W.I.T.C.H. Season 1 [2005] 26 Episodes

So the male lead Caleb and one of the W.I.T.C.H. girls are trapped under an avalanche.  Trying somehow to dig their way out Caleb asks, “So don’t you have any spells or something to get us out of this?”  She answered, “We’re not witches!  It’s just our initials!”  That exemplified perhaps the biggest misconception about W.I.T.C.H., likely shortening its TV series.

If they had called the show “High School Elementals” or “Teenage Guardians” it may have avoided some of the inevitable comparisons to the popular Winx Club franchise.  This is partially because W.I.T.C.H. was introduced to most Americans in 2005, a year after Winx Club debuted.

It is not surprising then that the newly introduced thought it a Winx Club clone trying to cash in on the craze.  In truth, while the W.I.T.C.H. TV show did come later, the intellectual property started three years before Winx Club as a comic.

Season One synopsis; 26 episodes in one sentence?

Meridian is a dimension next to our own accessible only through magical portals and ruled by the despot Phobos who needs to increase his magical powers by stealing them from his sister who was secreted to Earth as an infant and where she coincidentally befriends 5 girls who rally around an ancient jewel and are transformed into the next generation of elementally powered guardians who are destined to defeat Phobos, look like fairies, and learn about boys.

Don't tease THIS little sister.

"I'm Phobos, powerhungry sociopath. What? You knew I was the villain? Darn this Dutch angle!"

To W.I.T.C.H’s credit the writing was witty, interesting and consistent.  Would that all three qualities were more common in one show.

Additionally they fed the season arc often.  While there were few dedicated filler shows, even those touched upon the overall arc.

The show was more mature than Winx, although the W.I.T.C.H. girls appear to be younger.  Winx drove a successful marketing machine that covered the globe in pre-teen girls backpacks, dolls and make-up kits.  W.I.T.C.H. never hit that crescendo in North America, but neither did it originate as a television creation.

It was not overly cute but rather focused more on teenage angst and high school issues.

Which of these two is the evil henchman Cedric? It's a trick question. They both are!

The background art for W.I.T.C.H. was well stylized and consistent.  It was not as Renaissance as Huntik, but had a quality painterly look that covered two very different settings; clean-ish earth, and dire Meridian.

And then there's Blunk, a stereotypical garbage-loving sidekick. He was written well and consistently enough that we grew to like him. Blunk for President!

The girls themselves were visually well designed.  The templates for them had already been established in the comics, and the sometimes troublesome transition to animation models was accomplished fittingly.

However, the artistic integrity from episode to episode fluctuated and sometimes the results were not pretty.  Not very often, but too commonly.

Blunk will clean up the garbage in politics -- personally!

Fun checklist;  Winx and W.I.T.C.H. both:

  • Started with a team of 5 girls
  • Have a wise elder female mentor
  • Star girls who transform into scantily clad faerie-winged fliers
  • Feature non-magical warrior boyfriends
  • Involve royalty, dimensional travel and wizard-like male enemies.

Of course, both sets of girls love going to the beach.

Okay, we'll admit there were a few similarities between the Winx and W.I.T.C.H. girls: Both groups had a spunky pigtailed Asian.

Both featured a book smart know-it-all who occasionally had goofy missteps.

Both teams through a series of events came to be led by a redheaded newcomer.

Each group had a stereotypical, good looking, long-locked blond elitist --with a heart of gold of course.

That’s humor.  While the shows are both appealing in some similar ways, they differ in tone, target age group, art direction and story. They are very different entities despite criticism often erroneously leveled at W.I.T.C.H.

W.I.T.C.H. also gets to join Winx with devoted cosplay followers. ...Maybe he lost a bet...

They took a fresh tack in season one allowing Caleb to fall for elegant and powerful Cornelia rather than the typical leader girl Will.

"Don't you understand? I cannot allow myself to fall in love. I have the weight of the rebellion around my neck. ...What? That's my collar? Oh then never mind.”

This might change in the future, which would be too bad.  We welcomed it as a differentiating and refreshing choice.

Cornelia: "Does this mean you are breaking up with me?" Caleb: "Of course not... -wait, what season is this?"

The girls were a little annoying at first, but all grew on us – even Hay Lin’s flightiness. Well, except for Will. Maybe next season.

One thing is for sure; being a Guardian is not for the out-of-shape.

This season built to an expected but good resolution, although the girls’ mechanism used to defeat Phobos was unclear. Enter unexplained dragon for short inconsequential appearance?

W.I.T.C.H.:  Overall, a pleasant surprise. Season Two next!

