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- For the World of Remnant episode of the same name, see Grimm (WoR episode).
They are described as "creatures of destruction" that lack a soul; hence, they are unable to use Aura. They are also drawn to feelings of negativity - such as envy, sadness, loneliness, hatred, etc - often congregating on the source of these emotions.
According to Qrow Branwen, the Grimm were created by the God of Darkness in order to destroy his older brother's creations of life. Eventually, the brothers ended their feud and both created Humanity. However, despite the younger god's involvement in creating Humanity, the Grimm were still left to roam Remnant and prey on them.
The Grimm have been locked in an existential war with Humanity for as long as can be remembered, seeking to destroy them and all of their creations. At first, it seemed as though they would succeed, as Humans did not have the strength to fight them. However, Humans discovered the power of Dust, and with it, the Grimm were driven back. During this time, Humans enjoyed a time of peace and soon formed their own Kingdoms, which grew to survive and prosper. However, this time would not last indefinitely.
While Grimm are initially mindless and heedless of risk during their youths, leading them to simply attack any Humans on sight, some Grimm are so powerful that they have survived to live for hundreds of years. In that time, they have evolved and learned from their experiences fighting humanity. This leads them to exhibit restraint and the patience to avoid taking unnecessary casualties in futile conflicts; instead, they stay close to humanity's borders, waiting for the opportunity to come where they can finally strike. Because of this, mankind is in ever-present danger, even in times of apparent peace. Bartholomew Oobleck recounts this in the episode "Search and Destroy" when he tells Ruby Rose how intelligent some species, such as the Goliath, have become over the years.
The Grimm have also, for many years, disrupted land-based travel and communications between Kingdoms. After the Great War of Remnant eighty years before the series begins, the invention and production of the CCT towers replace futile land-based communication systems with instantaneous wireless electronic messaging capabilities.
Additionally, the Grimm appear to be the predominant species in the world of Remnant as Humans and Faunus appear to be limited to four primary pocket settlements referred to as Kingdoms, which are guarded by Huntsmen, as well as several villages that exist with mixed success. Attempts by the Kingdoms to expand beyond their borders are often met with resistance, and even failure, such as the loss of an entire sector of the city of Vale to the Grimm.
In the episode "The Next Step" the births of Grimm are depicted, with Beowolves emerging from black pools in the Land of Darkness. However, most of Humanity is unaware of the origins of Grimm. Ancient Human cultures believed the Grimm were animals possessed by evil spirits or even the tortured spirits of animals themselves. Further study has disproved this theory over time, however, due in part to the discovery of even more species of Grimm which have no animal counterparts, such as Creeps. With the discovery of new types of Grimm every day, scientists are left with more questions than answers.
Grimm come in a variety of shapes and sizes; the latter appears to be a factor of age. Grimm are very biodiverse as different individuals may be born with less size, armor, spikes, etc. They are said to be the only creatures without souls, thus being deprived of the use of Aura, but they make up for this with strength, durability and savagery. Some Grimm even have special abilities such as possession or usage of lightning and fire. Grimm are stated to be attracted to generally negative feelings such as sadness, hostility, anger and fear, and even congregate in areas that, although Humanity has long since abandoned, still hold residual traces of these feelings.
This behavior will even lead to them to join in on an attack in progress if the Humans being attacked begin to panic. Grimm typically form packs or other types of large groupings with other members of their own specific species. While some lone Grimm may stray from the pack for hours or even months, they will inevitably rejoin their group to continue their instinctive drive to hunt the people of Remnant and destroy any artificial creations associated with them.
The longer a Grimm lives, the larger it becomes, with species such as the Beowolves growing from just over the size of an average man to massive behemoths that dwarf AK- 200s. Although Grimm have a more reckless and aggressive nature during their youth, older Grimm who have managed to survive their battles have the tendency to learn from their experiences. While sometimes requiring hundreds of years, the Grimm's accumulated experiences over the course of surviving their battles with man can cause them to begin exercising caution.
This perverse form of self-preservation can even lead them to avoid unnecessary conflicts altogether. Yet, despite this ability to learn, their instinctual hostility still remains, as shown by their preference to patrol the borders of Kingdoms for any weaknesses they might someday exploit. This demonstrates that for all their apparent intelligence, older Grimm simply use it as a means to become more effective in their singular drive and purpose of killing.
Grimm display no enmity towards normal animals, and they only clash during territorial disputes. Humans and Faunus are the only races they attack on sight. Grimm can also choose not to eat, and it is commonly believed that they do not require sustenance. When a Grimm dies, their corporeal form evaporates, preventing detailed anatomical or biological studies. This also means that Huntsmen that kill for sport cannot stuff and mount Grimm bodies as trophies, making replicas instead.
Also of interesting note is that Grimm usually die off when in captivity if they cannot kill their captors or escape first, implying that they cannot be kept alive by normal means.
