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Ozpin is introduced in "Ruby Rose", inquiring of Ruby Rose about where she learned how to fight, her future goals, and her desire to join his school. He is frequently seen with his cane despite having no visible motor impairment.
In "The Next Step", Salem's Faction believe that Cinder killed Ozpin, though in "Of Runaways and Stowaways", Salem casts doubt on this when she interrogates Cinder about the matter once more. In "Family", Ozpin speaks to a Mistral farmhand named Oscar Pine through a connection later revealed in "Punished" to be that their souls have combined.
In "Unforeseen Complications", Ozpin reveals his own circumstances - because of a curse placed upon him by the gods, he is forced to reincarnate through individuals with mindsets similar to himself, with Oscar as his latest reincarnation. In "The Lost Fable", this is revealed to be a lie, Ozpin was not cursed; Ozma, Ozpin's original incarnation, was given a choice by the God of Light to return to the land of the living and was entrusted with the task of ensuring Humanity was prepared for the return of the Gods and their judgement.
During the Beacon Arc, Ozpin looks like a middle-aged man with tousled silver hair and thin brown eyes. He has a light complexion and sharp facial features. Interestingly, Ozpin has black eyebrows, suggesting that he may have had black hair when he was younger.
He wears shaded glass spectacles and a small, purple, cross-shaped pin on the cowl around his neck. His outfit mainly consists of an unzipped black suit over a dark green, buttoned vest and green shirt. He also wears black trouser shoes and long, dark-green pants. In addition to his cane, his other frequent accessory is a mug bearing the Beacon Academy emblem, from which he drinks hot cocoa.
Ozpin is typically both stoic and affable towards people he speaks to. It can be inferred from his indifference toward Ruby fighting Roman Torchwick, as well as the way he literally launches new students into the Emerald Forest for the Beacon Academy Initiation, that he has no real problem putting his students in mortal danger, given the right reasons or to accomplish an objective.
Ozpin can be humble, admitting that he has made many mistakes in the past. In addition, he possesses a more caring side, comforting Ruby and assuring her that her appointment as team leader was not a mistake. He is seen to care for the well being of his students, as with Blake Belladonna when he told her if she needed to tell him anything, she should not hesitate to ask. Ozpin is also shown to harbor respect for the Faunus, something made clear during his conversation with Blake, yet is highly aware of the racial discrimination they suffer from humans.
Ozpin can also be very blunt, as shown when Jaune Arc asks him questions about the launch. According to Ruby and Yang Xiao Long in "The Shining Beacon, Pt.2", Ozpin did not "seem himself" while giving his speech to the incoming students.
Ozpin is also known to believe dearly in teamwork, which is one of the reasons why the Huntsmen academies focus heavily on it.
However, Ozpin is also known for being secretive, which is sometimes a detriment. Said flaw can go so far as endangering his allies or even innocent people, as shown in "Argus Limited" when he failed to relay how the Relic attracts Grimm until the train was under attack, forcing Team RWBY and Team JNPR to separate in order to protect both the Relic and the passengers.
In "Uncovered", Ozpin is shown becoming testy after Yang and Weiss scrutinize him over breaking his promise to stop withholding secrets and making a false martyr out of Lionheart. Nevertheless, he defends his actions, believing the people of Mistral "deserve better than the truth," which in turn shows how much he values his allies, even the ones who betrayed him.
Though once he discovers the Relic is missing, he becomes fearful of his past failings and trauma at Salem's hands being uncovered, rightfully so as moments later despite Ozpin trying to regain the relic from her; Ruby summons Jinn and asks her to reveal everything Ozpin has been hiding, traumatizing the old spirit anew in her actions.
In "So That's How It Is", Ozpin is shown crying in the snow after his past is revealed to the group. After Qrow disowns him, Ozpin seals himself away completely in Oscar's consciousness.
Powers and Abilities
Before being defeated and subsequently attaching to Oscar, Ozpin harbored immense physical power as demonstrated in his fight against Cinder after she became the Fall Maiden. He possessed superhuman speed, creating green afterimages as he moved. Furthermore, Ozpin was able to resist attacks of incredible power by creating an energy barrier around himself. Whether any of these abilities were a part of his natural physical ability, Semblance (if he does have one), or his use of magic is unclear.
From what was briefly seen of Ozpin's fighting style in his duel with Cinder Fall, his style emphasizes adaptability, changing from powerful high speed strikes to rapid retreats to solid defense.
Ozpin is a capable strategist and leader. He has the ability to persuade even volatile personalities to cooperate with his plans and knows the right balance of firmness and kindness to get the desired results from his subordinates. He is also flexible enough to "bend the rules" if he feels the situation requires it, as shown in "Field Trip".
In "Unforeseen Complications", it is revealed that Ozpin was cursed by the gods of Remnant when he failed to stop Salem at an undefined point in the past. This curse causes his soul to attach to a new like-minded host when his previous body is destroyed, the two merging memories and abilities over time until only a single soul remains. As of Volume 5, Ozpin's soul is attached to and merging with that of Oscar's. Oscar can grant Ozpin control of his body, enhancing his combat prowess and the strength of his aura, though only for limited periods of time. In addition, he can forcibly take control of Oscar's body, though he seems severely drained, and Oscar relays that Ozpin needs to rest after the fight. However, as shown in "The Lost Fable", Ozpin can keep his soul separate to his current host, living alongside them if he so chooses.
In "Rest and Resolutions", Ozpin reveals that he himself possesses powerful magic that he used to create the original four Maidens, as well as grant Qrow Branwen and Raven Branwen the ability to shapeshift into corvids. It is stated that the amount of power expended in the creation of the Maidens greatly drained his magic. Ozpin himself admits that his magic powers are dwindling, but does not state the exact reason for it. As revealed in "The Lost Fable", Ozpin as Ozma used to be one of the only humans on the planet with powerful magic that could rival Salem's own.
- Ozpin alludes to Oz from The Wizard of Oz. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Ozpin/Behind the Scenes.
- Some characters stand in as a certain role for another character's allusion, separately from their own. Ozpin stands in as god Odin for Raven's allusion to Hugin and Qrow's allusion to Muninn.
- Monty Oum released an image detailing the color-naming rule of RWBY, stating "Thus all the names in RWBY (Minus Ozpin... for reasons....) follow this rule."
- In "Field Trip", Ozpin reveals that the color-naming rules have been a naming tradition in Remnant because of a war that ended almost eighty years before the events of the series.
- In "Unforeseen Complications", Ozpin reveals that he had lived for thousands of years due to a curse placed on him by the gods for failing to stop Salem in the past.
- Despite popular belief, Ozpin drinks hot cocoa, not coffee.
- Ozpin's voice actor, Shannon McCormick, said, "Ozpin obviously takes his coffee black", jokingly noting that there's never any cream or sugar around him when he pours a cup. He also noted that, by the sound effect used in "It's Brawl in the Family" as the headmaster sloshes his coffee, he drinks iced coffee. Gray G. Haddock, however, has noted that this interpretation of the sound design is not true.
- Shannon has cited Charles Dance's portrayal of Tywin Lannister from the American television series, Game of Thrones, as an inspiration for Ozpin's voice, despite their being very different characters from one another.
- A silhouette of Ozpin appears in the DVD and Blu-ray exclusive World of Remnant episode, "Aura", while the narrator says "With enough training and focus, a user's Aura can turn them into something much more than just a man".