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|“||I want to be strong. I want to be feared. I want to be powerful.||„|
|~ Cinder Fall|
Cinder Fall is the main antagonist of Volumes 1-3 of RWBY. She is a member of a small group with malicious goals led by Salem and the leader of her own group. Her associates include her subordinates Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai, the criminal Roman Torchwick and Adam Taurus, a high-ranking member of the White Fang.
She is voiced by Jessica Nigri (English) and Yūko Kaida (Japanese).
Cinder has black hair and glowing yellow-orange eyes, while her fingernails are painted dark red. She wears a dark-red, off-the-shoulders, v-neck minidress with yellow designs. There is a blue feather-like accessory on her right hip, at the top of an open portion of her dress. The dress ends in an upside-down triangular tail in the back, ending just above the knees.
There is a baseball diamond-shaped keyhole on the dress' upper back at the same height as her chest. The sleeves end in a triangle shape, which are wrapped or tied around her middle finger, with the gold designs of the sleeve taking over at the wrists.
She wears black shorts underneath her dress, as well as a black choker on her neck. She wears gold loop earrings with a black gem dangling from each. She has dark, glass, high-heeled shoes and a jeweled anklet on her right leg.
On her upper back, in the keyhole of her dress, she has a black tattoo of what appears to be a pair of high heel shoes placed sole to sole, forming a heart shape inside. Whenever she uses her Dust abilities, designs on parts of her dress like her arms, back, and chest light up. Her eyes and earrings also glow.
It is possible that her appearance is influenced by east Asian culture, as the designs on her dress are styled similarly to traditional Japanese or Chinese patterns.
After the timeskip following the Fall of Beacon, Cinder's appearance went through a drastic change. Her hair is much shorter now but whether she decided to cut it or the majority of it was destroyed within Ruby's attack is questionable. She wears a black mask over her missing left eye, and the scarring from said injury extends into a slight x-shape over the bridge of her nose. She wears a long, dark red dress with one long, wide sleeve hiding her left arm. The edges of the collar and the opening for the right arm are gold-colored, and the upper chest and left sleeve are decorated with golden designs.
The right side of her dress is open from the hip down with two gold-colored straps made up of interwoven ropes connecting the front half to the back half across her thigh. Under the dress, she appears to wear black pantyhose. On the right hip, the dress has a black rhombus-shaped gem set in gold-colored metal of the same shape, with feathers of varying shades of blue extending from the bottom of it. On her right arm, she wears a long, gray glove, the top of which has a gold-colored metal ring with curvy branching extensions going up her arm. Her right ear has a new, ring-shaped earring higher up than the dangling black gem earring.
Before the events of RWBY, Cinder was recruiting members for her cause. She first recruits Emerald Sustrai, at the time a petty thief, after witnessing her using her illusions Semblance to steal.
She later attempted to recruit the skilled assassin Marcus Black, but before she is able to meet with him, he is killed by his son, Mercury Black. Cinder instead recruits Mercury to her cause. At Mercury's suggestion, Cinder recruits Roman Torchwick, a criminal in Vale.
Cinder, Emerald and Mercury then meet with the White Fang leader, Adam Taurus, and attempt to recruit him as well. However, Adam denies their offer on the grounds that they fight for a human cause for which he is unwilling to sacrifice his men.
Cinder's group then plots to attack on Amber, the current Fall Maiden, in an attempt to steal her power. After a fierce and protracted battle, Amber is defeated. Cinder then uses a mysterious glove to steal Amber's powers, but is interrupted by Qrow Branwen, who severs the connection before Cinder is able to steal all of Amber's power.
Later, Cinder returns to the White Fang camp with Emerald and Mercury. This time, Cinder secures the support of Adam and the White Fang with the threat of violence, as well as the offer of Dust and large amounts of cash.
In "Ruby Rose", Cinder is seen piloting the Bullhead that serves as a getaway vehicle for Roman Torchwick following the attempted robbery of the Dust shop, From Dust Till Dawn. Shortly after Roman gets onto the ship to escape Ruby Rose, Glynda Goodwitch appears and attacks the ship. Roman tells Cinder that a Huntress has appeared and Cinder jumps out of the pilot's chair to confront Glynda in battle.
