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Western Animation / W.I.T.C.H.

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The original Disney Fairies!

"Water, fire, earth and air — Guardians, unite!"

W.I.T.C.H. is a Magical Girl fantasy animated series produced by French studio SIP Animation in close collaboration with Disney and its former global action brand Jetix (which also aired on ABC Family and ABC Kids in the US). Based on the comic book of the same name, the cartoon serves as a distilled and re-imagined version of the comic's first two story arcs, tying them together into one central and connected plot-line. The adaptation is perhaps best known for having Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman serve as showrunner during its second season, replacing writing duo Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers.

On the distant world of Meridian, a tyrannical young man named Phobos has acquired the royal throne and begun his crusade to spread his reign to all other worlds in the universe. In order to counter his ambitions, a magical wall known as the Veil was created in order to seal Meridian away from the rest of the universe. However, over time, the Veil has begun to deteriorate, creating tears in the fabric of space that serve as portals allowing free passage between Meridian and the town of Heatherfield on Earth.


In response, five young girls from Earth are recruited to become the new Guardians of the Veil, a group of super-powered defenders who are tasked with keeping order in the universe. The five girls (whose initials spell "WITCH") are joined by a Meridian rebel named Caleb who alerts them that Prince Phobos isn't just a tyrant, but an usurper to a matriarchal throne: the rightful heir is hidden somewhere on Earth. And so their mission is clear: close the portals and figure out the identity of Phobos's younger sister before his men do. But as they, the rebel forces, and an odd goblin-like smuggler work together to search for the rightful heir to the throne, the Guardians slowly begin to learn that other forces are at work behind the scenes, manipulating and coercing various events involving the war on Meridian, and that everything and everyone they encounter is not what they appear to be.


The show's second season is noteworthy for boasting heavy serialization during a period where such storytelling was rare in Western Animation. Every episode contributed to the overarching plot, as the girls come to take their roles as Guardians more and more seriously, and an increasing level of chess-like maneuvers are born from them slowly learning how to counter the The Chessmaster abilities of the season's main antagonist.

Despite laying the groundwork for an adaptation of the comic's third story arc, and relatively high ratings on various Jetix blocks and networks, producer and investor disinterest resulted in the show's second season being its last.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Caleb, though only when it comes to non-powered opponents.
  • Action Girl: Well, it's a show with heroines and an acronym for a title. To make this scream action girl any louder, you'd have to add the word "squad!"
  • Action-Hogging Opening: In the US, the opening was replaced with a Clip Show consisting almost entirely of action clips ripped out of context, making the show seem far more hardcore than it actually is.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In general, the colors in the show are way lighter than in the comics.
    • Matt and Hay Lin's grandmother both got black hair in the cartoon adaptation (whereas they originally had brown and grey hair respectively).
    • In the comics, Phobos and Elyon have medium straw blond hair. In the show, they have a platinum shade.
    • Irma's hair is a lighter shade of brown.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the comics, Irma is somewhat chubby Depending on the Artist. In the show, she's just as thin as the others.
  • Adaptational Badass: Caleb is a lot more badass as Rebel Leader, even verging on The Ace.
  • Adaptational Curves: The comics artstyle makes the girls look significantly younger than they're supposed to be when in human form, contrasting sharply with their Guardian forms. This is especially true for Will, who has A-Cup Angst and prefers to be in Guardian form as a result, and Hay Lin, who's much skinnier than even her friends. In the show, however, they look like the young teenagers they are in human form, so the effect of the transformation is downplayed. Ironically, all of them are about a year younger in the first episode than at the start of the comics.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: In the comics, Caleb doesn't appear until the middle of the first arc. In the cartoon, Caleb is the very first character seen in the show (not counting the Title Sequence).
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: The entirety of Kandrakar. It's lampshaded too.
    Irma: Wait-wait-wait, Kandrakar exists? Huh, I thought it was just a magical brand name.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Cornelia is presented as generally ruder and more aggressive than she is in the comics, especially in the first few episodes. In the comics she is a Bully Hunter, but in the cartoon prior to her Character Development she was verging on The Bully herself.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Hay Lin's Guardian outfit is less revealing in the show.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • Elyon's (adoptive) name is Elyon Portrait in the comics, Elyon Brown in the show.
    • Matt's band is called Cobalt Blue in the comics, Wreck-55 in the show.
    • Will's full first name (which she hates either way) is Wilhelmina in the comics, Wilma in the show.
    • In the comics, the world that Caleb, Elyon, Phobos, Cedric etc. come from is called Metamoor, or the Metaworld, and Meridian is the name of its capital city. Here, Meridian is the name of the world.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Nerissa, while still a villain, has some redeeming qualities. Unlike in the comics, she is actually remorseful over murdering Cassidy, and genuinely loves her son, Caleb and her lover/Caleb's father, Julian, but not enough to redeem her.
    Yan Lin: Are you going to destroy us like you destroyed Cassidy? Does her memory mean so little to you?
    Nerissa: You have no idea what she meant to me!
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul:
    • In the comics, Will and Taranee are both new students when the story begins; in the show, Will is the only newcomer and Taranee is already friends with Cornelia, Hay Lin, Irma and Elyon, though she was new the previous year.
    • In the comics, Elyon had a crush on Matt, and her jealousy of Will dating Matt was a factor in her Face–Heel Turn. Here, he doesn't appear to be anything more than another classmate to her.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Cedric and Elyon suffered this in the cartoon series. In the comics, Cedric was a more formidable fighter and gained several different new forms, whereas in the show he's always under The Worf Effect, while Elyon in the comics had her own agency as a villain and was nigh-invincible once she became the Light of Meridian, while in the show she's a total dupe of her brother and gets imprisoned by Nerissa even as the Heart of Meridian.
    • Will had her energy powers from the beginning in the comics, whereas in the show she spends the whole first season without any and uses "Heart" or "The Heart" as her transformation phrase, leaving her with only the ability to fly, activate the others' Elemental Powers, and (after the Heart absorbs the Seal of Phobos) create portals. In the second season, she finally starts manifesting (and saying) Quintessence. Out-of-universe, this had to do with the change of showrunners. In-universe, it's explained as the Heart of Kandrakar not having had enough energy to grant Will her full powers while it was helping maintain the Veil, which went down at the end of the first season.
  • Aerith and Bob: In Meridian, we have names like Caleb and Cedric alongside Phobos and Elyon. And on Earth, we have names such as Matt, Nigel, Martin, and... Alchemy?
  • Aesop Amnesia: In "The Stone of Threbe", the girls learn a lesson about taking their powers for granted. Come the later episode, "Caleb's Challenge", and they're all too happy to use their powers to bake cookies... and make some extras for the rebels.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: The Guardian costumes are rather... provocative for young teenage girls. Lampshaded by Cornelia's mother in season two when she sees Hay Lin wearing the costume. Although the girls become older teenagers in Guardian form.
  • Age Lift: A very minor case - the girls start out at 12/13, as opposed to 13/14 respectively in the comics.
  • The Alcatraz: Cavigor prison is an island surrounded by a Bottomless Pit instead of water.
  • All for Nothing: Everything the Guardians allowed to happen since freeing Phobos to stop Nerissa: letting him take the Hearts of Meridian and Zambala, allowing him to reconquer Meridian, not interfering with his plan to invade Kandrakar, and throwing the battle when he attacked Kandrakar, all as part of a plan to make Phobos break his vow on Kandrakar's power and lose everything was rendered this when Cedric devours Phobos and takes over his powers and conquests just before the vow would have been broken. They only manage to ultimately defeat Cedric by taking on their pure elemental forms, which is very risky and they nearly suffer Loss of Identity in the process.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • This was a major theme for the villains in the second season, with each villain becoming more powerful than the last because they keep capturing each other.
    • In "N is for Narcissist", Cornelia is inadvertently infused with all the other Guardians' powers and becomes a quinto-guardian, allowing her to curb stomp Nerissa's minions. In the end, she makes the decision to give up the newly gained powers and distribute them back to the others.
