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Adam Taurus is 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".
Described both as a mentor and former romantic partner, Adam made his first appearance in the "Black" Trailer as a deuteragonist where he worked together with Blake Belladonna to attack a train carrying a Dust shipment, but was abandoned by her at the end of the trailer. He later makes his first proper appearance in the show at the end of "Breach". His weapons of choice are Wilt and Blush, a sword and a rifle that doubles as a scabbard.
Adam is a tall man with auburn hair that spikes backward in a windswept way. While most of his hair is red, a portion of it in the back and several streaks are brown. A noticeable trait of his appearance is the mask he wears, which obscures his entire upper face above his nose. Behind his mask is a scarred Schnee Dust Company brand mark across his left eye, which is bloodied with a gray iris and a singed eyebrow, as opposed to his remaining blue eye and brown eyebrow. His Faunus heritage appears to be that of a bull, for he has two horns, one on each side of his head, also seemingly slanted back.
Original ("Black" Trailer and Volumes 2–4)
Adam wears a long-sleeved black suit jacket with slit sleeves and more red designs and a white symbol on the left side. His suit jacket is red on the inside with red flame-like accents at the bottom and his wilting rose emblem on the back over a white floral design. His suit jacket is half-buttoned, exposing a red shirt with a black line running parallel to his collar under it.
His mask is 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 wears long black pants, black shoes with red soles and black gloves with more red emblems on their forehand, appearing to be a variant of the Greek letter Ω (Omega), the last letter in the Greek alphabet.
He wears a black belt with white domino marks on it. His appearance 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 are not shown when Adam encourages 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 are later added when he defends from an attack on a White Fang convoy alongside Ghira Belladonna, Sienna, Ilia Amitola 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, are added after Blake reassures Adam that he still has her and prior to his mission with Sienna and Ilia.
Post-Timeskip (Volume 5–Current)
Adam's outfit is updated to a form-fitting black, gray and red tunic with two-layers of flares that cause it to fall beyond his thigh. The top layer, at the base of the torso, is solid red and extends over the hips. Below it, the second layer has two solid black pieces of fabric with red piping that cover the sides of the thighs. The sleeves have a zipper on the upper arm and wide black cuffs. His pants are a matching gray to the tunic. The back of his tunic has his wilting rose emblem over a white floral design.
Sometime after leaving the White Fang headquarters following the Battle of Haven, he replaces his Grimm mask with a black blindfold.
Blake describes 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 describes 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 "Beginning of the End", he takes 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 is also hinted that he dislikes Huntsmen, sardonically stating she could have gone to one who strayed from their "righteous path". However, after Cinder arrives a second time, this time with an offer of Dust and Lien as well as a death threat, Adam begrudgingly accepts her terms. Furthermore, in "The Next Step", Salem states that Adam has proven to be loyal to her cause.
In "Heroes and Monsters", Adam's ruthless personality comes to light. He is 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 takes 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 exhibits extremely possessive, violent, narcissistic, and abusive behavior.
He is also merciless towards his enemies, slicing off Yang Xiao Long's arm with ease when she rushes him and even attempting to decapitate Blake when she appeared to stand between him and a crippled Yang. This characteristic is implied once more in "Of Runaways and Stowaways" when Lisa Lavender reports that all attempts to apprehend him are met with brutal force.
Adam has also proven to be highly ambitious, as shown when he discloses to Sienna, the White Fang's High Leader, that he wishes to start a war with humanity and enslave them, before usurping and killing her within the same moment. He expresses delight in taking over and feels no remorse in killing Sienna for it, something Hazel Rainart berates him for.
Fennec Albain has noted that Adam's behavior has become increasingly impulsive and unstable in 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 begins to lose his composure in the face of inevitable defeat. There, he is 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.
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 manipulatling her into staying with him.
Following his defeat in Haven, Adam becomes even more unstable, cruel 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 has 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. His obsession with Blake has evolved to the point that he stalked her for months just to get a chance to attack her. In "The Lady in the Shoe", it's revealed that the reason he is so bent on killing Blake is because she left him alone, her act of abandonment hurting him far more than any physical abuse humanity subjected him to.
Powers and Abilities
Adam's abilities and skills seem to be on par with that of a highly skilled Huntsman. He is adept in swordsmanship, quickly cutting through Atlesian Knight-130s with ease. He has 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.
He has been shown in the 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 will 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 appears to have advanced endurance, showing no signs of fatigue during an extended battle.
Adam is able to absorb or block the energy from an enemy attack and re-emit it again, usually with his sword. When absorbing attacks or shortly before striking back, the details on his body appear to glow red. When he attacks, the color appears to drain from the world and everything turns red and black. In Volume 6, black and red bolts of lightning appear over his body. This move apparently requires some preparation, as he tells Blake to buy him some time before he is able to perform it.
When he uses 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 is so powerful that it both breaks through her Aura and completely severs her arm, all in a single hit. However, the power of this technique depends on how much energy he absorbs 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 can also use the stored energy to create shadow clones of himself, all with glowing red details, as he demonstrated in his fight against Yang in "The Lady in the Shoe".
Aside from his combat abilities, Adam is also an assertive and charismatic leader. Sienna even describes him as a symbol for many in the White Fang in "Dread in the Air". In "Breach", he assures 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 is able to gain enough support from many branches of the White Fang, including Sienna's personal bodyguards, to help him overthrow her and become high leader himself. However, his leadership abilities are shown to be progressively compromised by his increasingly unstable personality, making costly decisions to sate his personal vendettas.
- 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 to appear.
- 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.
- 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, 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 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.