Raven Branwen is an antagonist who first appeared in "No Brakes". She is the mother of Yang Xiao Long and is Qrow Branwen's twin sister. She was a member of Team STRQ and is the current leader of the Branwen Tribe.
Raven wears a shallow cut black dress, five necklaces with an assortment of beads, a red girdle-belt, and a pair of matching gauntlets. She wears gloves in Volume 2, but in Volume 4 onward she wears fingerless gloves.
An object that looks to be made from feathers hangs from the right side of her skirt. She also wears detached black leggings with a red splatter pattern, and black leather boots beneath them. Her most distinctive feature is a fearsome, full-face mask that resembles the face of a Creature of Grimm. The mask has four eye slits, further enhancing the character's inhuman appearance.
Under the mask, she looks very similar to Yang, sharing the same facial shape, though her hair is more ravenous and black with red highlights, her eyebrows are a little bit higher, her complexion is significantly lighter, and there are slight age lines under her eyes. Raven's eye color is the same shade of red that Yang's shifts to when enraged.
During a conversation with Yang, Qrow calls his sister a dangerous person, whose worldview clashes with his own. Nevertheless, in "No Brakes", Raven saves Yang's life from Neo, but later has Qrow warn her daughter not to expect any "further kindness."
In "Family", it is revealed that she has a "survival of the fittest" mentality and, despite having graduated from Beacon Academy as a Huntress, has little issues with taking lives of the innocent or even that of other Huntsmen, indirectly or otherwise. Raven is more serious than her brother and is somewhat demanding, focusing on her mission over family ties. She sees Qrow as a traitor for leaving their tribe. Additionally, Raven is a cynic who claims to have foreseen Ozpin's failure to protect Beacon from its destruction. She believes that Ozpin is not the man her daughter thinks he is, and condemns those who trust him, such as Qrow and Ruby.
In "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back", Taiyang reveals Raven was stubborn during her academy days, had a very direct approach, and saw strength as all-important in a fight, traits that her daughter inherited. He added that Raven was ambitious, and gave her all to whatever cause she saw as just. Taiyang also revealed that Raven had a number of unspecified faults that greatly contributed to the dissolution of Team STRQ.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Though most of her combat abilities are still unknown, it only required a single direct strike to incite a fighter as skilled as Neo to flee.
Raven is armed with a long-bladed, single-edged ōdachi, or "great sword". The weapon's red blade is reminiscent of katanas carried by Junior Xiong's henchmen, as well as Adam Taurus' Wilt. Additionally, the weapon's sheath has a rotary chamber filled with different types of Dust blades, reminiscent of the Dust vial chamber of Weiss Schnee's Myrtenaster. The sword's blade is telescopic which allows it to be approximately twice the length of its sheath.
Raven possesses great speed in combat, so much so that her attacks are difficult to follow with the naked eye. She shows proficiency in "Iaido", the art of swordsmanship practiced by Adam Taurus, as seen when she first engages Neopolitan. Though after her initial attack, she challenges Neo with a more traditional stance, indicating a more intricate fighting style.
It is stated in "Welcome to Haven" that Raven is equally matched with her brother Qrow.
Raven's Semblance allows her to create portals to instantly teleport to people she has bonded with. She has bonded with at least three people: Taiyang, Yang, and Qrow. She has used her portals to escape the train car Yang and Neo were fighting in, as well as to leave the bar in Higanbana after talking with Qrow. In each instance, she swings her sword to create the portals.
For information on her character allusion and other choices for the character made by the creators, see Raven Branwen/Behind the Scenes.
- Branwen is Welsh, meaning "blessed white raven/crow", which corresponds to her first name. Raven can refer to a number of bird species in the genus Corvus, or in reference to the color black.
- As well as the fact that their first names, Raven and Qrow (crow), are both black birds in the genus Corvus. Specifically, ravens are a type of crow.
- During the scene where Yang talks about her search for Raven and being saved by her uncle Qrow in "Burning the Candle", the text on the chalkboard (enlarged) is an extract from a poem about Huginn and Muninn, two ravens from Norse mythology. The text supposedly reads:
- Hugin and Munin fly each day over the spacious earth.
- I fear for Hugin, that he not come back, yet more anxious am I for Munin.
- She wears the same necklace as Neopolitan and Coco Adel.
- Her mask appears to be a more elaborately-styled version of the Grimm Masks worn by the White Fang.
- Notably, her mask and feathered hair give her an appearance markedly similar to a Nevermore, likely referencing her name.
- The red and black portal Raven uses is visually similar to the one created by Cinder's glove in "Beginning of the End". A similar looking portal is seen in both the Volume 1 and Volume 3 Opening animations.
- Since Yang never mentions actually meeting Raven during her conversation with Qrow, it can be assumed that the post credit scene in Volume 2 is some kind of dream or vision.