To accompany the Weiss character short that dropped in July, Rooster Teeth has just released one for Blake today, giving us another glimpse into Team RWBY's lives prior to the Volume 5 premiere.
Unlike Ruby and Weiss' action-packed shorts, Blake's takes on a more reflective tone. Yes, there's a chase scene as Blake and Sun attempt to apprehend a wanted White Fang member, but the focus is more on the endlessly blurry lines between the "good" guys and the "bad"----a theme that RWBY doesn't always handle perfectly, but they get props for their continued attempt. We're treated to a candid conversation between Blake and lIia sometime in the past, presumably before Blake begins her time at Beacon and has her falling out with Adam. There are clear parallels drawn between the two, with Ilia saying that hiding her Faunus nature at an all-human private school wasn't terrible, just "confusing at first." As a child, she only realizes the price of choosing so-called normality over her heritage when there's a massive explosion in the mines of her town and all her new human friends laugh. Ilia changing color in anger is no doubt meant to reflect Blake's similar outburst that revealed her Faunus nature to Team RWBY. The parallel reminds the viewer of the power of choice: Blake could have easily ended up where Ilia is now, working for a White Fang that has long been corrupted.
We see that these similarities stay with her. Rather than attacking outright, Ilia uses a distraction to help her friend escape. Rather than going after her, Blake tells Sun that he simply got away. This could be the start of another recurring cast member----perhaps someone who will eventually join the ranks of Team RWBY for the final battle----or Ilia might just be there to remind us that not everything is black and white.
Other details worth mentioning are another allusion to dust mining (no doubt owned by the Schnees - was it unsafe working environments that had that Faunus handling "agitated dust crystals"?), the degree to which a Faunus can pass as human (Ilia - fully, Blake - with the help of a bow, Others - not at all), Sun's unexpected leap over Blake's shoulders (another small example of his inability to respect her boundaries), the continued focus on eye color (Ilia's changing from gray to blue as she remembers her "friends"), and Blake's melancholy look at the flower stall prior to the chase.
RWBY is a show that utilizes transmedia storytelling, providing information not just through separate character shorts, but through their soundtracks as well. Since the drop of "Bmblb" in the Volume Four soundtrack, Blake's focus on the flowers seems like too much of a coincidence to write off.
There's a garden where I go
If you meet me there no one will know
In the springtime in the sun
We can be alone without anyone
The RWBY team has said in the past that they'll eventually introduce LGBTQIA characters and though many (myself included) had hoped they would do so sooner, it looks like we might be getting close. For all the Blake/Yang shippers out there, start looking forward to Volume 5!