Austin Animated Smash RWBY Finds New Home at Viz

Former Rooster Teeth show joins anime and manga giant

First look at the new look for RWBY. The Austin-created anime-influenced series from the recently-shuttered Rooster Teeth has been acquired by manga giant Viz Media. (Image Courtesy of Viz Media)

Fans of Austin-created anime-influenced streaming smash RWBY have reason to rejoice today. After months of rumors in the wake of the closure of parent studio Rooster Teeth, the franchise has now been acquired by Viz Media.

Speculation had been mounting since last week when the locally produced show suddenly disappeared from anime streaming platform Crunchyroll that news about the show's future could be imminent. The announcement came this afternoon from showrunner Kerry Shawcross and star and former Creative Director Barbara Dunkelman at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, where they made an unexpected appearance at the Viz panel. They followed the in-person presentation with this video message.

Viz Media may not have the name recognition of DC or Marvel, but the publishing house is a massive player in the growing manga market. Launched in 1986 as VIZ, LLC., it now accounts for more than 60% of all manga sales in the U.S., producing the English-language translations of titles including Chainsaw Man, Spy x Family, and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. It also holds the U.S. streaming rights to several anime series including Ranma 1/2 and Sailor Moon, and two other Austin-created animated series, Seis Manos and Castlevania, both produced by local studio Powerhouse Animation.

However, Viz also has a long history with RWBY, having published multiple spin-off manga since 2016 as well as The World of RWBY hardcover art book.

Created in 2013 by longtime RT animator and producer Monty Oum, the series centered on four young women training to be monster hunters on the mythical world of Remnant. When Oum died in 2015 after an allergic reaction to a medical procedure, director and writer Shawcross kept the show going and led it to unexpected success. It soon became the studio's signature series, eclipsing even Red Vs. Blue, the show that launched Rooster Teeth. Its deep lore and continuity, as well as popular characters, grew an incredibly loyal fan base. The show became an international success, including something unprecedented in American anime history – a Japanese remake, RWBY: Ice Queendom.

Yet the show's future had been in doubt since last summer when word broke that Rooster Teeth had not greenlit season 10, leaving the show on a cliffhanger. This quickly became an indicator that the studio was suffering financially, and so it was sad but no surprise when the announcement came on March 6 that Rooster Teeth was shutting down.

However, parent company Warner Bros. Discovery made it clear that they were still interested in finding homes for many of the shows and properties. For example, Dungeons & Dragons podcast Tales From the Stinky Dragon has become an independent production. But attention really focused on what was going to happen to RWBY.

Viz now takes over the entire franchise, handling production, licensing, merch, and more. Shawcross emphasized how much the company cares about the history and future of RWBY and called the deal "a huge opportunity to expand our audience and grow into the future."

However, one thing missing from today's news is any word of RWBY season 10. Viz's official blog post simply says that the publisher "is exploring the production of new chapters in the RWBY saga, and we will make announcements as soon as we can."

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RWBY, Rooster Teeth, Viz Media, Kerry Shawcross, Barbara Dunkelman, Warner Bros. Discovery, Anime Expo

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