This book came out a long while ago so it’s about time that I check it out right? It’s a spinoff so the main characters aren’t here and it’s really a bit of a meta book as this is basically meant to be a book that exists in universe as something that Professor Ozpin would hand out. As a result the stories aren’t exactly real per say. It’s heavily implied that parts of them are real or at least based on something which is really the point of the book in the end but at the same time since the complete stories aren’t real it does make you give it the side eye a bit. I think instead the stories should have been real since that would have been a lot of fun but either way it’s interesting. Since the stories are so short there will be spoilers as I describe them so definitely read this before checking the review out.
Each story is 6 pages so they all go by very quickly but it does mean that the book gets to store a lot of content. You’ll be able to breeze through the book in no time that’s for sure. The first story is about a boy who meets a huntress and this is a fairly novel concept back in the day. The rest of the village believed they were just lucky which is why Grimm don’t appear but the kid knows better now. He visits her once a year and they become friends but ultimately after a few years she stops appearing. Either she was defeated by the Grimm or eventually just got too old to keep on fighting. In the end that is probably the fate of just about every fighter because the Grimm are limitless while eventually every human gets old. This was a pretty good story to kick things off and ultimately while the ending can be tragic, it worked really well in this fairy tale setting.
The next story was about a man who challenged the Sun to a staring contest. If he won then the Sun had to be extra careful about his family’s crops for generations and if the Sun won then the family would have to worship it forever. Ultimately the human proves his determination and wins but it costs him his eyesight forever. It’s certainly a cautionary tale on one side that you have to be careful when challenging someone because you might lose a lot but also a story about how you should keep on going once you have started. If he quit midway then he would have really been in trouble since he would have lost a lot with nothing gained. This story was definitely a lot sadder than the first even though the hero won here. I feel like I’ve read a story sort of similar to this one but it works well.
In the 3rd story we have a god showing up to try and bring everyone to his utopia. He grabbed a bunch of humans and told them to follow him onto his island. Some did and gained animal traits but others were too scared and stayed away. Ultimately this would begin the big terror among the humans and faunus which would become a never ending civil war. Ozpin basically confirms that the story is fake but wanted to include it as another cautionary tale of not letting your fear get the best of you. I think what weakens this one a bit is Ozpin confirming that it’s fake and us knowing that it is because of the true origin of the Faunus but it’s still a decent what if.
Then we get a bit more of an action packed story as a hunter dies and his kids all think about what they want to do with their lives. One of them ends up becoming a hunter as well, one an adventurer, a protector, researcher, etc. Ultimately they learn that divided they will accomplish none of their goals and that they must work together if they really want to succeed. It’s a solid message here and in the end unity is the strongest weapon against the grimm. I think the kid who was planning to be a hunter as well had the right idea though. From all of the kids that one made the most sense and I guess in the end he just wasn’t strong enough to see it through. The teamwork moral is always a classic one.
Next up we have a story about a King who was the wisest in the land. Unfortunately after that he was given a crown which showed him some kind of future and he lost all of his confidence. It’s a shame since he was doing so well and I do think he looks pretty bad considering how overwhelmed he was. If he had just held on to a bit of his confidence then he would have ended up being all right but in the end that just wasn’t in the cards. The ending is at least happy thanks to a widow showing up and helping him overcome these fears. That tied the beginning and ending in well as she appeared right from the start and got good advice from him so this time it was her turn. The king looked pretty bad but it’s a solid enough story.
After that was easily the scariest story as a girl is performing a challenge with her brother one day to go into the woods. He’s scared since the Grimm are generally around but she forces him to go. Unfortunately he gets gravely ill and it turns out that he was possessed by the Grimm and ends up murdering everyone in the town. The girl tries to escape but eventually realizes that she is dead as well. It’s a chilling tale all the way through and Ozpin confirms that this could not happen but that the chill grimms are still very dangerous. The moral is obviously not to perform silly dangerous dares like this. In a world filled with powerful monsters everywhere it’s just not a very smart idea to wander off by yourself. That is how you get absolutely devastated.
Following that up is another story where a god decides to meddle with the animals and human affairs. He shows up and asks if they will listen to him. Each side figures he is about to destroy the other and quickly agrees but instead he merges traits from each side which effectively creates the faunus. Neither side is happy as animals and humans both turn on the faunus and now they are on their own. The moral basically is that they should have tried getting along at the start or having some unity afterwards but they let their differences get in the way. As always if the characters had just been reasonable then this could have been avoided.
After that is the worst story in the collection. It’s about a guy with immortality and it’s heavily implied that this is Ozpin. Basically he ends up taking in an apprentice and before long has a whole following. As he dies the girl convinces him to return to them which is something he never does but he ends up paying a visit to the organization (The Circle) and everyone is ecstatic because now they have proof of someone who can return from the dead. Unfortunately that means a lot of people start attacking them to challenge him so he decides to lose on purpose and dies. What he didn’t realize was that by doing this the organization was defenseless and they were all murdered. The moral is not to put all your trust in one person but really it should be that the main character wasn’t smart at all. You should never allow yourself to be destroyed on purpose. Of course the villains weren’t going to keep their word about sparing everybody. Cmon now!
The Two Brothers is a fun story since the show actually adapted this one, granted with some differences. The show version is the true canon one of course but basically it goes through similar motions as the god of darkness creates the grimm while the light one creates animals. Eventually they team up to create humans but there is still a lot of friction as they sabotage each other for no good reason. As a result they decide to hold a truce by going into a deep slumber and if the humans are finally united in the end then they will say that this was a success. If there are differences then the humans will be murdered so the stakes are high. Knowing that these two corrupt beings are still out there should absolutely scare everybody. I still say the heroes might need a plan for that since the gods are almost certainly going to be evil when they appear.
Then we have the story of seasons which is another story we already know from the show. Basically an old wizard is lonely and gets visited by 4 ladies who each represent a season. They help instill new life into him and as thanks he gives them each a quarter of his magic. He may be powerless but is more alive than he ever was before since they have shown him how to enjoy the day and just have fun doing normal activities. It’s a very cheery story and a nice change of pace from the more serious ones. At the end of the day it’s a classic moral of always doing nice things to people because there is no downside and sometimes it can be really helpful.
Next up is effectively Rapunzel but with a bit of a twist. A girl is locked up in a tower by her father, one of the most powerful warriors in the world. She wants out and so she throws letters out the window begging people to save her. Many heroes arrive but they are all defeated by her father until one rescues her. It’s a classic saving the princess story but the tale makes sure to note clearly that a ton of people still died during the rescues so it wasn’t quite as happy as it may sound at face value. You do feel bad for those guys but at the same time they died following their own sense of justice so it was definitely a pretty good way to go out. I don’t think they would have any regrets.
Finally we come to the end with a story about the Moon but it’s probably the most boring story. It’s not bad but there isn’t much to it. The Sun has a hard time trying to make everyone happy and it crashes from over effort. The humans build a second one which becomes the new Sun and then they turn the old one into the Moon. It’s certainly interesting how humans are advanced enough to do this so it’s also probably the fakest story of them all. It’s also a shame for the Sun since he lost in both stories that he appeared in. I guess in the end he just can’t quite keep up with those pesky humans.
Overall, There are quite a few stories in here and they do make for a fun read. As with all anthologies there will be some fun stories and some weaker ones. Ultimately the balance works well enough to make this a good book but I will always prefer a central narrative to the anthology style. It’s higher reward all the way around. Still, I’m always glad to see more RWBY books and hopefully they keep coming. There is a whole lot of additional content that we could stand to learn about the world of Remnant.