“Sparxshipping,” a.k.a. Bloom/Valtor, the dark and light forces of the Dragon Flame. “Zutara” (Zuko and Katara) from Avatar: The Last Airbender, a firebender and waterbender. These pairings — and technically, Kaatang (Katara and Aang), too — follow the concept of yin and yang, opposite forces in harmony with each other.
“Wait a minute. Aren’t Aisha and Nex a lot alike?”
Being yin and yang doesn’t mean being different in every way. Yin and yang are relative to each other. Object A may be opposite of Object B for a different reason than Object C. It depends on what traits you’re comparing them by.
Water and fire are yin and yang because water is cold and wet, and fire is hot and dry. But ice and running water are also yin and yang. They’re both water, but running water is liquid and active, and ice is solid and stationary. (That means Icy and Aisha are yin and yang, too.)
It’s actually more complicated than that. If you’re curious (and you’re a nerd like me), TED-Ed has a short video that explains it better.
Back to Aisha and Nex. Most Winx fans think they’re exactly alike: confident, fearless, energetic, athletic, etc. Yes, they have those traits in common — if they had nothing in common, they’d have nothing to bond over — but some of their other traits couldn’t be any more different.
For example, Nex is flirty. In his debut episode, “The Flying School” (Winx season 6, episode 3), he strutted up to the Winx and said, “Hey, ladies!” Can you imagine Aisha doing something like that? Yeah, right. In fact, it was something she didn’t like about him when they first met.
That’s just one way they’re opposites, but it’s not as important now that they’re dating. Their other differences affect their relationship now.
Yin-Yang Traits in Their Relationship
When I read a romance, I want to see how the characters complement each other — how they inspire each other to become their best selves.
This writer from StandOutBooks.com was talking about romance novels, but it applies to any love story. It’s also the essence of yin and yang. The key is to give both partners what all good characters should have: flaws. Not only are flaws more realistic and relatable, but they also give the characters starting points from which to grow.
Notice I said both partners. If one of them is flawed and the other isn’t, the balance is shallow and one-sided. A classic example would be a good-and-evil pair like Bloom and Darkar (not Valtor). Darkar was the embodiment of pure darkness. No amount of light would have changed him; Bloom’s Dragon Flame just evened things out.
The concept of yin and yang states nothing is completely yin or completely yang. Yin contains yang, yang contains yin, and everything contains both. So it’s not just about forces balancing each other out — it’s about each force becoming balanced within itself. If a couple is yin and yang, their interactions with each other should help both of them grow and change.
We don’t know how much Aisha and Nex will influence each other, but I’ve noticed they each have positive traits that balance out the weaknesses and flaws in each other. Here are a few examples.
1. Sensitivity and Insensitivity
I’ve read another blogger’s post about this couple, and she mentioned this, too. Nex “lacks sympathy and tact”. That’s why he fell in love with Aisha, who’s “quick to sympathize with people and knows how to handle other people’s feelings”.
We’ve already seen in both seasons six and seven that she’ll call him out when he’s being insensitive. He knows he needs it. Aisha can help him learn to be more compassionate.
2. Gentle and Tough
Aisha may be the no-nonsense Winx, but she’s always had a motherly side, too. She’s “Life”, so it makes sense. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that her bonded pixie is a baby. Whenever the Winx have taken care of baby creatures, she’s been the best at it.
Her weakness: she’s not good at being hard on them. In WInx season seven, she often didn’t know how to stop Squonk from crying. Nex, on the other hand, isn’t good at being soft.
Rainbow showed this difference between them in “Winx Trapped!” (Winx season 7, episode 10). When Nex had to calm Squonk down, he tried Aisha’s method first — petting and reassurance — but that didn’t fit his personality, so it failed. Then he switched over to discipline: “Don’t make any more trouble! It’s time for you to try to be nice and good!” It worked, even to his surprise.
Later in the episode, Aisha used her method: “Don’t cry, little one! I’m here now.” Squonk wasn’t as upset, so it worked, too.
Now, I’m talking about a furry, blue…whatever he’d be in real life, so it’s a weird scenario. But imagine if it had been a child instead. Maybe Aisha and Nex would respond the same way.
