RWBY: Volume 9 – Episode 7 ‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ REVIEW

Things finally come to a head with Ruby.

rwby the perils of paper houses

While last week’s ‘Confessions within Cumulonimbus Clouds’ stands out in this volume for confirming the Bumblebee ship, it was relatively average in terms of story. However, the fandom has also eagerly anticipated watching Ruby reach her breaking point. Throughout this volume, Ruby’s mental state has been steadily degrading, and ‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ finally delivers on that, directly impacting RWBY’s future as a team and their quest.

‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ opens with Jaune saving his town from a disaster. It’s revealed that he has been living in a paper town full of things called Paper Pleasers. Regular catastrophes strike the town daily, some caused by the Paper Pleasers themselves, but Jaune has always stopped them from happening. I can’t help but think they are basically this universe’s equivalent of Mr. Meeseeks from Rick and Morty – a being that exists to serve but also just wants to die (the Paper Pleasers call it being resurrected, but the idea is still there).

After stopping the first catastrophe, the group go and have breakfast. The dialogue isn’t really anything particularly noteworthy – RWBY are trying to figure out their next step, the Ever Afterans expositing more about the tree and that it doesn’t hold death despite Jaune’s fears. This discussion results in an argument that is cut off when a group of Jabberwalkers attack the town.

The fight scene that follows is decent. The fight choreography is very good, and it felt like the proper extended action sequence that most of this volume has been missing. There are a couple of nit-picks, though. Yang powering up, for example. Apart from the hair flaring up, the actual animation feels very stiff and lacking. Yang’s power-up in the yellow trailer feels much more fluid and impactful despite having a lower budget when it was released back in 2013.

One of the Jabberwalkers attacks a stunned Ruby and is about to eat her when the rest of RWBY intervenes. The Jabberwalker is revealed to be Neo, who disappears. In the moment, it feels intimidating. But upon reflection, how would that actually work? Did Neo just possess a Jabberwalker who would have actually eaten Ruby? Or was it just a visual illusion for everyone while Neo stabbed her?

The fight lasts long enough for the Paper Pleasers to destroy a dam, flooding their town and taking the residents with it, which transitions into a scene that is a highlight of its plot development. Ruby, who has been a beacon of hope in previous volumes, finally reaches her breaking point, and Lindsay Jones’ performance in this scene serves well enough. However, despite this being a significant moment for Ruby’s character, Jaune steals the show here.

While Jaune has been previously criticised as a character for never quite having his own role, he has significantly improved this volume. His questionable mental state from being alone in the Ever After for so long and his trauma-induced saviour complex have made him a much more interesting persona. Miles Luna’s performance during this scene is especially noteworthy, fluctuating between being angry at Ruby to being mournful of their circumstances.

‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ concludes with Ruby and Little running away from the group. Honestly, this is probably the strongest episode in terms of story for this volume. One way it could have been improved was to spend more time with the Paper Pleasers. They are literally introduced and destroyed all within the space of ten minutes. If there had been more time for the audience to get more emotionally attached to these characters, their loss would have had more of an impact.

While the previous episode may have been a nice moment for the fandom, ‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ really served volume 9 well. Ruby’s breakdown and Jaune’s struggles in this episode are compelling and serve the plot’s advancement. Despite the Paper Pleasers’ all-too-brief existence, and its other flaws like Yang’s animation, ‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ is a solid, story-focused episode.

READ NEXT: RWBY: Volume 9 Episodes Guide – Release Dates, Times & More

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rwby the perils of paper houses
With good character writing for Ruby and Jaune and even better performances from Miles Luna and Lindsay Jones, ‘The Perils of Paper Houses’ is so far the strongest episode of an otherwise average volume.