Season seven’s finally here! 🙂 Yes, we’re one of the last countries to get it, but maybe this was the best time. With WoW and other cool things that could happen this year, this is a good way to kick it off. And we don’t have to wait for the digital copies. The first two episodes are already on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video!
Let’s talk about what’s changed this season. Some fans think Nick’s not involved in the show anymore, but that’s not true. They’re not co-producing it or dubbing it anymore, but they’re still Rainbow’s broadcast partner, meaning they have the rights to air it on their channels. The new voice cast was picked by DuArt Film & Video, the studio that dubs Pokémon. Some of the actors are veterans from the 4Kids Winx years, but they’re playing other characters. (See this post for more info.)
Before I start the review, I have a confession to make. I’ve already been spoiled on a few major plot points, but I hadn’t seen a full episode until now — just loose scenes here and there. I haven’t watched the whole Tynix sequence, either, or heard the song. The fanbase went nuts over it, so I wanted to savor that moment when we get there.
Everyone ready? Here’s the first review of the new season!
1. As the Winx are sneaking into Alfea past curfew, a pair of students run out of the woods with a giant, purple monster chasing them. Bloom nearly gets crushed! Luckily (or unluckily), Faragonda arrives and shrinks the creature down to normal size. She summons the Winx to her office and tells them about the Alfea Natural Park, which she created to house endangered Fairy Animals. The grand opening’s next week, and she wants them to plan a party for it.
These scenes were charming to me for some reason. Not much happened, but just seeing the interactions between the Winx and hearing Faragonda talk about the park was enough to keep my attention. It felt a bit like old-school Winx Club. 🙂
2. Wearing Stella’s new tourist line, the Winx and Kiko meet up with Faragonda, the two girls from last night (the keepers of the park), and Roxy, along with the now-tiny Kangourmet. Faragonda knew the Fairy of Animals would be sure to get it back home safely. The park’s guarded by a magic barrier, which only those with fairy magic can cross.
The barrier scene felt like a throwback to season one, when Bloom first got to Alfea. I don’t know why the Winx were scared to enter (they have fairy magic 🙄 ), but maybe Rainbow wanted us to be impressed by the barrier. Too bad I wasn’t. Of course, someone was gonna break in. How many has Faragonda done this, and it hasn’t worked? 😛
3. The Winx, Roxy, and Kiko explore the park. Musa dedicates a song to the animals (because that’s what music fairies do, I guess). Roxy lets the Kangourmet go. Along with the way, the fairies come across a Digmole…that gets snatched up by a bird of prey!
That escalated quickly. It was so sudden, I didn’t know whether to be shocked or laugh. 😛 I liked it, though, because it broke the silence in a big way. Play time’s over, Winx!
4. The Winx transform and chase after the bird, but it’s too fast for them. It escapes through the barrier, which means it must have fairy magic. The fairies report the break-in to Faragonda. Meanwhile, the bird — who’s really Kalshara — returns to her lair with the Digmole. This is just step one of her master plan: to create an army of Fairy Animals that will obey her every command.
Why didn’t the Winx go through the barrier to catch Kalshara? So what if she got outside the park? They have wings, too. It felt like they just gave up. 😕
And why does Kalshara need Brafilius? She has magic, and he’s a bumbling idiot, so why can’t she lock up the animals herself? I bet that’s never gonna get explained.
After I first watched this episode, I didn’t know how to feel. I liked it, but I didn’t like it. 😕 I’ve watched again since then, and I’ve decided it’s okay — not great, but not terrible.
Now I understand how different the Nick seasons were. This episode was quieter and gentler than anything in seasons five and six. Maybe that equals “boring” to some fans, but — to use a word I’ve used already — I thought it was charming. Even the slower moments still hooked me. A couple of them dragged on too long (like the park scenes), but not enough to be unbearable.
In the Nick seasons, everyone was loud and dramatic, even in the calmer scenes. I think the actors overacted sometimes. I guess I’d gotten used to it, so that’s what I expected to hear. This didn’t feel as much like that.
Speaking of actors, let’s talk about the new voices. I like most of them. Bloom’s doesn’t sound as childish as it did in the trailer (thank goodness). I miss Molly Quinn already, but I can adjust.
Stella’s voice is great. Her actress seems to be the best in the cast, and she’s good at blending Stella’s immaturity with her actual age. It sounds like her Nick voice (Amy Gross) but older.
Flora’s is okay, but it’s…forgettable. I feel like Alejandra Reynoso played her in a unique way. This voice just sounds like a generic sweet girl.
Musa, Tecna, and Aisha are hit and miss for me. Musa and Tecna sound masculine at times, which might work for Tecna, since she always sounds a little boyish. But I think Kate Bristol (Musa) is trying to channel Romi Dames, and I wish she’d stop and do her own thing. Also, they both sound like Flora and Bloom sometimes.
