrunners are doing with Salem. You'd need to properly contrast the great power she wields with the pettiness of her (she has such great might, yet in the end all she uses it is to just get revenge on her ex). This Alt-Salem needs to be a big loser who thinks she's a goddess.
Well, I got the impression that was the official one considering all started due to the gods refusing to resurrect Ozpin and then she had troubles with her ex, making everything she does basically the fallout of a huge tantrum. That plus all the extra material saying she wants to rule the world. These are her official motivations according to the wiki

Her goals are to find the Maidens and take their powers to obtain the four Relics from the Huntsman Academies and weaken Humanity by snuffing out their hope.

She was a part of the original Humanity, before being cursed with immortality and falling into a Grimm pool. She was married to Ozma before their ideologies tore them apart making them mortal enemies.
The World of RWBY: The Official Companion states that Salem's goal is to possess all four Relics and absorb the powers of the Maidens, in order to crush Ozpin's forces and rule Remnant as its dark queen
Does that, basically making pettiness her sole motivation, make her interesting? Sure. But, does it make her "the ultimate villain material". Nope. It's no different from making Adam just an abusive ex.

I get the idea of making a villain a loser, but there's a simple reason that doesn't work with her. Salem isn't a minor villain like Roman, no, she is supposed to be the ultimate force of evil of the setting.

I am of the opinion that you can't fear a villain that you don't respect. And it's hard to respect Salem because her motivations are nonsensical and cartoonishly evil at best.

Salem is presented as deep and philosophical, hence the reason she even narrates the intro of the very first episode, but her motivations just don't live up to it.

Personally, I think she made a lot more sense when we thought she was some kind of sentient Grimm like the voice of an otherwise mindless hive. Of course, a species that literally only exists to kill humans would look at humanity with contempt. Like in these speeches:

Narrator: But even the most brilliant lights eventually flicker and die. And when they are gone... darkness will return.
Salem: How does it feel, knowing that all of your time and effort has been for nothing? That your guardians have failed you? That everything you've built will be torn down before your very eyes? Your faith in mankind was not misplaced. When banded together, unified by a common enemy, they are a noticeable threat. But divide them, place doubt into their minds, and any semblance of power they once had will wash away.
Salem: A smaller, more honest soul... It's true that a simple spark can ignite hope, breathe fire into the hearts of the weary. The ability to derive strength from hope is undoubtedly mankind's greatest attribute. Which is why I will focus all of my power... to snuff it out.
It does make sense the only sentient Grimm would try to find humanities weaknesses to finally destroy them.

Except that she ended up being just an ancient woman that fell into a pool. She wants to both make humanity suffer and to rule the world... for reasons? Her motives make little sense.
 
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Neurotic Loser

Lurker who needs to Lurk MOAR
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Cinder's biggest problem is that she is suposed to be a smart, manipulative character but she constantly does dumb things (see raven fight). She is suposed to be taken seriously but she constantly talks in a "seductivitly"menancing way, which only Roman took seriously and everyone else is nonchalanf around her. She is suposed to be a dangerous threat but she loses constantly, hell even Neo (who should be at best around Roman's level, if not slightly better) gave her trouble. A fucking jobber tier character gave a general tier character trouble.

The ONLY time she was interesting was when she couldn't speak as she was treated like the jobber she is and she had a great motivation to be stronger which could have led her to be more ruthless. Alas the writers are hacks. Cinder goes back to being a dumb "cunning" confident villian. Her arc in vol. 4 can be ignored as her character doesn't change much from volume 3.
 

Chilson

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Cinder's biggest problem is that she is suposed to be a smart, manipulative character but she constantly does dumb things (see raven fight). She is suposed to be taken seriously but she constantly talks in a "seductivitly"menancing way, which only Roman took seriously and everyone else is nonchalanf around her. She is suposed to be a dangerous threat but she loses constantly, hell even Neo (who should be at best around Roman's level, if not slightly better) gave her trouble. A fucking jobber tier character gave a general tier character trouble.

The ONLY time she was interesting was when she couldn't speak as she was treated like the jobber she is and she had a great motivation to be stronger which could have led her to be more ruthless. Alas the writers are hacks. Cinder goes back to being a dumb "cunning" confident villian. Her arc in vol. 4 can be ignored as her character doesn't change much from volume 3.
The real problem is that no one has an actual goal in the show. What do the bad guys want? to control the world? revenge? utter annihilation? the motives and end goals keep changing, if they are established at all (Like why is mercury even here?). Roman had some kind of game plan. take advantage of a situation to grow in power and wealth. I still don't know why he did it, but he had the sort of cynical selfish personality where I could buy him doing that and he at least had something going for him.

