You might have heard over a month ago that a Japanese take on Rooster Teeth’s long-running RWBY was announced. After much speculation on what “Team RWBY Project” is, however, wonder no more. In a special AnimeJapan presentation held on March 26th, it was revealed that an anime adaptation, RWBY: Ice Queendom, is in the works, with Studio Shaft at the helm and a manga tie-in featuring Kumiko Suekane’s art also on the way. The anime is slated for a 2022 premiere. This news was also recorded for posterity by producer/distributor Bandai Namco Arts on YouTube.
The anime’s trailer recreates elements of RWBY’s first season and also highlights its attempts to forge its own identity. (Source: YouTube)
Giving a crisp 2D spin on the late Monty Oum’s creation, RWBY: Ice Queendom takes the same premise of the original CGI series, but goes off to follow its own continuity. Much as before, the anime follows the exploits of Huntresses-in-training Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long in the sci-fi/fantasy world of Remnant, especially as they find themselves far beyond the confines of Beacon Academy. Though the specifics remain under wraps, what’s known so far is that there will be more of a focus on Weiss herself as she, and the rest of the lead heroines, follow a different path from what fans are used to.
From the staff named in the announcement, it looks like a strong lineup. In addition to being the brainchild of Gen Urobuchi (of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Psycho-Pass fame) and Shaft’s resources, the anime has other industry veterans onboard, including Toshimasa Suzuki (The Price of Smiles) as director, and Tow Ubukata (Psycho-Pass 2, Ghost in the Shell Arise) serving as the lead screenwriter. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots composers Nobuko Toda and Kazuma Jinnouchi have been tapped to do the project’s soundtrack, while both the English and Japanese voice-actresses of the original series are all slated to be reprising their roles.
This is by no means the only RWBY production to be making its premiere in 2022, with WayForward and Arc System Works’ RWBY: Arrowfell still set to come out later this year. Nor is this the first one to be made by Japanese creators, given the myriad manga adaptations that have already come out. While it’s still too early to say how good it will be, especially given the franchise’s divisive reception among Western fans, there’s some reason for optimism. The high production values on display in the reveal, as well as the teasers released, show a clear passion for the franchise that would make Monty Oum proud, especially given his love for anime. With the sort of industry veterans attached to the show, and how popular the franchise has become in Japan, you also can’t help but wonder how he would have reacted to his pet project finally coming full circle.
RWBY: Ice Queendom will be streamed on Crunchyroll once it airs in Japan. Whether or not it succeeds, it’s still worth keeping an eye on.