There's a New Princess in Mysticons

The action-packed girl-power Nickelodeon cartoon, Mysticons, just had a plot-shattering reveal in their latest episode. Before you begin reading, please be aware that this thread contains major spoilers for the episodes "Three Mysticons and a Baby" and "Star-Crossed Sisters." If you don't want the episodes spoiled, feel free to watch them on Nickelodeon's website and come back after you've finished. I was surprised to learn that the series did not have much of a break between seasons one and two. Instead, they decided to kick off the second season in a big way. Are you ready for it? It turns out that Princess Arkayna is not the only daughter of Queen Goodfey. Years before the show began, Nova Terron, the authoritarian leader of the astromancers, separated Arkayna from her (fraternal) twin sister at birth in order to prevent a dangerous prophecy from coming true.

Who is the new princess who spent her life in isolation without knowing her family? It's someone who had already been introduced to the show but did not play a major role until now. Proxima, the bookish astromancer who was introduced late in the first season, was just revealed as Arkayna's long-lost sister. That doesn't mean it's all smiles and giggles between the two princesses from here on out, though. Just like the rest of the main cast, Proxima and Arkayna have two very different personalities. Proxima is a stickler for the rules and a willful loner, while Arkayna is sociable and not afraid to bend the rules to suit her own purposes. True to both of their characters, it takes some convincing for Arkayna to get Proxima go out for some sisterly bonding time in spite of the strict rules the other astromancers have to keep them apart in the most recent episode.

What I found interesting about this new development is that Proxima never even acknowledged that being Arkayna's sister makes her a princess. Unlike most girls, it was not something that she ever dreamed about or cared about. When she reluctantly revealed her real dream to Arkayna later in the episode of having a mother, it made the situation that much more tragic due to the unfortunate circumstances that had befallen the king and queen. Unlike in Anastasia, being a newly discovered princess does not always mean entering a life of luxury. In fact, learning the truth made Proxima's already lonely life even more lonely because being seen in public with Arkayna could potentially put the whole world in danger.

When Proxima was introduced, she did not particularly stand out. She was a quiet nerd who did as she was told and spent most of her time studying in solitude. Learning the truth about her past did not change this in any way. Even when Arkayna pushed her into having a girls day out, there was no stereotypical makeover scene where Proxima would remove her glasses, change her drab clothes, and get a more interesting hairdo à la The Princess Diaries. In the Mysticons universe, being a princess does mean the nerdy girl must change her physical appearance and learn to put on airs for her people. After spending a carefree day with her royal sister, Proxima was still the same mousy introvert she was before. The only difference was that now she knew she had a family, not that there was much she could do about it without putting everyone else's lives at risk.

The Mysticons universe is not a kind one, even if you're a princess, or perhaps especially so. Even though it may not be the most captivating cartoon on TV, it does continue to cross boundaries by deconstructing fantasy stereotypes. The idea of a nerdy girl becoming a princess is certainly not a new one, but it is rare for the nerdy girl to stay nerdy upon learning that she's royalty. By doing this, Mysticons subtly conveys the message that there's no need to change who you are in order to match the circumstances you were born into. Becoming a princess does not magically solve all of Proxima's problems. She is still tragically separated from her family, and she still has just as much trouble opening up to people as before. Proxima and Arkayna both have a lot more growing to do but in very different ways. I look forward to seeing if their unfortunate circumstances will improve any time soon.


Hope35 said…
Didn't want to leave this thread with no comments even if Mysticons gave this idea the shaft after dragging us along into it for about 5 weeks before saying, "Oh, Proxima's NOT the twin, she was just a cover story for Zarya who IS the twin."

But I struck another concern when I was comparing Proxima and Tazma to Mal and Doug. This show seems to have a "smart girls who study and work hard suck" attitude where the 4 young Astromancers are concerned.

Both young ladies felt their power levels were inadequate so they studied and worked hard to make up for it.

So their reward for that is they both become villainesses, one driven by obsessive power grasping and the other by disappointment and loneliness.

Meanwhile, Mal and Doug continue partying on, happy to be at lower levels among the Astromancers with no aspirations of getting any better except for occasionally doing what's needed to help the Mysticons.

In fact we don't even know if Doug actually has any Astromancer powers or if he's just book smart (though seemingly not enough to be promoted out of the Starling/lowest Astromancer level as of this writing).

It makes it look like being a smart girl, who works and studies hard to improve her skills and talents, can only lead to corruption while if you're a semi-smart slacker guy you get to be and stay noble, so we've got both sexism and anti-intelligence agendas working here.

Unless you're a Mysticon or a lucky female friend (i.e. Kitty) you're not allowed to be and stay a noble smart girl on this show without going evil (Em, you're LUCKY you're a Mysticon).
Hope35 said…
This may sound totally silly (& it's an idea I HOPE isn't true) but I saw a poster in a different Mysticons' comment board who wondered if this quickie twin change MIGHT have been due to good old Executive Meddling, that perhaps the creators of this show DID want Proxi to be and stay the twin but someone on an Executive level cried fowl that a little awkward geek would not sell action figures like a taller dynamic athletic gal (read Zarya) who was already a member of the team.

But they did produce an evil Proxi action figure anyway (& now it makes me realize why her and Taz most likely had been villains - I don't believe the show wants to create and market figures and other items that feature really old villains like Dreadbane and Necrafa. They WANT villains who are around the same age as the heroes.)

It doesn't mean that Proxi & Taz couldn't ever be redeemed and returned to being or just become good guys but I strongly suspect they would be succeeded by yet another young villainess in that case.
Hope35 said…
I've been thinking a lot about Taz too because there is A LOT we don't know about her.

We don't know anything about her (& her younger bro Mal's) parents except that I strongly suspect they died when both were quite young (Mal never mentions his parents so he's either estranged from them or they are deceased and he doesn't want to add to his gf Kay's sadness by revealing that) then I picture them being raised by their dimension hopping Auntie Yaga for a while before joining the Astromancer Academy.

Could it be that they had a muggle (yep, Harry Potter fan here)/mage parent mixture, with one parent being a very powerful mage and the other being either a weak mage or a complete muggle with Mal inheriting a greater power level and Taz a lesser one?

Or is there more to the story we don't know? Maybe Taz does have a power level equal to or greater than her bro but something is holding down her ability to use her full power: corruption, a curse, low self-esteem, yeah we could keep guessing that for a while.

I'm not inclined to think Taz was born evil. I think she and her bro were close when they were little and something happened along the way that left her vulnerable to corruption either before or during her time in Astromancer Academy (which would make for another potentially interesting story arc - what if there IS a strong source of evil power in the Academy and occasionally an Astromancer falls victim to it but it was kept secret from the public until very young flagrantly evil victims like Taz and Proxi fell victim to it and could not be contained and kept secret from the general public by being imprisoned in the Academy - what if the Mysticons had to find this evil and either contain or destroy it even at the risk that they might be corrupted too?)

Sadly, I don't think this one is likely to be explored in the limited amount of time the cartoon series has left and even the future books though certainly I would rather see future Mysticons writers give us this info instead of just having to hop onto my own ideas and incorporate them into my fanfics (not that it isn't fun to do though, LOL).

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