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My Name Isn’t “Una Di Noi Winx”

I hate that some Winx fans refer to me as “Una di Noi Winx”, as if my blog was my name.

Una di Noi Winx means “one of us Winx” in Italian.

Why would my parents name me that?

I don’t wanna be associated with it anymore.

And I’m not “The Oblivious Prattler”, either.

“Tori” isn’t my name, either.

My parents almost named me Victoria, so that’s why I changed to that name online after I decided to dump the Una di Noi Winx blog.

I prefer not to use my real name online for safety reasons.

I only told it to about three Winx fans — one of them accidentally — over the course of those nine years.

It’s funny really…

Some of my critics in the fandom thought they’d figured me out.

They thought they knew well enough to critique my behavior and diagnose what’s wrong with me.

Yet all that time, they didn’t even know the most basic thing about me…

…My name.

How The Internet Ruins You

I related so much to this video. Granted, I didn’t go through everything this YouTuber has (daily harassment, police sent to my house, etc.), but some of it lines up perfectly with my experiences as a Winx blogger. People twisted my words, publicly insulted me, talked down to me, and sent me long messages to scold me like a child. I’m not sure about smear campaign videos, but I have seen posts.

No matter what I said to explain myself, it didn’t help. Either I didn’t say what the “gremlins” wanted me to say, or they just didn’t believe me. In some cases, they didn’t care about my side of the story. The loneliness I’ve felt because of my unpopular opinions made things even worse.

My whole life has suffered. I’ve become more aggressive, more anxious, and less motivated. I don’t enjoy things as much as I used to. It’s affected my relationships, my work, my sleep, and even my eating habits.

Last week, I finished the cyberpunk anime Serial Experiments Lain. (I didn’t know it came out in 1998, which means this year was its 20th anniversary.) It’s about a girl named Lain Iwakura, who becomes obsessed with the Internet (referred to as “The Wired”) and loses her sense of identity. It’s amazing how well this show predicted the future of the Internet: a confusing world of gossip, complaining, and lies that enables us to be our worst selves.

If you’re into anime, I highly recommend this show. It definitely makes you think.

Anyway, this video reminded me of it. (By the way, I’m not back from my hiatus. I just wanted to share this.)

Moving On From Una Di Noi Winx

I’m letting my Winx blog go today. Nine years was a good run, but I can’t keep it going.

The main reason I’m quitting is because I feel no connection to the Winx fandom anymore. I haven’t lost interest in Winx Club — in fact, I’m getting excited about season eight — but I don’t enjoy it for the same reasons as everyone else. It doesn’t help that the fandom hates a lot of things I love, especially my favorite couple Aisha and Nex.

I know those are dumb reasons. Believe me, I tell myself that all the time. People don’t have to love what you love. My friends and family have things they love that I don’t — and vice versa.

But the difference is they’re my friends and family. Even though we have different interests, my siblings will always be my siblings, the people I grew up with. My parents will always be my parents, the people who brought me into this world. And hopefully my friends will always be my friends, the people who know me personally and like me for who I am.

I love them. My bonds with them are deeper than mutual interest in a cartoon about fairies.

But the Winx fandom is full of people I’ve never met — and never will. I don’t know their names, where they come from, or what their lives are like outside the Internet. Some of them are people I’d never associate with in real life. I’ve met some fans I like a lot, and I’ll miss them. But liking the same show isn’t enough to base a friendship on.

Yet that’s what a fandom is: strangers trying to be a community just because they like the same thing. It’s a weaker bond than friendship. You can barely call yourselves acquaintances. Fans who live in the same country or speak the same language might have a slightly stronger connection, but otherwise, all we have is Winx Club.

Since having the same interest is what brought us together, why wouldn’t I wanna enjoy it with everyone? If I can’t, it defeats the point of being in a fandom. And when everyone hates a specific part you love, it can feel like you’re alone against the world.

