Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Winx Club

Plot: A teenage girl named Bloom finds a fairy named Stella being attacked by an ogre out in the woods. In an effort to save her, Bloom discovers that she has fairy magic too. This is just the start of something much bigger for Bloom.

Breakdown: Alright, I need to prepare myself for this one. Just gonna jump into my subconscious for a tad.

*poof*

Girly part of me! Where are you?! I need you for 20 minutes and 14 seconds! I know you’re in here! I felt your presence when I was looking at puppy pictures earlier! Ah there you are. I don’t know why I don’t always look in the nook with my Beanie Baby collection first.

Away!

*poof*

So, yeah, as you can probably guess, despite having the girl parts, I’ve never been that girly. I’ve always been more into things that were more traditionally boy-like. I had some regular girly stuff like Barbies and bead sets and a fake plastic kitchen (I make the best plastic omelets), I’ve even had the tea parties and dressed like a fairy princess once. But if you ever asked me to choose between something like Power Rangers and My Little Pony, I’d be imagining piloting the Megazord before you’d finish your sentence. I never really disliked girly things, I was just more interested in boy-ish stuff…..It was cooler….No My Little Pony dolls shoot lasers or explode, okay?

With that in mind, it goes without saying that I never really watched Winx Club. I caught a few minutes of it here and there but—OOH BEYBLADE’S ON!

*cough* Something else would usually come on.

But I’m not without my girliness. My femininity. My female…itude…..I have a purse.

Let’s see if I can get into Winx Club.

*one episode later*

Mmmmmmmm…..Nrrghhh……Unf.

Alright, let me level with you. This show is not terrible on the basis of rampant girliness. The girliness levels are high, damn near ridiculous (The main character’s animal sidekick is a damn bunny for crying out loud), but I was able to get through that relatively fine…

This episode is just poorly written.

Right off the bat, the pacing for the first half is breakneck. In the first three minutes, we’re briefly introduced to our main character, Bloom, who is a normal average teenage girl, she sees a fairy girl with a valley girl accent fighting an ogre, she starts to be defeated, Bloom goes to help her, reveals she suddenly has powers, knocks the ogre away, the fairy girl, named Stella, gets back up, defeats the ogre with ease and then faints.

The pacing slows down a bit then ramps right back up after the ten minute mark. For example, in the time span of a minute, Stella brings Bloom to Alfea, an all-girls boarding college for fairies, pixies and something called…gowylians? Gowillians?….Uh those – Most of whom are princesses because of course they are. They learn to be magic users, protectors of their realms and queens.

This place is right down the road from the boy’s school – The Red Fountain School for Heroics and Bravery (A place ‘full of hunks’ according to Stella), where young men learn to become military heroes utilizing such things as hand to hand combat, weapon use, basic survival, magic swords and DRAGONS. Look! Look! The boys get magic swords and dragons! They get the cool stuff!

They’re also closeby to the Clow Tower School for Witches, which could not be more designed to be a villain factory if you tried.

Then, in the same minute mind you, she informs Bloom that she already invited some of the boys from the Red Fountain school to her house. When did she do this? She never had the opportunity as far as I saw.

If the pacing doesn’t get you, the story won’t do you any favors. It is extremely cut and dry ‘normal person discovers she has magic powers and is tasked to save the world’ schtick. The good guys are obvious, the bad guys are even more obvious and they practically go out of their way to separate everyone into their respective groups. For God’s sake, if sectioning off good from evil wasn’t enough, they have to cordon off the boys into their own school too. So we can wrangle the love interests? What’s that about?

Wait a minute.

*One Wiki Later*

Yup, that’s literally it’s purpose. All of the future members of the Winx club will have either fiances or boyfriends and, you guessed it, they all, barring one, come from the Red Fountain school. Wow.

Bloom’s parents are unreasonably stupid. Not believing your daughter brought home a fairy is one thing, being one room away from a door that is being brutally pounded on by someone, seeing a pet freaking out about it and constantly wondering why the animal is freaking out and pointing to the aforementioned door is another. They have to shake the whole house and actually enter before they realize, holy crap, someone’s at the door.

Anyone familiar with Tuxedo Mask Syndrome in magical girl shows can rest assured that the girls do indeed get rescued in the end by the hero boys she mentioned. At the very least, they barely know what they’re doing too.

The dialogue is okay at best and cringe-worthy at worst. There’s a lot of lame slang, valley girl speak and just horribly written lines delivered in lackluster ways. Par for the course for 4Kids.

The art and animation are horrid. It’s not the absolute worst I’ve seen, but it is quite a ways down there. Italy, I hate to keep giving you crap, but….you kinda keep giving me crap. It’s weird. There isn’t really a tidal wave of animation errors – it’s moreso like an unfinished animation or just sloppily done. The action actually isn’t the worst part of it. The bad animation is most highlighted in the speaking scenes. I laughed out loud when we saw Brendan speaking in that extreme closeup. If there was ever a shot where bobble-head physics applied, it’s that one.

The music is about what you’d expect from a girl-targeted show from 4Kids. Girly earworms. I will wag my finger in 4Kids face for one moment of music faux pas. They very clearly use a piece of BG music from Pokemon when Bloom wakes up. Tsk tsk.