I won't even bother to talk about any of our protagonists because quite literally none of them are proactive in any way and have spent the last 4 seasons meandering around doing fuck all or reacting poorly to their enemies moves. Last season they almost all practically gave up because some fucking genie told them that Salem was immortal. How fucking pathetic are your shows heroes when they could even potentially give up that easily? Which is a shame because in Season 2 we actually do get something where the protagonists actually tell us what they want to do and why. Its a forced and really unsubtle way of doing it, but its at least something.

Ironwood is the only proactive character with a clear goal, motivation and plan. He actively thwarts the villains and has the conviction to get the outcome he wants.
 

Random Internet Person

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Well, I got the impression that was the official one considering all started due to the gods refusing to resurrect Ozpin and then she had troubles with her ex, making everything she does basically the fallout of a huge tantrum. That plus all the extra material saying she wants to rule the world. These are her official motivations according to the wiki





Does that, basically making pettiness her sole motivation, make her interesting? Sure. But, does it make her "the ultimate villain material". Nope. It's no different from making Adam just an abusive ex.

I get the idea of making a villain a loser, but there's a simple reason that doesn't work with her. Salem isn't a minor villain like Roman, no, she is supposed to be the ultimate force of evil of the setting.

I am of the opinion that you can't fear a villain that you don't respect. And it's hard to respect Salem because her motivations are nonsensical and cartoonishly evil at best.

Salem is presented as deep and philosophical, hence the reason she even narrates the intro of the very first episode, but her motivations just don't live up to it.

Personally, I think she made a lot more sense when we thought she was some kind of sentient Grimm like the voice of an otherwise mindless hive. Of course, a species that literally only exists to kill humans would look at humanity with contempt. Like in these speeches:






It does make sense the only sentient Grimm would try to find humanities weaknesses to finally destroy them.

Except that she ended up being just an ancient woman that fell into a pool. She wants to both make humanity suffer and to rule the world... for reasons? Her motives make little sense.
Salem is basically the Madara of RWBY and her villainy is because CRWBY needed something to address the complaints that Ozpin was the real villain.
Cinder's biggest problem is that she is suposed to be a smart, manipulative character but she constantly does dumb things (see raven fight). She is suposed to be taken seriously but she constantly talks in a "seductivitly"menancing way, which only Roman took seriously and everyone else is nonchalanf around her. She is suposed to be a dangerous threat but she loses constantly, hell even Neo (who should be at best around Roman's level, if not slightly better) gave her trouble. A fucking jobber tier character gave a general tier character trouble.

The ONLY time she was interesting was when she couldn't speak as she was treated like the jobber she is and she had a great motivation to be stronger which could have led her to be more ruthless. Alas the writers are hacks. Cinder goes back to being a dumb "cunning" confident villian. Her arc in vol. 4 can be ignored as her character doesn't change much from volume 3.
Cinder is a Looney Tunes antagonist without the comedy to justify her incompetence. The show spent two volumes painting her as an endgame level threat, a true and sensible final boss for the story being told...and then they gave her a Darth Vader/Palpatine relationship with Salem, except neither has really done anything to justify it.

The real problem is that no one has an actual goal in the show. What do the bad guys want? to control the world? revenge? utter annihilation? the motives and end goals keep changing, if they are established at all (Like why is mercury even here?). Roman had some kind of game plan. take advantage of a situation to grow in power and wealth. I still don't know why he did it, but he had the sort of cynical selfish personality where I could buy him doing that and he at least had something going for him.

I won't even bother to talk about any of our protagonists because quite literally none of them are proactive in any way and have spent the last 4 seasons meandering around doing fuck all or reacting poorly to their enemies moves. Last season they almost all practically gave up because some fucking genie told them that Salem was immortal. How fucking pathetic are your shows heroes when they could even potentially give up that easily? Which is a shame because in Season 2 we actually do get something where the protagonists actually tell us what they want to do and why. Its a forced and really unsubtle way of doing it, but its at least something.

Ironwood is the only proactive character with a clear goal, motivation and plan. He actively thwarts the villains and has the conviction to get the outcome he wants.
I’m not going to say that Monty only cared for badass anime girls and fight scenes, but I will say that the first two volumes were condensed enough to make a coherent series, and then Beacon fell, and the whole thing turns into a cross between a cosmic game of chess and a bootleg Final Fantasy game with a bloated RPG party as the main characters.
 

