By Bree Brouwer
A lot of big announcements were made this past week at RTX, Rooster Teeth’s annual gaming and internet culture convention held in Austin, Texas. And the majority of the announcements were related to the company’s sole anime title, “RWBY,” which has been out for only one season.
The show’s four main voice actresses sat down with VideoInk to discuss the show’s rapid growth and massive popularity.
“When I first heard about the concept for the show and I knew what it was going to look like and how it was going to turn out, I knew it was going to be a hit,” said Barbara Dunkelman, who voices the character Yang. “I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to rival ‘Red vs. Blue’ in terms of what Rooster Teeth’s flagship show is.”
Lindsey Jones, voice of the character Ruby, agreed. “When Monty [the creator] first approached us with the idea for the show in general, he had so much already thought-out and that was years and years and years before he’d even begun the Red trailer. He was like, ‘I’ve thought about this for forever: here’s your character design, here’s what’s going on in your head, here’s the world she’s from and all these elaborate details.’ And that alone was enough to get us excited about even joining the production to begin with.”
“So to see that form into a show and then simultaneously form into a huge fan base and a huge following, and another season, has blown our minds.”
“I don’t think any of us really expected how much it’s grown so quickly,” added Kara Eberle, voice of Weiss.
“The growth is seriously my favorite part, because from that you get much better production value because it gets bigger and it just gets that much more awesome,” said Arryn Zech, who plays Blake. “And then the response from people just gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and it’s just insane to see that from the very beginning.”
Even with their love for the production and the success it’s received so far, the women still had doubts about how it would turn out.
“We still had some trepidation that maybe the fan base wouldn’t accept it because it’s so different from what we do that they might not be comfortable with it,” Jones said.
“We were just talking yesterday about how last year we were in the same spot backstage when they showed the [first] episode and we were like, ‘Oh, God, we hope they like it.’ And this year now it’s the same thing but we’re like, ‘Oh, my God, they love it! Yes!’”
The success of “RWBY” means that the limitations the cast and crew previously had to deal with are disappearing. Jones stated that in a traditional anime setting in Japan or Korea, there are huge teams working on a single production, but Rooster Teeth had a small team for their show, which restricted them in many ways, like production value and story depth.
“It’s awesome now to take what we have in the success of Volume 1 but also things that didn’t quite work to our favor, things that were a little bit difficult to streamline, and now see that and move past it and be able to incorporate so much more,” she said.
Zech noted that because the first season of “RWBY” needed to lay out the main characters’ stories while also maintaining production value, there wasn’t opportunity to delve into the universe. “Last season we introduced everybody, and we got a little bit of back story on all of them, but this [season], since everyone’s already here, we can now actually dive into everyone’s story,” she said. “It’s really exciting we can finally share that instead of just constantly introducing people.”
Eberle mentioned the fact that this will also allow the “RWBY” team the freedom to bring in new faces and names to the show. “We’re introducing new characters and I think that’s going to get an even better response from all our fans. More cosplay to come!”
In terms of future story arcs, the actresses would like to see their characters leave the school they’re attending, Beacon Academy, and explore more of the “RWBY” universe which no one knows much about at the moment. They’d also like to see their characters’ family histories and how that impacts the story (and whether or not some characters are related).
But for now, they’re all grateful for the chance to work on a show that’s so adored by the fans.
“It’s their life,” Dunkelman said. “They said that it’s their favorite show in the whole world.”