RWBY Character Short: Story Critique

Continuing my friend suggested story weeks, I looked at a character short from the Western Animation RWBY. The show follows prospective monster hunters and huntresses as they train and go to school to learn how to protect their world. The character short for Volume 4, was released as a bridge between the third and fourth seasons, as they were checking back with some of the characters.

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The short, while telling a story, is jam packed with motion capture fight scenes and action, with very little dialogue. The video currently has over 1.2 million views on YouTube, not including anything from the localized company site or from Crunchyroll, a popular anime streaming site.

The short follows our main character, Ruby Rose, as she comes upon a town overrun with monsterous Grimm. These animal-type creatures tore down the town and left it with no occupants. What was interesting to me about the short, besides a personal investment, is looking at storytelling through action scenes. The fight scenes themselves tell a story of growth and development, having a beginning, middle, and end, reaching a climax. There are hundreds of types of storytelling, but contemplating the value of story through action I want to explore more in the future.

For the Critique, I am looking at Project Planning, Originality, and Sense of Audience.

Project Planning.

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An interesting accompanying piece to this short was story development and character design sheets that were given on the website version of the short. I attached the design sheet above, showing off all parts of the 3d model of our main character. In order to animate and render the way that they do, they use a lot of motion capture to make movements as realistic as they can  be and it shows in the final product. With hard work and a dedicated team, they created a fantastic short showing off the fighting engine and their new rendering software.

Originality. I chose this because it’s something near and dear to my heart. Most of the main characters of this show are female, so all of the shorts that they put out end up having female protagonists. They have fantastic designs that are creative and original, how often are you going to find a scythe that is also a sniper rifle? I also really enjoy the attention to details of the animal based monsters, such as the gorilla one that you see in the short. It fights and walks as you would expect a gorilla to.

Sense of Audience. With the over one million views, I would expect that the folks over at Rooster Teeth know what their audience was looking for in a teaser trailer for an upcoming season. They mirrored the very first short of the series in this one, and added a lot of information for fans within this short. It shows off new character designs, a new graphics engine, and a new, darker story.

Overall, I like how well the short conveys a small story of monsters and a huntress. The music is on point and the animation was fluid. The only piece I wanted was more dialogue, but that’s a design and development decision.

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