  • Alpha Bitch: Downplayed by the Grumper sisters - they can be rude and mean, and like to spread gossip about other characters, but come off as wannabes because they don't have the popularity to pull it off.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore:
    • The US "rock ballad" theme song is quite different from the original melodic rock intro, with an Action-Hogging Opening to match.
    • Inverted in Italy, where both the theme and opening are much more upbeat than the originals.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Heart of Kandrakar. The Guardians can use their Elemental Powers even in human form, but they're very weak when the girls are untransformed, at least in the first season.
    Yan Lin: One of the five binds the others, and with the Heart of Kandrakar unites them, summoning and magnifying their powers.
  • Animesque:
  • And the Adventure Continues: Each season ends with the ongoing story fully resolved, followed by a Sequel Hook with the next major antagonist... or would-be antagonist in the case of the series finale. (Though at least the latter character is from the comics, unlike in the first season.)
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: In "M is for Mercy", Shagon physically assaults Herbert Olsen, nearly causes Anna Lair's car to crash, produces a small explosion in front of Taranee's brother, stalks Lillian Hale, and threatens Yan Lin in a dark alley. Cornelia realizes that the villain is specifically going after their loved ones in order to spite them, as the heroines' hatred fuels his powers.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Irma's brother Chris and Cornelia's sister Lillian both frequently get on their respective siblings' nerves.
  • Another Dimension: Meridian in season 1. In the second season, it's revealed to be just one of an infinite number of such worlds, of which we also see Kandrakar, Zamballa, and (briefly) Aridia. Travel between them only becomes possible once the Veil protecting the other worlds from Phobos is taken down, at which point the Guardians of the Veil are given a new title: the Guardians of the Infinite Dimensions.
  • Arc Welding: The second season explicitly does this via Nerissa, particularly when she reveals that she was posing as multiple characters in season 1 to help La Résistance, and had a child under one of these false identities specifically in order to give the rebels a Rebel Leader who could bring them to victory.
  • Art Evolution: Season 2 was animated at Dong Woo Animation in Korea, replacing the Wang Film Productions/Hong Ying duo of the first. It's downplayed in that the resulting visual differences are quite subtle, though definitely noticeable. (The second season showrunner emphasized the seamless continuity of model sheets - and character voices - in an interview.)
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Caleb has a much bigger role than in the comics, as he actively assists the Guardians in most of their battles and receives plenty of screen time due to his developing relationship with Cornelia.
    • Matt's character is greatly expanded in season 2 from being Will's Satellite Love Interest in the comics, as he eventually becomes Shagon's alter ego.
  • Asleep in Class: Happens to Will in one episode. It's an unusually dangerous instance of the trope as it makes her an easy target for the resident Dream Weaver.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the finale, Cedric grows gigantic as a side-effect of devouring Phobos and absorbing the latter's powers. He later shares some of his energy with Miranda, causing her to grow huge as well.
  • Back from the Dead: Nerissa brings Cassidy back to life in the second season to serve in the revitalized CHYKN. This actually sticks by the end of the season and Cassidy returns home to her elderly mother.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. In the final episode, there is a prolonged sequence in which Nerissa escapes her jewel prison, seizes control of W.I.T.C.H. and uses them to subjugate the entire universe. Witnessing her power, Caleb finally acknowledges her as his mother and says he is proud of her, causing her to smile triumphantly... only for the camera to pan out and reveal that Nerissa is actually still trapped in the jewel, doomed to live in a fantasy for the rest of her days.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: In "Framed", Prince Phobos says he detests art that's beautiful or life-affirming, as it tends to breed hope in rebellious spirits.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Caleb - by the end of the second season, he's the only character who can't shoot some form of laser beams. Caleb eventually molds Matt into this with warrior combat training, to the point that our musician can match Caleb in a spar, but then Matt gets powers of his own, leaving Caleb alone once more.
    • Raythor. He has no extra or magical abilities, he's merely a normal Meridian member of Phobos's army. That doesn't stop him from crawling his way out of a bottomless pit, a feat that took six months and left him gaunt from starvation by the time he reached the top.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Every one of the main protagonists does this in their Guardian forms. They show less midriff in their civilian forms when they show it at all.
    • Nerissa, but it's really just her stomach & navel. Not much else.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason for Tynar's defection from Phobos' side to the rebellion. When he is poisoned by a Meridian scorpion creature, the Guardians take him to Earth and nurse him back to health. It's made clear that such kindness is not granted to those who serve Phobos, and he is able to convince several of Phobos' guards to side with the Guardians and the rebels.
  • The B Grade: Taranee fears this, as shown in "The Labyrinth" when an Absent-Minded Professor loses an essay of hers.
    Cornelia: Taranee, we all grieve for your loss, but the world's been invaded by monsters! Focus!
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Caleb and Cornelia in "Z is for Zenith" as it was right in the middle of a battle.
  • Book Dumb:
    • Will is a gifted leader and strategist, but academically she flounders hard. It's a frequent source of drama between her and her mother.
    • Irma has similar grades, but flat-out says she just doesn't try and "lives in the now."
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Double Subverted with Hay Lin; her braces are normal and she's actually proud of them... until the Big Bad convinces her that her boyfriend hates them among other things. She snaps out of it by the end of the episode.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Hay Lin goes through this twice in Season 2. Once in "J is For Jewel" and even worse in "T is for Trauma"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Hay Lin slams her face into the screen after she first transforms.
  • Breast Expansion: Downplayed. Transforming into a Guardian gives a temporary instant puberty growth. Do the math.
  • Buffy Speak: Downplayed. It's used very sparingly, and pretty much exclusively when there probably isn't an actual term for whatever is being said.
    Caleb: But if the Phobos plan was on a need-to-know basis...
    Will: Then the Raythor twist was even needier-to-knowier.
  • Butt-Monkey: Cornelia, particularly in the early episodes (when she's also more of a Jerkass). If one of the Guardians screws up, chances are Cornelia's the one hit in the face, or drenched in water, or otherwise screwed.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: The girls' transformation is initiated when Will holds up the Heart of Kandrakar and yells, "Guardians, unite!".
  • Calling Your Attacks: In the first season, the girls call out the name of their element whenever they manifest them during a battle (“Water!”; “Fire!”; “Earth!”; “Air!”). It's rarely done afterwards, but Nerissa does the same thing with Quintessence throughout much of season 2.
  • Camera Abuse: In the first episode, after the girls first transform, Hay Lin starts flying circles around the other girls (especially Will), presumably due to her being the air element. She ends up flying straight into the camera. Also a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Canine Confusion: This cartoon has a scene with a fox hunting a rabbit. The fox makes noises that are probably stock dog noises.
  • Canon Foreigner: While the characters on Earth are almost all from the comics (except Alchemy), numerous Meridian inhabitants are original to the cartoon, as are many of the individually-unnamed creatures living there (which the showrunners of the first season considered to be a necessary Adaptation Expansion on their part).
  • Cast From HP: Old Guardians from the previous generation who don't have access to Aurameres or a Heart can only use their former Elemental Powers by sacrificing some of their own life force. Nerissa has being doing this constantly, hence her crone appearance. Her natural age would be the same as Yan Lin and the others'; old, but not that old.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Played With. The second season is unquestionably Darker and Edgier, but the show's lighthearted and sometimes zany humor and Schoolgirl Series side plots aren't played down at all (in fact, this was actually enforced by the network, after the original scripts for the season played the trope more straight).
  • Changeling Fantasy: Elyon is the lost princess of Meridian raised by adoptive parents on Earth.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Nerissa has been working behind the scenes for most of the first season to ensure Phobos' downfall and her own rise to power. Throughout the second season, she is one step ahead of the heroes at all times, to the point they conclude they have no choice but to turn to Phobos for assistance.
    • The second season featured Will giving it a try. The Wham Episode Y is for Yield shows that, with the help of the other Guardians, Caleb and Matt, she successfully outplayed the entire cast, Nerissa included. Except for Cedric, who realized what she was doing and derailed her scheme at the last moment.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Elyon is the Queen of Meridian, Caleb is the leader of the rebellion, and Will is the head of W.I.T.C.H.
