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Lie Ren, more commonly referred to by his surname Ren, is a former student at Beacon Academy, a member of Team RNJR and one of the remaining members of Team JNPR. His weapons of choice are a pair of green, fully automatic pistols with sickle-like blades attached vertically under the barrels, named StormFlower.
Ren is a young man with long black hair tied into a ponytail that ends midway down his back. There is a magenta streak on the left side of his hair. His eyes match the streak in his hair, and his clothing appears to be influenced by Chinese culture.
Original Outfit (Volumes 1–3)
He wears a dark green, diagonally-buttoned, long-sleeved tailcoat that is red on the inside, with black and gold trimming and pink cuffs. The trimming goes down the right side of his torso and forms a black collar.
This color scheme seems to be influenced to some degree by the lotus flower, which is his emblem. He wears a black, long-sleeved shirt beneath the suit and light-tan pants with black shoes.
At Beacon, he wears a standard Beacon uniform.
At the Beacon Dance, he wears a Beacon black suit with dark red bow tie and light-gray vest.
Post-Timeskip Outfit (Volume 4–Current)
After the timeskip following the Fall of Beacon, his design is updated. Ren wears his hair down, and it is longer, too, as his concept art notes, "almost butt-length". His attire is similar to before in color. He now has a longer, sleeveless tailcoat with black and silver trimming. Under it, he wears a black, sleeveless turtleneck with red, tasseled ropes over the hips, pants that get tighter below the knees and calf-high open-toed sandals. From his middle finger to his biceps run gradient pink-to-black detached sleeves ending in metal armbands.
As a child, he wore a similar outfit to his Volumes 4-6 one except for the magenta shoulder patches and the black open-toed sandals. He used to have his hair in a neat bun.
As a young child, Ren was much more cheerful and even a bit sassy according to his mother. He was also shown to be very naive, not understanding how to use Lien or thinking that he could buy sake. He also was easily frightened, as shown when the bullies looked at him and he was about to run away.
Ren is usually mellow and wishes for peace and quiet, much like Blake Belladonna. He seems very much in control of himself, as shown by his calm and deliberate response to the appearance of a King Taijitu. He is unbothered by Nora Valkyrie's bubbly and contrasting personality, showing a great deal of patience when dealing with his hyperactive, happy-go-lucky childhood friend.
Ren is also shown to be quite studious, as seen in "Welcome to Beacon", in which he openly agrees with Neptune Vasilias as to how libraries should be only for reading. Likewise, he is well informed about villages in between kingdoms, such as when he informs Ruby Rose about Higanbana in "Family". However, this is not to say that he is completely humorless. He is slightly playful after finding Nora in the Emerald Forest, during the events of "The Emerald Forest". This is also shown when he and Nora were debating over team names in "The Next Step". Ren is also indicated to be a bit of a cook, as he makes pancakes for the team in "Forever Fall, Pt.2" and is seen fixing dinner alongside Ruby in "Known by its Song". However, not everything he cooks is well received, as the nutrition drink he prepared in "Destiny" made Nora ill even though he drank it with no problems.
In "Remembrance", Ren is more solemn than his teammates are about the destruction of Shion Village. His advice is to keep moving forward. This is something he repeats with a bit of angry emphasis in "Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back" when Ruby suggests going to the destroyed town of Kuroyuri in search of abandoned medical supplies. Being one of the few survivors of the Grimm massacre of that town manifests itself in Ren's less-than-calm emotions.
In "No Safe Haven", Ren reveals a much more reckless and vindictive side to him previously unseen, when he lets out all of his anger against the Nuckelavee in an attempt to avenge his parents and all of its other victims. This is a stark contrast to his usual calm and patience. During the Nuckelavee's execution by his hand, Ren seems to finally come to terms with his trauma, calmly and swiftly delivering justice for his family, the monster's victims and for himself. Following this, Ren seems to have finally come full circle, being more open with his emotions, particularly his feelings towards Nora.
Since then, Ren has become more noticeably conversational, vocal about his opinions and is known to speak somewhat philosophically.
Powers and Abilities
Ren is a very capable fighter and can hold his own against Creatures of Grimm, such as a King Taijitu. He demonstrates peak physical ability, being able to do various acrobatics. He can also move and react with impressive speed.
