We lose another 4 volumes with episode 12 so this list is about to get a whole lot smaller going forward. We’re getting a lot of final episodes here. It’s fun to see how active Cinder is in just about every volume. She has really withstood the test of time and it’s fortunate that I’m a big fan. I can see how one could get tired of her with how she’s always around but she has a lot of style so it ends up being okay. Now lets dive into the rankings!
8. Ice Queendom
Ice Queendom has been a fun ride and I’ll definitely have a full review up for it soon. In the meantime this works really well as an epilogue episode. A chance to just see the characters interacting and now that they have all had a lot of character development, they’re the best friends you remember. The series really nailed the characters for Blake and Weiss in particular and why they are so great. Both are usually considered to have the most development from the main group and it’s nice to see how they’ve changed. Even the little things like Weiss waiting for Blake afterwards so they could have one last talk and reaffirm how they will change the world was great.
There’s also a nice adaption of the food fight here. It may not have as much fighting as the original version but it’s really meant to show the characters all having fun as opposed to being more of a serious battle between teams. I definitely hope we get a season 2 announced soon. It’s such a perfect accompaniment to the main series, especially with the main volumes taking so long to come out. Ultimately as an epilogue episode it makes sense that this wouldn’t past the other episodes but it was still a very strong showing.
7. Volume 4
It’s time for the end of Volume 4. We get a massive fight against a large Grimm here which ends up being one of the longest fights against any Grimm creature. It’s nice to see Ruby fighting with team Jaune one last time here. There are a lot of good combinations used and the fight is on point. I have a little trouble believing that they had this much trouble with the creature though. It was a nice way to have one last confrontation before going up against the cabal members more frequently in volumes 5 and beyond. Volume 4 as a whole may have been a lot more mixed compared to the other volumes but it had the tough job of having to get a lot of the exposition out of the way and did a good job with it. It set the stage for all of the characters to lead into Volume 5 and that’s why the wait for the next volume was so tough. It may not have ended in a high spot but that’s because the competition is other RWBY episodes. Put this up against a different series and it would be in a really good spot.
6. Volume 2
Volume 2 goes in next with the final episode and we get a big invasion by the Grimm. It’s a nice showcase for virtually every character in the series to show up and land some combination moves. Even Emerald and Mercury fight a bit in order to keep up their cover. It lacks the tension that the Volume 3 invasion had because there isn’t a whole lot of fear that the Grimm can put into the heroes at this point. They’re all getting shredded but the fights have great choreography as always. It also has the best ending scene from all the volumes as Adam steps in and finally announces his involvement. You figured that he was around somewhere but seeing him like that just made the ending feel all the more real. You knew things were going to escalate and the tournament was mentioned so you had that to look forward to. This really marked the end of the happy days for the team as things would start to get serious very quickly and so it made for a very fun finale. The fact that it is ranked so low just shows how powerful the other episodes coming up are.
5. Volume 8
In this episode we have the heroes finally rise up to take down Ironwood! While the second half is mainly about planning how to save everyone in Atlas and Mantle, the first half is the really powerful moment because Ironwood has been around for a very long time. It’s also impressive that he took on a large chunk of the cast all by himself. It’s always hard not to root for a character getting outnumbered to fight back a bit. Perhaps you’re not rooting for him to win but with odds like that you’re hoping he can put up a resistance and he does. The fact that Ironwood was pushing most of the characters back was really impressive.
By this point in the story he was a complete villain but since you did see him as a hero and just how determined he used to be, you’re glad that this part of him is still there. He is still Ironwood through and through, he’s just unfortunately gone over to the other side. Winter had to make a hard call in changing sides but ultimately she did the right thing and we got to see this with Emerald as well. It may be one of the less action packed episodes in this list but it was still a really solid one either way.
