"Hina Logic" PowerI love talking to my brother. He sees the world so differently from anyone else I know, and I always learn something new or see an old topic from a new angle. A couple weeks ago — July 4th, I think — we got on the subject of shows and movies where the characters use magic. (Yes, he’s a geek, too. 😛 )

It started when I told him about a new magical girl/fantasy-action anime called Hina Logic: From Luck & Logic. He watches more anime than I do, so he can tell right away if a story will be cliché. Takes place in a high school? Has a clumsy airhead as the main character who’s somehow a prodigy? Uses its most important terms so often, you get sick of hearing them (for this show, it’s “Logicalist,” “Foreigner,” and “Trancing”)?

I’m not sure how many anime I just described.

My brother wasn’t interested, and one of his reasons surprised me. In shows where the main characters have magic powers, he doesn’t like it if:

  • They’re constantly impressed by them, even they’re common
  • They don’t use them for everyday things

At the time, he was playing an MMO. He wasn’t thinking about where his computer came from or what powers it. It just worked. But a century ago, no one could have imagined pressing buttons to control a creature from another world inside of a black box. That would look like magic to them!

He told me to look around at the objects in the room. What were we doing with them right then? How did I feel about them? My answer was something like this: “We’re doing the best we can with what we have, but we don’t have magic.”

What I meant was we were using the resources we have in our world: paper, plastic, electricity, etc. We use them for everyday things like drying our hair or cooking food. Some of them are limited, but we’re trying to reuse them or find more sustainable sources.

Why aren’t more fantasy worlds like that? If magic is abundant like electricity, shouldn’t the characters use it the same way we use our resources? An example my brother gave was in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. When Tina takes Newt and Jacob to the house where she and her sister live, the two witches use magic to make them dinner. The potatoes, carrots, fruits, plates, bowls, and rolling pin move on their own.

Jacob the muggle — I mean “no-maj” — was amazed, but Newt and the witches didn’t bat an eyelash. They probably do things like that every day and don’t even think about it. If they have magic, why not use it to make their lives easier? Isn’t that what we muggles use technology for: convenience?

My brother couldn’t think of another show or movie that portrays magic as “ordinary” — especially not an anime. Instead, in many fantasy stories, the characters only use magic as a last resort. They live their everyday lives as if they’re human.

What about Winx Club? Sometimes, the Winx use magic for mundane things like trying on dresses or pouring tea. Alfea’s lights and the flying cars in Magix City are powered by magic. Yet the characters still have to conserve their energy, and their lives don’t feel much different from ours. Does that count as magic being integrated into everyday life?

Also, people who have magic powers are treated like they’re special, but they shouldn’t be. Almost everyone’s a fairy, a witch, an elf, a wizard, or some other magic being. Their power sources may be unique, but that’s it. To paraphrase The Incredibles, when everybody’s super, no one is.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is magic in Winx Club treated as special or ordinary?

Side note: By the way, my brother eventually watched Hina Logic. Neither of us likes it. 😛

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38 Responses to “Nothing Special, Just Magic

  1. It’s hard to think of an example of a show where magic is used for mundane purposes because often, the creators will throw in the classic hoop for the characters to jump through of “they have to keep their powers a secret because ‘x’ will happen if they don’t.” And ‘x’ is more often than not that they don’t want to blow their earth friends’ minds, or that they don’t want the bad guys to know where they live, or whatever.

    Winx is probably a mix of both. We see the Winx using magic for ordinary stuff, but they don’t do it constantly. Plus, there’s obviously season four and WoW, in which they were trying to keep their identities secret. So I guess my answer is…kinda.

  2. Wait, did you write a post in the blog to win a discussion with your brother? Lol

    As for your question, as far as I remember, the Winx have always used their magic for everyday activities. In earlier seasons, for example, Griselda used to punishe them by making them do the chores of Alfea without magic, which means they are so used to it that they can’t even think of doing normal activities without it [except for Bloom, who was still getting used to it.]

    Now, for people treating ‘magical people’ as special, I think they do so to the people who have very powerful magic. It is like being amazed to someone who has a very advanced cellphone, or a very useful or interesting app.

