Team RWBY dropped in to MCM London Comic Con to meet their dedicated army of UK fans this weekend! Headed by the power team that is Lindsay Jones (Ruby Rose), Barbara Dunkelman (Yang Xiao Long), Kara Eberle (Weiss Schnee) and Arryn Zech (Blake Belladonna), RWBY is machinima/live action/let’s play-powerhouse Rooster Teeth’s first foray into the world of anime, telling the story of four girls learning to be huntresses in a world on the brink of war.
Created by Monty Oum (Dead Fantasy, Haloid), it of course has some epic battle choreography, but is also a show with a great deal of heart, both of which factors helped it become an overnight success for Rooster Teeth.
We chatted to the girls about everything RWBY, from the impact the show has had to RWBY cosplayers and what’s in store for volume four.
What do you love about the show and your characters?
Kara: “The fans – all the different cosplayers and fan artists are absolutely incredible. As for my character, I voice Weiss, who’s a bit sarcastic and ‘socially unintelligent’, but over time she learns to work with her team and not focus on herself as much.”
Arryn: “I like that RWBY brings fans of all ages together, from 60-year olds to 7-year olds. I like that my character Blake has such an interesting past dealing with prejudice, which a lot of people deal with, whether it’s race, sexuality… it’s great that she’s able to give people relatability.”
Barbara: “I love the fans; the response we get from the show. It blew up bigger than we ever thought it would. We connect to so many people who have made friendships through the show. I love Yang’s spunk and positivity, how she cares for the people she loves. She’s passionate and it shows.”
Lindsay: “A lot of the girls’ personality traits are similar to ours. I can relate to things Ruby can relate to; I’m socially awkward, so is she. Plus I enjoy becoming a different person through voice acting, someone different to ‘Lindsay’.”
Kara: “The first convention I went to in Dallas with Monty. It was the best moment ever. We were looking down onto the con floor, and Monty saw a RWBY cosplay. The first episode hadn’t even been released yet. He ran immediately down, and he was so excited – she didn’t know who he was, and he was like, ‘I made you, hi!’ I’ll never forget that moment personally – who dresses up as something you haven’t even seen yet?!”
Barbara: “When we played the first episode at RTX. (Rooster Teeth’s annual convention in Austin, Texas.) People had seen the trailers and were excited for it, but filling a 3,000-people theatre with people who were screaming was… that reaction was amazing, and that’s when we knew it was going to be big.”
What made RWBY an overnight success?
Barbara: “Each of the characters is relatable. Blake is reserved but intelligent and has a crazy past, Yang is crazy, rambunctious and motherly, etc. Everyone we meet says things like ‘Oh, I’m the Yang of my group.’ Also the look of the show is beautiful and very unique. But it’s a combination of a lot of things.”
Arryn: “Having Monty’s name on it, who was famous from other things like Dead Fantasy, definitely helped.”
Kara: “Everyone loves the fight choreography, it’s so cool, and we’re totally surprised and impressed every time we see one of those scenes.”
What are you most proud of from the show?
Lindsay: “We were worried about the reception we’d get, since we’re a western company producing something normally related to Japan. Funnily enough, we showed our Japanese cohorts RWBY and they started arguing about whether it was anime or not! But seeing the reception from audiences is so surreal, and we never expected it.Ú
Kara: “We’re so proud. We’ve been to England, Scotland, Japan… the international interest is hard to believe! We’re just four normal girls and there are hundreds of thousands of people who know who we are! We’re so grateful for it.”
What are your favourite fight sequences?
Kara: “The volume one Nevermore scene, that initial big one where Ruby runs up the mountain and cuts off the Nevermore’s head. It’s the first time we see team RWBY working together and defeating something – coming up on top, literally!”
Barbara: “My two favourite fights are the Nevermore fight in the forest and in volume two when they fight the mech on the highway. It’s a personal favourite because you get to see more of Yang and how she fights. A little selfish on my part but yeah!”
Arryn: “I like when they do the team fights – the food fight was fun! Ruby and Weiss tend to do a lot of combination attacks, and I noticed Blake and Yang tend to do the same – I love when they worked together in that way. The more the team gets together as a group the more interesting the attacks become.”
If you could have a special fighting power (semblance) like the characters in RWBY, what would you choose?
Lindsay: “I’d have the power to summon and attack with cats!”
Arryn: “I might be biased but I’d have Blake’s, it’s just so cool. I’d love to make a fire version of myself.”
Barbara: “Yang becomes more powerful with every hit she takes, so yeah, I’d have hers!”
What’re you excited for in volume four?
Kara: “Seeing all the characters separated and on their own journeys; seeing them individually and not as a team. It’s something the audience hasn’t seen before.”
Barbara: “There are real stakes now. The first three volumes, you felt like nothing could hurt these girls, that they’re invincible, which was true for a while. But things got real in volume three – very real – and now they’re out in the real world, dealing with death, scary people… definitely keep an eye on that!”
How do you de-stress?
Barbara: “I do another character in another show Rooster Teeth used to do, X-ray and Vav, Orf, which is a robot ‘that sounds like this!’ – I’ll do a cheerful line for Yang and sometimes Orf slips out! I have to keep an eye on that!” (Listen to this answer below.)
With the sad passing of the show’s creator, Monty Oum, how were things moving into volume four?
Kara: “‘Keep moving forward,’ was the mantra with volume four. It was Monty’s mantra, and it fits.”
Barbara: “We’re very proud of what we’ve done with and without him, and we want to keep doing something amazing no matter what.”
Lindsay: “Yeah, he’d be the one saying, ‘Keep going, stop being sad!’”
Lindsay: “I hope so. I think so. There are definitely things about Ruby that I can relate to, like the social awkwardness.”
Kara: “Well, Weiss is an heiress, and Monty told me that he could imagine me as a princess, which I took as a compliment!”
Do you have any experiences with your community that have meant a lot to you?
Arryn: “I love when little kids come up dressed as Blake; it’s the most adorable thing and makes me so happy! I watched cartoons as a kid and now I’m someone’s cartoon!”
Kara: “A teacher came to us, and he uses RWBY as a teaching tool. It was a surprising moment – I wish I could have watched RWBY in school!”
Barbara: “It’s so humbling and we’re so proud to see people telling us how RWBY saved their life, or got them through depression. That’s all we need.”
Do you have a message for those people?
All: “Thank you!”
Barbara: “Everyone thanks us but it wouldn’t be possible without those watching, so thank you.”