Aya SuzakiKazuhiko InoueMegumi ToyoguchiMasumi Asano
RWBY: Ice Queendom
Also known as: RWBY: Hyosetsu Teikoku
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2022
Director: Kenjiro Okada, Toshimasa Suzuki
Writer: Tow Ubukata
Actor: Ami Koshimizu, Aya Suzaki, Hiro Shimono, Hiroki Nanami, Kazuhiko Inoue, Kenyuu Horiuchi, Masumi Asano, Megumi Han, Megumi Toyoguchi, Saori Hayami, Shinichiro Miki, Soichi Abe, Soma Saito, Tomoaki Maeno, Yoko Hikasa, Yu Shimamura
Keywords: anime, SF, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=25471
Website category: Anime 2022
Review date: 7 June 2024
Basically, I enjoyed it. The cast's fun, the action's cool and the worldbuilding's good enough. It's set in a modern, high-tech world with mildly sinister megacorporations... but also spooky possession monsters (called Grimm) and an academy to hone students' magic superpowers. Is that fantasy or SF? Both, I suppose. There's also a race of almost-humans called Faunus who suffer prejudice and persecution, so some of them have formed a terrorist organisation called White Fang.
I'm fine with all that. I particularly enjoyed the political angle, with the main characters including an ex-White Fang and a megacorporation heiress who thinks she's above the rest of the universe. They had things to say to each other.
Anyway, I was watching happily enough. Ruby Rose is likeable. Weiss Schnee is insufferable, but there's a human being hiding underneath that attitude. (She's also very funny when embarrassed in ep.12 about having been possessed by a Nightmare.) Blake Belladonna is taciturn and dour, but it's worth listening on the rare occasions when she speaks. Yang is the least complex of the main characters, but she's energetic, likeable and a good big sister for Ruby.
...and then the Nightmare arc started. We'd already seen one Nightmare with Jaune, but that got defeated in ten minutes. With this new one, our heroes just have to pop briefly inside Weiss, right? Nope. At the ep.4 cliffhanger, it's still undefeated. Thus it's still there in ep.5. And ep.6. And episodes 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. That story arc just kept dragging on and on. That's not all bad, admittedly, since the dreamscape story arc has some fun ideas. People turning into Weiss's mental idea of them was funny, e.g. the mentally deficient Sillies who aren't allowed out. I liked the child versions that just wanted to run around and have fun. Our heroes call the possessed version "Negative Weiss", which prompted the amusing comment that "I don't think I've ever seen Positive Weiss".
It's still a seven-episode dream sequence, though. There are occasional real-world inserts, but we're usually stuck in Weiss's dreamscape. That's too long. It's quite well done and in principle fun, but my reaction to ep.11 was "FINALLY defeated the sodding Nightmare".
Ep.12 was then good fun again. I enjoyed seeing the cast making friends and being silly. They have a food fight. Weiss has become likeable and a key member of the team (both for the audience and her teammates), but it's still funny when she's embarrassed or cake-splatted.
The show's origins are unusual. The original RWBY is an American anime-inspired CGI web series that started in 2013 and has 117 episodes so far. (Its creator, Monty Oum, died in 2015, but the show continued.) Here, it's coming full circle and getting an anime adaptation by Studio Shaft.
Would I watch a second season? Probably, yes. Would I recommend this first season? Not really, but in principle I liked it. Just remember that you can skip episodes in the middle. If anyone did a fan edit that boiled down the Nightmare story arc to two episodes, that would be worth watching.