It should go without saying from people who have experience with watching actual good shows that RWBY is categorically one of the worst shows ever made. Whether due to characters, plot, the background, the worldbuilding, or basically anything except the music talent; people will find a plethora of story content to criticize. There will surely be defenders arguing that if they hate the series, then they should just stop watching it and stop criticizing it. These sorts of people often confuse criticism of the story with wrongly assuming that people will lambast them for enjoying the show; this sort of behavior also occurred during the heydays of the Naruto fandom when the quality of that show began to drop around the Summit arc and especially after the Pain arc. Believe it or not, this is not why so many are hopping onto the RWBY hate wagon to criticize the show. I would argue that it has nothing to do with people enjoying it; if you enjoy watching RWBY, then neither your enjoyment of this show nor the show’s popularity are why people are criticizing it. Nor do the reasons have anything at all to do with LGBT representation. Some of the greatest written stories of our time have positive LGBT representation in the wake of criticism for more positive portrayals; for example, the character of Kiku in One Piece. One could argue RWBY at least has the representation through two of its main cast and that is the source of anti-LGBT hate, but in the case of RWBY, it is doubtful that has anything to do with it for one very simple reason. This reason began prior to the Bumblebee pairing and has continued to worsen until more Youtubers, even those highly supportive of LGBT representation, began to make lengthy essays criticizing the story. This simple, but powerful reason impacts 81% of the entire US adult population and it is highly likely that similar statistical research or perhaps even higher statistics can be found from the US population of children. It is a reason so fundamental and so crucial that everyone across the world could potentially find value in RWBY critique videos or Youtube videos similar to RWBY critique videos. By now, many of you who don’t know the significance of that statistical percentage from research into a very specific subject are probably thinking I’m exaggerating, or making absurd claims, or you’re totally confused by what on earth I could be talking about. What reason could there be to criticize RWBY that has anything to do with 81% of the US adult population?
It is because RWBY provides a wealth of information on what not to do when writing your own fictional story. Before, when looking into what to avoid, people could only use vague ideas on how stories were badly told from obscure books that didn’t do well, or boring Friends-style sitcoms that people who preferred thrilling adventures in a fantasy land couldn’t relate to, or from Youtube Creators who criticized other Youtubers books from a book most people would laugh at, but probably never spend their own money to read because why waste the time, effort, or finances? At best, Booktubers could provide a wealth of critique on poorly written fantasy books that were boring and a chore to read. These different alternatives to learn what to avoid was a massive time sink. RWBY is largely a free web series that doesn’t require much time to invest compared to a 30-minute or hour-long long series on a Streaming service, it has graphical effects that show the difference from Monty Oum’s talented CGI effects of Volumes 1 – 3 to the more poorly done effects of Volume 5 where characters stand around during “fight” scenes. It is a series that is relatively fast, short, and easy to find Youtube content of. You can easily go to Youtube to click around multiple Youtubers giving solid advice by showing you real-time and useful information on what to avoid for your potential novel or comic from their use of segments of scenes and explaining the problematic issues. Free blogs or organizations providing help for upcoming authors on writing their own fantasy stories often had contradictory information or advice that people disagreed with, but couldn’t really give substantive reasons why they disagreed. However, with RWBY, potential authors can see the advice in real-time and they have a better grasp of why such advice can be important, compared to advice that is irrelevant, because they have a visual representation, scenes, characters, and set pieces that give a more concrete understanding of what to avoid when writing a novel or comic. They can see for themselves why such ideas can be problematic and don’t work with writing an interesting plot or a group of characters.
Want to know the Dos and Don’ts of LGBT representation from LGBT people themselves? There’s a RWBY critique video for it! Want to know how to make a respectful story on the struggles of racism paralleling the US Civil Rights movement? There’s a RWBY critique video on what not to do! Want to know how to avoid wasting potentially intriguing and cool villainous characters that you’re writing, but don’t know how to integrate into your story? There’s a RWBY critique video! Want to know how to properly do a Character Arc to motivate the character onto the journey towards the main plot of your story? There’s a RWBY critique video for that too! Want to avoid making your lead antagonist seem shallow? Want to avoid a potentially poorly written backstory? Want to avoid making your worldbuilding seem completely meaningless? Want to avoid making your worldbuilding filled with plot holes? Want to avoid infodumping your worldbuilding with extra content and then making that extra content utterly irrelevant in the main story in your later story arcs? Want to avoid making your characters bland or shallow or stupid? Want to avoid awful plot twists and worldbuilding failures? RWBY critique videos galore! From Peanut-butter-jelly time to RWBY time!