  • Civil War: Meridian in both seasons - first with the rebellion vs. Phobos, and then The Remnant vs. Elyon's reign.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Altermeres, as opposed to Astral Drops, are people with free will. Of the two we meet, Will acknowledges her Altermere's free will before she dies, and Yan Lin introduces her Altermere to her family as her Long Lost Sibling Mira.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Phobos presumably does this to Will in "It Resumes"; we don't see all of it (just the part where she's trapped in plant vines), but when Will encounters Phobos face-to-face several episodes later she's visibly terrified of him.
  • Combo Platter Powers: In addition to their Elemental Powers, the Guardians also get Flight and Super Strength, plus the ability to create Astral Drops. Later they get Psychic Powers and Teleportation as well.
  • Composite Character: In the original comics, Shagon and Khor are simply a random man and his dog, transformed by Nerissa. In the cartoon, they are the transformed forms of Will's boyfriend Matt and pet Mr. Huggles.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Halinor's preferred tactic is to encapsulate her opponents within fire spheres, which drain the oxygen around them and cause the victim to suffocate. Regardless of the proximity to the flames, the targets are never shown suffering any burns.
  • Cuckoo Snarker: Hay Lin may be the epitome of this trope. It can be incredibly jarring how she flips back and forth from child-like Cloud Cuckoo Lander to full-on Deadpan Snarker, and everything in between... sometimes in the same scene. And unlike some cases of the trope, she's never portrayed as Obfuscating Stupidity - this is her actual personality.
  • Cultural Translation: In the Divide and Conquer episode, Taranee mentions that Sondra mocked her for not reading Tolstoy's War and Peace in the original language, only for Taranee later catching her on not knowing a basic Russian word for "hospital". In the Russian dub, where it would be hard to impress anyone with knowledge of Tolstoy's language, Sondra tries to impress Taranee with Goethe instead.
  • Curse Cut Short: After seeing Cedric swallow Phobos, Matt prepares to make a scatological joke, but his line is interrupted by the villain's Evil Laugh.
    Matt: "I so don't wanna be around when he..."
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: In the series finale, the girls are forced to become physical embodiments of their elemental powers in order to stop the final villain, who has amassed several times their power combined. This makes them far stronger, but the tactic carries the risk of permanently losing one's humanity, both physically and mentally. Said technique is also a lampshaded Chekhov's Skill, which borders on Chekhov's Boomerang when it's revealed that Nerissa proposed the technique to the Guardians as "an improvised plan", knowing that it would both allow them to win the day and leave them unable to resist her Mind Control afterwards - leaving her free to fulfill her own goals with little resistance. Fortunately, Nerissa got trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine and only managed to dominate the elemental-form Guardias in her imagination.
  • Darker and Edgier: Season 2 is more action-packed than Season 1, along with having more insidious plots and deeds that often fly under the Radar.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Nerissa exploits the psychological vulnerabilities of the former Guardians by granting their wishes at the cost of their free will. She enslaves Cassidy by promising to bring her back to life so that she could reunite with her mother; Halinor by preying on her desire to feel safe; and Kadma by taking advantage of the latter's lust for power.
    • The Guardians were forced to cooperate with Phobos in order to defeat Nerissa. Subverted in that they never planned on him holding to his word and were in fact relying on him betraying them for their plan to work.
  • Delinquent Hair: Taranee briefly dyes all her hair pink and styles it punkish when she goes into a short "bad girl" phase after her mother forbids her from seeing Nigel.
  • Dénouement: The show ends with a lengthy monologue by Will summarizing what happened after the Final Battle.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Elyon is imprisoned for much of season 2, keeping her out of fights she should've been easily able to win for the Guardians otherwise. Justified since it was all part of The Plan.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Will cradles her Altermere in her arms as the latter is dying from the wounds she sustained after being attacked by Nerissa.
  • Dimensional Cutter: In season 2, portals are replaced by folds, and several magical items are able to create them.
  • Dirty Coward: Nerissa in "T is for Trauma". Realizing she couldn't win, she runs despite saying their fight won't have any runners, which Will calls her out on - but of course, the evil hag pulls Loophole Abuse, saying that Will agreed to not run but she herself didn't.
  • Disappeared Dad: Both Caleb and Will start the show with these, for different reasons. Caleb's turns up mid-season 1, and Will's in season 2.
  • The Dragon: Cedric in season 1. In the second season it gets a bit more complicated, with first Raythor, then Shagon being The Dragon to Nerissa. When Phobos regains power, Cedric becomes The Dragon again - and when he takes over, Miranda becomes his Dragon for all of one episode.
  • Dream Weaver: Nerissa tries this tactic against the Guardians in one episode. The girls respond by sleeping over together to fight her off in their dreams together.
  • Eat the Evidence: Will mentions this as a possible way she could hide a bad grade from her mother.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Infinite City for the rebellion, though it wasn't created by them.
    Caleb: Nobody knows who built the Infinite City. In 4,000 years, no one's found an end to it in any direction.
  • Elemental Baggage: Mostly averted, but it happens to Cornelia occasionally.
  • Elemental Powers:
    • Will and Nerissa are the Guardians of Quintessence, which lets them shoot lightning and animate objects.
    • Irma and Cassidy are the Guardians of Water.
    • Taranee and Halinor are the Guardians of Fire.
    • Cornelia and Kadma are the Guardians of Earth and can also manipulate plant life.
    • Hay Lin and Yan Lin are the Guardians of Air.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: 'Pink Perky Poopy Pumpkin' for Will, 'Droopy Pants' for Irma and 'Corny' for Cornelia.
  • Evil Minions: Most who serve out of fear. Once Elyon takes the throne they switch over pretty fast.
  • Evil All Along: In the final episode of the first season, the viewer finds out the Mage has a hidden agenda, as she ominously declares that, with Phobos imprisoned, her plan can finally begin. However, the heroes don't realize her true nature until "N is for Narcissist", halfway through the second season.
  • Evolving Credits: The international opening changes completely between seasons, reflecting their different premises as well as new characters. The others do not.
  • Exact Words: Cedric asks for, and is granted, a "fraction" of Phobos's power. Turns out that four fourths is a fraction...
  • Expendable Clone: Played straight with Astral Drops, non-sentient duplicates the Guardians use when they need to be in two places at once (ex. saving the world and doing chores), who can only follow simple instructions and are absorbed into the Heart of Kandrakar when no longer needed. Subverted with Altermeres, which are what happens when an Astral Drop is given a life and soul of their own via Quintessence. The death of Will's Altermere at Nerissa's hands is treated as a tragic thing, and Yan Lin's Altermere ultimately survives and is introduced to Hay Lin's parents as Yan Lin's "long-lost twin sister Mira" in the finale.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Nerissa can gain control of the former Guardians by exploiting "the chink in the armor of their souls", leading her to tempt them with what they desire the most until they succumb to her influence.
      • Cassidy's is mercifulness. She unflinchingly refuses to be brought back to life when Nerissa tempts her with mundane things, but is shaken after meeting her grief-stricken mother. Desperately wishing to reunite with her mom, Cassidy willingly submits herself to the villainess's control.
      • Halinor's is cowardice, as she attempts to steal W.I.T.C.H.'s powers for herself in a desperate attempt to protect Kandrakar from the Knights of Destruction. This single treasonous act is enough for Nerissa to corrupt her soul.
      • Kadma's is Pride. Nerissa purposefully loses a series of battles to boost Kadma's ego, after which the latter becomes convinced that she is destined to absorb the villainess's Heart of Meridian into the Heart of Zambala. However, since hearts cannot be forcefully taken, this action results in Nerissa claiming both jewels, while also enslaving her former friend in the process.
      • Yan Lin is a subversion. She is offered her youth, which would enable her to use her Guardian powers without draining her own life force; and the opportunity to protect Hay Lin, which she also turns down because she believes in her granddaughter's potential. Nerissa ultimately concludes that Yan Lin is incorruptible, and decides to create an Altermere to replace her, knowing that the clone wouldn't have the same strength of character when she threatened to erase her from existence.
