Author Topic: W.I.T.C.H: The Magical Girl Show which Greg Weisman wrote the second season for.  (Read 765 times)

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Offline pokepal148

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Greg Weisman for those who don't know, was a producer for shows like Young Justice and Spectacular Spider Man, pretty much anything the guy touches is really good and well worth watching. Unfortunately he was only a producer for the second season but the first season is pretty decent as well, although I'll be honest, the roller-coaster ride that the last 17 episodes take you on once the second season's storyline gets going is the main reason this show is worth watching, not because the show before that is bad or anything but the experience that those last 17 episodes take you on is just absolutely incredible. The show also has an amazing European theme song that we didn't get in America.

Earworm for BNM

I feel like going through this series on an episode by episode basis and jotting down some thoughts so let's do this.

- Hay Lin asking her grandmother, Yan Lin if her sneeze heard around the world is one of those “becoming a woman things” is a brilliant case of injecting a bit of adult-ish humor into children's media. Even if you are too young to understand the full context of the joke most people in the show's audience will understand what she's referring to.

- Irma giving Cornelia a hard time so often is a really nice touch. Irma is honestly a comic relief character for this type of show done right. It's strongly implied, although I don't think they ever outright say, that she uses her humor to an extent as a coping mechanism to deal with whatever stress she is dealing with.

- Yan Lin revealing right away that she was once a Guardian as well is interesting considering that's kind of a big deal in season 2. The comic does this as well during it's version of the scene where the girls are told about the whole Guardian thing.

- The initial reaction to the news varies wildly, with Irma excitedly asking “when do we start” while Cornelia doesn't believe any of this and Taranee is seemingly willing to accept this as an explanation for her sudden pyrokinesis, despite the fact that she is actually afraid of fire, and Will is struggling to accept her role in all of this.

- Throughout the episode they awkwardly cut to Meridian where Caleb and his rebel friend are trying to steal some powder from Phobos's castle and than escape from Phobos's army when the plan goes horribly wrong. It's a really awkward way to introduce the conflict on Meridian and it feels incredibly forced. We are also introduced to Phobos and Cedric during all of this. Phobos is a kind of generic evil overlord type villain and Cedric is his second in command who shapeshifts into a giant snake man with 18 different clashing colors. They're at least extremely genre savvy but overall Phobos is kind of a bland villain.

- Caleb mentions to his partner during all this that his informant learned that Phobos has learned that the true heir to Meridian's throne is alive on earth. That's like two different Season 1 plot threads being stealthily brought into play before they’re properly introduced. A lesser show would have basically ignored them completely so it's nice the writers were smart enough not to just pretend these things aren't happening until they come up in the show. He splits up with his partner but ends up being cornered by Cedric.

- Eventually while the girls are getting finished testing out their powers a portal to Meridian conveniently opens for Caleb to cross through, only for Cedric to follow suit and drag him back. The girls try to save Caleb but unlike say… a Power Rangers show, they don't conveniently become extremely good at using their powers the first time they use them and they're only able to drive Cedric back to Meridian with Caleb in tow.

- The scene afterwards where they're sitting around the table talking about what just happened is brilliant. There's a very real sense of dread here and Yan Lin essentially telling them that they could very well get themselves killed if they can't learn to work together is a good touch.

Overall it's a solid introduction to the series. The Meridian subplot's lack of context for anything is a bit of an issue although I do like how it briefly intersects with the main plot. It feels a bit convenient but overall I thought it tied together quite nicely.

 I feel like generally each of the girls from the start get a fair share of individuality. A lot of shows where a team of people come together make the team that inevitably gets formed feel like some kind of collective instead of a group of individuals coming together towards a common goal. The original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is a really good example of that. W.I.T.C.H avoids that problem beautifully, each of the girls feel very distinct from eachother and by the end of the series all five of them become strong, well developed characters in their own right. It's easily the show's greatest strength and it's something the show gets right from the start.

Overall, it's a solid enough start. Probably a 6.5 or a 7 out of 10 from me.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 11:25:32 PM by pokepal148 »
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Offline Spak-Spang

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I do like Greg Weisman, but I don't know if I want to get into this series.  Is season 1 skippable if you want to just try season 2, since you suggest that practically the entire season 2 is good.

Offline pokepal148

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Yeah you could probably skip season 1 if you really wanted to.

Actually hold that thought, I'm going to go through season 1 and figure out which episodes are worth skipping.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 11:53:03 AM by pokepal148 »
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Offline pokepal148

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Episodes 1-3 are all worth watching. 1-2 kind of works as a two-parter, showing how the girls become guardians and it shows them starting to come together. It also has the debut of Gargoyle.

Episode 3 is worth watching because the events within get referenced a fair bit in season 2. It also marks the first (and only) appearance of Raythor in the first season who becomes a major character in season 2.

If you haven't been convinced to go through the whole season than Episode 6 features the debut of Trill and the Tracker, who both play bigger roles in season 2 than they do in this one. It also has some amazing world building for Meridian.

Episode 8 has the four dragons Origin story for the girl's powers and features the bit of quicksand that is eventually brought to life as sandpit in season 2.

Episode 10 is just a cool episode that also has the debut of Frost the Hunter. Even without that it's still one of the best episodes in the season.

