Review Date: 2/5/15
Director: Monty Oum
Ruby is about to begin her second semester at Beacon Academy, so what better way to celebrate than with a massive food fight at the dining hall? After that, things get a bit more serious as Ruby, Yang, Weiss, and an increasingly moody Blake continue to investigate what the White Fang is up to, but they still make time to attend a school dance, with predictably bittersweet results. Finally, with the threat of war breaking out and enemy spies infiltrating the school, Team Ruby goes on their first field mission with one of their least favorite professors, and foils a White Fang terrorist attack in a dizzying high octane finale. This installment ends with the military occupation of Vale and an uncertain future for Beacon Academy.
Having gotten past all of the awkward introductions of the first season, the second season is able to focus on more interesting character development and story arcs. Unfortunately, the pacing tends to be a bit sluggish, and there's too much dead time between action sequences. All of the female characters continue to be charming, while the male characters become increasingly annoying. However, Jean isn't nearly as much of a dork this time around, and actually has a nicely realized moment of courage and redemption. The writing continues to be predictably cliché, but consistent with the characters' personalities. Several attempts at humor are injected throughout, but the inside joke mentality tends to alienate the audience. A dog in also introduced late in the show, with mixed results.
However, all of this is moot in light of the action scenes, which is where the series truly shines. Monty Oum's action choreography is brilliant and the girls look absolutely fabulous when they leap into action against vicious beasts, giant robots, and highly skilled enemy agents. The music is wonderful and nicely complements the tone and pace of the fight scenes. The fight choreography is fast, fluid, graceful, and extremely hard hitting. A large variety of weapons are on display, allowing for a wide range of moves and styles. The result is extremely beautiful, and visual overwhelming. The intense climax builds to an exhausting crescendo, and almost makes you wish the action were spread throughout the series a little more evenly so that you could catch your breath and process all of the stimulation without getting overloaded.
Sadly, Mr. Oum passed away on February 1, 2015, leaving the future of the series unknown. One can only hope that the creative folks at Rooster Teeth continue the series with the spirit in which it was created, or at least bring it to some kind of closure.