    • Nerissa's is primarily Pride with serious hints of Greed: her entire Start of Darkness was because she couldn't stand Cassidy being given the Heart of Kandrakar instead and her ultimate downfall is because she can't resist going after the Heart of Earth by targetting Lillian's familiar Napoleon the cat during the Halloween Episode and her later attempt to screw over the rest of CHYKN and Elyon during the series finale backfires and traps her forever in a dream world.
  • Faux Action Girl: Luba is a member of the Council of Kandrakar and the appointed protector of the Aurameres. However, she never gets to display her supposedly enormous magical powers, as both fights in which she participates have her being quickly defeated in a single blow.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Caleb and Aldarn in one episode, due to Elyon's inadvertent Mind Control.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: Played with. When Taranee is angered, she manifests small flames in the lens of her glasses, making it look like her eyes are filled with fire.
  • Fisher King: Meridian is a dreary wasteland under Phobos and a fairytale-style kingdom under Elyon. Justified because of the magical powers of both rulers, as well as Phobos damaging Meridian during his rule by leaching life energy out of it, which Elyon didn't do.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Kandrakar gives off this vibe in both the comic and show.
  • Flying Firepower: In the second season, Will acquires her elemental power of Quintessence, which manifests in devastating lightning bolts. Nerissa in her Guardian form has the same abilities and more experience (and usually power, especially when she doesn't divide her energy source with others like the Aurameres do).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One particularly subtle one regarding Nerissa being Caleb's mother comes in "K is for Knowledge": not once but twice during the battle, she traps him in a lightning cage. A rare moment of Mama Bear coming from a villain as she tries to keep her son out of danger.
    • In the second international opening, the song asks "and who has power over earth?" while showing Cornelia reviving a flower for her sister Lillian. It takes until "U is for Undivided" before we learn that this refers not only to Cornelia's powers, but also to Lillian being the Heart of Earth. (American viewers, however, didn't see that, as a different intro was used State-side for both seasons.)
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Everybody who can transform (the Guardians, Shagon, Khor, Cedric and Miranda) takes advantage of Halloween to power up as a group in Cedric's bookstore and move around the city freely in search of Nerissa in "W is for Witch".
  • Free-Range Children: Heatherfield is a big city. Portals pop up all over town. The Guardians' main job (at first anyways) is to close them. Said Guardians are 12 or 13 at the beginning of the show. You do the math. And that's to say nothing of their frequent travel to other worlds altogether. It's somewhat downplayed in that the girls sometimes have to come up with excuses to hide their activities from their parents, and are occasionally grounded (especially Will)... but when grounded they just sneak out anyways. (The first season showrunners actually wanted the girls to have even more freedom, especially during school days, but the network enforced some restrictions.)
  • Fun with Acronyms: W.I.T.C.H. in first season, then C.H.Y.K.N. in the second. Hay Lin, author of both, had only one thing to say: "They were C.H.Y.K.N.? Wow, I'm so glad we're W.I.T.C.H."
  • Gambit Pileup: Much of the series, especially the second season, courtesy of Nerissa, Phobos, and eventually, Will.
  • Glamour:
    • Used numerous times in the second season, particularly by Nerissa. In one episode she used her new young form to enthrall the mortal men of Earth and turn the girls' crushes against them.
    • A Glamour Zone is a massive illusion field that can alter the perception of anyone who walks into it.
  • Glasses Curiosity: In "K is for Knowledge," Uriah Dunn purposely bumps into Taranee, which causes her to drop both her books and her glasses. He steals the specs and later puts them on to mock her.
  • Gossipy Hens: The Grumper sisters are almost defined by this.
  • Happily Married: All of the parents of W.I.T.C.H. have healthy and loving relationships, except Will's parents, who are divorced but Amicable Exes (in the cartoon; in the comics, Will's dad is more of a jerk).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Subverted in "Q is for Quarry". Will comes this close to becoming like Nerissa when her paranoia over yet another sudden change in her family life on Earth (not to mention the events of the preceding episodes) coincides with Kadma encouraging her to absorb the Heart of Meridian and forcibly become Elyon's "regent". Her friends lampshade it throughout the episode and try to pull her back, which only strengthens her resolve to prove all of them wrong until she snaps out of it at the last possible moment.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: In the first season, Will's abilities as a Guardian were heavily overshadowed by her friends', as her lack of Elemental Powers meant she didn't play much of a role in combat other than transforming her friends, strategizing, and closing the rifts between Meridian and Earth. In the second season, it's explained she had no element of her own because some of the Guardians' power was being used to keep the Veil up. When the Veil is lowered, she gains a new Psychic Power (alongside the other girls) as well as her own element, Quintessence.
  • The Heartless: The Knights of Destruction are demon-like warriors created by Nerissa to feed off of negative emotions (hatred for Shagon, despair for Tridart, pain for Ember and anger for Khor).
  • Heart of the Matter: Each world has one, which takes the form of either a Power Crystal or a Living MacGuffin. The most obvious example is the Heart of Kandrakar, the artifact that empowers the titular heroines' elemental abilities. Loss of access to the Heart greatly decreases their magical powers. Also present in the series, and possessing similar powers, are:
    • The Heart of Meridian, Elyon Brown, who rules that world and can directly channel its magic. The ability is stolen and placed inside a jewel called the Seal of Nerissa, allowing Nerissa to do the same.
    • The Heart of Zamballa, possessed by the ruler of the planet Zamballa and repository of that world's power. Stealing it from Kadma and absorbing it into the Seal of Nerissa greatly increased Nerissa's power.
    • The Heart of Earth, also known as Lillian Hale. To protect her, the heroes manage to get her to empower a trio of allies, transforming them into the powerful Regents of Earth.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Raythor, Sandpit and Gargoyle join the Guardians and the rebels after Raythor is disillusioned by Phobos's lack of honor.
    • Shagon and Khor join the Guardians' side in "U is for Undivided".
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Nerissa works with Yan Lin, Elyon and the rest of the former Guardians to help W.I.T.C.H. take down Cedric. However, when victorious, she reverts to her old ways which results in her staying trapped in the pendant while the others escape.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Hay Lin in "T is for Trauma", where Nerissa controlled Yan Lin's Altermere and Eric.
    • "F is for Facades" showcased this trope with Cornelia when she was told Caleb didn't make it. He is revealed to be still alive when he returns moments later, which leads to her Heroic Resolve.
  • Heroic Resolve: Hay Lin breaks out of a Heroic BSoD in "T is for Trauma" by concluding that she does not have the luxury to feel sorry for herself when her friends are in danger. Her determination ultimately turns the tide of the battle and enables the heroes to have a decisive victory over Nerissa.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Realizing Nerissa is about to blast Will while the latter is distracted, Will's Altermere jumps in the path of the lightning bolt to intercept it.
  • He's Not My Boyfriend:
    • Ember had a moment of this in "S is for Self".
    • Also, Irma's original reaction to Martin until "L is for Loser".
  • High School Rejects: Uriah and his gang.
  • High-Voltage Death:
    • In a flashback, Nerissa is shown ordering Cassidy to return the Heart of Kandrakar to her. When the latter refuses, Nerissa is consumed by anger and electrocutes her. In the aftermath, it's shown that the lightning bolt the villain conjured was powerful enough to destroy part of the cliff where her victim was standing.
    • In "H is for Hunted", Nerissa tries to take advantage of Will's distraction to electrocute her. However, Will's Altermere jumps in the path of the blast and is killed instead.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Following 'W is for Witch', Phobos regains his position as the series' Big Bad until Cedric pulls a Starscream on him in the penultimate episode.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Downplayed, when Cassidy lists the reasons why she enjoyed going to the beach: Feeling the sand between her toes, inhaling the sea breeze, and (in a noticeably suggestive tone) kissing "a lifeguard or two".
  • How Do I Shot Web?: All the girls go through this learning curve in the first few episodes. Cedric goes through this in the Season 2 finale, but is unable to master his new powers in time, leading to his defeat by the Guardians.
  • Hulk Speak: Blunk and all Passlings speak that way.
