Musings & Rants
38

"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. 😛

What If Wednesday
134

Today’s “What If Wednesday” question: “What if the Winx visit [insert world name]?”

The Winx have traveled all over the Magic Dimension, but they haven’t been to every world. Do they have to? Of course not. Not all the places mentioned in the show (or the comics) have to be important.

Still, it means Rainbow can expand Winx Club‘s physical universe without even adding to it. They can use what they already have. (That’s the theme of this feature, right?) Here are some known worlds the Winx have never seen.

Dolona

Winx 1X02 - Eleanor of DolonaRemember this shy fairy: Eleanor of Dolona? Griselda made her sweat in “Welcome to Magix” (1X02) when she couldn’t find her name right away on the new student roster. Where’s Dolona? What does it look like? Is Eleanor the princess? She may not look like it, but most characters addressed as “So-and-So of World” tend to be royalty or nobility.

Orez, Fallat, and Rot

In “Professor Avalon’s Secret” (2X09), Griffin said when these three “sacred” planets align, it’s thought to be a bad omen. Why? What’s the story behind them? And what would happen if they aligned again? I know the prophecy of Serius Facetus was a joke, but as the Wise Woman of Calavera said, “With every legend comes a bit of truth.”

Romulea

Lots of royals and nobles attended Eraklyon’s millennium celebration in season three, but one pair was mentioned by name: King Wanetka and Queen Linley of Romulea. Same question: Where’s Romulea, and what does it look like?

Callisto

Winx 1X02 - Varanda of CallistoI saved this world for last because it’s the most significant. Remember what happened after that scene with Eleanor and Griselda? Bloom become nervous because she wasn’t on the roster, but Stella had already thought of a plan. The princess of Domino would pretend to be the princess of Callisto, Varanda. But Griselda and Faragonda saw through the lie, and Bloom fessed up at the end of the episode.

I don’t know about you, but I’d love to meet the real Varanda. I bet she doesn’t look anything like Bloom! How would she feel knowing someone impersonated her to get into Alfea, and her friend Stella orchestrated the scam?

That’s it for today. To my fellow American Winx fans, I hope you had a safe and happy 4th of July! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight: leftover barbecue chicken wings!

What If Wednesday
197


Today’s “What If Wednesday” question: “What if Tecna becomes an ambassador for Zenith?”

No, don’t leave! Let me explain.

Remember how King Cryos didn’t wanna join the Sovereigns’ Alliance? He kept saying Zenith was better off protecting itself. After all, they have the most advanced technology in the Magic Dimension. Zenith sounds like an isolated realm — open to tourists but closed to foreign relations.

After the Winx saved him from his techno-drones in “Listen to Your Heart” (5X22), he changed his mind. Tecna then wished for everyone in Zenith to feel connected to the rest of the Magic Dimension. Does that mean the realm’s attitude changed? Maybe, but she can help keep it that way.

She’s been all over the universe, so she knows how to deal with different types of people. Plus, she’s a Winx, a well-known hero. Who wouldn’t listen to her?

Most of all, she doesn’t follow Zenith’s “logic over feelings” ideal anymore. That’s why “Listen to Your Heart” was a good title for that episode. It wasn’t just about Cryos. Thanks to the Winx (and Timmy), Tecna has learned to trust her heart more, too. She can help Zenith open up to other cultures and appreciate emotions.

I know this sounds far-fetched, but what’s the alternative? We don’t know what her dreams and goals are. All we know is she’s great at inventing things and loves to tinker with technology. Why not use her knowledge to help her realm?

Plus, three of her friends will be queens one day. I’m sure they’d welcome her into their realms. She could even help modernize them.

That’s it for today. Like I said last time, I have a list of “What If” topics already — yes, this was one of them — but if you have an idea, feel free to send it to me.

Reviews
158

What I Didn’t Like

  1. The pacing: Too choppy and fast, especially in the first few episodes
  2. The dialogue: Too much “Shyamalaning” (repetition); too much filler (like the Winx praising each other); lots of cheesy lines, even in serious scenes
  3. The pop star side plot: Interfered with the main plot; felt like filler; made scenes where people didn’t recognize the Winx seem silly
  4. Fewer fairy scenes: Too many spy and pop star scenes instead (first season had better mix)
  5. How the Winx gained Onyrix: No explanation; “evolution” idea felt cheap
  6. Onyrix’s limitations: More powerful spells, but no different from Dreamix except for appearance; the Winx couldn’t use it on Earth, which made no sense
  7. Aisha’s personality: Too aggressive and angry; not enough (or any) of her gentle side from Winx Club
  8. The returning Neverlanders: Seemed dumber and less intimidating than in the first season (especially Smee and the zombie pirates)
  9. Musa and Flora’s nemeses: Based on their powers instead of character flaws
  10. Tecna’s character flaw: Felt made up on the spot; not enough built up to her nemesis (she wasn’t acting like a “control freak” before that episode)
  11. The prophecy: Random; added nothing to the story
  12. Matt and Tinkerbell’s love story: Shallow and rushed; felt creepy since Tinkerbell loved his father, too
  13. Venomya’s role: Felt out of place in the story; could have been better integrated, even if she’s next season’s villain

What I Liked

  1. The animation: Lots of improvement, even from season one
  2. The Winx’s new spells: Creative uses of magic like Flora traveling through Earth’s root system, Stella bending lasers, etc. (I’d like to see more spells like this in Winx Club)
  3. Matt: Entertaining new character; good character development
  4. The nemeses: Cool and intimidating character designs; interesting fight scenes with them
  5. The new outfits: Too many to keep track of, but all beautiful
  6. The overall story: Enjoyable; good integration and adaptation of the Peter Pan characters
  7. Stella’s back story: Moving and relatable scene; added much-needed depth to her character
  8. Finale (in Neverland): Stakes felt high; nice twist with Smee saving the day
  9. Cliffhanger: Interesting set up for a possible season three

Overall Thoughts

I prefer season one for the structure, dialogue, and character personalities, but I prefer season two for the action, magic, and overall story. World of Winx is okay to me, but because it’s an alternate universe, I treat it the same way as PopPixie. They’re both just fun side stories, as well as ways for Rainbow to try new ideas.