Cinder uses her abilities to cause a series of fiery explosions all around Glynda, stopping her attack on the Bullhead. However, Glynda counters by using the debris from the blast to try and attack Cinder. Cinder deflects the attack with several blasts before Glynda instead attacks the ship.
Cinder is knocked around, but unleashes a large blast that turns all the debris to ash. Ruby then uses Crescent Rose to fire at Cinder, but Cinder easily deflects the attacks. Cinder then creates a group of explosions under Ruby and Glynda, forcing them to jump away, allowing Cinder and Roman time to escape.
In "Black and White", she appears with Emerald and Mercury to reprimand Roman for his recent failure at the docks. After he complains about having to work with the "mutts" from the White Fang, she tells him to continue working with them and says she and her associates have big plans for him.
In "Best Day Ever", when Mercury and Emerald return to Roman's hideout, Roman comments that Cinder "sent the kids again" and quickly figures out they killed Tukson, a Faunus Cinder had told him to eliminate. This upsets Roman, but just as he is about to threaten the two, Cinder appears, causing Roman to back down.
Cinder berates both Roman and her associates; Roman for not completing his mission like she had asked and her associates for going against her orders to keep their hands clean while in Vale. Emerald tried to apologize by saying that she didn't think it was a bad idea, but Cinder tells her it isn't her job to think and only to obey, as Emerald responds with an understanding "Yes Ma'am." Cinder then turns her attention to Roman and asks why his mission wasn't completed, but he just motions to all the Dust he has been busy collecting.
Roman then asks for information on the "grand master plan" to make his next string of robberies easier, but Cinder intimidates him into dropping the subject. She does, however, inform Roman that the first phase of the plan is over and he will no longer need to collect any more Dust, as they are entering the second phase of the plan. Before she leaves, she tells Roman to have the White Fang move the Dust to a new location that she will inform him of later that night.
In "Welcome to Beacon", Cinder is seen alongside Mercury and Emerald within Beacon Academy, having infiltrated the school posing as students. The latter bumps into Ruby, and Cinder informs her that the three are visiting from Haven Academy. Ruby then redirects them to where they are supposed to go, with Cinder thanking her and the trio walk away.
In "Extracurricular", Cinder is seen talking to Mercury and Emerald about Pyrrha Nikos. After the two of them explain that Pyrrha generally only uses her Semblance to a small degree, Cinder states that she is taking fate into her own hands. Mercury then says that Cinder could easily take her on, but she responds that she doesn't want to overpower the enemy, just take their power away. Cinder then orders Emerald to add Pyrrha to an unknown list. When Mercury says that he's tired of waiting, Cinder simply states that they have a fun weekend ahead of them.
In "Dance Dance Infiltration", Cinder uses the distraction of everyone being in the ballroom to sneak into the Cross Continental Transmit Tower. She quickly overcomes the Atlas Soldiers guarding the facility and then proceeds to upload a mysterious black queen chess-piece into the Tower's systems. However, she is interrupted by Ruby and the two have a brief fight until General Ironwood arrives. Cinder uses the distraction to escape, leaving Ruby alone. She quickly returns to the academy, transforming her fighting gear into a ballgown as she does so and thus evades Ironwood's troops by vanishing into the crowd in the ballroom. She then picks a dance with Mercury and tells him that once they have completed their mission at Beacon, the authorities will still be figuring out the situation.
In "Breach", Cinder is seen with Mercury and Emerald at the school, shortly before appearing at the battle ground where Cinder signals the two to confront the incoming Grimm. Shortly after the fight, they are seen overlooking the city as Cinder remarks the day to have been successful. When Mercury brings up on how they lost many Faunus within the caves, he wonders if the White Fang will listen to them now, but then Adam Taurus appears and reassures the group that they will listen to him.
In "Round One", Cinder is fighting on a team with Mercury, Emerald and Neopolitan in the tournament. They performed well in their first match and sent Emerald and Mercury to the second round. Cinder then joins Emerald and Mercury in the stands before watching Team JNPR and Team BRNZ fight, saying that even if you know how a fight ends, that doesn't make it any less fun to watch.
