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RWBY: Volume 7×13 — The Enemy of Trust

What a whirlwind of emotions it has been, but the seventh volume of RWBY comes to a close. Volume Seven has been a fantastic journey, perhaps the most surprising and well-written season of Rooster Teeth’s anchor series. Major themes of the volume have been trust and fear, and which to choose. To either fall into fear, or to understand that it can be overcome through trust and love. Unfortunately, most of the characters failed to understand this. In the volume’s final episode, sides are chosen before the epic war that is to come for Atlas.

A lot happens in the episode, all in dramatic fashion, laying the foundations for Volume Eight. Our first battle is Team JNPR versus Neo for the Relic of Knowledge. Neo proves just how skilled she is as a fighter by making mincemeat of the teammates. Her umbrella is somehow strong enough to withstand missiles!

The battle soon turns into a chase as Atlesian stormtroopers show up to arrest Team JNPR. A battered, tired Oscar is left behind by his fleet-footed friends, leading to Neo disguising herself as Nora and snatching the Relic. A pivotal moment happens when Ren tries to stop her, but Neo (as Nora) gives him a very “what are you trying to hurt me” look, causing Ren to hesitate. Ren has been thrown through the ringer this volume; seeing him raging and in tears for nearly hurting Nora is just devastating. Neo makes off with the Relic, while Team JNPR are later picked up by Blake, Yang, Maria, and Pietro in a getaway aircraft. Oscar, however, stays behind to take care of business.

Oscar heads down to the Relic of Creation’s vault to parley with General Ironwood, who was expecting Winter to come. While Oscar hopes to rebuild trust, Ironwood is having none of it and shuts him. Oscar has rather subtly started speaking like Ozpin, but his philosophising and criticizing of Ironwood only makes things worse. When Oscar claims Ironwood’s paranoia and need to win make him just as dangerous as Salem, Ironwood shoots him, causing Oscar to fall into an abyss. Professor Ozpin finally decides to resurface, using his techno-cane to activate Oscar’s magic (or Semblance) to crash through the floor of Atlas and go into freefall.

Meanwhile, Cinder, Winter, and Penny have one hell of a battle to fight for the Winter Maiden’s power. Interestingly, Fria’s chamber is located right next door to the systems room for Atlas’ CCT. Either a stroke of genius or a very dumb move on Ironwood’s part. The fight is taken outside as the trio fly around, with Cinder doing her best Iron Man impression, nearly taking Winter out of the game. Penny rescues Winter, who tells her to prioritise protecting Fria. Penny is starting to make her mind up on where she stands, preferring her friends to blind orders.

Cinder awakens Fria, once again stopping to gloat rather then just getting on with her mission. This costs her, as it turns out the frail, dementia-ridden Fria is an absolute badass. Having had years to master her powers, she whips out a blizzard to freeze Cinder’s pretentious ass. Winter and Penny arrive, but the former cannot go into the room, facing freeze-burn from the blizzard. Penny steps in to calm Fria down, who is perfectly content with passing her powers on to another, though assumes Penny is her intended successor.

Cinder appears, screaming like the powerhungry lunatic that she is, only for Winter to chop off her Grimm arm. Too bad it grows right back. Another point of interest is that the influence of Cinder’s new appendage has bee growing. In Volume Five and Six, it was at her forearm, but in Volume Seven, it is up to her shoulder. How far will it consume her? Will she become a full-on Grimm in due course? What won’t she do for power? Cinder seems to have a personal grudge against both Winter and Atlas in general. Maybe this alluding to her elusive backstory.

Anyway, Cinder defeats Winter, prompting Penny to inherit Fria’s magic and becomes the Winter Maiden (and a real girl, now able to produce her own aura!). Cinder realises just how screwed she is, just as Ruby and Weiss rush in. Ruby unleashes her Silver Eyes upon a terrified Cinder, but the wretched murderess escapes. How appropriate that she failed in her mission, when Neo succeeded in hers. If only she hadn’t taken the time to lord it up.

Winter forces Team RWBY to flee when she reluctantly calls for backup, giving them a head start to escape. Penny leaves as well, throwing a wrench into Ironwood’s plans, but also leaving Atlas vulnerable. The gang escape onto the aircraft and fly away from Atlas. Oscar makes a superhero landing, deciding to work with Ozpin to save Atlas.

We go into a conclusive montage as Ozpin gives a speech about fear, reflecting on the volume’s themes. A mournful Qrow is taken into custody, as is Robin for some reason. Hopefully she’ll be able to clear his name. Cinder retreats, but meets Neo, who presents her the Relic of Knowledge. Cinder snatches it without a thank you, Neo looking particularly hurt by the lack of appreciation. Ironwood gets a message from Winter about the loss of the maiden’s powers, and he is not a happy bunny. Arthur Watts is revealed to be alive, but in prison.

An oncoming storm cloud, tinted with red and black, heralds the arrival of Salem and her armada – led by a GIANT FLYING WHALE GRIMM! If Atlas wasn’t doomed before, it sure is now.

And thus, RWBY Volume Seven ends on one hell of a cliffhanger. In terms of quality and production, the CRWBY have outdone themselves. Fantastic animation, writing, fight choreography, music, and voice acting have made this volume the best that the show has to offer. It is fitting that the end credits has another loving tribute to its late creator, Monty Oum, complete with the words “We still love you.” It is a shining example of how much people love RWBY, both those creating it, and those who watch it. It remains a long wait until Volume Eight comes out, but the seventh volume has been an incredible stepping stone for this wonderful animated series.

What did you think on the finale of RWBY’s seventh volume? How has this volume been for you? Good or bad? Leave a comment below, or on our Twitter feed.

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Mark Russell

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