Musings & Rants
67

“Sparxshipping,” a.k.a. Bloom and Valtor. They’re a pairing that’s been popular since the 4Kids days. With opposing poles of the Dragon Flame — a flame of light and a flame of darkness — this couple sounds impossible, yet intriguing. How would good and evil fall in love with each other?

A better-known, non-Winx ship is “Zutara” (Zuko and Katara) from Avatar: The Last Airbender. (I’m not touching the “Kataang vs. Zutara” debate.) Some fans can’t resist the fire-water dynamic between the two benders. Even Zuko’s voice actor, Dante Basco, is a hardcore “Zutarian.”

These couples, “Zutara” and “Sparxshipping” (and technically “Kataang,” too), follow the concept of “yin and yang,” two opposite forces in harmony with each other. It’s the same theme Rainbow used for Aisha and Nex.

Yeah, yeah. They’re “Life” and “Death,” right?

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned that a dozen times. Aisha is “life” in Arabic, and nex is “death” in Latin. But remember in my recent Aisha/Nex post when I said I keep discovering things about this couple? Turns out Rainbow took the yin-yang idea further than just name meanings.

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Same, Yet Opposites?

Wait a minute. Aren’t these two a lot alike?

Being yin and yang doesn’t mean being different in every way. “Yin and yang” is relative. Object A may be opposite of Object B for a different reason than Object C. It depends on what traits you’re comparing them by.

Water and fire are yin and yang because water’s cold and wet, and fire’s hot and dry. But ice and running water are also yin and yang. Even though they’re both water, running water is liquid and active, and ice is solid and stationary. (Yes, that means Icy and Aisha are yin and yang, too.)

It’s actually more complicated than that. If you’re curious (and you’re a nerd like me), TED-Ed has a short video that explains it better than I can.

Back to Aisha and Nex. Most fans think they’re exactly the same: confident, fearless, energetic, athletic, etc. Yes, they have those traits in common — if they had nothing in common, they’d have nothing to bond over — but some of their other traits couldn’t be any more different.

For example, Nex is flirty. In his debut episode, “The Flying School” (6X03), he strutted up to the Winx and said, “Hey, ladies!” Can you imagine Aisha doing something like that? Yeah, right. In fact, it was something she didn’t like about him when they first met.

That’s just one of the ways they’re opposites, but it’s not as important now that they’re dating. Their other differences affect their relationship now.
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Episode Reviews
46

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I keep wanting to call this episode “Back to the Middle Ages.” Don’t ask me why. It doesn’t make sense. 😕

Last episode, Miele saved the Winx from death by poison — at least it looked like they were gonna die — and Flora let her join them on their mission. Together, they restored the mutated forest to normal and freed the Magiwolves from the fungi traps. Now the Winx have a second Fairy Animal friend: Amarok. But he won’t obey Flora’s commands, and he and Squonk don’t like each other.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN

1. Against their boyfriends’ advice, Aisha and Flora try to force Squonk and Amarok to become friends. It doesn’t work. Nex gets angry and says Squonk shouldn’t be there anyway. When Aisha snaps at him for not welcoming the little guy, either, he calls him the “u” word: “ugly.” Cue tear shower. Helia and Nex get drenched, and Squonk laughs at their misery.

That excites Amarok, and he dashes through the dorm, knocking over glasses, books, and chairs everywhere he goes. Flora finally loses it and calls him a “bad Magiwolf.” Helia tries to tell her he was “just playing,” but she doesn’t care. She just gets mad at him, too! A few moments later, the other Winx come in to grab her and Aisha for a mission.

I’ve read other reviews of this episode. The response to Nex calling Squonk “ugly” was about what I expected. He’s so mean! He’s such a jerk! He deserved to be cried on for saying mean things! This proves he’s bad for Aisha! (Wait…what? Oh, please. :roll:)

No, I’m not gonna defend him. Was what he said mean? Yes. Did he deserve to get soaked? Yes. (I don’t think Helia did, but oh well.) Was it a problem for Aisha that he didn’t like Squonk? Of course it was, or she wouldn’t have brought it up.

