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|“||The real world is cold! The real world doesn't care about spirit! You want to be a hero? Then play the part and die like every other Huntsman in history! As for me, I'll do what I do best: lie, steal, cheat and survive!||„|
|~ Roman Torchwick's last words|
Roman Torchwick is a major antagonist in Volumes 1-3 of RWBY. He is a well known criminal in Vale who is an affiliate of the White Fang and a member of Cinder's Faction. He made a very small cameo in the "Yellow" Trailer before being introduced properly in "Ruby Rose", orchestrating and participating in the robbery of the store From Dust Till Dawn, the target being its supply of Dust.
He is voiced by Gray G. Haddock (English) and Shinichiro Miki (Japanese).
Roman has slanted, dark-green eyes and bright, long, orange hair, with long bangs covering his right eye. He wears a black bowler hat with a red band and a small feather, and wears black eyeliner.
Roman wears a red-lined white suit and a small gray scarf. He has black gloves with rounded sleeves, as well as long black pants and black shoes.
At some point in the past, Roman was detained by the Vale Police Department for an unknown reason. Though it is not said whether he has been previously imprisoned or convicted, it is stated in a Vale News Network report that he "continues to evade authorities". This suggests that he has been a fugitive for quite some time. He is later approached and recruited by Cinder Fall at the recommendation of Mercury Black.
In the "Yellow" Trailer, Roman is seen briefly speaking to Junior Xiong before Yang Xiao Long walks up. He was paying Junior for the use of some of his henchmen, but left the club before the ensuing fight.
In "Ruby Rose", Roman walks up the street at night flanked by some henchmen, intimidating bystanders. He walks into From Dust Till Dawn, a Dust store, and comments on how rare it is for a Dust store to be open late at night to the manager.
He and his goons then start to rob the store of its Dust. However, when Ruby Rose begins foiling the heist and taking down his henchmen, Roman flees to a nearby rooftop to be picked up in a Bullhead piloted by Cinder Fall.
He tries to take down Ruby by shooting a Dust crystal he tosses at her feet, causing it to explode. However, this fails when Glynda Goodwitch appears and blocks the attack. Roman goes into the cockpit and tells Cinder about the Huntress, taking control of the ship as Cinder and Glynda engage in battle. Despite Glynda's efforts, the two make a successful getaway.
In "Players and Pieces", Roman is inside a warehouse structure on a phone call with somebody before angrily hanging it up as a thug comes into the room carrying a supply crate. Roman pays the man before he asks him to open it, revealing the contents to be Dust crystals. He picks one up and stares into it briefly before looking up and stating "We're going to need more men."
In "Black and White", Roman arrives at the Vale Port along with members of the White Fang to steal crates of Dust from the Schnee Dust Company. His theft however, is interrupted when Blake Belladonna holds Gambol Shroud to his neck. When Blake demands to know why the White Fang are aiding Roman, the latter tells her that he and the White Fang are "going on a joint business venture." Using the arrival of more White Fang troops, Roman fired a shot from his Melodic Cudgel in order to stop her before engaging in a fight between her and Sun Wukong.
Roman nearly defeats the pair when Ruby shows up and prevents him from doing so. After attacking Ruby, he is forced to retreat when Penny's assault on the operation renders his theft a failure. As he is reviewing the botched heist, Roman is caught off guard by the arrival of Cinder and her associates Emerald and Mercury, slightly chastising her for pairing him with the White Fang in the first place, before being coerced into continuing to work for them, as they have "big plans" for him.
In "Best Day Ever", Emerald and Mercury reunite with Roman at his secret warehouse and he comments that Cinder sent the kids again and how it was like the divorce as he rubs their heads. Emerald dislikes the idea of him even having children, but Roman clarifies it was a joke and only approached them to take a piece of paper out of her pocket. After seeing the address, he asks why they had it and Mercury says they were cleaning up his problem. He claims that he had everything under control and begins to threaten them, but Cinder arrives before he could finish his sentence and when asked what he would do to them, only saying he would "not kill them."
