W.I.T.C.H. is a French/American animated magical girl television series based on the Italian comic book series of the same name, produced by SIP Animation in association and participation by France 3, Jetix Europe, CNC, PROCIREP, AGICOA, the Poitou-Charentes region and the Charente department. Akin to the comic, the television series follows five ordinary girls: Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia and Hay Lin who are endowed with magical powers and become the "Guardians of the Veil". Despite the title of the series, the five main protagonists are magical, yet, ironically, not witches.
Production and development
Two seasons were produced, both of which adapt plot elements from The Twelve Portals and Nerissa's Revenge comic arcs and consist of 26 episodes each. For season 2, SIP Animation brought a new studio for production. SIP Animation completed the full production of W.I.T.C.H. Season 2 around September 2005, and it premiered in the United States, Canada and The UK in June 2006.
The UK and US versions of the show have different theme songs. The UK introduction shows the girls and their powers in a "story version" with unique footage for the opening, while the US version shows action clips from some episodes and scenes from the W.I.T.C.H. demo reel.
From episode 14 onwards, a new version of "We Are W.I.T.C.H.", sung by Marion Raven, is used as the show's opening theme, replacing the "demo" version of the theme.
The Guardians must save Meridian from the evil sorcerer Phobos and Cedric who are searching for Phobos' sister, the long lost princess of Meridian and true heir to the throne. They later find her and the Guardians then set about saving her from Phobos. When Meridian is freed from evil and true heir takes the throne, a new mysterious sorceress named Nerissa frees Phobos' top henchmen and reforms them as the Knights of Vengeance. Once the Guardians learn more about the sorceress and her evil plan of reuniting former Guardians, they are able to defeat the Knights only to have more powerful Knights of Destruction, in addition to the former Guardians attack them.
The Guardians' chief ally is Hay Lin's grandmother Yan Lin, a former Guardian herself, and the one that taught the girls about their magical destiny. They are also helped by Caleb, a heroic soldier from Meridian, leader of the rebellion against Phobos, and Blunk, a frog-like goblin creature (known as a Passling) who takes things from the human world to Meridian (and vice-versa), humorously mistaking everyday objects for other things or items of value. Matt, Will's boyfriend, accidentally learns about Meridian and when he sees the troubles there going on, he learns how to become a warrior to help them. They are also helped by the Oracle, leader of the Universe in Kandrakar, who was the one who chose the Guardians.
- Will Vandom (voiced by Kelly Stables) is the daughter of Susan and Tony Vandom, leader of The Guardians of the Veil and the current owner of the Heart of Kandrakar. After an after school snack at Hay Lin's place her grandmother, Yan Lin, informs her of her destiny as Leader of the Guardians. Originally Will had no powers other than flight and the ability to change the Guardians into their mystic forms with the Heart but after the Veil is removed in series 2 she gains the power of Quintessence (Electrokinesis) and she becomes a Technopath which means she can communicate with anything electrical. Will's boyfriend is Matt Olsen.
- Irma Lair (voiced by Candi Milo) is the daughter of Tom and Anna Lair and Guardan of Water. Irma has the power of flight and can control Water (Hydrokinesis) and after the Veil is removed she gains the power of mind-control. Irma has no boyfriend but Martin Tubbs has a huge crush on her but she has a huge crush on Andrew Hornby.
- Taranee Cook (voiced by Kali "Kitty" Troy) is the daughter of Lionel and Theresa Cook and Guardian of Fire. Taranee has the power of flight and can control fire (Pyrokinesis and Thermokinesis) and after the Veil is removed she gains the power of Telepathy but only with the other Guardians. Taranee's boyfriend is Nigel Ashcroft.
- Cornelia Hale (voiced by Christel Khalil) is the daughter of Harold and Elizabeth Hale and Guardian of Earth. Cornelia has the power of flight and can control earth (Geokinesis and Chlorokinesis) and after the Veil is removed she gains the power of Telekinesis as well as being able to change into her Guardian from without the clothes and wings. Cornelia's boyfriend is Caleb.
- Hay Lin (voiced by Liza del Mundo) is Yan Lin's granddaughter and Guardian of Air. Hay Lin has the power of flight and can control air (Aerokinesis), hear miles away using air particles and after the Veil is removed she gains the power of Invisibility. Hay Lin's boyfriend is Eric Lyndon.
