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Western Animation / Herself the Elf

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Herself the Elf (middle) and friends

Herself the Elf was a girl-oriented franchise from the early 1980s created by Those Characters From Cleveland. Starting life as a character on greeting cards, Herself became popular enough to get toys, records, books, and a cartoon special produced by Nelvana, which featured Judy Collins on music. Herself the Elf and her elfin friends are protectors and guardians of nature, using their magic wands to attend to every detail of our world.

The cartoon special, The Special Magic of Herself the Elf, followed the evil Thorn and his daughter, Creeping Ivy, who want nothing more than to take Herself's magic wand and ruin nature. They quickly capture Herself and take the wand, but it won't work in the hands of a stranger for a year and a day. One year later, time's almost up, and Herself's friends join with Wilfie the wood sprite to find Herself and retrieve her wand before everything is ruined.

A reboot cartoon was announced in 2016, but nothing has come of it yet.

The special contains examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Woodpink constantly fusses over her appearance and has a haughty personality, to the point that even the other elves are annoyed at her.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Thorn and Ivy love to see people unhappy and plot to ruin nature because they can.
  • Catchphrase: Willow Song constantly asks "Isn't there an easier way to do this?"
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Creeping Ivy shares her father's villainous ambitions and wants to become queen.
  • Damsel in Distress: Herself is captured and locked in a thorny briar patch for a year, and the others are quickly captured when they try to rescue the wand.
  • Deranged Animation: Thorn and Ivy's Villain Song has this, especially when they sing about making people unhappy.
  • Downer Beginning: The special starts with Herself being captured and imprisoned for a year while her friends fruitlessly search for her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Crops up in the very last minute of the special when Wilfie is denied admittance to the elves' party because he's a wood sprite, apparently as a prank since Herself invites him anyway.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The narrator, Wilfie, assures us shortly after Herself is captured that he met the other elves just in time to save her and stop Thorn's plan.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Herself loves all animals, and they love her in return. The special starts with her teaching a baby deer how to walk.
  • Garden Garment:
    • Parts of Creeping Ivy's outfit include leafy short sleeves and a foliaged skirt.
    • The hemlines of the elves' skirts/dresses are shaped like various kinds of flower petals. Some are stellate or funnel-form; others are trumpet-shaped.
  • Green Thumb: Creeping Ivy can grow long, tangling vines from her fingers to capture Herself remotely, and can also make leaf barriers to block her way.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • On the villains' side, Ivy and Vendetta successfully capture Herself, her wand, and three of the other elves rather quickly, while Thorn sits and waits in his lab and isn't as effective.
    • On the heroes' side, Willow Song is constantly looking for easier ways to do things, is the only one who hears Herself's cries for help, is the one who distracts Thorn and Vendetta long enough for Herself to get her wand back, and incapacitates Ivy and Thorn with music so the others can escape.
  • "I Am" Song: The special starts with a song sung from Herself's perspective, describing her magic and duties to nature, and ends on the same note as all the elves sing about their powers.
  • Invisibility with Drawbacks: Woodpink makes her colors disappear to become invisible and hide from Ivy, but it wears off quickly and she's caught.
  • Just in Time: Herself regains her wand and her powers seconds before time's almost up.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: If anyone but Herself tries to use her wand, it won't work for a year and a day.
  • Magic Wand: The elves' powers are contained in their wands, and Thorn is determined to steal Herself's wand to gain power over nature.
  • Missing Mom: Herself's father is mentioned (the elf king who died recently) but nothing about her mother or whether she had one at all. Similarly, on the antagonist side we have the evil Thorn and his daughter the wicked Creeping Ivy but no mention of a mother.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The elves use their various powers individually to try and reach Thorn's castle, but end up destroying the bridge used to get there and alerting Thorn to their presence.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: Herself, Snowdrop, Meadow Morn, Woodpink, and Willow Song are all in charge of nature and have various duties related to shaping its colors, sounds, and seasons.
  • Plant Hair: Ivy's hair is leafy and she wears green leaves as ribbons.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Double subverted. It seems like every elf's individual powers will be used to save the day, but their powers are a hindrance individually, the wands stop working due to Herself's magic fading, and they're captured before long. Then Willow Song uses her voice-changing powers just long enough to distract Thorn to get the wand back, and everyone else uses their powers to stop the villains and escape safely.
  • Polluted Wasteland: Thorn lives in a polluted, nasty swamp and uses smoke to put out the sun.
  • Race Against the Clock: With a year gone by, the heroines have only a day to retrieve Herself's wand before Thorn gains control over nature.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The elves' magic is cast via rhyming spells.
  • Storming the Castle: The elves storm Thorn's castle to retrieve Herself's wand.
  • Team Pet: Wilfie has a friendly caterpillar he uses for a hat, and Thorn has Vendetta, a wicked female vulture.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Vendetta's eyelashes are the only visual indication she's a girl.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Creeping Ivy and Thorn didn't get toys made, and neither did their pet vulture Vendetta. Wilfie downplays this as he never got a doll, but appeared on merchandise such as puzzles and cups.
  • Villain Song: Thorn and Ivy sing a song about how they want to ruin nature and love seeing people unhappy.
  • Voice Changeling: Willow Song demonstrates this ability by mimicking Thorn's voice as a ruse, but this effect wears off quickly.
  • Weakened by the Light: Thorn and Ivy are allergic to light, and letting the sun in blinds them long enough for the elves to escape.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: While the other elves' powers are useful in getting in and out of Thorn's castle, Woodpink's power to change the colors of things is ineffective even when she tries to become invisible, and is the only one not used in the finale.
  • A Year and a Day: Herself's wand won't give up ownership to Thorn until a year and a day has passed since he took it. By the time the story proper begins, Herself has been captured for a year and time's almost up to return things to normal.