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Villain Overview
What you want is impossible! But I understand because all I want is you, Blake. And as I set out upon this world and deliver the justice mankind so greatly deserves, I will make it my mission to destroy everything you love. Starting with her.
~ Adam Taurus to Blake Belladonna.
Why must you hurt me, Blake?
~ Adam to Blake.

Adam Taurus is a major antagonist in the world of RWBY. He was the High Leader of the White Fang but was ousted from the White Fang after their defeat in "Haven's Fate". He was also the mentor and former lover-turned archenemy of one of the protagonists, Blake Belladonna. 

He is voiced by Garrett Hunter.

Personality

At first, I thought Adam was justice. Then, I thought he was passion. But over time, I realized I was wrong. He wasn't any of those things. He was spite - not hatred, not rage, spite. He won't accept equality, only suffering for what he feels the world did to him. And his way of thinking is dangerously contagious.
~ Blake to Sun Wukong, about Adam in "Necessary Sacrifice".

Blake describes him as feeling completely justified in how he went about making the world a better place. However, his vision for a perfect future did not include everyone, and Blake began to believe that Adam himself was becoming a monster in the process of trying to obtain it. Unlike Blake, he is shown to have little regard for the lives of innocent people, as he planned to blow up the train with everyone on board.

In "Beginning of the End", he takes his cause, and the lives of his underlings seriously, rejecting Cinder Fall's initial offer of an alliance, citing the unnecessary risk of dying for a human cause. It is also hinted that he dislikes Huntsmen, sardonically stating she could have gone to one who strayed from their "righteous path". However, after Cinder arrives a second time, this time with an offer of Dust and Lien as well as a dangerous death threat, Adam begrudgingly accepts her terms. Furthermore, in "The Next Step", Salem states that Adam has proven to be extremely loyal to her cause.

In "Heroes and Monsters", Adam's ruthless personality comes to light. He is revealed to be an embittered, sadistic, cruel and vengeful man, willing to cut down any opposition towards his twisted ideas of justice being dispensed upon humanity. He takes great pleasure in tormenting Blake, taunting her by calling her "darling" or "my love" and ultimately promising to destroy everything she loves as punishment for her betrayal of the White Fang and, by extension, him. He exhibits extremely possessive and violent behavior.

He is also extremely stony-hearted and merciless towards his enemies, slicing off Yang Xiao Long's arm with ease when she rushes him and even attempting to decapitate Blake when she appeared to stand between him and a crippled Yang. This characteristic is implied once more in "Of Runaways and Stowaways", when Lisa Lavender reports that all attempts to apprehend him are met with brutal force.

Adam has also proven to be highly ambitious and purposeful, as shown when he discloses to Sienna Khan, the White Fang's High Leader, that he wishes to start a war with humanity and enslave them, before usurping and killing her within the same moment. He expresses delight in taking over and feels no remorse in killing Sienna for it, something Hazel berates him for.

Fennec Albain has noted that Adam's behavior has become increasingly impulsive and unstable in his obsession to punish Blake Belladonna for her perceived betrayal of the White Fang. This was observed when he ordered the assassination of her parents despite the possibility of it alienating the citizens of Menagerie against his leadership due to her father Ghira Belladonna's position as Chieftain of the small nation state.

When Adam is confronted by his plans failing with Blake assembling her own army of Faunus to stop him along with getting the Vale Police Department to aid her, Adam breaks down into anger and attacks Blake without any plan for concentration and even orders his men to fire on the crowd despite being outnumbered showing how Adam is too arrogant to admit defeat and would rather die fighting when he tried detonating the explosives knowing that he'd be killed in the process. 

In "Haven's Fate" Adam is revealed to show signs of insecurity, egoism, and/or arrogance when he bragged on how Blake needed others to fight for her, but was shocked and outraged when she said that she only came to Haven for her friends and not him. Adam lashed out and when he saw that his entire plan had failed, he fled Haven Academy to avoid capture in the same way Blake ran away when Beacon Academy had fallen. Blake let him run to make him know how it feels to run away and Ilia said that Adam's retreat would lead to his downfall revealing that he isn't the rightful leader to the White Fang and that he'd lose all of his allies due to his volatile nature. 

