What If Wednesday
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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.

Musings & Rants
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Nex is not “the new Riven.” Got it? Good. 😛

Why did I write that post before this one? I mentioned why at the beginning of it. Whenever Nex says or does anything, the first thing people say, “He’s ‘the new Riven'” or, “He replaced Riven” or, “He’s just Riven except —,” or something like that. The fanbase keeps trying to force Nex into a role he wasn’t created for.

We’ll never understand his character until we stop comparing him to Riven. The truth is we still don’t know him well. He’s only been around for two seasons.

Here’s what I’ve been hinting at since the ep. 7X04 review. In season six, Rainbow began his love story with Aisha. This season, they focused on his relationships with the Specialists. In most of the episodes he was in, he interacted with one or two of them at a time:

  • “First Color of the Universe” (7X04) — Brandon, brief moment with Helia
  • “Back in the Middle Ages” (7X08) — Helia
  • “Winx Trapped!” (7X10) — Timmy
  • “Mission in the Jungle” (7X11) — Sky
  • “Back to Paradise Bay” (7X16) — Sky, brief moment with Brandon
  • “Lost in a Droplet” (7X17) — Timmy
  • “Baby Winx” (7X20) — Helia
  • “New Magic Harmony” (7X25) — Helia, Sky
  • “The Power of the Fairy Animals” (7X26) — Timmy, brief moment with Helia

The types of interactions varied. Sometimes he talked to them, sometimes he raced them, and sometimes he just exchanged glances with them. You could always tell who the chosen guy was for each episode. He and Nex would be isolated from the others, or Nex would be beside him in almost every scene. For example, in “Baby Winx” (7X20), he was almost always next to Helia:

This is nothing new for TV. For example, when Zuko joined the Gaang in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang, Katara, and Sokka each got an episode (or two) alone with him. When it was Toph’s turn, she lampshaded what the writers were up to: “Everyone else went on a life-changing field trip with Zuko.” (It didn’t work out for her, though. 😛 )

The guys’ moments with Nex didn’t change their lives, but they did reveal his real role in the Boys Club. (Hint: it has nothing to do with Riven.)

Read the rest of this post

Episode Reviews
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IMG_4502I know, I know. I’m extremely behind on these reviews. They take a while to write, so I started feeling overwhelmed. Plus, I always feel brain-fried and spacey while I’m in school.

Sorry, guys. Thanks for being patient with me. I’ll still review the whole season, but I won’t be anywhere near done when the last episode airs. (A lot of you have seen it all anyway, so maybe that’s okay.)

This review’s gonna look a little different to you. I’m trying to find the format that works best for me so I can churn these out faster, but still get most of my thoughts out. Let me know what you think.

When we — I mean, I — last left our heroes, they’d just gained the Butterflix power — everyone but Roxy 🙁 — and returned to the present. Now if I mention Kalshara, Brafilius, or Faragonda, I’ll be talking about their present-day selves.

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EPISODE SUMMARY

1. Kalshara interrogates the Digmole (again), and Brafilius tries to help by casting a spell to make it speak human language. But the little guy still won’t talk.
At the risk of sounding like broken record: Why does Kalshara need Brafilius? She even used her own magic in this scene to move the Digmole’s cage. He’s useless.

Every now and then, he does something interesting, but most of the time, he’s just comic relief. I’d be okay with it if he were funny, but he’s not. He’s just silly. I wish Kalshara were the sole villain this season.

2. Meanwhile at Alfea, the Winx have brought a group of Digmoles to Faragonda’s office. Roxy casts her vocalization spell on them, and they give the fairies a riddle: “Amongst the many, find the animal with the first color of the Magic Universe. This is the only way to obtain the Fairy Animals’ Ultimate Power.” Searching for said animal will have to wait, since today’s the grand opening of The Alfea Natural Park. Unfortunately, the party planner, Stella, forgot all about it.

Wait a minute. Did the Winx changed time? Digmoles were nearly extinct, and now they’re everywhere. Did saving them from that giant change their fate? And were Kalshara and Brafilius the ones who nearly wiped out their species?

