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Qrow Branwen (pronounced "Crow") is the younger twin brother of Raven Branwen, biological uncle of Yang Xiao Long and honorary uncle of Ruby Rose. Qrow's weapon of choice is a scythe called Harbinger.
He is a former member of the Branwen Tribe as well as a former teacher at Signal Academy. In his youth, Qrow attended Beacon Academy with his sister, and together they were on a team with Summer Rose and Taiyang Xiao Long, known as Team STRQ.
Original Outfit (Volume 3-7)
In his official design, he has graying black, spiky hair, faded pink eyes, and slight stubble along his jawline. Along with a red, tattered cloak, he wears a gray dress shirt with a long tail, black dress pants and black dress shoes. In an old picture of him with his former team, Qrow looked exactly the same but lacked stubble.
He also wears a ring on his right index finger, two other rings on his right ring finger and a necklace with a crooked cross-shaped pendant.
Qrow's bangs are down most of the time, but he sometimes pushes his hair back when fighting. In addition, his hair is made to look like it is composed entirely of feathers.
Atlas Outfit (Volume 7-Current)
After arriving in Atlas, Qrow retains his torn cape and black wristband, except he loses his necklace and old rings and now wears a new outfit. He wears a dark gray collar shirt with a black vest that has cross-shaped buttons, and a white v-neck shirt underneath, dark gray dress pants and black dress shoes. His old rings are replaced with black ones worn in the same place as his previous rings were.
The floral pattern on his sleeves resemble his emblem.
As a corvid, Qrow has black feathers, red eyes and a feathery crest on the top of his head.
Qrow is a seemingly rude, blunt, cynical, sometimes crass, yet cool-headed and nonchalant individual, who appears at first glance to be somewhat immature, insensitive and stand-offish, but actually has a heart of gold.
He is an alcoholic, as Glynda Goodwitch notes "he's always drunk!" and is usually seen taking swigs from his hip flask, often at inappropriate times such as in front of children or during important strategic meetings. It's also clear that he cannot handle leadership without relying on alcohol as seen during his travels with Team RNJR, following the Fall of Beacon. Qrow has a habit of giving people nicknames, as he refers to Ruby as "Pipsqueak", but his preferred nickname for her is "Kiddo". Other examples include "Firecracker" for Yang, "Oz" for Ozpin, "Jimmy" for Ironwood and "Ice Queen" for Winter Schnee.
He seemingly dislikes Atlas and openly criticizes their military for occupying Vale and mistreating Ozpin during the Vytal Festival. Qrow's dislike of Atlas is brazen enough for him to immediately get into a brawl with Winter Schnee upon encountering her and personal enough for him to back down at the last second just for the chance to humiliate Winter in front of James Ironwood. He also shows a level of cockiness when he baits Winter into attacking him. He also has a mercurial attitude towards his age: disgusted at the notion of being called old by his nieces, but willing to use it as an excuse to leave uncomfortable conversations.
This childish and maverick facade, however, belies the demeanor of a veteran Huntsman. While watching Vytal Festival Tournament matches, he openly expresses displeasure and lack of approval, even as far as calling one a mess. He hinted to his nieces that his time out in the field had hardened him, which made them much safer displays of strength on the broadcast seem tame and benign in comparison. He is very cautious because of that, warning Ruby and Yang to not let their past near-victories against Roman Torchwick and the White Fang go to their heads. Regardless, he has faith in his nieces' potential as Huntresses, encouraging them to continue learning throughout their time at Beacon, saying they will go far after graduating. He also tries to help raise Yang's morale after her disqualification and proposes to help her find her mother though he warns her that Raven is not a kind person and is a dangerous woman with a worldview that he does not share.
