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RWBY: “Divide” is Full of Tension in the Eighth Volume’s Premiere

The eighth volume for RWBY has premiered at last. The last volume ended on a tense set up for the inevitable war between Salem and our heroes in Atlas. In the months in-between volumes, RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant was published, expanding the lore of the series. In our opening episode, emotions are running high and the stakes could not be higher, as the pieces of this chess match are put into position.

Our episode begins with the briefest glimpse at Cinder Fall’s backstory at last, showing her as a downtrodden maid. Hopefully, her past will be explored in full this volume. Cinder and Neo fly into Salem’s terrifying whale Grimm, which doubles as an organic flying fortress from hell. Cinder promptly earns her way back into Salem’s inner circle by presenting the Relic of Knowledge. Though visibly disturbed by Salem, Neo is more annoyed by Cinder taking credit for acquiring the Relic, and referring to Neo as a “useful asset”. Neo had assumed she and Cinder were partners seeking revenge on Ruby, though this has gone out the window.

The arrival of Tyrian, Hazel, Emerald, and Mercury (the latter three in new outfits), brings all of our main antagonists together, save Arthur Watts, who Tyrian describes as a necessary sacrifice. Cinder is typically eager to acquire more power, but is shot down by Salem, who makes it clear that Cinder is a just another piece in her game. Cinder also coldly shuts down Emerald’s joy at seeing her. As Mercury said, Cinder has no affection for her flunkies. With enough push, Neo and Emerald might just bail on their wicked “friend”.

Mantle is in a state of turmoil, with the loss of heating, defences, and even the support of Atlas. It is mentioned that attempts to evacuate to Atlas have been denied. Oscar gets picked up by Ruby, deciding to keep Professor Ozpin’s return a secret until they are done talking. Our runaway heroes are hiding out with the Happy Huntresses, led by Joanna Greenleaf, in Robin’s absence. There’s a noticeable juxtaposition between the Happy Huntresses and the Ace Ops; the former are very well-organized without their leader, whilst the Ace Ops are in total shambles without Clover Ebi.

Although mindsets and opinions are divided between Team RWBY and Team JNPR, there is a sweet hug between Oscar and Nora. This episode is dedicated to setting up the pieces for the upcoming war, including some interesting team line-ups. Yang wants to help evacuate Mantle, whilst Ruby is focused on launching Amity Tower to warn the world about Salem. Yang gives gentle but honest criticism of Ruby’s leadership, alluding to her choices in the last volume. Ren and Nora then side separately with Yang and Ruby, whilst Jaune and Oscar suggest splitting into two groups to achieve both goals.

Penny suggests the rather naïve idea that they could hand over the Relic of Creation to Salem to prevent open war. Last volume, Penny became the Winter Maiden, abandoned the military, and is clearly a little lost. Not the best plan. She agrees to go with Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Nora to breach Atlas’ security to launch Amity, which can only be activated through General Ironwood’s terminal. Luckily, there is a second one within the military base. Maria Calavera plans to get Penny’s father Pietro to Amity for an instant launch, whilst Weiss plans to acquire transport. Yang, Jaune, Ren, and Oscar head out to evacuate Mantle, Pietro giving Yang his shop keys.

Team Amity’s plans are disrupted by a call from Ironwood to Penny, who asks her to return to save Atlas. Ruby asks Ironwood to change his mind to save Mantle too, but the general is too far gone for negotiation, trying to guilt trip Penny into complying.

We catch up with Ironwood’s inner circle. The surviving Ace Ops members are mourning Clover, who was murdered by Tyrian last volume. Ironwood has gained a new mechanical arm, while Winter is recovering with some difficulty. The chances of Ironwood earning redemption, reason, or rationale continue to slip down as Councillors Sleet and Camilla show up to complain about Ironwood’s actions. Ironwood’s solution is to shoot Sleet dead offscreen! Yeah, that’s a great way to earn his people’s trust and co-operation. It is understandable that Ironwood is desperate, terrified, and willing to win at any cost, but this is to the extreme. How far will he go? Everyone is visibly disturbed by Ironwood’s actions, particularly Winter. Though, when she exchanges a worried glance with Harriet Bree, the latter turns a blind eye.

In the final scene, Salem summons a creepy Grimm, instructing it to bring her Oscar to learn how to use the Relic of Knowledge. This seems to confirm that Oscar will be kidnapped by this Grimm, leading to an unpleasant reunion for Ozpin with his wife.

Did you enjoy the premiere episode of RWBY Volume 8? How do you think this volume will unfold? How many more people will Ironwood shoot? Leave a comment below or on our Twitter feed!

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Mark Russell

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