Did this “prove” he’s not the right guy for her? Um, no. 😑 I think that’s another case of fans looking for any reason to say they shouldn’t be together. No matter how strong their bond was, her time with Squonk was temporary. Her relationship with Nex is gonna last longer — maybe much longer.

Let’s look at this scene from his point of view. He was right about one thing (well, two things, but I’m only gonna talk about one of them): Aisha and Flora shouldn’t have tried to force Squonk and Amarok to be friends. Quoting what he said at the beginning of the episode: “I think you just need to give it time.” A couple episodes later, the two animals had already grown closer. They warmed up to each other on their own, without the Winx’s interference.

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But something hit me as I was writing this review: Aisha was trying to force Nex to like Squonk, too! It doesn’t matter if he’s her boyfriend. Yes, I’m sure it hurt for the guy closest to her to hate her new pet, too. But even though she and Nex are alike, they aren’t the same person. He didn’t have the same connection to Squonk.

If anything, he should have kept his feelings to himself. But Aisha was still rushing things — as she’s been known to do — instead of letting them happen gradually. Nex warmed up to Squonk without her help in “Winx Trapped!” (7X10). (It’s funny how no one talks about that episode, even though it showed us a new side of his personality.)

Flora was rushing things, too. Not only was she trying to force Amarok to like Squonk, but she was also trying to force him to act tame. He was a wild animal! She just took him out of the forest! What did she expect?

She was right to be mad when he tore the dorm apart, but Helia was also right to try and calm her down. Of course, he was more polite than Nex was. He’s more mild-mannered, after all. But the result was the same: glares from an angry girlfriend.

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If you ask me, the facade of Flora and Helia being the “perfect” couple is falling apart. Their relationship’s going nowhere! They’ve been together almost as long as the other couples (except Aisha and Nex, of course). Yet they’re not engaged, we rarely see them date, and they haven’t met each other’s parents (though to be fair, we just met Flora’s parents).

That’s why I don’t mind seeing them fight if it develops their relationship. But this felt as pointless as their plant care “fight” in season six. If you pretend Amarok’s their son, you could say they disagreed on how to discipline him, but that’s stretching it a little. I want them to fight about something important, something that makes them question if they really belong together.

No, I don’t think the love triangle in season five counts. That was silly. Flora should have known better than to think a random girl from his past was gonna steal him away. But if anything, it proved they still need to work on communication and trust.

I’ve got more to say about Flora, but I’ll save it for another post. It’s about how she acted overall this season and how the fanbase felt about it. I think it’s not just about her.

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2. Roxy sends the Winx to Earth in the Middle Ages to find the Quillcat, a Fairy Animal with magic fur. When they arrive, they see its image on a wanted poster. Suddenly the fugitive feline appears, being chased by three (very stupid) guards. The girls transform and follow them.

Turns out the cat’s good at protecting itself, but the Winx still cast a few spells to help her out. Unfortunately, this puts them on the wanted list, too. The guards have orders to capture all users of magic! The girls scare them away (peacefully, of course), but while everyone’s distracted, the Quillcat escapes!

I don’t have much to say about this part. Nothing stood out to me, good or bad. I could complain about how dumb the guards were, but stupid guards are such a cliché, it’s not worth talking about.

There’s one thing I loved, though: the guards being scared of magic, even something as harmless as Flora turning their spears into trees. Wherever the Winx go, their sparkly wings and mind-blowing powers earn them hundreds of admirers. Not here. Here, people fear them.

I wish Rainbow had taken this further. What if the guards had branded them “witches?” (One of them called their magic “witchcraft.”) Imagine the Winx having to explain the difference between dark magic and fairy magic. Would the people have believed them?

Instead, the Winx just stopped using magic — at least around a lot of people. Oh, well.
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Episode Reviews
30

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School’s out for summer! 😀 I should have more time to blog now, but I might take a break for a few weeks. I haven’t decided yet because I don’t wanna miss the trailer and/or premiere of World of Winx (whenever that’s gonna be). I’ll let you know before I go.

