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Fate: The Winx Saga Delivers a Whitewashed & Glitter-Free Adaptation of the Cartoon

Netflix image of Winx club series and the animated show

Netflix released a trailer for their upcoming young adult adaptation of the popular Italian-American animated series Winx Club, titled Fate: The Winx Saga, and it is as sadly generic young adult fantasy as one would expect.

When I think of The Winx Club as a series, I think of the bright color palette, the over-the-top costumes, and the pure, sparkly magical girl elements of the series. This ain’t it.

An interview, Iginio Straffi, the creator of Winx Club, said that the new Netflix series was meant for “older” fans of the animated series, and it would be “edgier and darker.” Except why would adult fans of a magical girl animated cartoon want a show that does not incorporate any of the aesthetic of the series? It’s like making an adaptation of a mecha anime and they never actually get in giant robots.

Also disappointing is the whitewashing of Musa and the erasure of Flora. Straffi wanted the series to be more diverse, and Flora was designed with Jennifer Lopez in mind, and Musa with Lucy Lui. When the show went to America and there was discussion of the lack of Black characters (and one racist moment in the first season), the character of Aisha was introduced.

From what I can see from the casting, the character of Flora has been removed, and Musa’s actress, Elisha Applebaum, does not appear to be East Asian. Aisha, thankfully, is included and is a dark-skinned woman, but this means that rather than an even split of racial and ethnic diversity among the core six, there is now only one major character of color in the cast. There is a good piece of news, Eliot Salt has been cast as a character named Terra, so there will be at least some body diversity in the series.

This frustration is part of an already existing frustration of the constant lightening and erasure of characters that has been happening in marketing forever.

Still, it is so disappointing, and frankly rude af, to assume that what adults want is grimdark teen drama! We want sparkles. There is a pandemic! Also, where are the witches of Cloud Tower serving high goth petty realness?

With the popularity of cartoons still going strong in the media, especially with older millennials, I am just always going to be disappointed that when the opportunity to make something campy, fun, and colorful presents itself, people will decide to make something that looks like every other modern-day “fantasy” series of the past ten years. If you told me this was Legacies on The CW, I’d believe it, and that’s not a good thing.

Winx Club, while inferior to W.I.T.C.H., had a vibe that was iconic in its own way, and this, fam, is not it.

(image: Screengrab/Netflix/Nickelodeon)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.