Sal-u-tations, all! I'm a first-time poster here, as I'm EXTREMELY new to the RWBY fandom, but... well, I've pretty much fallen completely in love with it over the last week and a half or so, binging the whole thing as quickly as possible (and then re-binging it almost immediately afterward!). And I've recently realized how important it is to let content creators know how much their work is appreciated and anticipated, so I've decided to post here in hopes that the Rooster Teeth staff will see this message and glean a little bit of encouragement from it.
I feel I should come clean, though, about my full intentions: the impetus for me posting this is the negativity I've seen online regarding RWBY volumes 4 and especially 5, which I'm hoping I can counteract a bit. I work in video game localization, and I can say from experience how disheartening it is when large swaths of the fandom rally against something you've put all your heart and soul into -- and I don't want to see you guys get discouraged or lose faith in the RWBY project because of this, as I genuinely think you're doing an absolutely wonderful job with the series. Monty would no doubt be very, very proud of how you're all handling his baby.
I was introduced to RWBY less than a month ago when I happened upon the first volume DVD in Little Tokyo for $5 and decided I'd give the show a shot -- I'd heard a lot of good things about it, but also heard some bad things about it (a lot of the things I'm referring to in the paragraph above), so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Especially since I've NEVER watched anything else Rooster Teeth has ever put out before, nor have I ever been interested in any of it (modern internet humor and machinima generally do nothing for me). And heck, if I'm being completely honest, I'm also not a big fan of fight scenes in general -- impressive fight choreography is undoubtedly cool to see, but absolutely non-essential to my enjoyment, as I'm always far more interested in good world and character development. A well-written and poignant conversation scene will always win out over even the most badass of fight scenes, in my book... and is much harder to get right, too, which is why I'm consistently so impressed that you all totally nail it every time in RWBY!
Anyway, after purchasing that volume 1 DVD, I popped it in, and... well, truth be told, I can't say I absolutely loved it, but I definitely saw a lot of potential for greatness in it. It reminded me very much of one of the more popular games we've released, "The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel," due to its minutely detailed setting and characters. And I could tell there was an even deeper world behind what I was seeing. (The fact that the music was EAR-MELTINGLY AMAZING didn't hurt, either!)
So, I went on Amazon and ordered volumes 2-5 on DVD, since none of the DVDs were very expensive and I was fairly confident I'd at least get my money's worth from them.
Once they arrived, I eargerly popped in volume 2 and selected to watch it contiguously as a movie (why was that option dropped from the volume 5 DVD? I really quite missed it! Please bring it back for volume 6, even if the movie winds up being 4 hours long!), and from that point on, I was utterly hooked -- I basically binge-watched volumes 3-5 in a single weekend, and they were practically all I could think about during work the whole next week. I've since watched all the character shorts and World of Remnant specials, and all of RWBY Chibi as well, and I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for volume 6.
I've seen a lot of people complain about volumes 4 and 5, claiming that there's not enough action and/or not enough character development... and personally, I dunno what they're talking about! Volume 4 was basically perfect, and is probably my favorite volume in the whole series thus far -- between the Nora/Ren development, Jaune dealing with his grief, Yang overcoming her PTSD, lots of choice Qrow moments, that crazy epic Kuroyuri fight, that utterly fantastic monologue as Ruby writes her letter to Yang (seriously, what a superb ending to the volume!), Blake and Sun bonding, Blake's parents, Weiss' escape, Weiss' song, plus the whole "journey/adventure" feel in general (which I'm ALWAYS a sucker for!), there was really no way I WOULDN'T love basically everything about that season. Add in some of the best music tracks in the series to date, too (This Life Is Mine! Home! Armed and Ready! Boop acoustic! Bad Luck Charm!), and yeah... volume 4 pretty much ruled. And volume 5... was indeed a little slow-paced compared to its predecessors, but that's not always a bad thing. Especially when you consider what all we LEARNED during it; the plot development was absolutely unreal! SO MUCH was revealed in volume 5, and I feel like the characters all grew as people quite considerably. Plus, I absolutely adored the addition of Oscar to the cast! Volume 5 was certainly not my favorite, but it was still OUTSTANDING, and it had a lot of really superb moments that deeply resonated with me (the Ruby/Oscar conversation in the training hall being the big one -- I totally cried during that! -- but also the reunion of Ruby and Yang, the reflection on everyone's past, the numerous confrontations between Yang and Raven, and Blake's rather poignant conversation with Sun about how she associates people with specific concepts, not to mention the seemingly impossible task of rallying the Faunus to defend Haven!).
Basically, what I'm saying (to Rooster Teeth specificially) is... constructive criticism is all well and good, and if you guys are taking feedback from your fans, that's great! Just... please don't rely too much on what the fans demand. Do your own thing. Use your best judgment and work toward Monty's vision as best as you can, no matter what the fans may think of it. And try not to be discouraged if people tell you your work sucks, or RWBY has gone downhill... because it doesn't, and it hasn't. RWBY has engaged me like very few shows ever have before (volume 5 included), and I know for certain I'm not alone -- but I also know that satisfied fans are much less likely to thank you for doing a great job than dissatisfied fans are to chastise you for "sucking." It's human nature to criticize, but... not as much human nature (especially on the internet!) to praise. And while I can't speak for others, I can at least tell you that I personally am THOROUGHLY INVESTED in this story, and have absolutely fallen head-over-heels in love with the world and people of Remnant. You've all done an amazing job fleshing it out and really creating a mature, multi-faceted story with fun yet extremely deep and well-written characters that stand up to even the tightest of narrative scrutiny. I've seen a lot of people claim that character development was all but nonexistent in volume 5, but frankly, I feel like those are people who are perhaps too young to really appreciate what you've all done with that volume, as it's almost shockingly nuanced, filled with social commentary, symbolism, and intelligent dialogue and character arcs that I think may appeal more to older demographics... which suits me just fine, being a ripe old man of 38. ;) I wish you all the best in continuing this wonderful series, and though I'm new to it, I can confidently say that I will be with you all to the bitter end now -- as I'm sure will many, many others.
I hope other people respond to this post with similar messages of encouragement, too, to let you all know that you're doing an amazing job and we're psyched to see what happens next to this incredible cast of characters you've created!
Thanks for reading, and best of luck to you on your future endeavors!
P.S. Favorite episode has to be "No Safe Haven," though "Family" is a close second, and like, the entire second half of volume three could vie for third. Favorite song is... impossible to pick, but "Home" and "This Life Is Mine" are REALLY high up there. Recent favorite song is "Armed and Ready," though, which is just such an encouraging anthem for Yang! Favorite character is... also impossible to pick, but I guess I'd go with Ruby herself in a pinch (though Jaune, Yang, and Nora are very close! And I have a bit of a soft spot for Oscar, and of course Qrow, and... well, I could keep going, heheh). And favorite opening, both visually and in terms of music, is volume 2's "Time to Say Goodbye" (though narratively, volume 3's "When It Falls" is the most hauntingly bleak and fitting). And even though volume 4 is my personal favorite volume overall, I'd say volume 3 is objectively the "best." It kind of has to be, considering what all happens during it! Tough act to follow, too, which is part of why volume 4 impressed me so much -- you guys depicted the aftermath of volume 3 as perfectly as I could ever imagine, and really changed up the tone of the series in a very necessary way.
Tl;dr version: Thank you, Rooster Teeth, for creating what is quickly becoming my new favorite show, and if any of the negativity I've seen online has been getting to you, please know that there are plenty of people out there who love what you're doing, exactly the way you're doing it, and wouldn't want to see you change a thing.