A companion/follow-up article to Season Five Could’ve Been a Lot Worse: Enter The “Magical Girl Slump”. Also, sorry I haven’t updated in a while. Real-world issues were slightly getting in the way, but I’ll start updating a lot more now.
Once upon a time, not too long ago in fact, things were not quite sunshine and rainbows over at the Rainbow/Nick headquarters. As a matter of fact, fandom morale was, arguably, at its all-time low. Complaints dappled screens all across the Winx blogs for one reason in particular: Season Five. *insert lightning flash, thunder, and ominous music here* These were the dark ages of Winx fandom in which the plot line was struggling, the writing was struggling, and most importantly: the ratings were struggling. No matter how hard Winx Club had tried to escape this fate, it had entered that dark vortex we know as the Magical Girl Slump, infamous for feeding on childhood memories.
But, if you recall, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in this situation. If a magical girl show tries hard enough and pulls the right moves, the slump could convert into something known as growing the beard or rebounding depending on which circle you’re in. However, since I’ve coined a term specifically for magical girl programs about jumping the shark, it makes sense for the rebound to be named for the most successful franchise not only to escape the slump, but the most successful period. And, to many fans, Sailor Moon did precisely that with its Stars season, sequel to the maligned-to-this-day SuperS. Not every show can regain that luster, though. Tokyo Mew Mew: ended with only two manga series (“only” being a relative term, of course) due to beloved main character being replaced with a Mary-Sue. Shugo Chara: only three anime seasons; ended prematurely due to a futile attempt to create a variety show to appeal to a younger audience. Winx Club at this point: five seasons, more than both of these ever got and the same amount as Sailor Moon; was inflicted with the slump in much the same way as Shugo Chara was. Still ongoing. Fate unknown.
Until Season Six.
See, the thing about anything remotely related to the magical girl genre has problems getting past the slump; for some odd reason, that’s the way they’re made. Deconstructions, reconstructions, spin-offs, animals with magic, people with magic–all reach the slump at some point. No matter how well-made these shows are, there will always be some point where the fans feel that the creators do not have the best intentions in mind. I hate to do this because it’s so current, popular, and hasn’t really had criticism like Winx is used to but…yes, it is necessary to pull the Rebellion card. To sum up a very complicated issue (that I have knowledge of only as an observer as I’ve only read the manga and detailed synopses of the film and therefore have no right to go too deep into it), Rebellion is a Madoka Magica movie that, according to some sources, may end up being nominated for a foreign-language Oscar, yet has a beloved character acting so out of character that some fans are calling foul and claiming that it was only done to rake more money out of the franchise. (Sound familiar? *cough*some Winx fans perceptions of post-S3 seasons*cough*) Now, please keep in mind that my intention is to show that no franchise, even one as well-done as Madoka, can fall prey to the slump, NOT “Ophira wants us to go mock Madoka fans!” (Those with opinions on the franchise’s future may comment on their opinions, as both are series that are somewhat “on the fence” with fans.)
But what might make a fan think that Winx is starting to get over the slump? Here are some items of interest to discuss:
- Lack of Bloom/Sky drama FIVE EPISODES INTO THE SEASON!
Oh my, this isn’t something that happens often, is it? At around this time in S5, there was already the whole necklace debacle and Sky had amnesia (which is honestly in running for “cliched ideas we should totally put in a vault for 10+ years and not use at all”). Rather, more effort is being put into giving the plot time to develop and mature into its own story, which is relieving considering recent patterns. (There has been a little Musa/Riven, though, but something tells me it’ll be mostly throwaway and be resolved quickly.) It’s to the point where I’m not even worried about Diaspro coming back in, as at least she’ll be out fighting and actually doing something plot-relevant. Also, ever notice how Diaspro tends to shoehorn an annoying sub-plot into seasons? (Basically the entire reason the Sovereigns’ Council was thought up.) This way, as long as she’s with the Trix, she’s involved in the main plot, meaning that for once, she won’t interfere with focus, so it might be more like her role in S3. Mind…blown.
- Engaging new characters.
