RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 1 Starts Slow But Strong
Welcome to Haven! There are farm boys to your right and bandits to your left. Just pay no attention to the Dai Li in the back in the latest addition to the RWBY web animated series, RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 1.
What is RWBY?
For my readers who have no idea what I am talking about, RWBY (pronounced “Ruby”) is a 3D CGI series from Rooster Teeth Productions. There are five seasons with the fifth premiering this weekend at RoosterTeeth.com. You can also find the show on YouTube, Crunchy Roll, VRV, and occasionally on Netflix.
I cannot review RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 1 without spoiling the previous seasons (called volumes). If you are new to RWBY, I recommend that you bookmark this page and then watch the series. Once finished, you can come back here and finish reading this review.
RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 1 Review
Now, with that out of the way, RWBY Volume 1 Chapter 1, titled Welcome to Haven, starts in style with the classic RWBY cold start. Normally, this would not bother me, but I did first see the episode at the Fathom Events screening. The cold start blended together with the Blake Character Short that proceeded it. This was not a problem with I re-watched Saturday.
Either way, the season begins with Qrow and RNJR walking into Mistral. After discussing the validity of their adventures in the previous volume, they arrive on top of a terrace looking down into the city. Ruby fangirls over the weapons while Qrow explains the culture. Merchants buy everything here. I’m not too thrilled at the use of 2D assets for the crowd scenes, especially since they showed us they can do crowds in Maya with the Blake short. The scene works though.
While they head for Haven Academy, the episode switches to Weiss who is still traveling to Mistral from Atlas. Flying over Lake Matsu, she gets a distress signal, but the pilot refuses to go help. The cargo ship is not equipped for a fight. So, I am okay with this. Given the trailer, Weiss will go help the stranded victims regardless, and this scene helps build up the world.
Back to Haven, we see the travelers walk into an empty school, but Qrow knows something is wrong. This leads the group to a meeting with Leonardo Lionheart, the headmaster of the school. After introductions, they get down to business about the relics, but before that, we have a visit with Blake and her family.
Ghira and Sun find common ground against the Albains, while Blake has a talk with Ilia on a balcony. Good to see Sun developing a relationship with his future father-in-law. As for Blake and Ilia, we get an ominous threat as Ilia demands Blake to leave despite Blake’s defiance.
While at Haven, we get our info dump on the relics, the maidens, and the current state of Remnant. The link between the maidens and the relics is interesting and makes the theory that Team RWBY will end up as the maidens by the end of the series more prevalent. Either way, Qrow and the students need the Spring Maiden now, but they must retrieve her from Raven, Qrow’s sister and Yang’s mother, first. Seems Spring ran off years ago to become a bandit. We also learn that Lionheart is working with Salem as Watts calls as soon as the heroes leave. This was a nice way to give us the overall plot for the volume. RNJR versus Bandits 2017!
Before the episode switches to Yang, we get the Volume 4 end credits teaser. Oscar meets Qrow in a bar. The actors get a Full Metal Alchemist reunion. Then, Qrow gives Oscar Ozpin’s cane. Meanwhile, Yang is at a rest stop for a drink, and to deal with the locals. We get a nice Goldilocks moment. Yang even pinball punches a guy, which must become a meme. Then, Yang asks for directions before leaving. Finally, the pinball guy reveals that he works for Raven and offers Yang an opportunity to meet her. Hopefully, we will get an explanation of the Volume 2 teaser out of this.
Finally, we reach the inevitable Oscar and RNJR meetup before the first episode end credits and the season’s opening song, complete with a drunk Qrow. It goes as well as one can imagine. Drunk Qrow is best Qrow. He steals the scene.
Overall, I liked RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 1. It is good to have the series back after nine months of waiting. The writers seem to have learned from their mistakes from the previous seasons. The actors are fully one with their characters. The animation is on point. The music is as great as ever. There were a few issues here and there, but I am looking forward to Chapter 2 next weekend.
The Triumph, the Volume 5 Opening Theme Song
As it is tradition for the first episode of the season, RWBY Volume 1 Chapter 1 contains the volume’s opening animation at the end. All I can say about the opening song is that it keeps me excited to watch the next episode. It is more rock-heavy than last volume’s opener (Let’s Just Live), but that is to be expected given the change in series tone. Casey Lee Williams did find a deeper voice for Volume 5 though, and Jeff Williams is still a master at the guitar. The Triumph carries a sense of defiance to it. It is the song of an underdog, and I like that. The song also has grown on me as I listened to it repeatedly in preparation for this review.
The accompanying visuals are another story. When I first saw it at the theatrical screening, I thought it was just a continuation of the episode. It literally came out of nowhere. On top of that, the visuals do not match their associated lyrics. The song is great, but the opening could have used some more work. However, I guess it is too late for Rooster Teeth to change it. The opening may grow on me during the remaining 13 episodes. So, we must wait and see.
With that said, RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 1 does include most of the scenes shown in the Volume 5 trailer that was not from the proceeding character shorts. We will get the Salem and White Fang scenes next episode. Until then, you can post your own reviews in the comments below. After that, you can read, my review of Chapter 2, my other reviews, and news I post here semi-regularly.