It’s also possible they were never extinct, and the Winx now knew where to find them. I doubt that, though. Anyone who’s studied Digmoles would know to look underground. Why would they have looked for them all this time?

I’m not sure which of my theories is correct — or if they’re both wrong. All I know is the Winx changed something. Bloom said it herself. Why would Faragonda trust them with the Stones after that? Clearly, they can’t handle the responsibility.

At least this was a small change that didn’t wreck history, and they figured out what Kalshara and Brafilius are after. I love seeing Roxy use her magic. She learned that vocalization spell way back in season four (though it was weak). Last season, she perfected it with Griffin the crow, and now she can use it easily. It’s nice to see how far she’s come as a fairy. 🙂

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3. The party in the park starts late. The Winx say hi to their boyfriends. Newly-single Musa feels left out of the love, but Bloom cheers her up in time for the grand opening magic show.
Hi, guys. Glad you could make it. I think this is the latest first appearance in any season. Rainbow really is pushing them into the background. 😕

They’re wearing their season five outfits again — except Nex, of course, who’s got a brand-new look. I think it suits him. I love how the Specialists are in sneakers, but he’s in hiking boots, proving he’s the outdoorsy, athletic guy in the group. (Reminds me of Aisha in season two.)

I like his outfit now, but when I first saw it…I cracked up! The jacket, the necklace, the metal bracelets, the earrings (which he had all along). Can you say “cliché?” 😛

Search Google, and you’ll find tons of anime “bad boys” rocking this look. I’ll give you one for free. Last November, a movie called Digimon Adventure tri. — Saikai (Reunion) premiered in Japan. (Yep, I brought up Digimon again. I love that series.) Take a look at one of “bad boy” Yamato’s (Matt) new outfits. I guess he and Nex shop at the same store. 😛

I have something else to say about Nex, but I put it under “Other Thoughts.”

Along with a new main character, we have two relationship changes this season. Aisha and Nex are officially a couple, and Roy has disappeared. I still hear complaints about it, mainly from the fans who hate Nex, but…they’ll get over it. 😛

I mentioned the other change in the scene recap: Musa’s now single. Rainbow stepped on MuRi fans’ hearts again when she said she and Riven “weren’t made for one another.” You know I agree with her, but the shippers are still in mourning and waiting for him to return. (Wow, that sounds familiar.)

Things got worse a few episodes later when Orlando was introduced. Poor guy. I’ll have lots to say about him when I get to those reviews. Here’s a preview. Because the fans just saw him as a threat to MuRi, they overlooked the most important aspect of his character. I can’t believe no one mentioned it all this time. I’m disappointed.

4. The Winx ask the guys to help with their mission. Meanwhile, Brafilius sneaks into the park using the Digmole’s magic to cross the barrier. But thanks to his clumsiness, the Fairy Animal escapes from him.

Something dawned on me as I was writing this. If Brafilius knows the riddle, that means he and Kalshara finally got the Digmole to talk. Either his spell worked (not to give him too much credit), or they did something cruel to the little guy. Or both. Let’s not think about it. 😛

5. The gang finds a large, sleeping tortoise. Other Fairy Animals live alongside it and create a magic lullaby that keeps him asleep. Because it’s old and has a dark shell, Tecna thinks it might be the animal they’re looking for. (She thinks the riddle means the universe was once covered in darkness.) But waking it up would disturb the balance of nature. As they’re trying to figure out another option, the Digmole finds them. Under Roxy’s vocalization spell, it warns them Brafilius is in the park. Bloom wants to fight him. Roxy thinks they should focus on the mission and let the Fairy Animals protect themselves. Since the two can’t agree, Roxy leaves the group to do her own thing.

Did this tortoise look familiar to you?

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No, they’re not exactly the same. But my point is this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a giant tortoise with an ecosystem on its back. Like I said before, Fairy Animals aren’t a new concept in this show. They’ve always been around. Rainbow just ignored them until now.

