WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
It has been ten long years of guessing, theorizing, and anticipating the return of GMA’s most iconic fantaserye. Last Monday our wait finally ended. Encantadia is back, and millennials are basking in all the nostalgic glory of their childhood reborn. All of our childish fantasies have returned to primetime television and it’s come back bigger, better, and infinitely more awesome.
Now it’s time to get down to business and check in on all of Encantadia 2016’s glorious upgrades. So far.
3. The Context
Since the first week was all about exposition, let’s have a recap of some of the more notable backstories that we’ve been given so far.
For all and any teleserye and/or fantaserye, the first week is always exposition week. It can be a little tedious at times, but it’s necessary for laying out the foundation of the show, especially for GMA’s acclaimed “most ambitious project.” The wonderful thing about this series specifically, I think, is that it is basically a revision. And it seems that the writing team is using this opportunity to the fullest to solidify the myth, the plot holes, and the motivations of everything and everyone. From what I’ve seen so far I can say, solid to pre.
Of course, there’s the story of Cassiopeia and the gems.
This time around, the story behind the breaking of the gem that once ruled them all has been revised into a more cohesive story. Each kingdom has been made more distinct from one another; the characteristics of each kingdom given more purpose and definition.
Cassiopeia too is no longer just a side character given a spin-off. She’s now central to the story and her conflict with newcomer Adhara sets into motion the major event or conflict that our Sang’gres would be moving in.
Something really new from the requel is the story of Amihan’s namesake. On the very first episode, it’s revealed to us that our Sang’gre Amihan was actually named after Mine-a’s sister who dies by Mine-a’s own hands due to the deception of another new character—Adhara “Ang Taksil na Diwata.”
I was a bit skeptical about Amihan Sr.’s addition at first. Later on though, I could see how she adds some meat to the serene Mine-a, giving us the first glimpse of the queen in battle as she confronts Adhara pretending to be Amihan. We’re even given a sample of the Inang Reyna’s intense and terrifying rage following Amihan’s death. The new queen really gives meaning to the saying “ang taong walang kibo, nasa loob ang kulo.“
Speaking of Mine-a’s hidden rage, I also have to mention the backstory they made regarding the Hathors Orc-esque appearance. Before, Hathor were presented as Orc-like creatures right off the bat and without any explanation. Having Mine-a be the cause of their brutish features adds a tasteful complexity to the story and the dynamic between the ex-fiancée’s, Hagorn and Mine-a.
It’s beautiful to have everything collated into one cohesive story, leaving room for more of the actual adventure to unfold. Then, the viewers finally got an explanation behind the tattoos on Hagorn’s face. This one was quite possibly the one that I loved the most. The writers of the show were able to place meaning in an aesthetic choice made from way before and further enrich the story by making the markings on Hagorn’s face be a reminder of an agreement between Hagorn and the Diwatas’ enemy in book three, the goddess Ether.
Lastly, the backstory of this week is about Mine-a and the romantic limits of her queenship. It has finally been cleared up why the queen’s daughters were sired from different fathers, and why Raquim and Mine-a remained unwed despite their mutual love for each other. The Ynang Reyna cannot wed and must focus on reproducing with fathers from different kingdoms. How progressive of Lireo. I love.
2. Platforms and Nuances
Another notable change from Encantadia 2.0 are the additions and modifications made in the production. Sure, some of them were a bit questionable. But then, we also have the utilization of other media platforms in their work.
First, they published the entire font of enchante online, made available for all the millennials to fawn over.
Then, we also have GMA’s youtube channel. Unlike other the youtube channel of other TV networks, the production team of Encantadia 2.0 is also using GMA’s youtube to release videos not featured in the actual show. These are videos that still contribute to the story but they seem to have deemed unnecessary for primetime TV. They feature things like the origin of Encantadia, which explains the term “Bathaluma” used on the show. Think Game of Thrones historical videos, ganun yung peg.
I also have to mention the improvement in nuance that the show has acquired. From the details of every costume, to the clarified presence of the nomadic soldiers post Sappiro-Hathoria war, up until the background music used per every shot. Everything contributes to the world-building of the show, and my little fantasy-geek heart swells up with joy every time.
Lastly, we have the added creatures in Encantadia’s atlas of Pashnea. If, before, we were only fawning over the furry Awoo, now prepare yourself for mermaids, more trolls, and…dragons!!!
I’d also like to give a shoutout to the team responsible for this show’s CGI. The work and the concepts are so on point.