Hello there again. If you’re like me, then you’ve noticed that there has been a lot of complaining about Season 5 lately. A lot of it is justified. But this post is all about how it could’ve been worse. As a matter of fact, if any word can describe S5, it would be “formula.” Yes, the plotline does repeat itself quite often, but “formula” is meant to mean this: Winx Club‘s dilemma has happened to just about every magical girl series out there.
The diagnosis for S5 is the “magical girl slump.” This is a term I coined to describe how just about every show in this genre tries to accommodate to a younger fanbase, often with new characters…and very rarely with a good result. The way fans complain about Winx Club reminds me of how I’ve seen Sailor Moon fans talk about “SuperS”, or Tokyo Mew Mew fans with “a la Mode.” Most of these series come out of this slump alive and kicking, ready to wow the fans with an even better season. But some fall prey to cancellation due to this…and Winx Club fans could learn a couple lessons from these failed attempts.
One of the most universally hated victims (which got cancelled after only 25 episodes) is Shugo Chara Party, the third season of the fan-acclaimed anime Shugo Chara. During the first two seasons of the program, Shugo Chara was a hip card-themed magical girl series with a unique protagonist, a fascinating love triangle, developed characters, and catchy tunes. But a lot of the reason why I’m so positive about S5 is because I started watching it after I watched Party. To me, this show makes Winx’s writing look like Charles Dickens wrote it.
The first mistake that Party made was to have a segment for the regular characters and another for the Charas (small, pixie-like people created from a person’s wishes and dreams). Sounds a lot like Winx Club and Pop Pixie, right? But unlike Straffi’s decision to have two completely different shows, these two ideas were stuffed into one program. The Chara segment, “Pucchi Puchi” was actually the most enjoyable part of the show. But it gave less time for actual plot, whereas if it went the Pop Pixie route, it wouldn’t have that problem. (By the way, I still totally want Nick to dub Pop Pixie. I haven’t watched any of the episodes online, and I really want to see it.) But anyways, the plot segment (Dokki Doki) lasted ten minutes, and Pucchi Puchi also lasted ten minutes. How would they find a way to fill a thirty-minute slot? You aren’t going to like the answer.
This dilemma is when the Eggs–nicknamed Heart, Spade, Clover, and Diamond–come in. Imagine random young women cosplaying as Winx before every program and making it so you only get ten actual minutes of the actual Winx. Creepy, right? (Nothing against cosplayers, though; they just don’t transfer well to television.) That’s essentially what the Eggs were–a musical band forced to do inane activities to fill the ten minutes. For half of the 25 episodes, they were an incomplete band–and the program aired shameless plugs to “enter to become Diamond.” Though Diamond is probably the most tolerable of the group, since her shyness seems to be the only personality shown other than giggling like little girls.
The first type of Egg segment (stopped when Diamond came) involved the Eggs competing in a trivia-meets-Japanese game show contest in which Heart always seemed to win. The questions, however, were mind-numbingly simple, and seemed to be only promotions for keychains (pick up the character as the answer) and songs (which character sang this). If a Winx version of this would exist, the question would be something like this: Who uses the power of the Dragon Flame? That’s just how darn easy the questions were, almost as if they were trying to hammer information into the new viewers’ heads.
The second was a personality quiz. One of the Eggs would always be revealed as having an “embarrassing” trait, and the others would laugh at them. It had the most potential for viewer participation, but isn’t this just kind of mean?
The third was a nail art segment. Nice idea on paper, but actually, the Eggs only used stick-on nails and put stickers on the nails. This is a mockery of what real nail artists do for a living. (For a real look at Japanese cosmetology, I highly recommend the manga Beauty Pop about young men who aim to create an all-in-one hair/nails/makeup/aromatherapy/massage salon. Why hasn’t anyone ever thought, “If we put a masseuse in here, maybe more women would get their hair done” ? Just saying.)
The fourth was a segment in which Diamond goes into the studios. Again, good idea on paper, but all she really does is misuse her cuteness to convince the animators to give her promotional stuff. If I went all the way to Italy to do that, I think they’d kick me out.
The fifth was a dance segment, but their dance steps are nowhere near as elaborate as real dance teams. (Again, bring mockery to those who actually respect their industries!) They pretty much repeated the same steps quite often.
The so-called “plot segment” was filler. The one rule of fiction is this: changing the main character of a franchise very, very rarely turns out well. And such is the case with “Dokki Doki”: instead of the relatable, punk rock-loving teenager Amu who has no clue what to do with her life, we get Rikka, the standard-issue “I’m nice to everyone and I love the world” type who fans tend to assume is a Mary Sue. And they got rid of one of, if not the most-loved character on the show, Ikuto, who’s pretty much Brandon’s-flirtatiousness-meets-Riven’s-broodiness with violin talent added in. Probably because a “bad boy” isn’t something a younger audience should be seeing. Roxy doesn’t have that good of an explanation.
However, Ikuto also disappears for a point in the manga, so that is somewhat (emphasis on “somewhat”) justified. But his singing sensation younger sister, Utau, and her laid-back, soccer-loving boyfriend, Kukai, also got a large chunk of their screentime cut. Those two were my favorite characters, so that’s where I started getting mad.
Pretty much, Party alienated all of its fans with its bad writing, lack of plot, and general annoyingness. But when you look at this, don’t you just think, “At least Winx isn’t like this”? Think about how bad it would be if we just watched people dressed as Winx and lost all of our plot. Winx hasn’t crossed that dubious road yet, and hopefully never will.
But the way I see it, the line that will ruin Winx isn’t anything that’s been said in this season. It is so out-of-character that if it were actually said, it would sink Winx to a Party level. Let us hope and cross our fingers that it is never said.
That line is when Aisha says that she’s in love with Ogron.