One week ago, I made a survey to poll the RWBY fandom’s opinions on the first season - their favorite characters, ships, and more. I’d intended to give it two weeks to compile results, but new participants have dried up to a trickle - so here are the results! (You can still take the survey, if you want).
All told, in one week the survey chalked up 817 responses. Here’s how they break down.
(For the full-size images, please check out the Imgur gallery)
1.) How much of RWBY have you seen?
Top response: All of it (97.5%)
Second place: Most of it, but not all (.9%)
I was expecting this result, but, since it had been posted on general Rooster Teeth communities as well as RWBY communities, not nearly this one-sided! Out of over 800 responses, only 20 hadn’t seen the whole show.
2.) Which was your favorite of the four pre-series trailers?
Top response: Yellow (37.1%)
Second place: Red (31.6%)
This isn’t much of a surprise either. With the music remixing all of the other themes and three different types of battles (1 v Many, 1 v 2 and 1 v 1) the Yellow trailer was the most popular of the bunch. There was a huge gap between the first two and second two, with Black just squeaking behind White for last place.
I was curious if the trailer results would carry over into character favorites…
3.) Who was your favorite member of Team RWBY/Team JNPR?
Top response: Blake Belladonna (30.4%) / Nora Valkyrie (45.2%)
Second place: Ruby Rose (29.9%) / Pyrrha Nikos (23.1% )
…to answer the previous question, nope! While the Black trailer had been the fandom’s least favorite, Blake edged out Ruby as the favorite of the main quartet. Yang was only a few percentage points behind the other two, taking home more than a quarter of the vote - but poor Weiss didn’t fare nearly as well, with only 14% choosing her as their favorite.
On the JNPR side of things, it was much more one-sided: A whopping 45% of responders called the cute and dangerous Nora their favorite. Pyrrha narrowly beat out Jaune for second place by little over three percentage points, and the quiet Ren brought up the rear with just under 12% of the vote.
3a.) Who was your favorite secondary/tertiary character?
Top response: Sun Wukong (34.9%)
Second Place: Penny (23.4%)
The duo from the final two episodes fared extremely well here, with over a third of responders choosing lovable rogue Sun Wukong for their favorite, and just under a quarter picking quirky possible-robot Penny for the same. Roman Torchwick and Professor Ozpin followed at 14% and 11% respectively, and Velvet Scarlatina’s single scene of relevance put her ahead (3.3%) of Cardin Winchester (0.8%) and Glynda Goodwitch (1.4%).
3b.) Who was your favorite character overall?
Top response: Blake Belladonna (17.8%)
Second place: Ruby Rose (16.3%)
The top of the general character poll looks very familiar to the top of the RWBY Team poll, with Blake in the lead followed by Ruby and Yang. Weiss doesn’t fare as well with the increased options, slipping to sixth place behind Jaune and Nora, and barely edging out Sun.
Interestingly enough, despite losing to her in the Team JNPR-specific poll, Jaune beats his teammate Pyrrha quite handily here.
Every character got at least one vote as someone’s favorite, including Black trailer-only Adam Taurus - every character, that is, except Yellow trailer-only Junior Xiong, who picked up 0% of the vote. Better luck next time, Junior.
(WAY more questions under the cut: Ships, weapons, and more)
4.) What was your favorite weapon?
Top response: Sun’s shotgun nunchaku staff (33.5%)
Second place: Ruby’s Crescent Rose (19.4%)
In an unsurprising victory, Sun’s flashy weapon of choice was shown to have won the crowd over despite only appearing in a single fight. His gun-chucks commanded a full third of the vote, a wide margin ahead of second-place Crescent Rose. Nora’s Magnhild and Yang’s Ember Celica gauntlets brought up third and fourth, whereas Jaune’s collapsable shield and sword were as popular outside of the show as they are within it.
At least Jaune can take comfort in the fact that he isn’t Junior Xiong, whose rocket launcher/club once again took last place, only managing a single vote - one more than last time, though.
4a.) Favorite overall fighting style?
Top response: Yang Xiao Long (24.1%)
Second place: Sun Wukong (16.6%)
Given that not every character uses a weapon - and some use theirs in very creative ways, it felt fitting to have a poll that surveyed fighting styles in general. Here, the fans showed lots of love to Ruby’s older sister Yang, whose brutal close-range beatdowns won hearts.
Flashy hand-to-hand combat seemed popular with the fans beyond Yang and second-place Sun: Compare the popularity of Blake and Ren’s weaponry in the last poll with their results in this one.
