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

Based on an Italian comic book. This show aired on ABC Family and Toon Disney's Jetix block and decided to try something else from the typical comic book adaptations at the time. It re-imagines the first two story arcs of the comic, tying them together and making them one central, stand-alone, connected plot-line told in the show's serial narrative. To some fans' regret, however, this results in them changing a few things around. Greg Weisman, creator of Gargoyles, was a showrunner during the second season.

On the distant planet of Meridian, a tyrannical young man named Phobos has acquired the royal throne and begun his crusade to spread his reign over all other planets 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 which turn into portals, allowing free passage between Meridian and Earth. On Earth, five young girls are recruited to become the Guardians of the Veil, a group of super-powered defenders who are tasked with keeping order in the universe and acting as the protectors for all planets in the various galaxies of space. To do this, they must maintain the Veil by closing the portals.

Soon into their Guardianship, they encounter Caleb, the young leader of a rebel army on Meridian. The rebel army opposes Phobos' rule, as Meridian is a matriarchal planet, and he tells the Guardians that the rightful heir to the throne, Phobos' sister, is hidden away somewhere on Earth, and now that the Veil is weak enough to pass through it, both the rebels and Phobos are racing to find the heir located somewhere on Earth. As they 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 five girls (whose initials spell "Witch") form a classic Five-Man Band, plus a sort-of Sixth Ranger (one of the Meridian rebels, who's pretty much there from the beginning), a Mentor (grandmother of one of the girls from a previous team, CHYKN), and a Non-Human Sidekick (a goblin-like smuggler from Meridian who is both cute and utterly gross) which sounds fairly standard, but the show distinguishes itself by clever plotting, writing, and bold attempt at creating a series with a centralized plotline that develops each episode with little-to-no filler episodes. Most of the episodes revolve around chess-like maneuvers between the villains and the girls, and the girls start out on the losing side of the war, and must slowly build up their victories. However, they tend to lose more often than they win due to the villain's cunning intelligence, but the plot still moves one step closer to its conclusion.

This show is also notable for totally avoiding many tropes found in the action genre. One example is the Sorting Algorithm of Evil; neither Phobos' minions or the girls get any more powerful, or visibly better at using their powers. Instead, the Character Development comes from how both sides treat their war. The girls initially treat their missions like a game or a nuisance, and get much more serious with time. Both the girls and Phobos get much smarter, too. Early episodes have the girls making Keystone Kops blunders in trying to hide their secret, while the bad guys make ham-fisted attacks. By the end, both the girls and Phobos are incredibly sneaky. The second-season avoids it as well, even though the girls get some upgrades and neat new powers, they still have trouble beating the season's Big Bad Nerissa, even though she's arguably weaker than Phobos. The trouble the girls have stems from Nerissa's uncanny scheming ability. The girls never match Nerissa in terms of strength, so they must rely on their wits to outsmart her. Unfortunately, Nerissa tends to be the one outsmarting them and leading them right where she wants them.

See also, the comic: WITCH.


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!"
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted, the only times the kids beat the adults are when there's a large power gap, such as the Guardians fighting the non-magical Mooks. When they fight other magical-endowed adults, however, they tend to lose the battle due to their lack of experience and power.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: The guardian costumes are rather...provocative for 13-14 year-old girls.
  • 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 kept capturing each other.
  • Alpha Bitch: Cornelia sometimes, mainly in the first season, the Grumper Twins definitely.
  • Animesque
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Irma's brother Chris, and Cornelia's sister Lillian.
  • Art Evolution: Season 2 was animated at Dong Woo Animation in Korea; replacing the Wang Film Productions/Hong Ying duo of the first.
  • Ascended Extra: Caleb had a much smaller role in the comics.
  • Asian Airhead: Hay Lin is gorgeous, absolutely adorable, cute, sweet natured and popular...and because nature wanted to be fair, she's also dumb as a board.
    • Actually she's more of a Cloudcuckoolander, as her artistic ability shows she's more talented then she lets on.
      • Someone can be creative or highly perceptive and still be an airhead.
      • Doesn't being an airhead mean they're not perceptive? Check the trope page, Hay Lin doesn't fit either Type 1 or Type 2 of Asian Airhead.
    • Not that she hides it as "X is for Xanadu" had her entering an art show and garnering praise from a famous artist.
