I said this about Nabu at the end of the last post: “Rather, [Rainbow] created him because of a dilemma in Winx season three.”
Imagine Secret of the Lost Kingdom was the finale of Winx Club, since it wrapped up the main plot with Bloom finding her birth parents and saving Domino. This means season three was the last season. We all know Rainbow planned to stop there.
Aisha debuted in Winx season two, but Rainbow didn’t give her a love interest. (Would have been the best time to introduce Nex, but oh well.) You know the rules: a Winx can’t be single for more than one season.
But Winx Club only had one season left. That complicated things. For starters, it meant we’d never see Aisha and her boyfriend as a couple for a full season.
Let me repeat that: we’d never see Aisha and her boyfriend as a couple for a full season. That’s the dilemma. In this retcon of Winx Club history, Aisha and Nabu are the only couple who never dated onscreen.
That meant their love story had to accomplish two things:
Introduce a love interest we’d care about, even though we’d barely get to see him as her boyfriend
Convince us their relationship might work out, even though Rainbow would never develop it
How did the writers solve this dilemma? They threw Aisha into an arranged marriage to a genderbent version of herself.
Disagree? Then tell me — if you literally turned Aisha into a guy, would “he” be that different from Nabu? No. “He” would:
Still be from Andros
Still be rich — and since Nabu was a prince in the Winx comics, “he” would still be royalty
Have a nearly identical backstory
Still like the same things (water sports, “The New Waves” band, etc.)
“He” would also still have magic powers, but since fairies are female in Winx Club, “he” would have to be a different type of magic being. What’s the closest thing to a male fairy in this series? A wizard.
Rainbow didn’t hide what they were doing. Aisha and Nabu frequently remarked on how similar they were, and after he told his backstory to the Winx, Bloom said, “Just like Aisha.” Bloom did the same thing in season four with Roxy. Twice, she told her, “You’re so much like me!” She also thought it a few times. Lampshading much?
On my other blog, I wrote a post about why Nabu was a Soul Mate Sue (a.k.a. Relationship Sue). The term came from an article about Mary Sues on a fanfiction site called Tokio Hotel Fiction. One tip to avoid writing a Soul Mate Sue relationship was to not give the love interest everything in common with their partner.
“But Nabu didn’t have everything in common with her,” you say. “He had a different personality. He was calmer, wiser, more polite…”
That’s because his backstory only mattered for his role as Aisha’s love interest. It didn’t shape his own character — his personality, his opinions of the world, etc. — and it didn’t influence his interactions with other characters. This is common with Mary Sues. They often have tragic or difficult pasts that never hold them back in life, physically or emotionally. After all, they must be perfect no matter what.
In Nabu’s case, since he had the same backstory, we extended the empathy we felt for Aisha towards him. And since we think having everything in common equals perfect compatibility, we assumed their relationship could last. Plus, this was an arranged marriage, so we expected them to get married someday.
Disney Princess Plots
So why doesn’t the Winx fandom see Nabu as a Soul Mate Sue or a copy of Aisha? Why did we fall for Rainbow’s laziness?
Because we’re used to these types of love stories. Tokio Hotel Fiction called them “Disney princess plots”, and they are. Most Disney princess movies are like this:
The princess meets her prince.
They fall madly in love in a couple days — or a couple hours. It’s usually first love for both of them (just like Aisha and Nabu), and Disney wants us to believe it’s “true love”, not infatuation or anything else.
They survive an adventure together.
They get married and live “happily ever after”.
This works for a quick love story with no development, but not for a more natural relationship that gradually blossoms and deepens. Unfortunately, Rainbow didn’t have time to give Aisha that type of relationship, so they had to cut corners.
I’ve already talked about one drawback of Aisha and Nabu’s love story. She had an abnormal and restrictive childhood, and she left Andros to escape it. What she needed wasn’t someone exactly like her, but someone different to balance her life out with some normalcy.
But that’s not the biggest problem. Aisha didn’t have a character goal, right? Nabu made things worse. He nullified what little plot she had to build on.