All right we’re nearly in double digits now! As we inch closer to the climax you can see how each volume is setting things up. Of course Volume 3 goes the extra mile and gives us a big fight on top of that but aside from 3 taking the clear victory, the rest are all fighting hard to rank after it. We’ve got a lot of really solid episodes here so lets dive right in!
9. Volume 4
Bringing up the rear we have Volume 4 which does a good job of cycling through the plots. We get to see what each of the 4 main characters are doing. Ren is starting to crumble under the weight of knowing that he may run into a Grimm soon, Yang learns how to fight a little better, Weiss prepares her big escape, and Blake goes up against Illya. What this episode suffers from is the fights being a little slower as was the tempo for most of Volume 4’s fights outside of the Tyrian battles. I also thought Yang fought really well at the tournament thanks to the great choreography everywhere which does lessen the impact of Tai trying to tell her to fight smarter. After all she wasn’t really relying on her semblance back then.
The worst part though is definitely Sun running out of aura immediately against Illya. Even if you ignore that aura has been shown to have no effect on your semblance (Meaning you should be able to just keep using it without worrying about an energy drain) as we can say Sun’s is an exception since it’s light based, it should not run out in a few seconds like that. It felt like they had to write him into a loss but there was no realistic way to do it since Sun is so powerful. So we had a few forced elements in here and ultimately the set up could not beat the other volumes coming up.
8. Volume 6
With Oscar still lost the heroes all head out to find him but it’s rather difficult as the town is so big. A big chunk of the episode focuses on Jaune finally coming to terms with the loss of Pyrrha since up until now he never really got a chance to get over her tragic death. We also meet someone who may have been the ghost of Pyrrha. Many believe this was likely her mother or sister but I like to think it was Pyrrha herself. Worst resolution would be that Jaune was having a delusion since that would be a cop out. We also get a little discussion with Emerald and Mercury that was really handled well. I always liked seeing any cutaway to these two because they really make for very interesting villains.
7. Ice Queendom
In Ice Queendom the heroes are trying to get closer to saving Weiss but seem to hit a dead end at every corner. It’s just not easy to get to her when she has the home field advantage in the dream world. Blake seems to go with a rather gutsy plan at the end though which leads to a great cliffhanger. The overall episode is a bit on the slow side but the final scene is really what pushes this above the other two volumes. It opens up a lot of fun possibilities for where the arc could go from here and I’m at least looking forward to a really big fight!
6. Volume 1
Volume 1 gets us to one of the big turning points in the first volume where everyone finds out that Blake used to be a member of the White Fang. It’s a fairly big revelation and since Weiss is not on good terms with the group it definitely adds a lot of drama into the mix. It makes for a good episode though and as always the humor here is really on point. There isn’t any real action this time around but the episode flows so naturally and is over in the blink of an eye so it just works out anyway. You don’t even need the action when the episode is this fun. I was glad that Blake and Weiss at least tried to talk things out a bit before it all fell through.
5. Volume 2
In this episode the mission finally begins for real as Team RWBY embarks on their first true adventure. It’s pretty nice to see the group out in the field like this. Zwei is fun as always and having each member of the group give their reason for why they wanted to become a huntress was important. It’s information that you really wanted to know even if they had a hard time expressing this. This episode is certainly set up for the fights that are to come but it’s executed very well which puts it in the top 5 for this list. It also still has a solid blend of humor from the volume 1 days.
4. Volume 5
Volume 5 continues strongly here as most of the episode is a big chess match between Cinder and Raven. Both are basically threatening each other while trying to style this as a negotiation. Raven’s already in a bad mood since Cinder blew up her forces right at the jump and Cinder just wants to get this over with. Raven did especially good here with her thinking up an extra plan on the spot. I always like to see her using some strategic thinking and it’s clear why she is leader of the bandits. The Blake subplot with Sun and Ghira fighting off the White Fang isn’t as epic yet but I did really enjoy the cliffhanger as Blake prepares to fight off Illya. That’s a fight we’ve been waiting a while for after all so now it’s time for Blake to take her down once and for all. The hype was at an all time high with this episode for the Volume 5 climax.
3. Volume 7
Things continue to get worse for Ironwood as he finds out that Jacques let Watts into the system and now Salem is super close to finding out about the amity project. The heroes finally decide to tell him about Salem being immortal as well and then he finds out that Robyn knows about the secret plan so someone spilled the beans. It’s really a never ending barrage of bad news for him which is all hitting at once. Still, he decides to listen to Oscar’s advice and is trying to keep a clear head on his shoulders. Right now you can see how he’s still being very calm about all of this.
One of the reasons why I liked Volume 7 so much was because they really nailed his character. Ironwood is someone who may take more drastic steps than Team RWBY but he is trying to save the day. They just won’t always agree with his methods which is how it goes when you have no good options left in a bad situation. In Volume 8 I would say they fumbled his character quite a bit but right now he’s looking very good. With the villains really closing in on the heroes you were definitely hyped to see what would end up happening next.
2. Volume 8
Volume 8 continues to move very strongly as well with another really powerful episode. The army is launching their big offensive against Salem outside while Yang and her squad head in to free Oscar. This leads to our first true fight against Salem in person. We get to see Hazel take her on with a flurry of blows and even Yang lands a combo. Ultimately her regeneration is a little too good to go down against them but this is the kind of fight we have been waiting 8 years for. So finally seeing her in action is just hard to beat. Right now I don’t think we’ve seen enough to justify Ozpin not having the Maidens attack her earlier or even going in with Qrow since she hardly seems invincible to that extent but we’ll have to see how it plays out. The stakes are really high here and it felt like the beginning of the final battle. The series almost could have ended here depending on what the heroes would decide to do.
1. Volume 3
Finally we have Volume 3 and it’s not surprising to see it here. We get the final big fight of the tournament which was splendid between Pyrrha and Penny. Additionally we then cut to Cinder unveiling her master plan which was built up for the last 3 seasons. Adam shows up as well as a ton of Grimm. Just about every big villain is here and the heroes are in the worst spot possible. Things had never been this dire before so it was a true turning point of the series. This would really begin the turn to a more plot driven series and it would never go back to being more episodic after this. There was no turning back and it was all executed to perfection. The soundtrack is amazing and Mercury’s quick fight with Ruby was also on point. There’s really nothing to dislike here as it’s one of the best episodes in the RWBY series. It really changed the game.
So that’s how the episode 9s shake out for each of the volumes. Definitely a lot going on here and the next list is going to be the final one to have every volume until I do a separate finale episode to kick things off because Volume 1 caps out at 10 episodes. The uneven lengths of the seasons means that these lists are going to start getting a little shorter but either way there is still a lot to discuss. Plus as each season gets closer to the last episode you can bet that things are really going to tighten up among the volumes. Even Volume 3 won’t necessarily be able to stay in the top spot for each episode coming up.