So today I’m doing something differently for “Kick My Ass”, and am stepping outside of my rotation that I’ve established so far. With my recent interview with the wonderful Kara Eberle and Arryn Zech, I figured that now is as good a time as any to talk about the women of RWBY. That’s right, today you get not one, not two, not even three or four but as many as seven awesome, badass women. May your cup runneth over.
Usually when I do one of these articles, I focus less on the physical capabilities of a character and more on their personality and heroic characteristics. But today it’s all about gushing over awesome fighting abilities with a little bit of reflection on their disposition. The reason for this is simple: these characters are not established heroes. In the story, they are students who are still in training, and their story so far only has one season with the second season airing now. In other words, we get to see their potential for greatness rather than acts that happened in the past. So let’s dive in.
RWBY is named after the first initials of the four main characters and is pronounced “ruby” — which is also the name of the first character introduced and arguably the perspective character, Ruby Rose. Ruby is the youngest member of the cast, having been accepted to Beacon Academy two years earlier than the usual student is accepted due to her skill shown in attempting to foil a high profile robbery.
Ruby uses a special scythe/high caliber rifle hybrid known as Crimson Rose which is described in the series as one of the most difficult weapons to master. This along with her ludicrous levels of speed makes her a force to be reckoned with despite her age. Ruby is easily the fastest character in the series so far and her trailer for the series demonstrates this beautifully as she takes apart a horde of werewolves without taking a single hit herself.
The second member of team RWBY is named Weiss Schnee and is the heiress of the Schnee Dust Company. That’s a big deal because Dust is what allows humans in the setting to use magic as well as an energy source to run machinery and weapons.
Weiss is a much more technical fighter than Ruby, and she excels at the use of a special rapier called Myrtenaster. The Myrtenaster contains a revolver filled with different types of Dust set within the hilt that allows Weiss to change her abilities at will. Some of the abilities shown include enhanced strength and speed, enhancing the sharpness of the blade, conjuring elemental attacks, to binding her opponent.
Combine this with a natural ability on her part to create glyphs at any spot she points at which allow for a surface to jump off, or run on and you have a recipe for a confusing and frustrating opponent. Weiss can attack from any angle and — thanks to apparent training in archery — nearly any distance, can change directions on the fly, and her abilities are constantly changing. The one constant is that she will look graceful while kicking ass.
Next up is Blake Belladonna, and she is for all intents and purposes Naruto as a catgirl. Blake uses shadow clones to confuse and distract her opponents as well as to shield herself or hide for a sneak attack.
Her weapon is called Gambol Shroud and it can switch to multiple different forms depending on what Blake needs to do at the time. The sheath is also bladed, allowing Blake to dual-wield two blades when the primary weapon is drawn however she can also sheathe it to create a larger blade for getting past strong armor. Gambol Shroud can also convert into a type of kusari-gama that also like practically every other weapon in the series is also a firearm, in this case allowing Blake to use the recoil from the gun to increase the velocity and force of her weapon.
Yes it’s just as crazy as it sounds and yes it’s just as awesome as it sounds. Along with all this, Blake has a more level head on her shoulders than the other members of her team. Due to events in her past that I will not mention here (watch the show!) she is more familiar with how the world tends to operate and has a realistic view of how things are likely to happen.
The final member of team RWBY is also my favorite, because shotgun gauntlets. No other reason is needed, Yang Xiao Long’s weapon, the Ember Celica a.k.a. shotgun gauntlets, are the most awesome thing ever conceived for fiction. Yeah in real life all you would accomplish is blowing your own hand off — but shut up and stop getting your real life mixed up in my awesome fiction!
Yang is the most physically powerful member of team RWBY and likely ranks rather high in the series as a whole despite being a trainee along with the others. If you couldn’t tell from my description of her weapon, Yang is primarily a fist fighter and likes to get in close to mix it up with her opponents. Easily the toughest character shown in the series so far, she has shown the ability to take hits like nearby exploding missiles and continue on with no ill effects.
She also is able to release fire from her body in increasing amounts as she gets more excited or angry, an ability which she typically uses along with the Ember Celica to enhance her already ridiculous physical capabilities. Make no mistake about her cute girl appearance, Yang Xiao Long is an unstoppable juggernaut the likes of which would make the Hulk proud.
But wait, there’s more! There are three more heroic ladies in this series that we see rather often. First up is Pyrrha Nikos who can best be described as Achilles meets Magneto. Everything from her style of dress to her style of combat screams Greek and just like Achilles she has shown herself to be so good at just about everything that she has become a celebrity of sorts because of it.
Then you have her Semblance, which is the special abilities that I described earlier such as Yang’s fire or Blake’s clones. Pyrrha can control polarity and use it to make metal objects move as she wishes them to. She isn’t as strong or as versatile as Magneto in this ability, but couple it with her sword/spear/rifle and shield combo named Milo and Akouo and its more than enough to take on all but the toughest of opponents single-handedly.
Also on the same team as Pyrrha is Nora Valkyrie. Nora hasn’t demonstrated any special abilities like the other characters yet, but her ability to use her giant hammer/grenade launcher hybrid by the name of Magnhild makes up for it.
Nora is possibly just as physically strong as Yang and is the only character thus far who has managed to take Yang out of a fight for any real length of time. She accomplished that by knocking Yang through a stone roof and high enough in the air that she didn’t come back down until two minutes later. Nora also has a predisposition for making crazy plans and moves in her fighting, all with a smile on her face and laughter in her voice. When faced with a jump across a broken stone bridge that her teammate couldn’t make, she tossed him to the far end of the bridge and then broke the whole thing at the close end to use it as a lever and catapult him across before using the recoil from her grenade launcher to rocket herself alongside him.
Then finally there is Penny, no last name. When she first appears near the end of Season One, Penny is a mystery. She’s very socially awkward and doesn’t seem to notice when she’s confusing people or creeping them out. However when a fight breaks out she quickly shows herself to be the most powerful character shown so far.
Penny’s primary ability is the manipulation of ten swords that she controls in a telekinetic manner through the use of wires. Not only can she use them to set up devastating multiple attacks but she can also use them for high-speed movement in different directions. By pulling the swords around herself in a circular shape she can use them to create a beam cannon capable of taking down large aircraft. Finally she has shown that she possesses the physical strength to literally pull another large aircraft out of the air as she demonstrated by sinking some of her swords into the hull and proceeding to do just that. It’s unsure yet just what Penny is but one can only hope that she stays on the side of the good guys.
There are other tough women in the series. They’re all over the place, honestly, but they tend to be relegated to either supporting character or villain roles. There’s Glynda Goodwitch, one of the teachers at Beacon and one of Ruby’s childhood heroes.
While they haven’t done anything in the series yet to show that they’re badass there are also Coco and Velvet; as students of Beacon which is the premier and graduate level school for training monster hunters they must have something up their sleeves to be able to be there.
On the bad guys’ side there are even more powerful women, with Cinder and her powers over fire; Emerald who is described as a master thief; and Melanie and Miltia who are a pair of identical twins specializing in boxing and kickboxing respectfully.
So yeah, RWBY is definitely a series filled near to bursting with a badass female cast and if you haven’t watched it yet you can catch the entire series for free on either Youtube or at RoosterTeeth. You can also find it on Crunchyroll. New episodes come out every Thursday and they aired episode three of season two just this past week. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go and watch that episode again.