Featured image: “Winx Club – Bloom” by Nesallienna.
Ah, Winx Club. Haven’t talked much about that one. Funny story: I decided to try that show out a couple of years back because I knew it had a big fandom, and I knew it was a magical girl show from outside Japan. Here in the States, Nickelodeon has slapped its name on this show, and I didn’t do my research before purchasing half a season of it, so I mistakenly believed I was getting a magical girl series from the same people who gave us stuff like Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer and Avatar: The Last Airbender. In other words, I assumed I was in good hands.
No. It’s actually an Italian cartoon and has the honor of being the first Italian cartoon to get syndicated in the U.S., which is more than I’ve accomplished today. It’s also proven quite popular in a wide array of other countries. I would have watched it in any case, but I wasn’t prepared for just how freaking awful it is. After I finally looked up some information, I was unsurprised to discover that the CIA uses Winx Club in lieu of waterboarding for “enhanced interrogation.”
Okay, I made that up. But still. I had to prop my eyeballs open like that guy in Clockwork Orange just to get myself through thirteen episodes. And it’s gone for seven seasons, totalling 182 episodes the last time someone counted and I paid attention. A hundred or more episodes of something like Sailor Moon or Saint Seiya doesn’t make me swallow, but Winx Club? I think watching the entire run of Winx Club is what they make you do in Purgatory.
It sounds like an okay idea, at least if you’re out to make money off kids: the premise is a cross between Harry Potter, Tinkerbell, and Sailor Moon. It’s about five teenage bimbos with magical fairy powers who fly with gossamer wings, fight evil witches, wear skanky outfits, go to magic school, zip around on dungeon-punkish spaceships and hovercraft, and have some peculiar obsession with ending words with the letter X. You could certainly do worse for a cartoon concept. The animation isn’t great, but it isn’t awful, and the bad CGI is excessive, but that was a fad at the time (2003) that it started its run. The production values are acceptable.
But, seriously, worst. writing. ever. I think Winx Club has the dubious honor of containing the most awkwardly constructed romantic subplots I’ve ever seen in anything professionally produced. At one point, the narrator announces that a couple of characters’ relationship is deepening and growing closer, and that was the first time I knew those characters even had a relationship at all.
And get this: the first time the heroine (Bloom) arrives from Earth on the magic planet, she immediately comments on how mundane it is. She’s not wrong: it basically looks like downtown in any generic Western city, except where the cars and motorbikes float. That’s a major lost opportunity in the environmental designs, but they actually have the main character point out that it’s boring. Brilliant idea, guys. I hope that’s the English translators getting a dig in and not something that’s really in the original Italian.
Anyway, my schedule is getting slightly less insane, so I intend to get back to regular posting around here. We’ve got more stuff to review and discuss, and of course, we’ve got more Jake and the Dynamo, which doesn’t contain the worst writing ever. I hope.