Sayon

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Yeah, see, here's the thing. I'm sure we're supposed to take Salem as RWBY's Sauron who was also a "tragic heroine." We're supposed to see she had this "great fall."

My impression from the flashback was that Salem didn't really fall as such. Perhaps she was supposed to do so, but she never really shows any great position of honor and blunders her way into being a supervillain without ever really questioning her beliefs. I think Salem was supposed to be a honorable, sympathetic woman, who is forced from circumstances into darkness. She's just not. In the same way that Blake is clearly supposed to be the leader the faunus needs who we should admire for her virtue and being a victim of Adam (who's a scary hetero ginger), she's just not.

The best way I can frame Actual Salem is that she was was always this spoiled brat. Salem is all "Me, Me, Me", even when she was "good." This addresses something like her getting her and Ozpin's kids blown up (she never really cared about them as beings). And when she turns villain, she still holds this awe/fear towards Ozpin and a drive to outdo him as a parent (hence her playing the abusive mommy to Cinder) and as a ruler.

I don't think that was the intended interpretation, but I think it works, and I also think that if you gave it to better writers than RWBY's, you can get a lot out of it. You just need to embrace the pathos of Salem: She is, in the end, a pathetic character. They (the showrunners) obviously wants us to have awe and terror at Salem yet pity her, but they fail at both and their attempts are very clumsy. A good writer could play up the juxtaposition between this terrible power the Salem wields and the key pettiness and weakness of her. The thing about Salem is that she is indeed a spoiled bitch, but a spoiled bitch with godlike power, and that's a very dangerous combination.
 

Chilson

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Yeah, see, here's the thing. I'm sure we're supposed to take Salem as RWBY's Sauron who was also a "tragic heroine." We're supposed to see she had this "great fall."

My impression from the flashback was that Salem didn't really fall as such. Perhaps she was supposed to do so, but she never really shows any great position of honor and blunders her way into being a supervillain without ever really questioning her beliefs. I think Salem was supposed to be a honorable, sympathetic woman, who is forced from circumstances into darkness. She's just not. In the same way that Blake is clearly supposed to be the leader the faunus needs who we should admire for her virtue and being a victim of Adam (who's a scary hetero ginger), she's just not.

The best way I can frame Actual Salem is that she was was always this spoiled brat. Salem is all "Me, Me, Me", even when she was "good." This addresses something like her getting her and Ozpin's kids blown up (she never really cared about them as beings). And when she turns villain, she still holds this awe/fear towards Ozpin and a drive to outdo him as a parent (hence her playing the abusive mommy to Cinder) and as a ruler.

I don't think that was the intended interpretation, but I think it works, and I also think that if you gave it to better writers than RWBY's, you can get a lot out of it. You just need to embrace the pathos of Salem: She is, in the end, a pathetic character. They (the showrunners) obviously wants us to have awe and terror at Salem yet pity her, but they fail at both and their attempts are very clumsy. A good writer could play up the juxtaposition between this terrible power the Salem wields and the key pettiness and weakness of her. The thing about Salem is that she is indeed a spoiled bitch, but a spoiled bitch with godlike power, and that's a very dangerous combination.
What the writers intend and the reality we see is often completely opposed to one another.
  • Being able to turn into a bird is supposed to be a fucked up thing in a world with literal shadow demons and "might as well be magic" powers.
  • Magic is also strangely supposed to be "unique" in a world with "might as well be magic" powers.
  • Ruby is supposed to be an inspiring hero, but is a naively stupid secondary character in her own show.
  • Ironwood is supposed to be a tragic villain going down a path of good intentions into hell, but is literally the best character who actually has done nothing wrong.
The list can go on and on and on, but who the hell has that kind of time?
 

Pixy Misa

Your local evil magical girl.
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Yeah, see, here's the thing. I'm sure we're supposed to take Salem as RWBY's Sauron who was also a "tragic heroine." We're supposed to see she had this "great fall."
The best way I can frame Actual Salem is that she was was always this spoiled brat. Salem is all "Me, Me, Me", even when she was "good." This addresses something like her getting her and Ozpin's kids blown up (she never really cared about them as beings). And when she turns villain, she still holds this awe/fear towards Ozpin and a drive to outdo him as a parent (hence her playing the abusive mommy to Cinder) and as a ruler.
Well, in that case, maybe it's just a matter of taste, but I kinda prefer villains that are more of an antithesis to a hero than just people that exist to be hated. I don't mean they can't be "pitied" or "tragic", that's a good idea, but rather that they become one dimensional if they only exist to be hated.