  3. Just looking at that Hina Logic’s poster already makes me not like it. Speaking of which, I tried watching another magical show called Glitter Force on Netflix and I couldn’t get through the first few minutes. Felt like it was trying too much to be like many other classic magical girl shows.
    In a sense, that’s kinda what I liked about Winx Club. Magic isn’t presented as a mystical otherworldly force because, well, it’s everywhere! It’s essentially like electricity and computers to us; it’s commonplace for the realms that can sustain it. Likewise, I really liked how there were other places in Magix where magic actually didn’t work like the Resort Realm in Season 2 and the Enclosed Territory in the early comics. Just like how not all places in the world can keep electricity up or even sustain it, there a places in the Magic Dimension that can’t sustain magic! It surprisingly makes a magical world seem more realistic, and that’s saying something when almost everyone is a fairy, elf, troll, witch, wizard, etc.
    Another thing is the existence of magical weapons so, that way, even people without magic abilities can still use magic. It isn’t restricted to just “the special people”; just look at the Specialists! I’d also love to see Winx Club explore that more too.

    • Speaking of which, I tried watching another magical show called Glitter Force on Netflix and I couldn’t get through the first few minutes. Felt like it was trying too much to be like many other classic magical girl shows.

      Glitter Force is actually the English dub of Smile PreCure! I tried to watch it, too, but I couldn’t get into it, either. 😅

        • Yeah, you probably wouldn’t like it. It’s one of the most generic magical girl series out there. Even though each season has different characters, powers, and whatnot, the formula’s pretty much the same every time. Another world is in danger, a fairy goes to Earth to find the legendary PreCure, they have collect some kind of magic item to save the other world, they get two power-ups along the way, etc. There’s a little variation in a few seasons, but not much.

          I have a love-hate relationship with PreCure. Sometimes, I don’t mind all the sugariness and predictability, but usually I can’t get through a full season. This series has twice as many seasons as Winx Club with twice as many episodes per season! I’ve only seen two seasons all the way through.

      • well magic is a double edged sword because it can be a force for good or used for evil
        as uncle ben in spiderman said
        ‘ with great power comes great responsibility’
        the winx use their magic to help but seem to leave a lot of property damage when saving the universe

    • Looks like we’re getting a dub of the next season of PreCure, which was called Doki Doki PreCure. The dub will be called Glitter Force Doki Doki, which is strange because the target audience probably won’t know what “doki doki” means. Saban apparently doesn’t own the trademark anymore. Now Toei does, and people are hoping that means this season will be more faithful to the original. We’ll see.

  4. I guess magic is treated as somewhat special, in one hand Musa tells timmy that casting spells drains their energy quickly one they’re organizing the library but that was very early in the comics and we could assume that that’s only true for rooky fairies then there’s the example of Bloom and Stella not being able to sustain charmix for more than 1 hour but Aisha being able to go into the form indefinitely, so in the world it starts as something special that eventually becomes mundane since in the comic the Shaab stone, Belizarius tries to get it to blackmail magic users, however everyone in Magix, should be assumed to be able to undergo Magic training since there’s a Magic barrier that literally prevents non-magical beings from even entering, only that the level of exigence of becoming a Magic user is so much that not everyone succeeds in doing so, in fact there’s nothing in the show specifying Alfea’s or cloud tower’s desertion rates but the teachers put an emphasis in that becoming a fairy or a witch is a serious business and it’s in no way easy, so they would undergo a very strict training, in fact they have like one week of vacations per year which , and it should be the same for Wizards and Psionics, also Female casters seem to be a lot more common than Male casters which happen to seem to be an oddity, the Winx seem to treat magic like something granted and a really casual thing since they use Magic for really menial things and by season 4 Bloom of all people had literally forgotten how to live on Earth after just 3 years in Alfea, i don’t remember specifics but it was something akin to not being able to open the Toothpaste tube without Magic, also when someones loses their powers they usually make a big deal out of it but when Bloom lost her powers in season 1, once to Faragonda and once to the trix everyone was like “ehhh, is not so bad you’ve been powerless for all your life, you’ll manage ” so that kind of means that they take magic for granted and mundane and can’t think of living without it.

  5. That’s a good point. The only show where I think magic was used for mundane things was Ojamajo Doremi, and only by the full-blooded witches and wizards (though that made sense, since the main characters had to BUY the magic in order to use it). My guess as for why not many shows with magical powers only use them for battles and not convenience is because they think people wouldn’t find it interesting? It’s also because most people think that if they change the formula, they’ll lose audience (as was the fear with the main producers for the first three universes/first five seasons of PreCure).

    As for the case in Winx Club, it’s probably because most people see the usage of magic for common things as a waste of energy and resources (if it isn’t telekinesis, since that’s the only type of magic everyone uses constantly). If you can use your magic to help and heal your world, why waste it in cleaning things or charging your phone? It may also be that they see being a Fairy/Witch/Wizard/Sorcerer/Insert-name-of-your-magic-transformation-here, and not JUST another being with normal magical powers, as the special thing.

  6. Magic is so common or just so excepted that using it for mundane reasons is a logical outcome. Those with more talent like the Winx are probably a rarity yet they still do it like everyone else.

