Despite Episode 1 being out for public viewing as of this post, I’ll still keep my review under spoiler tags, just in case anyone else hasn’t watched it since it was still released rather recently.
Welcome to Haven was a great way to kick off the volume. Unlike the previous four volumes, which started off with flashy fight scenes, this one simply starts off where Volume 4 left off- no eye candy, just hopping right back into the action, and that’s a change I really dig.
We get formally introduced to the city of Mistral this episode, and along with it, Haven Academy and Professor Leonardo Lionheart, the Cowardly Lion. While he and RNJRQ discuss the current situation in Remnant (lowkey double-crossing them in the process), we also see the other girls’ whereabouts: Weiss is nearing Anima on the smuggler’s ship; Blake, her parents, and Sun return home from a dispute with Corsac and Fennec (the two fox brothers from Volume 4), which Blake later confronts Ilia about in secret; and Yang stopping at a gas station for a quick drink, but not before punching Bakugo from My Hero Academia so hard he pinballs out of the room, and implying she’s after Raven.
Cutting back to RNJRQ; the meeting with Lionheart ends on a sour note, and Qrow runs off to get a drink… cue Volume 4 after credits scene. Showing this scene again was kind-of unnecessary in my opinion, though I guess it’s a pretty good segway into the next scene: Oscar arrives at RNJR’s doorstep, accompanied by a stupidly-drunk Qrow blabbering about having “found him”. After Ruby steps into the room to see what’s all the commotion, Oscar mirrors Ozpin’s “silver eyes” line from Volume 1, before revealing his identity as the latter… *and then Qrow passes out after triumphantly proclaiming he did it. *
######drunkle qrow is best waifu
Overall, Volume 5’s off to a strong start with this episode. While some parts were a little out of place in my opinion (the reusage of the V4 aftercredits scene was a bit strange, and as amazing as it is, the bouncy bandit boy ignoring physics felt unfitting for a serious scene), the rest of the episode hit the marks well-enough for me to look past them.
As for Episode 2… (spoilers ahead for anyone without FIRST)
The second episode, Dread in the Air, could not have a more fitting name. I was literally shaking by the end of it.
The episode opens on Lionheart and Watts as they chat with Salem through a Seer Grimm. Leo reports the information Qrow gathered, as well as his (and Ruby’s) presence in Mistral. Despite delivering valuable info, he bites off a bit more than he can chew when he calls for Salem to find the Maiden as soon as possible, leading to a good 30 seconds of Lionheart being choked out by a Seer Grimm tentacle. As Salem orders Watts to get Tyrian a new tail, she cuts the call.
We then cut over to Weiss and the smuggler as they approach some floating islands near their location, which are home to some nasty giant wasp Grimm known as “Lancers”. After the Grimm feast on a passenger ship that also passed by, they set their sights on the smuggler’s ship and start giving chase. As the smuggler attempts to outrun the Lancer swarm, Weiss opens fire at them from the cargo hold- cue awesome Grimm fight scene.
Quick little side-note: is it just me, or are the Grimm fights getting a lot better? Starting from Volume 4, the Grimm actually appear to be a lot more formidable in combat compared to previous volumes, with some notable examples being the Beringel fight from the Volume 4 Ruby short, the Ursa fight from the recent Volume 5 Yang short, and in my opinion, this scene. They feel like actual players in the fights they’re in, and I’m really loving it.
Eventually, Weiss manages to drive off most of the Lancers, leaving only the larger Queen Lancer. To take care of such a big Grimm, she summons the Armored Knight, who takes care of it with relative ease- but not before the ship is struck down by a Lancer and crashes.
The episode cuts to a meeting between Adam (who is sporting a pretty cool new outfit) and Sienna Khan, the High Leader of the White Fang. After reprimanding him for his earlier actions during the Fall of Beacon, Sienna briefly reminds Adam of her goal for the White Fang; she wants humans to fear the Faunus, not to start a war against them. Adam, against Sierra’s wishes, brings in Hazel, who peacefully attempts to convince her to aid Salem, to no avail… leading Adam to skip straight on to plan B. The meeting immediately turns into a coup, as Sienna’s own guards turn against her. After once again proving defiant, Adam silences Sienna by stabbing her through the abdomen, killing her and effectively becoming the new High Leader of the White Fang. As Hazel leaves the scene, he expresses his disapproval of Adam’s actions, and the latter quietly disagrees.
The episode shifts over to the crashed cargo plane in a jungle, where Weiss lies unconscious. As she awakens, she’s welcomed by none other than Raven and her bandit tribe, who knock her out and take her away, ending the episode.
Talk about plot progression. This episode had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through, with some scenes (namely Sienna’s murder and Raven kidnapping Weiss) catching me completely off-guard. Both of the episode’s last scenes do well in setting up the major plot this season, and I’m eagerly waiting to see what they do next with it. Maybe Weiss and Yang meet up? I don’t know, all I know is, I can’t wait for next Saturday.