In reply to CPY98
"The Battle of Haven"
...Which I just explained was an awkward, poorly handled mess that struggled to form the most token notion of sense.
The ability to 'amplify another's aura,' thus relegating him eternally to a support role instead of ever coming into his own. It's better than the healing semblance we all THOUGHT he was going to have, especially with how blatantly telegraphed and cliche it was with the Weiss fakeout, but what about aura amplification would have brought the intrigue Tyrian showed for him? The show spent five volumes telling us he was this grand late bloomer only to ensure he stays at the back of the bus forever. I'd say this was Miles in this idiosyncratic equivocation he has with the character HE voices, except while he's humbling himself before the other cast members... that same character is upstaging Ruby freaking Rose who literally does nothing the entire season.
"the character development we got throughout the course of the volume"
By that I'm assuming you mean Weiss, Blake, Yang, Jaune and Ilia, the latter of the two which had serious issues.
Because apart from that, everything surrounding them basically got shafted. Ruby Rose didn't GET developed, she got SHIPPED with Oscar. Every single moment she had that could have been her own involved him. While her finally acknowledging what happened at Beacon is nice, and I appreciated the mature tone Lindsay has taken to convey this sort of "new," wiser side to Ruby herself, I can't pretend we weren't totally robbed at the Battle of Haven. I don't think Jaune's freakout at Cinder was inappropriate, and was actually one of the more memorable moments of the series... but like I said before, Ruby and Cinder then never exchange words, when Cinder herself has basically marked her for death and thereby as her main rival. The most token conversation between the two of them would have done a lot to improve things in a general sense, and now there's the real danger that it might never happen at all.
A strong part of me believes the reason Ruby HASN'T seen much of any development, asked any questions, had any real agency over her situation... is because everything involving her past, her mother and her personal demons has been designated as endgame material by M&K, who are stalling until they can finally reveal things they've been hiding from the start.
Oscar himself has been this lame half-character who has gotten these moments of development, but as with WHAT drove him to actually go to Mistral as Ozpin said, we never SEE what spurs him to go from being afraid to fight to "putting others before himself." I don't hate him personally, but it's impossible to FEEL anything in regard to him when the core of his development happened off-screen.
Raven seems to make some breakthroughs with Yang, which was one of the better handled moments at the end of the Volume... but this is after they completely gloss over important details. Namely, WHY Raven left their family in the first place. Yang asks this directly and Raven effectively ignores the question and there isn't even this significant shot of her looking conflicted or averting her eyes for a second to make the audience feel she's being deliberately evasive. Instead it feels like the answer had BEEN there before but gotten edited out of the final scene.
As I said with Cinder, her whole goal has been to murder Ruby for what she did to her, and finding out more about WHAT happened on Beacon Tower was one of the things I wanted most from this Volume, but that never actually happened. Cinder gets sidetracked, and instead of being vengeful, cold and interesting like Volume 4 implied when she couldn't speak, she goes right back to being smug and loses everything that made her interesting. She had this one moment to be awesome with the real, canonized threat of her becoming a DOUBLE MAIDEN, prompting a reunited Team RWBY to work in sync once more to drive her off, but now everything is up in the air. The writers might actually be dumb enough to decide Cinder is old news and that they need to move on, and if that happens then this series is officially dead to me.
Hazel starts the Volume off really interesting by showing he values human life, but became a roiding berserker, working for pure evil and killing the world because his sister was killed accidentally. He's a walking contradiction and a hypocrite and thus became utterly uninteresting, and was one of the most critical failures of the volume.
Yes, if anything truly defined the complete mess that was Volume 5, it was the clumsily handled storytelling, in which nothing happens until SOMETHING happens, and most of what happens is idiotic and extremely unsatisfying. I feel like you're taking the fact that Volume 5 was necessarily supposed to reunite the team, host the forewarned attack on Haven, and end with the leads winning and showing they've bounced back from the Fall of Beacon... as an appraisal of how EFFECTIVELY it tries to do all those things. It's not about whether those things ultimately happened, but whether it was done WELL. And I can't tell you that with a straight face. Yang was the only one whose arc in the volume ended on a satisfactory note. Everything else felt like a half-measure. Lip service. A technicality.
"fight choreography was at its peak in this volume."
In one regard you're correct... the few moments they decided to animate action, the animation itself was of better quality than say, the awkward motion we saw in Volume 4. But as I mentioned, RWBY's combat hasn't been given the ability to be what it was before. Ilia vs Blake and Raven vs Cinder were the only fights to really feel like RWBY, because those fights made ample use of the environment and the verticality of the battlefield.
Of the Battle of Haven's many sins, I think the worst is just what a boring, unimaginative arena they chose to cram it into. The characters are forced onto a flat floor devoid of any cover objects, any features or landmarks. Nothing they can swing off of, nothing they can weaponize against their opponent or use to gain a height advantage. They might as well be fighting in a big empty gymnasium. And like I mentioned, the kinetic, superhuman nature of their fights is so tone downed from V1-3 that it's ridiculous. It's impossible to get a handle on how much better any of them are at fighting, aside from stupid things like Ruby headbutting Mercury, as the worst example of a character arc I have ever seen.
"Yes. Everything else was worth writing home about. My friends and I, who have been RWBY fans since Volume 2 at the latest, would talk for at least an hour about all the brilliant choices that the writers made, how all the fight scenes lived up to the hype, as well as speculating where the story would go next, and how they would manage to top this masterpiece of a volume."
You either know nothing about storytelling, or your standards are so lax you would have accepted anything without question.
RWBY peaked in Volume 3, 4 was flawed but fine, but 5 has left Monty spinning in his grave. Nobody wanted a return to form in this Volume more than I, and nobody is desperately hoping for Volume 6 to salvage what's left of this series more than I.
But as I watched Volume 5 drag on, I couldn't ignore its failings and mounting issues of focus, pacing, worldbuilding and how blatantly a series about FIGHTING has gone to excessive lengths to avoid showing it, even at the expense of character moments ripe for exploration. All squandered. Moments we can never have, or never take back because the opportunity came and went and got left on the table.