Roman tries to explain that he was planning on killing Tukson, but has been busy stealing all the Dust in the city. Mercury berates him as a common crook, but Roman rebuffs this by saying that he had the city running scared, with Dust prices way up, police on every corner, and the warehouse full of their spoils. However, Roman questions what the "grand master plan" is so future jobs will be easier, but Cinder intimidates him into dropping the subject and then informs him Dust no longer mattered as the first phase of the plan was over and they were moving on to the second.
Before she leaves with her associates, Cinder tells Roman to inform the White Fang that they need to move the Dust to a new location that she will inform him of later. Frustrated, Roman grabs a cigar and puts it into his mouth, but has trouble finding his lighter until he hears it click and sees Emerald holding it, sticking her tongue out at him as she leaves.
In "Painting the Town...", Roman is seen addressing several members of the White Fang, including it's new recruits, telling them about their common enemies and in what ways he can help them take what is rightfully theirs, showing off an Atlesian Paladin-290 as an example. He then spots Blake and Sun in the midst of the crowd and chases after them in the robot throughout the town and highway, where he confronts Team RWBY. After a lengthy battle, Roman is defeated by the four girls, as Yang herself destroys the Paladin. When Yang fires a shot at him, Neopolitan jumps to his defense, and he then bids farewell to the team and escapes with his associate on a Bullhead.
In "Mountain Glenn", after Ruby falls into a cave at Mountain Glenn and is knocked out by two White Fang members, she is brought before Roman, who interrogates Ruby on how she found them.
In "No Brakes", when Team RWBY arrives with Doctor Oobleck, Ruby takes the opportunity to escape. Angered, Roman orders the White Fang to kill Ruby, and he fires as well, but misses every shot. Making his escape on the train, Roman is confronted by Blake and engages her in combat, but loses due to Blake's elemental clones, granted to her by Weiss' dust cartridge. Defeated, Roman taunts and attempts to persuade Blake to join him, but this fails as she ignores him, and Roman is knocked out by the Faunus.
In "Breach", Roman is later arrested by Atlas troops following the Grimm attack on Vale. Later that day, while in his cell, he is visited by James Ironwood, who talks on how Roman refuses to reveal who he's working for. Ironwood then informs Roman that the council allowed him to keep him for as long as he wants, but Roman simply laughs and remarks on how it will be fun.
In "PvP", Roman is seen being broken out of prison by Neopolitan, who returns his hat and Melodic Cudgel. He then takes the opportunity to destroy several Atlesian Airships, declaring that "It is good to be back!"
In "Battle of Beacon", Roman, in control of an airship, presses buttons of a control panel to see what they do. The first one sets off an explosion of some sort, and the second deploys a squadron of AK-200 soldiers. Neo gives him a scroll with Cinder's virus on it, and he plugs it into a port on the panel. It infects every AK-200 with hostile AI, turning them against the Huntsmen fighting against Grimm at Beacon and in Vale. He hears something impact the roof of the airship, and he instructs Neo to find out the cause.
In "Heroes and Monsters", once Neo reports that Ruby is on the top, Roman immediately heads to the roof, where he assists Neo in gaining the upper hand against Ruby. As Roman and Neo fight Ruby on top of the airship swarming with Grimm, Ruby asks Roman what he has to gain by destroying Beacon and Vale, to which he tells her it's not about personal gain but rather that he can't afford to lose. He then explains that his employers are going to change the world and that neither she nor him can stop them, which means the next best thing is to join them.
During their struggle, Ruby manages to open Neo's umbrella, sending her flying off the airship and telling Roman that she will stop them. Angered, Roman intercepts her charge, disarms her of Crescent Rose and brutally starts beating Ruby with Melodic Cudgel as he tells her how cold and cruel the real world is and that she will die like all Huntsmen before her while he shall continue to survive - until the negativity of his speech attracts a Griffon that eats him alive, before it's promptly kicked by Ruby into the hull of the now-exploding airship.