I would respect Salem a lot more if she had a point; if she truly was a devil with a tempting lie or ideal that would explain why her followers are so loyal to her beyond "power" and might even tempt the audience to side with her.

Thanos of the MCU saw himself as saving all life and his followers were loyal to him to their last breath. Ledger's Joker saw society as a joke and that we are all in the end evil people and only the lie of society and the security it brings is what keeps us in check.


As for Salem? Nothing.

Villains like Sauron and Fire lord Ozai worked great, but also notice how they are more like forces of nature in a narrative. Maybe in the Simallarillion, he was fleshed out, but in LOTR he was simply this presence, this floating eye over the heroes, and he was more dangerous for what he could do than what he actually did. Heck, he didn't even speak.

Some of the best villains are usually a twisted reflection of the hero.

I think this is why I think Roman was, accidentally, their best villain. Like I said earlier, He was a counterpoint to Ruby Rose. Both looked at a world in chaos. But, while Ruby wanted to become a fairy tale hero to save it, Roman saw it as an unforgiving world were only those that look for themselves can survive.

Salem has none of that, which wouldn't be so bad if she was a henchwoman, but she is the main villain of the story. And the writers hired Jen Taylor to make her sound deep and smart when she speaks. But there is nothing deep or thought-provoking in what she says ever.

"People like power and people without hope are weak" You don't say, Salem. She just wants to rule/destroy the world, and that's bad.
 
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Random Internet Person

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Well, in that case, maybe it's just a matter of taste, but I kinda prefer villains that are more of an antithesis to a hero than just people that exist to be hated. I don't mean they can't be "pitied" or "tragic", that's a good idea, but rather that they become one dimensional if they only exist to be hated.

I would respect Salem a lot more if she had a point; if she truly was a devil with a tempting lie or ideal that would explain why her followers are so loyal to her beyond "power" and might even tempt the audience to side with her.

Thanos of the MCU saw himself as saving all life and his followers were loyal to him to their last breath. Ledger's Joker saw society as a joke and that we are all in the end evil people and only the lie of society and the security it brings is what keeps us in check.


As for Salem? Nothing.

Villains like Sauron and Fire lord Ozai worked great, but also notice how they are more like forces of nature in a narrative. Maybe in the Simallarillion, he was fleshed out, but in LOTR he was simply this presence, this floating eye over the heroes, and he more dangerous for what he could do than what he actually did. Heck, he didn't even speak.

Some of the best villains are usually a twisted reflection of the hero.

I think this is why I think Roman was, accidentally, their best villain. Like I said earlier, He was a counterpoint to Ruby Rose. Both looked at a world in chaos. But, while Ruby wanted to become a fairy tale hero to save it, Roman saw it as an unforgiving world were only those that look for themselves can survive.

Salem has none of that, which wouldn't be so bad if she was a henchwoman, but she is the main villain of the story. And the writers hired Jen Taylor to make her sound deep and smart when she speaks. But there is nothing deep or thought-provoking in what she says ever.

"People like power and people without hope are weak" You don't say. She just wants to rule/destroy the world, and that's bad.
My thing about Salem is that she’s been painted as a Madara type, so OP that there’s really no satisfying way to write a victory over her, along with 1. The notion of why she hasn’t succeeded with all her power and 2. She really hasn’t done anything to earn a level of dread from characters like Raven and Ozpin. Her actions seem like an example of the “villain sits in lair and relies on minions for everything” cliche, and she’s only getting up and riding in on a giant whale because her minions (who really haven’t been given much reason to follow her) screwed the pooch.

Also, if the V6 commentary is to be believed and Salem’s backstory is one of the first things Monty, Miles, and Kerry came up with when developing RWBY, then why does it still come across as something thrown together in the aftermath of accusations of Ozpin being accused of being “the real villain”? She just seems like she’s the epitome of this show turning from a little web show to a bootleg Final Fantasy game.

As for Roman, he was small scale enough to be a recurring villain. And he was part of that “little web show” feel that the show had that had Cinder being painted as the final boss before the Salem reveal. And Neo in universe is basically just muscle for whoever she’s paired with (first Roman, then Cinder) and is the show’s waifu bait out of universe. Honestly, the show’s villains have been it’s weakest point for a long time.
 

