Monthly Archives: February 2013

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Alfea?

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Hey guys!  This piece is another fanfic that I felt like writing after seeing the recycled background characters in Season 5.  However, unlike my previous one, this is structured to be similar to a newspaper article, while still (of course) fictitious.  And I have a serial fanfic on the way, Zenith of Corruption.  Look forward to it, and enjoy!

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Alfea College for Fairies.  When you hear the name, you think of the perceptions surrounding the school: prosperity, intelligence, wisdom, affluence.  But, as it turns out, this may no longer be the case.

These past few years have been some of the roughest in the renowned institution’s history, and not just because it tends to be a constant target for magical attacks.  Rather, Alfea has chosen to stop publicizing its graduation counts ever since Valtor was defeated by its star fairy team, the Winx Club.  After the Magix media began to push its representatives for an answer, it finally gave up the information: that, out of its entire graduating class of three hundred plus students, only six actually graduated.

“Those students went above and beyond our very stringent requirements,” the current headmistress, Miss Faragonda, states.  “They had experiences available to them that few students ever get.  I too am aware that this is our lowest-ever graduation count, but Alfea has been victimized to the point of affecting our academic schedule.  I assure you that these changes will only be temporary.”

However, the powers that be at the college have a secret that they do not wish to disclose: that excessive amounts of students are being held back for seemingly trivial reasons.  At Alfea, grades can only take you so far, as Lucy, a recent Cloud Tower graduate, observes.  While clearly not a fairy, she knows firsthand how much more competitive their requirements are.

“My childhood friend, Mirta, is still forced to go to that school,” she admits.  “Alfea has a three-year program, so I thought for sure she’d graduate at the same time as me.  She even made me start looking for job postings that asked for both fairies and witches, so we could be coworkers.  But a year  has passed, and she’s still taking third-year classes.  She tells me it’s embarrassing, and the other girls poke fun at her.  She’s always been a bit too sensitive, but it makes me wonder: why are they holding her back?  Her grades are every bit as good as those other graduates.”  She then groans and mutters, “So glad I’m not a fairy.”

The answer to her question begins twenty-five years ago, even before Faragonda was headmistress–considered by many to be Alfea’s golden age.  Back then, Alfea was actually a six-year school with two years for basic fairy training, two years for Charmix training, and two for advanced training.  That way, fairies were given four to five years to achieve the ultimate fairy goal: Enchantix.  With this curriculum, Enchantix was a honor, and even if some failed to achieve it, it wasn’t the end of the world and they could still reach an advanced–albeit marginally inferior–level.  Budget cuts forced cutback on the Charmix program, reducing it to one year.  But the system still seemed fair.

The problem began when the headmistress at the time–the current discipline officer known only as Grizelda–began to realize that Alfea seemed to be losing its edge.  Nobody wanted to go to a five-year school anymore.  They were the butt of jokes from four-year Cloud Tower and Red Fountain students.  In a desperate move, Grizelda pulled the same trick on the basic training program, speeding it up so Alfea could be a four-year college just like the other Magix institutions.

But that wasn’t enough to stop the downward spiral.  Beta Academy, a five-year fairy college and Alfea’s main competitor, wasn’t going to let their rivals take advantage of their now shortened graduation times.  As an experimental measure, they put their students through a even more rigorous schedule to great success.  And they didn’t hesitate to brag to Alfea about their new find: that they had discovered a way to make fairies earn their Enchantix in only a year.

“No one had ever tried this before,” Grizelda recalls.  “We’d always assumed it was impossible, that Enchantix was too difficult to teach in only a year.  It was a catastrophe for us; our student population plummeted.  As soon as the parents saw Beta’s advertising, they couldn’t resist the fact that they were simply more affordable and efficient.  We couldn’t let Beta steal our edge, so we resorted to desperate measures.”

Like Beta, Alfea soon changed its Enchantix curriculum.  Students began to come back to Alfea for its now three-year education–the fastest any college had tried to get through its undergraduate program.  But there were prices to be paid for its increasingly efficient system.

“We couldn’t let non-Enchantix students graduate anymore,” Grizelda continues.  “The job market began to realize how powerful Enchantix fairies were, and demanded them.  Regular level fairies were doomed to be unemployed.  So what else could we do but help them to reach that potential?”  While the school tried to hide the fact that students were held back repeatedly until they earned Enchantix, it was only a matter of time before it became obvious.

To her credit, Faragonda quickly realized this system’s faults.  When she became headmistress eight years ago, she decided she wanted to put an end to this injustice.  But Grizelda gave her an ultimatum along with her promise to become Alfea’s discipline officer: essentially “if you change the system, I will resign.”  An act of blackmail, sure, but one that Faragonda couldn’t refuse, as having an ex-headmistress by her side for advice was far too valuable.  She agreed never to speak of reform again.