There will be no pork in a Blunk administration - literally! He will eat every last scrap of it.

Check out our W.I.T.C.H. takes:

W.I.T.C.H. Season One

W.I.T.C.H. Season TWO

Check out related takes:

Winx Club Season 1 – (The Trix)

Winx Club Season 2 – (Darkar)

Winx Club Season 3 – (Baltor/Valtor)

Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 1)

Winx Club Season 4 – The Black Circle (part 2)

Winx Club 3D: Magica Avventura

 

12 thoughts on “W.I.T.C.H. Season 1 [2005] 26 Episodes

  1. Just saying, Musa isn’t asian, she’s from Melody, not Earth.

    Another thing, most of us fans think that the W.i.t.c.h TV show ruined the comics.

    And who said Matt & Nabu isn’t magical, which means that their boyfriends aren’t always “non-magical!”

    Don’t forget with your Winx and W.i.t.c.h comparing “At one stage fight their own kind (Winx Club-Season 4 – W.it.c.h season 2) but that isn’t W.i.t.c.h season 1 though.

    • Thanks for commenting Kandrakar. This is a subject with which you are obviously familiar. You are technically right, Musa is not Asian. But her mother and dress point to Asian. None of the (pre-season 4) Winx girls are from Earth, but they have ethnic qualities to which you Earthlings can relate.

      We know of the argument put forth by the comic fans of W.I.T.C.H. On the other hand, the franchise was introduced to and enjoyed by far more new people via the TV show. That is just the way of today’s media.

      You are quite the nit-picker Kandrakar. Thank you for paying such close attention. This take is only on W.I.T.C.H. season 1 which features non-magical boyfriends. And the Winx boys are 99% non-magical. Nabu came later and is admittedly, an exception.

      You make an interesting point about future takes. We were waiting for some good subtitled or dubbed versions of the second half of Winx season 4. W.I.T.C.H. season 2 will be coming. It sounds like another W.I.T.C.H./Winx similarity is indeed present. Did not the Winx girls also fight “Dark Bloom” in season 2? Was that not “fighting their own kind”?

    • Hi, I understand where you are coming from. I think you like the comics best and are disappointed by the transition from paper to animation. That is always a problem when changing from one media to another. However, had WITCH never done this I might never have found the series and gotten into it. I am thankful that the show came out. I really enjoyed it. For a tv series fan like myself, I just don’t have time (or money) to put into reading an ongoing series. I know it will never be nearly as thorough as the comics, but the tv series did it’s best to put a lot into a small package, and on its own it turned out really good. If there was a solution to the war between comics and tv series, I think it’d be easier for fans to separate them as two different entities. We could say that the tv series is loosely based on the comics.

      I have to agree with Fortress Guy on the Musa theory. We know that in the Winx universe Musa does not come from Earth and therefore there are no Asians. However, the creators of this show/series do come from real Earth and it is shown subtly, and not so subtly, that Musa has features and history that resemble parts of Asian background. So really, we could say she reflects more of an Asian background if we were to compare her to real life people.

      I do think it’s nice to have male magic users, like Nabu, and maybe even Matt. But for generality’s sake, it is convenient to sum up the boyfriends as mostly being non-magical warriors. If anything I’d like to see more of Nabu’s powers…but that’s neither here nor there. Wrong take, ha. Anyway, it is good to have a group of guy help either way, whether non-magical or magical. But the non-magical guys are a great contrast and compliment to the magic girls.

      • We too would likely never have been exposed to W.I.T.C.H. had it not been made into a TV show.

        Good point about the boyfriends Zhanneel. In W.I.T.C.H. it always seemed Caleb was quite effective with no magical powers. He was never demeaned or emasculated. It would be good if Winx had more situations featuring magic-resistant enemies or other types that required the Red Fountain boys’ swords and skills to be dealt with.

        Boyfriend Brandon is a Warrior!

        We like the idea of the boys and girls different abilities complimenting each other and even augmenting combined effectiveness.

  2. How cool, the Fortress did a take on one of my favorite (and short-lived) series. What can I say? I have a soft spot for the magic girl most of us. ;)

    Good thing you brought the Winx vs WITCH issue out in the open. I believe even now there are still warring debates out on the internet over which is better. >_< I still happen to like both of them for different reasons, and why can't we all? The trick is to take them both for what they each can offer. For example, you hit one of the differences on the head: the maturity factor. WITCH aims for an older audience, one that appeals to the witty kid inside me, heh. (Nice magazine covers by the way. That first Hay-Lin cover is a really cute pic.)

    "…who are destined to defeat Phobos, look like fairies, and learn about boys."

