Have you ever written a journal that you knew was going to be controversial? Yeah.
So there's a ship in the RWBY community called Bumbleby, which puts main characters Blake and Yang in a romantic relationship. Bumblebee is also the teamup name Ruby uses in Volume 2 for them, which was taken from the name of the ship.* On the Volume 4 soundtrack is a song called Bmblb, which is clearly about one person wanting to have a romantic relationship with another, and which has lyrics like this:
Baby can’t you see?
You could be with me
We could live inside a garden of ecstasy
You could be my queen
I could be your dream
Our lives like a fantasy
Maybe set me free?
Let me be your bumblebee
There are basically three ways people view this song:
- It confirms Bumbleby
- It's queerbaiting, because it implies a relationship between them without any intention for follow-through
- It's a nice song that happens to be called Bmblb
Personally, I agree with the third option. I also could not give less of a fuck whether Bumblby happens or not. As long as it's done well, I'm on board with whatever Rooster Teeth put on the screen. So there's my bias out of the way. With that said, there are a few things I'd like to point out about this entire situation.
First, at no point have Rooster Teeth ever put anything in the show to imply that Blake and Yang are "into" each other. They don't look at each other and blush, they don't go out of their way to hold hands, they don't brush off responsibilities to be with each other - RT have given us nothing in the show to suggest that they're going to end up together. In fact, when Yang lost her arm - the time when she would need a partner the most - Blake ran as far away as possible. That is not what you do when the person you love is hurt. So no, RT are not pushing Bumbleby in the show in any way at all. What RT have done is give us a pretty accurate portrayal of two girls who are close friends. Bumbleby is a ship that came entirely from the community. Rooster Teeth are aware of it, but they have put nothing in the show to support it.
Second, the song never names anyone. If you read the full lyrics, it's just a random generic love song. The only reason to think those lyrics are about Blake and Yang is if you enter with a preconceived notion that says it's so because of the title. And the title isn't even Bumbleby, it's Bmblb. You may think that's nitpicking, but I think it's important. Had the song been called Bumbleby, then the title would be a direct reference to the ship. Instead, it's called Bmblb, which is the last word of the chorus minus the vowels.
In fact, I'd argue that the song is more likely about Sun and Blake. Remember, the line is "Let me be your bumblebee." That line makes way more sense as Sun thinking Blake is into Yang, and pleading with her to go for him instead. "Yang is gone, let me be your bumblebee!" And besides, the first line is "There's a garden where I go." When have you ever known either Blake or Yang to be the sort of person who would hang out in a garden? But Sun sure might. Plus there are two lines that directly reference the sun, one of which is "Every day is sunny." So no, it doesn't confirm Bumbleby.
Third, I want you to consider Donut: The Musical. That's a song where almost every line implies that Donut is gay. It's sung by the character, and the first line is "Let me blow you... ...away!" It also has "So let me blow you, blow you all! One by one, individually, or in a group." Spoiler alert: Donut's not gay. So naturally, everyone was shouting about RT queerbaiting for Red vs Blue. What's that you say? Nobody ever said any such thing? That's right, because just because it's in a song doesn't make it canon, or even important.
Even if Bmblb is about Blake and Yang - and there's no connection to them at all other than the title - that doesn't mean anything. It's not confirming the ship, at most it's acknowledging it. Just like how Donut: The Musical acknowledges the effeminate nature of Donut. If a song that openly suggests a character is gay - sung by that character - doesn't get called out as queerbaiting, then certainly a miscellaneous love song that never specifies who it's about shouldn't get called out for it either.
And there's one other thing to consider about this whole situation: Rooster Teeth themselves. They employ several openly gay/bisexual people, some of whom work on RWBY. Do you really think a company that does that is going to engage in something as underhanded as queerbaiting? And do you think the queer people on staff would stand for it if they did? I don't think so. Further, Miles used to date Arryn, who is openly bisexual. Do you really think he is about to exploit the gay community like that? Do you think Arryn would stay with the show if he did?
So, does the song confirm Bumbleby? No. Is it queerbaiting? Considering how intensely generic it is, to the point that the lyrics could literally be about anyone, no. The title acknowledges a ship in the fandom. That's it. Boop names Nora's weapon and is clearly about her and Ren hooking up, but that doesn't mean it's teasing an on-screen relationship between them. It merely acknowledges the idea, and at most that's all Bmblb does.
So those are my thoughts on the matter. I also want to be clear that I'm not criticizing the idea of Bumbleby, I'm merely saying I don't think this song is what a portion of the fandom are making it out to be. It's a nice song about love. That's it.
* This journal originally said that the ship name came from the move, and has been corrected to indicate that it was the other way around.