‘Altercation at the Auspicious Auction’ was a bit disappointing as an episode, with issues that were too big to ignore, such as the cut corners in the animation and the hints at Bumblebee. However, by comparison, ‘Rude, Red and Royal’ is a much more compelling episode with some interesting new characters and a fun action scene.
‘Rude, Red and Royal’ opens with RWBY being introduced to the Red Prince (voiced by Michael Malconian). Two things should be noted here, the first is that this character can literally be summarised by the episode’s name: rude, red and royal. When he is presented with Penny’s sword, he throws it away because it’s green and beheads the guards who take credit for getting it for him. Also, why is this whole Weiss being the more comedic of the group starting to become a trend?
After a threatening introduction, Ruby invites the Prince to play a game, which, if RWBY wins, the Prince will help them to the tree to get home, shrinking down the rest of team RWBY when Ruby points out she is missing some game pieces. Upon first watching this, it had the potential to be an interesting scene. Ruby, who has been doubting herself and now has her teammates’ lives on the line, must use her leadership skills. At first, the game doesn’t go well for her, so there could have been a dramatic moment where Ruby, doubtful but persistent and with the help of her teammates, claws her way to victory.
Yet this potential comes out lacking. After a brief interrogation from the Prince in which Ruby reveals they are humans, he orders all the pieces on the board to attack Blake, Weiss and Yang. Admittedly, this is a pretty decent fight scene – the song playing in the background is great, and the finishing move with Yang using a broadsword, along with Weiss and Blake’s help, is just awesome.
The Bumblebee hinting is becoming obnoxious. Also, as this volume seems to focus on Ruby’s self-doubt and rekindle her hope, the writers could’ve leaned more into this. Why doesn’t the Prince’s guard attack Ruby while this is happening, separating her from her friends and forcing her to defend herself in hand-to-hand combat? Ruby also doesn’t get to show off much of her leadership, apart from a short piece of dialogue with the Red Prince.
Despite RWBY winning the game, the Prince orders them to be beheaded. But something has been watching them. The Curious Cat (voiced by Robbie Daymond) convinces the Prince to spare the lives of RWBY and helps the group escape the castle, with Weiss, Blake and Yang still staying in the miniature sizes.
The Cat’s animation stylistically contrasts with the rest of the cast. Coloured in a light purple and blue checkered pattern, it’s a nice design choice against the red of the Prince’s castle, but sometimes, he looks completely flat. The casting for his character is on point. Among his voice credits, which include Mumen Rider from One Punch Man and Tuxedo mask in the VizMedia dub of Sailor Moon, Daymond has also done audiobook voicing, and that cool, smooth voice really works well for the character, especially in the dialogue where he calms down the angry Prince. Speaking of dialogue, he’s got some good lines:
“Promises are like birds. They taste great but always escape.”
After helping the group escape, the Curious Cat asks his own questions about RWBY, and the team learns that, as Weiss puts it, “we’re not in the stupid story after all. We’re in its stupid sequel.” There are hints throughout the previous episode – the Jinxy peddler appearing to be older, Alyx’s knife being replaced with Yang’s arm – but Weiss pointing it out feels like a bit of a cop-out, especially considering she wasn’t convinced they were in a fairy tale.
However, the Curious Cat gets distracted and runs away, forcing Ruby to chase him. The episode ends when Neo lands in the Jabberwalker’s acre, seemingly overpowering it when she discovers she can use her semblance to clone herself in this universe.
While RWBY as a show has an insanely large cast that only gets bigger with each volume, the Red Prince and the Curious Cat are fun additions to this part of the story. Even if he is just Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen as a childish brat, the Red Prince is appealing as an antagonist when he’s on screen, and the Curious Cat is intriguing as a character. The animation has improved since episode 2, and while the fight scene on the board may not be the best action RWBY has to offer, it still is pretty good – I have to reiterate how jaw-dropping the finishing move was.
However, there are hints of something better. Ruby’s change of heart in the face of the Prince feels a bit sudden and unearned (unless the writers are going with the angle of her showing doubt to her allies and no one else). Also, it’ll be interesting to see how Neo affects the plot because, so far, the Red Prince has all the promise of being the best threat to RWBY in the Ever After.
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‘Rude, Red and Royal’ improved from the previous episode, with some threat added to RWBY’s adventure in the Ever After and much-needed action
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