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RWBY: A Recap Through the Volumes!

At last, the release date for the eighth volume of RWBY has been announced for November 7th 2020. We do love ourselves some RWBY, so in preparation for Volume 8, we’ll be refreshing our memories of the past seven volumes. If you are currently watching the show or plan in the future, there will be obvious spoilers ahead!

Volume One

Welcome to the world of Remnant, home to a shattered moon, and vicious shadowy monsters called the Grimm, which are drawn to negative emotions. The Grimm are slain by the badass Huntsmen and Huntresses, professional monster slayers who train at schools across Remnant. Each have their own multipurpose weapons and individual superpowers called a Semblance. They can use minerals called Dust, a major fuel source, to empower their weaponry. There are four kingdoms: Vale, Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo, each with their own Huntsmen training academy. There also are the Faunus, humans who have animal features yet are racially ostracized.

Our story begins in Vale, where criminal overlord Roman Torchwick robs a Dust store. He is chased off by Ruby Rose, a 15-year old, silver-eyed Huntress-in-training, who wears a red hooded cape, and wields Crescent Rose, a scythe/sniper rifle hybrid. Ruby is invited to attend Beacon Academy by its headmaster Professor Ozpin. She is accompanied by her older half-sister Yang Xiao Long, a badass, blonde bombshell, who has a pair of shotgun gauntlets. The sisters form Team RWBY, a four-man hunting squad, with Weiss Schnee, the haughty heiress of the Schnee Dust Company; and Blake Belladonna, a quiet bookworm who wears a distinctive hair bow.

They get up to some school time drama, dealing with interpersonal problems, and fighting Grimm. Our other main quartet are Team JNPR: Jaune Arc, who is at first inept in combat, but becomes a great team leader; Pyrrha Nikos, a very famous Huntress, who takes a shine to Jaune when he treats her like a normal person; the energetic Nora Valkyrie, and her calm boyfriend Lie Ren.

Weiss and Blake butt heads when it comes to the White Fang, a Faunus terrorist group. The Schnee family are targeted by the organization, since the Schnee Dust Company treat their work force like garbage. Blake then reveals she is a cat Faunus, and a former member of the White Fang. Blake runs off, meeting Sun Wukong, a free-spirited monkey Faunus. They discover Torchwick is working with the White Fang to commit crimes. Ruby arrives with her new friend, Penny Polendina, a weird girl who is actually a sentient android, chasing off the criminals. Team RWBY reunite, Weiss and Blake making up.

Volume Two

The second volume builds up the Vytal Festival, a cultural celebration of the kingdoms, culminating in the Vytal Tournament. Torchwick’s associates Cinder Fall, Emerald Sustrai, and Mercury Black arrive in Beacon to carry out a big evil plan. Cinder is a power-hungry sociopath who can manipulate fire and glass. General James Ironwood, head of Atlas Academy, arrives in Beacon, bringing an air fleet with him. He, Ozpin, and Glynda Goodwitch, Beacon’s deputy head, are trying to find out what Torchwick is up to.

Team RWBY investigate what Torchwick’s plan is, teaming up with Sun and his teammate Neptune. Blake and Sun sneak into a White Fang meeting, where Torchwick announces a plan to bring down Beacon. Team RWBY take on Torchwick, who escapes with help from his sidekick Neo, a mute badass who fights with a brolley. Blake becomes obsessed with finding out what’s going on, but Yang convinces her to ask for help. Yang has her own abandonment issues after her mother Raven Branwen walked out on the family.

The Vytal Ball is thrown, but Cinder breaks into Beacon’s central communications, putting a virus into the system for later use. She escapes when Ruby and Ironwood catch her in the act. Team RWBY convince Ozpin to let them go on a mission to find Torchwick’s hideout, accompanied by their fast-talking history professor Bartholomew Oobleck.

They travel to Mountain Glen, a doomed Vale expansion that was swarmed by Grimm. We learn Weiss, Blake, and Yang’s motivations; Weiss wants to restore her family’s dignity, Blake wants to do good after seeing the White Fang go bad, and Yang was doing it for fun. Ruby and her pet dog Zwei stumble upon Torchwick’s lair, learning he plans on using a bomb-laden train to let the Grimm invade Vale. Team RWBY try to stop the train, but it explodes, letting the Grimm run loose. Luckily, the entire cast come together to defeat the Grimm, Torchwick is arrested, and the day is saved.