Ren appears to be proficient in martial arts, using palm thrusts and various combat stances when fighting the King Taijitu. His combat skills were also seen in "Best Day Ever" during a food fight with Team RWBY, where he briefly held his ground against Yang Xiao Long, although he was quickly bested by her.
Ren appears to have a high degree of control over his Aura. When fighting in the Emerald Forest, he first uses it defensively by forming a shield against the attack of a King Taijitu. After tearing its fangs off, Ren uses his Aura offensively by blasting the black King Taijitu's fang through its own eye, blowing its head to pieces.
Despite this, he still has a limited amount of stamina. Ren is shown collapsing after he, and the rest of JNPR, defeat the Death Stalker during "Players and Pieces". His average endurance is also seen after he defeats the King Taijitu as he catches his breath. This could be due to his heavy usage of Aura, which is needed to fight as shown in "Jaunedice". However, his lack of endurance is shown once again in "Best Day Ever", where Yang defeats him in very few blows.
- Main article: StormFlower
Along with his physical abilities, Ren can also skillfully wield his weapons, StormFlower, and effectively uses them for both ranged and melee combat. As of "The Next Step", he can even use his weapons as boomerangs by throwing them as he did with one during the battle against a Geist.
Ren also carries a dagger that originally belonged to his late father, Li Ren. The blade of the weapon is similar in shape to the blades of his StormFlower. As seen in "No Safe Haven", the dagger itself is strong enough to easily sever the limbs of a Nuckelavee whereas the weapons of Team RNJR could not, even after repeated attacks. The dagger itself can also be thrown in an arcing loop.
Ren's Semblance masks negative emotions, which aids him in avoiding detection by Grimm, as demonstrated the night Kuroyuri was attacked. When he first used it that night, he was hiding in a small channel, gripped with panic. His Semblance activated, and soon after, he became calm and rushed to help Nora with no interference from nearby Grimm. Once there, he activated his Semblance again, extending its effects to Nora, who stopped trembling and whimpering. A Nevermore that was perched atop the house moved down and looked around, but it left them alone.
When his Semblance activates, the affected person's colors become temporarily desaturated to at least the viewer.
Ren can also channel this ability through the ground to reach those from a distance, as shown when he desaturates Jaune and Qrow Branwen in "No Safe Haven."
- Ren alludes to Hua Mulan. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Lie Ren/Behind the Scenes.
- Liè (烈) is Chinese for "ardent". Ren (蓮) is Japanese kanji for "lotus", hence his emblem. Chinese translations use the same characters, translating his name as 烈蓮 (liè lián). Japanese translations generally render his name phonetically using katakana as ライ・レン (rai ren)
- The spelling of his name is also taken from the pinyin for the Chinese word for "hunter", lièrén (猎人), a reference to him being an aspiring Huntsman.
- Despite Monty Oum stating that real-world countries do not exist in RWBY, Ren is still based on Chinese culture as his clothing is reminiscent of traditional Chinese clothing and his habit of resting a coffee mug on his palm instead of holding it by its handle, a style seen more often in Eastern cultures, as Eastern-style mugs have no handles.
- Ren's weapons are described as "dual SMGs with wind and fire blades" by Miles Luna, though Kerry Shawcross qualifies this as only "kind of". Kerry also hints that certain elements of StormFlower's original design were "saved for something else".
- In the episode "Players and Pieces", Ren appears exhausted twice. The first time is after he and Nora ride on an Ursa, and the second time is after Team JNPR killed the Death Stalker. Since Ren was voiced by the series' creator, Monty Oum, this could be a nod to Monty's tweets about his sleep deprivation, which he was well known for.
- Monty Oum, Ren's original voice actor and director of the show, passed away on February 1st, 2015. In light of his passing, the RWBY team ultimately turned to Monty's brother, Neath Oum, to voice the character.
- Ren had an alternate accent as a young child, which he eventually lost.
- Ren's Semblance reflects the symbolism of the lotus; the way he puts his negative emotions beneath him can be compared to the lotus flower growing out of the mud/murky waters.
- In Episode 4 for gen:LOCK, another animated series produced by Rooster Teeth, one of the main characters, Valentina Romanyszyn, can be seen dressed as Ren (Volume 4-current) in the Ether.