Aisha’s voice is the worst. It sounds more mature, but again I think the actress (Alysha Deslorieux) is failing to copy the Nick voice. Plus, you can tell she’s not a polished voice actress. In some scenes, it sounds like she didn’t even try. 😕 (Can we have one of Aisha’s RAI voice actors back?)
As for the supporting characters:
- Faragonda sounds great (she always does)
- Griselda’s still annoying 😛
- Kalshara’s voice sounds strained, but it’s fine (Eileen Stevens plays Flora, too)
- Brafilius sounds stupid like he’s supposed to
- Roxy sounds too much like Bloom at times, but I like that she sounds older
Back to the episode itself.
It reminded me of the season four premiere. Just like in this episode, not much happened until the second half. The Winx came back to Alfea, Faragonda took them to The Hall of Enchantments, they taught a class, they showed off for the students — then the Wizards of the Black Circle attacked, and the story began.
This was the similar setup. The Winx came back to Alfea, Faragonda took them to the park, they wandered around for a while, then the story began when Kalshara snatched the Digmole. It didn’t have much action, but maybe it didn’t need it this soon.
Think about season five’s first episode. (I mean “The Spill,” not “The Lilo.”) It had a lot of action, but the rest of the season didn’t keep up the momentum. “Inspiration of Sirenix” (ep. 6X01) had more action, too, but it wasn’t relevant to the plot, so it felt like a waste of time.
For a premiere, I thought this was okay. Do I wish more had happened? Maybe, but it gives us somewhere to go from here, instead of starting at a high point and never reaching that level again.
Also, the dialogue was great. It’s already better than anything in the Nick seasons. I feel like I’m watching the RAI dub but with better voice acting (overall).
Verdict: Decent first episode. New voice cast will take some getting used to, but it’s not bad.
Next episode: “Young Fairies Grow Up.” To find out why Kalshara took the Digmole, The Winx and Roxy go back in time to learn the creature’s secret. They land at Alfea in the past, on the day young Faragonda ruined the annual Fairy Animal Exhibition. Next review coming soon!
THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING
- I don’t like the English version of this song, but it managed to get me excited for this season. I’m five years old again! 😀
- The Narrator’s reading the titles now? That’s gonna get old fast. 😕
- Shopping in Magix? It’s been a while since they’ve done that!
- Bloom: “Why didn’t you do that, like, four hours ago?”
Stella: “I…didn’t want you to miss out on the thrill of helping me!”
Wow, Stella. Sigh.
- Aren’t the Winx teachers/teaching assistants? Why do they still have a curfew?
- Holy cow! What was that sound?
- Yikes, that thing’s ugly! (Why is it making me think of Bumi’s pet from Avatar: The Last Airbender?)
- Typical Bloom. Don’t think. Just charge in. 😛
- Not the time to be tiptoeing, Stella! 😛
- Of course, Faragonda caught them. 😛
- Those two girls in charge of the park? Aren’t they new to Alfea? That’s a big responsibility!
- Faragonda said they’re “the best fairies at Alfea,” but she didn’t say they were students. But with the curfew, it seems like they are.
- Stella the party girl. 😛
- Bloom, you didn’t even feed Kiko before you left? What kind of pet owner are you?
- After keeping her friends out past curfew and getting them in trouble with Faragonda, she woke them up early? Sometimes, you’re a horrible friend, Stella!
- Stella: “Get ready for a jaw-dropping fashion juggernaut!”
Stella: “Um, not that jaw-dropping.”
- Stella: “Or if you prefer something a little wilder…meee-ow!”
I like the way she said that. 😛
- This scene sure is quiet. Where’s the music? It doesn’t have to have it, but it feels it’s supposed to.
- A friend of yours? That’s all Roxy is? 🙁
- Why isn’t Roxy the keeper of the Alfea Natural Park? Since, you know…she’s the Fairy of Animals? 😕
- Roxy’s new voice sound a bit like Bloom’s.
- Another magic barrier? We’ve seen how well those work, Faragonda.
- Oh, c’mon, Winx! You have fairy magic, don’t you? 😛
- I guess Kiko got through because he’s a Pixie Pet.
- When I heard “park,” I was expecting something small and zoo-like. This is huge! Where is it? It can’t be near Alfea. There’s no room!
- Not only is Roxy not the keeper, but she’s never been here before? Seriously?
- A song of harmony and serenity? That was a cheesy way to introduce a new song! 😛
- Aw, Kiko feels ignored.
- That was unexpected! Did the Digmole get eaten?
- If Fairy Animals don’t attack each other, how do they eat? Are they all herbivores?
- You’re pushing Roxy away already, Bloom? Good grief.
- “Fairy up?” Please never say that again, Bloom.
- It was weird hearing the “Name, Fairy of Power Source!” routine with the new voices.
- Stella, be careful not to burn the park down!
- Flora’s the first one down again. 😕
- Why didn’t you go after her, Bloom? You could have crossed the barrier!
- Cool transformation sequence!
- The last Digmole in the Magic Dimension? Wow!
- She’s caught Shiny, too! 🙁
- An army of Fairy Animals? Yikes!