One of the most popular anime series currently on the air is Rooster Teeth's RWBY. The beloved fantasy adventure series takes place in the magical, medieval world of Remnant, with four kingdoms plagued by devastating monsters known as the Creatures of Grimm. In order to the combat the escalating threat, gifted young people are sent to Beacon Academy to train to become Hunters and Huntresses to face the voracious monsters menacing the four kingdoms.
An instant success, both as an anime and manga series, DC Comics will adapt the popular property to Western-style comics, with bestselling writer, Marguerite Bennett, and her DC Bombshells collaborator Mirka Andolfo at the helm.
In an exclusive interview with CBR, Bennett discussed her appreciation of the anime and the surprising influence of Final Fantasy VIII in penning the adaptation.
CBR: Had you been a fan of the anime/manga series before writing the adaptation?
Marguerite Bennett: I hadn’t yet had the pleasure when my editor first approached me with RWBY, but his description -- "teenage girls at a monster-hunting academy" -- was music to my ears. Since then, I’ve absolute fallen in love with RWBY in the sincerest way. It puts a smile on my face to sit down to these scripts.
CBR: What do you think makes Team RWBY such aspirational figures?
Bennett: I think it's easy for anyone to see a little of themselves in each heroine -- maybe one in particular, maybe combinations thereof. Their flaws are so human and their strengths incredible, they cross the line between vulnerable and frickin' awesome, embody our deepest insecurities and our daydreams of power, friendship, and a neverending quest to save all memory and civilization from annihilation.
CBR: While much of the story is told from Ruby Rose's perspective, are there other characters that you have particularly enjoyed writing and why?
Bennett: Oh, I've fallen in love with all four of the heroines. I think some of the realest, rawest, hardest work I've ever done as been about Blake's trauma, about Yang's relationship with her body, about their burgeoning attachments to one another.
Weiss is so often deprived of the love she deserves, but her struggle to rise above the narcissism she inherited from her childhood and the cyclical abuse it engenders is so worthy of recognition. All of them have something to celebrate. All of them that something to fear.
CBR: What makes Mirka Andolfo and Arif Prianto the perfect artists to adapt RWBY to comics?
Bennett: Mirka has the uncanny and miraculous ability to render stories about comedy, horror and even the spicy side of life with an impeccable eye for detail that makes the overall effect so charming, so buoyant, and so absolutely alive. There's a sense of motion, emotion, speed, catharsis that is always brilliant. Mirka is a queen.
Arif, though we know one another less well, has made an indelible and irreplaceable mark on the candor and quality of the book, elevating every last panel and enriching it with a sense of swiftness, vigor, texture and glow. They're unstoppable.
CBR: What do you feel makes RWBY stand out from other anime series?
Bennett: For me, I knew I was smitten when I felt beats that were callbacks to the same inspirations and influences that I myself had grown up with and about which I was most passionate -- Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, the Disney Renaissance, Final Fantasy.
I'd find myself thinking that whoever had contributed to a certain episode/character had unresolved feelings about Final Fantasy VIII, and you know what? I have unresolved feelings about Final Fantasy VIII! I had never before seen a world built upon all the same interests and priorities that I myself had had when I was the same age as our heroines.
CBR: What elements of the anime's story and characters are you really looking forward to expanding in this comic series? What can readers expect that sets the comic apart from the anime and manga series?
Bennett: The joy for me was getting to deep-dive into the unseen moments between the climactic beats that made fans of RWBY fall in love with the series -- those heartbeats between Blake and Yang back at school, Yang's recovery after the fall of Beacon, Blake's trauma and guilt (and guilt over feeling guilty), Weiss's relationships with heretofore isolated members of her family, Ruby's difficult evolution into a leader who makes the complex choices.
Remnant is a bright, brilliant, infinite world, and the heroines are the constellations above it, guiding lights and fixed paths through which I explore it. I could get lost in it for years.
RWBY is written by Marguerite Bennett and illustrated by Mirka Andolfo. The first digital chapter is available now on comiXology, with the second digital chapter out on Sept. 11 from DC and Rooster Teeth. The print issue RWBY #1, collecting the first two digital chapters, is scheduled to go on sale on Oct. 9 from DC.