Last episode, while the Winx were in prehistoric Magix, Aisha bonded with a Cry-Cry named Squonk. She decided to bring the little guy to the present. But he wasn’t the animal with the First Color of the Universe, so the mission continues.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN

1. While the Winx are in class (I’ll talk about that later), Aisha leaves Kiko and the Pixies on Squonk-sitting duty. Like all the other times the Winx have asked for their help, they fail. Cherie won’t stop yelling at him. Kiko accidentally bonks him in the head with a ball, which makes him and Piff cry. Finally, the Pixie of Weather can’t take it anymore and tries to zap Squonk with lightning! The little guy gets spooked and races into the school to find his new mommy, Aisha. The Pixies chase after him.
Hi, Pixies. Didn’t think you’d be in this season. Last time the Winx found new creatures to bond with, you guys went on vacation. I guess Rainbow was going for a record amount of cuteness, especially if you include the Mini-World animals.

Is it just me, or have the Pixies been useless since season three? All they’ve done is be cute, cause trouble, fly away from monsters, and dig a giant plot hole. I wish Rainbow had left them out this time. They only show up in a couple more episodes, and what do they do? Cause more trouble and be cute some more. Nothing important.

The only thing I liked in this scene was Cherie losing her temper. I haven’t watched much of PopPixie, but I know poor anger management was a hallmark of her character. When she gets mad, watch for stray lightning bolts! Did we see that side of her last season? I think she had a fight with Stormy, but anyone could get mad at her. 😛

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2. Meanwhile in Wizgiz’s class, the wee professor is teaching a lesson on Wild Magic, which he says is “among the darkest magical practices of Metamorphosimbiosis.” If it gets out of control, it can make any living thing go savage. He’s about to do an experiment when Squonk bursts into the room, leaps into Aisha’s arms, and cries waterfalls of tears. She and Bloom apologize and send him away with the Pixies again.
I’ll say it now: why are the Winx in class? Are they students again, or are they teaching assistants (or teachers)? It feels like Rainbow can’t make up their minds. Even at the beginning of the season, Faragonda suggested they’re not students when she said they should set an example for the students. Yet they’re taking classes? 😕

I’m gonna echo what other fans have said: they may be in some sort of graduate program created for them. They get to learn more about magic, but they still have teaching/teacher’s assistant duties. Plus, it looks like their adventures are affecting the school’s curriculum. Wizgiz never taught them about Wild Magic before.

Whatever’s going on, I love seeing Alfea classes again. They were always one of my favorite parts of the show. Also, kudos to whoever wrote the English script for this episode and to the actor who voiced Wizgiz. I loved his lines in this scene.

3. The Winx visit Roxy to see if she’s got new info on Fairy Animals. She does (sort of). If Kalshara and Brafilius wanna find the animal with the First Color of the Universe, too, then whenever an animal’s in danger, it could be the one they’re after. Luckily, Roxy knows a way to detect when animals are in trouble. She’s created a universe-wise alarm system run by Yaffles, birds who can sense danger to all species. One of the Yaffles senses something threatening the Magiwolves on Lynphea. The Winx decide to go to Flora’s house to see if her parents can tell them what’s happening.
I skipped the scene before this, when Aisha was saying she felt like meeting Squonk was her destiny. Roxy brings this up again in a later episode. I couldn’t take it seriously at first because the Fairy Animals were so cutesy, but it felt more meaningful when we saw their true forms. I bet that was the point. It was almost like Rainbow was saying, “They look silly now, but just wait…”

Back to Roxy’s scene. Poor thing. 🙁 She’s been demoted from potential seventh Winx to mission control. It doesn’t feel right.

Yes, she has the strongest connection with animals, but wouldn’t that have been more useful out in the field? Think of all the times her magic could have helped them. For example, in “Mission in the Jungle” (7X11), she could have calmed down the tiger cubs. Or maybe she could have broken the Wild Magic spell possessing the poachers.

