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Adam Taurus was an antagonist in RWBY. Previously the leader of the White Fang's Vale branch, he became the High Leader of the White Fang after deposing the former leader Sienna Khan in a coup, but was ousted from the White Fang after their defeat in "Haven's Fate". After his failure at the Battle of Haven and his subsequent expulsion from the White Fang, he began relentlessly chasing Blake Belladonna, only to be overpowered and killed by her and Yang Xiao Long in "Seeing Red".
Described as both a mentor and former romantic partner, Adam made his first appearance in the "Black" Trailer as a deuteragonist where he worked together with Blake to attack a train carrying a Dust shipment but was abandoned by her at the end of the trailer. He later made his first proper appearance in the show at the end of "Breach". His weapons of choice were Wilt and Blush, a sword and a rifle that doubles as a scabbard.
Adam was a tall Faunus with auburn hair that spikes backward in a windswept way. While most of his hair was red, he had streaks of brown. A noticeable trait of his appearance was the mask he wore, which obscured his entire upper face above his nose. Behind his mask was a scarred Schnee Dust Company brandmark across his left eye, which was bloodied with a gray iris and a singed eyebrow, as opposed to his remaining blue eye and brown eyebrow. His Faunus heritage appeared to be that of a bull, for he had two reddish-black horns, one on each side of his head, also seemingly slanted back.
Original ("Black" Trailer and Volumes 2–4)
Adam wore an asymmetrical black, long-sleeved, double-breasted stylized high-collared blazer with slit sleeves along with red thorn sigils adorned with a white crest that lined up on his left shoulder. His suit jacket had crimson lining atop his red shirt, with red thorn sigils atop a black flap attached to the bottom of the left hem and his wilting rose emblem on the back over an emblazoned white sigil resembling the curved stems and flower of the deadly nightshade plant. His blazer was half-buttoned, exposing a red shirt with a black line running parallel to his collar under it.
His mask was whitish-tan with red, Japanese style, horn-like symbols decorating the front and two slits on each side presumably to allow for vision. This is a redesigned version of the Grimm masks typically worn by most members of the White Fang.
He wore long black dress pants, black shoes with red soles and black gloves with red sigils resembling the Greek letter Ω (Omega), the last letter in the Greek alphabet.
He wore a black belt with white domino marks on it. His color palette generally consists of black and red, similar to the color scheme used by Ruby Rose.
Original (Volume 6 Adam Character Short)
The designs on Adam's jacket and red Omega emblems on his gloves were not shown when Adam encouraged the members of the White Fang during the raid on a Dust processing plant. The wilting rose emblem on his jacket and a white symbol on the left side were later added when he defended the White Fang from an attack on their convoy alongside Ghira Belladonna, Ilia Amitola, Sienna and several White Fang members. The red floral design on the front of Adam's jacket and the corresponding white design on the back of it were not originally there. They, including the Omega emblems on his gloves, were added after Blake reassures Adam that he still has her and prior to his mission with Sienna and Ilia.
Post-Timeskip (Volumes 5–6)
Adam's outfit was updated to a form-fitting, double-breasted three-tone black and gray leather tunic jacket with red interior lining and two-layers of flares that hung the entire bottom of his jacket around his thigh, befitting his more militaristic mindset after the Fall of Beacon. His rounded collar up to the shoulders of his jacket was black, with the two-tone gray colors at the rest of his jacket, which also included a zipper for his left breast pocket, and two more at the sleeves, which also possessed black cuffs.
His dress pants were a matching gray to the tunic and mounted a maroon belt at the right thigh. The back of his tunic retained his red wilting rose emblem with white nightshade stem and flower sigils. Completing this outfit were plain black gloves exposing his wrists, along with twin maroon crisscrossing belts that hung Wilt and Blush on his left, and a black and red-lined drape retaining the red thorn sigil on his right. Finally, he still wore his red-soled black shoes.
Sometime after leaving the White Fang headquarters following the Battle of Haven, he replaced his Grimm mask with a black blindfold.
Blake described him as feeling completely justified in how he went about making the world a better place. However, his vision for a perfect future did not include everyone, and Blake began to believe that Adam himself was becoming a monster in the process of trying to obtain it. In "Necessary Sacrifice", Blake described Adam as such: "At first I thought Adam was the embodiment of 'justice', then I thought he was 'passion'. But over time, I realized... he was 'spite'... He won't accept equality, only suffering for what he feels the world did to him." Unlike Blake, he is shown to have little regard for the lives of innocent people, as he planned to blow up the train with everyone on board in the "Black" Trailer.
In "Beginning of the End", he took his cause and the lives of his underlings seriously, rejecting Cinder Fall's initial offer of an alliance, citing the unnecessary risk of dying for a human cause. It was also hinted that he dislikes Huntsmen, sardonically stating she could have gone to one who strayed from their "righteous path". However, after Cinder arrived a second time, this time with an offer of Dust and Lien as well as a death threat, Adam begrudgingly accepted her terms. Furthermore, in "The Next Step", Salem stated that Adam had proven to be loyal to her cause.