That decision, however, came at the price of students like Amaryl, who has been searching for her Enchantix for almost three years, a school record.

“It used to be that students from the same realm would congregate together because of common experience,” she tells us.  “However, now they do it because they know the possibility’s out there.  Danger could lurk, and they could get an Enchantix out of the deal.  It may not be the most savory means of doing so, but there’s this third-year in my Solarian clique named Nova.  I’m not letting her be another holdover like me.  Fairies stick together, and even if I have to go a sixth year, it’d be worth it if I see her at the graduation ceremony, never having to know what I’ve been through.”

She looks out the window, watching the scene unfold: first-years squealing over their first Red Fountain-Alfea dance, blissfully ignorant of the dark truth.

“This school doesn’t want to help us,” she asserts.  “So we’re helping ourselves.”

Random Review: The Pillar of Light!

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This episode…surprised me quite a bit.  It’s certainly different: the environmental message is kept to a minimum, the Winx do some solid fighting, there’s actually a sense of danger.  I rather like it.

* The way this episode portrayed Stella definitely made her much more understandable.  She’s not just a three-year-old in a twentysomething’s body, but rather a person with insecurities and a strong bond with her family.  She seemed a lot more grounded to me.  I hope this means Nick’s begun to realize that her personality was taking a negative turn.  That’s what I’d like to think, at least.

* All of Aisha’s scenes were really great!  The part about how the sword only works underwater was a nice touch–it reminded me of how (in Percy Jackson and the Olympians) Celestial bronze only works on monsters, not on mortals.  Keke Palmer also really seemed to nail her lines, which is impressive considering how conflicted Aisha is as a character right now.

* I find the Radius/Luna relationship interesting.  It’s not your usual “I-hate-you-you-hate-me” ex relationship they normally depict on television.  As a matter of fact, Luna seems like she still really loves him…awwww.  I bet their backstory is downright heartwrenching.

* Darn it; Luna didn’t yell this episode!  I really wanted to use my “Royal Solarian Voice” joke too…but c’est la vie.

* I suppose solar eclipses don’t happen that often on other realms?  Oh well, they handled the idea pretty well, I think.  As an astronomy nerd, I love how they put the little detail in about how choppy Andros’s waters are.  (You see, the moon controls the tides, and since the moon is directly in front of the sun, it would make sense for the tides to change.  Probably not that dramatically…but still a Genius Bonus!)

* Apparently the “never say die” rule on children’s television was broken in this situation.  Since lunar eclipses seem to be more common than solar ones, I’d hate to see what would happen to Luna.

* “Still making Icy fight for you, cousin?”

–This has got to be one of the best lines of this show in a while.  Aisha got him good with that one!

* “That did not just happen.”

–Bloom’s response to this pretty much mirrors that of the fans whenever anything Icy/Tritannus-related is mentioned.  At least the writers aren’t pretending Icy has always been this way.

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The picture on the box. I don’t know how to use a camera *quite* as well as some other people I know, so I’ll stick to what I know and write a text-based review!

This is the Pink Enchantix Bloom doll everyone’s been waiting for!  The Walmart by my house didn’t have any, so my mom and I went around the area looking for them until we eventually found one.  At $29.99, she’s more expensive than the average Winx doll, but from my observations, she’s totally worth it!

So, some people have been complaining about how “Bloom gets all the doll recolors,” but while I’d love to see certain dolls on the market (such as a silver/chrome Tecna Believix, purple Flora Enchantix, red Aisha Enchantix, a Roxy doll, or anything involving Mirta dressed in Gothic Lolita), any Enchantix doll is a happy occasion for me.  But seriously, I would jump up and down about any of these doll ideas, especially the last one.

Now, I don’t have as many Winx dolls as some people, and that’s okay with me.  I also have a Blue Bloom Believix, an Aisha Believix, a Musa Believix, a Flora Believix, and somewhere in my old toy box, I have an old Mattel Bloom doll that came with a Lockette light-up figurine.  I think I played with the adorable Lockette more than with the Bloom, but that’s just me.

Anyway, her outfit is adorable.  There might be some nitpicks, such as “this Bloom doesn’t have her fairy dust necklace or her heart hairpieces.”  As much as I would have liked to see the heart hairpieces, I understand the necklace issue.  In-show, Bloom has a very dangly necklace, which I’d imagine would be hard to replicate.  Chokers like Stella’s or Tecna’s would probably be much easier.  But at least they put a little heart jewel on the dress to make it still look like it’s there.

On an unrelated note, has anyone else ever noticed how much her necklace looks like an Easter egg? Then again, that could be a clever videogame/Internet pun!