In "It's Brawl in the Family", she learns that Qrow Branwen is at Beacon, but decides that he is not a large enough threat to warrant a change in her plans. She then works with the virus she put into the CCT to use Ironwood's access point. She changes the tournament randomizer to match Mercury and Emerald against Coco Adel and Yatsuhashi Daichi of Team CFVY.
In "Never Miss a Beat", after gaining access to Ironwood's information privileges, Cinder looks through his files and finds blueprints revealing Penny's robotic nature.
In "Beginning of the End", she later leaves before Yang and Mercury start their match, and appears disguised as a paramedic after their plan to frame Yang is initiated. She, along with Neopolitan, whisk Mercury and Emerald away in an Air Bus to an unknown location, instructing Mercury to keep himself hidden so as to not jeopardize their plan, as she continues to rig the next series of matchups.
In "PvP", after Pyrrha destroys Penny, Cinder commences her attack on Beacon by hijacking the tournament broadcast and giving a speech that reaches across Remnant.
In "Battle of Beacon", Cinder is seen standing on the rooftop along with Emerald and Mercury, where she instructs the latter to film the Atlesian Knight-200s. When Emerald expresses some remorse at the chaos, Cinder comments that it is horrendous. When Pyrrha follows Ozpin inside the CCT, Cinder's eyes glow as she notices them, intent on following them.
In "Heroes and Monsters", she takes advantage of Jaune's distraction to send an arrow at Amber, killing the previous Fall Maiden and gaining her full power. Cinder then repels Jaune's charge and Pyrrha's magnetic door, letting them escape as she faces Ozpin. As the two of them prepare for battle, Cinder muses that "she" (Salem) was right about Ozpin's arrogance.
In "End of the Beginning", as Cinder commences her duel with Ozpin, she proceeds to defeat him, despite his impressive efforts in countering her attacks. She then levitates all the way to the top floor in the office, where she goads the Dragon into circling the tower. As she is interrupted by Pyrrha, she proceeds to duel the former Maiden candidate, now evenly matched, as she uses the Dragon's intervention to deplete Pyrrha's Aura, and wound her with an arrow to the heel.
After lecturing her opponent about how the Maiden's power never belonged to her, she proceeds to perform an execution by firing an arrow to her chest, before disintegrating her foe with a tap to the forehead, killing Pyrrha. However, once Ruby witnesses the event, Cinder is shocked to discover Ruby's newfound power, as everything turns to white. Cinder survives the unexpected attack, but she loses her left eye and is left scarred across her face.
In "The Next Step", Cinder attends a meeting in Salem's Domain, bringing Mercury and Emerald with her. There, she meets with Watts, Tyrian and Hazel. Watts comments on Cinder's condition, saying her attack on Beacon was a failure. Tyrian suggests she get retribution on Ruby by removing one of her eyes. After Salem enters, she criticizes Watts' "malignance", saying Cinder's efforts -destroying Beacon and the CCT, becoming the Fall Maiden and killing Ozpin- were successful. Salem says Cinder's weakness to Ruby is due to her status as the Fall Maiden. Salem removes Cinder from her previous responsibilities to the group and has her stay behind with Salem for "treatment".
In "Of Runaways and Stowaways", while being "treated" by Salem, apparently during an effort to revive control of her left arm after it was left paralyzed by Ruby's attack, a Seer comes in to report on their lack of success in finding Ozpin's relic at the ruins of Beacon. This prompts Salem to ask Cinder if she really killed Ozpin. After some hesitation, Cinder signals for Emerald to help her respond, but Salem demands she say it with her own words. With some difficulty, Cinder manages to reply with a throaty "Yes." Though not satisfied with this answer, Salem takes this as a sign for her Grimm messenger to keep looking for the relic.
Cinder also appears in the non-canon comedy spinoff series. Here, she is an outright villain that plots and schemes, but never does anything of consequence. She also appears in two of the many transitions; one, she blows a kiss at the screen, in the other she is chased by Zwei.
In "Episode 18", she is seen plotting with Emerald. Ruby and Nora burst into the room, unknowing that she is evil. Cinder desperately tries to hide a whiteboard with evil plans, but the two heroes are still totally oblivious to it.
