Musings & Rants
35

"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. 😛

Musings & Rants
11

Yes, I have a brother. I know I don’t talk about him much, but he used to watch Winx Club, too. He stopped just because it wasn’t on anymore. That was back in the 4Kids days.

Last year, we got into a long conversation about the show. I was surprised by how much he remembered. He still knew the names of most of the main characters, the three schools in Magix, and the villains (he called Valtor “Balfour,” but close enough). He also remembered small details like how Flora gets treated like a piñata most of the time (his words, not mine).

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I’ve talked to him about the show a few times since then. He says he didn’t have a favorite Winx, but he liked Musa a lot. First of all, he liked her relationship with — no, not Riven (he hated him)  — her father Ho-Boe. Second, he liked that she wasn’t just one of the Winx, but she also had a dream of becoming a musician. That gave her more depth than the others.

As for the guys, he thinks they were all useless and unnecessary. They were just “Ken dolls.” I managed to get him to pick a favorite, anyway: Brandon. Why? He liked his weapon, and he admired him for being able to put up with Stella. 😛 (Again, his words.)

During that first conversation, I told him a spinoff called World of Winx was coming soon (back when we thought it would air in the spring). He was so interested, he said he might watch it! That got me excited! Could this lure him back into the Winx Club universe?

Nope.

As soon as I said the Winx are still the main characters, he said he’ll pass. He doesn’t wanna watch another show “from Bloom’s perspective.” Why focus on them again when there are so many background characters whose stories haven’t been told?

I know other fans feel the same way. They’ve talked about wanting to see spinoffs about the guys, a new fairy club, or even the Trix. He said he wouldn’t mind one about the villains, but he thinks the evil trio has been “played out.” (I guess he felt the Trix were overused even in seasons 1-3.)

But what he really wants to see is a spinoff about the older characters like Faragonda, Griselda, Griffin, Saladin, Oritel and Marion, etc. What were they like when they were younger? How did they get where they are today?

Also, how and when were the three schools founded? What was Magix like before they were built? Rainbow’s never answered those questions, but they’d help build the mythology of the series.

I told him the Winx went back in time to old Alfea in season seven. They met young Faragonda, saw what the school used to be like (complete with uniforms), and met the previous headmistress Mavilla. His response was, “A whole season of that, please.” He thinks it’ll never happen, though, because it probably wouldn’t sell dolls.

What do you think? Would you watch my brother’s dream spinoff? What other Winx characters do you wanna see a show about?

 

Musings & Rants
9

In most cartoons, the villains’ team is made up of an intelligent leader and the incompetent henchmen he (or she) can’t stand but puts up with because they’re the only people he/she has to work with. And, usually in secret, the henchmen don’t like the leader either because he/she doesn’t pay them enough, doesn’t appreciate them, isn’t doing as good a job as they could, etc.

But the Wizards of the Black Circle were equals and like brothers. They leaned on each other (sometimes literally) for support. Like the Trix, they respected each others’ powers and worked to strengthen one another. Ogron, the leader, listened to the others’ input instead of shooting their ideas down because he thought he was the brain of the team. The Wizards even seem to worry about each other, saying things like, “Be careful—you’re still injured.” The moment that surprised me the most was in episode thirteen, when Gantlos, fighting pain, tried to stop a train in order to protect Ogron. (Yes, they’re the enemies and there were innocent Gardenians on that train, but everything worked out, right?) Now that’s friendship!

Winx Club has given us an interesting selection of villains—not your typical “take over the world and ruin the good guy’s day” type, but clever characters you can almost connect to as much as you can to the Winx. Okay, maybe not all the villains. Darkar, the Ancestresses—they’re just crazy. And you can’t forgive their deeds, like what the Wizards did to Nabu. Nevertheless, it’s interesting when the enemies aren’t just evil-loving maniacs.

What do you think?