I especially like the different layers of glitter on her skirt.  There are about three different shades of pink glitter, which makes it look textured and very detailed.  The wings are probably some of the nicest parts: with Jakks Pacific’s amazing quality of making the wings and the incredible showiness of the Enchantix wings, you know you’re in for a great combination!  The eyes aren’t as detailed as the Blue Bloom Believix eyes, but I’ll cut them some slack on that because my other Bloom doll is a super-exclusive, so more detail is probably to be expected.

However, I did the one thing most Winx doll reviews tell you to never do: since my Bloom came with a part in the hair, I did a simple, light comb to get it out.  She actually doesn’t look that bad with it, though, as long as you’re gentle.  It can mess with the ends, though, so if you like poufy curls, I wouldn’t do it.  I prefer wavy-type curls, so the combing came out just fine.

The disappointing thing, though, is that the stock picture fails to show that Bloom wears her beautiful Enchantix sandals with pink knee socks.  They’re the same that come with the Flora Believix, but unlike in Flora’s case, where the socks look natural with her high boots, it comes off as being unfashionable.  After all, don’t a lot of people bash socks with sandals in the first place?  Luckily, the shoes come off just fine, so you can take off the socks and put the shoes back on for a more stylish look.

I tried doing the same with the arm warmers, but ended up learning a doll lesson the hard way.  If you don’t want them on your doll, think long and hard because they are incredibly hard to get back on!  While they sag on the arms and look like they would come off easily, that is deceptive.  The way they design the hands, one of the fingers (often the thumb) will always get caught in the fishnets and will only end up causing frustration….and of course, damaging the poor fishnets.  And if you try this on a Blue Bloom Believix…if this is any indication, you just might be in for a nightmare.

All in all, though, she’s a very well-made, beautiful doll.  I’d probably give her a 9/10, while the Blue Bloom Believix would slightly edge her out with a 9.5/10.

Random Review: “The Emperor’s Throne”

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Hello, and welcome to my first Winx Review!  However, since Winx hasn’t been doing so well lately, these will be a bit different than most reviews, that happen to be largely negative.  Instead, I’ll be focusing on the positives mainly and any random comments that came to my mind as I watched it.  Because in this world, it’s easy to focus on the negatives, but it takes real skill to have…POSITIVE ENERGY!  And yes, I had to do that.

* I was just thinking about how Aisha should try wearing a hibiscus flower in her hair not too long before seeing this episode.  It looks just as good on her as I thought it would, and really goes with her tropical heritage.  Alas, if only all my Winx ideas could come true like that…

* Darcy quoting Scarlett O’Hara!  Could Nick have done that on purpose as an attempt to do a pop culture reference like Phineas and Ferb or MLP does?  Whatever.  Something tells me that, with Darcy’s annoyance towards cutesy things, the two of us could have a nice discussion regarding that film.  As strange as this sounds, I don’t like Gone With The Wind.  And I’m sure Darcy would actually agree.

* The reason Tritannus got electrocuted is clearly because Stormy has water-based Sirenix powers now.  And, as we all know, water and electricity don’t mix.

Stella: See?  You can learn something from drying your hair!

* I really like 2D Sirenix!  The transformation sequence is a bit short, but that leaves more time for action, I guess.  Musa and Flora probably have my favorite Sirenix outfits.  Aisha’s looks good in 3D, but 2D makes it look…rubbery, for some reason.  If you’re going to do 80’s style, Aisha, please do the puffy pigtail thing like you did sometimes in Season 3.  You can pull off big hair, but not that.

Season 3 Aisha

Aisha’s disco hairstyle. Now THIS is 80’s style done right.

* I literally burst out laughing at the same time as Darcy and Stormy did when Tritannus fell from the throne.  I guess I have more in common with Darcy than I thought…

* I really thought the part with Aisha discovering the truth behind the mutants was really good.  However…I think part of those tears were for somebody else.

* Stella getting mauled by Kiko, while kind of a bad joke, was also kind of funny.  Like puns.

After the success of my Winx fanfic on here, I’ve decided to work on another, which is longer and has individual parts.  It involves Zenith and some of the minor fairies!  There will be a new Zenith fairy in it that will play a large role.  If any of you would like to impact the story, could you please tell me if you prefer the name “Gamma” or the name “Tesla?”  I like both, but think “Tesla” might sound a bit too much like “Tecna.”  I also really like “Theta” too.

Bonus Valentine’s Day Mini Fanfic!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  I originally intended this to be my first webcomic, but it turns out I thought it would turn out better as a fanfic (that, or I decided to see Les Mis instead; either one).  So, enjoy!

 

If there was one thing that hadn’t changed throughout the years, it was Aisha’s little nervous tics.

She lay on her bed, looking at the book, same as she always had to hide her emotions.  There weren’t any actual words in it; it was just a blank sketchbook.  But the others didn’t need to know that; they could just believe that she was just reading.  That everything was okay.