  • Humble Pie: As revealed in the final episode, Kadma's humiliating defeat to Nerissa, as well as her time serving as the villainess' mindless slave, had a profound effect in the former Guardian of Earth. Acknowledging that her arrogance was the key to her own downfall, she relinquishes the Heart of Zambala to Ironwood, and abdicates the throne to live a humble life on Earth.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: In "N is for Narcissist", a barefoot Cornelia gets her toes stepped on, causing her to hop around in pain.
  • Hydrant Geyser: Hay Lin gets hit by one of these in mid-flight during a battle in episode 9.
  • Hypocrite: Will calls her mother out on lying about having a boyfriend when she earlier lectured her daughter about doing the same. Taranee also bawls her mother out for jumping to conclusions about her and Nigel being involved in a serious crime just because Nigel is a bit of a prankster.
  • Hydro-Electro Combo: In "Z is for Zenith", Irma soaks Cedric with water and asks Will to fire a lightning bolt at him. The attempted electrocution fails, since the villain can also control electricity and redirects the blast back at them through his eyes.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Shagon's main strategy is to tease and taunt his opponents so he can feed on their hatred to make himself stronger.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Will tells her mom that she really does want her mom to be happy, even if it's with her History teacher.
  • Idea Bulb: Played with. Will has an epiphany in "V is for Victory", at which point her powers spontaneously manifest and cause nearby lightbulbs to flicker and flash. Her friends quickly conclude that it's a sign that she has just come up with a "bright" idea for the problem at hand.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The titles of the second season episodes are in the form of a perfect alphabet primer - 26 letters for 26 episodes, all in order.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Matt, Eric, Nigel, and Andrew Hornby.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Yan Lin is consistently portrayed as a thoroughly benevolent character, which is highlighted late in season 2, when she resists all of Nerissa's attempts to corrupt her.
  • The Ingenue: Hay Lin is a child-like and (mostly) innocent teenage girl, who explictly says she doesn't want a boyfriend... the very episode before she actually gets a crush on a guy. But even then, their eventual relationship is by far the sweetest in the show. True to the trope, both Big Bads take advantage of her disposition (on separate occasions)... only to learn that breaking the cutie isn't as easy as it seems.
  • Initialism Title: The title refers to the initials of the five main heroines.
  • Internal Homage: The two seasons of the show are reflections of each other in so many ways that they naturally end up full of these. The fact that they're both exactly 26 half-hour episodes long makes references even easier.
    • In the first season, La Résistance opposes the powerful tyrant in Meridian, while in the second The Remnant tries to depose the new, benevolent ruler. And then there's the difference between the two major villains.
    • Also happens with individual episodes, where the plot of a second season episode is quite similar to one from the first on the surface, but significantly Darker and Edgier. Examples include "A Service to the Community" and "Q is for Quarry" (Will jumping to conclusions about a Glamour), "Divide and Conquer" and "T is for Trauma" (a new girl comes to the heroines' school and charms the boys away from them), and rather obviously given the role of the Horn of Hypnos in both, "Walk This Way" and "G is for Garbage". In the first case, it's openly lampshaded, while in the second the same Background Music plays during the scenes in question.
    • Relationships too. Two of the girls get boyfriends in the first season, two in the second. It's almost taken to Leaning on the Fourth Wall levels when the scenes in which two of these finally happen are uncannily similar - one in each season, both at the ends of their respective episodes, again right down to the exact same music.
  • Irony:
    • In "L is for Loser", four of the heroes battle the Knights of Destruction in Heatherfield, producing large explosions and wide-scale destruction. Meanwhile, Irma wanders in the city streets, completely oblivious to her friends' struggle. The irony comes from Irma failing to notice the brawl right above her head because she is too lost in thought wondering why others tend to accuse her of being too self-absorbed.
    • Nerissa runs from her failed battle in "T is for Trauma" by invoking Exact Words: she made Will swear on the Heart of Kandrakar to not run from the battle, but states she did not make the same promise. Later in season two Will makes use of this by making Phobos swear on the Heart to not keep the power of Nerissa's Seal, knowing full well that he'd break the promise and suffer some sort of retribution if he then set foot in Kandrakar; Nerissa accidentally taught Will the key to her own defeat and Phobos's.
  • Just a Kid: Lampshaded in the first season finale, with a generous helping of irony.
    Matt: How can I help?
    Will: What are you talking about? What are you doing here? You're just a kid!
    Matt: So are you! Yesterday you said Earth was in danger.
  • Just Desserts: When Cedric eats Phobos.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The girls assault their teacher thinking he was a monster in disguise, undermine and cover up a police investigation into their friend's disappearance, and sneak into a big corporation to destroy an important document related to Will's mom's job, among many other instances, all without any karma backlash from silly issues like morality. It happens so often in fact that it may seem like a parody of And Knowing Is Half the Battle.
      Will: OK, we lock the door, fly out the window, have his car towed and tomorrow, we'll put the papers in his desk. He'll think he dreamed it!
      Taranee: What about his clothes?
      Cornelia: Sprinkle him with crickets and release the lizard so he thinks Mr. Scales ripped them up?
      Will: That's crazy! Do it.
    • Nerissa ends up much happier than she deserves, being trapped inside the Seal of Nerissa in a delusion that she's fulfilling her dream of conquering the universe.
  • Kick the Dog: Phobos does this very frequently. He tortures Will in the second episode, among many other things.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • Phobos does this to Nerissa and Miranda; Nerissa by trapping her in a jewel, and Miranda by turning her into a really small spider and locking her in a cell for almost half a season. It is also hinted that Nerissa was kicked around by Elyon and the previous Guardians after she was absorbed into the jewel by Phobos, as they were not happy to see her.
    • Phobos himself is on the receiving end of this twice. When Nerissa breaks the Knights of Vengeance out of prison, he orders Miranda to release him but she refuses because he had insulted her earlier. Then in the penultimate episode of season 2, he is eaten by Cedric, who had become wise to the Guardians' true plan.
  • La Résistance: The rebellion in Meridian, led by Caleb.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Two of them, though they're just a Continuity Cameo from the comics intended as setup for the never-made third season, and have nothing to do with the plot beyond And the Adventure Continues.
  • Left Hanging: The final episode introduces two suspicious men who are hinted to be aware of the heroes' secret identities. One of them introduces himself as Raphael Sylla, the girls' new teacher, who states he is "very interested" in getting to know the five of them. Due to the show's cancellation, this plot point ultimately goes nowhere.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Downplayed by the main girls in the first season. They wear the outfits from the international intro very often, but they do have several other sets - and that's not counting those for winter weather, sports, etc.
    • Many secondary characters throughout the entire series, though it's justified for most characters from Meridian.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Cedric's bookstore in Heatherfield, which he sets up in order to drawn in the lost princess.
  • Living MacGuffin: The hearts of worlds either take the form of Power Crystals (like the Hearts of Kandrakar and Zamballa) or these. Elyon is the Heart of Meridian, a big stone man is the Heart of Aridia, and Cornelia's little sister Lillian is the Heart of Earth.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Nerissa is Caleb's mother. She knows it. He does not.
  • Loophole Abuse: In season 2 it's shown that swearing on a magical talisman like the Heart of Kandrakar can bind a person to that promise with bad results if they actually enter the realm of Kandrakar. Will uses this to entrap Phobos to try and invade Kandrakar after he swore on the Heart to return his sister's power - it's implied it would have worked had Cedric not intervened by pulling his own Loophole Abuse and taking a "fraction" of Phobos's new power - namely five fifths/three thirds/two halves, you get the idea.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: By the end of the series, Nerissa is left trapped inside her own jewel, where she will spend the rest of her days living in a dream.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Nerissa is Caleb's mother.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: WITCH is here to kick ass and take names!
  • Male Gaze: The transformed girls get this on occasion, sometimes from the perspective of their Love Interests.
  • Me's a Crowd: The girls have the ability to do this with their Astral Drops.