  7. Maybe the use of magic for mundane things is against the rules of life? That is to say the reason Faragonda doesn’t condone it…is because if everyone does use it for everyday tasks like cleaning…they’ll become lazy. Apparently they seemed to have forgotten that with the one person who taught the club how to function without magic, Bloom during season 4. Yeah Bloom’s been around magic for so long by that point, but she never forgot how to live on Earth before in previous seasons. That’s a plot bunny there.

  8. Hina Logi is actually almost a sequel to luck and logic. Less fighting monsters little more slice of life, but not everything makes sense if original is missed. Good anime so far although I am waiting to see if like Athena shows up or something mid season.

  9. I think it’s a mixture with Winx Club.

    They generally do try to incorporate magic into everyday life. They summon things they need, fix messes, levitate things for many purposes (pouring things or bringing them in reach). And they do seem like they have gotten used to it.

    But for a world where magic is so common, they do sometimes treat it as a ‘luxury’. Like in Magical Adventure when they lose their powers, someone (I guess Flora?) comments how it is nice to do the chores without magic and that they should do it once in a while (I’ve forgotten the exact line but she says it like it’s better to do chores without magic). I don’t really believe a person living in a magical world would really say something like that. For us, it would be like doing our chores without using our hands and saying it’s nice to do it that way.

  10. Anyone looking for a slightly different magical girl series might try Lyrical Nanoha, the third season is set in a city where magic seems to be commonplace, though the story is set at a magical military school so we don’t see much of how the civilians live. I like Nanoha’s magic system, with the talking devices and cool magic circles, it’s different from the usual magical girl anime set in a Tokyo high school. (though Nanoha does have some quite weird plot points, she befriends people by defeating them in combat… it’s an anime, you gotta suspend your disbelief!)

    But back to our current show.

    I always assumed there were loads of people in the magic dimension who didn’t have magic, or didn’t have much– that would make sense of why the Winx always have to save the world themselves, and it’d make sense of why technology exists in that universe. I mean, if everybody could portal or fly a broomstick, why would cars even get invented? But there’s not much actual evidence for this in the show, it’s just my deduction.

  11. I’d definitely say Winx Club tends to use magic much more casually. They went to tons of classes for it, after all. 😀

    Unoriginal anime just really stumps me. How can animation studios make tons of what is basically the same thing and then… keep on making the same thing? Specifically the magical girl anime. Don’t they want something different? Or maybe how about cherishing and replaying the wonderful magical girl anime that already exists? Don’t they ever get bored of it themselves??
    There are probably multiple types of cartoons that are super similar to each other that I’m just not thinking about right now, but honestly… it can’t be that hard to do the magical girl genre differently…

    • The main problem isn’t that the MG genre is not being creative, it’s that the only magical girl series that actually ARE for girls are Precure, Winx and LoliRock right now (aside from the recent revivals of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura). Most of the recent MG shows are for grown men and they mostly are short and EDGY to try to be different (Madoka, Yuki Yuna, Flip Flapppers). And even then, these shows also follow the trend of “being a girl with powers only consists of suffering and despair, the consecuences will always be your fault even if someone else gives them to you when you don’t want them, you’ll end up killed in the end and everything is awful” that gets tiring all the same.

      • Flip Flappers? Ugh! I couldn’t watch that show. It was too weird. 😕 My brother finished it (I think). We both liked Yuki Yuna, though — except the ending. Still, I’m looking forward to the next season.

        Wasn’t there another recent show like that? I think it was called Daybreak Illusion. I didn’t watch it, but it looked like the same idea.

        • Cardcaptor Sakura recently got a sequel manga called Cardcaptor Sakura – Clear Cards in June last year, and said sequel is getting an anime adaptation early next year.

  12. Sailor Moon is interesting in this case because all the magical characters are reincarnations of people from a golden age where magic WAS common before a evil being destroyed it.But at some point a disaster struck in the future(long story) and Usagi took up the role of being a magical queen,eventually building Crystal Tokyo. At that point, advanced magic and technology are pretty common. The entire series actually leads up to that. It reminds me of how there were all these great civilizations in our RL history, like Rome and Egypt,that were ahead of their time but eventually broke down. We slowly regained the knowledge those civilizations had.
    Honestly,i think Sailor Moon is not given enough credit. It was the one that made up the magical girl warrior trope and the one that did it the best IMO.While it seems like every MG show these days are obsessed with ‘deconstructing’ MG tropes,I think that SM had a perfect balance between lightheartedness and dark moments,which I think most MG shows(especially Precure) lack.

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