There is also an as of yet-unknown method for grafting Grimm anatomy to a human body, as seen with Cinder Fall's left arm. However, there are two critical weaknesses to those who undergo such a process. First, Aura cannot protect the Grimm component due to retaining the Grimm's soulless nature. Second, the graft user is vulnerable to the power of the Silver-Eyed warriors due to the Grimm's weakness to their power. On the other hand, such a graft user is afforded several abilities as well. One ability is the power to forcibly absorb and potentially assimilate the powers of a Maiden. Another is the power of elasticity; Cinder Fall was able to extend her Grimm grafted left arm several meters while still appearing to maintain physical strength. The graft user also appears to "bleed" from the Grimm component in the form of black smoke - the same way a true Grimm does. Furthermore, Cinder was capable of feeling intense pain when Ruby's silver eyes activated and when a glass fragment pierced her arm in her duel with Raven Branwen. Given Salem's demonstrated ability to modify the bodies of Grimm through magic, it is likely that magic is the primary means by which the graft is created and attached to the Human host.
- Main article: Merlot
Doctor Merlot is the main antagonist of the video game RWBY: Grimm Eclipse and founder of Merlot Industries, a research and development corporation based out of the ill-fated settlement at Mountain Glenn. At some point, Merlot gained an unhealthy obsession towards the Creatures of Grimm, believing them to be a "superior species" and that due to their "unbridled raw aggression and lack of sentience" they would make "the perfect vessel"
His corporation began performing experiments on Grimm, research which Merlot believed was vital to the future of Remnant. However, when they began running out of specimens to experiment on, they started attracting Grimm to the city in order to acquire more, with disastrous results. After the fall of Mountain Glenn, Doctor Merlot was presumed dead.
However, Merlot, in fact, survived the destruction of Mountain Glenn and transferred his operation to a highly remote island at an unknown location, and continued his experiments at his new secret laboratory, creating new forms of mutant Grimm using his serum, a glowing green substance.
Years later, Team RWBY would lead an investigation of mutated Grimm traced back to Merlot Industries, eventually arriving on Merlot's island. After Team RWBY infiltrates his laboratory and destroys his mutant Grimm, he self-destructs the laboratory.
Known Grimm that he conducted experiments on are Creeps, Beowolves and Death Stalkers. They were given powers like exploding and creating waves of crystal-like bone spikes and can be recognized by glowing green eyes, spikes and markings.
- Main article: Grimm Liquid
Grimm spawn from a viscous, tar-like substance. Pools of this substance appear in numbers in the Land of Darkness. The Wyvern also showed the ability to exude the substance from its skin. When droplets of the substance impacted the ground, lesser forms of Grimm, including Creeps, Beowolves and Ursai rose from the black liquid.
|Apathy||Willpower-draining aura, ear-piercing scream||Humanoid shape, long arms, deformed face|
|Beetle Grimm||Power transfer||Beetle body|
|Beowolf||Lunges, claws strikes, bites||Black fur and bonelike spines|
|Beringel||Grappling, throwing, punching||Black fur and bonelike plates|
|Blind Worm||Biting, head charging, spitting acid, swallowing||Bone plates, giant mouth, acidic blood|
|Boarbatusk||Charges, tusks, body rolls||White bone plates, four eyes, and large tusks|
|Centinel||Biting, ensnaring||Black skin, external bone plates, segmented body, strong jaws|
|Creep||Ramming, bites, tail swipping||Bonelike spines, two-legged|
|Death Stalker||Claw grabs, stinger strikes||Black exoskeleton with white bone plates and a glowing stinger|
|Geist||Possession||Black skin and bonelike spines|
|Goliath||Stomping||Black skin, bonelike spines along its body, giant tusks|
|Griffon||Swallowing whole, Charging, claws||Black fur and feathers, bone-like spines along its body, avian wings|
|Horse Grimm||Charging, stomping, kicking||Horse body, black smoke, bone protrusions|
|Imp||Arm stretching, screech||Somewhat humanoid with bone protrusions|
|King Taijitu||Lunges, fang bites, constriction||Bone-like spines with Grimm markings|
|Lancer||Firing stinger, ramming and projectiles||Wasp-like body with armor on its back|
|Leviathan||Fire breathing||Webbed limbs, Large tail|
|Manticore||Clawing, biting, tackling, stinging, spitting fireballs||Black fur and feathers, bone-like spines along its body, avian wings, stinger tail|
|Megoliath||Charging, stomping||Mammoth-like body, black fur with frozen skin, four giant tusks|
|Nevermore||Head-butt charge, throwing spear-like feather quills||Black plumage, wing claws and crested white bonelike head-piece|
|Nuckelavee||Extendable arms, sonic roar||Massive equine main body with human elements, horns, long slender arms, hooves|
|Ravager||Biting, clawing||Black fur, bone-like spines along its body, red leathery wings|
|Sabyr||Biting, charging, clawing||Black body, large canines, frozen skin|
|Sea Feilong||Lightning beam, ramming, wind gust, biting||Scales, dorsal fin, collapsible wings, tendrils, forearms|
|Seer||Telecommunications, strangulation, sharp tentacles||Red tentacles, black and white round body, one eye|
|Shadow Hand||Sharp claws, elasticity, energy absorption||Clawed arms|
|Sphinx||Bite, tail strike, breathing fire||Wings, snake for a tail|
|Spider Grimm||Illusion Casting||Three eyes, and a spider-like body|
|Tentacle Grimm||Tentacles, merging multiple King Taijitu into one||Small body resembling a skull with tentacles emerging from it|
|Teryx||Lunges, claws strikes, bites, flight||Raptor body with wings|
|Ursa||Lunges, claw swing, bites||Black fur and bone-like spines|
|Whale Grimm||Flight||One-eyed whale-like body, purple & white spikes, red wings|
|Wyvern||Summoning other Grimm, ramming||Black skin, bone-like spines along its body, large red bat-like wings|
- Dromedon - A camel-like Grimm that can spit venom. Fox Alistair battles one in Feldspar.
