RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2

RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2

The Beacon Academy Test

For the second episode in a row, Hiroto Nagata is carrying the series on his back. RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2 looks like garbage except for the part animated by him. The backgrounds were especially bad. Most of them looked like the artists used Microsoft Paint.

I can’t emphasize enough how distracting the poor quality of the visuals is. I couldn’t help but focus on the backgrounds in both the airship and the forest. If we ever get an episode that doesn’t have Hiroto Nagata on it, I’ll have nothing good to say about it.

So, with that said, let’s move on to complaining about other aspects of the episode. Of course, this series has to have an episode dedicated to a battle exam. Battle exams can be good — look at Naruto. But, I can’t say RWBY did it well. It felt very arbitrary.

Pyrrha Nikos from the anime series RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2
Pyrrha Nikos

There are many reasons why the chunin exams in Naruto are great. In fact, I should write an article dedicated to that. But, in short, it introduces the supporting cast, expands the world, and sets up conflict. RWBY tries to do all these things, but only succeeds at the first.

I’ll admit, this exam introduced three of the four new supporting characters well. Pyrrha, Juane, and Nora were neat. I wasn’t impressed with Ren, though. But, the exam didn’t introduce anything else. It didn’t expand the world. And it didn’t really introduce conflict.

By conflict here, I mean long-term conflict. You know, like Orochimaru doing things during the chunin exams. We got a new character saying that there’s a dangerous Grimm somewhere within the exam area. But, nothing came of that. So, it’s possible that this was setting up for some future conflict.

I can’t say it was a very good setup, though.

Formation of the 4-Man Squad

Okay, we need to talk about the creation of the 4-man teams. This is how I know RWBY doesn’t actually have a plan. They didn’t even try to come up with a good excuse for creating the teams.

All that’s said is that the first person you make eye contact with is your partner. And then two teams of two will pair up at some point after that (we didn’t get details for this part upfront). Later, it’s explained that pairs team up based on the chess pieces they selected.

So, yes, the characters did pair up based on who they first made eye contact with in the forest. But there’s no reasoning behind this rule. It’s an arbitrary rule with no way to enforce it. Like, any other reason would have been better than what we got.

Weiss and Ruby setting a forest on fire from the anime series RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2
Weiss and Ruby setting a forest on fire

I could leave my complaint about forming the teams there. But, why do that when I can give an example of a better way to do it that was in an anime from last season? Have you seen In the Heart of Kunoichi Tsubaki? There are teams of ninja in that anime, and how those teams formed was simple, yet effective.

In that series, the characters have to reach a certain spot. That’s all they’re told. But, when they arrive there, whoever they arrive with becomes their team. Why is this the case? Because if you arrived with people, it means you were able to work together with them.

Would that work in RWBY? Absolutely. The characters divided themselves into two teams of four on their own to fight off the Grimm. So, don’t mention teams at the start of the test. And then when they finish, group them based on who finished together.

Teams RWBY and JNPR

By the end of the episode, we have two new teams who are going to be together for the next few years. It’s said that the teams last through their time at Beacon Academy. But, I’m going to assume that these teams persist even after graduation.

If you’ve worked together for four years and are all going into the same line of work, it makes sense. And as far as I know, there aren’t different Hunter companies. So it’s not like there’s a company that’s going to scout Blake, but not the rest of team RWBY.

Speaking of team RWBY, the names of the teams come from the names of the team members. So, RWBY stands for Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang (duh). I’m sure everyone knew that from the start, but I figured I’d mention it just in case. It also stands for red, white, black, and yellow.

Blake Belladonna from the anime series RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2
Blake Belladonna

The team I’m more interested in, though, is JNPR. This is Juane Arc (good name), Nora Valkyrie, Pyrrha Nikos, and Ren Lie. There are two main reasons I like team JNPR more. First, their team name isn’t phonetically the same as their team leader’s name.

And second, I like these characters — except Ren –more than the RWBY characters. Pyrrha seems pretty neat. I like Juane’s personality (and name). And Nora is cute.

I suppose it’s also worth pointing out that the first letter of the team names represents the team leader. And how were the team leaders selected? By the role they played during their respective fights against the Grimm during the exam.

See, that’s a good way to choose team leaders. If only choosing the teams themselves worked in a similar way. Maybe it did and the explanation given was a lie.


What do you think of RWBY: Ice Queendom Episode 2? Do you agree that it looks like garbage other than the parts animated by Hiroto Nagata? Do you prefer team RWBY or JNPR? And, who’s your favorite of the JNPR characters so far? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of Episode 3 is available now.

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