RWBY Character Analysis: Ruby Rose’s Character Development and the Art of Show Don’t Tell

Ruby Rose is one of the characters I’ve seen get the most heat over the years for having no character development, but my argument in this video is that.

Ruby’s character development is a great example of how good the writers of RWBY are at the art of Show Don’t Tell.

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The rule of Show Don’t Tell is a key device in the story telling art. Most creative writers know of it, of course, as that slightly obscure Rule No. 1 of character creation that eludes us for years before we finally fully comprehend it, but Peter Barry describes it very well in his chapter on Narratology:

Mimesis’ is the ‘show telling’, in which what is done and said is ‘staged’ for the reader, creating the illusion that we are ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ things for ourselves. By contrast, ‘diegesis’ means ‘telling’ or ‘relating’. The parts of the narrative which are presented in this way are given a more ‘rapid’ or ‘panoramic’ or ‘summarizing’ way.

(Beginning Theory 223)

In other words it’s the difference between:


“I am going for a walk,” I told her. (Mimesis/showing)

and “I told her I was going for a walk.” (Diegesis/telling)


“But, Louie,” you might say, “animation is shown already so isn’t your point moot?”

Well, yes and no.

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