    Ha! Story of every girl's life. I mean, I have an evil Phobos in my life, doesn't everyone?

    Neat animated gifs. The Will transformation shot has me mesmerized. Sparkly.

    I watched the show a ways back, but I think I know what you mean when you felt the show could consistently show consistency. (I think that makes sense.) After some episodes I scratched my head for a bit wondering if I understood everything that was implied in the plot. For the most, the show did feel consistent and tied up most loose endings.

    Ahh, nice comparison to Huntik. I did notice a similarity in the art direction. Those Italians and their fancy panning shots. ;)

    "Blunk with clean up the garbage in politics — personally!"

    Now there is a politician I can get behind! And stay weeeell behind. Ha.

    I liked your comparison on Winx vs WITCH. It brought my attention to the non-magical warrior boyfriends in both series. That was a good addition to both I think.

    Speaking of similarities and stereotypes…it's not shocking that my favorite characters in both shows happened to be Taranee and Tecna. (The "goofy missteps" as you put it are the icing on the cake.)

    Wow, you nailed the Stella/Cornelia comparison on the head.

    Thankfully all of the stereotypes were not hit. Unlike some lead fighters, Will did not have the "all-powerful fire" element. Shocking! And refreshing. The beauty-queen Cornelia had the Earth element; the writers didn't go lenient on her, giving her water or air instead. And it was nice how each girl, despite their personalities, later matched with their elements.

    Oh, ouch on the Will cosplay "look-alike". I use that term very, very loosely.

    So Will was not your cup of tea? Nor was she mine. She had the most growing to do of all the girls. The constant fighting with her mom was a little too sad. But then secret-crime fighting can make one a bit too tense. Too bad she was already tense to begin with. Yikes. Still, try to loosen girl!

    Overall, I really liked the elemental take on this magic girl series, and the slightly more mature tone of the situations. I definitely found myself snickering quite a bit through this series. While Winx is more about the power of love and friendship, I think WITCH hit the reality meter in me. I appreciate the down-to-earth, real life problems that happen in teen life. Oh, and did I happen to mention how MUCH I like the WITCH opening theme song? Maybe even a tad bit more than the Huntik theme song. And that's a hard one to one-up.

    I'm sure I hit the over 599 word count here, so time to wrap this up. Awesome and thorough job on a take well done. I appreciate Winx and WITCH and think you did a wonderful job contrasting the differences. I'm glad WITCH weighed in so well with you! Thanks much!

    • Welcome Back Zhanneel. Only a 639 word comment for one of your favorite shows? You are slipping a little. ;)

      We really did not investigate the W.I.T.C.H. vs Winx thing. The impressions are our own after watching season 1. Some cannot be helped when making a magical girls show. We do not fault either series. However, some of the roster similarities are amazing. Oh those long-locked blond elitists. Ha.

      We understand what you said about relating to the characters, and that is one of W.I.T.C.H.’s strengths. They do portray semi-realistic high school girl problems. We understand the “learning about boys” part you relate to, and maybe even that there is some sort of “Phobos” type person in your life. Like Gary Oak was to Ash Ketchum in Pokemon. But what about the “looking like a fairy” part? How exactly are you accomplishing that?

      We do not share your appreciation of Taranee, although Tecna was our favorite on Winx. In W.I.T.C.H. we much preferred Cornelia, despite the occasional writing inconsistencies or unfair exaggerations of some of her character traits.

      We are glad you were amused by our Blunk appreciation. BLUNK for President!

      One area in which we definitely disagree is regarding the opening theme song. The W.I.T.C.H. one has a few catchy bars, but that is it. The vocalizations leave something to be desired. The Huntik opening, again described to us fittingly as a “ROCK ANTHEM” is superior to W.I.T.C.H. and most shows. It is up there in the Team Knight Rider opening category.

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      Thank you for your continued patronage and intelligent commentary.

      • You’re very welcome for the commentary. It’s fun to throw my ideas around, and in a place where I am not afraid of internet debate wars.

        The magic girl similarities have not bothered me either. It’s something you almost come to expect, some commonplace ideas you might miss were they not there. The girl (or even guy) groups give a wide range of personality, antics, and drama. The variety in magic or superpowers adds that special something.

        I do understand when people do not share my admiration for certain characters. Were it not for some similarities I share with Taranee, I may not have chosen her (or Tecna) as a favorite character, and instead might have chosen Cornelia. Corni is a pretty great character all around. Her personality and the drama that followed her added to the entertainment value. I admit that Cornelia had loads more going on in the personality department than Taranee, which is why I gravitated so much to the blond elitist. That and she had my favored power–earth.