It was noon, and most of the Winx had already left to go on afternoon dates with their boyfriends/fiances.  Stella was the only one left, putting on her last touches in the other room.  It was an ordinary, joyful Valentine’s Day for all.

As Aisha looked around from place to place in boredom, she recalled that she had always been a bit jealous of Stella.  Not that she would ever admit it; that just wasn’t like her.  Stella was always able to stay so positive and never let any event shake her for too long.  Not even Valtor.  She’d always been able to find love, and her only problems were fighting off all the other girls who seemed to pursue Brandon.

And yet, my love wasn’t stolen away by a girl, she thought.  He was just…stolen.  Without warning and without explanation.

She put the book down and picked up a photograph.  Unlike most of them, it wasn’t of one of her friends, but rather of the wizard whom she had once loved–and loved still.

If the Sirenix mission succeeds, you’d know what I’d wish for, Nabu, she thought, bringing the picture closer to her chest.  Like it was any replacement for the real thing.

It wasn’t like she didn’t have any admirers; after all, Roy had sent her a Valentine’s Day invitation.  But Aisha had dignity and politely turned him down, not wanting to spit on Nabu’s memory.

Just then, she could see a flash of light coming from the other room.  She shoved the questions aside, assuming it was just Stella changing the color of her outfit for the tenth time in five minutes.  However, a few moments later, a figure came into her room–but it wasn’t the one she was expecting.

“Ta-daaaa!” exclaimed Stella, striking a flashy pose.  Aisha’s mouth dropped when she realized that–while she could still clearly tell it was Stella–her friend looked just like Nabu.

“What in the world?!” Aisha muttered.  “Stella, why in the name of Andros did you cast a transformation spell to look like my dead fiance?!  Do you realize how awkward Brandon will feel when he sees this?”

“That’s no matter,” Stella answered.  “I rescheduled.  I’m going out with Brandon tonight.  This is so much more important.”

“What, mocking me?” Aisha retorted.  “It’s not my fault I don’t have a date, you know!”

“I’m not mocking you,” Stella replied.  “I know I haven’t been acting very mature, or very much like myself lately.  I know I could’ve helped you through.  But that’s why I’m making it up to you now.  I got tickets to that movie you’ve been wanting to go to, and we can go shopping too.  We have a whole afternoon ahead of us.  But there’s only one condition–you have to pretend I’m Nabu.”

“But what’s the point to that?” Aisha asked.  “I know he’s dead.”

“Just forget that for a day,” her friend advised.  “Just hold my hand and smile like you used to.”

She then playfully shoved Aisha out of her bed and ran smiling, dragging the other fairy along with her.

“Why?” Stella questioned as the two left Alfea and headed to Magix.  “Because friends don’t let friends cry and mope on Valentine’s Day.”

EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS! Location of Pink Enchantix Dolls Found!

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Hey there, everyone!  I’m Ophira, the newest Winx blogger!  My page might not be the fanciest at the moment since I’m new to this whole thing, but bear with me, as I’ll certainly try to get better.

Anyway, onto my first newsbreak!  From what I’ve seen, many Winx fans have been wondering where to buy the new Pink Enchantix Bloom can be found, or if it’s even available at stores.  For a while now, people have been theorizing that it’s an Entertainment Earth exclusive, which would make it exceedingly hard to find. Well, fret not.  I e-mailed Jakks Pacific and found that the answer to the dilemma is far easier than we think it is.  Check it out:

See?  The problem is easier than we realized.

So in other words, you’ll just be able to find it at the front of any Walmart toy aisle. You know the little displays before you go into the aisle? That’s where to find ’em!

So what does that mean to fans?  For one thing, finding them will be much easier.  But another matter: knowing when and where the Bloom Pink Enchantix dolls will be realized can give us an idea on other upcoming exclusives (read: the Tecna and Musa Harmonix that a bunch of fans have been wanting).  Jakks Pacific has already tried Toys ‘R Us and Walmart for exclusives, so if they truly want to corner the market on these things, Target would be a logical next step.  And Jakks Pacific has been known for their history of Target exclusives–like the Gold, Silver, and Chocolate Neopets plushie collections years ago.  Finally, Toys ‘R Us exclusives appear to have very low morale at the moment: the stores aren’t in as many locations, and Toys ‘R Us is known for their higher prices.  With a popular, low-priced, and very common store like Target, Jakks Pacific could have a valuable ally.

So, long story short: the Pink Enchantix dolls are coming out around this Friday at Walmart, the perfect start to Part Two of Season Five.  And if you want the Tecna and Musa Harmonix dolls, Target would be a good place to check.  It is, as Tecna would say, only logical.