Volume Three

The Vytal Festival is in full swing, but the big deal is what is going on behind the scenes. We meet two fan favourites: Qrow Branwen, Ruby’s favourite uncle, who is a heavy drinker and has a bad luck-based Semblance; and Winter Schnee, Weiss’ older sister, who is Ironwood’s subordinate.

Ozpin invites Pyrrha to his office, asking her if she knows a fairy tale called “The Four Maidens”. It is about an elderly wizard hermit who was befriended by four sisters. Their kindness convinced the wizard to gift them each with elemental magic. Ozpin reveals the Four Maidens are real, each possessing the powers of the four seasons, passing their magic on to other girls when they die. The injured Fall Maiden, Amber, is hidden in Beacon’s vault after Cinder stole half of her powers. Ozpin asks Pyrrha to become the next maiden, though leaves the choice up to her.

Thanks to Cinder’s team, Yang is framed for crippling Mercury during their solo match and is disqualified. Penny and Pyrrha have their match next, but thanks to Emerald’s illusions, Pyrrha accidentally rips Penny in half with her magnetic Semblance. Cinder sets off that computer virus from the last season, hijacking control of the Atlesian security forces, giving it to Torchwick and Neo. Ruby later confronts Torchwick on Ironwood’s flagship, but our favourite crime lord gets eaten by a Grimm. Poor fella.

Blake runs into Adam Taurus, head of the White Fang and her spiteful, abusive ex-boyfriend. He stabs her, and then chops off Yang’s arm when she tries to defend her girl. Ozpin takes Pyrrha to become the Fall Maiden, but Cinder shoots Amber, stealing the rest of her powers. Ozpin and Cinder have a fight offscreen, which the latter wins. Pyrrha decides to stop Cinder herself, kissing Jaune goodbye, and has an epic fight with Cinder in Ozpin’s office. Just as Ruby comes to the rescue, Cinder shoots Pyrrha through the heart, disintegrating her body! Ruby then suddenly unleashes a brilliant blast of silver light from her eyes, consuming Beacon.

She wakes up at home, learning from Qrow that she and her late mother Summer Rose have magic eyes which can destroy the Grimm. A one-armed Yang tells Ruby that Weiss went home, and Blake ran away out of guilt. With Team RWBY in tatters, Ruby sets out with Jaune, Nora, and Ren to track down Cinder and avenge their friends.

Volume Four

The fourth volume is split apart across six different storylines. Cinder and her cohorts work for Salem, a terrifying immortal witch who can control the Grimm. Salem sews discord amongst mankind to prevent them from uniting against her, and is targeting the four Huntsmen Academies. Her other subordinates are Tyrian, a crazy scorpion Faunus who worships Salem; Hazel, a relatively normal guy who hates Ozpin; and Dr. Arthur Watts, an amoral Atlesian scientist.

Weiss is dragged home to Atlas by her abusing father Jacque Schnee. After Weiss has an outburst at a charity event, Jacque disinherits her, making his son Whitley his new heir. Fed up, Weiss escapes Atlas on a cargo ship bound for Mistral.

Blake returns to her home on Menagerie with Sun, reuniting with her loving parents Ghira and Kali. She blames herself for Yang’s injury, but Sun convinces her that she will only hurt her friends by pushing them away. Adam usurps Sienna Khan, replacing her as the White Fang’s leader. He sends Illa Amitola, a chameleon Faunus and Blake’s friend, to kill her. Instead, Illa warns Blake to hide from Adam, who is in cahoots with Salem’s group to destroy Haven Academy in Mistral.

Yang is dealing with her trauma and loss of her arm. Ironwood sends her a flashy prosthetic arm, which Yang takes some time to start using. After some love and encouragement from her dad Taiyang, she sets off to find both Ruby and her estranged mother Raven.

Meanwhile, the new Team RNJR head for Haven Academy. They are attacked by Tyrian, but Qrow saves them, though he is poisoned. He tells the kids that Salem is after the Relics, four magical items created by gods that gives mankind the power to create and make choices. Each Relic is hidden beneath the Huntsmen Academies, only accessible by the Four Maidens. If Salem gets the Relics, she can control mankind. Team RNJR find themselves in Nora and Ren’s destroyed hometown, successfully slaying the terrifying Nucklavee Grimm that devastated it. They are picked up by the Mistral army and flown to Haven, where Qrow is cured.

