Rooster Teeth is one of those groups that I have known has existed forever… but never really watched much of. I was not a Halo player, but I do admit to watching quite a bit of the first few seasons of Red vs Blue. Similarly RWBY is one of those products that I have known was available, but for whatever reason never actually watched. There was a certain bit of fitting tribute the other day that I started watching the show, on the Anniversary of its creator Monty Oum’s death. Over the course of several hours of watching I went from knowing absolutely nothing about this show, to becoming a huge fan. I had always heard it described as “An American Anime” but didn’t really know what to expect from that. I mean Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra are pretty much what I think of when I think of American Anime. I love both of those shows and a lot of other continuous narrative cartoons like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and Bravest Warriors. So as to why I never started this one in particular, is as big of a guess as any.
I guess what I like about it so much right now is that it has pretty much everything I loved about Bleach, without all of the stuff I didn’t love about it. What attracted me to Bleach was this premise that created a universe full of really interesting characters. Sure while Ichigo is the “main character” there are a bunch of other extremely interesting good guys and bad guys that make up the tapestry. RWBY does this through the creation of teams that fight together, and can either be positive or negative influences on the story setting. Also there are shades of post apocalyptic, in that the characters exist in this world that is being plagued by a bunch of supernatural creatures known as the Grimm. The only way mankind has managed to survive is by harnessing the power of dust, refined elemental essence to power up their abilities and be able to fight back. The show itself takes place in a sort of Hogwarts for demon hunters, a school known as Beacon that trains individuals to become either Huntsmen or Huntresses. So all of those elements like Bleach and Naruto are there, to keep churning out interesting people to encounter in the world.
What makes the show better for me… is the fact that thus far at least over the course of the three seasons I chain watched… there isn’t a lot of repetition. The frustration with Bleach is when you have the realization that every single season is the same. Ichigo gets his ass kicked by some new bad guy > Ichigo trains to unlock some previously undiscovered ability > Ichigo wins… but just barely… but still enough to save his friends. While RWBY borrows heavily from Anime tropes, the way it puts things together feels more fresh to me… because it is based in a culture I already understand. The problem with Anime in general is that there are so many cultural experiences that I lack, and I simply cannot understand without having to research why the hell “this thing” was funny or important. When I watch most Anime, there are certain points where I feel I need footnotes to understand the subtle nuance of what is happening. RWBY however makes sense out of the box, with nothing lost in translation… because it quite truly IS “American Anime”. So I have to say… I am now hooked and will join the folks waiting every week for the next show to release. I’ve even gone so far as to hook others on the show, which I guess is the truest sign of enjoyment.
When I am sick I seem to ratchet down my game playing and increase my television watching. So over the last few days I have been hunting for things to watch, and over the last two nights have picked back up on Heroes Reborn. I started the first episode of the show some time ago, but it either failed to grab me… or I got distracted. I’ve now chain watched my way through the entire first season and I have to say… I really enjoyed it. Heroes is one of those shows that I have both extremely fond and extremely negative memories of. The first season was among the best single television seasons I have seen… and then that second season…. I would probably rank among the worst. The third season came along and fixed some of the problems with season two… but by that time the audience was gone and the show was doomed. I don’t think I actually watched any of that fourth season… which honestly after watching Heroes Reborn, makes me want to go back and chain through the originals again.
Reborn is the perfect example of a show that stands on the shoulders of the original, but doesn’t actually require you to have watched any of it. Sure there are plot points that you will get earlier if you know who certain characters are from the original, but you learn soon enough what powers they have. The entire show takes place in a very “Days of Future Past” storyline, where the heroes… now called Evos are being forced to register their powers. There is very much a “humans” vs “evos” undercurrent that runs through the show, along with the expected “no evos allowed” signs. What makes this season work however is the same thing that makes me question if they are setting themselves up for a crappy second season again. Much like the “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” plot of the first season of the original, there is a clear narrative path that ends up being concluded in a massive event. The problem is… I am not really sure how they top this. I mean you can only quite literally save all of humanity so many times during a television show. All of this said… I really enjoyed myself and I guess I am along for the ride when the second season releases.