After waiting nearly two years for the fairytale-inspired volume to air, RWBY fans have had their dreams of exploring ‘happily ever after’ thrown for a loop by Rooster Teeth’s recent announcement that the series’ 9th season will be a Crunchyroll exclusive.
On January 24th, the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned Rooster Teeth unveiled the official trailer for RWBY‘s hotly-anticipated Volume 9.
Therein, the series’ signature team of huntresses, Ruby Rose (Lindsay Jones), Weiss Schnee (Kara Eberle), Blake Belladonna (Arryn Zech) and Yang Xiao Long (Barbara Dunkelman), are seen facing their greatest challenge yet: the new, mysterious ‘Wonderland’ realm of Ever After.
Unfortunately for fans, the hype of the trailer’s premiere was immediately undercut by the controversial announcement that Volume 9 would be a Crunchyroll exclusive.
In an update shared to the official RWBY Twitter, the studio informed fans, “With last year’s release of RWBY: Ice Queendom and the upcoming Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes and Huntsmen, Part One, the brand is getting bigger every single day. As the audience grows, we need the optimal platform to help that growth, and Crunchyroll is the best home to take RWBY to the next level.”
“Where do you go when you think ‘I want to watch anime?’ Crunchyroll!” Rooster Teeth explained. “It’s a name synonymous with streaming anime and finding your next bingeable series.”
“RWBY has grown far above and beyond what anyone expected, and our goal is to continue to grow it, expand it, and tell more stories emanating from this rich world,” they added. “Crunchyroll is a big part of that goal.”
Further, the studio elaborated, “this was a choice we made that we made for the future of RWBY so we can grow the audience and lay the groundwork for the next evolution of our incredible franchise.”
“We’re sure you have questions, and we’ll follow up soon,” their statement concluded. “Thank you to our fans who have been a part of this journey. We are so proud of CRWBY and the direction that RWBY is heading. Be on the lookout for a new trailer as well as more news about this exciting partnership. The new adventure awaits.”
Unsurprisingly, this move drew a wave of backlash from fans, especially from those currently paying for a premium Rooster Teeth subscriptions.
Many even declared that rather than give any money to either Rooster Teeth or Crunchyroll, they would be pirating the episodes instead.
In response to the fan backlash, Rooster Teeth’s Licensing, eCommerce, and Content Distribution Geoff Yetter took to the official Rooster Teeth community page to explain the studio’s reasoning behind this new partnership.
“RWBY has grown so much from the day Monty dreamed this great big beautiful world of Remnant over,” he opened. “With that growth, we want to give RWBY a long-term home where it can continue to thrive and expand.”
“We were given this huge opportunity to partner exclusively with Crunchyroll, ultimately empowering V9 to make a bigger splash with a wider audience,” Yetter continued. “Partnerships like this ultimately help pave the way for the future of RWBY, enabling us to realize our goal of continuing to grow the franchise, expand the universe, and tell new stories.”
As for how the partnership would effect the overall distribution of RWBY Volume 9, Yetter explained that while each respective episode would in fact be available on Rooster Teeth’s platform, they would not be available until a year after it premieres on Crunchyroll.
“Each episode of Volume 9 will be available on our subscription membership after a 12 month period,” he detailed. “Sometime after the initial 12 month period, all episodes of V9 will eventually be available for ‘free’ on the AVOD side of RT’s platform. But again, we do not yet have a sense of when that will happen.”
Turning to the threats of piracy, Yetter then desperately implored, “We realize that many of you will assume that it is now ‘ok’ to pirate the show because it’s on a big media platform and the IP is owned by a big media conglomerate. Let me be clear: PLEASE DON’T PIRATE THE SHOW.”
“Pirating RWBY hurts us in so many ways and has a direct impact on the content and CRWBY,” he pleaded. “I cannot stress this enough: RWBY lives and dies by how it is monetized by you, our fans.”
“Many folks assume that, given that RT is wholly owned by Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), that we have an endless pool of cash just laying around,” Yetter asserted.
“You could not be further from the truth,” he pushed back. “While we are indeed owned by WBD and love being a part of the family, we typically tend to run RT as an independent business within the larger framework of the organization.”
Ultimately, Yetter bluntly laid out, “If you care about the show and you want to see future seasons, spinoffs, etc, then please watch the show using legal means.”
“The bigger splash we make on CR, the better the future is for RWBY ,” he ended his remarks on the topic. “Please – don’t be a jerk. Don’t pirate our show.”
Consisting of ten episodes, RWBY Volume 9 is set to air exclusively on Crunchyroll every Saturday at 7:30AM PT/9:30AM CT/10:30AM ET.