It was my intention to watch and review the first episode of internet mainstay Rooster Teeth's RWBY for you all. What instead happened is that I watched the first SIX episodes of RWBY (though I still plan on reviewing them for you). I hadn't realized that RWBY had a variable runtime and most episodes don't make it past the ten minute mark, so it's pretty easy to binge on them like so many multicolored holiday candies.
Being an American homage to most-if-not-all things anime but using CG as its medium, RWBY is defined by its inbetween-ness. Is it an animation or a video game? Is it about relationships or fighting? Should we look at it in individual pieces or as one larger whole? In the end it makes for a much more fascinating case study on the future of media in the post-digital world than it does a piece of entertainment.
When RWBY is on, it is ON. Fight scenes are gloriously badass with transforming weapons and swooping cameras, taking full advantage of the computer environments used to construct them. The cel shaded art design really makes characters pop. Special commendation should be paid to the main voice cast and protagonist Ruby (played by Lindsay Tuggey) in particular, as they know how to put the acting in "voice acting." And damn is the soundtrack badass!
But you have to slog through so much blah to get to the good stuff. This show suffers horribly from exposition-itis; symptoms include recounting relationships statuses between all characters, minutes-long monologues about backstory, and explanations from professors about how school works. Characters often talk to each other in egregious video game tutorial speak, too. There's so much fat to trim that if you jumped from episode one to episode five, you'd have no problem picking up on what's happening.
And if you're drawn to RWBY, that's precisely what I recommend you do. It's worth checking out to see what a post-machinima career can get you, but due to a surprising lack of storytelling chops it's only good in small and intermittent doses.
You can watch "Ruby Rose," the first episode of RWBY, here, and then leave a comment below to tell us what YOU think!
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.