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  1. Man, born from dust, was strong, wise, and resourceful. But he was born into an unforgiving world. The soulless creatures of Grimm threatened to return Man's brief existence to the void. However, even the smallest spark of hope is enough to ignite change, and in time Mans passion, resourcefulness and ingenuity led them to the tools that would help even the odds. This power was appropriately named, Dust. Natures wrath in hand, Man lit their way through the darkness, and in the shadows absence came strength, civilization, and most importantly, life. ...or so the legends say. (Thanks to Eldi13 for the title screen background) Intro ----- Fire Emblem: Dust to Dust is a FE8/RWBY crossover hack, set in a Fire Emblem version of Remnant. Despite living in a hostile land, stalked by the soulless creatures of Grimm, the world at large has been at peace for generations. Everything changes when the White Fang, a once peaceful Faunus rights organization, attacks the kingdom of Schnee without warning. This sudden act of terrorism will ignite a fire that consumes all of Remnant, and lay bare the terrible truth of their world. Demo patch now available! Consists of one demo-exclusive chapter: GET IT NOW Stuff! ----- [spoiler=Story!] PART I OUTLINE Prologue: White Fang forces assault Castle Schnee without warning, and Weiss is forced to fight her way out and flee to Vale with a small group of retainers. Her father remains behind for some reason. Chapter 1: On the border of Vale, they are found and attacked by White Fang scouts. They must defeat the scouts quickly before the main force arrives. Chapter 2: Weiss reaches Beacon but her location is betrayed by Mercury and Emerald. The White Fang infiltrate Beacon and Weiss and co must fight them off while protecting the students.Following the failed attack, Mercury and Emerald escape to report to the mysterious Cinder. Weiss decides to leave before reinforcements arrive. Ozpin gives her some supplies and sends some allies with her, but cannot do more. Chapter 3-4: They decide that the best course of action is to seek refuge in Atlas. They require a guide to get through Forever Fall. Ruby offers to take them if they will help her find Yang in the forest. They enter the forest and fight off waves of Grimm, where they find Yang defending a wounded Blake. Passing through the forest, they reach the home of a Gelb, a distant Schnee relative. He is creepy and unpleasant, but his castle is well fortified and he is definitely not White Fang. He tells them that Winter is currently in Atlas, but the Atlesian politicians are cowards and will never agree to help. Chapter 5: Blake is uneasy and sneaks out of her room that night. She discovers that Gelb is enslaving Faunus and forcing them to fight captured Grimm for sport. With his crimes revealed, Gelb turns on the group, using the slaves as human shields. Chapter 6: Faced with the reality of Faunus subjugation, Weiss wonders if the White Fang is justified. Blake reveals herself as a Faunus, and condemns the White Fangs disregard for innocents. Suddenly she tackles Weiss just as an arrow flies in the window. The army must hold the line against waves of White Fang troops. Finally when all hope seems lost, a squadron of Pegasus Knights led by Winter swoops in, followed closely by the Atlesian military smashing into the rear of the White Fang. Chapter 7: Weiss and Winter return to Castle Schnee with the full might of Atlas behind them. While the Atlesians launch a feigned frontal assault, Weiss and co sneak into the castle via secret passages and take the White Fang by surprise. They defeat the White Fang Lieutenant and retake the castle. Its too soon to celebrate, however. They soon discover that all of the Dust in the castle is gone, stolen by the White Fang. Was this their real motive all along? Winter has more bad news she promised to give Atlas huge amounts of Dust in exchange for their aid. The Atlesian senators are irate and take control of Castle Schnee. Meanwhile, Ruby runs into a strange girl named Penny. In a darkened room, Cinder meets with one of the senators. END OF PART I [spoiler=Animations!] Weiss: Blake: Yang: Ruby: Pyrrha: [spoiler=Mugs!] Ruby Weiss Blake Yang Jaune Nora Pyrrha Ren Coco Sun Scarlet Sage Neptune Penny Winter [spoiler=Music!] All of these MP3s are recorded in game from the Sound Room. They use my FE8 Native Instruments Map. - Red Like Roses - Red Like Roses Part II - Mirror, Mirror - From Shadows - I Burn - This Will Be The Day - Time to Say Goodbye - Wings - Die - I May Fall - All Our Days (Thanks to Lucky13 for transcribing most of these) [spoiler=Misc.] World Map: Random screenshots: ---------- and yes, there will be dragons
  2. So, a couple months ago I started watching Rooster Teeth's faux-anime web series, RWBY (I say "started watching" when I mean "watched every released episode over the weekend"- 8 hours, in all). The show was hyped up upon its reveal, with Monty Oum at the helm; upon the first Volume's debut, however, mixed reactions caused that hype to fizzle out. That is, until the beginning of this year, when Volume 3 was finishing up. At that point, the show surpassed Red vs Blue in popularity on RT's website. With volume screenings in select theaters, a growing amount of merchandise from places like Hot Topic, (a glorified fan-game that's a crappy excuse of) a hack-and-slash launching on Steam, Volume 4 premiering on October 22 (with trailers for each main character that will be released leading up to it's premier), and freakin' books to extend the universe coming in 2017, the series has definitely taken off. Why, though? Why did it become so popular? Why do people like it so much? I've been thinking about those questions quite a bit, so I have decided to write a review of the three released volumes (which are pretty much all one season, due to length and pacing). I'll be upfront and say the show's flawed- but if you've read the title, you may be able to guess where this is going. I'm going to make this as spoiler-free as possible, with more spoilery comments/thoughts hidden away under the appropriate tag at the bottom. I'll start off with a synopsis, before giving my thoughts on each volume, and then concluding with some general thoughts at the end. What the heck is this show about? Humanity has always been locked in a struggle with The Grimm- basically, think Heartless but based off of real-life animals and with Oni mask-like faces. 