In "Episode 19", she makes a brief appearance after being defeated in an evil scheme by Zwei.
In "Episode 20", she and Ruby are seen trying to pull away Zwei and her Beowolf, both apologizing for their pet's behavior.
In "Episode 21", there is a segment where Ruby tries to remember Cinder's last name, resulting in several clips taking the pun names into effect, such as "Cinder Falls", and "Cinder Mall". In "Cinder Stalls", she attempts to stall Neptune and Sun, who are trying to get into her room to check for evil plans, as Mercury, Emerald, and Neo attempt to hide their plans and equipment. In "Cinder LOLs", she laughs at Mercury and Emerald after they fall down the stairs. In "Cinder Bawls", world peace is achieved and all the villains, especially Cinder, are extremely distraught.
In "Episode 22", she looks on, embarrassed, as Mercury continually attempts to get through airport security, but is constantly stopped due to his metal legs.
In "Episode 24", it is revealed that RWBY Chibi was "filmed before a live audience". Cinder and the other villains appear at the end for the curtain call.
Cinder is imperious and cunning. She can also be ruthless and cruel, as demonstrated when she delivered a killing blow to a clearly defeated Pyrrha Nikos at point-blank range. Usually, she maintains a calm and collected demeanor, and is willing to take over a fight if necessary. Although she refers to her partnership with Roman as "cooperation", it is obvious that she has the upper hand, as she very quickly makes an implicit, and not very subtle, threat to Roman by conjuring a fireball in her hand.
Cinder also seems to be ambitious and demanding, stating that she has "big plans" for Roman, and is willing to enlist the White Fang to achieve her goals by any means necessary. Often, she is very direct on the matter at hand, as shown when she quickly jumps to Roman's failure of robbing a cargo hold of Dust.
She doesn't seem to tolerate failure, seen with Roman, preferring for her goals to be successful regardless of the situation. Cinder also prefers that such problems be solved quickly, and is seen to give very direct orders, and doesn't like when she is disobeyed, reprimanding Emerald and Mercury when they failed to obey her orders to keep their hands clean.
When it comes to planning, Cinder is very secretive, keeping Roman on a strict need-to-know basis. Cinder has confidence in her strategies, and is usually unphased by new elements. She shows no concern upon the arrival of Qrow, who has been tracking their actions. She claims that Ozpin's Group has no idea who she or the rest are, confident that their identity as the ones infiltrating Beacon Academy is still secret. She's also a self-assured fighter, having attacked Atlas soldiers and Ruby Rose head on. However, as skilled and strong as she is, powerful warriors such as Ruby and Pyrrha have been able to land hits on her, meaning she is not completely invulnerable.
She is aware of the weaknesses of her plan and accordingly assigns specific instructions in order to prevent them from being exploited. For example, in her plan to frame Yang and cause an international incident, she instructed Mercury to keep himself hidden after the group escaped to an unknown location. She also has a low tolerance for margin of error, as she instructs her followers to follow the plan as perfectly as possible when creating the ambush against Amber.
Cinder has a desire for power and dominance, as she states in a flashback that she wants to be feared. She enjoys flaunting the superiority her power gives her, like when she threatened Torchwick and when she mocked Pyrrha after she defeated her.
Powers and Abilities
Cinder possesses a high degree of skill that rivals, or even surpasses, that of Glynda Goodwitch. She can make extensive use of fire-based abilities without difficulty. Her primary technique at the time of their battle was a highly forceful blast of fire, which is powerful enough to block and knock back some of Glynda's manipulated debris. It was later revealed by the presence of her tattoo that Cinder had obtained half the Fall Maiden power prior this confrontation.
Cinder's capabilities also include summoning orange and black circles that can explode from the ground, as well as a powerful blocking technique, easily capable of withstanding Crescent Rose's bullets. This blocking technique may be Aura-based, as it strongly resembles a technique used by Lie Ren, but this is unconfirmed. It should also be noted that before her powers were stolen, Amber was seen doing the same thing with Emerald.
Noticeably, some of Cinder's abilities emit a high-pitched whistling sound when cast. Her eyes often glow brighter as evidence of the Maiden powers, since Amber's eyes did the same, and Cinder's eyes hadn't until after she'd completely become the Fall Maiden.
