RWBY review V4E5: Menagerie

Hello and welcome to another RWBY review. Today we are taking a short look at “Menagerie”

The episode can be best described as “functional but highly flawed”. The first portion of the episode is based off Sun and Blake getting off the boat and heading into the island Menagerie. Here is the first big stumbling block of the episode: exposition. The episode has a point where the pace grinds to a halt and Blake explains the point of Menagerie’s existence: that it was an island with most of it’s land being uninhabitable given to the Faunus to appease them. This is stuff that comes from the World of Remnant and should be so clunky in its delivery since it’s not prompted by any real emotional event or character moment. This is compounded by conflicting dialogue and visuals. Sun makes a comment about Menagerie being crowded at least 2 or 3 times but the visuals of the show make it seem fairly uncrowded and more like Beacon’s Campus than a crowded city.

The second portion comes from Blake visiting her parents, Kali and Ghira, Ghira being the chieftain of Menagerie. There is a scene with Sun having to defend himself to Ghira that he is not screwing Blake but fails. It’s amusing though a bit cringy due to his poor dialogue choices but it’s fun for fans of cringe humor. What is less amusing is when two White Fang representatives appear and talk with Ghira who was also a former leader of the organization. Blake hammers the two to the wall over the actions of Adam’s forces but the two remain adamant that the organization does intend to be peaceful. At least that’s what was intended until the two leave and talk about telling Adam about Blake’s position. This is a severe misstep as it feels too blunt with no nuance. If the show wanted to communicate that only Adam’s forces are the issue then having the two talk behind Blake’s back like that sort of undermines it by implication that the organization as a whole is evil. However, this can be resolved through later episodes by having scenes with other parts of the White Fang talking against Adam or even having parts of the White Fang fight Adam in a future fight.

This is a functional episode with many flaws that serves people well but I’m not sure it’s at a level of acceptable. To me, this feels like a generic shonen and not something groundbreaking despite the cultural context it exists in.

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