4 Kingdoms across the world eventually formed, with defenders to keep The Grimm at bay- Huntsman and Huntresses. These Hunters use specialized weapons to fight The Grimm, but also something else- aura. To quote one character, "It's like a force-field". It's basically used to let characters get slapped around and get up only winded, as well as a quasi-justification for "anime physics" stuff in the show. Technically, it's a "projection of a person's soul"- every living creature has it (and Grimm explicitly don't- hence the Heartless comparison). Those who refine their aura eventually unlock their semblance- a special ability that's tied to their very soul. There's moving so fast that it may as well be short-range teleportation, leaving behind weaponized after-images, turning into an animal, telekinesis on a fairly large scale- you get the picture. The show focuses on four huntresses in particular; first year students at Beacon Academy (basically this universe's Hogwarts), who get involved in something big and end up slowly getting involved in and uncovering an "end of the world as we know it" plan. That's pretty much all I'll say here. So, nothing super original- I straight-up made Kingdom Hearts and Harry Potter comparisons. It's definitely very anime inspired- a Japanese artist did the first concept art for the characters, the show's started to take off in Japan, and what we've seen of volume 4 and the new animation tools almost definitely has it looking like a 3D anime. If you can't stand some stock anime tropes, then yeah this show isn't for you. Moving on... . Volume 1 I'll be upfront: it's a 2-hour pilot that was released in sixteen parts. If you started watching when Volume 1 was first airing and dropped it, I can't blame you. There's no real continuous plot thread throughout the whole season, and the out of combat animation is fairly stiff- the program they used wasn't even meant for animation (Poser 2014), and was used by Monty Oum's insistence because that's what he was familiar with. The natural environments have this simplistic "artistic" feel to them, while the man-made environments are fairly by the numbers. Also, background characters are animated as silhouettes- which are mostly using models of pre-existing characters. The voice acting, though not as bad as what was demonstrated in the original trailers, is a bit amateurish from the main characters. This makes sense, as they didn't have much experience going in- they improve quite a bit for the next two volumes. As I said earlier, it's basically one big pilot- it's best watched in one or two sittings. The point of this volume was to establish the characters and setting. The highlight of the volume is episode 8, with a major fight scene. They put a lot of effort into it, and with how fluid and awesome it turned out to be, it shows. 8 characters, split into groups of four (the fair main character and the four main supporting characters), each taking on a different monster. They went all out- this was Monty Oum's area of expertise, after all. There's bits of action throughout the volume, but it's mostly focused here. The ending of the volume mostly teases things to come- which works nicely now, since you can watch what's to come, but for the people watching when it was first releasing, a tease as a climax didn't work for everybody. On it's own, it's not that great and is nothing special. Volume 2 The show hits its stride here; the volume is made up of 12 episodes, but is three hours long. Now that the characters have been established and been through things together, more is done with their interactions. There's a fair amount of stuff in this volume that made me actually laugh out loud. The plot starts moving a bit and more of the actual antagonists are shown. One of my favorite scenes in particular has the main characters discuss what drives them. One of them, who had already had the most development from Volume 1 to 2, gave an answer that made me respect her a lot- enough that she's my favorite character in the series (and yes, that's who my avi is of). The animation has gotten noticeably better; the environments have improved, and the background silhouettes have been retired. Out-of-combat animation is also smoother, due to the use of motion capture software. The VA's have also grown into their roles, making things on a whole much better than volume 1. There are three episodes with major fight scenes in them: episodes 4, 11, and 12. Of those, 4 is my favorite- you see teamwork between the main characters, a couple side characters get in on things, and overall it's flashy and fun. 11 is a different situation, with a sense of urgency and functioning more as a series of 1v1 encounters. 