I think that’s why Rainbow sidelined her. They couldn’t make an animal-themed season without the Fairy of Animals, but she couldn’t be too involved or she’d upstage the Winx. Almost everything they did this season, she probably could have done herself.

That’s my issue with transformations that are based on one of the Winx’s powers. It makes sense for them to exist, since the Winx aren’t the only fairies with these power sources. But when all six (or seven) of them can do what normally only one of them can do, suddenly that girl isn’t special anymore.

Plus, you wonder why she needs that transformation. Did Flora need Sophix? It may have been the Gift of Wisdom, but it was nature-based. Did Aisha need Sirenix? She’s already a good swimmer, and she already draws power from the oceans. All she got out of the deal was a “special” spell and a key to the Infinite Ocean. And the biggest question of all: why on Earth did Bloom need Bloomix? It wouldn’t even have existed without her! 😕

Anyway…

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Even if I hate the purpose of it, Roxy’s threat detection system is cool enough. It makes me think of a Mega Man X game stage select screen. Roxy’s like Alia, detecting Mavericks loose in a remote area and sending the Maverick Hunters out to —

Okay, I’ll stop. My nerd is showing. 😛

4. When the Winx reach Flora’s house, they see her parents — Rollos and Alyssa — taking care of a pair of Magiwolves. After Bloom accidentally gets Alyssa off on a tangent about plants (like mother, like daughter), Flora tells her parents why they’ve come. Rollos says the Magiwolves are being infected by spores from mutated fungi. The two Magiwolves the couple healed offer to lead the Winx to where the mutation began. Before they leave, Rollos gives Flora some magic orchid seeds that can cancel the mutation.
Those of you who’ve watched the 4Kids dub, do you remember how they made Flora a hippie? (Her catchphrase was, “Peace out,” for Pete’s sake. 😕 ) I’m starting to think they had the right idea. Look at this house! I know Lynpheans would wanna live in harmony with nature, but something about this place screams “counterculture” to me.

And these are her parents?

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We first saw Alyssa last season in “Mythix” (6X14). She didn’t come off as eccentric to me, but I guess I was wrong. Her husband’s much crazier, but not all the buds have bloomed up there for her, either.

Don’t get me wrong. I like them both. They’re just…different than the other Winx’s parents. Still, I’m glad we’ve finally met them.

5. The Winx don’t get far before a squeaky voice stops them in their tracks. It’s Flora’s little sister Miele. As always, she wants to tag along, but Flora won’t let her. She’s still nervous about what happened to her when Lynphea College got attacked. The other Winx agree, and they leave Miele behind.
Flora, how long are you gonna do this to her? Yes, she got captured by the Treants, but she still proved she’s a capable fairy. Heck, she got knocked out of the sky fewer times than you do!

I think the “no, Miele” routine is getting stale. It made sense in season three because she was just a kid, and it made sense last season because Flora hadn’t seen her in a while and hadn’t seen what she can do. Now I think we’re pushing it. I don’t get why Flora still doesn’t believe in her.

In fact, why is she so overprotective of her? Being an older sister myself, I can relate, but you have to let your younger siblings make their own choices at some point. They’ll never grow if you don’t. (I hope my brother and sister don’t think I coddle them like this. 🙁 )

If Rainbow’s gonna keep this up, I think they need to give Flora a reason to act like this. Did something happen to Miele when she was little that made Flora so protective? Otherwise, she’s just smothering her. It’s not sweet anymore.

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6. The Magiwolves lead the Winx to a creepy-looking area of the forest, where the giant mutant fungi are. Since the Magiwolves are too scared to go further, the Winx continue on their own. Flora sees something watching them. She tries to point it out to the others, but it vanishes as quickly as it appeared. 

As they keep walking, she remembers Wizgiz’s lesson. The fungi could be possessed by Wild Magic! Sure enough, they start trying to trap the Winx! The girls transform and fight back, but the fungi are resistant to their spells because Butterflix magic — the essence of nature — can’t hurt nature itself. One by one, the Winx are captured and slowly drained of their magic energy. Flora remembers the orchid seeds her dad gave her, but before she can use them, she gets captured, too!