Powers and Abilities

Adam's abilities and skills seem to be on par with that of a highly skilled Huntsman. He is adept in swordsmanship, quickly cutting through Atlesian Knight-130s with ease. He has a preference towards the usage of "Iaido", a method in Japanese sword fighting that involves quickly unsheathing for a rapid attack and then sheathing again.

He has been shown in the trailer to be able to slash at enemies that are seemingly out of his blade's range, implying that he either moved there and back quickly or somehow extended the range of his blade. When he used Wilt to open the train car roof hatch, he moved so quickly that his strike was almost invisible to the human eye.

He will also occasionally use Blush for ranged attacks in conjunction with Wilt. Furthermore, Adam's speed is shown to enable him to deflect numerous bullets in rapid succession with Wilt and Blush. Like Blake, Adam appears to have advanced endurance, showing no signs of fatigue during an extended battle.

Adam is able to absorb or block the energy from an enemy attack and re-emit it again, usually with his sword. When absorbing attacks or shortly before striking back, the details on his body appear to glow red. When he attacks, the color appears to drain from the world and everything turns red and black. This move apparently requires some preparation, as he tells Blake to buy him some time before he is able to perform it.

When he uses this ability, red rose petals are shown floating in the air, symbolizing his theme of "wilt". In "Heroes and Monsters", his first strike against Yang is so powerful that it both breaks through her Aura and completely severs her arm, all in a single hit. However, the power of this technique may depend on how much energy he absorbs with his sword. Adam had taken two hits fired by Blake before attacking Yang, while he had absorbed a continuous beam of energy from the spider robot in the "Black Trailer" before disintegrating it.

Aside from his combat abilities, Adam is also an assertive and charismatic leader. Sienna even describes him as a symbol for many in the White Fang in "Dread in the Air". In "Breach", he assures Cinder's faction that the White Fang will listen to him despite the prior events, and in both Volume 4 and "Dread in the Air", Adam is able to gain enough support from many branches of the White Fang, including Sienna's personal bodyguards, to help him overthrow her and become high leader himself. However, his leadership abilities are shown to be progressively compromised by his increasingly unstable personality, making costly decisions to sate his personal vendettas.

Quotes

Blake, it's time.
~ Adam, to Blake Belladonna.
Looks like we're gonna be doing this the hard way...
~ Adam, commenting that they'd have to fight through the Atlesian Knight-130s.
Move up to the next car. I'll set the charges.
~ Adam, to Blake.
What about them?
~ Adam, in response to Blake asking about the crew members.
No, but they'll listen to me.
~ Adam, to Mercury Black reassuring him that the White Fang will continue to cooperate with Cinder Fall.
The White Fang is not an organization for hire! We're a force of revolution
~ Adam to Cinder.
Bring them to their knees.
~ Adam, bringing Grimm to Beacon Academy.
Hello, my darling.
~ Adam, to Blake.
Running away again? Is that what you've become, my love? A coward?
~ Adam to Blake.
You and I were going to change the world, remember? We were destined to light the fires of revolution!
~ Adam to Blake.
We can win a war against the humans. Not only because we have the support of Hazel’s master, but because the Faunus are the dominant species of this planet. We’re better than humans. We have everything humans have and more. Humans shouldn’t just fear the Faunus, they should serve the Faunus.
~ Adam expressing his goal.
From this day forward, I will be the one to lead the White Fang.
~ Adam to Sienna during his takeover of the White Fang.
Thank you, Sienna. You were there when our people needed you, but they need me now. I’m sorry you couldn’t see this through to the end.
~ Adam, as he murders Sienna Khan.
Give our former leader a proper burial. All who were here tonight will claim Sienna was murdered by a human huntsman. Sienna Khan will become a martyr for our cause. Her final act as High Leader.
~ Adam to everyone in the room.
I will not allow them to ruin this. The Belladonna name has brought me nothing but grief. You've done well in finding the deserter. Bring her to me alive but not before you've slaughtered her family. I have a promise to keep.
~ Adam, in a message to the Albain brothers.
Once the charges are set, move back to perimeter watch. Tonight, Haven falls.
~ Adam, announcing Haven Academy will be destroyed.
To think that I went through so much trouble to find you, only to have you deliver yourself to me.
~ Adam, to Blake.
Then it’s over for all of us.
~ Adam's suicide attempt to kill everyone including himself.
I am making humanity pay for what they've done!
~ Adam, to one of the White Fang members.
I’m going to make you regret ever coming back…
~ Adam, to Blake.
Heh, you are still afraid, and you should be. I’ve made powerful friends while you’ve been away.
~ Adam, to Blake.
Tell me, does Blake make all of her classmates fight for her?
~ Adam, to Sun.