  • A Simple Plan
  • The Atoner: Tynar, as seen in "B is for Betrayal"
  • Averted Trope: Most ones found relating to the execution and plot of action series are broken, particularly in the second season.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In both seasons, the Guardians are completely helpless to stop the villains from carrying out their scheme, until they finally get to win in the season finale.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: Prince Phobos
  • Badass Normal: Caleb - by the end of the second season, he's pretty much the only character who can't shoot some form of laser beams.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Pretty much every one of the main protagonists does this.
  • Barrier Maiden: Practically the entire point of the first season.
  • Bastard Understudy: Cedric, Miranda.
  • Beach Episode: I is for Illusion.
  • Big Bad: Phobos in season 1, Nerissa in season 2.
  • Bigger Is Better: Subverted. Irma tries on two occasions to use breast expansion to her advantage, but in both occasions ends up being embarrassed. Played straight with Will, who prefers her Guardian form because of the larger chest.
  • Big Breasts, Big Deal: Irma Lair, Type Four, Vanity. Full stop.
  • The Blank: In one of the early issues of the comic, Will dreams that she's woken and looked in the mirror to find that she has no face! Then she tries to draw one on with a black marker before being woken up.
  • Book Dumb: A rare female example: Will
    • Irma too.
  • Book Ends: Z Is For Zenith consists largely of the girls remembering the final battle with Cedric after they went One-Winged Angel.
  • Brainless Beauty: Hay Lin, par the course.
    • Cornelia almost seems to be trying to invoke this trope, yet she and Hay Lin often subvert this with accurate observations and creative use of their powers. Why would Kandrakar pick idiots to protect the multiverse, anyway?
  • Brainwashed / Brainwashed and Crazy: Virtually every major character as fallen victim to one of these at some point. Even many of the supporting characters do (in particular the Witch's boyfriends).
  • Breast Expansion: like... a lot. Like all of the main girls at least once.
    • Try at least once every episode. Hell, in the first episode, it's referenced on!
      • So obvious that it actually made front page news in Britain.
  • Brick Joke: In "I is for Illusion" the Guardians go to Kandrakar for information on Nerissa, not knowing her name they refer to her as "Ugly old hag" with a "No offense!" thrown in from Irma to The Mage, in a OOC moment The Mage (normally The Stoic) puts her hands on her hips and glares out a "None taken" back This becomes a billion times funnier when it's revealed that The Mage is Nerissa in disguise and has been all along. Really there’s a lot of them in regards to Nerissa's identity as both The Mage and Trill
  • Buxom Is Better: It's an official plot point, in the comics, novelizations and TV series...subverted by Irma, however, whose oversized bust is the butt of jokes.
  • 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 possibly a case of Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Canon Foreigner: Blunk is original to the cartoon.
  • Cast From HP: Old Guardians must do this without access to Aurameres or a Heart.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Elyon.
  • The Chessmaster: Nerissa - this is unsurprising given that the second season had as a showrunner Greg Weisman, creator of Gargoyles and thus of David Xanatos.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Phobos does this to Will in episode 2; 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 she's visibly terrified of him.
  • Composite Character: In the original comics, Hator 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.
  • Consummate Liar: Miranda
    • Arguably, the main characters and our heroes as they keep up The Masquerade. Strangely, they're actually pretty bad liars and this leads to Elyon believing Cedric over them as he's a much better one.
  • Continuity Nod: Every episode, more or less.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: Miranda.
  • Creepy Child: Miranda.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Nerissa.
  • Deadly Upgrade
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cornelia.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Elyon is imprisoned for much of season two, keeping her out of fights she should've been easily able to win for the Guardians otherwise.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Martin.
  • Downer Ending: Just about every episode in the second season until the ending.
  • The Dragon: Cedric.
    • In the second season it gets a bit more complicated, with Raythar first being The Dragon to Nerissa, then Shagon. When Phobos regains power, Cedric becomes The Dragon again- and when he takes over, Miranda becomes his Dragon for all of one episode.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Infinite City.
  • Elemental Baggage: Averted.
    • Played with when the Guardians fight inside at a swimming pool and Cornelia has no earth or plants to use. She makes do with algae from the pool.
  • Elemental Powers
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Really. Even if Phobos weren't evil, he's disqualified from taking the throne of Meridian by being male.
  • Evil Minions
  • The Evil Prince: Phobos.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Phobus, Nerissa.
  • Evil Twin (Jeek is technically an Evil Counterpart, but he can impersonate Blunk easily)
  • Fallen Hero: Nerissa.
  • Fan Service: What kind ya want? Take your pick of the main gals. Perpetually adorable Taranee is like Rei but Black, with a dash of Hartman Hips. Will is a slinky little Pettanko with dreams of Breast Expansion, ditto for Hay Lin. Cornelia is a gorgeous blonde bombshell with ample superpowers. And Irma is...well very, very big.
