I was so worried going into this that RWBY would not have enough time to tie up anything in this finale episode so I breathed an immediate sigh of relief seeing that it had been extended to almost a half hour of running time. Even though five minutes of that was credits, it was a longer than average episode and is setting things up nicely for the next season while still teasing us the reunion of Team RWBY. However, the after-credits scene gives us the reunion of Qrow and Ozpin/the kid Ozpin’s in whose name I have briefly forgotten… Arthur?.. Oscar. That’s the one.
The battle in this fight was the most tense of the season because I had convinced myself that Ren would die here. It would have made a lot of poetic and storytelling sense if he defeated his Nazgul/skeleton Grimm enemy only to suffer a mortal wound (and as the finale one on from the big season 3 finale where Pyrrha died, I was expecting a death a little bit, and not even Qrow died, I’m so happy) and so while I’m so glad he survived and my expectations were dismissed, I also held on to that thought for pretty much the entire fight and it made it that much more intense for me. Because he’s one of my favourite characters for being the strong, silent type and a slight side character, I thought the show would never truly give him his dues and allow him to defeat a foe. Though I guess he’s a key part of the show now due to his legacy as being the character voiced by the now sadly departed creator Monty Oum. And I noticed Nora also noticed the death flags popping up and reigned all of that shit in as soon as she was able to. I really like their relationship. I would watch a Ren and Nora homemaking show. Maybe that’s going too far, but that shot of Nora leaning on Ren as they flew in on the Mistral rescue dirigibles was really cute.
Overall, a great episode for Ren, I never expected he would get a focus episode in a volume finale when I first met him and we really got to see him at his most strained and desperate, unleashing hell upon the demon in front of him to get one tiny bit of revenge. That was good.
I also really liked Ruby’s letter writing montage as a way to round off the season, that sort of musical + voiceover mechanic always works for me and it did an excellent job of pointing out where each character is at this point in time, even as Ruby expresses her uncertainty over the future, how she and everyone else has been struggling with loss and how much she misses her friends. With musical cues for Weiss, Blake and Yang it was ultimate chills-inducing, I don’t really care if it the sort of thing that has been done before, it was still remarkably epic.
I was expecting Haven to be a little less… safe, as predicted by the title. Which is a cool title and Professor Lionheart being potentially in league with Salem does make it a bit less safe but for the volume break, all our characters are in relative safety, on their way to meet up at Haven. It can’t be this simple but it feels so much lighter and back to the tone of the ends of volumes 1 and 2 rather than the huge pit of despair that the end of 3 sank us into. Still, it has instilled in me an excitement to wait for volume 5 and see where this goes now. At times I struggled to keep up with volume 4 and in part I started doing these reviews to force myself to continue to watch it and not let it slip (it seems to be one of the few ways I can get myself to watch even a few shows as they come out) but I end this volume really looking forward to where the show goes from here and seeing how team RWBY end up back together after their rebuilding from the huge shock that volume 3 left them in.