Blu-ray Review: RWBY – Volume 3
17/05/2016 Leave a comment
The third volume of RWBY makes it’s welcome arrival to the UK but does this CGI-themed-anime show manage to keep the suspense going or does it fall down? Well let’s take a look in our Blu-ray Review of RWBY – Volume 3.
The Vytal Festival Tournament is the ultimate battle of skill, pitting the world’s most powerful Huntsmen and Huntresses in training against one another… and it’s finally here! Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang are back for a season of over-the-top action, and they’re not alone. New fighters from around Remnant are ready to bring glory to their kingdom, but there are those among them with a far more sinister goal in mind.
If you were looking for a naturally progressing storyline that gets better with each passing minute then you may want to look elsewhere; however if you are looking for an adrenaline fuelled ride of rocking music and intense battles to the death then Volume three of RWBY has got you perfectly covered. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy what was on offer; it’s just that the first half of this feature offered very little in terms of progressing the storyline forward, especially elements left off from the second volume, whereas the second half provided everything the first half failed to deliver. It’s an unnatural balance that only just manages to provide an interesting story – and yet despite all of this it was incredibly fun to watch until the end.
There is a valid reason for this and that’s because the first two hours or so of this feature is basically a fighting tournament. You see following on from the events of the second volume – which saw students of beacon save a nearby city from being overrun by Grim monsters as well as Roman Torchwick put in custody of the general– a festival, known as the Vytal Festival Tournament, is held which sees learning Huntsmen and Huntresses from across the world pitted against each other to see who is the strongest. As a part of this near two hour campaign we see characters from different schools pitted against each other in a bid to be crowned the strongest trainee with each character from beacon receiving their fair share of screen time in their own intense battle. As you can possibly imagine each fight is played out beautifully both in animation quality, which seems to have improved from past additions, and in background music; what’s more interesting is that no two fights feel the same with each character showing off their unique personality and attacking skills.
The first half of the feature is a pretty steady and solid presentation of fights mixed with small amounts of dialogue most of which act as a build-up, or an aftermath, of the fight. It’s not all just sword slashes and punches though as lurking around all of the tournament talk are storyline elements which lay-down the foundations of things to come; although you do have to pay attention. Potential spoiler’s aside high-ranking officials, and important Huntsmen, return to beacon in order to prepare for an incoming attack and elsewhere the four mysterious individuals who infiltrated beacon academy in the previous volume begin to make their move. Personally it’s at this point where I believe that RWBY Volume 3 begins to shine; as we move in to the second half of the volume we further explore uncharted areas, learn secrets about the academy and it’s headmaster and the real object of Cinder and her followers, which is to obtain a mysterious power from the ages, and her plan of world domination come to fruition.
The result of this plan throws the entire beacon academy, vale city and the tournament grounds into disarray with both the army being overtaken by Cinder’s minions and the Grim attacking the ground it soon becomes another non-stop selection of fights that sees the balance of power shifted from good to evil. Of course just another fight isn’t the only thing on the table; past enemies once captured return, an ancient grim resurfaces and causes havoc among the air and thanks to the revival of an ancient power Cinder becomes stronger than everyone and unleashes her rage upon the unsuspecting public. It’s a very dark turn of events from the previous two hours of the feature and in the process throws some very unexpecting and shocking turn of events that will literally leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting more…. which isn’t something I expected myself.
So; what am i suggesting? Basically this third volume of RWBY starts off action-packed, but relatively slow with its indirect way of progressing forward; but by the two hour mark you will find yourself with the story played out to the and total destruction laid before you as everyone is powerless to defend themselves. Its dark, it’s gritty and all things considered it’s great!
While the main feature left me with a positively mixed opinion the selection of bonus content included on the other hand provided me with nothing but praise for this release; as there really is nice selection of content to be going through. Just like with past instalments of RWBY the amount of bonus content is impressive; with various different commentaries, behind the scenes documentaries and trailers being included.
Unfortunately I won’t be going into detail for all of them, as that would take too much time; but if you were ever interested in how this third instalment of RWBY came to be – especially after the death of series creator – then you will find answers here. For instance the first featurett, known as 3,2,1 Begin, sees various staff members discussing how and why they creating the tournament sequence and the inspirations that led to its overall design. Another featurette on the other hand, Let’s Make a Show: The Legacy of RWBY, goes further into depth on the ideals and inspirations for the show in general. Personally, as a newcomer to RWBY, both were an insightful look into a series that is presented in CGI but offers those common anime traits we know and love.
Interestingly enough the selection of bonus content doesn’t just stop at the ‘extras’ sub-menu; as also included is a selection of trailers for other Rooster Teeth productions, including a trailer for the RWBY game on Steam, as well as a selection of commentaries provided by staff, cast and directors of RWBY – Volume 3. Basically not only have you got a three long feature but you’ve also got endless hours of bonus content to sit through if you so desire (or if you have the time).
Running Time: 2:56:47
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital TrueHD (English)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Third volume of RWBY continues to follow the exploits of Team RWBY, made up with Ruby, Yang, Weiss and Blake, as they take part in the Vytal Festival Tournament in a bid to become the champions of the event and dubbed the strongest team. Naturally things don’t go to plan for them as enemies from their past attack within to steal an ancient power which, as a result, spells destruction for the entire academy. It’s an adrenaline fuelled feature-length-film, or twelve episodes if you watch it in the broadcast style, and it provides plenty of banter, action, suspense and even some emotional heartfelt dialogue for good measure.
Whether you decide to watch all three hours at once, in the feature-length-form, or its original broadcast option of twelve episodes the same content is provided to you; just in a different manner. However you opt to watch it though the lack of narrative and an unclear objective makes this particular release of RWBY a rather shallow one; that is until things start to become clear towards the later third of the film. Ironically enough that seems to be a similar trend between all volumes of the show; the first volume provided the introduction, the second volume threw you into the deep end but provided a nice backstory for certain characters and this third volume just seems to, once again, throw you into the deep end until a story can be presented to you. It works; but you do have to be committed to stay.
While the story of Volume 3 left me thinking “just get on with it” the selection of bonus content on hand, and the presentation of this release, leaves me completely satisfied on what’s on offer. Behind the scenes documentaries, cast interviews, an insight into the world of RWBY and a selection of trailers are all on offer in this set – furthermore thanks to relatively easy menu system – which features a wonderful ever changing background – its easy to access these content whenever you like. Once again the audio manages to pull through as well; as majority of the cast return to reprise their role, as well as some surprising additions (Vic Mignogna for instance) and thanks to the surround sound provides an entertaining cinematic experience from start to finish.
For me RWBY – Volume 3 is a mixed bag; my complaints about the franchises narrative still remain – such as the random way of dropping viewers in as opposed to carrying on and getting on with elements from a past volume – but the visual quality, the voice-over work and the action sequences more than make up for it. In terms of fighting then RWBY – Volume 3 is the best of the bunch; in terms of storytelling then more could’ve been done in the early stages but by the end it’s a story that can’t be beat. If you’ve never seen RWBY before then you’ll want to start at the beginning; but if you are thinking of dropping RWBY and want to know if you should continue then yes you should; and with this Blu-ray release.
RWBY – Volume 3 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.