Roman also appears in the non-canon comedy spinoff series. Here, he is also an outright villain with self-proclaimed evil plans to destroy Ruby.
In "Episode 20", Roman and Neo plan on destroying Ruby with a death ray, but was foiled by Zwei, leaving Ruby and her team completely oblivious to their presence. He also breaks the fourth wall by saying "You thought you could just move on into a spinoff comedy series and leave me behind? Guess again!".
In "Episode 21", during a fantasy where world peace is achieved, Roman, along with the rest of the villains, are extremely distraught.
In "Episode 22", Roman comes into Team RWBY's room to destroy Ruby, despite her warning everyone that the floor is lava. Roman, like the others, does not listen, and goes into the room to fight her. However, the floor really is lava, and Roman sinks and burns in a comedic fashion.
In "Episode 23", Roman and Neo rob a dust store right under Sun and Neptune's noses. They later briefly appear in one of Nora's caffeine-induced hallucinations.
In "Episode 24", it is revealed that the whole RWBY Chibi series was "filmed before a live audience" and this time included a laugh track. During this episode, Roman and Neo advertise "Neo's Neo", a brand of Neapolitan ice cream. They state that it is not poisoned, but an offscreen announcer says that it has been deemed a hazard, is probably poisoned, and to eat at your own risk. Afterwards, Roman and the rest of the villains show up for the curtain call.
Roman's personality was a mixture between that of a formal gentleman and a ruthless criminal. He emits charm and speaks calmly even in the middle of an armed robbery. Roman emits hostility when upset or frustrated, as seen in "No Brakes", when he ordered the White Fang to help him shoot Ruby as she escaped, bent his weapon and slammed a subordinate backward.
Roman also demonstrated a ruthless streak, evidently willing to use lethal force on Ruby when she foiled his scheme, even going so far as to laugh after successfully shooting her down in "Black and White". In "Heroes and Monsters", he even chastised Ruby for her being blind to the cruelty of the real world while trying to beat her with his cane.
Judging by his elaborate outfit and accessories, Roman also had expensive tastes; a common stereotype of Mafia Dons and other organized crime kingpins. This is further exemplified by his reaction to the destruction of the Atlesian Paladin-290 that he was piloting, which caused him to be violently flung to the ground scattered by debris. Rather than appearing upset with what happened to his mech or afraid of the situation, he simply brushed himself off, commenting that the experience has ruined the cleanliness of his suit.
Despite working with the White Fang, he had no respect for them or Faunus in general. On several occasions he talked to or about them in a derogatory fashion, referring to them as "mutts" or "animals". It is unclear if this is representative of hostility towards the Faunus in general or him acting out his frustrations towards having to work with the group. It may be he did not like being ordered around by Cinder Fall and her associates.
He is also often took to mocking, taunting and insulting his enemies, as seen when he called out to Blake Belladonna, saying, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty," as well as when he responded to Ruby's arrival by saying, "Well, hello, Red! Isn't it past your bedtime?" This quality persisted even when he was in very difficult situations; such as when he was imprisoned and interrogated by General Ironwood.
In "Heroes and Monsters", he revealed that he worked for Cinder's Faction under the belief that nobody can stop them, and he couldn't afford to lose, considering himself a gambling man who knew what bets not to take.
Skills and Abilities
Roman fought using his signature cane-cannon, Melodic Cudgel. In "Black and White", Roman was shown to be adept in using his cane as a melee weapon. He was very capable in parrying, able to hold his own against both Blake and Sun Wukong, deflecting nearly all of their attacks.
He had the skills to use Melodic Cudgel offensively, such as using it to hook Blake towards him to deliver a punch or staggering her by whipping her knees. In fact, Roman came close to overpowering Blake, having gotten far enough to knock her to the ground and temporarily disarm her.
