In "Painting the Town..." it is revealed that Penny was a robot, with her telling Ruby that "most girls are born, but I was made".
In "PvP", Penny is killed by her own weapon when Pyrrha Nikos used her polarity Semblance to deflect what she thought were thousands of Penny's swords coming at her, when in reality it was Emerald Sustrai using her perception manipulation Semblance to trick Pyrrha into using her Semblance to a devastating magnitude.
Penny had short, rather curly orange hair with a small ahoge on top that came down to her chin, and she wore a pink bow on the back of her head. She also had bright green eyes, light skin and freckles. She wore a whitish-gray old-fashioned blouse with short gray feminine overalls, as well as a black and green collar with a matching pair of stockings. A layer of skin concealed her metallic structure and spherical joints, and her irises bore similarity to the shutter of a camera.
The green lines on the side of her stockings also appear to glow at times. She had what appears to be a small and thin backpack, though it has only been seen when she came to the aid of Ruby Rose in "Black and White" and when she fought against Russel Thrush and Sky Lark in "Never Miss a Beat". Otherwise, she is not seen to have this backpack; only her normal clothing is shown.
Penny was amiable, excitable, kind, and curious. She showed a distinct lack of social awareness, likely due to not having a lot of experience with human nature. When Ruby made an unconditional offer of friendship, Penny seemed both immensely pleased and somewhat surprised. Another small quirk is that Penny hiccuped whenever she told a lie.
She also seemed to place great value on friendship, for she is greatly angered at the sight of Ruby getting knocked down by Roman's flare in "Black and White". She also placed trust in Ruby based on the latter promising that she is her friend in "A Minor Hiccup".
Furthermore, Penny seemed to be immensely curious. Upon hearing that Blake has run away, she asked Ruby numerous questions, all related to Blake and friendship in general. Despite being told not to wander off, she still wandered Vale on her own.
Penny showed insecurities about her artificial nature. Upon confiding in Ruby that she is a synthetic being, Penny was worried about how she would take the news. However, after seeing Ruby take it rather well, she was glad that Ruby did not care she was a machine, for what matters is her heart and soul.
Penny's most notable trait was her kindness. She greeted the recently met Team RWBY with a jovial "Salutations!", complimented Weiss' hair, and offered to help Ruby track down Blake. In addition, she saved Ruby from a truck before asking the driver if he was okay, thanked Team CRDL during the Vytal Festival for the time she had, and told Pyrrha Nikos in the finals that it was a pleasure to finally meet her.
Penny's stranger social quirks tone down as the series progresses. While her early appearances had her depicted as cheery, curious, and unfamiliar with most aspects of social interaction, these aspects appear to diminish with each subsequent appearance, and by the time of the Vytal Festival, Penny was barely distinguishable from her former self's naivete and volatile emotional state, sharing a conversation with Ruby about her plans to stay at Beacon and her teammate.
Powers and Abilities
As seen in "Black and White", Penny was able to control numerous swords, kept in what appears to be a small mechanical backpack, with simple movements from her hands. She was able to manipulate every sword simultaneously without any difficulty at all and could fire energy blasts when she brought them together, with the swords going into a special rotating configuration. This blast of energy was powerful enough to simultaneously slice multiple Bullheads in half, shooting them down. She could also put her swords into smaller rings in order to fire multiple weaker beams.
The swords were connected to her, and possibly operated by, the use of thin strings attached to the hilts. Penny's 'strings' seemed to be quite strong and durable, as they were able to pull down a Bullhead and cut through Penny herself easily. The swords were able to fold in half lengthwise for easier storage.
She could allow the swords to pull her around or anchor herself and use them pull large objects, including pulling down an airship in flight despite the mass and thrust power of the vehicle. Such feats seemed to indicate enhanced strength as well as the ability to anchor herself in some way to the terrain. She could also use her weapons as thrusters, allowing her to move extremely quickly through the air.
Penny was able to jump great distances, with the force of her jump being enough to break the ground. She could also use her wires to catapult herself. She also seemed to have a high amount of speed or stealthiness, as seen when she appeared in one spot before quickly showing up in another. Examples of this are when she appeared in front of Team RWBY out of the blue and when she inexplicably appeared behind Weiss, Yang Xiao Long and Ruby two days later.
In Chapter 14 of the Manga, Penny is shown to combine her swords together into a jetpack.
Penny possessed immense physical strength, made evident when she managed to bring the From Dust Till Dawn truck in "A Minor Hiccup" to a complete stop with her bare hands, even causing the ground beneath her feet to buckle and crack. Her strength was attributed to her being a robot, which she admitted to in the same episode.
In the episode "Painting the Town..." Penny was revealed to be the first synthetic entity to be capable of generating an Aura. According to other references to Aura, this could also imply that Penny truly did have a soul and that she could also wield a Semblance.
- Penny alludes to Pinocchio. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Penny Polendina/Behind the Scenes.
- Penny's name can bring to mind the color of copper, which pennies are coated in. It can also bring to mind the green color that copper takes on when it is oxidized.
- In her debut episode, when Ruby tells Penny that she is her friend, Penny exclaims, "We can paint our nails, and try on clothes, and talk about cute boys!" which is a callback to Weiss' sarcastic rebuttal of Ruby's friendship in "The Shining Beacon, Pt.2". Ruby acknowledges this.
- Since Penny has ferromagnetic components she can be affected by magnets, as seen in "Never Miss a Beat" and "PvP".
- Penny is apparently very perceptive, for she saw through Blake's disguise and recognized she was a Faunus while most people did not.
- Penny's fighting style resembles that of Naminé as she is depicted in Dead Fantasy, an online series also created by Monty Oum.
- Going along with her robotic theme, her swords have the international stand-by / power symbol on each of them.
- The destroyed character model of Penny from "PvP" and "Battle of Beacon" was actually built by her voice actor, Taylor McNee, who is also a 3D artist on the show.
- Penny's emblem is a green sword, similar in design to the swords she uses in combat.
- Penny's model number is revealed in "Never Miss a Beat" to be M374, which is possibly a reference to the M374 Hephaestus Combat Suit worn by the Meta in Red vs. Blue.