RWBY has become the gold standard for Youtube critique videos. All potential authors have to do is watch a short web series (compared to other TV Show series) free off of RoosterTeeth to better understand the context and then watch a plethora of critique videos explaining what to avoid. No need to read boring blogs, no need to potentially hunt through the internet for Dos and Don’ts of LGBT representation when LGBT individuals themselves are explaining what they like and dislike off of Youtube. No need any longer for looking up building blocks of writing, when you have Youtubers explaining those building blocks while critiquing a show for failing at them repeatedly. Boring work turned into an entertaining medium with a show’s visuals to provide as an example for eye-candy and more concrete ideas. Of course, this creates potential future issues; many future fantasy books could end-up becoming the Anti-RWBY instead of their own stories, looking up only RWBY videos vs Youtube author critiques or blogs about writing could have a potentially disastrous opposite effect, and much like the era after Harry Potter with Young Adult fiction focusing on dystopian settings and love triangles; anti-RWBY stories from new authors could potentially become its own subgenre of snubbing RWBY, but having futuristic fantasy settings + LGBT love triangles. Of course, only time will tell and that is pure speculation at this point.
I first learned of using RWBY in this way from a fellow writer who pointed out how useful it was while he also enjoyed watching the actual show with his younger brother. RWBY will never be one of the great stories of our time; but it is so much easier to watch RWBY and look-up a bunch of critique videos than it is to watch longform series from paid subscription services. Picking out the plot holes and other writing failures is faster, easier, and potentially more fun than other shows because you have a legion of people giving their own critiques as well in a community-style organization shared by potential writers and regular audience members who just want to watch / read stories. Thereby, you get both the critiques from fellow writers and avoid the bubble of alienating how a reader or watcher might view your story by comparing it to how RWBY has failed based on an audience member’s perspective. These critiques come from a wealth of different backgrounds too; from ethnic minorities in the West, to people from other countries, to LGBT people, and so much more! This mishmash is potentially even greater than the Game of Thrones viewership, because so much is more focused on RWBY’s failures of telling a good story and how RWBY could have improved in that. However, there is an obvious potential pitfall to this: people are starting to make their own “re-write” RWBY Youtube videos and let’s face facts: that is a complete waste of time and energy. If you have an interest in re-writing RWBY with endless one-to-two-hour length videos, then it is best to stop wasting your own time and use those ideas to create your own fictional stories. If you’re making lengthy hourly videos “fixing RWBY”, then what you’re essentially writing down is your learning experiences in good storytelling from watching RWBY’s poor-quality storytelling. It’s probably in your best interests to use those ideas for your own fiction rather than creating fanon for a story that is already made which the RoosterTeeth writers and RoosterTeeth itself already hold a copyright for.
To conclude, the plethora of criticisms against RWBY on Youtube may not have anything to do with anti-LGBT views, or views on CRWBY, or opinions on RoosterTeeth as a company, or even jumping on a bandwagon of hate. Criticism of RWBY may instead be linked with the utility of RWBY as a series to point towards on lessons to avoid in the writing process for people who wish to be authors. RWBY categorically does nearly everything wrong and thus, it is potentially the most useful series for prospective writers to use to form concrete ideas on story pitfalls. From the terrible characters with weak protagonists and poorly written villains, to the forced LGBT relationships, to the allegories to racism, to the disastrous worldbuilding, to the confusing magical power system, and so on. RWBY provides a deluge of information on Dos and Don’ts that nearly everyone can find objections with or take an interest in critiquing, which enables comments from both an author and audience perspective within the RWBY critique community. Many of the supposedly anti-LGBT accusations against this portion of the RWBY fandom are ignoring that many of these critiques are focused on correcting character arcs to be more relatable and realistic, many critique videos are supportive of LGBT side characters who seem more well-written than the main cast, and many critique videos by LGBT people have arguments for improving LGBT representation within the story cohesion instead of forcing LGBT relationships due to fan demand (such as with the Bumblebee pairing). The critiques obviously range far beyond depictions of LGBT relationships and the earliest videos were simply about how Ruby Rose wasn’t much of a protagonist due to her lack of compelling motives. The range of topics have branched across a wide scope of material that isn’t limited to any particular topic and none of the videos pertaining to the LGBT seem to hold any ill will or discriminatory views against LGBT individuals from what I could find. Most of it seems focused on the lack of compelling motivations from the heroes and villains or how the worldbuilding doesn’t make any sense. The core motivation for all of these Youtube videos is that RWBY is just short enough in length and large enough in content for prospective authors to use as a concrete example to improve their own writing in hopes of making their own comics or fictional books.