In "Heroes and Monsters", Adam's ruthless personality came to light. He was revealed to be an embittered, sadistic and vengeful man, willing to cut down any opposition towards his twisted ideas of justice being dispensed upon humanity. He took great pleasure in tormenting Blake, taunting her by calling her "darling" or "my love" and ultimately promising to destroy everything she loves as punishment for her betrayal of the White Fang and, by extension, him. He exhibited extremely possessive, violent, narcissistic and abusive behavior.
He was also merciless and brutal towards his enemies, slicing off Yang's arm with ease when she rushed him and even attempting to decapitate Blake when she appeared to stand between him and a crippled Yang. This characteristic was implied once more in "Of Runaways and Stowaways" when Lisa Lavender reports that all attempts to apprehend him were met with brutal force.
Adam had also proven to be highly ambitious, as shown when he disclosed to Sienna, the White Fang's High Leader, that he wished to start a war with Humanity and enslave them, before usurping and killing her within the same moment. He expressed delight in taking over the White Fang and felt no remorse in killing Sienna for it, something Hazel Rainart berated him for.
Fennec Albain had noted that Adam's behavior had become increasingly impulsive and unstable both because of the stress of leading the White Fang and his obsession to punish Blake for her perceived betrayal of the White Fang. This is observed when he ordered the assassination of her parents despite the possibility of it alienating the citizens of Menagerie against his leadership due to her father's position as Chieftain of the small nation state, and it becomes increasingly clear in "Downfall" where he began to lose his composure in the face of inevitable defeat. There, he was so desperate after being surrounded as to even press the switch to detonate the bombs planted around Haven without a second thought as to the safety of his soldiers or himself. This was a clear indication that Adam has changed from a justice-seeking revolutionary to a power-hungry, murderous, spiteful, and ruthless sociopath, as he had previously refused to risk the lives of his followers for anyone only to be willing to sacrifice them when he thought victory was out of reach. While once desiring freedom for all Faunus, by the end Adam only sought to fulfill his own desires.
In the "Volume 6 Adam Character Short", Adam was initially seen as being not nearly as antagonistic as he is in the present. He did not initially begin killing humans until he was forced to do so in order to protect Ghira. He showed brief conflict over this action when the latter reprimanded him for it, though Sienna's praise for his action led him to begin killing more frequently. Adam's manipulation of Blake was also shown; after being confronted by Blake for his violence, he lashed out at her by mentioning her parents' abandonment of their cause, and then apologized and professed his fear of losing her support, emotionally shackling her to himself. This exemplifies how Adam legitimately cared for Blake and relied on her for emotional support, but when he feared she would leave him he had no problem manipulating her into staying with him.
Following his defeat in Haven, Adam became even more unstable, cruel, temperamental and aggressive. Upon his return to the White Fang base in "Argus Limited", he lashed out and killed his fellow White Fang members. His rage had become so great that he even vandalized the throne of the White Fang, slicing off a piece of its seat back, showing his utter disregard for even his own symbol of authority. With the loss of his leadership of the White Fang, Adam was left only with his hatred of Blake. His obsession with Blake had evolved to the point that he stalked her for months just to get a chance to attack her and reflects on his far more aggressive and liberal use of his Semblance. In "The Lady in the Shoe", it is revealed that the reason he was so bent on killing Blake is that she left him alone, her act of abandonment hurting him far more than any physical abuse Humanity had subjected him to. In "Seeing Red" Adam is clearly jealous of Blake's close relationship with Yang and felt Blake had left him because he "just wasn't good enough for her", despite Blake clearly telling him it was his violent tendencies. In his final moments, Adam showed shock that Yang and Blake had managed to defeat him.
Powers and Abilities
Adam was adept in swordsmanship, quickly cutting through Atlesian Knight-130s with ease. He had a preference towards the usage of "Iaido", a method in Japanese sword fighting that involves quickly unsheathing for a rapid attack and then sheathing again. Adam proved to be adept in unarmed combat, utilizing kicks and grabs in addition to his swordsmanship.
He had been shown in the "Black" Trailer to be able to slash at enemies that are seemingly out of his blade's range, implying that he either moved there and back quickly or somehow extended the range of his blade. When he used Wilt to open the train car roof hatch, he moved so quickly that his strike was almost invisible to the human eye.
He would also occasionally use Blush for ranged attacks in conjunction with Wilt. Furthermore, Adam's speed is shown to enable him to deflect numerous bullets in rapid succession with Wilt and Blush. Like Blake, Adam appeared to have advanced endurance, showing no signs of fatigue during an extended battle. He was also skilled at shooting his blade and hurling it as a saw-like attack.
