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|“||These kids just keep getting weirder.||„|
|~ Roman commenting on the kids that 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, also his last words.|
Roman Torchwick is a major antagonist in the American web cartoon series RWBY, as well as its manga prequel/adaptation. He is a notorious criminal in Vale and a member of Cinder's Faction as well as an affiliate of the White Fang. Roman also served as one of the main Villain Protagonists of the prequel novel "RWBY: Roman Holiday " alongside his partner Neopolitan.
Roman has slanted dark green eyes and long bright 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 wears black gloves with rounded sleeves, as well as long black pants and black shoes.
|“||Now, I'll be the first to admit, humans... are the worst. Case in point.||„|
|~ Roman gesturing to himself.|
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 ruthlessness, 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.
Despite his self-serving personality, it is shown that Roman genuinely cared for his right-hand woman Neo, to the point that he was both saddened and angered when she was blown away from the airship during their fight against Ruby. While left up to interpretation in the show itself it is implied that Roman might of been in love or have a crush on Neo from mildly flirtingly joking with her (to be fair he does it a bit in the book), admitting she's the only person he trusts even with his life along with becoming mildly flustered when she kissed him on the cheek at the end of the book "RWBY: Roman Holiday". The writers have further implied that their was some sort of love but a few feeling it was more like a father and daughter or similar previously but then others claiming that they might of been romantically involved in things like "RWBY: Amity Arena", given "RWBY: Roman Holiday" takes place officially in canon it leans more towards the romantic sense of love though it is blatant they are at minimum close friends.
Roman Torchwick early in life was sold to an orphanage by his own mother which would result in him becoming unwilling to trust anyone from that moment on. This ultimately would cause him to have a criminal record in a hope to survive after he either left the orphanage willingly or kicked out at some point. He would at one point see a woman being assaulted and try to save her but as it turned out she was a criminal who claimed Roman assaulted her to throw suspicion off herself, this further reinforced his thoughts he could never trust anyone again. Living on the streets Roman decided to pickpocket others to survive, given the cold weather in Mistral when he saw a rich man he planned to steal it and some money to stay alive. Eventually a couple Spiders came and demanded some of his money, as they tried he was able to defeat them and escape with their money. This would lead to him eventually being tracked down and offered by Little Miss Malachite a chance to join her group after he points out her goons were incompetent, given it was that or death he agreed to join though Little Miss allowed him to get a beating from stealing from her. Over the years he became a trusted member even entrusted with protecting the Malachite Sisters though he purposely arranged a way to get out of being forced to take care of them by having them help take down a crime lord. Eventually he had a falling out due to forcing others to pay more for protection than normal so he could make more of a profit for himself, when found out the Spiders try to kill him forcing him to relocate to Vale though someone stole most his extra money.
While in Vale Roman started by renting an expensive he immediately decides to rob a bank without a mask in the middle of the day right after pickpocketing a man while leaving a calling card, while doing so he ends up fighting off two professional Huntsman with relative ease. To celebrate he has ordered take out ribs while watching the news commenting on he seemed to want infamy as much as the money and how the two Huntsman where suspended after failing to stop them while also using excessive means. Not long after Roman "turns himself in" to two corrupt cops who he gives them drugged donuts that while not fatal would leave them unconscious not long after. There he meets up with Hei Xiong who he tries to joining but fails to do so. Given every Spider has a tattoo Roman decided to change it into a pumpkin to no longer be associated with his old gang. As time goes on Roman goes on a crime spree which angers Hei Xiong as it shows he isn't in total control of the criminal underworld in Vale. Eventually while he is enjoying a fancy steak dinner he is attacked by the Malachite Sisters who try to kill him for their mother but he is ultimately helped by Neo who helps with using illusions much to his confusion. After being saved he offers to let her join her but when she hesitates he teasingly tells her if she changes her mind she'd have to find him.
In a relatively short time she finds him due to a tracker she had placed on his hat, impressed he offered to train her to which she accepted. Over the months they would train her first without her Semblance to make sure she wasn't too reliant on it. Growing close the two started to commit crimes together including robbing a warehouse of its coffee supply to force a demand. Eventually Neo went to investigate the headmistress of her school and told Roman she'd have to cancel only for him to be kidnapped by Little Miss. As he fought for his freedom he is lead to believe Neo willingly betrayed him but was saved when she tricked Hei Xiong's men into attacking her. As they stole an aircraft they went to Neo's home which he then learned her real name was Trivia Vanille, which made him realize he she was the daughter of a politician. After her parents reluctantly let them in and offer them tea Roman tries to make Neo feel more comfortable. Roman notices her parents are at best distant, when they say he can only stay the night but she would be forced to stay, Roman throws his cup at the wall while calling her father a hypocrite and tells them Neo will have the choice to leave if she wants but realizes as soon as he stands that they drugged his tea making him fall to the ground. As he lays there he sees Neo's father, Jimmy Vanille, drag her away and her mother, Carmel Vanille, tells how she is the brains of the family. Carmel claims she has been helping Little Miss on the condition their family will no longer have a debt and be set for life, Roman however was never trusting of others thus was careful with whatever he ate or drank meaning while he did get affected by the drugs it wasn't as bad as he let them think, he quickly was able to knock her unconscious and even as soon as Jimmy came back knocked him out as well.
