Did all of you RWBY fans think Volume 3 was pretty traumatic to watch? Well, Rooster Teeth and the CRWBY took a look at that and said “Hold my beer!” for Volume 8.

RWBY Volume 8: Details

"RWBY Volume 8" key art.
You wish that Yang was as happy as she looks on the key art.

RWBY Volume 8 is the 8th season of this anime-esque adult animated series. The creator of this animated series was Monty Oum, may he rest in peace. Ourm also directed his series before his passing, and now Kerry Shawcross directs in his stead. Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross are the writers for the series, along with formerly Monty Oum (Volumes 1-3), Kiersi Burkhart (Volumes 7-present), and Eddy Rivas (Volumes 7-present). Jeff Williams, Alex Abraham (Volumes 2, 6-present), and Steve Goldshein (Volume 2) composed the music for the series. The series stars the voices of Lindsay Jones (Ruby Rose), Kara Eberle (Weiss Schnee), Arryn Zech (Blake Belladonna), and Barbara Dunkelman (Yang Xiao Long). Rooster Teeth Animations remains the production company behind this series. Lastly, Otter Media distributed this series.

RWBY Volume 8 premiered on November 7, 2020 and concluded on March 27, 2021 after a long hiatus between Ep. 99 and Ep. 100. You can watch all volumes of RWBY for free with ads on Rooster Teeth. If you want the permanent premium option though, then you can get the Blu-ray version of Volume 8 on outlets like Amazon.

Warning: spoilers for RWBY Volume 8 below. If you want to watch the trauma for yourself, stop here, and come back once you’ve returned from the horror show that was Atlas and Mantle.

RWBY Volume 8: Plot Summary

You can tell this is going to be a traumatic volume when the opening song goes back to hard rock.

RWBY Volume 8 picks up where we last left off on Volume 7: with Salem’s giant whale Grimm still hovering near Atlas, doing nothing but looking scary, all while basically serving as a mothership to a whole bunch of Grimm invading Mantle. With James Ironwood determined to leave Mantle to die, Teams RWBY, JNR, Oscar, and Penny spend a good portion of time helping Mantle civilians flee to shelters. This is only a temporary fix though, so they hatch a more permanent solution. The first step: raise the Amity Colosseum into the upper atmosphere so that they can get a warning out to the rest of the world. However, they need to get the launch codes from Atlas. Thus, the teams split up, with 1 team (led by Ruby) breaking back into Atlas, and the other team (led by Yang) continuing to help out with civilian evacuations in Mantle.

The Atlas team nabs the launch codes, but Penny loses one of her swords. They manage to launch Amity Colosseum and get part of the message out, but Cinder interrupts the broadcast and nearly takes out Penny. Penny though eventually falls to a hack on her via her lost sword and falls to the ground far below. Meanwhile, the Mantle team takes down some Grimm, but a talking Grimm kidnaps Oscar. The Mantle team tries to rescue him, but fails, and ends up lost in the frozen wasteland outside of Atlas, where they discover a giant Grimm river heading towards Mantle and Atlas.

It Gets Worse

AKA: How to give your audience an emotional sucker punch after sucker punch.

Winter and the Ace Ops team just happen to see them and captures them. They are about to bring them to Atlas when Grimm river uses Hydro Pump on Atlas, sending in Grimm that take out the city’s energy shields. With the shields down, Salem gets Whalem to land on Atlas, and unleash a tide of Grimm on the city like a giant landing ship.

As Atlas forces fight off the Grimm army coming out of Whalem, Winter and the Ace Ops team get orders to destroy Whalem. However, Yang and co. explain that Oscar is still trapped inside Whalem with Salem. She manages to convince Winter and co. to let them sneak into Whalem to rescue Oscar. Yang and co. find Oscar, along with Emerald, who is now defecting to their side. So is Hazel, but Hazel sacrifices himself to let everyone else escape. And also to let Oscar/Ozpin fire off a magic nuke at Salem. The magic nuke destroys Whalem too before Winter and co. can use their own nuke on it.

Meanwhile, Ruby and co. are resting at the Schnee mansion to let Nora recover from her injuries sustained during the Atlas break-in. Penny also joins them, but soon attracts the talking Grimm again. They kill the talking Grimm, but it reveals that Salem can turn silver-eyed people into Grimm. This bodes ill for Summer Rose. Fortunately, Whitley agrees to use the SDCC airships to evacuate Mantle. Unfortunately, Ironwood shoots down all of those airships. Even worse, he threatens to nuke Mantle unless Ruby and co. hand over Penny.

