i feel like hc has given me a new appreciation for obsessive characters
bc i hadn’t rlly been a fan of the ones i’d come across before reading the book for the third time, and then reading a bunch of meta and fics and especially darkfics.
as a result of which i started thinking about why he works as character. and why he can walk that very fine line without actually becoming toxic.
i guess the difference is that other characters’ obsession becomes toxic for the very subject of their obsession. so much so that it leaves no room for their own wishes
but hc is very mindful not to overstep any boundaries (some of which /he/ set for himself) and is very hard on himself if he does. in fact the only time he does overstep them is when it comes to xl’s safety, which is understandable bc of how xl is
one other thing abt hc is that he doesn’t expect anything in return. he wants, sure, but he does take and he doesn’t expect anything. honestly the fact that xl is even interested in him in any way probably came as a surprise
im not saying that every obsessive character has to be like him. like when such a character wants to desperately that they end up overstepping their boundaries and then they beat themselves up over it
or when their obsession itself causes pain to the very subject of it and it leads to some quality angst. that is some good shit that i am guaranteed to like.
also on the flipside, i wonder what other characters would do if they were faced with someone like hc.
bc hc could so easily be taken advantage of by xl. and he has been, kind of. exactly because he expects nothing in return, and because he’d be so willing to overwrite parts of himself to make himself to xl’s liking.
xl knows this and he makes a very conscious decision not to take advantage of it, bc he’s scared of what he could do with that amount of power over someone.
so i wonder what lesser characters would do in such a situation. what they would do if they had that amount of power over someone who is in their own right a powerful and feared figure.
So I watched the first Nick special
Terrible idea, I know but I was really curious about just how they went about it. I did keep a liveblog on my phone while watching, but since I went into this special more with the intent of picking it apart and comparing it to the Dutch version of it(as I switched between the two for every scene) it didn't really end up working as a liveblog post
BUT because I do like word vomiting my thoughts on this cartoon here I ended up kinda reworking it into like a review/liveblog/dubbing analysis hybrid that I'll put under the cut here
Before I get into the special itself I wanna start with being positive about the music. I genuinly love it despite my heavy nostalgic bias towards the rai soundtrack. I'll even say that if I hadn't grown up with the original intro the Nick one would probably be my favorite. And I actually like it in English as well as in Dutch, tho the latter does still get extra points from me because it's Musa's VA singing it, which just makes it feel more Winx to me
I'm pleasantly surprised by how they covered the events of the pilot. Going in I expected them to pull a 4kids and cut Bloom's intro, but luckily at least this American company realised that that's important to keep actually. They even threw in an extra line about Bloom's love of fairies that I really appreciated. I'm bummed they cut Mitzi's bullying but it in the interest of time I can't really blame them. I noticed they changed Bloom wanting a scooter to her wanting a car which is funny to me, but it's something that actually makes sense for a localization. I did get a kick out of the Dutch dub switching it right back to scooter tho
I'm not fond of most of the dialogue changes in general but they're not horrible. The only thing that really annoyed me is them cutting Bloom's stutter from "did I just do that" and just having her seem less freaked out in general. I had the same problem with 4kids now that I think about it. Is there some ban on protagonists freaking out in U.S television I don't know about?
In terms of voice acting for this part I'm not loving it, but it's also not as bad as I was expecting. Mike, Vanessa and Knut all sound fine. I knew going in from having seen a good chunk of the Nick dub of s3 that this was my least favorite Bloom, and that's still the case. Not a bad VA by any means but the voice does not match the character. I have mixed feelings about Stella since I really do like the voice, but it still doesn't really fit Stella's personality to me
And of course the voice acting was something I was incredibly curious about in the Dutch dub. Unlike the Nick version they didn't use the specials to bring in a new cast, so all these characters have the same VA as they did originally. But the thing about this dub is you can tell the VA's take cues from the English version, even if they were far more expressive than the English rai, so it's fun to see how their delivery changes when basing their performance on the Nick voices instead
The difference is very noticable, and is actually making me appreciate the English rai version more for providing a better source if nothing else. Bloom and Stella still sound very much like themselves, but like toned down versions. I did find that most of the scenes worked better for me after watching it in Dutch. Nostalgia goggles at work of course, but Bloom's Baby Voice and Stella's sarcasm can make any scene feel more in character. Plus Bloom's VA brought back some of that nervousness that was missing in English, Stella's VA didn't even try to do the valley girl thing, and both of them had some slightly altered lines that fit much better imo
The special def starts to suffer as soon as the girls get to Alfea. It just feels like they wanted to get as much info out of the way asap, and the characters really suffer for it. Especially the bond between the Winx. For as well as they still managed to set up Bloom and Stella, without the mini plot about Bloom's fake identity, a scene of them hanging out in Magix, and the girls listening to Bloom's pleas to Faragonda it just feels incomplete. I almost wish they would have just cut that first outing alltogether and jumped straight to that swamp assignment to get early bonding there instead. I at least think they should have held off on them naming the club. I'll defend it happening that early in the OG for various reasons, but they should have left that for the end of the special here
I don't care for these versions of the Trix, both in how their dialogue is written and acted, even the Dutch versions who still have their iconic(and I do mean ICONIC they're so damn good) bitch voices can't save it
For the rest of the girls I'd argue that the voice acting quality in this dub is objectively the best out of all the English ones, but I can't help but feel like they all sound way too similar. I would not be able to tell who was talking if I wasn't watching the screen. In Dutch there's the unfortunate fact that Tecna's VA changed and it really throws me off even though the new one does a good job. With Musa and Flora it's the same as Bloom and Stella, they sound like themselves just toned down
I don't agree with the decision to make the school cleaning storyline the first story. On some level I get why they did it. It's a story that heavily features the specialists who needed more of an introduction, it includes some neat hints about Bloom having the Dragon Flame, and it's just a really fun adventure in general. It's just that it doesn't work well with how little time the girls have had together. Either the swamp, or Stella being kindnapped would have been better. Ignoring that I did have a lot of fun watching it as just alternate versions of the original scenes though
Now, while shitting on Fate, I've actually argued in favor of Bloom being confirmed as the keeper of the Dragon Flame being a season 1 finale thing, so naturally I approve of it as an ending for a special. In theory. The execution was lacking to say the least and I would have preffered for them to save it for the next one just to get more time with Bloom as just Bloom. As it is it feels really rushed and Kiko's fake-out death was so much less impactful. I do like the concept of Bloom's first transformation happening in a more high pressure situation but it just ended up distracting from the point of the scene. Also how did the Trix even end up considering it was her? Pretty sure they skipped over that completely
All in all, while not nearly as bad as it could have been, the special did not manage to convey the story of ep 1-10 properly. It was to be expected since condensing a full season into a few specials is a stupid idea, so I can't get too pressed about it. I'd even say a good chunk of it was enjoyable if viewed as extra content instead of a replacement for season 1. And not to always be on 4kids' case but honestly? I liked this a lot better
Outside of that obvious issue my biggest problem with the writing itself is that it feels very American. To me a big part of what makes Winx Winx is that it isn't American, and I gotta say that besides the gross whitewashing crap, I think that attempting to appeal to American audiences is where Winx went wrong, and that shows already in this special. I can't help but wonder where the show would be now if it had remained true to it's roots, instead of trying to break into the U.S market. It was never going to be as big there as in Europe, and now it's not doing good in either area
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