After knocking out Jimmy he dragged him to the room where Neo was locked in and opened the lock, immediately after she was free he threw Jimmy in before sealing it. After saving her he realized both the Spiders and Hei Xiong gang would soon stop fighting themselves and come for them. After Neo helped Roman gain access to her father's computer he told her he needed a distraction. While she helped with the distraction he took the hard drive containing all of the data Little Miss had been gaining through her spies in Vale and sent it to local news reporter. In doing this it would lead to both groups losing their power in Vale and forcing the Spiders to retreat back to Mistral. Needing a way out they told Hei Xiong of where the stash of Dust was while also Neo disguising both herself and Roman as her parents as they retreated. As they made their escape they were able to arrange Little Miss into igniting the Dust causing an explosion which killed both of Neo's parents, Hei Xiong and his gang while forcing Little Miss to retreat back to Mistral. After they escaped Roman tries to comfort Neo and tells her if she doesn't want to work with him he'd understand but he would be happy to have her as his partner in crime, this lead to Neo kissing Roman on the cheek flustering him briefly as they head off to take over the criminal underworld of Vale. 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.
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 its 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.
In the manga set between Volumes 1 and 2, Roman Torchwick and the White Fang go searching for a base of operations and eventually happen upon the abandoned Mountain Glenn. They manage to sneak in and decide to use it, but not before they are attacked by a mysterious Tentacle Grimm that Roman chases away with his cane. As he and the White Fang are leaving Mountain Glenn to recoup, their Bullhead is suddenly shot down by a patrolling Penny Pollendina, who is surveying the area for the Atlas Military. Roman and the crew survive unharmed and escape, with Roman making his plans to move operations there and vowing to hurt Ruby Rose.
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. Roman then has the White Fang detach the carts full of explosives, letting them detonate throughout the cave's tunnels and create breaches that will allow the Grimm to enter Vale and wreak havoc.
When Team RWBY gives chase and boards the train, Roman sends more White Fang 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 make people forget who she is and what she's done. Blake ignores this and refuses to join him, and Roman is knocked out by the Faunus.
In "Breach", Roman is later found and arrested by Atlas troops following the Grimm attack on Vale. While in his cell on an Atlesian 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 granted him custody over the criminal for as long as he sees fit, but Roman simply laughs and remarks on how it will be fun.
In "PvP", Roman is seen being broken out of his cell by Neo, 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 from letting the Grimm destroy Beacon and Vale, to which he replies that it's not about personal gain but rather that he can't afford to lose. He 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 tells Roman that she will stop both them and him. Angered, Roman knocks Ruby to the ground and starts beating her with Melodic Cudgel as he tells her how cold and cruel the real world is and that she can die like all Huntsmen before her while he will continue to survive. However, a passing Griffon attacks and devours him alive, before it's promptly kicked by Ruby into the hull of the now-disabled airship; causing it to crash into the ground in a massive explosion.
In Volume 4, Ruby and Team RNJR are confronted by Tyrian Callows and Ruby asks why he's there. She asks if Tyrian was there due to Roman, but Tyrian laughs him off as a pawn. Sometime after the Fall of Beacon, Neo found Roman's hat and continues to wear it as a sign of remembrance. When Neo ran into Cinder again in Volume 6, she attacked her and blamed Cinder for causing Roman's death, but was convinced that Ruby was responsible and the two joined forces again to kill her.
- Main article: Roman Torchwick (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.
RWBY: Amity Arena
Roman appears in RWBY: Amity Arena as a unit. When deployed, he melee attacks with his cane, but also has the ability to launch his cane like a grappling hook and pull an enemy unit to him, stunning them in the process. His voice can also be heard when Neopolitan's card is deployed. He also appears in the Team Attack "Partners in Crime", where he teams up with Neo to pull enemies in for her to melee attack them.
Powers and Abilities
Roman never unlocked his semblance. He never felt bad about it as he considered using one a crutch.
Roman operated as a formidable fighter, despite never having discovered his Semblance. 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. However, Roman was liable to underestimating his opponents and had trouble adapting to surprise attacks. In "No Brakes", Roman found himself unable to counter Blake's use of Dust-augmented Semblance clones and was promptly defeated.
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 or her original name in development.
- 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.
- In the Japanese dubbed version, Roman is voiced by Shin-ichiro Miki, who also voiced Zamasu and Mizuki.
- The Official Manga version of Roman Torchwick are far worse (far darker and less affable) than his canon counterpart and he also cold toward to his partner Neo Politan (Neoplitan).
- He was meant to have Fiona's semblance, with the name Deep Pockets. However, there was never a time for Roman to use it.
Creatures of Grimm