Qrow is shown to be tender at heart despite his rough demeanor and cares for both of his nieces dearly. He saved Yang and Ruby from Grimm when they were very young and later took Ruby under his wing and trained her in scythe-wielding, allowing her to pursue her dreams as a Huntress. "It's Brawl in the Family" and "Lessons Learned" also show that he has remained very close to his nieces and plays the part of the childish uncle. In "Family", it is shown that unlike his sister, Qrow despises killing and is upset with Raven for not contacting Yang, especially after she learned her daughter had lost her arm. While both Qrow and Raven attended Beacon to learn how to kill Huntsmen, Qrow's disgust and anger toward Leonardo Lionheart shows how far he has come. His value for family is strong to the point he suggests that Raven return to help in the fight against Salem, implying he still cared for her despite everything she had done. However, this changes In "The More the Merrier", as after Qrow finds out Raven joined forces with Cinder Fall and set a trap for him, his nieces and their friends, he claims that he no longer sees her as family. However, he still asks for Raven's whereabouts after the battle showing that he may still care for her. Qrow also agrees to hide Lionheart's cowardice and betrayal from Ironwood for the time being.
He is also very self-conscious about his Semblance to the point self-loathing, aware of its possible impact on the people around him, he makes a point to keep his distance from those he cares about. Qrow regards his life as being cursed due to his misfortune Semblance. Seeing himself as a burden to friends and family because of the bad luck he brings to everyone around him, he tries to spend most of his time living and working alone.
He does not hold back his opinions, he berates Ironwood for militarizing Vale, undermining Ozpin and inciting fear in the population, which empowers the Grimm. He admonishes his nieces for thinking they're capable of putting a stop to all crime in Vale and tells them they were not thinking like true Huntresses. When Ozpin tells Pyrrha Nikos why he needs her help and asks her to become a Maiden, Qrow is the only one who bluntly tells her just how bad the consequences could be for her should she agree. When Ruby tries to reassure Oscar Pine that he's his own person and not just another life to Ozpin, Qrow bitterly remarks "Don't lie to him, Ruby. We're better than that."
Despite Qrow's general dislike of authority and rules, he is extremely loyal to and trusting of Ozpin at first. He holds religion in doubt, but he takes Ozpin's word on the existence of the The Gods and their Relics. However, when Ozpin's past is revealed, Qrow feels betrayed and worthless. He turns his back on Ozpin, immediately having lost all faith in him, and lashes out both physically and verbally, deeming meeting him "the worst luck of his life".
By "Lost", Qrow falls into a depressive state, and his alcoholism worsens. He refuses to talk with anyone about his problems and resorts to drinking to numb his pain. It is not until Ruby stands up to him that Qrow starts to snap out of his depression, even making efforts to drink less. He also shows surprise and pride in Ruby's growing maturity and leadership skills. Qrow mentions to Clover Ebi in "Sparks" that he has given up alcohol and in "Cordially Invited" he turns down a drink when offered.
In "Known by its Song", Raven stated that she and Qrow attended Beacon to learn how to kill Huntsmen, implying that he once shared her brutal nature in the past. By comparison, when Qrow realized that Leonardo had the Mistral Huntsmen killed, he expressed pure disgust and anger towards his former ally, showing how far Qrow has come since his youth, fully embracing the responsibilities of a Huntsman and developing a strong sense of right and wrong.
Although he has made strides to better himself, Qrow nonetheless holds a double standard regarding secrets when it comes to his family. In "A New Approach", he goes along with Ruby's decision to lie to Ironwood and keep Ozpin's disappearance, how many questions left in the Relic of Knowledge, and Salem's immortality a secret from him, despite the fact that it was this decision that made Qrow turn on Ozpin in the first place. Later in "Pomp and Circumstance", when Ruby asks him if she is just like Ozpin, Qrow replies no and states that the difference between the two is that she is making sure they prove themselves first, which is the exact same thing that Ozpin did before revealing his secrets to others.
Powers and Abilities
Despite his reputation as a frequent alcoholic, Qrow is nevertheless one of the most capable Huntsmen in the series, being a trusted member of Ozpin's inner circle.