Now, a lot of the problem with S5 was that the new characters were largely pretty boring, to be blunt about it. Krystal didn’t get much development other than to get Flora jealous, Nereus was more of a plot device than an actual character, and let’s not even start on the travesty that was Tritannus. On the other hand, I’m really starting to enjoy some of the new characters. For one: Selina. I knew I’d love her just from seeing the trailer, but the thing that attracts me to her isn’t just her cockiness or her eagerness to prove herself, but rather her mystery. While Tritannus’s backstory came to us second episode (and first in some countries!), there’s still a lot we don’t know about her. Where did she get the Legendarium on a place like Earth? What are her motivations as a witch or her backstory? Come to think of it, Valtor, the Wizards of the Black Circle, and Darkar all were pretty easy to read, as at least someone in the show knew their story from legends, histories, or personal experience. Selina might be a character type that’s never been tried on Winx before, and it’s working. Acheron only further peaks my interest. So keep being the way you are, Selina. For a show littered with recent “failures,” you’re doing things right and raising the bar a little.
- The return of forgotten characters.
Now this might just be a gimmick for the 10th anniversary celebration, but it’s one that has potential. I like to think that Rainbow began to realize how sad people were about Roxy and the pixies leaving and decided to change that. Idealistic, but that’s a hopeful way to think about it. Sure, both have had only minimal roles (and the pixies might just be comic relief at this point), but that could change. Notice, for instance, that Roxy’s yellow hair tips are back from the failed attempt to make her an easy-to-animate background character. Therefore, it could be stated as follows: As long as they’re present, she’ll be plot-important. I have a feeling that caring for Griffin will ease her back into the regular plot, if even for a little while. (And even if it doesn’t, having a crow companion is still awesome! Gives me definite Sailor Mars vibes.)
And with even less significant details and characters, such as Miele and Diaspro’s fairy form, coming back, who knows what cameos could come next? For me, I’d like to see another mini-adventure episode like “The Pixies’ Charge” in S3. The pixies discovering something plot-relevant would be really cool. And I’m still carrying out hope that Tune and Digit were late somehow and got sucked into the Legendarium. What else would I like for this concept of bringing old characters back? Well…let’s just say that my answer is “biased and predictable.”
- The return of SUSPENSE!!!
Didn’t you just love it when you didn’t actually know exactly how the next story arc was going to turn out? Oh, how I missed that feeling with Season Five. I presumed that S6 was going to be much the same…and then came Acheron to complicate things. And, of course, Selina herself is already plenty mysterious. (Though after reading the spoilers, I’m tempted to nickname her “Yui”…but if you’re wondering how I know so much about these sorts of stories, it’s research!) Anywho, for the first time in a long time, I’m actually pretty curious about how things will turn out. And I hear that the new episode will be a two-parter…something we haven’t seen since 4kids! Looking forward to it!
So, at the end of the day, it’s up to the writers to prove themselves and to try to overcome the dubious odds of the slump. I’d like to know how the rest of you think, and I know that some of you may not be this optimistic, but I think it has a chance! I’ve been enjoying it a lot more than S5, and besides, the important thing is that, even if S6 doesn’t live up to S1-S3, it still shows that Winx could very well be still fighting to live on in a world where its light is starting to dim. And, after all, ya can’t get much worse than Tritannus, right? *chuckles*
But on a lighter note, the participation question for this week is: if you lived in the Winx universe, who could you see yourself being? (Male fans can still choose between Specialists, paladins, or wizards.) Which realm would you live in?
After being stuck for an answer for a little while, I remembered that I had to take a lot of psychological surveys, and a good amount of them said that I belonged to the sector of the population most likely to have ESP! While it sounded odd for a personality quiz to say, I think that’d be a cool, original power that I could imagine my fairy-self having. It’d be able to involve telekinesis, precognition, general “psychic beams”…sorts of things that the Winx universe hasn’t really covered yet.
I’d really like to see the answers for both questions! And also, it’s been a while, but “Copacabana” managed to win our music video contest, but the real surprise was my Wild Card pick, “Magic,” which came in second!