  • Meaningful Echo: Irma frees Cassidy from Nerissa's influence by using her power of persuasion, telling the former guardian to "wake up". In the final episode, Irma is trapped in her zenith form, leading Cassidy to try to bring her friend back to normal by uttering the exact same words.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Meridian has the aesthetic of one, though it's not of this world.
  • Meet Cute:
    • Will and Caleb meet when she literally falls into his arms, and immediately start bickering. This misled a lot of viewers who weren't familiar with the comics, and thought they would be the Official Couple, rather than Will with Matt and Caleb with Cornelia.
    • In an aversion of what happened in the comics, Will didn't have an (onscreen) Meet Cute with Matt; he just sort of showed up for her birthday party. Ditto for Caleb and Cornelia. Hay Lin seeing Eric for the first time would have counted if she hadn't turned invisible out of embarrassment.
  • Missing Mom: Caleb is clueless about his mother's identity and whereabouts. This becomes a major Plot Point in season 2, when she is revealed to be Nerissa, the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Mooks: Most of the rebels, and Phobos's guards, later Elyon's guards.
  • Most Common Superpower: Apparently magic powers = breast implants... and none of the girls complain, for obvious reasons.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The animated series deliberately moved away from the girl-oriented writing of the comics to appeal to a wider audience.
    • The first season specifically tried to appeal to boys after a network Retool during early production forced the writers to redo the scripts for the season up to that point, and play up male characters like Caleb and Blunk along with focusing more on the action and less on the comedy.
    • The second season took this and ran with it: the combat sequences became significantly more intense and frequent, more male characters got important roles (particularly Matt), etc. The international season 2 opening took it all the way Up to Eleven: compared to the season 1 intro, the already tonally dissonant melody is remixed to sound more rock-like (without going full rock ballad like the U.S. theme), while the visuals are somehow both far "girlier" and far more badass.
  • Mundane Utility: The girls once guardian-up in order to bake a few pastries for a school function.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Cornelia in "U is for Undivided", when she realized the bedtime story she was telling Lillian was actually happening outside, where the other Guardians were fighting Nerissa and her group according to how the story was told.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • "U is for Undivided" had the "Yuppie Couple" from another Greg Weisman / Disney series, Gargoyles, show up with swapped names - Brenda and Marco - as people living in Cornelia's apartment building... and they still can't escape the weirdness that befell them on Gargoyles.
    • "W is for Witch" has Napoleon the cat talking about how Halloween is important, and we see one kid with a mask that vaguely resembles Hudson from Gargoyles — especially since Napoleon is voiced by Hudson's VO Ed Asner.
    • Obviously it's an adaptation, but the show is full of references to the comics even for those aspects that were Adapted Out or downplayed. Phobos's Whisperers are one example; Irma's question under He Who Fights Monsters is another.
  • Never Say "Die": Though Cassidy is shown being murdered by Nerissa, other characters refrain from using the words "killing" or "death" when mentioning the incident. For example, Halinor specifically states that Cassidy was "destroyed" by her former friend.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Nerissa starts displaying never before seen powers in the episodes that follow her acquisition of the Heart of Meridian, such as enslaving those who are consumed by their innermost desires, binding spirits to the mortal realm, and rejuvenating herself.
  • New Super Power:
    • In episode 20, the Heart of Kandrakar (and by extension Will) gains the ability to open portals, not just close them.
    • In season 2, one episode follows the girls as they try to learn how to control their new powers: Taranee realizes she can read minds, Hay Lin can turn invisible, Cornelia is telekinetic, Irma has limited mind control abilities and Will finds out she can bring inanimate electronic appliances to life.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Will's decision not to tell Elyon her origins ultimately results in Phobos successfully manipulating her for half the season.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Blunk, to the Guardians and especially Caleb.
  • No Social Skills: Caleb's status as the leader of the rebels leaves him completely clueless on how to behave around other teens on Earth.
  • Odd Friendship: Caleb and Blunk.
  • Older Alter Ego: The girls age up noticeably when they transform into their Guardian forms.
    • At one point a transformed Cornelia pretends to be her own (non-existent) older sister.
    • When Cornelia's mother sees Hay Lin in her transformed state (using it as her "Halloween costume"), she comments how she didn't know Halloween costumes nowadays came with that kind of padding.
    • Exaggerated in "N is for Narcissist". When Cornelia is accidentally imbued with all of the Guardians' powers, she transforms into a fully adult version of herself. Caleb even calls her "hot".
  • The One Guy: Caleb is this to the girls in the first season (though goblinoid Blunk can also count). Towards the end of the series, Caleb is sometimes Out of Focus (as he's on Meridian with Elyon while much of the action is on Earth in the second season) so Matt tends to become this.
  • Open and Shut: Will starts out with closing the portals between the worlds as her main responsibility as wielder of the Heart of Kandrakar, in addition to transforming the Guardians. The Heart later gains the ability to open portals as well, not just close them, by absorbing the Seal of Phobos.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Passlings, who are pretty much the goblins of Meridian, but have the ability to locate magical portals.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Many of Meridian's natives are orc-like to a greater or lesser extent, but the lurdens fit best both in terms of appearance and role in the story.
  • Paper Tiger: Nerissa's endgame involves brainwashing the former Guardians to do her bidding. Though the de-aged girls prove to be quite dangerous at first due to their years of experience granting them greater mastery over the elements, their threat level quickly diminishes once it's discovered that the lack of free will prevents them from strategizing or making simple decisions without Nerissa's guidance, and are generally less effective facing a Guardian of a different element instead of their own younger counterpart. As a result, they are curb-stomped in their debut; lose yet another battle once W.I.T.C.H. and the Earth Regents start working together; and are finally freed from Nerissa's spell during their third appearance, making them the least successful group of villains throughout the entire season.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Will's parents trying to move on after their divorce elicits a strong negative reaction on the young girl. In the first season, Will wrongly convinces herself that her mother's new date is secretly one of Phobos's servants and furiously sics the Guardians on him. She nearly commits the same mistake in "Q is for Quarry", when she suspects her father's current partner is a disguised Nerissa, though the episode concludes with her finally accepting that she has to let go of the past in order to give her parents another chance at happiness.
  • Parental Abandonment: Subverted. Caleb's father is believed to be dead when the series starts, while his mother's whereabouts are unknown. The former is revealed to be alive late in season 1; whereas the latter becomes season 2's central antagonist.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Invoked by the Guardians, who often have to come up with excuses for where they were at a given time. Even so, it's downplayed as several of their parents slowly get more concerned and suspicious.
  • The Plan: Phobos pulls off a good one in season 1, and practically everyone gets in on the act in season 2. Then there's the fact that the rebellion itself was in fact part of an even bigger one pulled by Nerissa.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Blunk serves as this.
  • Power Crystal:
    • The hearts of worlds either take the form of a person (like the Hearts of Meridian, Aridia and Earth) or these (like the Hearts of Kandrakar and Zamballa). The Heart of Kandrakar gives the Guardians their powers and is carried by their leader, usually the Quintessence Guardian, i.e. Will in this generation and Nerissa in the previous generation until the Oracle saw Nerissa was being corrupted by power and gave it to Cassidy the Water Guardian instead.
    • Nerissa also tricks Elyon into being absorbed into a jewel which she then puts on top of her staff and calls the Seal of Nerissa, and later fuses the Heart of Zamballa with it.
  • Psychic Powers:
  • Psychoactive Powers: All the girls have issues with their power upgrade in season 2, as their new abilities are triggered by their emotions, but Cornelia has the worst of it due to her break-up with Caleb, which causes her to lose control over her powers at a critical moment.
  • Race Lift: With the minor characters Bess and Courtney Grumper. While their race is never technically stated in the comics, they have golden-brown skin and bluish-black hair with dark eyes, similar to Theresa Cook, which suggests an Asian heritage. In the cartoon, however, they are white with red hair and green eyes.
  • Reality Warper: As the Heart of Meridian and the Heart of Earth, Elyon and Lillian are this respectively.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Which is why Lillian gives her powers to the Earth Regents.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: As in the comics, Elyon is revealed to be a princess. Unlike in the comics however, this is done much later into the series, with almost half of the first season largely dealing with both sides trying to find her.