3. Serious and Playful
Aisha’s not boring, but she can be uptight and even moody sometimes. Even Nex called her “serious” (in the Italian version) when they first met. (He appreciates that about her, though.) And how often does she fight with Stella, the carefree comic relief of the club? Pretty much every season.
When it comes to sense of humor, Nex is more like Stella. He’s not happy-go-lucky all the time, but his default nature is outgoing and mischievous. Aisha brightens up around him.
He’s also good at cheering her up. For example, after her fight with Stella in “Broken Dreams” (Winx season 6, episode 11), she perked up when Nex challenged her to a roller blade race. He knew she would like that.
On the flip side, Nex’s humor isn’t always appropriate. That goes back to the first pair of traits. When he gets out of hand, Aisha scolds him for it.
(For another example of Aisha and Nex’s yin and yang traits, click here to read “Acting on Impulse”.)
Life and Death Need Each Other
As you read these, you may have thought, “How is this relationship working? How did they even get together?” These two don’t sound compatible — and that’s the point. The idea of yin and yang is that opposite forces need each other.
Go back to the meanings of this couple’s names. You’d think “Life” and “Death” would be enemies, but they can’t exist without each other. As soon as we’re born (i.e., given life), we begin to die. And if we didn’t know what death was, how would we understand what life is? The two concepts give each other meaning.
Life and death. They are somehow sweetly and beautifully mixed, but I don’t know how.
Sounds oddly romantic, doesn’t it? Using this idea for a couple can be powerful — if done right. That’s one reason I think Aisha and Nex are unique for Winx Club.
Yin and Yang in Their Character Design
Another way to show that two characters are opposites is through their designs: opposite motifs, complementary colors, etc. Aisha and Nex don’t literally represent the ideas in their symbolism, but Rainbow found visual ways to hint at the yin and yang theme.
1. Reversed Eye and Hair Colors
In the original Winx art style, Aisha had brown (reddish-brown) hair, and Nex had blue hair. But she had blue eyes, and he had light brown eyes.
2. Contrasting Skin Tones
They’re an “interracial” couple, right? Most of us (including me) thought that was the only point, but knowing their theme, we can think deeper. Aisha and Nex have opposite skin tones: dark skin and light skin. We’d also call them “black” and “white.” As I’ve mentioned before, this could be a visual pun, since the halves of the yin-yang symbol are literally black and white.
3. Hairstyles and Clothing Colors
Credit goes to my friend WorldOfWinxClub for discovering the hair symbolism by accident. We call Nex’s hair “spiky”, but look closer. It’s shaped like fire. Do you see it?
Aisha’s hair is wavy like — well, waves. (Duh.) It’s fire and water, just like “Zutara”. Rainbow couldn’t give Nex fire as his element because of Bloom, so they gave him a fiery personality — the hot-blooded type — with a burning head to match it. The blogger I mentioned earlier felt that Nex and Zuko are (or could become) similar characters. Maybe she was more right than she knew.
Good thing Rainbow didn’t give Aisha and Nex blue and red hair. That would have been too obvious (and cheesy). But the colors of the clothes suggest their elements. Aisha’s signature colors are blue and green, and Nex wears a lot of red and orange.
You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of symbolism! Maybe too much.” But how much of it was obvious right away? Not much, I bet. Rainbow found natural ways to work it in.
For example, who would look at Aisha and Nex’s skin tones and immediately think, “Oh, they’re yin and yang?” I doubt anyone did. We just saw an “interracial” couple. The symbolism gives it a hidden meaning, but it works without it, too.
Another example: a lot of Winx fans say these two feel like a real couple. Since the essence of yin and yang is balance, something all couples strive for, they just feel like a pair of equals. Plus, we can’t boil down all their interactions to yin and yang, so even though they have a theme, they’re still unpredictable.
Yin and yang isn’t the only symbolism in their relationship. Nex may have a fiery personality, but his weapon is The Halberd of the Wind. (They’re like “Zutara” and “Kataang”? Weird.) Choosing wind as his element was genius. Not only does it complement water as well as fire does, but it also enhances Aisha’s character concept of “Life”. I might explain how in the future.