Oh, flowers that have now awakened in the quiet woods
What do you think of this world? What are you feeling?
Ah, nothing fascinates people more than the truth, but…
Ah, nothing is more cruel to people than the truth
Bloom (bloom) to your heart’s content
Betting everything on this moment (this moment)
So that you even outshine the infinite stars
Fill your heart with courage till it overflows
(No matter what) No matter what, keep living
Come into bloom*
Translated by me
* Apparently, the line “sakaraba saa” is gibberish. Even native Japanese speakers have no clue what it’s supposed to mean. So I chose the translation “come into bloom” because it’s close to what it looks like it means.
Last week, MAiDiGiTV released a Pocari Sweat-themed Cells at Work! commercial on their YouTube channel. The video is just short of ten minutes long. Who wouldn’t wanna be sold to for that long?
The commercial is an abbreviated adaptation of “Heat Stroke” (S1, EP11). Instead of an IV saving the cells in the end, the human drinks some Pocari Sweat and all is well. I’m not fluent in Japanese, but I think the narrator talks about Pocari Sweat being better than water and full of electrolytes.
In case you don’t know, Pocari Sweat is a Japanese sports drink advertised as an ion supplier. I’ve heard it tastes disgusting — what would you expect with a name like that? — but I’ve never tried it, so I don’t know. Regardless, it’s been around for almost 40 years. That means somebody likes it.
Honestly, this is a better brand crossover than other ads out there. Cells at Work! is about the human body, and Pocari Sweat is healthy (for a sports drink). But a ten-minute ad? C’mon, now.
Granted, I watched most of it. What does that say about me? 😅
You win, Pocari Sweat.
(Warning: No subtitles, but it’s still pretty amusing.)
Just because I’m not gonna talk about Winx Club anymore doesn’t mean I can make references to it. (Ahem…)
This video popped up in my YouTube suggestions yesterday. It’s two years old, but what the author has to say is timeless. As the title of the video shows, they hate it when writers resurrect characters. That doesn’t mean they’ve never wished a character would come back, but they know that resurrection is usually a cheap gimmick or pandering, not something necessary to the story.
Note: the author is talking about anime, where the afterlife is just a vacation spot. But they mention western series as well, since they’re also guilty.
To my readers who don’t watch Winx Club, I’m sorry for posting about it so much lately. That’s not what this blog is supposed to be for.
To my readers who followed me from my Winx blog, I’m afraid I won’t have any content for you anymore. Talking about Winx Club (and especially the fandom) only upsets now. I’m planning to focus on other series and topics from now on. I hope you’ll understand.
Yep. You read that right. After talking to the Winx fandom for the past decade and watching the recent seasons of Winx Club, I’ve realized that resurrecting Nabu just makes sense.
A few years ago, a mom asked a couple questions on Winx Wiki about Nabu’s death. She and her kid had just finished watching season four together, and she wanted to know:
Is Nabu actually dead? (Why isn’t that obvious?)
Will Aisha ever fall in love with someone else?
I first explained that yes, Nabu is dead. (I may need to write my “Debunking the Coma Theory” post, after all.) Then I assured her that a couple seasons later, Aisha meets and falls in love with a guy named Nex.
The mom wanted this information to help her discuss death with her kid. That impressed me. Talking to your kids about what they see on TV is something all parents should do. Sadly, they don’t nowadays. Instead, they plop their kids in front of screens or hand them tablets and make them grapple with these big issues by themselves.
Her other question surprised me: “Will Aisha ever fall in love with someone else?” This mom had just finished season four, yet she was already looking ahead to Aisha’s next relationship.
That’s how life works. After a setback or tragedy, you keep going. You cry, you ache, you complain, you talk through your feelings, you even go to therapy if you need to. Then you look ahead to the future.
The death of a loved one is one of the most painful things you’ll ever experience…but all of us will one day. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. My parents are both in their 60s now. (Mom turned 60 this year.) By the time I reach that age, they may be dead. I can’t imagine living without them, but I’ll have to.