I wanna feel like I belong in the Winx fandom, but I don’t feel that way anymore. Some days, I feel so lonely, I feel like I’m suffocating. I was even having a hard time sleeping for several months. That’s why I can’t stay.

My plan is to slowly pull away from Winx. I’ll still have my Aisha X Nex blog, but that’s it. The good news is it won’t get as much traffic as Una di Noi did, so I can stay relatively invisible. But I’ll stop reading Winx news as often, and I’ll stop visiting the sites and blogs I loved. (It’s nothing against them. I just need to.)

Eventually, I’ll focus on something else. I’ve been obsessed with Winx for nine years, so it’ll be hard to detach from it at first. Maybe after a few months away, I’ll start to feel better.

Until season eight premieres.

Anyway, this is it. Una di Noi Winx is over. It’s weird. I thought I’d be sad, but I’m not. I feel indifferent instead.

Maybe that’s proof this needed to happen.

7 Anime Openings That Help Me Relax

Last time, I shared seven anime openings that get me pumped up. How about something more calming this time? Here are seven soothing, beautiful songs I listen to (in no particular order).

1. “This Game” — No Game No Life

This song, this art style — they’re both gorgeous! I’d like this show more if it weren’t for the fan service, but I still love the premise. A world where decisions are made by playing games? Good thing that wouldn’t happen in real life!

I’m still hoping for a season two.

2. “Yakusoku No Basho E” (trans. “To The Promised Place”) — Kaleido Star

I discovered Kaleido Star at a time when I wasn’t into anime. This show got me back into it. It helped that I took theater in high school, so I related to some of Sora’s struggles: creating a character, dealing with competition, and craving a good review. This year, I saw a Cirque du Soleil performance for the first time, so I think I can appreciate Kaleido Star even more now. 😊

3. “Mag Mell” — Clannad

I know almost nothing about this show. It’s a harem, and I think somebody dies. That’s it. When and where did I hear this song? I have no idea. Oh, well. I still love it.

4. “Masayume Chasing” (trans. “Chasing A Prophetic Dream”) — Fairy Tail

This is one of my favorite Fairy Tail openings, and it’s from one of my favorite arcs. It could also count as a song that gets me pumped up. I guess it depends on my mood.

5. “Duvet” — Serial Experiments Lain

As I was writing this post, I couldn’t stop watching this opening sequence. It’s creepy, but it’s…mesmerizing. That was enough to pique my curiosity, so I started watching the show a couple days ago.

I’m five episodes in. What the heck is happening? I’m so confused…and I love it.

6. “Hoshi To Hana” (trans. “Stars And Flowers”) — Yuki Yuna Is A Hero

I liked this show. Except for the ending. It was awful. (Warning: slight spoilers ahead!)

Here’s some advice for all writers. If you undo the negative consequences of events in your story, the audience won’t take the events seriously. That goes for any consequence: physical or emotional scars, environmental damage, character deaths, etc. Stand by your choices. Let the characters live with the aftermath, no matter how sad and life-changing it is.

Sorry for the tangent. This song is still great.

7. “Morning Grace” — Princess Tutu

I still remember reading the description for this show and thinking, “Wow. This sounds really stupid.” I still think it does. A duck becomes a magical ballerina named Princess Tutu, who wants to save her beloved prince by collecting the shards of his heart. Romantic, but silly.

That’s the funny thing about anime. A lot of them sound dumb on paper, but they suck you in anyway. Princess Tutu is no exception. It’s a great show.

That’s it for this song list. Not sure what the next one will be. Stay tuned!

“Radiant”: A Glimmer Of Light That Might Have A Bright Future

The last time I tuned into Fairy Tail was the beginning of the Eclipse Celestial Spirits arc. That’s about episode 200 out of 278 and counting, since the final season just premiered. I wanna catch up, but I don’t have the patience — or motivation.

So when my brother told me that Radiant, a new show on Crunchyroll, feels a lot like Fairy Tail, I was sold. A zany, new adventure I can start from episode one on? Sign me up!

