Wednesday, April 13, 2016

redvsblue Season 12

Welcome back to my monthly entry covering each season of the web machinima series, redvsblue. Season 11 ended with the reds and blues split apart and stuck in the middle of a civil war on the planet, Chorus, between two factions: The New Republic headed up by Kimball(Lindsay Jones) and The Federal Army headed up by Doyle(Gray Haddock). The second installment of this three part story arc that is season 12 of redvsblue (trailer) is all about discovering the back story on the two factions of Chorus, and naturally things heat up when a third mysterious faction enters the fray.

The first half of the season is about Grif(Geoff Ramsey), Simmons(Gus Sorola), Tucker(Jason Saldana) and Caboose(Joel Heyman) organizing a team of soldiers to attempt a rescue mission for Wash(Shannon McCormick), Sarge (Matt Hullum), Donut(Dan Godwin) and Lopez who were kidnapped by a squad of New Republic soldiers headed up by another elite mercenary, Locus (Gray Haddock). The mercenary Felix(Miles Luna) heads up this mission for the reds and blues to recruit several New Republic soldiers to join their team. If you dug the montage of training scenes last year of the reds and blues failing like only they can in training, than you are in for a treat as they somehow manage to make them fail in bigger, better and more ridiculous ways than you can imagine in their efforts to recruit some new comrades.

The primary theme of this season is that a lot of our favorite RvB goofs are finally growing up just a tisch this season. Tucker finds himself with some more responsibility this season than he is accustomed to which results in a few surprising heart-to-heart dialogues with Wash and Caboose. Yes, Caboose gets serious this season like only he can, and the people at Rooster Teeth found a way to perfectly pull it off in one of the best scenes this season.

Eventually Tucker’s team manages to rendezvous with Wash’s squad where they find out there is a lot more to the civil war going on than what they were lead to believe. The gang realizes they are in the middle of something much bigger than Chorus alone when the aforementioned third faction enters the mix and a whole lot of double crosses and betrayals open up the plot this season to a whole new level. Compared to some previous seasons where the RvB lore got to be so convoluted to keep up with I was surprised at how the narrative unfolded and I was not thrown aloof at whose side everyone was on once the final act kicks into full gear.

As with most of the latest seasons of RvB, expect some surprise returns of characters who were AWOL for a season or two to spice things up. RvB is like a long running comic book series with a deep roster of resonating characters that can take a season or two off and come back in a powerful moment for the series. This has helped in previous seasons with both primary and supporting characters, and the old cliché, “absence makes the heart grows fonder” proves true here as having a sabbatical for characters helps freshen them up a bit upon their return.

Season 11 saw a return to basics for the traditional machinima animation of RvB. Season 12 still has a heavy use of traditional machinima, but brings back the custom in-house animation for a wide array of scenes than the combat scenes they were restricted to before. This results in some unexpected chuckles during the non-combat scenes and other narration scenes where I was use to the traditional machinima animation. One last thing to point out this season is it introduces a lot of new characters. There are too many to break down here, but suffice it to say we get to know a lot new soldiers for all three factions. This is a good introductory season to them as the season does not let us get attached to them too much other than to Doyle and Kimball in their leadership roles, and one outside-the-box medic in the form of Dr. Grey (Emily Grey). However, the new squad members that join Tucker’s team I warmed up to by the end of the season and I am curious where they wind up in season 13.

The standard extra features in previous RvB seasons are present on the season 12 disc. There are two deleted scenes and five minutes worth of outtakes. I will give Props to Rooster Teeth for hearing me out in my entry on season 11 on why they do not take the time to add subtitles to their series because they make their long-overdue debut on the season 12 disc. There are three behind-the-scenes features totaling just over a half hour interviewing the cast and crew. Return to Chorus is about how season 12 came to be and has the cast commenting on all the betrayals and major returns throughout the season. New Characters interviews the new voice actors and gives some extra background info on the debuting characters. Production Process focuses on the animators being excited to bring back custom animation as they break down a couple of their pivotal moments this season.

The PSAs this season are among RvB’s best works yet, and each one is cannot miss material as they cover hot topics like con and dating app etiquette and the joys of camping…outdoors that is. Finally we have another excellent commentary from the cast and crew of Rooster Teeth. Three people are recording but they constantly rotate in and out cast and crew aside this season’s director, Miles Luna every few scenes to keep the commentary fresh and lively. Noteworthy commentary topics this season consist of the characters growing up this season, the technical process of ‘selects’ in the Rooster Teeth studios, stumbling across amusing double identities on Tumblr and the fun challenge of making unsympathetic characters sympathetic.

We are 2/3’s of the way through this story arc of RvB and I find myself on board and invested into the greater mystery that is the civil war of Chorus. I am anticipating how it wraps up when I cover season 13 next month. Speaking of which, I just ordered season 13 from Amazon and am expecting it in the mail in the coming days. It released a few months ago, and conveniently will wrap up the current three part story arc. With that said, that will bring me up to date on all the redvsblue seasons Rooster Teeth has released on video and will serve as the perfect jumping off point as my final entry for the series on the blog. I just wanted to make sure to get that out of the way for everyone, and am looking forward to covering it next month!

Past redvsblue Blogs

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4 and Grifball Bonus Discs
Season 5
Season 6
Season 7
Season 8
Season 9
Season 10
Season 11
RvBX Bonus Discs

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