RWBY: Ice Queendom episodes 1 – 3 review: Icy first impression

Ruby Rose main character from Ice Queendom anime
Ruby Rose main character from Ice Queendom anime. Pic credit: Crunchyroll

RWBY: Ice Queendom is an action/fantasy anime production by Shaft. Does it stand up to the original?

Ruby Rose only has one wish. She aspires to be a Huntress like her mother and ultimately make her world a better place by destroying the wicked monsters known as Grimm. But she has a long way to go before she can realize her ambition.

And if the Grimm doesn’t get her, her new classmates at Beacon Academy might. The first three episodes of this series were bundled into one massive episode for the debut, but I’ll break my review up into distinct “regular length” episodes here.

Episode 1: Our main characters

Weiss Schnee the new rich girl with blood on her forehead
Weiss Schnee the new rich girl: Pic credit: Shaft studio

Ruby Rose pays a visit to her mother’s grave to inform her that her older sister is attending Beacon Academy to become a Huntress, a fighter who protects humanity from the terrible “creatures of Grimm.”

In other news, rich girl Weiss Schnee competes against a Grimm in a test to determine if her father will allow her to attend Beacon. Also, there are her elder sister Winter, younger brother Whitley, and butler Klein.

A girl named Blake and masked swordsman Adam commit a heist in a wilderness, stealing deadly crystals known as Dust from a railroad train. They fight the battle droids, but Blake realizes that Adam intends to murder the train’s human crew. She disconnects the car he is in, leaving it as the train continues.

Ruby visits a Dust shop in Vale in search of a present for Yang. Thugs led by an orange-haired attractive young man appear to loot the Dust shop. Ruby thrashes the random jobbers, but their commander flees in an airship.

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Professor Ozpin, the headmaster of Beacon Academy, arrives at the police station and welcomes Tai (Yang and Ruby’s father), then offers Ruby the opportunity to skip two classes and enter Beacon with her sister. 

Blake, who appears to be on the run, finds that she has also been accepted to Beacon. The first episode concludes with a montage of the four main characters we’ve met and a few we haven’t, all on their route to Beacon.

Episode 2: The Test

Ruby Rose with her drawn weapon
Ruby Rose with her drawn weapon. Pic credit: Shaft studio

As episode 2 begins, we are introduced to several of the important characters, including Ren, Nora, Pyrrha, and Jaune. The new students are thrown right into a test that requires them to recover a token from a ruin in a Grimm-infested woodland. The first partner-less student with whom they make eye contact will become their companion for the duration of their Beacon experience.

The test begins, and…WOAH! What are we doing here? Shion Zaiden, is a gender-ambiguous character with white hair, too much eyeliner, and an extremely big hat.

Ruby and Weiss become partners in the forest, as do Jaune and Pyrrha, Yang and Blake, and Ren and Nora. They all recover their chess pieces, but a struggle with a large bird Grimm and a giant scorpion Grimm begins.

After the battle, Jaune, Nora, Pyrrha, and Ren form Team JNPR (“juniper”). Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang form Team RWBY (“ruby”), the franchise’s name. We see a prominent image of Weiss with an unusual symbol on the back of her neck.

Episode 3: Shion, Dreams and the Faunus

Weiss Schnee with her weapon
Weiss Schnee with her weapon. Pic credit: Shaft studios

The third episode begins with Team RWBY at their dorm, attending class (which involves live combat in the classroom with actual Grimm). As Ruby and Weiss argue, Ozpin counsels the former and Professor Port counsels the latter.

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We notice Jaune has a peculiar marking similar to Weiss’s. He’s found unconscious, entirely wrapped in the thorny vine design. Shion is summoned, and we discover that Shion is a Nightmare Hunter, specializing in a form of Grimm that can possess humans.

The remaining members of Team JNPR must enter Jaune’s dream and eliminate the Grimm there.

Elsewhere, we learn about the upcoming Vytal Festival, meet a monkey Faunus (human-animal hybrids, often known as “beast folk” or “demihumans”), meet an eccentric girl named Penny, and hear Blake lecture Weiss about her prejudice against Faunus.

Blake had been concealing the fact that she is a Faunus. The orange-haired mob boss from the first episode returns with the White Fang (a Faunus terrorist organization) to acquire more Dust, but Penny scares them away. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Weiss’s Nightmare attacking her.

The RWBY: Ice Queendom latest trailer

RWBY: Ice Queendom’s newest teaser, which was posted on production studio Emotion Label’s official YouTube account, begins with Shion waving a bizarre magical staff and claiming to be a “Nightmare Hunter.” Later in the trailer, she mentions a certain species of Grimm that possesses humans, confines them within their nightmares, and then drains them of all their Aura, which is the equal of one’s soul in RWBY. Shion’s role as a “Nightmare Hunter” implies that one of his objectives is to find and eliminate these “nightmare” Grimms.

RWBY: Ice Queendom Animation Official PV2

RWBY: Ice Queendom is a 2D animated series based on the popular anime-inspired online series Rooster Teeth. Both series are set in the Remnant world. It Focuses on four young girls who enroll at Beacon Academy to become Huntresses. Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long’s adventures began in 2013 and have been carried through seven further volumes (or seasons) of the web series.

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A ninth volume is presently being written. RWBY has spawned a manga adaptation, many video games, and even a digital-first Justice League crossover series in addition to the impending anime. Ice Queendom will be available to stream in the United States on July 3rd via Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth FIRST.

On Rooster Teeth’s website, you can watch all eight seasons of the original RWBY web series.

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