From the start, I could tell where the comparison was coming from. The main plot is narrated over a map just like in Fairy Tail. The opening theme (which is awesome, by the way) not only sounds like a Fairy Tail theme, but it also shows a cast of weird-looking characters that would easily fit in Fiore.

In Radiant, magic comes from a power called Fantasia. Humans can’t use it unless they’ve been infected by the Nemesis, monsters that fall from the sky. Even though these “gifted” humans — the sorcerers — fight to protect the world from the Nemesis, they’re treated like outcasts for having magic in the first place.

The main character — a sorcerer named Seth — looks like a cross between Natsu and Gray. (That means he also looks like Shiki from Eden’s Zero, Hiro Mashima’s not-at-all-subtle reskin of Fairy Tail.) In the first meaningful scene, Seth shows off for his Muggle friend Tommy by launching a boulder over the forest with his self-taught Titan Punch spell. The boulder crashes into a farmhouse and sets off a stampede of cow-ephants…

…Or just cows.

Yep.

These are normal cows:

C’mon, Radiant. If you’re gonna have Avatar-esque hybrid animals, own it!

Anyway, the villagers confront him, but his caretaker Alma, who’s also a sorcerer, takes the heat for him. Seth feels ashamed since it wasn’t her fault. The two of them fly to their floating house — sorcerers ride brooms in this show — and she punishes Seth by forcing him to scrub the outside walls. She watches from the window while sipping some tea, and they argue about life as sorcerers.

The scenes with just Seth and Alma dragged and were mostly exposition dump, but I still loved them. Most pilot episodes I’ve watched didn’t spend much time establishing the bond between the characters. They focused on the exciting parts: the action, the magic, the plot, etc.

But Radiant spends about two or three minutes with Seth and Alma just talking and bickering. I got fidgety while I was watching, but afterwards I started to appreciate them. I felt the characters’ connection. Sure, Alma is annoyed with him — why wouldn’t she be, since he’s caused so much trouble — but you can tell she still cares about him. It makes his struggle at the end feel more justified.

Seth wants non-magic folk to trust sorcerers, not to see them as enemies. The solution sounds simple: get rid of the Nemesis. Sorcerers won’t have to fight anymore, and the world will be safe.

Coincidentally, a Nemesis egg falls from the sky the next day. Using an arsenal of magic weapons he brought from home, he tries to destroy it but ends up being pressed under its giant paw. Of course, the hero can’t die in the first episode. Seth is saved by a timely group of sorcerers called The Bravery Quartet.

After watching the second episode, I started to notice something. This show is slower than your average shounen series. The focus isn’t on dramatic, fast-paced battles. Instead, it’s spending a lot of time developing Seth’s character before the adventure begins.

Maybe the show’s western roots are showing. Radiant is based on a French comic of the same name by Tony Valente. Just because it’s French doesn’t mean it wasn’t inspired by Fairy Tail, of course, but it makes sense that the storytelling would be different.

Side note: this also explains the logo. I was confused when I read it because the katakana says radian (ラディアン), not redianto (レディアント), which would be the Japanese way to say the English word “radiant.” But the French word “radiant” looks the same but sounds exactly how it’s pronounced in the logo. Points for authenticity.

Okay, anime purists. Since Radiant is adapted from a French comic, is it still an anime? It was made by a Japanese studio (Lerche to be exact). But does the source material have to be Japanese, too, for the show to count as an anime?

Don’t break your brain. Of course, Radiant is an anime — and it would be, even if it was made by a French studio. But I won’t go there today.

Anyway, this show is okay so far. I’m planning to watch episode three this Saturday, but I hope the story progresses soon. Slow build-up can get boring after a while. Plus, I’m getting sick of Seth’s village. I need a new setting.

But I’m not sick of the opening theme! Here’s “Utopia” by 04 Limited Sazabys.