Moving on to Bloom and Roxy’s fight — wait, was that a fight? It didn’t feel like a big enough deal for Roxy to react the way she did. Then again, we know she can be stubborn and hypersensitive sometimes. She stormed off once in season four, too, so this wasn’t out of character.

But why didn’t anyone go after her? They talked about it, but no one moved. Did they want the dopey dog wizard to find her? 😕

You could argue they got sidetracked by what happened next, but they had a few moments before it started. Even then, one or two of them could have gone looking for her. Clearly, the writers just wanted her to end up alone.

6. Brafilius uses the gem on his hat to analyze the tortoise. This wakes it up, and it starts shooting energy beams out of its back! The guys go into attack mode (as usual), but the Winx wanna use a gentler method to calm it down. They transform and protect the guys as they gather the animals that ran away during the chaos. Bloom uses her special spell, Freedom Enchantment, to help them restart the lullaby. Soon, the tortoise falls asleep again. 
That was random. I know the Winx have to save the day each episodes, but this just felt unnecessary. I don’t think they all needed to transform. Bloom could have handled this herself.

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7. Elsewhere in the park, Roxy’s looking for the oldest animal. She comes across a Highedgehog, an ancient creature but not the most ancient. Her next guess is an extinct species called the Cry-Cry. She decides to travel back to prehistoric Magix to find it, but before she can activate her Stone, Brafilius uses his hat to steal it and the Digmole! Roxy finds the others and tells them the bad news.
Let me gets this straight. First, Roxy — the Fairy of Animals — doesn’t get Butterflix because…the writers said so. Then one episode later, she gets her Stone of Memories taken, which means she can’t join the Winx on their missions anymore.

What was all the hype about her for? Wasn’t this supposed to be her big reintroduction to the show? She’s still a side character! Thanks for getting our hopes up, Rainbow! Read the rest of this post

Episode Reviews
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After waiting more than a year for Nick to finish season six, I’ve decided to watch the final episodes online. Somehow, YouTuber WinxClubEnglish has gotten HD copies of them. Rumor has it Rainbow gave them to him to put them on his channel, so it’s good as watching them legally anywhere else. (I hope I can still complete my iTunes collection, though.)

But let’s face it: most of us have already watched them somewhere else. I already know some things that happen, though I haven’t watched a single episode in full until now. This is just for closure. I wanna wrap up my season six reviews before Nick, I hope, airs season seven. (Fingers and toes crossed.)

When we — or should I say, I — last left our heroes, they’d just returned from Stella’s banquet on Solaria, her apology for acting like a brat during her one-day reign. The Winx treated her and Brandon to pizza to celebrate their anniversary. Now it’s back to business: finding a way to make Cloud Tower visible again.

EPISODE BREAKDOWN

capture_003_16072015_133504_606Daphne and the Winx watch as Stella tosses books everywhere in a mad research frenzy. The books get angry — they’re magic, after all — and start spinning wildly around the room. Stella has to calm them down with a spell. (Nice throwback to season one. 🙂 )

Timmy comes in and says he’s finally found a solution to their Cloud Tower problem. They need something called a Spectrographic Localizer, but he doesn’t know where to get one. Tecna suggests they go to Zenith and ask her father. He’s a gadget whiz like her. Plus, it’d give Timmy a chance to meet the in-laws — I mean, her parents. 😛 Timmy’s nervous about the idea at first, but she cheers him up with his chance of approval: 66.8 percent! 😛 (Man, that line cracked me up!)

Before they leave, they need to hide the Legendarium Key. Cue Eldora! She brings with her a living, thief-proof (yeah, right) safe. Bloom lays the key inside and puts Kiko and the Pixies on guard duty. They fail immediately, as usual. Chatta tries to open the safe and scares it right out the window. (Sigh. Pixies… 😕 )

Meanwhile, Timmy and the Winx arrive at Tecna’s house. They’re greeted at the door by a hologram of her parents: Electronio and Magnethia. Of course, they’ve got lots of questions for Timmy as soon as she says he’s her boyfriend. The poor guy clams up during the interview (the Winx have to talk for him), but he aces Electronio’s multitasking test. Sure enough, they think he’s a keeper! 🙂

As dinner’s ending, the Winx remember why they came to Zenith: to ask about the Spectrographic Localizer. Electronio just happens to have one. (How convenient.) But he doesn’t have a clue how to get it to work. Good thing Timmy’s a tinkerer. Leave it to him!