Regardless of the cliffhanger, I don’t want a season three. I wish instead of continuing to make a separate show, Rainbow would put these ideas into Winx Club (except the spy stuff). World of Winx would have been just as good if it had been Winx season eight. Plus, it would have restored the fanbase’s love for Winx Club. Instead, many fans seem ready to abandon it for good and only watch WoW from now on.

Still, this show proves Rainbow isn’t “out of ideas” and can still make good seasons with these characters. I hope the writers learned from this experience and filled Winx season eight with the same depth and creativity.

What If Wednesday
28

Sorry for skipping “What If Wednesday” last week. I bit off more than I could chew by trying to finish the “Yin and Yang” post, chapter two of my fanfic, and this post around the same time. Hopefully, I can get back on track now.

Today’s “What If” question: “What if Specialists and Paladins could have advanced forms like fairies do?”

What do I mean by “advanced forms?” I don’t mean transformations, per se, but that depends on the class. Specialists and Paladins are different from each other — at least they’re supposed to be. Rainbow hasn’t clearly shown the difference between them, so their development could be a way to distinguish them from each other.

Specialists

Almost eight years ago (yes, it’s been that long), I wrote a post asking what in Magix Specialists are. Griffin calls them “wizards” in “A Friendship Sundered” (1X08), and the season two website called Codatorta a “magician.” Those terms don’t make sense because Specialists don’t have magic powers. (Helia does, but they probably run in the family.)

Specialists just seem to be all-purpose heroes. They fight monsters, save princesses, carry out secret missions, etc. We can guess Redfountain isn’t the only place that trains them, since in season five, Roy wore a different uniform designed for underwater missions.

Is that all there is to them? Maybe not. The word specialist means “a person highly skilled in a specific and restricted field.” In some Winx dubs, the Specialists are called Experts. Same idea.

The first time I remember hearing “Specialist” in this sense is in season six. In “A Monster Crush” (6X21), Tecna’s mother Magnethia asks Timmy what field he specializes in. Aisha says he’s “a pro at mechanic design, navigation, and all-around problem solving.” I’d add strategy to that list, too. He’s used all of those skills in missions over the years.

What about the other Specialists? Do they have specific skills other than fighting? I can’t think of any. Riven was good at picking locks, but he probably learned that growing up. (The season two website said he was “skilled as a thief.”) Maybe Timmy’s the special one. 😛

Thirteen years and seven seasons later, it’s still not clear what Specialists are. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless, though. The Magic Universe needs non-magic beings, too. Magic fails sometimes and isn’t appropriate for every situation. Plus, the Specialists have always known more about magic creatures and how to handle them.

What would an advanced Specialist form look like? Maybe we’ve seen it already. Since Sky’s squad got new outfits and weapons in season six, maybe they graduated. If so, what will their futures be like? How will they use what they’ve learned?

Paladins

Nex and Thoren may be new to the Boys Club, but Paladins aren’t new to the series. Rainbow first used the term “Paladin” in the original Winx season two. In “The Mysterious Stone” (2X07), when Avalon takes off his hood and reveals himself, Bloom, Stella, and Aisha yell, “It’s the Paladin who rescued us from the Trix!”

When they met Avalon in “Magic Bonding” (2X05), he was wearing armor and a pair of angel wings. Some fans think that Avalon was the impostor sent by Darkar. Here’s a question, though: how did those three know he was a Paladin? He didn’t tell them. They said it like it was common knowledge — or it was the first term that popped into their heads.

4Kids tried to expand on the concept of Paladins. In “Professor Avalon’s Secret” (2X09) — a.k.a. “The Angel of Doom” — Avalon says, “There are 10,000 Paladins with the same wings I have.” Yes, I know the 4Kids dub doesn’t count, but why couldn’t Rainbow keep this idea?

The word paladin means a “knightly or heroic champion.” That sounds like the Specialists, but here’s an interesting detail: it has a religious background. Medieval legends talk about an order of Paladins called The Twelve Peers who served Charlemagne, a devout Christian emperor of Rome. (I’m not condoning his actions; I’m just stating historical facts.)

Fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons and World of Warcraft have adapted this by making Paladins “holy warriors.” They embody chivalry, purity, and light, and they have magic abilities like healing. That sounds like Avalon, doesn’t it? His wings radiated a powerful light, and he was able to restore the Winx’s energy.

No one would describe Nex and Thoren as “chivalrous” and “pure,” though. (Maybe Thoren, but not Nex.) That’s fine, though, because it means they have room for character development. I’d love to see them become holy warriors.

Rainbow could easily make Avalon’s winged form an advanced Paladin form. How would they earn it? A year at Light Rock Monastery? A character arc where they have to confront their inner darkness? Imagine the possibilities!

That’s it for today’s “What If Wednesday.” I’m not sure what I’ll talk about next time, but I have a list of topics already. Stay tuned.