12- which is the Volume finale -is disappointing. It's too large scale, with too many characters each fighting their own little fight. Instead of any big fights, it feels like it's back and forth between smaller ones in a vacuum- in episode 11, it was still a bit smaller scale and felt like four consecutive fight scenes. And then the worst offender; basically, the cavalry comes and what had been built up as a very dangerous situation ends up getting swept away. It was rushed, but it serves to highlight a problem with the first two volumes' fight scenes: there's no real tension. Either the good guys completely curbstomp the bad guys, or the bad guys curbstomp the good guys only for the good guys to get reinforced. The ending of volume 2, continuing the trend of "all three volumes are really one season", feels like more of a mid-season finale. Granted, it's definitely not as disappointing as volume 1's ending, but it's certainly not climactic. Volume 3 The creator and lead animator/writer Monty Oum died mid-production. Some people feared that the show would be cancelled, but co-director Kerry Shawcross and co-writer Miles Luna stepped up and took over. What happened is the most divisive volume to date. The volume starts out with (and largely takes place around) a tournament. I'll be honest: the first three episodes have what I consider the worst fights in the series. The 4v4 tournament fights have this stilted feeling to them- some blame the lack of Monty's involvement, while I believe this is a problem with the show in general. When you have to focus on different characters each doing their own thing, the flow of combat kinda gets wrecked. This happened at the end of Volume 2, and honestly I didn't even notice it at first this time- a testament more towards how well-choreographed the fight scenes were in the first two volumes than these scenes being bad. Talking is a free action, indeed, and the fighters introduced in the 4v4 segments come off as completely incompetent. Then episode 3 has a 1v1 fight, and... it's my least favorite fight in the series. The animation is stilted, it's not that long, and it relies way too much on effects; parts of it feel like a stereotypical DBZ fight. However, the rest of the fights in the volume range from decent to good; the very next fight, a 2v2, feels just like something out of the first two volumes (the music helped). In general, I'm less of the inclination to say "Monty's gone, therefore the animation sucks now" and think that it's largely "Their lead animator died and they've got a bunch of fights at the beginning that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things; hence they were just getting their bearings and cut some corners". The big thing that happened in this volume is the story. The story really gets moving. The thing is, the first three volumes were mostly written out at the same time. However, Monty Oum decided to add an aspect to the show in this volume that wasn't planned. It's not done perfectly, but it was mostly passable. However, a certain instance makes a few characters feel like idiots, and the antagonists' complete domination feels a bit too complete. It's one plot hole that could easily be missed, but it just doesn't reflect well on certain characters. Oh, yeah. This volume gets dark. It's probably the darkest thing Rooster Teeth has ever put out. A couple side characters die (one of which who pretty much got promoted to main character for part of the season). Other stuff happens to characters, and some people found this turn of events disarming. The thing is, I saw them coming; most of the big stuff was foreshadowed, and the music lyric's were hinting at something big. Though some people didn't like the character deaths, I did. It got the series moving and felt climactic. We also, unfortunately, got to see how Monty Oum had been both a blessing and a curse to the project. There's a Diablos Ex Machina towards the end that gets completely nullified by something that was hinted at but used as a Deus Ex Machina. The Diablos Ex and the aforementioned plot hole really illustrates that Monty Oum is no storyteller. Even though the volume was released after his death, he still had a hand in things. The Deus Ex (which is a reveal of a certain characters' powers) could've been handled very differently and much better involving only the removal of the Diablos Ex. My problem is that people have taken to blaming this on Kerry and Miles (the current director and writer of the series, respectively), when from what we've seen they did make changes, and most who've seen them agree those changes were for the better; they just couldn't change big things, because of the various issues of doing so in the midst of production after Monty's passing. Miles wrote the Chorus Trilogy for Red vs Blue (which, though it has it's detractors, I'd say was solidly written and properly built up/foreshadowed big twists and events), so I have hopes for Volume 4- since they only have a basic outline left behind by Monty, and the changes that they made bode well to me. Though Volume 3 itself had it's flaws, it got the story moving forward and opened up more venues for character development. The things that happened to certain characters will have major effects on them, be it confronting massive barriers or simply moving on. The Soundtrack One of the things that's been consistently great throughout the show has been the soundtrack. Composed by Rooster Teeth veteran Jeff Williams and sung by his daughter Casey Lee Williams, it's awesome. There's pumping alt-rock tracks galore, but there's also variety to it. The lyrics are attuned to specific characters/events- heck, both the volume 1 and 2 intro themes teased the dark turn of events in volume 3. Conclusion RWBY is a show that's taken a while to gain it's footing; it's not flawless by any means, and it's not for everybody. But I've found something that I enjoy a lot and am looking forward to the future of- something that generally doesn't happen with me outside of videogames. As the review title says, half the fun (for me at least) has been watching the show grow and progress- even when it's held back by low production values or the creator's death. Plus, the seeds have been planted for interesting main characters- seeds that are beginning to sprout. It's certainly not amazing, but it's become something almost special to me- it's something that I'm a fan of. There are things that I like, and there are things I'm a fan of. Harry Potter, Halo- I like those things. Monster Hunter, Fire Emblem,- I'm a fan of those things. I recognize it's issues, but enjoy it nonetheless. Now, for those of you who don't care about spoilers/have watched the show, here are my comments on a few certain spoilery things:
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