IMG_2883That’s bad news for Selina and the Trix. They’ve gotta slow the Winx down before they lose their advantage. Selina knows just who to send into a computer fairyland: Frankenstein’s Monster, born from and strengthened by electricity. “Frankie” storms Zenith City, crushing cars and sapping power from the Technodroids.

Timmy and the Winx hear the commotion as they’re leaving. The girls transform and soar to the scene. Our shy Specialist tries to score a few more points with Tecna’s parents by showing off his mini-Windrider, which expands to full size. Pretty cool! He says an awkward goodbye before jetting off.

The gang finds “Frankie” on the suspension bridge. They fire a couple shots at him, but the brute’s immune to attacks. Timmy tries tying him up with a snapped bridge cable, but he breaks through it like it’s floss.

Tecna’s turn. She tries absorbing power from the city and hurling it at him, but she doesn’t know electricity makes him stronger. “Frankie” thinks her attack’s a gift — and falls in love with her! Oops! 😛 Timmy and the girls try to protect her, but he manages to grab her and disappears into the Legendarium World. The Winx uses the Mythix wands to follow them.

Stormy sees this as a chance to trap the techno fairy forever. Selina sends her in after them.

The Winx arrive in a barren forest. They head towards a castle in the distance, but before they reach it Stormy appears. Boy, has she gone haywire! (What else is new?) She sends them ducking for cover from her lightning bolts!

Inside the castle, Tecna tries to escape from her admirer. She sees something going on outside and uses her Mythix spell, Technomagic Vision, to locate Stormy. That gives her an idea. If “Frankie” loves electricity, he’ll love an energetic witch like her. Tecna gives her a power boost just to turn his attention on her. He forgets about Tecna right away, and while he’s distracted she returns to the real world with her friends.

capture_011_16072015_135851_202Timmy and the Winx say one more goodbye to Tecna’s parents before heading back to Alfea. That gives the Pixies enough time to wrangle the magic safe back into the Winx’s dorm. It’s there when the girls get home. (Sigh. Pixies. 😕 )

Now, it’s up to the nerd couple to get the Spectrographic Localizer running. Then the witches will have nowhere left to hide.

Read the rest of this post

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Once again, thanks for reading these posts. I had fun writing them, and I hope you enjoyed them.

I learned some things as I was writing these. First of all, I like the guys more than I thought I did. They’re not just “purses with legs,” as I’ve always treated them. Some of them are boring as a white wall (I’m looking at you, blue-eyed Goldilocks), but others are pretty cool and I like having them in the show.

Other things I learned:

  • Not everyone likes Timmy, after all. My sister, The Muse, hates him. Passionately. She thinks he’s boring and too stereotypical. Go figure. 😛
  • Sky and Riven are two of my least favorite guys, yet I talked about them a lot in the others’ posts. Either they get way too much attention in this show (Sky sure does), or I subconsciously like them more than I think I do. 😛
  • I’m obsessed with the Log Horizon opening. 😛 I spammed that video a hundred times while I was writing Timmy’s post. 😛
  • I had more to say about Nabu than I thought I would. Hey, he’s worth it. 🙂 And his voice in the season three RAI English dub was hot. Full stop.
  • Whatever that indentation on Nex’s chin is supposed to be — a cleft, I guess — annoys me to no end. But when I was looking for screenshots of Nabu, I noticed he had a cleft in his chin, too! What’s with Aisha’s love interests and distinctive chins? 😛
  • Thoren gives off a big brother vibe to me. If I had an older brother, I wouldn’t mind if he were like him. 🙂

Well, that’s it for this series. Feel free to suggest another theme for me (the Winx, the Pixies, the villains, etc.)!

Just for convenient access, here are all the posts again: