On LGBT+ Characters in RWBY
Initially I was just going to make a crude joke about it, but I’m going to try to preserve credibility by not doing so and making this as constructive as possible.
I’ve long since given up on the prospect of LGBT+ characters in RWBY. At the ABSOLUTE best, one may expect some background side character that is unimportant to the overall plot.
The central idea on which I’ve concluded this is that it’s pretty obvious that the writers don’t want to do it, or at least don’t care about it. Let’s be frank, the only reason they feel the pressure to do this, and make these “promises” (quotations since I don’t think they’re promises, but that’s a diff. post) is because they’ve been asked on numerous occasions about it. Do you think they’d do it if nobody had asked? It wouldn’t even enter their minds…because even when we have asked, and hoped, and frankly been strung along thus far, we’ve had to watch through:
-Jaune and Pyrrha, a romance heavily connected to character growth and plot
-Ren and Nora, a romance for a ship that more or less set sail before the show even began.
-Blake and Sun, a heavily-hinted-to-be-in-development relationship
-Jaune and Weiss, a onesided thing where Jaune pined after Weiss because…it would be funny…to people? Maybe? Idk.
-Weiss and Neptune, this one genuinely stumped me…it is downright purposeless.
-A disaster prom arc that produced forced romance and embittered a lot of people.
-Neptune hitting on anything with a vag
-Yang commenting on dudes in V1 ep. 2
-RWBY Chibi, a show that more or less shoves all of these previous elements back in our faces repeatedly.
(I’m not saying any of the above are bad things, by the way, I’m just pulling examples of explicit romance in the show)
So, that’s all very extensive…I think we got a dude holding up a sign? Anyway, the point of the list is to show how comfortable the writers are with writing romance/sexuality/flirting/etc….they do it all the time, especially for a show that is not centered on romance, but what are people told when they ask for LGBT? The writers have said they want it to “feel natural”. Now, I have no clue what they meant by that because there are multiple interpretations…I’ll try and tackle them all:
We want to ease fans into the idea of an LGBT+ character: They have done nothing…virtually no build up or slow burn or foreshadowing has even begun to develop to suggest that any of the characters are LGBT+, so this is out the window because no “easing into” has happened, four volumes in…
We want to get better at romance/writing so the character(s) doesn’t get squandered: The writers have a proven record of writing romance decently, or at least writing romance most people are in favor of (Examples: Yorkalina, Arkos, Renora - all widely regarded as decent ships). They also did Renora in V4 despite them using the wanting to get better at romance excuse prior to V4, so it’s a tad hypocritical.
We want there to be subtlety in their identity: Yeah, okay, but why? RWBY has characters flaunting their straightness all the time, why should LGBT in particular be under wraps when the whole dance arc was a straight parade and characters constantly flirt with the opposite sex? If you really wanted to get off easy, AND do a good job of representation, you’d just have a character nonchalantly hitting on someone of the same sex, or just outright portraying it in the show! Overwatch did it without a hitch…just one little scene and it was sealed forever, no drama, no big reveal, just a good, clean portrayal. What is the writer’s aversion to just doing that? That is the most NATURAL way of doing it. A character’s identity does not have to be some Big Reveal.
Put bluntly, the fact that the “feel natural” excuse only applies to LGBT+ is disturbing to me. Especially when they went full steam ahead with Renora in volume 4 despite making the “no good at romance” excuse before that in the context of the prospect of an LGBT character. So LGBT+ characters/relationships get the “we want it to feel natural” stuff while the others ships don’t have such hindrances/excuses? It’s all very discouraging.
I might just be cynical, but this double standard they make between LGBT “has to feel natural “ and standard hetero ships “full steam ahead for Volume 4/Chibi/etc.″ implies to me a more likely message that they have nothing in the works, they’ll just throw in some random, irrelevant character and make him/her gay, and then chuck them away never to be seen again because they’ll have fulfilled their “promise”. If they truly wanted it done “naturally”, we would have seen it ages ago because the dance arc would have been a pretty damn easy opportunity. Are they just scared to do it? I don’t know, it’s incredibly confusing…it’s not a difficult thing to do, so I’m left to assume they’re just uncomfortable about it or don’t care about doing it or regret mentioning/promising it at all or any combination of those things.
It has been quite a few years; RWBY is approaching its fifth volume. Either do it or don’t - quit getting people’s hopes up by answering all these questions and then having nothing to show for it after yet another volume’s completed. It is getting old and it serves no one’s interests beneficially.
tl;dr: they’re probably not working on anything, they don’t particularly care and will probably only do it because they’ve been asked a million times and they’re locked in now, and most of the fandom’s favorite ships have zilch to negative chances of being canon because the writers are avoiding this like the plague. Prepare for disappointment.