- For the World of Remnant episode of the same name, see Aura (WoR episode).
Aura is the manifestation of one's soul in RWBY, and can be used for a wide range of abilities. The specific abilities and their strengths differ from individual to individual and are dependent on a number of factors, such as experience, training, and innate skill.
Aura is an ability that all those with a soul can use, at least with enough practice. Because Aura is the manifestation of the soul, it can appear very differently depending on who is using it. For example, the color of Aura differs from person to person: Pyrrha Nikos' is red, Jaune Arc's is white and Lie Ren's is pink, among many others.
It is mentioned that anything with a soul has an Aura, including Humans and Faunus; even synthetic persons with souls, such as Penny Polendina, can generate an Aura. The Creatures of Grimm, being soulless, are the only known form of life that does not have Aura.
Skilled users of Aura can create their own barriers or even increase their own abilities in some way. Weapons and armor can also act as a conduit for Aura, allowing for an even wider range of offensive and defensive capabilities. This even applies to nontraditional "weapons", such as a loaf of bread or a leek, as seen during the food fight in "Best Day Ever".
It has been shown that the strength of an Aura degrades with continual use. This limits the applications of Aura in combat as, with time or heavy use, a person's Aura will decay to the point where they are left weakened or even incapacitated. Aura being completely depleted is visually represented as a colored sheen glowing along the length of a person's body or with colored particles flying off the body, indicating that they can now be physically injured. Aura flickering means it is close to being depleted.
Aura can be recharged and the time it requires to recharge is varies between each person.
Aura also can vary between individuals in terms of innate quantity of energy that can be used, with Pyrrha noting during the Beacon initiation that Jaune possesses an extraordinarily large reserve of Aura despite his complete lack of familiarity with the concept up until that point.
The powers of a Maiden are said to be tied to Aura, until the death of the individual, which causes the power to separate from Aura.
While those using robotic prostheses such as Yang Xiao Long and James Ironwood are apparently able to shield their artificial anatomy with Aura, those who use Grimm transplants are not, due to their aforementioned soulless nature.
Aura is a necessary energy source for all Huntsmen, being a powerful ally in battle. It is also required in order to trigger the use of Dust. Aura, as demonstrated by various characters, can be used in the following techniques.
- Defense: Demonstrated by Ren in the Emerald Forest, and explained by Pyrrha. Aura is mainly used for defensive purposes. Ren used his to block the fangs of a King Taijitu that was attacking him. While users of Aura will not be hurt as long as their Aura is up, they can still feel sensations such as pain and heat. It requires training to always subconsciously have a cloak of Aura on.
- Offense: Demonstrated by Ren in the forest, as he sends a shockwave of force propelling a fang through the snake's head, causing it to explode. Fox Alistair demonstrated a similar ability during the fight in "Breach", where a shock wave from his fist blew up an Ursa Major. Additionally, Pyrrha has stated that all tools and equipment are conduits for a person's Aura.
- Unlock Aura: One's Aura can be used to 'unlock' the Aura of someone else; as shown by Pyrrha, who unlocks Jaune's Aura. However, doing this appears to take a toll on the user. When unlocking Jaune's Aura Pyrrha recited a chant, and it is unknown whether it is an incantation or merely a personal mantra:
"For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all, infinite in distance and unbound by death. I release your soul and by my shoulder protect thee."
- Healing: It also seems that those with a strong enough Aura can heal minor wounds. Jaune used this directly on a small cut after having his Aura unlocked. However, it appears that the healing is automatic and not caused at will.
- Extrasensory perception: In the Emerald Forest, Pyrrha explains that Aura allows you to feel like you were being watched without knowing that someone was there, while showing that Ren stopped walking and narrowed his eyes before a King Taijitu appeared behind him. Lie Ren was also able to sense Tyrian Callows approaching Team RNJR in "Tipping Point" and warn his team to prepare for battle.