With his Semblance, Moonslice, Adam was able to absorb or block the energy from an enemy attack and re-emit it again in powerful red energy strikes. When absorbing attacks or shortly before striking back, the details on his body appeared to glow red. When he attacked, the color appeared to drain from the world and everything turns red and black. In Volume 6, black and red bolts of lightning appeared over his body and the world temporarily became darker. Usually, Adam would absorb multiple strikes and then unleash his Semblance in one high powered strike, but used it far more freely in Volume 6, with less powerful blows. This ability was very similar to Yang's Semblance, but with two major differences: his Semblance enhanced attacks and not the user and, as he absorbed it through his sword, he did not feel the pain of the blows as what Blake and Yang described it in "The Lady in the Shoe". He also required time as seen in the "Black" Trailer to use his ability.
When he used this ability, red rose petals are shown floating in the air, symbolizing his theme of "wilt". In "Heroes and Monsters", his first strike against Yang was so powerful that it both broke through her Aura and completely severed her arm, all in a single hit. However, the power of this technique depended on how much energy he absorbed with his sword. Adam had taken two hits fired by Blake before attacking Yang, while he had absorbed a continuous beam of energy from the spider robot in the "Black" Trailer before disintegrating it.
Adam had been shown to channel his Semblance through the air or ground, respectively, during his battle against Yang in "The Lady in the Shoe". In the same episode, it has also been shown that Adam had the ability to create moving afterimages of himself.
Aside from his combat abilities, Adam was also an assertive and charismatic leader. Sienna even described him as a symbol for many in the White Fang in "Dread in the Air". In "Breach", he assured Cinder's faction that the White Fang will listen to him despite the prior events, and in both Volume 4 and "Dread in the Air", Adam was able to gain enough support from many branches of the White Fang, including Sienna's personal bodyguards, to help him overthrow her and become the high leader himself. However, his leadership abilities were shown to be progressively compromised by his increasingly unstable personality, making costly decisions to sate his personal vendettas.
Adam was very intelligent despite his aggressive personality, as he repeatedly proved himself to be very quick thinking and a skilled manipulator, best shown of his takeover of the White Fang. As a leader, Adam displayed an excellent tactical acumen, planning the White Fang's Vale operation, and successfully executed a political take over of the White Fang. Blake also noted that after his defeat at Haven, Adam was trying to separate herself and Sun from the Menagerie resistance so he could pick them off. Adam was also capable with psychological warfare, skillfully taunting Blake and Yang in all of his engagements with the two. Even at the height of his obsession with Blake, Adam retained his quick thinking.
In light of all of his strength, power, cunning and manipulation, Adam was far from unstoppable. His over-reliance on his sword to fight and channel his Semblance caused him to become practically helpless without it in his final duel with Blake and Yang, as without his sword he could not properly fend them off. Aside from his dependence on his sword, Adam's most obvious weakness is his emotional instability. His one-track need satiate his vengeance on those whom he felt wronged him often caused him to lash out with either physical or emotional violence. His instability drove him to homicide to the point where he killed an unseen but substantial number of White Fang members when they questioned his resolve and loyalties. As such, he drove away any and all past and potential future allies.
- Adam alludes to the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and stands in as Gaston to Blake's allusion to Belle from the same story. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Adam Taurus/Behind the Scenes.
- In Hebrew, Adam (אדם) means "Man" and Adom (אדום) means "Red". It is likely that Adam's name is a play on these two words. Adam is also known in Abrahamic religions as the first man created, possibly referencing the fact that he is the first male character as well as the first antagonist to appear in the series. It might also be played on the fact the Biblical Adam is human, whereas Adam Taurus is a Faunus.
- Adam's last name, Taurus, is a Latin word meaning "Bull".
- His mask has two red horn-shaped markings similar to that of a bull.
- In a picture Monty Oum posted on Twitter, the term "Moonslice" can be seen on a notes sheet regarding the "Black" Trailer, coinciding with the appearance of Adam's finishing move.
- During the RWBY panel at 2016's London Comic Con, Arryn Zech and Barbara Dunkelman put Adam's age as early-to-mid 20s, with a guess of about 23.
- Adam and Ruby have some traits in common, mostly their color scheme and the heavy use of red imagery in their debut trailers.
- Despite this resemblance to Ruby, however, Monty stated that the two are not related, the difference between them being "scatter and wilt".
- Adam's sword is based on Kagura's sword from Ga-Rei: Zero.
- Adam's mask appears beside Blake for a short while in the Volume 1 Opening.
- Adam appeared alongside Junior Xiong, Melanie Malachite and Miltia Malachite in a video Monty made as an alternate version of the Team JNPR dance scene in "Dance Dance Infiltration".
- In the RWBY Volume 3 Marathon livestream, the RWBY crew note that Adam's behavior toward Blake in "Heroes and Monsters" is abusive and express their discomfort with it.
- In BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, one of Hazama's color swaps is based on Adam. Adam's Japanese voice actor, Yūichi Nakamura, also voiced Hazama.