Sayon

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What the writers intend and the reality we see is often completely opposed to one another.
  • Being able to turn into a bird is supposed to be a fucked up thing in a world with literal shadow demons and "might as well be magic" powers.
  • Magic is also strangely supposed to be "unique" in a world with "might as well be magic" powers.
  • Ruby is supposed to be an inspiring hero, but is a naively stupid secondary character in her own show.
  • Ironwood is supposed to be a tragic villain going down a path of good intentions into hell, but is literally the best character who actually has done nothing wrong.
The list can go on and on and on, but who the hell has that kind of time?
Don't forget Weiss being a necromancer. And really, the wall between magic and Semblances is poorly done since:

A. They made Semblances too much of a kitchen sink situation where the users have whatever powers the showrunners thought wuz kewl or do whatever they needed for the plot. How is something like Qrow or Robyn's Semblances not magic?
B. What we see of magic from the Maiden isn't different enough from Semblances.

I already posted about this but they would have done better if they had the Maidens and Relics be one. Give a Maiden something more abstract.
 
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Polyboros2

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Well, I got the impression that was the official one considering all started due to the gods refusing to resurrect Ozpin and then she had troubles with her ex, making everything she does basically the fallout of a huge tantrum. That plus all the extra material saying she wants to rule the world. These are her official motivations according to the wiki





Does that, basically making pettiness her sole motivation, make her interesting? Sure. But, does it make her "the ultimate villain material". Nope. It's no different from making Adam just an abusive ex.

I get the idea of making a villain a loser, but there's a simple reason that doesn't work with her. Salem isn't a minor villain like Roman, no, she is supposed to be the ultimate force of evil of the setting.

I am of the opinion that you can't fear a villain that you don't respect. And it's hard to respect Salem because her motivations are nonsensical and cartoonishly evil at best.

Salem is presented as deep and philosophical, hence the reason she even narrates the intro of the very first episode, but her motivations just don't live up to it.

Personally, I think she made a lot more sense when we thought she was some kind of sentient Grimm like the voice of an otherwise mindless hive. Of course, a species that literally only exists to kill humans would look at humanity with contempt. Like in these speeches:






It does make sense the only sentient Grimm would try to find humanities weaknesses to finally destroy them.

Except that she ended up being just an ancient woman that fell into a pool. She wants to both make humanity suffer and to rule the world... for reasons? Her motives make little sense.
-_-

But isn't the whole thing that if the four relics are assembled the Brother Gods will return and judge the planet, and if they aren't living in harmony they'll destroy it?

Salem's ignorant of that? Her motivation isn't that she hates her immortality and the people that fail to live together peacefully, so fuck it lets makes sure everyone is infighting and summon the end times so I can die with everyone else.
 

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But isn't the whole thing that if the four relics are assembled the Brother Gods will return and judge the planet, and if they aren't living in harmony they'll destroy it?
Well you see, that's the biggest problem with Salem's motivations. The writers gave her two completely incompatible and contradictory ones because, As @RandomInternetPerson said, they only have this vague idea that she is supposed to be this ridiculous overpowered villain.

She wants both to:

a) Destroy mankind
b) Rule Mankind

But as you can see, you can't have both. It's nonesensical

A) The show telling us she wants to Destroy mankind:


The Creatures of Grimm... have a master named Salem. She can't be stopped, she can't be reasoned with and she will not rest until Humanity crumbles at her feet.
Raven, talking about Salem in "Known by its Song"
What happened at Beacon shows that Salem doesn't care if you're standing against her or not. She'll kill anybody, and that scares me most of all. --Ruby ”
And like you pointed out, the fact that she is collecting these relics while making sure humanity is divided when the gods return also points at a doomsday scenario:

She's trying to divide us - Humanity - and so far, she's done a pretty damn good job. ”—Qrow's view on Salem —Qrow's view on Salem

B) Evidence of her just wanting to rule the world:

Are you surprised? This world is quite literally godless. These Humans have no one to guide them. Perhaps that's all they need.---Salem
We could become the gods of this world. Our powers surpass all others. Our souls transcend death. We can mold these lands into whatever we want, what you want, create the paradise that the old gods could not.--Salem
...So, which one is it?

She did say she wanted to replace humanity, so maybe that's what she means, but still, gathering the relics is incompatible with that goal, because, again that would mean the end of her life and of any human on the planet.

And if you take the interpretation that Salem isn't aware of this for some reason and just wants the relics to rule the world... then why doesn't she just take over with her army of Grimm in a zerg rush? That doesn't make sense either. Mankind can barely keep up; she is so overpowered she could just go an takeover the world.
 
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