It’s already happened to some people I know. An older girl I grew up with lost her father about seven years ago. She still misses him, of course, and she talks about him from time to time, especially on Father’s Day, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death. But she also talks about her cats, her job (which she loves), soccer (her passion), and sunsets because she still enjoys her life.
I also have a former supervisor who lost her husband a couple years ago. My mom, sister, and I attended his wake. We hugged her and gave our condolences, and she shared her memories of him while forcing back tears. She ended her presentation with:
He’s gonna be a tough act to follow.
This woman was standing in a funeral home with her husband’s body in the next room, and she was already talking about the possibility of falling in love again.
Does that mean she didn’t really love her husband? Heck, yes, she did. They were married for more than 30 years. I never met him, but the other guests kept saying they were the “perfect” couple, always laughing together. Also, they never had kids, so they spent all those years by themselves — just the two of them, doing whatever they wanted. You can imagine how close they grew.
I don’t know if my supervisor has started dating again. Last time I saw her (at the memorial for another co-worker), it didn’t sound like she had a new man in her life. But the fact that she was already considering the possibility at her husband’s wake shows how resilient she is. She knows she has to keep living, and loving again is a part of that journey.
That same resilience is what Rainbow is trying to show in Aisha. She mourned Nabu, she made peace with his death, then she kept on living and refused to let that tragedy hold her back. How fitting for a girl whose name means“life”. Aisha embodies two of its strongest traits: courage and perseverance.
But the Winx fandom doesn’t give a damn.
Nabu was the best. F–k Aisha’s character development.
I’m sorry. I don’t swear a lot, but I am so disappointed in this fandom. They say they want Winx Club to be mature, yet they wanna negate one of the most mature things a Winx has done. They claim they want Nabu back for her sake — that they want her to be happy again. But they’re ignoring the fact that she already is because they can’t let go of him.
Their message is clear: Nabu > Aisha.
You know what? Fine. The fandom already complains that Winx Club has become childish. Rainbow resurrecting Nabu would fit right into that pattern of juvenilization. Kids should never see sad things like death, anyway. They’re too young to understand it. (What was that mom on Winx Wiki thinking?) Let’s keep their world light and happy and hide all that bleak reality stuff.
Besides, other series resurrect dead characters all the time. It never feels cliché or disrespectful to the audience. Ever heard of Fairy Tail? Artist Hiro Mashima killed off main characters left and right, but he always brought them back. The fandom loved it.
Go ahead, Rainbow. Bring back Nabu. Winx Club and the Winx fandom deserve nothing more.
I originally published this on my other blog, but I know some of you Winx fans don’t read that one. So I’m putting it here, too.
After reading the comment section of WinxClubEnglish’s Aisha and Nex love story video, I knew it was time for a new “Nex vs. Riven” post. I’ve been planning to write one for a while. Turns out I had a lot more to say this time, so I divided it into three parts:
Pt. I: Who is Riven? Riven’s personality, motivations, etc.
Pt. II: Who is Nex? Nex’s personality, motivations, etc.
Pt. III: Debunking the “Proof” That They’re Same: Both guys are sexist? Nope.
The Winx fandom insists that Nex is “like Riven”, “a copy of Riven”, or a “Riven rip-off”. Everything Nex says or does gets negatively compared to Riven, even if it’s something positive. Someone commented on that video that “Nex’s character improved a great bit in S8”, and another fan replied, “So he’s basically a bad copy of Riven.”
Even becoming a better man makes him too much like Riven? Is Riven the only guy allowed to show character growth? 😕 Of course if Nex never changed, the fandom would hate him just as much (maybe more) and keep saying he’s a Riven clone. Pardon my French, but this is the definition of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.
How did Nex get trapped in this lose-lose situation? I think the fandom has forgotten Riven’s character type, his personality, and the core of his story. Instead, they’ve reduced him to a list of traits: arrogant, rude, aggressive, competitive, jealous, mean…but redeemable.