Cinder has a strong command over Dust, often wielding and manipulating it in battle. She's seen transforming a cloud of dust she had previously dispensed into several shards of what appears to be glass, which she proceeded to launch as projectiles. She is even able to conjure a Dust-based pair of dual black glass, possibly obsidian, sword constructs and then seamlessly transform them into a bow with a series of black glass arrows ready to fire. Her most notable use of reforming her weapons occurred when she reformed an arrow as Pyrrha Nikos shattered it with her shield, maintaining its forward force and successfully piercing Pyrrha. Cinder is also capable of triggering this ability to change the shape of Dust-imbued clothes, as shown by her instantly changing into a dress for the dance.
She is quite skilled in both unarmed combat and swordsmanship, using such skills to fend off numerous Atlas Soldiers at once and easily defeating them without being hit once. She was confident enough in her skills to walk right up to them, despite the fact that this alerted them to her presence. Such confidence is also seen when she decides to reveal herself to Ruby, smiling while doing so and attacking the young Huntress instantly. She possesses enhanced speed, strength, reflexes and endurance.
Her marksmanship skills are shown during her infiltration and her plan to capture Amber's powers in "Dance Dance Infiltration" and "Beginning of the End", respectively. She is capable of launching three arrows at once with great accuracy and pragmatically exploiting any advantage whenever possible, such as launching an arrow in Amber's back just as the latter was about to kill Emerald.
After acquiring the Maiden's powers, she is able to utilize more fire-based attacks and gains the ability to fly. Additionally, she is strong enough to withstand great force, and can reform the shape of her projectiles and use her fire-based power to melt items in her grip.
Cinder has shown to be quite stealthy as well, having sneaked around a guard to easily knock him out. She is skilled enough in infiltrating places without getting caught, able to calculate so that she can escape and blend in, as seen in "Dance Dance Infiltration". She also successfully infiltrated Beacon Academy along with her partners Mercury and Emerald without raising suspicion to herself, and having others believe them all to be from Haven Academy.
She also seems to be skilled in manipulating people, having infiltrated Beacon Academy along with her partners Mercury and Emerald without raising suspicion to herself, and having others believe her to be from Haven Academy. However, it is unknown if anyone knows about her affiliation with Salem or the criminal world.
- Cinder alludes to Cinderella from the fairy tale of the same name.
- In the Volume 1 cast commentary, it is mentioned that the shoes she wears with her red dress are made of glass. This is supported by the "clink" noises they make in Ruby Rose. This references the fact that Cinderella wore glass shoes to the ball.
- Cinder's ability to manipulate glass may be a reference to Cinderella's signature glass shoes.
- Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross made a joke that they "originally wanted to call her Cinder Ella", using the Spanish word "ella" (pronounced "eya"), meaning "she".
- Her emblem, which is tattooed on her back, appears to be a pair of high-heel slippers placed sole to sole, making a heart in the empty space between them.
- In the episode "Dance Dance Infiltration", Mercury tells her that she should return to the dance by midnight, and she manages to make it back just before midnight. On her way back, she transforms her stealth outfit into a black dress and ditches her glass masquerade mask. This references how Cinderella needed to leave the ball by midnight, as that was when the spell that created her outfit and carriage would wear off.
- The first part of her name alludes to a partially or mostly burned piece of coal or wood, represented in her fire abilities. Her surname alludes to Fall, the American name for one of the four calendar seasons, which brings to mind amber and brown colors.
- Her ability to manipulate Dust woven into clothing may be a possible reference to her voice actress' career as a cosplayer and model (in regards to the production of costumes).
- Her unofficial theme is "Sacrifice" by Jeff Williams feat. Casey Lee Williams, which can be heard during the end credits of the Volume 2 episode "Breach", as well as on the RWBY Vol. 2 (Original Soundtrack and Score) album.
- Cinder's facial structure, especially her hairstyle, bears vague resemblance with Jenna Angel's, whom is a major antagonist of Digital Devil Saga series. In addition, both are major antagonists as well.
- Cinder has a similar appearance to that of Lust.