Junior Xiong took last place in a poll for the third time running, only this time he has company with his bodyguard Miltiades Malachite; the two of them earned one vote apiece. Miltia’s older sister Melanie was exponentially more popular, earning 2% of the vote thanks to her fancy kick-based fighting style.
5.) Which episode was your favorite? (Counting two-parters together)
Top response: Ep. 8: “Players and Pieces” (47.8%)
Second place: Ep. 16: “Black and White” (26.6%)
In absolutely no surprise, the episodes with the biggest emotional climaxes and biggest fight scenes were the most popular with fans. The mid-season climax was overwhelmingly the most popular episode in the show; together the first and second-place choices accounted for almost 3/4 of the vote just on their own.
There did seem to be a correlation between battle scenes and episode popularity, as the (distant) third-place favorite was the “Emerald Forest” two-parter.
Every episode had several people naming it as their favorite, but the least popular was “The First Step,” earning only 0.3% of the vote.
5a.) What is your favorite song on the soundtrack?
Top response: "Red Like Roses, Part II" (24.6%)
Second place: "This Will Be the Day" (19.7%)
Judging by the last question’s results, you might have anticipated this one: The rock battle theme from the climactic Episode 8 action sequence takes an easy win. “This Will Be the Day,” the show’s opening, earns a respectable second place, with the album version of Yang’s theme “I Burn” taking a more distant third.
Aside from the top two songs (which together earned about 45% of the vote), responses were very evenly split across all number of songs and styles. The least popular song, the album version of Blake’s theme “From Shadows,” still managed to take home 3.2% of the vote.
6.) Who are the most attractive male and female characters?
Top response: Yang Xiao Long (35.8%) / Sun Wukong (35.5%)
Second place: Blake Belladonna (21%) / Lie Ren (24.3%)
The “yellow beauty” lives up to her name, earning a full third of the vote all on her own. (What can we say, Yang has great… gauntlets..?) Her partner Blake took a distant but respectable second place, eking out Pyrrha by a handful of percentage points. The fewest amount of people fell for Penny’s quirky charms at 0.8% of the vote.
On the boys’ side of things, a second yellow beauty charmed hearts - the roguish trickster Sun took a similar percentage of the vote as Yang, albeit in a much less crowded field. The softspoken Ren finally got some respect in this question, edging out his teammate Jaune as the most attractive male character attending Beacon. Bringing up the pack was Cardin Winchester, who just wasn’t as hot as pretty-boy thief Roman or silver fox Ozpin.
7.) Which good guy is most likely to get killed off?
Top response: Professor Ozpin (20.8%)
Second place: Qrow (18%)
The questions got speculative here, asking respondents to predict which of the heroes would be most likely to die if the show’s producers decided to kill someone off to raise the stakes.
Mentor figures fared well (er, poorly?) in this question, with most respondents predicting the demise of Beacon’s headmaster Ozpin. Despite never having appeared in the show itself, Ruby’s uncle and teacher Qrow took second place in the death roulette; at third place was Yang, by far the highest of the show’s core eight protagonists. (The hero’s cocky, confident elder sibling figure dying? Call it the Kamina Effect).
Other popular marks for death included Pyrrha, Sun and Penny (could you just rebuild her?) whereas all three non-Yang members of Team RWBY came off as unlikely: Weiss was the least common choice at 0.8% of the vote, behind Ruby, Blake and Nora at 1.1% apiece.
8.) Which mystery do you most want answered in Season 2?
Top response: Yang and Ruby’s last name (23%)
Second place: Penny’s origins and nature (14.8%)
I’m a bit disappointed in you, RWBY fandom. You had a ton of mysteries to choose from - like Ozpin’s self-described “mistakes” (third place) or what Cinder and Roman are up to (sixth pace) - and you go with why Ruby and Yang don’t have the same last name despite being sisters? Really.
(My bet is half-sisters, personally.)
9.) Who would you want to have your back in a zombie apocalypse?
Top response: Blake Belladonna (17.2%)
Second place: Pyrrha Nikos (16.4%)
In a world filled with the undead, almost a fifth of responders said that they would trust in the ninja skills of the black cat to keep them alive. Respondents also seemed to trust in Pyrrha’s experience and level head as further assets against the walking dead.
The Team RWBY sisters were almost as popular choices as Blake and Pyrrha, and responders seemed appreciative of Penny’s pure firepower. Weiss didn’t fare nearly as well, perhaps with her haughty attitude and fragile fighting style seen as liabilities. The inexperienced Jaune was the least popular choice among the good guys, only beating out Torchwick overall (Jaune, at least, won’t sell you out at the first possible opportunity).