The “like Riven/Riven rip-off” label is what happens when you take his traits out of context.Without it, any character can be like him. You know who else some fans have accused of acting like Riven? Sky, Roy, Flora, and Helia.
That’s right, Flora and Helia, thanks to their occasional aggression and rudeness in season seven.
“But Nex has the same hairstyle, too!”
Does he really? 🤨 I’ll get to that in my third post.
First, let’s use our Stones of Memories to travel back in time to Winx seasons one and two. If the “like Riven/Riven rip-off” label takes Riven’s traits out of context, the solution is to bring the context back in.
Who is Riven?
Here’s his character description from the official Winx Club website (circa. 2007). Do you notice something? Most of the traits the fandom associates with him — and uses to claim that Nex and other characters are acting like him — aren’t even mentioned here.
Does that mean Riven doesn’t have them? No, it doesn’t. The context tells us why he has them and how they relate to his story.
If we take a few of these traits and add them together, we start to understand why Riven acts the way he does.
For example, a “wary” person doesn’t trust others easily, and a “surly” person is grouchy all the time. Plus, Riven isn’t happy around other people because he prefers to be alone, but his job as a Specialist forces him into a squad. He’s out of his comfort zone every day.
That’s a lot of stress. I’d be mean and aggressive, too!
The description also says he doesn’t trust girls because he hates his mother for abandoning him. By the way, have you realized this backstory has never been mentioned in the show? Not even once? In eight seasons?
For the sake of argument, we’ll say it’s canon. It was on his official profile, after all. That means Riven is canonically a misogynist. (Of course, it didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most popular characters.)
No wonder he and Musa have a toxic, on-again-off-again relationship. His jealousy (a lack of trust) has been one of the biggest issues that’s come between them. Combine that with being a wary, surly loner, and it’s clear why being supportive and emotionally available is so hard for him.
Yet the fandom always sides with him and wants them to stay together, no matter how stressed and miserable she feels. “Keep dating the canon misogynist, Musa. He’ll become a better person eventually.” (I love double standards.)
Also, consider this if you haven’t before. If Riven’s mother abandoned him when he was young, he’s never had a mother figure — i.e., a prominent woman in his life who loves him. What if he’s substituting Musa for that role? Is that why he lashes out at her (anger meant for his mother), but panics whenever she threatens to leave him (triggering the trauma of being unwanted)?
It’s only when Musa has had enough that he desperately tries to keep her or win her back. But since he still doesn’t trust girls, he doesn’t know how to keep her! So the cycle repeats itself.
To be honest, I understand why the fandom wants this relationship to work. I believe that people, in fiction and in real life, can change. Sometimes, it just takes one person who believes in you and is willing to give you a chance. The problem is Musa has given him lots of chances, and she’s got the emotional scars to show for it. When should enough be enough?
Finally, why is Riven competitive with Sky more than anyone else? I think it’s because Sky has everything he wants and is everything he’s not. Sky is loved by his kingdom, his teachers, his father and mother, and his girlfriend. He’s rich (because he’s a prince), and he’s the leader of a top-notch Specialist squad.
I think Riven has set him up as an impossible goal for him to beat. If he can surpass Mr. Cliché Prince Charming, he’ll gain everything he wants and feel like “a hero to himself”. Their fencing duel in “The Anthem” (S6, EP23) highlights this. After Riven loses, he complains that he’ll “always be runner-up” to Sky.
A Heart of Stone or a Heart of Darkness?
In “Friends in Need” (S1, EP07), Darcy finds Riven lying unconscious in a hallway at Alfea. She senses “a very strong negative force” emanating from him. “He’s on a level with the Prince of Darkness.”
Pause for a moment. I don’t remember a “Prince of Darkness” in Winx Club, so Darcy must be talking about the guy people in real life call by that name: the Devil.
