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It allows her to absorb hits from her opponents to power herself up and attack with greater strength.
As Ruby states during the events of "Painting the Town...", Yang's Semblance lets her absorb kinetic energy from every blow she takes and use it to make herself more powerful. This is a form of kinetic energy absorption, with Yang subsequently redirecting said energy against her opponent.
Yang has the ability to absorb energy from the damage she has taken, and redirect it twice as hard at her opponent, effectively making her stronger with each hit she takes. She can save up the energy to use later for an even more devastating attack. When using her Semblance, she draws power from her hair. Monty Oum has compared Yang's Semblance to a "Power Meter" from fighting games, while her father Taiyang Xiao Long jokingly called her Semblance "basically a temper tantrum."
Her Semblance does not make her invincible, as she still loses Aura when she is hit and can still take damage when her Semblance and Aura are active if hit by a strong enough attack, as shown when Adam Taurus severs her right arm with Wilt and Blush.
As a side effect of her Semblance, Yang's eyes change color from lilac to red and her hair glows bright yellow with a fire-like effect.
Yang's Semblance does not make her angry, but anger has sometimes led her to impulsively activate it.
Blake compared Yang's Semblance to Adam's. While both can absorb and throw back damage Yang takes hits while Adam absorbs damage with his sword. Yang comments and calls it unfair.
Prior to the Fall of Beacon, Yang often uses her Semblance to finish a fight, after absorbing enough damage from blows and overpowering her opponent. However, after the Fall of Beacon, she begins to use it far less often and more as a final attack due to her improved training in fighting smarter rather than harder with Taiyang. This is demonstrated during her fights against the bandits and the Grimm between Haven and Argus where she doesn't use her Semblance to fight. At the end of her second and last fight with Adam Taurus, she uses it to disarm and overpower him with a very powerful punch, finally breaking his Aura.
In "Players and Pieces", her Semblance triggers by accident after several consecutive wacky happenings, leading to an angry outburst.
Yang's Semblance mechanics are elaborated on in "Painting the Town...", where Ruby Rose reassures Blake Belladonna of Yang's safety during the fight against Roman Torchwick piloting a prototype Atlesian Paladin. Her Semblance is powerful enough to catch and then shatter one of its arms, and with some assistance from her teammates, she is able to shatter its body and legs with one decisive punch.
While having a heart to heart with Blake in "Burning the Candle", Yang's frustration is pushed to the point where her eyes glow red, indicating a potential accidental activation of her Semblance.
Yang's anger is exploited in "Never Miss a Beat" in the tournament fight against Team FNKI by Neon Katt, who continually taunts her to the point of frustration during the battle. This backfires however, when Weiss Schnee is knocked out of the fight and Burn activates. This allows Yang to overpower Flynt Coal's Killer Quartet and substantially damage the terrain enough to force Neon to trip, winning Team RWBY the match.
Yang attempts to use her Semblance to face Adam Taurus in "Heroes and Monsters" after he injures Blake, but a single Moonslice on the battle-weary girl was enough to break her Aura and sever her arm in a single blow.
Although Yang does not use her Semblance in Volume 4, she receives training advice from Taiyang in "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back" on fighting smarter and learning to rely less on Burn to win all of her fights, which Yang learns to take to heart in later Volumes.
In the pre-Beacon flashback shown in the "Volume 5 Yang Character Short", Yang is able to activate her Semblance despite being at extremely low Aura, defeating the Ursa Major that had attacked her and a weaponless Ruby with a single punch.
During her conversation with Raven Branwen in "Known by its Song", Yang's Semblance triggers after Raven insults Qrow Branwen and Taiyang, resulting in a broken table. Her anger prompts Vernal to step in and threaten her into calming down, but it only deactivates after she lets out all of her anger regarding Raven's abandonment, instead transitioning into sadness.
Yang's bitterness at Blake abandoning the team gets the better of her in "Alone Together", where she snaps at Weiss after she tells Yang to calm down, another instance of a potential accidental activation. This happens again in "Downfall" when Mercury attempts to stop her from getting to the Haven Vault, however she's able to control her anger and instead slips out of his grasp by detaching her prosthetic.
Yang's Semblance is used as a last ditch effort against Adam in "Seeing Red" after she was able to successfully tank enough hits from the Faunus, allowing her to catch his blade with her prosthetic before landing a decisive punch on him that shatters his Aura completely, though her own fails immediately after.
Yang's Semblance activates in "Sparks" after Marrow Amin suggests that Blake and Yang may not make the best combat pairing, but he quickly rescinds this observation after witnessing Yang and Blake kill several Grimm at once with good teamwork.
Burn is used in "With Friends Like These" in Team RWBY's battle against the Ace-Ops, where Yang is able to shatter the damaged floor of Atlas Academy and launch Elm Ederne into the air, setting the Ace-Op up to be attacked in midair by Blake and Yang, leading to her defeat.
- Monty Oum has compared Yang's Semblance to a "Power Meter" from fighting games,
- The official board game, RWBY: Combat Ready, refers the action of using her Semblance as "Rage".
- I Burn, Yang's main musical theme heard in the "Yellow" Trailer could be a reference to the Semblance's name.