  • Rearrange the Song:
  • Rebel Leader: Caleb is the leader of the rebellion in Meridian.
  • The Remnant: The Knights of Vengeance, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits made up of the most prominent followers of Phobos (mostly those who didn't get captured at the end of the first season).
  • Sadistic Choice: Nerissa forces Yan Lin's Altermere to choose between being erased from existence or remaining alive as a brainwashed slave. Having grown attached to Hay Lin and her own life on Earth, the clone sorrowfully opts for the second alternative.
  • Save Both Worlds:
    • Downplayed in season 1, because Meridian was isolated from the other worlds by the Veil specifically to contain Phobos. However, Earth would still be endangered due to portals opening between the two worlds, enabling Phobos's forces to manifest on the heroes' hometown.
    • The second season ramps up the Sliding Scale of Muggle Involvement, leaving the Guardians increasingly playing defense even on their own turf. In part because the Veil is now down, and also because Nerissa's goals include stealing Will's Heart and taking over the whole universe. Come the finale and the newly empowered villain Cedric outright decides to attack their hometown on Earth, in full view of everyone.
  • School Play: Based off a story line in the comics where the girls recreate the origin of the Heart of Kandrakar for a school production. It doesn't go as well in the show.
  • Scully Syndrome: Discussed. The final battle causes substantial property damage to Heatherfield, though the citizens attribute the destruction to a snow storm. Will points out that their explanation makes no sense, but people believe in what they want to believe.
  • Second Person Attack: Will decks Raythor in the third episode.
  • Sheet of Glass: Used by the rebellion in Meridian to stop a convoy of Phobos's troops and get the food their carts were carrying. The glass doesn't break, but the animals pulling the carts are forced to stop suddenly to avoid it and the guards go flying off and hit the glass, leading to their swift capture by the rebels.
  • Ship Tease: Ember is on the receiving end with Tridart in "S is for Self" when she taunts Taranee.
    Ember: Alright flame girl! Let's see how much heat you can take!
    Taranee: More than your boyfriend!
  • Shoehorned Acronym: In the second season, the heroines find out that the previous Guardians of Kandrakar were Cassidy, Halinor, Yan Lin, Kadma and Nerissa. Hay Lin jokingly proposes they refer to the group as "C.H.Y.K.N." (chicken) for short.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A few to Star Trek - Irma says "Star Trek convention" at one point in episode 19, and two characters are named Trill (Jadzia/Exri Dax's species) and Khor (the TOS era Klingon Kor appeared several times on DS9) respectively.
    • In two episodes of season 2, Usagi makes a brief background cameo.
    • In the second season's international opening, Torchic, Mudkip and Treecko appear in the wallpaper in Will's bedroom, while Kermit cameos as a stuffed toy.
  • Sinister Suffocation: Desperate to save Kandrakar and convinced that the new Guardians are too incompetent, Halinor decides to steal their powers for herself. She uses a fire bubble to drain the oxygen around her ally Luba, thus preventing anyone from interfering with her plan. However, this act of treason denounces the vulnerability of her soul, enabling the Big Bad to corrupt her.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Elyon and Caleb in different contexts in the first season, Matt in the second.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: For a show in which each season is essentially the story of a Civil War, it comes down incredibly hard on the Idealistic side. And it's not just the Non-Lethal Warfare - though it does often seem to be invoked from the Guardians' side, to the point that they Save the Villain mooks multiple times in the first season alone (and benefit from it). Only two characters are depicted being actually killed - Will's Altermere in "H is for Hunted" and Cassidy in the backstory (both by Nerissa).
    • In the first season, Meridian has been under the thumb of an oppressive tyrant for over a decade. Yet hope and optimism are in the air, not only among the regular inhabitants but among La Résistance as well - which actually grows stronger leading up to the finale, despite many setbacks.
    • In the Darker and Edgier second season, it's outright lampshaded. When a group of villains goes as far as to attack the heroines on Earth (including their families), and one of them explicitly goes out of his way to make said heroines hate him on purpose, their battle ends with this:
      Will: Compassion and mercy are more powerful than hate, Shagon. I can teach you that.
  • Slumber Party:
    • Will uses one in season 1 as an excuse to brainstorm for their school's upcoming Renaissance festival.
    • In the second season, the girls hold one specifically so that they're all in one place to fight the evil invading their dreams together.
  • Slumber Party Ploy: The girls sometimes tell their parents they're having a Slumber Party when they're actually handling their Guardian duties.
  • Sidekick Creature Nuisance: Blunk. He's very much a Plucky Comic Relief, but also a full-fledged character in his own right: a passling with the species-specific ability to smell portals, both of which make him an invaluable member of the team - especially after his Character Development from odd (and shady) businessman to loyal companion by the end of the first season.
  • Smug Snake: Phobos and (literally) Cedric. Also Nerissa.
  • Snake People: Cedric.
  • Snow Means Love: Will and Matt had their first kiss under a tree in a light snowfall.
  • So Last Season: "J is for Jewel" features the previous season's Big Bad Phobos and several other villains that were imprisoned with him breaking out and trying to stage a coup. But the Guardians have become much more competent since those days, and have several more powers, and easily kick their asses.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Inverted with the Big Bads of the two seasons; when Nerissa first appears, she is much weaker and less influential than Phobos ever was, though that changes over time.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the comics, Yan Lin dies of old age shortly after having presented the girls with their powers. However, she turns out to live on in Kandrakaar, as part of the Council. In the series, she lives on in Heatherfield.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's always Kandrakar in the Closing Credits, but it's alternatively spelled "Candracar" in subtitles for later season 1 episodes because of the real-life Kandahar. (According to the showrunners, it was actually supposed to be changed to Candrakar.)
  • Squick: In-Universe. Hay Lin and Irma are visibly disgusted when they find out the Snake Man Cedric and the Giant Spider Miranda have started a relationship.
  • The Starscream: Cedric and Miranda in the season 2 finale. After being left to rot in prison by Phobos, the two plotted against him in secret, while forming a relationship. Their plan was successful as Cedric succeeded in capturing all of the power Phobos had collected as well as taking control of Kandrakar and Meridian in one fell swoop. Fortunately, they weren't any luckier than the previous villains they succeeded.
  • Storming the Castle: The first season finale is very literally this.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Irma learns to influence other people's thoughts early in season 2. As demonstrated by Cornelia in "N is for Narcissist", such power can quickly end fights, as it can be used to convince enemies to fight each other. Given Irma's inexperience, she never exploited the ability in such manner.
  • Super-Deformed: In the final episode, the Regents of Earth create a giant glamour zone in Heatherfield, causing all civilians to perceive the battle as a cartoon being transmitted to a jumbotron. Some of the action scenes are presented from the citizens' perspective, with the girls drawn as small fairies with big heads and Wingding Eyes.
  • Super Hero: It comes with the wings, tights and all.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Nerissa transforms Matt into Shagon, who acts as a Literal Split Personality and fights the boy for control of his body. Though Matt eventually frees himself from the monster's influence, he is once again transformed into Shagon in "U is for Undivided", though this time Matt is in full control of himself and helps the Guardians fight off Nerissa.
  • Teleportation: In season 2, it's revealed that all Guardians have the ability to teleport within the same world, but it's very risky without years of practice. Of course, Nerissa uses it without much trouble.
  • Thinking Up Portals: The Heart of Kandrakar gains this ability in a late first season episode.
  • Third-Person Person: To emphasize the species' Hulk Speak, all passlings are shown referring to themselves exclusively by their respective names.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: In episode 11, a giant plant monster tries to eat Blunk. After a few seconds of attempting to eat the filthy Passling, it spits him back out.
  • Town Girls: Irma is Butch, Cornelia is Femme, Will, Taranee and Hay Lin are Neither.
  • Transformation Sequence: Usually all the girls together. This trope was played with in one episode: while every girl cheerfully announce their element as they transform like they always do, Hay Lin, while still going through the sequence with everyone else, stands still quietly with her head bowed.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Heart of Kandrakar is necessary to transform the heroes into their guardian forms.