It Gets Even More Worse

"RWBY Volume 8" screenshot showing Penny with the red eyes of hacked.
Oh, and did I mention that Watts has hacked Penny, and has ordered her to open the Vault and then commit suicide?

Yang and co. rejoin Ruby and co., and the combined teams hatch a plan. They have Emerald use her powers to disguise herself as Penny. This is used to ambush Ironwood and take him, prisoner, with Winter’s help. Marrow (one of the Ace Ops) helps Qrow and Robyn stop the nuke and the rest of Ace Ops. Ruby and co. head to the Vault to use the Staff of Creation to save Penny from her hack, and create a way to evacuate as many people from both Mantle and Atlas to Vacuo at the same time. They start to evacuate people, but Cinder, Neo, and Watts interfere. Jaune is forced to mercy-kill Penny after Cinder fatally injures her. The Winter Maiden powers go to Winter, and she shows up to fight Cinder. Cinder knocks all of RWBY, Neo, Jaune, and Penny’s bodies into a magical abyss between worlds.

A heartbroken Winter gets to the evac point to find Grimm attacking the civilians and launches herself at them. Cinder uses the Staff to seal Watts in a burning building. Cinder then takes the Lamp and the Staff and hands them over to the now-revived Salem. Atlas falls onto Mantle with the Staff now gone, taking Ironwood and whoever didn’t make it to the evac point with it. And when all seems lost, someone wakes up on a tropical beach with Crescent Rose in front of them. What does that mean? I guess we’ll find out in RWBY Volume 9.

RWBY Volume 8: The Good

"RWBY Volume 8" screenshot showing Penny marveling at her new human body...a couple minutes before she loses it.
She got to be a real girl for like 15 minutes. It’s the best we got.

I’ll say this about RWBY Volume 8: it’s the prettiest volume yet. This volume features some of the best animation of the entire series. It’s a far cry from the rather…basic animation of Volume 1. It even feels like an improvement over Volume 7. It’s also showing how much RWBY has grown as a series since then. I mean, I do miss the anime-style facial expressions, but on the plus side, we get animation quality on par with the best CGI animated films. You lose some, but you win a lot more.

The story of RWBY Volume 8 has also experienced similar growth in complexity and growth. There’s a reason why it took me much more words than normal even just to summarize the plot of this volume. It feels like RWBY has firmly taken its place alongside such series as Game of Thrones and The Expanse in terms of plot complexity. It honestly feels like RWBY is starting its path towards the endgame. With Salem in possession of 2 of the Relics, and most of her henchmen dead or defected, it feels like things are coming together in terms of plot.

RWBY Volume 8: The Bad

"RWBY Volume 8" screenshot showing Penny in the process of being impaled by Cinder. Not shown: the actual impaling.
Penny objects to this plotline, and from the afterlife to boot!

The story of RWBY Volume 8 is great. It really is. But goddammit, why does it have to be so depressing? This is why it took so long for me to watch the volume. It’s like Volume 3, but worse in some respects. Just watching Volume 8 is traumatizing all by itself. I honestly felt like I needed to watch something light-hearted and fluffy just to get over the trauma of Volume 8. Let’s just say that this is probably not a volume I’ll be re-watching. Not for a long, long while. Mostly because of Penny’s apparently death…again. Only this death seems a lot more permanent than the last. I’d summarize it as: “CRWBY, stop toying with my emotions, and stop bullying Penny already!”.

My other complaint is unrelated to RWBY Volume 8 as a whole, and is about the special features on the Blu-ray release. Or rather, the lack of features I expected to see. There was a CRWBY COVID-19 podcast (hosted by HBO Max), RWBY: The Grimm Campaign (which was RWBY’s first exclusive D&D campaign), and the Volume 8 trailer, which was nice. However, there was no option to watch the intro, or the production art that you usually see at the end of each episode. Granted, you could just go to Rooster Teeth to see them, but it would’ve been nice to have them on the Blu-ray release. Just a thought here for the eventual Volume 9 Blu-ray release.

Source: Rooster Teeth