    • Caleb gets an extended Shirtless Scene in season one when he's captured and put to work in prison camp.
  • Fantasy World Map
  • Fatal Flaw: How Nerissa gains control of the former guardians "It is the chink in the armour of your soul... And all I need to make you mine!"
  • Fighting Your Friend: Caleb and Aldarn in one episode, due to Elyon's inadvertent mind control.
  • First Kiss: All the W.I.T.C.H. girls and their respective crushes.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band Well okay; they're girls, but there's still five of them.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Kandrakar gives off this vibe in both the comic and show.
  • Foot Focus: Season 2 episode "N is for Narcissist" has the girls barefoot for roughly half the episode.
  • Foreshadowing: Numerous aspects; most of the major plot points and plot twists are foreshadowed and can be picked up by attentive viewers.
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: Practically everybody that can transform in "W is Witch".
    • In comic issue #100, the girls go to a party and find out it's a costume party. Guess what happens next.
  • Gag Boobs (in the comics, Irma's attempts at using her busty Guardian body ends in hilarious and ego-deflating Epic Fail). As an aside: there are some 'how-to-draw' model sheets of Irma describing her as "the biggest" of the girls and instructing not to be stingy when drawing her chest.
  • Gambit Pileup - Most of the second season
  • Garden of Evil: Phobos is rather proud of it.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: On-screen death, many suggestive dialog exchanges, explicitly-explained rape.
    • Even the soundtrack gets in on this. Specifically, Bloom, Cornelia's character song, which involves her asking someone to 'plant a little seed and watch me bloom'. Subtle...
  • Grand Finale: With a stinger of sorts that was never followed up on.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Narissa, Kadma, and Yan Lin all look damn well eye-popping when they resume their young, busty teenaged Guardian bodies. In fact, all of the old Guardians were quite the hotties back in the day.
  • The Heartless. The Knights of Destruction.
  • Heroic Bastard Implied for Caleb
  • Heroic BSOD: Hay Lin, "T is for Trauma", where Nerissa controlled Yan Lin's clone and Eric.
  • Heroic Resolve. How Hay Lin breaks out of the aforementioned Heroic BSOD.
  • High School Rejects: Uriah and his gang.
  • Hot Mom: Susan Vandom who looks like she moonlights as a glamor model; Irma and Cornelia's moms are pretty eye-pleasing too for that matter.
    • This is a middle-aged woman, with kids. One wonders what she looked like before she got old and let herself go.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Cedric, second season finale.
    • The girls in the first few episodes.
  • Hulk Speak: Blunk. In fact, all Passlings speak that way.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The titles of the second season episodes are in the form of an alphabet primer.
  • Initialism Title
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cornelia and Irma.
  • Just Desserts: When Cedric eats Phobos.
  • Karma Houdini: Nerissa ends up much happier than she deserves.
  • Kick the Dog: Phobos does this VERY frequently. He tortures Will in the second episode among 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.
  • Killed Off for Real: Quite a few characters.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The girls in the first season. And most secondary characters throughout the entire series.
  • Lisa Needs Braces: Averted with Hay Lin, her braces are normal and she's proud of them.
  • Lotus Eater Machine
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Nerissa is Caleb's mother.
  • Magical Girl Warrior
  • Manipulative Bastard: Nerissa, to a lesser extent Phobos.
  • Meganekko: Taranee.
  • Me's a Crowd: Astral Drops.
  • 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, thinking THEY would be the Official Couple.
  • Mind Control: Happens a few times but most noticeably in "G is for Garbage" in which all the heroines (sans Irma), Bunk and Matt fall victim to this.
  • Mooks: The rebels, Phobos' Guards, later Elyon's guards.
  • More Than Mind Control: Elyon in the first season and the members of CHYKN in the second season.
  • Most Common Superpower: Apparently magic powers=breast implants...and none of the girls complain, for obvious reasons.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Will's decision not to tell Elyon ultimately results in Phobos successfully manipulating her for half the season.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted, sort of. A questionable relationship between Nerissa and Cassidy's relationship is alluded to, though later on we found out she seduced a man to impregnate her to have a child. While one could argue she only used him to get pregnant, she has shown loving feelings for him, such as when she spared him his life during a deadly confrontation.
  • No Loves Intersect: Rather than crush on a character for the entire series, the characters actually have the nerve to break trope tradition and ask the character out with little hesitance, which causes them to hook up fairly early on in the series.
  • No Social Skills: Caleb is clueless about Earth.
