Rooster Teeth’s hit animated show RWBY has finished its fourth Volume and the fifth is on its way. Ever since the Red trailer first came out following the end of Red vs. Blue Season 10, the series has had a style all its own. Rooster Teeth was kind enough to provide us with a copy of the Blu-Ray for Season 4 now that it has been released. I’ve had a chance to watch Volume 4 as it was coming out, but I have since had an opportunity to rewatch it. So, let’s talk about the Blu-Ray.
So, I have previously written about my thoughts on Volume 4. I had initially felt that the season had interesting moments, but didn’t feel complete. There wasn’t the big buildup and payoff that we saw from the train fight or from the several volumes of the fall of Beacon. To a certain extent, that was always going to happen with this Volume’s set-up. We have four different stories running in parallel, so no single one of them can get as much focus as the larger overarching plots from the first few Volumes. That being said, it’s still a quality season. There are some great moments of world-building particularly relating to Menagerie. The quiet moment of Jaune training under the recording of Pyrrha was a personal favorite of mine. Another was the internal angst Yang initially had regarding the new arm and why she was hesitant to think of that as getting back to “normal”. The splitting of the characters allows for some of these more focused character moments, but at the cost of an overarching plot for the season. Upon rewatch, I think that impression is lessened somewhat because of how the stories do thematically mesh with each other. I still think that the stories felt like they could have used something extra to make them feel more complete, but they’re definitely improved when watched all at once.
I won’t linger too much on the plot and summary of the series itself, since the review for that is already up here. Instead, let’s focus on the Blu-Ray itself. This season saw a significant change in animation and art style from the first three Volumes. Personally, I definitely like it. The animation in the first three seasons what quite enjoyable, but it definitely feels like the animators have a bit more freedom in this style. Faces are much more expressive, which pairs nicely with some of the new things they have the characters do movement and action-wise. Everything from the series looks great on Blu-Ray. I’m not necessarily a huge snob over video quality or compression or things like that. So long as it’s not disruptive, it’s fine with me. The Volume looked great on the Blu-Ray, just like it came out originally, so that’s fine with me!
As for additional parts of the Blu-Ray, we have collections of a few different short pieces, production photos, the World of Remnant series that came out with the season going over background information and other worldbuilding that didn’t fluidly fit into the series, and a few other things. They’re definitely nice to give a sense of the production for the series. There’s also two separate commentary tracks, one from the directors and producers, and one from the more nuts-and-bolts crew behind the animation. I listened entirely to the Director’s track and partially to the crew track. I’ll definitely go back to finish the crew one as well, but time is short. Both were fascinating to listen to for additional information like how some elements were intended for much earlier in the series and which shot in each episode was the appropriately named “F*** You” shot that proved to be frustrating and difficult. These tracks are well worth adding the Blu-Ray to your collection if you’re a fan of RWBY and want to find out how certain things were done.
All in all, RWBY Volume 4 may not have been my favorite volume of the series, but it still adds to the world and characters and lays out some good threads for the future. If you enjoyed the show, definitely add this one to your collection.