  • True Companions: The friendship between the girls is so strong that it can survive something as painful as one of them losing her best childhood friend to The Dark Side because of a misjudgement by another... to say nothing of everything the villains throw at them to turn them against each other.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Every single episode consists of a largely episodic, often Schoolgirl Series B plot (that still generally provides Character Development and other important storyline progression) woven through the strictly continuous A plot of the Guardians and their allies fighting the villains. C and further plots are often mixed in.
  • Two-Timer Date: In "F is for Facades", Cornelia goes ice skating with both Caleb (as her human form) and Peter (as her Guardian form). Though it wasn't her plan to date both at the same time, but rather Elyon's plan to get Caleb back into Cornelia's graces. Unfortunately, she didn't know about Peter.
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: Nerissa's one-episode stint as "Stacy", a popular new student who is the villain in disguise.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Kadma was suckered through disguises by Nerissa and the Knights of Destruction into thinking that Yan Lin had gone evil and was having the Guardians attack Zamballa, causing her to imprison the group when they first arrived until only Taranee was left. When the ruse was found out, she didn't bother to apologize for her mistakes or thank them for saving Zamballa and reviving some of her coma-induced subjects after she coldly disparaged the Guardians for thinking that they could. This more than annoyed Taranee.
  • Unpleasant Parent Reveal: It's clear from Caleb's face that the revelation that his Missing Mom is also the second season's Big Bad Nerissa is not welcome news.
  • Urban Fantasy: Heatherfield, the Guardians' hometown. Practically like any other big city in this genre, with seedy magical happenings in the background.
  • Valley Girl: Subverted by Cornelia, who talks exactly like one, has an obsession with shopping, and enjoys flaunting her beauty and wealth. But she's also cynical, sarcastic, perceptive, and overall down-to-earth, not to mention more emotionally sensitive than the other Guardians; to the point that she's clearly The Lancer and often ends up butting heads with Will as a result. The second season takes it a bit further by revealing her "favorite non-fighting-evil activity": ice skating, of all things.
  • Villain Decay:
    • In season 2, in the same episode that he was freed from prison for the first time, Elyon forces Phobos back in, without even an onscreen fight.
    • Inverted in the last few episodes of the season, where Phobos steals the Seal of Nerissa, making him far more formidable than he was in season 1... and then subverted when Cedric easily ambushes him and steals his powers.
    • Cedric gets easier and easier to defeat each time he shows up. Even after betraying Phobos and absorbing "ultimate power" in the end, he winds up not knowing how to properly use it and is defeated yet again.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Will's father in Season 2.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The heroines are unusually well-adjusted socially compared to most instances of this trope (and even compared to the comics), despite their Limited Social Circle. The only significant exception is the occasional Cannot Spit It Out, but even these tend to be resolved relatively quickly. So instead of anxiety over mundane adolescent milestones, their stress is mostly over fulfilling their Guardian duties and upholding the Masquerade (including keeping their concerned parents Locked Out of the Loop).
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Knights of Destruction feed on negative emotions to grow stronger, but exposure to positive ones greatly weaken them. Ember panics when she notices Irma's growth into a more selfless person; Shagon is brought to his knees when Will offers him compassion; Tridart is knocked unconscious when Cornelia forces him to absorb her confidence; and Khor is weakened when Taranee learns to control her angry impulses.
  • Wham Episode: "Y is for Yield". All of the Guardians' "losses" since Phobos's release were planned by them to get Phobos in a position where he had no choice but to lose. Some of Phobos's minions have pulled a Heel–Face Turn. Finally, right when Phobos is about to do what W.I.T.C.H. has been manipulating him to since they released him, Cedric eats him.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?:
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: In "F is for Facades", Irma learns she can change the color of objects and Cornelia reveals she can change her own appearance to look slightly older. The two have fun with it throughout the episode, but the abilities are so ineffective they never come up again.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Heatherfield's location isn't specified, but unlike in the comics, it's unambiguously set in the US (the comics went back and forth on it being in either the US or Europe). Some of the coastal and topography elements seem to imply it's in Connecticut, possibly as a fictional counterpart to New Haven.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: While the show's lore is remarkably consistent in most respects, as befits its strict continuity, both seasons feature apparent contradictions of this type concerning timespans and character ages.
    • In the first season episode "The Stone of Threbe", a flashback shows an "heir to the throne", Weira, as the little red-headed girl for whom the semi-titular Star of Threbe was created by a younger-looking Mage. Said heir is heavily implied though not explicitly stated to be the mother of Phobos and Elyon, as she very accurately matches said character, down to the name given in season 2 and different hair color in the comics. All well and good... except that while gloating about finding the Star, Phobos says the line "a thousand years of searching". Either both Weira and the Mage lived to be thousands of years old, or there happened to be essentially identical characters a thousand years prior... or Phobos simply misspoke.
    • There's also the fact that Weira's father attempted to destroy the Star by throwing it into an active volcano, and it was found while digging through rock - a change that can take millions of years on Earth. However, Meridian geology isn't necessarily consistent with Earth's, to say nothing of all the magic floating around.
    • In the second season, Nerissa first implies and then outright states that she was released from her prison on Earth when a stray portal opened, setting her free on Meridian. Early in the season, portals are explained to have appeared only after the Veil was raised "13 years ago, [when] Prince Phobos came to power". (Indeed, folds are referred to as "the old ways of traversing dimensions".) Later, it is revealed that Caleb is Nerissa's son, as she had been in a relationship with his father Julian under a false identity. Problem is, the second episode of the show had Caleb explicitly state he was already 15, and both Nerissa and Julian are well aware of how long ago said relationship occurred: 17 years before the episode the deception is discovered, while the real Mage's grave reveals she died 18 years ago. To make matters worse, what the mistake is here is not at all obvious as Caleb is clearly older than the 13-year-old Elyon, who was the true heir brought to Earth through a portal as a baby to keep her safe from Phobos' rule. One possibility is that Nerissa lied about how she got free, but there is no indication of that in the show, nor any obvious reason why she would want to lie about that fact.
    • As if to add a further twist, the second season example also reinforces the first because the flashback to Nerissa and Julian's relationship shows the Mage looking seemingly identical to how she did when she created the Star, in stark contrast to her appearance during the events of the series, suggesting human-like aging.
  • Worldbuilding: The universe certainly opens up after Season 1, with multiple new worlds for the Guardians to protect and explore in Season 2.
  • World in the Sky: Kandrakar. Much more justified than most examples because it's literally its own world... though such things as gravity and atmosphere are sufficiently Earth-like for ordinary humans to not notice any difference.
  • World of Snark: Simultaneously exaggerated and downplayed. It may well be impossible to find a significant character in this show who doesn't snark on a regular basis. At the same time, the show lies so far on the Idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, even in the darker second season, that the usual cynical variants that come with this trope like Snark Knight essentially don't exist here. Among the main girls, Irma and Cornelia lead the pack (obviously including plenty of Snark-to-Snark Combat with each other), Hay Lin is the resident Cuckoo Snarker, and the others are somewhere in between.
  • X-Ray Sparks: When Will electrocutes Cedric in the final episode, the viewer gets to see the silhouettes of the monster's skeleton and lungs.
  • You Are Grounded!: Since she has to keep up The Masquerade, Will gets this more than any girl trying to save the world deserves.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nerissa breathed life into Ember and Tridart so she would have assistance while recruiting the former Guardians. Once the group is reassembled, she unhesitatingly sacrifices the former to rejuvenate Halinor and Kadma, and has the latter be absorbed into Cassidy and Yan Lin despite his pleas.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Phobos congratulates Will for cheating with her powers to win a swim race in "V is for Victory". She responds by regretfully tilting her head down.
  • Zany Scheme: The girls occasionally get themselves out of mundane trouble on Earth (albeit generally caused by their guardian responsibilities in some way) with these.


Video Example(s):


W.I.T.C.H. Season 2 (spoilers)

Will explains what happened after the bad guys were taken down. There's also a sequel hook for the season 3 that ultimately didn't happen due to producer and network disinterest.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Denouement

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