Let me preface this by saying I know nothing about RWBY. I know it’s a show, and I know there’s lots of cosplay of the characters, and that’s it. Given how much I love reading manga, I jumped at the opportunity to read the manga adaption of RWBY. Check out my thoughts on volume one below!
Volume One of RWBY opens with a robbery in progress. The head thief, a dastardly fellow named Roman Torchwick, is ready to rob some dust when he is suddenly stopped by a girl with a scythe. Enter Ruby, an ordinary student with extraordinary abilities.
Ruby attends Beacon Academy, one of only four huntsmen schools in the world. Beacon Academy specializes in training huntsmen to fight one of the most dangerous creatures: The Grimm. Together with her sister, Yang Xiao Long, the two prepare for their first day.
As it happens, on her first day there she accidentally bumps into Weiss Schnee, heiress of the Schnee Dust Company. The two totally become best friends right away…just kidding, they hate each other. Their argument is interrupted by Blake Belladonna, who scolds Weiss for being arrogant.
That’s where her luck ends though as she soon finds herself rooming with Weiss. At least Blake and Yang are there, but it’s not a great way to end your first day.
Things don’t get any easier from there. As part of first year initiation, she and her fellow classmates must obtain a relic from a forest filled with Grimm. Not only that, but whoever you make eye contact with upon entering the forest is your partner for the next years!
Ruby’s luck must have run out upon admission to Beacon Academy. Upon landing in the forest Ruby immediately locks eyes with Weiss. The two try to play off that they didn’t see the other, but Weiss is suddenly ambushed by Grimm. Weiss and Ruby begrudgingly team up and take out the Grimm.
After discovering they make quite a good pairing, Weiss and Ruby manage to meet up with Blake, Yang, and other classmates. Suddenly, they find they are flanked by two Grimm, one being a giant raven-like creature called a Nevermore.
Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang decide to go after the Nevermore, while their classmates take on the other Grimm. With their combined forces, the quartet manage to defeat the Nevermore. A solid victory for our would-be huntresses!
Back at the academy, the students turn in their relics and find out who they’ll be teaming up with. Ruby and Weiss are happy to find that Blake and Yang join their team. Surprisingly, Ruby is named team leader!
Above the festivities, Roman lurks in the shadows, eagerly planning his next move.
I actually find myself a fan of RWBY. As I mentioned, I have never seen the show and know nothing about the series. This is due in part to how much I dislike the animation. The way the characters are drawn makes their features look washed out. It detracts from the art by making it harder to distinguish anything. Thankfully, this problem is not found in the manga.
In fact, I really like how soft the characters look. It feels more whimsical that way, which is perfect for this universe. Speaking of the universe, I really like all of the literature references. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite writers, so seeing giant ravens that are called Nevermore was awesome.
Naming the big baddies Grimm is a nice nod to classic fairytales, but feels a little clichè. If all the Grimm were modeled after fairytale creatures I think it would work a lot better. When I think of Grimm, I think of wolves and bears, not scorpions.
All in all, RWBY Volume One is a neat manga with some great nods at classic literature. If the next volume means I get more girl power and Nevermore, then I can totally overlook the scorpions.