Cartoons · Reviews

RWBY: The Problem With Salem


Chapter three of volume six was recently released for Rooster Teeth first members. There have been recent revelations to the ongoing RWBY story which have had mixed reception among fans, mainly when it comes to the main antagonist, Salem. If you have not watched this episode yet, please note that there will be major spoilers to the story line.

The recent story of RWBY includes brand new lore to the world of Remnant, mainly with how Salem and Ozpin have played a major influence on how the world is at the time of the series. I did find the lore interesting and the animation looked fantastic.  My issues mainly were in the writing and excecution, especially when it comes to the relationship between Salem and Ozpin.

As we have learned in the past few volumes, Ozpin reincarnates and shares a body with a different host. But more recently, we discover that Ozpin is burdened with bettering humanity. This is to an extent, because of Salem’s actions.  There have always been religious undertones with this show that have been subtle, but more so in recent episodes Four items called relics are placed across Remnant. When each item is discovered, it will be judgement day and the gods will see if humans have learned to better themselves.

Salem’s story is one of desperation, cunning, and selfishness. She is first shown as a demure girl who is trapped in a tower by her father, in a way which is reminiscent of the story of Rapunzel. However, Ozpin saves her and the two quickly fall in love. In a way, I found this to be a little cliche, though I did like the fairy-tale like feel throughout the chapter.

The plot quickly picks up when Ozpin’s original incarnation passes away from illness. Salem goes to the first god, the god of light. He explains to her that death is a part of life and part of order. Salem, in mourning, refuses to let Ozpin stay dead–she wants to bring him back to life. I feel that she shows signs of co-dependency here, though they are subtle one’s, as she seems to rely on her lover for happiness. I feel that the tense parts of the story could have been improved if this was made more apparent. When she goes to a darker god, the first god’ sibling, she tells him her plight (though leaving the brother out in the conversation), and he makes Ozpin alive again. Though the god of light comes in and when both find out about Salem’s selfish approach, Ozpin is killed once more and Salem is made immortal, in order to learn from others about accepting the cycle of life and death. Of course, as the episode does progress, Ozpin does end up becoming immortal in his own way.

Lore aside, Salem’s initial reasons for turning against the gods are because she cannot accept that Ozpin has died. Her mannerisms are much like that of a teenager. She yells several times throughout the episode,  has multiple outbursts, and she disobeys the gods who have created and blessed her with abilities. She even tried to manipulate others into making armies with the goal of destroying the gods.

It seems that she falls out of love with Ozpin after she begins to get more corrupt, and wants to overthrow the gods themselves. Because Salem is immortal as a result of a curse put on her by gods, I am predicting that there can be one of two options for her: either she is someway, somehow, redeemed and learns the error of her ways (I do not see how this would be feasible, but you never know), or Ruby and company will end up finding all of the relics, summoning the gods, and if all works out, the gods will take away Salem’s immortality.

I am not really sure how I feel about how this story, mainly with Salem’s personality in mind. She is manipulative and mainly motivated by greed. If she does not get her way, she is adamant about bending the rules and even betraying others in order to get what she desires. When I saw the preview for this episode, we did not know what sort of relationship the two characters had.  Whether they were family or simply unrelated characters who had feelings for one another. I hoped that Ozpin was Salem’s father and the two would work to make amends. However, they ended up being lovers from different kingdoms who ended up getting into a huge fight;  I felt that the choice to turn the premise of the series into what essentially is a lover’s quarrel to be a little cliche.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s