He also seemed to have exceptional accuracy, as from a considerable distance he was able both to hit Ruby with a blast from his cane as well as snatch her by the hood with the grappling hook. His fight against Blake and Sun, both extremely swift, dual-wielding opponents, showed his reflexes were impressive as well. Despite Blake producing shadow clones using her Semblance, Roman remained perfectly aware of her position and movements during the engagement, quickly countering her attacks. He could also easily deflect long range attacks, which is seen with Sun's weapons. Roman was also able to counter all of Ruby's attacks with ease during their fight atop the airship, even when she was using her enhanced speed.
In "Ruby Rose", Roman was shown to be a skilled pilot, as he was able to keep a Bullhead relatively stable even though it was being bombarded with multiple attacks.
In "Painting the Town...", he was also able to pilot an Atlesian Paladin-290 and utilized the machine's weapons and sensory systems to good effect, though he was unable to defeat Team RWBY while using the machine. Roman also showed great skill in piloting the Paladin, effortlessly guiding it through traffic, moving it fast enough to catch up to a fleeing Blake and Sun.
In "PvP", he was shown to be able to pilot an Atlesian Airship all by himself and uses it to take down two other Atlesian Airships with ease.
Roman appeared to be a sort of criminal mastermind. By "Best Day Ever", he had reportedly obtained most of the Dust in Vale, showing that his nefarious scheming was something to be reckoned with. This image was furthered by "Players and Pieces", as he was seen planning a heist, attack or something similar targeting the entirety of Vale. He also appeared to be very good at planning escapes should his schemes fail, escaping on a Bullhead after his failed Dust heists and after his Paladin is destroyed.
- Roman alludes to Romeo Candlewick from the story Pinocchio.
- His appearance bears some resemblance to Candlewick's appearance in Disney's film adaptation of Pinocchio named Lampwick.
- The director's commentary on the RWBY Volume 1 DVD mentions that Roman's appearance is a "shout-out to A Clockwork Orange" (1971 British film), with his appearance, in particular the bowler hat, eyeliner and penchant for white clothing, seeming to echo the appearance of the gang (known as the "droogs") in the film, specifically Alex.
- Originally, Roman was only going to appear in Volume 1. However, Monty Oum, Miles Luna, and Kerry Shawcross grew to love his character and how Gray G. Haddock voiced him, and they decided to keep him around.
- Roman's name and weapon could relate to the famous Roman candle firework, which ejects multiple pyrotechnic stars and is illegal in some countries. Also, Roman's weapon fires a blast that resembles a firework.
- Roman calls Ruby by the name "Red", a possible reference to the fact that she is an allusion to Little Red Riding Hood.
- Roman's fighting style seems to be inspired by the martial art of bartitsu, where practitioners are taught to use a cane as a weapon in addition to various hand-to-hand techniques.
- Roman's emblem is a Jack-O'-Lantern, otherwise known as a Will-O'-The-Wisp or Will-O'-The-Torch, the origin of which was a spirit cursed to roam the world with only a torch/lantern. The symbol can be found on Roman's lighter and Melodic Cudgel.
- Roman bears some similarities to Jack Spicer as both act as main rivals to a heroic team with Roman being the main rival to RWBY and Jack Spicer being the main rival to the Xiaolin Warriors and both serve all powerful villainesses who act as the main antagonists of their respective series with Roman serving Cinder and Jack serving Wuya and both have a somewhat negative relationships with their masters.
- He also bears some similarities to Reaver, the character from the Fable videogame franchise, both in appearance and personality. His extravagant taste in outfits and the cane that he uses as a weapon, plus his penchant for ranged attacks over melee combat, mark some such similarities, with his relatively gentlemanly but egocentric personality and his criminal tendencies adding more validity to this comparison.
- He is also similar to Valmont as both are crime lords of their respective crime syndicates, but are taking orders from a figure that is powerful from either of them, and having a negative relationship with their commanders.