A testament to his strength and skill is that even while under the influence, he was able to match Winter, a high ranking Atlas official, in armed combat despite her status as a highly trained Huntress. His skill and power are so great that Mercury Black, a professional assassin who can casually defeat trained 2nd Year Huntsmen-in-Training like Yatsuhashi Daichi and Coco Adel, was seen terrified of his presence and immediately flees on sight.
Even among his peers, Qrow is a greatly feared and formidable Huntsman, with even the likes of Ironwood and Arthur Watts being wary of his combat prowess and reluctant to engage him in battle.
As one of Ozpin's closest lieutenants and operatives, Qrow is incredibly skilled at intelligence gathering and espionage, having been known to bear witness to some of Salem's as-of-yet unseen creations, describing them as fear itself. His ability to transform into a bird was given to assist him in this capacity.
As revealed in RWBY: The Grimm Campaign, Qrow's skills and prowess as a legendary Huntsman is in fact a worldwide, publicly known fact, to the point where Qrow is even seen as a celebrity.
Despite his slim and lean build, Qrow has shown to have great physical prowess.
Even when disarmed, he simply resorted to fists to beat Tyrian Callows back with ease, despite the latter's status as one of Salem's most trusted followers and showing himself to be proficient in hand-to-hand combat, able to deliver several quick staggering blows and a kick strong enough to put some distance between him and his opponent. His hand-to-hand skills are later shown against Tyrian once more in "Gravity", where he employs punches and kicks against the serial killer extensively.
Qrow is strong enough to smash a crater into the ground with his sword, cut through metal poles, as well as release Aura arcs. Qrow has also shown proficient accuracy with Harbinger as a throwing weapon, as seen in his fight with Tyrian when he launched his sword into the ground in mid-fall to act as a foothold to regain traction and control of the battle.
Qrow has been shown to be incredibly resilient and durable, to both toxins and physical force. It took a substantial amount of time for Tyrian's venom to work its way through his bloodstream, even with Qrow drinking alcohol, which would make the venom spread even faster. Also, Qrow was seen taking powerful Dust-enhanced blows from Hazel Rainart, an incredibly strong unarmed fighter capable of battling multiple trained huntsmen simultaneously, and yet managed to keep fighting.
In addition to strength and durability, Qrow is shown to be extremely fast and agile, dodging an attack from someone as fast and mobile as Winter. He was also able to keep up with Tyrian, whose own speed proved difficult for someone as quick as Ruby.
- Main article: Harbinger
As mentioned by Ozpin, Qrow is a master scythe wielder, having taught Ruby how to use her scythe. Crescent Rose is confirmed not to be a copy of Harbinger, as Ruby stated that she designed Crescent Rose herself. There are also notable differences. In "Heroes and Monsters", he was shown easily dispatching a Griffon by slicing it in half, demonstrating he has a remarkable mastery of his weapon.
In the episode, "It's Brawl in the Family", Harbinger first appears as a longsword, which contains gears near the crossguard area. Like most Huntsman weapons, his blade also contains a gun component. Though as he began to reveal its true form, he stops and retracts it before its transformation is complete. The scythe form is later seen in its entirety in "Heroes and Monsters".
Qrow is able to perform a slash with his scythe that is too fast for the eye to see, even when everything is viewed in slow motion. Moreover, during his fight with Winter, Qrow wields Harbinger proficiently with either hand, revealing himself to have trained to be able to use it whether it is in his dominant or weak hand. However, he seems to prefer his left hand, indicating that he may be left-handed.
Qrow's Semblance, Misfortune, causes bad luck around him and unlike most Semblances, it’s eternally active and can never turn off. Its effects can lead to incidents as small as a glass being knocked onto the floor in "New Challengers..." or as significant as impacting an entire fight.