The extra-long Butterflix sequence almost killed the mood, but this was still a good scene. There was a twist here I liked, too. Remember last review when I complained that whenever it’s one girl’s time to shine, the others get put out of commission? Rainbow made it look like Flora would be the hero, but she couldn’t escape, either.

Let’s be honest, though: it was predictable. Miele foreshadowed it before they left: “But what if you needed me, and I wasn’t there?” Plus, every time Flora tells her to stay behind, they end up needing her. So while I’m sure most of us saw it coming, it was nice to see the Winx fail for once because it reminds us they’re not perfect. (Thank goodness because perfect characters are boring.) Read the rest of this post

Episode Reviews
28

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Season seven ended last Sunday in the U.S. I don’t care. 😛 It might still be a year until Rainbow starts promoting season eight, and who knows when World of Winx is gonna premiere. (April’s halfway over, so so much for that rumor.) Plus, Nick Jr.’s re-airing season seven weekdays at 11:55 a.m. EST. I still have time to talk about it before it becomes old news.

Speaking of Nick Jr., kudos to them for airing the whole season in three months. Say what you will about the move — I’m still not 100 percent on board with it — but they’ve treated Winx Club better than Nick ever did. Remember how long it took Nick to finish season six? Oh, wait — they didn’t. Nick Jr. did.

On the last episode (that I reviewed), Brafilius stole Roxy’s Stone of Memories, which means he can now travel through time. Roxy thinks the animal from the Digmoles’ riddle is a Cry-Cry, the most ancient Fairy Animal species. The Winx go to prehistoric Magix (without her) to see if she’s right.

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1. Roxy’s upset about losing her Stone, but the Winx cheer her up. (Um…that’s it.)
I could have skipped this scene, but I brought it up because I didn’t like the way some fans reacted to it. The word “crybaby” started floating around. Yes, she’s sensitive. Yes, she overreacted. But can’t we be a little more sympathetic? 😕

Winx or not, she’s the youngest member of the group. She looks up to her friends and wants to prove herself, but that dopey dog got the best of her. And to be fair, this causes a lot of headaches for them for the rest of the season. She probably thought the Winx would be mad at her. (Of course they weren’t.)

2. After lying to his sister about how he got the Stone of Memories, Brafilius goes back in time to prehistoric Magix. The Winx’s Stones activate when his does. Roxy tells them what he overheard from her: the Cry-Cry is the oldest known species in Magix, so it may be the animal from the First Color of the Universe. She and the guys wish the Winx luck on their mission. Aisha assures Nex she’ll be back before their date tonight.

Ugh! Every time Brafilius is on-screen, all he does is waste run-time! I know he’s supposed to be comic relief, but he doesn’t have to do a full clown act every episode. I can’t stand him! He has a few interesting moments, but 90 percent of the time, he’s just annoying. Even Knut was more bearable than him! 😕

I’m not gonna talk about Roxy being demoted again. It is what it is. If she’s somehow still a Winx, she’s clearly not one in this season. (There goes my theory.)

As for Aisha and Nex, it’s official: they’re dating. I guess that explains how they greeted each other last episode. Maybe he didn’t say “hi” right away because he knew he was gonna see her later. 😛

Is it just me, or do the couples not go on dates much anymore? Tecna and Timmy had their “first date” (yeah, right) in season five, and Stella and Brandon had their makeshift pizza date at Alfea in season six. That’s…it. 😕

What’s happened to the romance in this show? So what if most of these couples have been together for years? That doesn’t mean Rainbow can put their relationships on auto pilot for the rest of the series. We need to see they’re still in love. They need to act like real couples.

Isn’t that why Daphne and Thoren’s romance was so awkward? They went from “just met” to married in one season, we never saw them date (“The Anthem” doesn’t count), and the first time we saw them kiss was at their wedding! That’s not enough for convince us they’re in love.

Aisha and Nex definitely need more development. I’ll talk about that when I get to their date.

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