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The Manta[2] was an Atlesian military aircraft used in the Kingdom of Atlas and the city of Argus as both a gunship and a transport ship. It is introduced in the episode "Stealing from the Elderly" of RWBY Volume 6.

A smaller version of the Manta[3] was introduced in "Divide" and was used for transporting smaller groups of people.

Description

Classic Manta

The Manta is a light transport-fighter aircraft, resembling a smaller, more streamlined combination of the Bullhead and the Atlesian Dropship, while carrying out similar functions. Along with being able to fly at both high speeds and long distances, the Manta is very durable as it is able to fly after taking severe damage.

Side view with the sliding doors open, ramp extended and landing gear

When seen from the above, the airship resembles a manta ray, with a protruding cockpit and a broad pair of wings that blend into the tail. It is a high wing vessel, with the wings above the fuselage, which is itself round and in an oval shape aside from the tail. The propellers are located at the tips of the wings. On both sides of the fuselage there are sliding doors with retracting ramps at the bottom. Four legs serve as its landing gear. The Manta are equipped with six missile batteries located in two triangular housings surrounding the plane's nose. Each battery is filled with fourteen missile pods for a grand total of eighty-four missiles per craft. The wingtips also appear to be able to fire, but it's unknown if these are cannons or additional missiles.

The interior can also house two rotary machine guns mounted near the doors. They are designed to be manned by people inside, seemingly mounted on ceiling rails that allow the gunner to aim the guns around in a wide range of movement. When not used, they appear to be folded up near the rear of the interior as to save space. These guns are most likely used in a role of fire support for the ground or against other air units.

Inside view from the passenger hold

Inside the ship, there is the cockpit with a pilot and copilot seat as well as a passenger hold. In that compartment, there is a bench with three seat belts and three parachutes on each side of the ship, meaning the craft is built with plans to carry eight people at most. According to designer Scott Zenteno, the large Manta would normally fit 7-12 people, but judging by the room in the ship, they can possibly pack even more should the need arise.[4]

Small Manta

Inside view from the small Manta

Volume 8 introduces a smaller variant of the Manta used by Atlas. In the episode "Divide", Neo and Cinder use the smaller design of the Manta airship, which is much more compact than its standard model. This airship features more streamlined fin-like wings and a larger oval light-blue glass ceiling that can fold into itself.

When landing and taking off the side fins can extend a bit, which can be seen when Tyrian and Mercury leave to Vacuo in "War".

According to designer Scott Zenteno the small Manta fits 2-5 people.[5]

History

Manta airships are first seen in "Stealing from the Elderly" on an airfield adjacent to the Argus Military Base. Caroline Cordovin allows Weiss Schnee to fly home to Atlas in one. However, Weiss and Maria Calavera, who had stowed away in Weiss' baggage, plan to also take the rest of their group. They throw the two guards set to pilot the Manta, callsign 5-1, out of the ship. The hijacking eventually leads to a battle between the Huntsmen and Cordovin, who operates a Colossus. The giant mech is stopped, but not before Cordovin electrocutes the Manta with a lightning Dust shot that forces Oscar Pine to perform a crash landing in a nearby forest.

Afterward, as seen in "Our Way", a swarm of Grimm along with a Leviathan approach Argus, and several Mantas take off from the base to fight the beasts. Maria suggests the party use the Grimm attack as cover to take the stolen airship to Atlas, but the others refuse. They proceed to fly to the Leviathan, where Ruby Rose manages to temporarily petrify it with her Silver Eyes before Cordovin returns and uses the Colossus' drill arm to kill the giant Grimm. Ruby thanks her and apologizes, and Cordovin allows her and her co-conspirators to leave, stating that her superiors will not notice one more missing aircraft in the eventual report to be written on the incident. The heroes fly the Manta to Atlas, where it is waved in.

Neopolitan uses her Semblance to disguise a sailship as a Manta so that she and Cinder Fall could fly it to Atlas and throw off the authorities.

The Manta ships are used again in "The Greatest Kingdom" ,"Ace Operatives", "As Above, So Below", "Gravity" and "The Enemy of Trust" when Ruby's Group uses them to travel.

In "Divide", Neo and Cinder use the smaller model of the Manta airship to arrive at Monstra and meet with Salem.

In "Strings", the smaller model of the Manta airship is used by Ruby's Group and May Marigold as a getaway ship.

In "Amity", Cinder Fall, Neopolitan and Emerald Sustrai use their Small Manta ship as their main means of transportation to go to Amity Communications Tower and as their getaway ship. Later, Neo would use the Manta as a gigantic ram in order to fight Maria Calavera while she piloted her construction mech.

Neo and Cinder's small airship is then taken by Tyrian Callows and Mercury Black in "War", headed for Vacuo.

During the Battle of Atlas, multiple Manta ships are among the Military's defenses for the Kingdom against Salem and her army of Grimm. Once the battle ends in "Ultimatum" and Ironwood learns about Ruby's Group using SDC cargo ships to evacuate Mantle, he sends multiple Manta's to destroy them all before he gives the Group his ultimatum.

Trivia

  • Originally, Maria was supposed to be connected to the Manta's console by a wire in Volume 6.[6]
  • The Manta seemingly replaced the Atlesian Dropship after the Fall of Beacon.
  • RWBY: Amity Arena Card Bio:
    • While many of the airships utilized by the kingdoms are mainly used for transportation of people and goods, Atlas has enough airships to turn some into battle barges. Also, with the heart of Atlas floating in the air, these gunships are absolutely necessary to protect the skies around it from flying Grimm.
      "Besides, this is a cargo ship, she's not much good in a fight." -Atlas Pilot"

References

  1. RWBY: Amity Arena Atlesian Gunship card description and artwork
  2. Scott Zenteno's ArtStation
  3. Scott Zenteno's Twitter
  4. Scott's Twitter
  5. Scott's Twitter
  6. RWBY Volume 6 Blu-ray Director's Commentary Chapter 12
Setting
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