His Semblance does not discriminate on who it affects, which causes him to keep his distance from the people he cares about. According to Kerry Shawcross, he can also choose to amplify his Semblance in a fight to amplify the chance of his opponent getting hurt. This can be an advantage to him against unprepared opponents, but he is forced to fight alone as to not cause problems for his allies. His Semblance can be helpful in a fight, such as when Tyrian falls through an old roof, but can cause problems as when a piece of wood almost fell on Ruby.
In "The Final Word" however, Qrow manages to stop a bomb from falling out of a ship with the help of Clover's pin. This shows that his Semblance doesn't just amplify Misfortune , but can control it to some extent.
In the post-credit scene of "End of the Beginning", Qrow leaps from a cliff-side, and a black bird takes his place. This is the first demonstration of his ability to transform into a crow. In his bird form, Qrow is able to cover large distances and for stealth purposes.
In "Known by its Song", Raven states Ozpin gave the twins their shapeshifting abilities. Ozpin validates this claim, stating he granted them this power with both of their consent, to aid him against Salem.
- Qrow alludes to Munin from Norse mythology, as well as the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. For more information on this allusion as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Qrow Branwen/Behind the Scenes.
- Branwen is Welsh, meaning "blessed white raven/crow", which corresponds to his first name, and implies a third influence on his character, Branwen the Blessed from Welsh Mythology.
- According to Yang at RTX Australia 2016, Qrow's flask is filled with pure gasoline, although this is not considered canon.
- On November 10th, 2013, a Wikia account registered as Montyoum made an edit to this page to indicate that Qrow's full name was "Qrow Branwen". Similar edits were also made at the time to the Cinder Fall and Remnant pages. As no verification from an official source was provided that this account was linked to Monty Oum, the edits were reverted. Following the release of the Volume 2 episode "Breach", it was revealed that Raven's full name was "Raven Branwen", though Qrow himself would not have his last name confirmed until the Volume 3 episode "New Challengers...".
- The mumbling of the phrase "That's my uncle!" by Ruby is a reference to the Rooster Teeth Animated Adventure, "Left 4 Trek".
- This is referenced again in the episode, "It's Brawl in the Family", when Ruby first notices Qrow and Winter fighting.
- Qrow was first seen in "Burning the Candle", not in a rendered model, but only as stylized artwork, and was first mentioned in "Ruby Rose".
- Kerry and Miles stated that Qrow was their favorite character to write because it was refreshing to have an adult character who does not take things seriously.
- Miles has compared Qrow with Shadow the Hedgehog as someone who for a long time worked best alone and wanted him to interact with people who aren't his niece's and their friends, leading to his friendship with Clover.
- Many fans speculated that Qrow was secretly Ruby's biological father. Miles Luna confirmed, however, that Qrow was not Ruby's father and that she just idolizes him a lot to the point where she often mimics his overall style.
- Qrow, at one point, has referred to Oscar as "pipsqueak". This may be an allusion to Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, who was also voiced by Vic Mignogna, and was known to have hated being called that.
- Rooster Teeth officially cut ties with Vic Mignogna, Qrow's original voice actor, on February 4th, 2019, shortly after the release of the Volume 6 finale.
- On July 1st, 2019, Kerry Shawcross revealed that Jason Liebrecht would be taking over as Qrow's voice actor for Volume 7. Liebrecht is known for roles such as Dabi from My Hero Academia and Zeke Jaeger from Attack on Titan.
- Qrow's Huntsman license number is ?6734-67530-00458.
- Qrow Branwen Volume 7 concept art
- Rooster Teeth Blog Post, February 4th, 2019
- CRWBY AMA
- CRWBY AMA w/ Miles Luna, Kerry Shawcross, and Paula Decanini
- Tumblr Q&A October 7, 2016
- RWBY Volume 7 Crew Commentary - Chapter 3
- CRWBY AMA February 12, 2018
- RWBY Volume 7 Updates and RWBY at RTX! July 1, 2019