- Jackalope - A huge rabbit-like Grimm with black fur, branching red and white antlers and powerful hind legs. A Jackalope is encountered by Velvet Scarlatina in Feldspar.
- Ziraph - A three-headed Grimm that resembles a giraffe. Their bodies are covered in red spots that bear resemblances to a leopard and each head has two horns. They are described as being five stories tall and having razor-like plates on their (four) legs as well as long tongues they use to ensnare people and swallow them whole. They are powerful enough to the point where it took the entirety of Team CFVY to defeat one of them.
- Drake - A large Wyvern-like terrestrial Grimm described in the "I Burn Anthology", which is mostly non-canon. As of now they have only been seen via dream sequence so whether this is an existing species or merely a figment of Yang's imagination is unconfirmed.
- Berserker - A hairy, bipedal mammalian Grimm described in the "Mirror Mirror Anthology", which is mostly non-canon. Similar to Creeps it appears to lack an animal equivalent.
- Theropod Grimm - A theropod, dinosaur-like Grimm which first appears in RWBY 6. This Grimm is shown to have a body resembling a three-headed tyrannosaur, and horns on its white face mask. It is seen in Menagerie, being quickly dispatched by Blake and Sun Wukong.
- Combat Ready Grimm - Unidentified Grimm resembling a Beowolf with elements of a Leviathan appears on the objective card Grimm Portal in RWBY: Combat Ready. Whether or not it is a separate Grimm or simply an artistic representation of a Beowolf is unclear.
- DC Grimm - Unidentified Grimm resembling a Beowolf or Ursa summoned by Weiss in the RWBY Comic, which may have simply been an artistic representation of a Beowolf or Ursa rather than a separate species. Another Grimm with less discernable features was shown, although it was likely the same Grimm in the process of materializing.
- The name for the creatures of Grimm may be a reference to the Brothers Grimm and Grimms' Fairy Tales, a famous classic collection of German fairy tales compiled by the brothers. Notable stories include "Little Red Riding Hood", "Snow White" and "Hansel and Gretel", all of which serve as inspiration for RWBY characters.
- Grimm follow a color theme of red, white, black and a little yellow.
- These are all the colors of the four main characters.
- When injured or killed, Grimm emit smoke, similar to how humans bleed.
- Different parts of the world have different species of Grimm. The icy continent of Solitas features Grimm based on prehistoric and ice age animals.
- The White Fang wear Grimm Masks, the faces of monsters, symbolically because Humans tried to make monsters out of them.
- At one point, ancient cultures believed that Grimm were animals possessed by evil spirits or were the tortured spirits of animals.
- It's possible that the Grimm are blind, and can only find prey by sensing their negative emotions, evidence of this is found in the episode No Safe Haven, where Jaune and Qrow are right in front of the Nuckelavee, but it doesn't find them, due to Ren's Semblance masking their negative emotions.
- All of the Grimm creatures' vocal sound effects are done by William Orendorff.
- RWBY: Grimm Eclipse is named after the Grimm, which serve as common enemies in the video game.
- In the manga, the Arma Gigas is described as being a Possession-type Grimm, having been created by amalgamating several different species of Grimm.
- According to the Volume 3 DVD Directors' Commentary, the ability of the Wyvern to spawn Grimm offers a sneak peek towards their creation. Later it was shown that Grimm spawn from dark Grimm pools from the Land of Darkness.
- An early idea for Grimm involved people of Remnant bottling the Grimm oil and selling it on the black market. This essence could be used on animals to "Grimm-ify" them or be used on two creatures to create a hybrid.
- In a deleted concept for Volume 1, Corsac and Fennec Albain would have used the Grimm liquid to summon Grimm in the Beacon Academy Initiation.