Despite being a bad guy, Torchwick’s fellow villain Cinder Fall was a far more popular choice than he was. Being able to set zombies on fire with a thought probably helps.
10.) What trailer character do you want to see return in the series?
Top response: Adam Taurus (48.3%)
Second place: Melanie and Miltia Malachite (21%)
Given certain revelations about Blake’s past in the end of Season 1, it’s no wonder that her White Fang companion from the trailer was the most popular choice to return in the series proper. (Drama bomb!)
In second place were Junior Xiong’s bodyguards, the Malachite sisters. Junior himself took third place, but given that the Black Knight seemed to have been killed by Weiss in the White trailer, we’re going to call this an honorary last place for him anyway.
11.) What is your series OTP (One True Pairing)?
Top response: Jaune/Pyrrha (21.5%)
Second place: I don’t ship anything (19.7%)
Non-boring second place: Blake/Yang (19.6%)
For the uninitiated, “OTP” means the romantic pairing that you consider above and beyond as your personal favorite. All of the partner pairs in the main eight seemed relatively popular: Jaune/Pyrrha at number one, Blake/Yang right behind them, Ruby/Weiss a little further back and Nora/Ren bringing up the rear.
Other notable pairs included Ruby/Jaune and Weiss/Blake at 2.8% of the vote apiece, and Ruby/Yang, where 3.2% of respondents either hope they’re not blood siblings or don’t give a damn if they are.
At least one person chalked up a vote for Roman/Cinder, Ozpin/Roman, Cardin/Velvet and Jaune/Ren apiece as their favorites, though nobody went in on Glynda/Cinder or Cardin/Jaune.
This was, however, a poll about strictly respondents’ favorite ship. If we were to open it up to everyone…
11a.) What else do you ship?
Top response: Jaune/Pyrrha (12%)
Second place: Nora/Ren (11.2%)
Allowing respondents to choose multiple romantic pairings immediately changed the shipping landscape. While Jaune/Pyrrha still takes the top spot and the partner pairs are all the most popular, things have changed: For one, Nora/Ren leapfrogs from fourth to second place, showing that while fewer people consider it their favorite, many enjoy it on its own.
Ruby/Weiss and Blake/Yang still had strong showings, as did the three ships mentioned earlier (Weiss/Blake, Ruby/Yang and Ruby/Jaune). Blake/Sun, Nora/Penny, and Ozpin/Glynda both became much more popular this time around, and 2.8% of respondents said they shipped something that wasn’t on the list at all (I’m sorry I missed Ruby/Penny, guys!)
In general, M/F and F/F ships seemed equally popular but M/M pairings were less so; while Jaune/Ren, Cardin/Jaune and Ozpin/Roman had a small but notable fanbase, those three ships brought up the tail end of the fleet - just behind the 0.9% who shipped Cardin/Velvet.
Interestingly, 211 respondents here said they didn’t ship anything, while only 141 chose the same option on the previous poll. Some of y’all ain’t telling the truth.
12.) What other Rooster Teeth / Monty Oum series have you watched before?
Top response: Red vs. Blue (26.5%)
Second place: Rooster Teeth Shorts (25.1%)
As expected, the first place went to Rooster Teeth’s Red vs. Blue, with the Shorts close behind. Interestingly enough, only a relatively small portion of respondents said they’d seen Monty Oum’s Haloid and Dead Fantasy videos, which is somewhat surprising given the correlation between epic battles and episode popularity seen earlier in the survey.
13.) After one season, how would you rate RWBY thus far?
Top response: 8/10 (28.1%)
Second place: 9/10 (25%)
Weighted average: 8.33/10%
Here’s a shocker: People who engage in RWBY fandom tend to have enjoyed the series. Over 76% of respondents gave the show an 8/10 or higher; few rated it below a 5/10 (though there were a few 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s).
All in all, these answers mostly fell in line with my predictions, though I hadn’t anticipated the popularity of Blake in particular (I would have guessed she and Weiss would have switched places, actually) - nor would I have imagined that Jaune/Pyrrha was peoples’ favorite ship. And Glynda and Cinder should’ve scored way higher on the “most attractive women” poll, too.
I’m really not surprised by how terrible Junior did in every single poll, though.
And that’s the survey! I look forward to your thoughts - and more than that, I look forward to RWBY season 2!