Riven is as dark as the Devil. That’s what she’s saying here.
How can the fandom toss around the label “like Riven” if we’re talking about a guy who’s nearly demonic? Nex may be annoying sometimes, but he’s not evil and has never been drawn to the powers of darkness.
Darkness is tied to negative emotions: sadness, anger, hatred, betrayal, jealousy, etc. Riven has wrestled with these feelings every season, especially season one, which is why villains like using him. Darcy convinces him to betray his friends and help the Trix. (No, she doesn’t brainwash him. That was just in the 4Kids dub.)
Think about the meaning of his name, too. “Riven” is the past participle of the verb “rive”, which means “to tear apart”, “to break (the heart)”, or “(of the heart) to be broken”. That’s him in a nutshell. He creates rifts between himself and others, and he breaks people’s hearts (especially Musa’s) because his own heart is in pieces.
Eventually, Riven goes back to the group, but he still struggles with anger, hatred, and a lack of trust. He’s still a loner, too, so being on a team is still hard for him. And we know what happens in season six. Musa breaks up with him (for the second time) in “The Anthem”, and he leaves Sky’s squad forever…
…until season eight.
The Specialists welcome Riven back immediately, claiming he’s finally changed. Has he really? We’ll see.
The “like Riven/Riven rip-off” label reduces Riven to a list of traits. It also takes them out of the context of his character type, his personality, and the core of his story.
In his official character description from seasons two and three, Rainbow described Riven as “wary” (having a hard time trusting people), “surly” (grouchy), and “a loner”. He also hates his mother for abandoning him, so he especially doesn’t trust girls. That explains why he’s mean and aggressive and why he and Musa don’t get along.
In “Friends in Need” (S1, EP07), Darcy says Riven is “on a level with the Prince of Darkness” (a.k.a., the Devil). Darkness is tied to negative emotions like sadness and hatred, which Riven wrestles with most than any other character. This makes him the most vulnerable to becoming evil.
“Riven” is a form of the word “rive”, which means “to tear apart”, “to break (the heart)”, or “(of the heart) to be broken”. Riven is a guy who creates rifts between himself and others and breaks people’s hearts (especially Musa’s) because his own heart is in pieces.
Riven may have finally changed, but it took him eight seasons to do so.
Next, we’ll talk about…Nex. Here’s a taste. Why has he never been tempted by the powers of darkness like Riven has? Is it because he’s a “less-developed, badly-written Riven”, as one fan put it (the same fan who called him “a bad copy”)?
Of course not. It’s because Nex is too positive for that trash.
Remember: darkness comes from negative emotions, but he doesn’t give into his as easily as Riven does. That’s because Nex has a different personality. What is it, and what are his motivation and character type? Stay tuned.
Where do humans come from?
Even if I ask Dad and Mom, they can’t tell me (won’t tell me)
Does 1 + 1 really equal 2?
I don’t understand the teachers’ explanations (I don’t understand)
I wanna know (I wanna know)
I wanna know a lot more
Oh, stars, stars
Speak to me telepathically tonight
Starry, starry, starry
Twinkle! Tell me
The mysteries don’t stop coming
“Hey! I wanna know the truth!”
Twinkle! In both arms
Twinkle! Hold me tight
My heart pounds as we embrace
Star Twinkle Precure, Precure!
A treacherous sunset
Mingles sweat into your worries
Hoping to cut through it
A machine roars as if it’s singing
Blow up louder
The silent fairy is there
Blow up louder
Your atonement is in the fragments of a familiar love
Ah, the morning sun rises
Between the buildings
You can change if you believe
The future isn’t meaningless
Ah, the morning sun rises
Piercing through the darkness
You can see it if you feel
That your dream isn’t meaningless
Ah, there are things that only we can see
Surely, no one can take them from us
Our goals aren’t meaningless
Ah, the morning sun rises
Over the horizon
You can change if you believe
That that light isn’t meaningless