In 2013, anime-fanatic Monty Oum had an dream one time while he was sleeping. Over the past few years, that dream cultivated into what we now know today as a worldwide phenomenon. Even after his death, the show still continues to honor his name and image. Today, RWBY is considered one of the leading cartoons in American within the animation industry that follow anime in a very close way, for several reasons.
Unlike traditional Japanese anime, all of the animation work done in RWBY are computer generated, and most bodily movements are recorded using motion capture. This is because Rooster Teeth’s animation studios are based in America, particularly in the hot state of Texas. In Japan, the term “anime” refers to hand-drawn animation done in Japan, and RWBY doesn’t exactly fit into that category. As such, it might look weird to a typical anime watcher for the reason that they’re not used to the computer generated style of animation. That’s not without saying that anime doesn’t utilize computer graphic animation as well. In most idol singing anime, half of their performances are computer animated. Several notable titles that use CG animation include, Ajin: Demi-Human, Hand Shakers, God Eater, and Knights of Sidonia. Surprisingly it might have been RWBY that inspired most of them to utilize CG in their work.
When you think about voice acting in anime, you immediately think of cartoon characters speaking Japanese, right on the spot. You might consider some of the best voice actors out there like Hiroshi Kamiya, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yuki Kaji, Megumi Han, and several others. They’ve been trained to the very down of their core to bring emotion and relatable elements in their roles. America also shares that same part as well, with Mark Hamill as the famous Joker, his anti-thesis Kevin Conroy as Batman, Tara Strong, Grey Delisle, Troy Baker, and Nolan North. In both America and Japan, both countries have their own repertoire of talent, both good and bad. It’s hard to think of a bad Japanese voice actor from the top of my head, probably because there aren’t really any. Anyone’s good as long as their voice actually fits the role their playing, and that’s a huge problem here in America especially with their practice of dubbing anime into English. People might think that “dubbed” anime is bad and thus they turn themselves away from RWBY. However thanks to the efforts of Money Oum, that problem is entirely eliminated from RWBY. When Monty created the four core members of Team RWBY, he based the characters on the voice actors themselves. Because of this, the voice acting in RWBY is very good and professionally done, which would then attract the attention of the actual professionals like Vic Mignogna, Yuri Lowenthal, and Elizabeth Maxwell who would have supporting roles in the series. Eventually the show would receive high praise and popularity in Japan as well, with the Japanese dub cast consisting of familiar voices that we all love from various traditional anime.
The way that the Japanese watch anime is either when the show airs on TV, or they buy the physical discs to watch on their own personal DVD players. However here in America, online streaming is extremely prevalent. We got Crunchyroll, FunimationNow, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Strike, and a whole bunch of streaming sites that have a license to legally stream the anime here in America. Unlike most American cartoons that normally air on NickToons, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network, RWBY is streamed entirely online. According to the Los Angeles Times, online streaming actually rose by 5% since 2016, and home media sales went down by 18%. That proves that no one is really buying any more DVDs or Blu-Rays anymore, and they’ve all flocked over to Netflix or any other online streaming site. In terms of popularity, we Americans show our love of anime by supporting the industry and that is by subscribing to legitimate streaming sites, not those pirates that you see online all the time. So how exactly do the Japanese show their love for American animation? Simple, just air our stuff onto Japanese TV. In 2015, RWBY’s Japanese dub aired onto Japanese television nationwide, albeit with cut scenes and sheer condensation for appropriate half-hour episodes to be aired on Japanese TV.
It’s quite common for manga and light novels to receive anime adaptations, and anime to receive manga or light novel adaptations. However it’s an extremely rare feat for an American cartoon to receive manga adaptations, let alone an anime, with the sole exception of Marvel Anime. This is a slightly different case however since Marvel is already such a huge company and it collaborating with a major animation studio like Madhouse isn’t surprising. Rooster Teeth is a rather small company, and it having RWBY receiving a manga adaptation is a feat meant to be honored. It’s also pretty amazing considering for RWBY that it also received a video game called Grimm Eclipse. Originally, it was under independent development by a fan until he was hired by Rooster Teeth to officially work on it alongside a team.
When I first began watching RWBY, I was exactly like the majority of the pushovers. I didn’t exactly appreciate the animation styles of the show because it was so different from what I was used to watching. It was in English, and I wasn’t very fond of English voice acting. But after a while of depressed contemplation, I finally had the urge to try the show and stick with it. To this very day, RWBY is among the very top of best cartoons I’ve ever watched, and I honestly regret not joining the fandom earlier.