  • Odd Friendship: Caleb and Blunk
  • Older Alter Ego: The girls age up noticeably when they transform into their guardian form.
  • The One Guy: Caleb and Blunk, later Matt.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Phobos is this during Season 1; up until the season finale Will's the only gaurdian who's actually met him.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Passlings.
  • 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.
  • Out of Order: Season 2 Halloween episode.
  • Parental Abandonment: Mostly averted, though we are never given a clear picture of what actually happened to Phobos and Elyon's birth parents. Given the nature of the eldest child, however, we can make an educated guess.
  • Pettanko: Will...and in the comics, she's rather sore about it too.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Blunk.
  • Psychic Powers: The girls gain some pyschic abilities in the early part of season two. Will has technopathy, Irma has suggestion/persuasion, Taranee has telepathy, Cornelia has telekinesis, and Hay Lin has limited precognition via her dreams.
    • Hay Lin can also turn invisible. Along with these, Cornelia has the ability to grow taller and Irma can change the colors of clothes, possibly other things, too.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Cornelia; Hay-Lin.
  • Reality Warper: Elyon and Lillian.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy
  • Rebel Leader: Caleb, obviously.
  • The Remnant: The Knights of Vengeance.
  • Rich Bitch: Cornelia, full stop.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Kinda. 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. Also, Mr. Huggles dies after being hit by a car in the comic, though it is in a later storyline that was never adaptated for TV.
  • Skeleton Government: The entire planet of Meridian seem to be run by a single monarch, assisted by a couple of advisors. In a particularly egregious scene in the second series, Elyon was asked to negotiate a boundary dispute between two groups of farmers. You'd think there'd be some sort of regional governor to see to such matters.
    • Xambala's the same.
    • May be justified in both cases as Meridian was recently under a dictatorship and probably lacks any infrastructure while Zambala's population is basically a bunch of living trees.
  • School Play
  • Shout-Out: Several to the Lord of the Rings Films. In the second season, when Greg Weisman takes over, he can't help but put a few shout outs to Gargoyles, as well.
    • In two episodes of the second season Usagi makes a brief background cameo.
      • Pokémon cameo in the European intro sequence. Really.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Eric and Hay Lin's relationship toward the end of season two.
  • Six-Student Clique:
    • The Head: Will
    • The Muscle: Caleb
    • The Quirk: Hay-Lin
    • The Pretty One: Cornelia
    • The Wild One: Irma
    • The Smart One: Taranee
  • Slumber Party: Teenage girls, obviously, but in the second season they hold one specifically to fight the evil invading their dreams.
  • The Sixth Ranger: Many thought Elyon would be it. And while the show does indicate that Caleb fills this category, the comic offers somebody different entirely.
  • Smug Snake: Phobos and -literally- Cedric.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Averted: when Nerissa first appears, she is much weaker and less influential than Phobos ever was, though that does change overtime.
  • 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 Merridian in one fell swoop. Fortunately, they weren't any lucky than the previous villains they succeeded.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: One sided in the comics. Will's empathetic powers makes animals respond to her mood and thoughts.
  • Superhero: Tights and all.
  • Third Person Person: Blunk.
  • 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, Hay Lin stands still quietly with her head bowed.
  • Twist Ending: Numerous, just about every episode.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting
  • Two-Timer Date: In "F Is For Facade" Cornelia goes ice skating with both Caleb (as her human form) and Peter (as her Guardian form).
  • Uncanny Valley Girl: Nerissa's one-episode stint as "Stacie".
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Will's father
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Heart of Kandrakar grants 4 of the girls elemental powers, and to Will, the power to give them those powers! Maybe not totally lame, but at the least, unfair. Retconned in Season 2 of the TV show when it's explained she had no powers as most of hers were used to keep the Veil up. When the Veil is lowered, she gains a lot of new abilities.
  • World Building
  • Xanatos Gambit: Phobos pulls off a good one in Season 1, and everyone gets in on the act in season 2. Then there's the fact that Phobos' initial Xanatos Gambit was in fact part of an even bigger one pulled by Nerissa.
    • Which is the only way that Phobos' take-over makes much sense in the first place. Think about it. His little sister is in her early teens. He is in his twenties. Phobos would have been somewhere around twelve when Elyon was taken to another dimension because he was such a threat to her life. Enfant Terrible or not, you'd think someone was around with the power to send him to his room.
  • X Meets Y: He Man and The Masters of The Universe meets Sailor Moon would be a good way to describe the show.
  • You Are Grounded
  • Zany Scheme