- Season 1
- Prince Phobos (voiced by Mitchell Whitfield) is the main villain of the first season, Tried to steal the throne of Meridian, Elyon's powers, and later steals the Seal of Nerissa. Voiced by Mitchell Whitfield.
- Lord Cedric (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is Phobos' General who has the ability to shape-shift into a man-snake hybrid.
- Season 2
- Nerissa Crossnic (voiced by Kath Soucie) is a Past guardian of Quintessence who steals the hearts of Meridian and Zamballa, and is main villain of season 2.
- The Knights of Vengeance are Nerissa's minions to distract the guardians while she steals Elyon's Powers.
- The Knights of Destruction are Nerissa's minions made to fight the new guardians while she collects the old ones.
- C.H.Y.K.N. is the group of past Guardians and Nerissa's old friends, who were tricked into her control through flaws in their souls, except for Yan Lin who never gave in and instead is trapped in Nerissa's seal with Elyon.
The Hearts are the sources of mystical energy for the worlds they come from. They can be represented by a jewel, a talisman or a living being. Prominently featured in the series is the Heart of Kandrakar, a pendant that allows W.I.T.C.H. to transform. Most of the time a Heart is found to be in the form of living being, as it is for Earth, Meridian, and Aridia.
Various planets play an important role in the W.I.T.C.H. series. Earth is the home of the Guardians of the Veil, later the Infinite Dimensions while Meridian, Kandrakar and Zamballa are mystical planets that are introduced as the story progresses and the evil forces get stronger. Nerissa briefly visited a place called Aridia, a desert realm in an attempt to steal their Heart (an unnamed male rock giant). But her attempt failed when the Seal of Nerissa signalled that the other members of C.H.Y.K.N. were freed from her control.
Zamballa was first introduced in the season 2 episode "P is for Protectors". Zamballa is a purple world with a jungle stretching out as far as the eye can see. At the centre is a Pyramid, the palace where Kadma lives while the Veil is still in effect. The Zamballans themselves look like walking purple trees. The Guardians learned of Zamballa from Yan Lin, who told them the story of when she was a Guardian and had to protect the world of Zamballa from an attack of Phobos. Kadma led the attack against him. After, the Zamballans were so grateful that they offered her the Heart of Zamballa itself and made her Queen. However, the Veil was raised and cut off Kadma her Guardian friends and other worlds and she had to live there without hope of leaving.
But with the Veil lifted and Nerissa out to control the Ex-Guardians, they agree Kadma must be warned, but Nerissa and her Knights are already there and are glamoured as W.I.T.C.H. destroying Zamballa. Soon Kadma learns of the deception and with Taranee's help she manages to defeat Nerissa. In the next episode, "Q is for Quarry", the Guardians and Kadma team up to defeat Nerissa once and for all and come up with the idea of taking the Heart of Meridian. At first, Will gets the chance to, but refuses, saying that much power will corrupt her. Kadma instead takes it and merges the two Hearts, which form the Seal of Nerissa. Because Hearts cannot be taken by force, soon Nerissa will have two Hearts and Kadma under her control. The Zamballians and the Guardians gather to discuss what should happen next.
Ironwood makes herself Regent of Zamballa and her first act is to banish the Guardians, Yan Lin, Blunk, and Caleb from their world so that Nerissa is never tempted to return. In "Z is for Zenith" the Heart of Zamballa is returned and Kadma abdicates from her throne to live on Earth, while Ironwood takes the Heart and is made Queen herself.
W.I.T.C.H. has been released on DVD in Europe, Australia, the Philippines (also in VCD format), Brazil, and Malaysia containing episodes of the first season which was divided into volumes of varying number of episodes. Each volume contains 2 art cards, each featuring one of the W.I.T.C.H. girls. The first three volumes were released in 2006 on 1 May, 19 June, 21 August respectively. In October 2007 the volumes were re-released as a DVD box set along with the box set of volumes four, five and six. Between all the DVDs, the entire first season of W.I.T.C.H. has been released. "W.I.T.C.H The Complete First Season" has been released as a single set in the US.