4. Volume 5
Here we continue with the big climax at Haven but unfortunately the chinks in the armor all appear at once. We have a ton of highly skilled fighters going up against each other but the actual animation isn’t up to par. Characters barely move and the power levels make no sense. How does Lionheart go from getting wrecked by Oscar to stalemating Qrow for a while? I have issues with Hazel stalemating Qrow as well the whole time. This would be the beginning of the end for Qrow’s hype. There are so many hype things going on and if the fights looked as good as the ones coming after it then this would certainly rank much higher. As it is it’s still a very intense episode with a great cliffhanger. It’s always a pleasure to see Raven on screen as she is one of the best characters in RWBY and her scenes always leave a very big impact. I would say she mishandled this situation to a large extent but this at least salvages that and of course you know the next episode will end up being a massive one. The budget was all saved for this moment after all!
3. Volume 3
Volume 3 has returned as we come to the end of my favorite volume. The fight with Pyrrha and Cinder was really spectacular. You know that the heroine is outmatched the whole time but she still tried her best to win and at the end of the day that’s all you can do. She didn’t back away from her challenges and went at Cinder head on. We get a lot of emotional bears here and the heroes are really just barely hanging on. When the dust settles some of them really were broken and have lost the will to fight while others press on. To this day it absolutely still ranks as one of the most powerful RWBY episodes and showing off Salem at the end was really big. It was like the Thanos moment of the RWBY verse because Salem has been the big bad that the whole series had been leading up to until now. It’s not a moment that you would ever forget that’s for sure. This was really the end of the original RWBY era as Volume 4 would start what I consider to be the modern saga. No more school adventures, from here on out it would be about finding Salem and taking her down.
2. Volume 6
This is it, the big Adam fight! I’d been waiting for the rematch for so long and this episode doesn’t disappoint. The choreography is really good and the show did a great job of course correcting and making Adam a threat again. The dialogue between Yang, Blake, and Adam is also fantastic as you see just how emotional the fight is. I would still say that in the end Adam became too obsessive with Blake when she was not his primary focus though. I know losing in one punch during Volume 5 is something that’s hard to get over but at the same time you just have to keep on fighting and if he focused on the goals of the White Fang then he wouldn’t be in this predicament.
There is also the subplot with Team RWBY taking on the giant mech but of course it is overshadowed by the Adam battle. It was good to see Ruby showing her leadership and Weiss helping out with the combos the whole time though. Gone are the days when Ruby’s leadership skills were lacking. She’s really come into her own at this point and does a great job with the strategy. All in all Volume 6 really brought out its A game for the climax.
1. Volume 7
We have made it to the greatest episode in the RWBY franchise. Yes, this one is in 1st place and by a decent margin for me. It just managed to do everything right and I’ve seen this episode countless times. The fight with the Ace Ops is perfect. We haven’t seen a full team up fight against another group like this since Volume 3. The heroes got to show off their teamwork and unity against some of the most powerful fighters in the world. It was a really satisfying watch and the song was also amazing. There is just so much to love about this episode and the main fight was so good you almost forget that we also had the big Qrow vs Tyrian rematch.
The subplot is one area where I always disagreed with the fans though. Qrow got a tremendous amount of shots taken at him because people said he teamed up with Tyrian and betrayed Clover. I just don’t see it no matter how many times I watch the episode. Qrow tries to de-escalate 3 times and goes after Tyrian but every time Clover tries to stab him in the back. So yes by the end Qrow has to turn his attention over to Clover but that’s because he had no choice. It was Clover (And Robyn to an extent but I blame her far less since her gut instinct that Atlas would try to mess her over was proven correct in the end) who really messed up here. He should have trusted his friends and not been glued to the orders the whole time. That it what ended up costing him here.
That was a really powerful batch of episodes that’s for sure. The heroes really got put through the wringer here and we got some absolutely massive fights. It all just makes me even more excited for Volume 9 once it finally comes out. That will definitely be a great moment but at least in the meantime it’s great that we have 9 different seasons of content to watch. You can never have enough of RWBY after all. It’s the show that keeps getting better every time you watch it. Stay tuned for the next batch!