As a first episode, it does the job just fine. Mostly because they’re mowing down the plot of the episode to shove every bit of exposition down our throats as quickly as possible. It introduces us to the characters and their universe just fine. They don’t really explain too well what fairies are in terms of what they do, nor do they explain how their magic works. They also never explain why or how Bloom is a fairy. She just shows she has powers and Stella spends half the episode gushing about how awesome she is.

They show the big bads, but we have no clue what they want beside power and I can only assume world domination.

Final Verdict—wait a minute.

While this first episode, in my opinion, is a hot mess that doesn’t make me want to want to watch anymore, I will concede for a bit. Winx Club is a huge franchise spanning over several seasons, movies and even comics.

I’ve read some stuff from future storylines and it seems somewhat interesting. I don’t want to write off the entire franchise for you all here, so let’s leave this as an;

ebzss3e

I, personally, won’t be continuing because it’s just not my cup of tea. However, if you can find yourself getting into shows of this vein, I recommend giving it a go for a few episodes. If anything, the art and animation seem to improve over time.

16 thoughts on “Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Winx Club

  1. My daughter and I have free television and guess what comes on? Some episodes have the voice volume so low that you can only hear the background music. Even more surprising from my very light research is that a guy wrote it.

    There’s a lot wrong with the show, and the magic seems very basic. You can really tell when they are trying to take up time for episode coverage.

  2. I never actually got to watch this show and I probably won’t go back to check it out. Seems like it has some potential and all, but there definitely are better shows in this genre to check out

  3. Ewww beyblades~ lol (Though I did used to play with beyblades alot. But they were my brother. It was my brothers thing really tho lol

    • My mom used to yell at me a lot for playing Beyblades in my room since they were so loud. Lol. No one else I knew played with the real toys so I was on my own in that regard. I do remember making an awesome Beystadium out of a cardboard box and glitter markers, though. It kinda sucked on a technical level because I couldn’t design the bottom to make the Beyblades do anything but hit the wall, but I had a lot of fun making it lol.

      • Haha lol Well I used to play with them on the polyvinyl floor of my kitchen. There were quite loud lol that and McDonald’s rip off bey blade “spin tops” XD

  4. I could see a REALLY good dystopian novel based on Winx Club. Imagine a normal girl being abducted into fairy school and forced into gender stereotypes. There would be so many mysteries, too! Why does the school exist? Where do the fairies come from? What exactly goes on in the School for Witches that makes everyone evil? And will the Winx girls escape before they’re brainwashed – er, “educated”?

    Man, I have to watch Winx Club, if only just to write that fanfic.

  5. Hi, I’m back. Your comment about how bad the animation is was surprising because some images (including the poster image you included) look so pretty!

    Also, did you know that Winx Club has four different dubs? Cialume dubbed the first 2 seasons, 4Kids dubbed the first 3, Nickelodeon made TV specials to recap the first two and dubbed seasons 3-6, and DuArt Film and Video is dubbing the season after that. I wonder if the voice acting and dialogue is better in other dubs? I hear that the Cialume acting is worse, though…

    Finally, do you have any idea where to get the original Italian version? I’d love to see how all the dubs compare to it.

    ~Sincerely, someone who still hasn’t watched a single episode of Winx Club

    • Two more things: the Cialume dub is on Netflix, and according to TVTropes, not everyone in the School for Witches is evil.

    • Yeah, the promo art can differ drastically from how the show looks, especially in regards to the overall animation. Also, it’s quite possible that many of those images from from later episodes/seasons, and the art might’ve improved. From what I’ve seen of the way later seasons, I believe that might be true.

      I didn’t know that. It’s not uncommon for shows to have like two dubs for future seasons or movies, but four? Wow.

      I have no clue where to find the Italian version. There are some clips on Youtube, but it’s mostly just the theme songs and one compilation. Sorry. 😦

    • Hi! I’m back, and I’ve watched a bit of the first episode of Winx Club from the original and Cinelume versions. It is Cinelume by the way, not Cialume. I goofed up. Also, the version on Netflix only has season 7.

      I can’t say what I think of the episode as a whole yet, but so far, the terrible pacing seems to be a 4Kids-only problem. The 4Kids episode cuts a lot of scenes from the beginning. In the original version and Cinelume dub, the pacing is a lot better. We’re introduced to Bloom as a character and get a couple scenes of her typical life before she meets Stella. The only issue is that the Cinelume dub’s acting is way inferior to the 4Kids dub. Bloom’s acting in particular is just BAD. Still, I really think you should check out the Cinelume version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EXaAAtpibw&list=PLJg404csJ854MTza-0QnQHIkrFchkJ__6

      • Thanks for the info!

        I watched a few minutes via the link you sent me and…yikes. It really is a trade-off in the dubbing department. The first conversation Bloom has with her mom reminded me of those really, really low budget movies that pretty much have a dub slapped on them and then they’re insta-thrown in their discount bin. Not just in their delivery but also how their lines are too fast and sometimes even sound incomplete. It’s not the worst I’ve heard but it’s pretty bad.

        I’m not surprised 4Kids is responsible for the poor pacing. It’s not something that’s super typical of their dubs, but they are constantly worried that they’ll lose the audience’s attention (Especially in girls shows, of which they only have a few) so they speed things up and cut stuff out a lot. It’s a shame, really, but that;s 4Kids for you.

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