By Shirow Miwa, Rooster Teeth, Monty Oum
This was actually a rather somber chapter, and a welcomed departure from the earlier chapters. Chapter 3 established that the Schnee’s secretary is a rather ruthless man, and the back-and-fourth between Weiss and her father’s secretary continues in this chapter. The Schnee’s secretary previously released a gruesome monster in order to break Weiss’ spirit. In chapter 4 Weiss’ father’s secretary continues his merciless psychological attack, and we’re also given a glimpse of Weiss’ backstory.
Weiss is reminded of her sister during the battle, and the barrier she faces is not just physical. but a mental barrier too. Weiss’ heart wavers with memories from her childhood. It becomes apparent Weiss was a musician in her youth. although it is not entirely clear if she continued those pursuits. The contrast between her childhood and present self is masterfully portrayed. The RWBY manga seems to have finally taken the cue that more dialogue is not necessarily better, as this chapter actually has little spoken dialogue in it. Instead, chapter 4 utilizes a heavy reliance on visual storytelling.
Miwa’s strengths are beautifully showcased in RWBY, and that shines through this chapter. There’s a saying, actions speak louder than words, and that is thoroughly exemplified this chapter. The fight scene with the Grimm is intricately interwoven with Weiss’s past, and manages to greatly develop Weiss’ character. Throughout the fight Weiss manages to overcome the incredibly large hurtle the Schnee’s secretary set for her. Through a brief exchange at the end of the chapter it becomes clear that the Schnee’s secretary may be more than just a one-off villain. Though her father isn’t present this chapter, a great deal is said about his personality.
Perpetually trying to satisfy her desire for a life of excitement, Weiss spends much of her life under her father’s thumb so to speak. It will be interesting in future chapters, should the series choose to explore this dynamic further, as it was genuinely compelling. It is difficult attempting to placate those who place hurdles in the path of life’s progress, and doubly so should the hurtle include a psychological component. It is easier investing in Weiss as a character knowing that there is more to her personality than simply the cold, wealthy person.
Chapter 4 of RWBY finds a good balance between the manga’s strong points, while improving the banter, and interlacing it in the chapter instead of being a brick wall of text as was seen in chapter one. Yes, this is effectively an advertisement for the animated RWBY series. however it is one that is vastly improving with each passing chapter. I sincerely hope the series continues to improve upon itself. Shirow Miwa is a talented artist when it comes to action scenes, and it is finally starting to feel his talents are not wasted on this project. This has easily been the strongest chapter to date and my anticipation for more could not be understated in the slightest. RWBY is quickly becoming a series to keep an eye on, as it climbs a hill of improvement with each passing chapter.