Ilia Amitola is a former antagonist in RWBY, serving as one of the main antagonists in Volume 5. She is first mentioned by Fennec Albain in "Menagerie" and makes her first appearance in "A Much Needed Talk".
She was originally a member of the White Fang tasked with capturing Blake Belladonna for Adam Taurus and killing the rest of her family, before Blake convinces her to seek redemption during their confrontation. She then helps Blake thwart Adam's plans to destroy Haven Academy with his forces.
Ilia is a young woman and a chameleon Faunus. In her normal appearance, her skin has somewhat darker spots on her arms, legs, stomach and face, resembling chameleon scales. Her brown hair is tied back in a ponytail that curls at the end like a chameleon's tail, and her eyes are a light gray with a faintly bluish tint. Her Faunus trait grants her the ability to change the color of her skin, hair and eyes, allowing her to blend in with her environment. Her colors also appear to change in response to her emotions. As noted by her concept art, her body type gives her a smaller bust and rear.
White Fang (Volume 4–5)
As a White Fang member, she wears a Grimm Mask with chameleon horns on it to hide her identity. Her mask also points upward at the top and extends past her hairline; this resembles the crest of a veiled chameleon. She wears a black, gray and dark gray sleeveless stealth suit with short legs that resembles a playsuit with black trim around the legs. The color divide is at the center of her thighs. The stealth suit's zipper is gold, and over it, she wears gray belt straps with gold buckles. She wears simple black boots with a cuff and a black glove on her right hand.
Casual Outfit (Volume 6–Current)
After the Battle of Haven, she wears a more casual appearance. She wears a short black cropped jacket with two tails, a gold zipper, buckle, button straps to keep the sleeves rolled up in place revealing the white lining. She also wears a gray short-sleeved cropped top that exposes her midriff, brown pants, black over ankle boots with white slight wedge heels and three straps with golden buckles and a black matching wristband.
When she is first introduced, Ilia appears to operate between moral grounds. She was shown to still care for her former friend and colleague Blake Belladonna, hoping at first that she would rejoin the White Fang and later tried to convince her to leave Menagerie, until "True Colors", although she was not opposed to others attacking Blake or herself harming others, such as Sun Wukong. Until then, she is willing to make personal sacrifices for the betterment of the collective so long as the collective is the Faunus, specifically the White Fang's goals and not people in general. Ilia is a lesbian and was romantically attracted to Blake, but she disregarded her feelings for Blake during the time in favor of what the White Fang demanded.
She used to enjoy blending in with Humans, even playing along with their anti-Faunus beliefs despite the hypocrisy. This stopped after an incident involving the deaths of multiple Faunus, including her parents, in a mining accident. The event served as a catalyst for her joining the White Fang. Ilia was also vindictive enough to assault her former friends in Atlas as they snickered at the losses sustained in the mining accident.
Her loathing of Humans is not merely because of those who mistreat or segregate Faunus; it is also against those who stand by and do nothing to help or improve the Faunus' standing outside of Menagerie, herself included, being unable to forgive herself. She reacted with rage when Blake tried to reach out to her and to make her leave the White Fang, accusing her of being a traitor and showing bitterness about Blake not returning or even noticing her feelings for her. This anger led her to not only attempt to ship Blake to Adam Taurus, but later attack her home alongside the White Fang with the intent to kill her parents.
Ultimately, after Blake finally gets through to her, Ilia realizes her wrongs and seeks redemption, volunteering to stand with Blake and join her side.
Powers and Abilities
Ilia is very agile, able to climb and run along trees and rooftops. She is skilled enough to be a part of Yuma's White Fang agents.
She has at least some training in handling explosives, for she is able to disarm Adam's bombs at Haven Academy.
Special Ability: Camouflage
Her Faunus trait allows her to change the color of her skin, eyes and hair. This gives her the ability to hide from others by blending in with the environment, which she uses with great skill. Like a real chameleon, her skin seems to change with her emotions. For example, in "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back", when she becomes frustrated, her skin turns red, and her hair, eyes and skin spots turn yellow. Following this, she takes on a more sorrowful expression, with her skin turning green and her hair, eyes and skin spots turning blue. In certain cases, her eyes or skin spots may change without her skin changing. Ilia's trait is described as rare for the Faunus.
- Main article: Lightning Lash
Ilia's weapon of choice is Lightning Lash, a rapier/whip that is able to load Dust. It is capable of cutting through metal easily with its blade. It has two slots along the hilt filled with Lightning Dust. The Dust's effect can be remotely activated by grasping part of the hilt, which causes electricity to run along the whip. The effect is strong enough to taze people as shown when Ilia uses it on Corsac Albain.
- Ilia is the name of a species of butterfly, Apatura ilia, or the lesser purple emperor butterfly, bringing the color purple to mind.
- Amitola is allegedly the word for "rainbow" in Sioux or Lakota-Dakota, originating from a Native American legend where Chief Amitola painted the first colors on a cloud.
- Miles Luna noted that Ilia could easily pass for a Human.
- The song "Smile" from the RWBY Volume 5 OST alludes to Ilia's past, hiding her Faunus identity from people in Atlas.
- Many Faunus have additional elements in their design that tie into their animal traits: Ilia's hair is tied back in a ponytail that curls at the end like a chameleon's tail and her weapon can be interpreted as a chameleon's tongue.
- During Argus Limited, Ilia was originally meant to wear a kimono. According to Kerry Shawcross, they instead used an outfit from one of the background characters to save time.