Our sixth storyline introduces farmboy Oscar Pine, who finds himself the new host for Ozpin’s soul. Turns out Ozpin has been reincarnating in hosts for centuries, and he and Oscar will eventually become one. A reluctant Oscar travels to Mistral, meeting Qrow and receiving Ozpin’s cane.

Volume Five

Team RNJR arrive at Haven Academy, meeting Oscar/Ozpin, who serves as their mentor. Haven is run by Professor Lionheart, hiding the Relic of Knowledge, but the Spring Maiden has been missing for years. Lionheart is actually a traitor, working as Salem’s mole. Weiss is captured by the Branwen tribe, run by Yang’s mother Raven. Amongst the band is Vernal, the renegade Spring Maiden. Yang arrives, reunites with Weiss, though her relationship with Raven is anything but loving.

Raven explains to Yang and Weiss that she and Qrow worked for Ozpin, who gave them the ability to transform into birds. However, Raven concluded Ozpin was too secretive, and Salem was too dangerous, abandoning her family. Yang has no interest in her mother’s excuses, she and Weiss using Raven’s portal-making Semblance to reach Ruby and co. Yang and Weiss get the lowdown, Ozpin vowing to be open about everything with his new allies. Cinder, Emerald, Mercury, and Arthur Watts visit Raven, inviting her and Vernal to join their side, acquire the Relic of Knowledge, and kill Ozpin’s group.

Blake and her parents try to recruit the Faunus to oppose the White Fang, but Illa opposes them. Her parents worked in the Schnee mines, but died in an accident, sparking Illa’s hatred for humans. The White Fang later storm Blake’s house, but Blake redeems Illa, convincing her people to support her family.

Team RWBY are lured into a trap by Cinder and co., leading to a big fight. Weiss is skewered by Cinder, but Jaune’s healing Semblance activates, saving her. Outside, Adam and the White Fang arrive to destroy Haven, but Blake and the populace of Menagerie arrive to discredit him. Blake is drawn to the battle in the school, reuniting with her friends. Lionheart flees, but is executed by Salem.

Cinder, Raven, and Vernal go down to the Relic’s vault. Cinder kills Vernal to absorb her powers, only to find she is just a decoy – Raven is actually the Spring Maiden. The two Maidens have an epic fight, which Raven wins, freezing Cinder and throwing her down a gorge. Yang appears, allowing Raven to run away, whilst she secures the Relic of Knowledge, a magic lamp. Hazel, Emerald, Mercury, and Adam escape, whilst Team RWBY are reunited!

Volume Six

Team RWBY and co. set off for Atlas to get the Relic of Knowledge to General Ironwood. Their train is attacked by Grimm, so Team RWBY, Qrow, and Oscar disembark with the Relic, which Ozpin reveals can attract the Grimm. The group are joined by Maria Calavera, a sassy old lady who has mechanical prosthetic eyes.

Team RWBY discover the Relic contains the ethereal Jinn, who can answer up to three questions per century. Ruby asks about Ozpin’s backstory, so we get the full lowdown on Ozpin and Salem’s doozy of a past. Long ago, Salem and Ozpin, originally named Ozma, were lovers. Ozma died, so Salem went to the Gods of Light and Darkness to resurrect him. When refused, Salem rallied an army to kill the gods. As punishment, the Gods wiped out humanity for a time, made Salem immortal, and then vanished into space, destroying the moon on the way out.

The God of Light began Ozpin’s soul reincarnation, asking him to unite mankind and protect the Relics. Bringing the Relics together will summon the Gods back to judge humanity. In the second age of man, Ozpin reunited with Salem, and for a time they were happy. Salem feared the return of the Gods, believing mankind should be free from their control. Unfortunately, the two had a falling out, leading to their war against each other across the ages. The biggest whammy is that Salem apparently can’t be killed.

Team RWBY are left shocked by the revelation, as a despairing Ozpin bails on them. The group come across an abandoned ranch community, discovering a flock of Grimm, the Apathy, lurking below ground. The group manage to escape thanks to Ruby’s silver eyes, learning Maria used to have the same gift, once being a legendary Huntress called the Grimm Reaper. Maria becomes Ruby’s mentor in mastering her eyes’ power.