- Climate protection: One's Aura can protect from cold weather, as shown by Team RWBY and others walking through a snowstorm in the mountains of Anima with thin clothing and showing no discomfort. As with combat damage, extreme weather will deplete one's Aura eventually, which required the group to seek shelter from the elements at Brunswick Farms. Weiss Schnee's aura had dropped to low levels and she was beginning to shiver from the cold as they entered the farmhouse.
Other specific abilities, known as Semblances, appear to be unique to certain individuals. According to "Aura", the fourth installment of RWBY: World of Remnant, Semblance is the projection of Aura into a more tangible form. In "Extracurricular", it is learned that the first step in training is learning to activate their Aura after which they can attempt to learn and develop a Semblance.
It appears that Aura is able to manifest in different ways when in use and takes on the color of one's inner energy. It appears as a slight glow around the body.
It has been stated that the activation of an Aura requires training and willpower, though someone with considerable training can unlock the Aura of another person.
The Kingdom of Atlas has been performing serious scientific research into the nature and composition of Aura. Their research has yielded experimental technology that is capable of "capturing" Aura from a person and transferring it to something or someone else. Such technology even led to the creation of Penny, the first synthetic person to generate an Aura.
The existence of this technology is highly classified, but many of those who do know of it view it as ethically immoral and wrong. Regardless, this technology was intended to play a key part in preventing the Fall Maiden power of Amber, whose power is linked to Aura, from falling into the hands of Cinder Fall by unnaturally transferring the powers to Pyrrha. It is stated that if the plan was successful, it might have unknown effects on Pyrrha's psyche and personal identity, merging them with that of Amber.
Cinder preempted the plan by killing Amber before the transfer could be completed.
In the episode "Jaunedice", it is revealed that Aura strength, as a proportion of maximum potential, can be electronically monitored and displayed on a Scroll. This has enabled the development of a competitive sport amongst Huntsmen and others.
Because Aura can protect its user against some of the force of physical blows, it is possible to duel using fully combat-ready weapons without risking death or serious injury. Such tournaments are closely monitored by a referee and, should a combatant's Aura strength fall below a certain red-line where they may no longer be sufficient to protect their users, the match is automatically halted and the combatant with the highest Aura percentile remaining is declared the winner.
The duel between Jaune and Cardin Winchester proves that Aura does not provide 100% protection against concussive blows as Jaune is visibly hurt and left winded by a blow to the abdomen from The Executioner. However, Glynda Goodwitch halts the match before Cardin can strike again, indicating that Jaune's Aura at about 20% power would not stop another full-strength blow.
There is at least one known major international competitive tournament, the Vytal Festival, at which students at Beacon Academy are permitted to compete as representatives of the region of Vale. Another known tournament is the Mistral regional tournament, won by Pyrrha four years in a row.
These tournaments and practice duels have revealed that once a person's Aura drops below a certain percentage, they are disqualified due to their protection against fatal blows no longer being guaranteed. In "Round One" and "New Challengers...", this percentage was shown to be 20% for the team rounds. The percentage is lowered to 15% for doubles and singles rounds, as shown in "Never Miss A Beat" and "Fall".
However, Aura may occasionally drop to 0% in matches, such as Weiss' during her fight against Flynt Coal. Mercury Black is also infamously injured by Yang Xiao Long after she attacks him when his Aura is depleted to 0%.
- It can be compared to the real-life principle of Chi/Ki or Chakra, as used in other forms of media.
- Miles Luna stated that he got the Aura monitor from the shield system in the Halo series. When one's Aura is low, the bar flashes red. The same goes for the shield used by the Spartans. A similar health system (also named "Aura") was later adopted for the RWBY game, RWBY: Grimm Eclipse.
- It has been stated by Kerry Shawcross that it is possible to increase the amount of Aura someone has but that it is impractical. He further stated that most users of Aura train to use it more efficiently rather than simply trying to get "a bigger gauge".
- The color of someone's Aura and Semblance can differ from each other. For example, Pyrrha's Aura was red and her Semblance color was black.
- While all characters in RWBY have color associations, their associations and color can differ. For example, while the colors of Ruby and Yang are red and yellow respectively, Weiss and Blake have blue and purple auras, despite their representative colors being white and black accordingly.