RWBY is an anime-style web series created by the late Monty Oum for Rooster Teeth in 2013. After almost seven years since the first time it aired, and with the 6th volume of the series left fans with huge anticipations of what to come, the wait for volume 7 was really worth it. They manage to do things differently and surpass the previous volume.

RWBY Volume 7 takes place in the Kingdom of Atlas, located in the northern area of Solitas. In that place, political tension is rising because of General Ironwood‘s embargo policy. Immediately after Team RWBY (Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang), Team JNR (Jaune, Nora, and Ren), Oscar, Qrow, and Maria arrives at Solitas, the group is contacted by Atlesian Fleet. They have to surrender themselves because they are boarding on a stolen Atlesian airship after the events of volume 6. As they abandon the ship, they make their way to the city of Mantle below the floating city of Atlas. From there, the journey of our heroes in the Kingdom of Atlas begins as they strive to navigate between protecting the city and overcoming the political issues.

Kingdom of Atlas (© Rooster Teeth)

In RTX 2019, the team that work on RWBY (CRWBY) stated that they would have a different approach to writing and directing this volume by having different people working on different episodes. In the previous format, all episodes are directed by one person and written by a few same people. This new approach proves to be a great decision as it managed to surpass the previous ones in writing and direction.

This volume successfully integrates the identity of RWBY that has been introduced in previous six volumes and packs it with many clever twists. It has adventure, action, comedy, and a more serious tone of deep character development and story progression. In a very small duration of 13 episodes with less than 20 minutes runtime for each episode, RWBY Volume 7 manages to make the episodes feel like a good long time with their great pacing and storytelling. Trust and fear are the major themes that run across this volume. Those themes are discussed in every part of the plot point while the writing manages to make those two themes linger in one plot point to another.

General Ironwood’s embargo caused some trust issues within Atlas and its Council (© Rooster Teeth)

The twists added to each plot points also proven to be very clever and very surprising on their own. The elements of distrust and fear over someone else covering the true intentions and motivations of the characters makes a huge gap of possibilities that may be caused by one’s action. Yet, the writers choose the most unique ones and make a great twist and turn in the progression of the story.

Volume 7 introduces a whole roster of new characters and does greatly on developing most of them in only 13 episodes. At the same time, they also have to continue the character development of previous recurring characters. In this volume, they introduce the special operatives who work directly under General Ironwood, the Ace-Ops, and a running councilwoman candidate from Mantle, Robyn Hill. It is easy to feel attached to the new characters because of their great character development. Their presence greatly impacts the main heroes’ actions, which flesh those characters even more. By developing the new characters, they also simultaneously develop the old characters by showing moments that further cements the relationships between the characters.

Ace-Ops, the New Characters in RWBY Volume 7 (© Rooster Teeth)

All of those story and character developments would not be possible if not for the outstanding voice acting that the casts give. The casts successfully convey various emotions in scenes from happiness to depression. They do not shy away from cracking their voices to stay in character for a scene. Not just that, Jason Liebrecht, the new voice for Qrow (replacing Vic Mignogna), delivers an excellent job on continuing Qrow’s character, adding his flavour to the voice and makes it like his own.

The animation work of this volume should also be discussed as it shows great development from previous volumes, mainly in the cinematography aspect. They utilize their advantage of using 3D animation to make fights tenser and keep audience on the edge of their seat as the fights roll on. Not just that, I found the usage of 2D animation for many visual effects to be well done and also unique as I am very much used to 3D animation for the visual effects of 2D animated series and I feel this integration as the reverse from what I already used to.

Yang’s Fiery Semblance effect mostly animated in 2D animation (© Rooster Teeth)

In terms of soundtrack music, Jeff Williams and Alex Abraham continue their excellent work on making RWBY soundtracks with their rocking pieces of music. This time, the team also makes this volume’s music a little different by adding more vocalists (Dawn M. Bennett, Santi C, Adrienne Cowan, Caleb Hayles, and Erin Reilly) to the soundtracks, joining the previous series’ main vocalist Casey Lee Williams. This addition certainly adds more flavour to the already great pieces of music and elevates them into another different level.

I would say that this particular volume of RWBY feels the most “like anime” . From the start, the intro sequence of this volume has many anime opening references mostly from the use of anime opening clichés. They also brought back the comical reactions that are usually present in anime and it breathes something fresh after the highly intense atmosphere of the few last volumes. But the one that really gave away the anime or manga vibes is the design of Atlas Yukito Kishiro’s manga , Battle Angel Alita. The poor and struggling situation in Mantle, while looking up to the greatness and, sometimes, the arrogance of Atlas, also gives away the vibe even further.

Overall, RWBY Volume 7 has been a great ride with compelling storytelling and character development. I could bravely say that this volume has been the best RWBY volume to date. The new structure of episode director rather than volume director proved to be a huge advantage for CRWBY. RWBY Volume 7 successfully delivers story writing, character development, and animation in one package that has been waited by fans who demanded more creativity while sticking to the already huge lore of Remnant. In the end, I really could not wait for what CRWBY have in their mind for the next volume. I am looking forward to far greater things to come for RWBY and Rooster Teeth in the loving memories of the late Monty Oum.

The Indonesian Anime Times | Review by Keinda D. Adilia

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