Manga Review: RWBY: The Official Manga Volume Two

RWBY: The Official Manga Volume Two continues the adventures of Ruby, Yang, Weiss, and Blake.

RWBY: The Official Manga Volume 2
Written by: Bunta Kinami
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 16, 2021

This volume introduces the concept of faunus, which are individuals that contain a single animal trait. Even though the humans and the faunus fought a war and had terrible losses on both sides and both groups have tried to coexist afterwards, there is still a gulf between the two groups that has not been entirely bridged. This concept is explained to the reader through reading a scene of students learning about the topic in class. This also leads to a discussion about the White Fang, a group that started out as a group to address the widespread discrimination experienced by faunus, and has changed to now being a terrorist organization that steals Dust.

While the four girls are out in town, Weiss is excited for the upcoming Vytal Festival, which is when the four kingdoms come together for a grand exhibition that includes tournaments, parades, and dance parties. They discover that the town has had another Dust Robbery, and they hear rumors that the White Fang is behind it. Weiss and Blake argue over this theory, with Weiss confident the White Fang is behind it, while Blake argues it could also be Roman Torchwick, who Ruby stopped from stealing Dust at the beginning of Volume One. This leads to an argument between the two girls, and Blake blurting out something that makes it sound like she might be a member of White Fang. This becomes the first hurdle the girls have to overcome after forming RWBY.

This volume also introduces three new characters: Sun Wukong (a faunus from Mistral), Penny Polendina (a girl who becomes friends with Ruby and has a secret), and Neptune (also from Mistral).

After discovering evidence that Roman, a human, is working with the White Fang, RWBY, along with Sun and Neptune, start doing some investigating. Blake and Sun, who are faunus, try to infiltrate a meeting of the White Fang. But Roman blows their cover, and this leads to a fight between RWBY and Roman, who has acquired an Atlesian Battle-Suit Tech. Penny also plays an important role in this battle. This fight marks the climax of the volume.

In my review for Volume One, I commented on how there seemed to be a lack of definition in the art for the characters and how sparse the backgrounds look. However, in this volume, starting on Page 29, there is a sudden overuse of screentone on the pages. On some of the pages, the screentone essentially covers the whole page and makes it very hard to read. I found this overuse of screentone to be a distraction when I was reading this manga. After reading this volume, I’d much rather have the sparse backgrounds than this overuse of screentone.

The story seems to be interesting, but unfortunately, I got too distracted by all the screentone to pay as close of attention to the story as I usually do. I sincerely hope that this issue with the screentone will not continue with Volume Three. Although, from what I did pick up from reading this volume, I liked the idea of the conflict between the faunus and the humans. I think there could be a lot of potential with this aspect, and hopefully this will be utilized more in later volumes. My biggest disappointment, though, is the fact that characters introduced in Volume One, like team JNPR, aren’t even touched on or acknowledged in this volume after there was emphasis placed on them in the previous volume.

In my review for Volume One, I also mentioned how it seemed the main characters were hitting all the typical shonen series tropes. From what I was reading in Volume Two, it seems that while I was still seeing some of those tropes, it also felt like Blake was starting to become a character in her own right thanks to the character development we see here. Hopefully the other protagonists can receive similar development in future volumes of the series.

While I didn’t think that RWBY: The Official Manga Volume Two was bad, I didn’t think it was great, either. If I wasn’t so distracted by the screentones, I might have had a stronger appreciation for this volume.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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