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These kids just keep getting weirder.
~ Roman, commenting on the kids he just fought.
You're asking the wrong questions, Red! It's not what I have to gain, it's that I can't afford to lose! I may be a gambling man, but even I know that there are some bets you just don't take. Like it or not, the people that hired me are going to change the world! You can't stop 'em, I can't stop 'em!
~ Roman, explaining his motivation to Ruby.
You got spirit, Red. But this is the real world! 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 speech to Ruby

Roman Torchwick is a major antagonist in the Beacon arc (Volumes 1-3) of RWBY. He was a notorious criminal in Vale as well as a member of Cinder's Faction and an affiliate of the White Fang.

He made a small cameo in the "Yellow" Trailer before being introduced in the series premiere "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).

Appearance

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.

History

Background

Roman Torchwick was said to have been detained by the Vale Police Department for reasons unknown. Despite not being specified whether or not he's been imprisoned or convicted in the past, he has nonetheless gained a huge notoriety among the citizens and authorities at Vale as a master criminal and has continued to evade capture for quite some time. Some point later, Roman is approached and recruited by Cinder Fall at the recommendation of Mercury Black to assist her faction in their plans.

In the "Yellow" Trailer, Roman is seen at The Club talking to Junior and paying him for the use of some of his henchmen for Dust robberies, but then leaves before the ensuing fight.

Volume 1

In "Ruby Rose", Roman walks across the streets of Vale with some of Junior's henchmen, intimidating onlookers and bystanders. He then enters the Dust store, From Dust Till Dawn, and he and his goons proceed to start robbing the store of all it's Dust. However, when Ruby Rose begins foiling his heist and defeating his henchmen, Roman retreats to a nearby rooftop to be picked up in a Bullhead by Cinder Fall.

He then attempts to kill Ruby by throwing an explosive Dust crystal at her feet and shooting it with Melodic Cudgel; but Glynda Goodwitch appears and blocks the explosion before assaulting the Bullhead. Roman runs to the cockpit to inform Cinder about the Huntress, taking control of the ship as Cinder leaves to engage Glynda in battle. Despite Glynda's efforts, both Roman and Cinder make a successful getaway. In "Players and Pieces", Roman is seen inside his secret warehouse on a phone call with Cinder before hanging it up in frustration as a White Fang member comes into the room carrying a supply crate. Roman pays the man before asking him to open it, revealing the contents to be Dust crystals. He picks one up and inspects it 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 and demands to know why the White Fang are aiding him. Roman reveals that he and the White Fang are going on a "joint business venture", before multiple Bullheads arrive with more troops to assist him. Using this distraction, Roman fired a shot from Melodic Cudgel to blast Blake away before engaging both her and Sun Wukong in combat.

Roman almost manages to defeat the pair when Ruby appears and catches Roman's attention. When Penny appears as well, Roman shoots a distracted Ruby down and proceeds to start laughing. However, an angered Penny begins assaulting his men and destroying his Bullheads, leaving the operation a failure and forcing Roman to flee once again.

In the post-credits scene, Roman returns to his warehouse and reviews the ruined heist until he is surprised by the arrival of Cinder and her associates Emerald and Mercury. Cinder expresses disappointment at Roman's failure, to which he complains to her about being paired with the "mutts" from the White Fang. Cinder tells him he will continue to cooperate with them nonetheless, stating that she and her associates have "big plans" for him.

Volume 2

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 problems. He claims that he had everything under control and begins to threaten them, but retracts his threat when Cinder appears.

Roman tries to explain to Cinder that he was planning on killing Tukson, but has been busy stealing all the Dust in the entire kingdom. Mercury berates him as a common crook, but Roman rebuffs this by saying that he had the city running scared; with police on every corner, Dust prices increasing and the warehouse being full of their spoils. However, Roman questions what their "grand master plan" is so future jobs will be much 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 orders Roman to have the White Fang move the stolen 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", Roman is seen along with the White Fang beneath the caves of Mountain Glenn, using the stolen Dust to power explosives and loading them onto a train. When 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. Roman commands the White Fang to start the train earlier than planned, escaping on it as it departs. When the team gives chase, Roman sends more troops to kill them, along with Neopolitan and the White Fang Lieutenant. Roman is later 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, telling her she can't hide who she is and the things she's done. Blake ignores this and refuses to join 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 on an airship, 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 has allowed him to keep Roman for as long as he wants, but Roman simply laughs and remarks on how it will be fun.

Volume 3

In "PvP", Roman is seen being broken out of his cell by Neopolitan, who returns his hat and Melodic Cudgel. He then takes the opportunity to hijack the Atlesian Airship and destroy the other ones nearby, declaring that "It is good to be back!"

In "Battle of Beacon", Roman is seen pressing buttons on 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 knocks Ruby to the ground and brutally starts beating her 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-disabled airship, which proceeds to crash into the ground and explode.

RWBY Chibi

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.

Personality

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

Fighting

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.

Piloting

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.

Planning

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.

Gallery

Videos

Trivia

  • 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 with Roman serving Cinder and Valmont serving Shendu, and both have a somewhat negative relationship with their commanders. They fight using their canes.