Trivia

  • In Hebrew, Adam (אדם) means "Man" and Adom (אדום) means "Red". It is likely that Adam's name is a play on these two words. Adam is also known in Abrahamic religions as the first man created, possibly referencing the fact that he is the first male character to appear.
  • Adam Taurus alludes to the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. This allusion has had the following influences on the character and show:
    • In the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, the Beast/Prince's name is Adam.
    • His emblem is a wilting rose. In the fairy tale, the curse placed on the Beast would become permanent when the wilting rose he possessed lost its last petal.
  • Adam's last name, Taurus, is a Latin word meaning bull.
    • His mask has two red horn-shaped markings similar to that of a bull.
  • In the Japanese dub, Adam is voiced by Yūichi Nakamura, who also voiced Muramasa and Gai Tsutsugami.
  • Adam's sword is based on Kagura's sword from Ga-Rei: Zero.
  • Adam Taurus can be seen as a foil to Blake. While Blake genuinely wishes for peace between the humans and the faunus, Adam Taurus seeks to get revenge on them and ended up becoming what he despised about them.
  • Adam underwent a character re-design sometime during the development of the "Black" Trailer. In the behind-the-scenes footage released by RWBY animator Shane Newville on his Vine account, Adam's original model can be seen. Adam's original model lacks his signature longcoat, instead having a black, short-sleeved top with a combat vest, cargo pants and combat boots. His sword, Wilt, originally had a black blade that glowed orange when making strikes, and was carried diagonally across his back.

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           RWBY Villains

Cinder's Faction
Cinder Fall | Roman Torchwick | Mercury Black | Emerald Sustrai | Neopolitan

Salem's Faction
Salem | Arthur Watts | Tyrian Callows | Cinder Fall | Hazel Rainart | Leonardo Lionheart

White Fang
Adam Taurus | Sienna Khan | White Fang Lieutenant | Corsac & Fennec Albain | Ilia Amitola | Yuma | Trifa | Perry | Deery | Associate

The Club
Junior Xiong | Malachite Sisters | Junior's Henchmen | DJ

Branwen Tribe
Raven Branwen | Vernal | Shay D. Mann

Schnee Dust Company
Jacques Schnee | Whitley Schnee

Merlot Industries
Merlot | Androids | Mutant Beowolves | Mutant Creeps | Mutant Death Stalker

Grimm
Beowolves | Beringels | Boarbatusks | Creeps | Death Stalkers | Geist | Giant Armor | Goliaths | Griffons | Grimm Dragon | Grimm Sea Dragon | King Taijitu | Lancers | Nevermore | Nuckelavee Grimm | Parasite Grimm | Rapier Wasps | Seers | Ursai

Other
God of Darkness

Chibi
Cinder Fall | Emerald Sustrai | Mercury Black | Roman Torchwick | Neopolitan | Trouble Clef | Cardin Winchester