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Neo (themed after Neapolitan ice cream) has the appropriate trio of colors in her hair and on her outfit. Her hair is half pink and half brown, with white streaks in the pink half.
Neo's natural eye color changes between brown, pale pink, and white, and they can alternate coloration in differing combinations, with this ability apparently being entirely under her control. Because of this, she tends to temporarily have a condition known as heterochromia iridum, where the eyes of a subject have two different colors. In her case, it is complete heterochromia, where one iris in its entirety is a different color from the other.
Neo wears a white jacket with a pink interior, brown pants, and gray boots with very high heels. Under her jacket is a black corset, curved in the middle and at the bottom, exposing her hips. She also wears a multitude of necklaces, which hang haphazardly around her neck.
Neo is also rather diminutive in stature, compared to the rest of the main cast, including Ruby Rose, the youngest known character, as shown in the height chart presented by Monty Oum. This is demonstrated in "No Brakes", when she stands off against Yang Xiao Long, as Neo is only able to reach her chin in overall height while wearing high heels.
Neo exhibits a stern, pragmatic and businesslike demeanor at the White Fang meeting. However, when intervening to help Roman following his defeat, she wears a self-assured and authoritative smile, and she politely bows to Team RWBY, showing confidence on the battlefield. Neo's confidence is also seen in her fight with Yang, smiling throughout the entire fight, whilst quietly mocking and taunting her as well. She displays confidence before the fight, not only against Yang, but also Weiss Schnee and Blake Belladonna, as she reveals herself immediately to the trio, and is prepared to fight them.
Neo is also shown to have a sadistic and manipulative side, as seen in her smile when she prepared to stab Yang. However, she does seem to exhibit fear and hesitance when she knows that she is outmatched, fleeing if her opponent proves to be as such. It is shown when Raven Branwen appears and engages her on the White Fang cargo train. Neo also appears to have a vengeful side, as seen in her attempt to kill Cinder for her part in Roman's death, only stopping when Cinder reveals her full power and agrees to work with Neo to kill Ruby.
Though much of Neo's past remains a mystery, parts of the song "One Thing" reveal some hints to Neo's past: that she was once an outcast with no home, friends, or family, and that Roman befriended her and gave her her name. Afterward, she stuck with him out of loyalty and felt indebted to him for giving her a life.
In "Painting the Town...", Neo is seen at a gathering of the White Fang, accompanying Roman Torchwick as he addresses the group; providing them with new weapons his "associates" had acquired for him. She later saves and aids Roman in his escape following his defeat at the hands of Team RWBY.
In "No Brakes", Neo is seen on a train carrying large amounts of explosive cargo, once again aiding Roman. After Team RWBY boards the train, Neo ends up confronting Yang Xiao Long, allowing Weiss Schnee and Blake Belladonna to pass by Neo without consequence. However, after a brief and rather one-sided fight, Neo bests Yang and attempts to kill her via a dagger in her umbrella. However, before she can, Raven Branwen appears, prompting her to flee.
In "Round One", Neo is later seen participating in the Vytal Festival combat tournament. She conceals her identity by changing her appearance drastically: she wears a predominantly black outfit and also changes her hair and eye colors. In the tournament, she competes as part of a team with Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black and Cinder Fall. The team has no trouble during their first match, in which Neo is seen mercilessly stomping on a hapless opponent.
In "Beginning of the End", after Mercury fakes a broken leg, Neo and Cinder, disguised as paramedics, evacuate Mercury via Air Bus to an unknown location.
In "PvP", Neo invades an Atlas ship and dispatches the guards before freeing Roman from his cell, returning to him his trademark hat and Melodic Cudgel.
In "Battle of Beacon", while aboard an Atlesian Airship, Neo hands Roman a scroll with Cinder's virus on it. Roman plugs it in, infecting all of the AK-200 soldiers with a hostile AI. When Roman hears something crash into the top of the airship, he instructs Neo to find out what it is. Neo nods and leaves the room, heading to the airship's roof.
In "Heroes and Monsters", once she arrives there, she uses her power to change back into her original outfit and report to Roman with a text from her Scroll, before engaging in battle against Ruby. She easily dodges the swings of Crescent Rose and shatters in an illusion, before Roman intervenes in the fight. Together, the two gain the upper hand on Ruby, with Neo landing a roundhouse kick, sending her to the edge of the airship. As Neo slowly walks towards Ruby, dragging her blade and holding her at swordpoint, she is immediately thwarted when Ruby opens her parasol, causing the winds to blow her away from the airship, leaving her at the mercy of the raging winds - and the flying Grimm.
In "The Coming Storm", having tracked Cinder Fall down with help from Little Miss Malachite, Neo has one of her clones ambush Cinder. After their fight leads outside, Neo reveals herself to Cinder, now donning Roman's bowler hat. Neo attacks Cinder and the two fight until Cinder unveils the full extent of her powers as the Fall maiden and convinces Neo to team up with her to get revenge on Ruby.