The group arrive in the city Argus, staying with Jaune’s sister and her wife. Team JNPR learn the truth, an angry Jaune blaming Oscar. When Oscar vanishes, Jaune goes out to look for him, finding a memorial to Pyrrha, even meeting her mother, which brings him, Nora, and Ren some closure. The group intend to fly to Atlas from a nearby military base, but the bossy Commander Cordovin refuses them access. Jaune instead proposes they steal a ship to reach their destination.

It all goes according to plan at first, until Blake’s task to disable a communications tower is halted by a vengeful Adam. He’s been stalking her throughout the season. Yang arrives, she and Blake joining forces to beat him. In the end, Adam is fatally stabbed twice, falling down a waterfall to his death. Cordovin realises Team RWBY’s plan, piloting an enormous mecha to stop them, but Ruby disables it by bombing its gun turret. The mayhem attracts the Leviathan Grimm, which Ruby is able to temporarily petrify with her eyes. Cordovin comes to the rescue in her mecha, allowing Team RWBY to head for Atlas.

Volume Seven

The most recent volume is the most packed. Team RWBY find Atlas and its lesser city Mantle are under lockdown on Ironwood’s orders. The gang reunite with Penny, who is now Mantle’s protector, rebuilt by her father Pietro Polendina. They meet Ironwood and Winter, who have secured the Relic of Creation and Fria, the elderly Winter Maiden. Ironwood plans to transform Amity Arena into an orbiting communications tower that will re-establish worldwide contact, and unite the world against Salem. Our heroes train alongside the Ace Ops, Atlas’ elite Huntsmen. Qrow strikes up a friendship with the Ace Ops’ leader Clover Ebi.

The construction of Amity Tower coincides with an upcoming election for a seat on Atlas’ council. Jacque Schnee is running against Robyn Hill, a popular figure in Mantle, who wants Ironwood to prioritise fixing Mantle’s defence walls. On election night, Tyrian and Watts manipulate the results so Jacque wins, and Penny is framed for an attack on Mantle. Robin and her Happy Huntresses start stealing supplies, so Yang and Blake privately tell Robin about Amity Tower. Weiss learns Winter is to become the next the Winter Maiden.

Jacque summons our heroes for a dressing down at his mansion, questioning Ironwood’s secrets. Weiss breaks into her father’s office, reuniting with her alcoholic mother Willow, who has hidden surveillance cameras in every room, revealing Watts rigged the election in return for access to Jacque’s security clearance. Weiss exposes her father in delightful fashion. Watts, however, shuts down Mantle’s heating, causing panic, letting the Grimm run riot. Our heroes rally to protect Mantle, though Robyn lets slip she knows about Amity, and Oscar tells Ironwood the truth about Salem. Tyrian is arrested by Qrow, Clover, and Robyn, whilst Ironwood fights and arrests Watts.

During all this, Cinder appears. She survived her fight with Raven, teamed up with Neo, and they travelled to Atlas to get revenge on Ruby. They make their move to steal the Relics and the Winter Maiden’s power. Cinder rattles Ironwood by leaving a chess piece in his office, fueling his paranoia, cutting off his ties of trust with Team RWBY and co. Salem suddenly materialises from a hidden Grimm, informing Ironwood she is on her way to get the Relics herself. Ruby stands up to Salem, who promptly shuts her down by revealing her mother Summer Rose did the same thing. Ironwood decides to adapt Amity’s purpose to Atlas so they can escape Salem, even if it means abandoning Mantle. Team RWBY are placed under arrest as Ironwood leaves to prepare his plan. However, Team RWBY are able to defeat the Ace Ops.

Team JNPR and Oscar catch Neo trying to steal the Relic of Knowledge, but she uses her shapeshifting skill to make off with it. Oscar confronts Ironwood in the Relic of Creation’s vault, but Ironwood shoots him off a ledge. Ozpin resurfaces, saving Oscar’s life using magic. Tyrian crashes his prison airship, then murders Clover using Qrow’s scythe before escaping. Winter and Penny go to secure the Winter Maiden, but Cinder appears to collect it. Our girls have a battle, that culminates in Penny inheriting the Maiden’s powers. Ruby sends Cinder packing, but our heroes have to flee Atlas with Maria, Penny, and Pietro. Salem arrives on the back of an enormous whale Grimm, ready to drag Atlas down from the heavens. Volume Eight is going to be awesome!

Which is your favourite character or volume from RWBY? Are you looking forward to Volume 8? Leave a comment below, or on our Twitter feed!

About the author

Mark Russell