The sixth volume of RWBY has finally arrived, and certainly hits the ground running with the season premiere yet. Volume 5 was a bit of a clunky, choppy ride, mostly due to apparent time constraints. It looks like the CRWBY have worked out their problems, delivering a fantastic opening episode for their staple web series.
Disclaimer: This review contains full spoilers for this episode of RWBY.
“Argus Limited” kicks off with an exhilarating tease of an action sequence on a moving train, setting the bar for this season. Last volume saw the reunion of Team RWBY, and now they are off on the next leg of their adventure. But, the first step of their new journey isn’t without a few problems.
Before we get to the main plot, the episode takes a detour to catch up with Blake’s psycho ex-boyfriend Adam Taurus. Adam received his own character short a couple of months ago, though little came out of it. Now, after his humiliating defeat at the end of Volume 5, Adam goes to his throne room to lick his wounds, only to be met with resistance. Turns out abandoning his fellow Faunus doesn’t strike Adam as a good leader. Not that he cares, since he is so far gone that he slaughters his fellow Faunus. Well, now there’s no redeeming this character.
There has always been a bit of a problem with this character. Six volumes in now, and we literally know nothing about him beyond being a total douchenozzle. The character short would’ve been an excellent opportunity to reveal some backstory. Adam Taurus is the Joffrey of RWBY, and that’s really not a good thing.
Two weeks have past since the finale of Volume 5, as narrated by Uncle Qrow. Actually, he’s written a letter to General Ironwood, but the exposition is obvious. Haven Academy was officially saved by the Faunus of Menagerie, and the treacherous Professor Lionheart died as a victim rather than as a conspirator. Political tactics and all that. Team RWBY, Team JNPR, Qrow, and Oscar Pine are on their way to catch a train, the Argus Limited, to reach the coastal city of, well, Argus. Everyone is pretty upbeat about going to Argus, save Weiss, who is rather annoyed she has to return to Atlas, which she worked so hard to escape from. Weiss also appears to be the only character savvy enough to wear warm clothes for Atlas, sporting tights and a red scarf.
The train will be escorted by two Huntsmen, the goofy but inept Dee and Dudley, who are bad at bragging and flirting with girls half their age. Luckily, Qrow steps in to shoo them away. The gang are waiting up on Blake to say her goodbyes. Blake is saying sayonara to her Faunus friends, who have earned the respect of Mistral after their heroics. Ilia and Sun are sadly not coming along for the ride, but I suppose Blake needs some time with her teammates.
Sun declares he is going to Vacuo, and he is taking his own teammates with him. Yes, Neptune is spontaneously back! Where has he been all this time? Around, I guess. Being proactive enough, Sun is off to Shade Academy before the badguys decide to start messing around with it. The lovely dynamic between Blake and Sun blooms here, having helped Blake overcome her own self-loathing and become a better person. Hopefully we’ll be seeing monkey boy again real soon, with Neptune in tow.
The gang are off on the train, travelling through some lovely wintery mountains. The show’s animators have come along way since the days of silhouetted background extras. Team RWBY share a coach, their bunks the same as their Beacon days. Ruby proposes some team exercises – i.e. playing video games. Some things never change.
Blake is clearly torn up about her relationship with Yang, trying to lend her a hand in the simplest of tasks. There is some tension between them, but not as surface level as expected. While Blake is trying to aid Yang out of courtesy, she treats her friend like she is still handicapped. Yang is surprisingly strong about their relationship, considering all the misery she’s endured for the past three volumes. One can only assume the true extent of their tension will be explored as the season progresses, but for now, they are in a good place. Plus, it is nice to see Yang express joy that she is with her three teammates again. And Blake’s cute wee cat ears reflecting her mood are just adorable!
The mood turns sour when the Grimm attack. I love the build up to their arrival, reminding us that these monsters are a legitimate threat. The Grimm are delightfully menacing, resembling manticores and led by a large two-headed chimera. The Grimm make quick work of Dee and Dudley, tossing the former off the train. Shame, as he had a cool-looking electro-mace. Indoors, Oscar is gunning to get involved in saving the train, resisting Professor Ozipin’s repeated offer to have a go in the cockpit. There’s a great subtle moment where Jaune asks Oscar what is going on, and his frightened face says it all.
Dudley activates the train’s defensive mode, covering it in armour, and has giant cannons to blast the Grimm out of the sky. But, this turns out to be a bad decision, as the big guns are attracting the Grimm, and blowing up the cannons threatens to derail the train. This costs him when they go through a tunnel, and he nearly loses an arm.
Qrow throttles the injured Dudley about his actions, but Ruby and co. vow to defend the train and lure away the Grimm. Jaune heals Dudley’s broken arm, revealing his Semblance directly replenishes and expands the auras of other characters. The gang decide to use Ren’s own Semblance to mask the passengers from the Grimm, boosted by Jaune’s. Team JNPR will escort the train to Argus, whilst Team RWBY, Qrow, and Oscar stay behind to ensure the Grimm don’t follow.
Ozpin clocks in, dropping the bombshell that the Relic of Knowledge (shrunken and attached to his belt), attracts the Grimm. Well, that would have been a useful piece of information about ten minutes. No more secrets, Ozpin. You ain’t no Dumbledore. Yang chews him out on it, but Ruby silences any arguments to focus on being Huntsmen. I am curious to know what Blake’s view on this whole thing is. With decisions made, the gang part ways and leap into action.
Blake cuts the link between carriages, briefly seeing a figure resembling Adam, in a mirroring of her actions in the “Black” trailer. It appears to have been a brief hallucination, but you never know with RWBY. The rest of the episode is filled with a kickass battle, with Team RWBY back in action together, like in the old days. The actions and speed of things has greatly improved since the dreadful final battle of Volume 5 (excluding Raven vs. Cinder), and very reminiscent of the pre-Volume 4 battles. See, the animation programme changed after Volume 3, so the fast-paced action sequences suffered a bit. Thankfully, they have improved over the past three years.
Team RWBY manage to take down the Grimm, but not before they derail the train. Luckily, everyone survives, and they are joined by a new face. A wacky old lady wearing hi-tech goggles, resembling a mix of an elderly Katara and Maz Kanata. She has been wandering around the train, and appears to have a major role to play in the story. Speculation is that she is either the Winter Maiden, or has silver eyes like Ruby. I am going for the latter, judging by the opening credits (which play at the end of the premiere episodes).
The opening is really spectacular with ton of things to hint at – a focus on Ruby’s silver eyes, the possible return of Neo (judging by Torchwick’s hat flying in the wind), Ozpin’s past lives, Jaune finally confronting Ozpin, and Qrow going down a darker path. And this reflects through the whole episode. The writing, animation, and music are top notch in this episode, promising a hopefully improved season, more fights, character growth, and providing some long withheld lore answers. It is good to have RWBY back!
Final Grade: B
+ Seeing Team RWBY back together, their relationships more-or-less intact, and their teamwork hasn’t even got rusty.
+ Some wonderful moments between characters, especially from Ruby, Blake, and Yang.
+ That train battle.
– Adam is still a douchebag, and now completely devoid of a direction beyond pointless revenge.
– Ilia and Sun being put on a bus, and Neptune’s welcome return is a little tacked on.
– Damnit, Ozpin! Why would you not tell the students that the Relic can attract the Grimm? So much for promising to not hide anymore secrets. This information is important for this sort of dangerous situation!