        Oh those awesome rock anthems. Everybody do the “air guitar”! The Huntik theme song is indeed a superb song in its own right, and it sounds like just about everyone can enjoy it. Ha, had to put that song link up didn’t you. *click repeat* I have not asked too many people about the WITCH song, so I may be alone on my enjoyment of the song. That is okay, I have some fond memories with that song. Nostalgic even. ;)

        As for how I manage to keep my fairy composure…well…it’s amazing how far a pair of leggings, glitter, and hair clips can take someone. (Caution: do not attempt at while at work)

  3. Random comment from an old European W.I.T.C.H. fan that happened to come by, and happens to have the “old European fan” perspective on things.
    Here’s hoping that others might find the perspective from an old European fan interesting. ;)

    I started reading the comics in February 2002 at age 21. By that time it was about a year old in Italy, and it was starting to be published in other European countries such as mine (I’m Danish).
    Now, one thing to be noted is, that W.I.T.C.H. became *huge* in Europe. And I do mean huge. Around 2005 few things were as popular to buy in common super markets for “school is starting starting merchandise” than W.I.T.C.H..
    Boys could get Justice League or Spider-man stuff. Girls could get W.I.T.C.H. and maybe Barbie (I know, not a lot of choices). Fact is, though, that we got a lot more W.I.T.C.H. merchandise than we ever got Winx Club.
    Reading your comments about merchandise basically amused me to no end, as we had it the other way around in Northern Europe.

    A thing you should keep in mind for perspective is, that comics sells a *lot* better in Europe than they do in the U.S.A.
    In France the W.I.T.C.H. comic currently has a monthly sale at 173,000 copies a month. – http://www.wolfstad.com/dcw/france/witch/
    For comparison, the best selling 2010 comic title in the U.S. is at 129,084 copies a month. http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/17860.html
    Basically W.I.T.C.H. is selling considerably more in France alone, than the most popular comic title is selling in the U.S. – And the W.I.T.C.H. comics popularity has been declining considerably for the last three to five years.
    - My point is that you can’t quite compare comic culture in U.S. to comic culture in Europe. U.S.A. practically has no comic sales at all compared to most European countries.
    A lot of European girls knew what W.I.T.C.H. was by the time Winx Club hit the TV. Also, it’s really not hard to find W.I.T.C.H. comic fans that hated the animation when it came out, as there were a lot of comic fans to pick from.

    Anyway… When the animated Winx Club hit my country, my first thought about it was “That’s a super obvious combination of a W.I.T.C.H. and a Harry Potter rip-off.” Very clever, actually. Tapping into the two most popular things among the target group of that time.
    Winx Club was produced by Italian people, which I checked myself before making the judgement, as I knew for a fact that the U.S. pretty had no idea what W.I.T.C.H. was around 2004 (I wanted to know if it was a co-incidence or not). In Italy, however, W.I.T.C.H. was *the* smash hit among girls at the time. And there’s no way the producers of Winx Club did not know this or did not know about W.I.T.C.H.. So no, I really don’t think it’s a coincidence when the girls follow the same formula in both series.

    This doesn’t make Winx Club a worse show. In the end, things like that is made to create a profit, and the producers of Winx Club obviously had analysed what worked.
    It’s just really, really ironic when people start to say that W.I.T.C.H. is ripping off Winx Club.

    For fair measure, my first thought about the W.I.T.C.H. comics was: “Italian Donald Duck artists trying to rip off girls manga”. Which was just as right.

    • Thank you for your in-depth and thought out comment from the European perspective. This is a subject of which you are knowledgeable and passionate.

      We do not see much disagreement about anything you said. You made many comments on a variety of points, but many were on the comics. That is a subject we mentioned but mostly endeavored to avoid. This take was about the animation only and we only have 599 words.

      Comics are less mainstream in America than they are in Japan or apparently Europe. Of course, there is no denying the globe-spanning power of classic American comic franchises like Spiderman, Superman, etc. Up here in the arctic we did not know of W.I.T.C.H.’s overall marketing penetration in Europe. We have made a couple clarifications in our take accordingly specifically pointing out North America when necessary.

      It is our opinion that W.I.T.C.H. as a TV show never caught on in North America as it may have in Europe, although it was likely not a great success there either due to differences from the original comic. Something Winx never needed to be concerned about. W.I.T.C.H. may also have shot itself in the foot during season 2. That is something we will weigh in upon soon when we do out second season take.

      We were glad you were amused by our take, even if for unintentional reasons and hope to hear more from you now and/or after season 2′s take.

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