In “The Grimm Reaper”, Cinder and Neo travel back to the Vault of the Spring Maiden where Cinder explains to Neo that Salem doesn’t want Ruby dead, but tells her that since she is not an affiliate of Salem, Cinder convinces that Neo can kill Ruby if she takes Cinder to Atlas. Neo ponders on the idea, she shakes Cinder’s hand, sealing the deal.
In "Our Way", Neo steals an airship and uses her powers to make it look like an Atlas military ship. Cinder is impressed by her abilities and believes they are a good team, even musing about killing Pyrrha and telling Neo that she still believes in destiny.
- Main article: Neo Politan (RWBY Chibi)
Neo also appears in the non-canon comedy spinoff series. Here, she appears as the loyal associate of Roman. However, she is cynical and communicates through signs, similarly to Wile E. Coyote.
RWBY: Amity Arena
Neo appears as a unit in RWBY: Amity Arena called "Parasol Neo", being a lightweight melee fighter that, once defeated, reveals herself to be just an illusion and attacks for real with a full health bar.
Skills and Abilities
Neo's weapon of choice is an umbrella containing a sword, a long, thin blade hidden within the length of the umbrella's tube, which can also project the blade from the top end of it, with the crook handle serving as the hilt. The canopy of her umbrella possesses high defensive properties, demonstrated by its ability to block an incoming blast from Yang Xiao Long's Ember Celica.
Neo also appears to be capable of creating illusions, which she used to help Roman escape from Team RWBY. The nature of this power is yet to be fully-explained, although visually they are perfect moving replicas of whatever Neo wishes to project, and are physical enough to be shattered on impact. Neo is skilled enough to use them as misdirection during a fight, casting an illusion of herself that the opponent thinks is the real thing and attacking from their blind spot. She can also use these illusions to cloak herself in various disguises, banishing the image when it is no longer needed. She has since improved this power after the Fall of Beacon, and is now capable of creating physical illusions of herself to fight in her stead.
Neo is shown to be a highly skilled combatant, able to defeat Yang in a one-on-one fight, seemingly playing with her opponent as she was able to defeat her without taking anything more than a glancing hit. In close quarters combat, Neo utilizes her umbrella's open form in parrying Yang's attack which opened her up to counter blows. Neo also displays incredible reflexes and speed, dodging several of Yang's attacks with ease, even when holding her umbrella in one hand. This was further shown in "Heroes and Monsters" where she was easily able to keep up with and defeat Ruby almost singlehandedly.
Neo also showed herself to be very acrobatic and exceptionally skilled in hand-to-hand combat, relying on her agility to dodge and misdirect enemy movements and attacks, before retaliating with her own kick-based attacks, as her combat style is mostly relied on kicks, similar to that of Mercury's combat style. She was also shown to have an ability that seems to allow to her to teleport away in a white flash, as seen when Raven showed up to aid Yang.
- Her name and appearance reference Neapolitan ice cream, which is a combination of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla flavors. These colors correspond to her color scheme.
- However, it is also speculated that she also alludes to Mary Poppins from the book of the same name, due to her umbrella and magic-like abilities.
- From the 8th to the 11th of July 2014, Monty hinted at this long before the character's first appearance by tweeting pictures of Neapolitan ice creams.
- Neo- (νεο-) is also a Greek prefix, meaning "new". In English, "neo-" is also used as a prefix to denote something that is contemporary, recent, modern, or new. The word neapolitan itself derives from the Greek Neápolis (Νεάπολις), meaning "new city". Neo also means "young" and "immature" in Greek, usually in medical terms.
- Monty stated during the August 21st Rooster Teeth livestream that Neo's design is partially based on a presentation-play cosplay of Torchwick made by one of his friends.
- Neo, according to a photo Monty posted on his Facebook, is the shortest person of all characters in RWBY.
- Though Gray G. Haddock has confirmed that Neo has a voice actress, she has not spoken once during her screen time. Whilst she never makes any vocalizations whatsoever in Volume 2, including grunts in combat, she does make some nonverbal sounds in the episodes "Round One" and "Heroes and Monsters".
- Neo can change the color of her eyes at will, usually alternating between pink and brown. They can also turn white (completing the ice cream theme) although rarely; one turns white as she removes the sword from her umbrella, and both turn white when Raven appears. Later, she also changes her eyes to green as part of her tournament disguise and magenta as part of her paramedic disguise.
- In 2019, Rooster Teeth revealed that her name was spelled "Neo Politan" (her presumed first and last name), as opposed to the one-word "Neopolitan". This was apparently unknown even to other members of the team, as the development team for RWBY: Amity Arena only found out due to Neo's character files being named "Neo_Politan", and they asked the RWBY crew (affectionately nicknamed "CRWBY") about it. However, her name was originally spelled "Neopolitan" by Monty Oum in an image album that he uploaded to Facebook, and has also been a single word in all of her appearances in merchandise.