14 Shows how Elyon was finally brought to Meridian and introduces us to her adoptive parents..

19 features the debut of Caleb's father and Jeek.

24 introduces Tynar. It also introduces the whole Mr. Huggles ownership plotline that continues into season 2.

26 is the season finale and is worth watching for that reason alone. It's also pretty solid although it does feel a bit rushed.

Maybe if you need more season 1:

Episode 18 features the Horn of Hypnos and is kind of fun. It also features the Mage although she debuts in a different episode and is kind of just the "mysterious oracle type" character.

Episode 23 has a really cool battle going for it.

Episode 25 is when Matt finds out about Meridian and his girlfriend's double life.

Episode 5 introduces the Mage, and the Heart of Kandrakar's ability to unmask people using mystical disguises.

Episode 20 is a good one that explains who Ms. Rudolph is. There's a specific scene that might confuse you a bit in season 2 but otherwise you can probably skip it.

Honestly all of Season 1 is worth watching. Season 1 suffers from having a fairly limited season-wide story arc stretched to it's limit that builds up to a poorly paced finale but it's certainly worth watching. There's a ton of really good character development and great moments. Even in season 1 it's hard not to get invested in these characters and the world they inhabit. They're also really good at making each episode feel like something happened in it that brings things closer to the finale. The only real filler episode I can think of is the Horn of Hypnos episode.

It's only really bad when you compare it to season 2, which has a much better villain and an incredible story arc layered on top of what made season 1 great, all of which builds to the last few episodes which tie both seasons together for the finale, which, although I don't feel like it was meant to be the series finale, serves as a brilliant conclusion for the animated series.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 10:28:01 PM by pokepal148 »
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Online broodwars

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I've thought about checking out W.I.T.C.H. before, but I'm wary about getting into any series Greg Weisman writes. He's kind of the harbinger of death for pretty much any series he's on since he takes so goddamn long to pay off on any of his plot threads that many of his most promising series are usually cancelled before they do.

See: Young Justice, Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, Beware the Batman.
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Offline pokepal148

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W.I.T.C.H ties itself up really nicely. They snuck in a subtle reference to a plotline that would have been in season 3 but they basically just tipped their toes in it, and there's one of the characters stating that each of the girls has a specific reason for why they were chosen to be guardians that will be revealed at some point but we only learn the reasons for two of them before the end of the series.

Season 2's general plotline was pretty obviously being somewhat planned out from early on. Like the Trill being Nerissa plotline was blatantly being planned out from the start because there is literally a thing in the comics called Nerissa's trill that Trill is named after and Trill shows up in episode 6. Greg was probably just working on top of those plans.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 04:32:33 PM by pokepal148 »
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Offline pokepal148

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So let's talk about the second episode of the show.

The scenes with Phobos and Cedric in the throne room are pretty weak. They had a pretty solid showing during the first episode but they seem pretty generic so far during this episode. Phobos acting surprised that there is a new set of guardians is a bit odd considering that during the last episode there was a brief scene of him seeing a vision of Will taking the heart of Kandrakar. At least Phobos is taking the time to show off his cool Rose motif.

The girls back at the are a bit better. The dialogue between them feels a bit awkward but given the circumstances they’re going through that kind of makes sense. I do appreciate that they remembered that Will is supposed to be the new girl and thus may not be familiar with how picture day works in their school. The sort of uneasiness over the whole magic powers and snake monsters thing from last episode continues in this one which is nice.

Caleb meets Blunk, who is honestly a pretty superfluous character for this show. He's a comic relief character like Irma but while Irma's comedy comes from her incredibly well written one liners, Blunk is more into pratfalls and a more juvenile style of humor. I just don't feel like Blunk adds that much to the show. He's a greedy smuggler goblin thing with an annoying voice and who gets way too much screentime. Most of the humor for Blunk that actually works for me comes from his expressions. He is by far the most expressive character in the show and the animators make great use of it.


Back on earth there's a scene where the girls are debating whether or not to try to rescue Caleb, with Hay Lin and Irma fully on board with the idea and Cornelia and Taranee wanting to at least wait until after picture day. While you can question their priorities it would be legitimately out of character for Cornelia and Taranee to have the same amount of bravado about this whole thing as Irma and Hay Lin do. There is still a fair bit of the uneasiness about this whole thing from them. Will looks really sad when it’s revealed that Taranee won’t be continuing to accompany her on the walk home (apparently they live close to eachother) since she’s going to Irma’s place to avoid her dad’s cooking.

This episode gives a fair bit of focus to Cornelia so I feel like I should talk about her character a bit. You know how in a lot of shows with a female lead in a school setting there's that alpha bitch super popular self centered cheerleader type who mostly exists to make the main character's life miserable? That's who Cornelia is. What makes Cornelia so interesting as a character is that they've taken this character archetype that normally serves in some kind of antagonistic role and made her into one of the show's protagonists and they did so without sacrificing the more unlikable parts of that kind of character. Cornelia is also the most stereotypically girly of the group by a wide margin with her obsession with clothing and shopping, which fits with her whole alpha bitch/Valley girl personality, but at the end of the day, she is a very kind person.

Despite the harsh language I've used to describe her with, I adore Cornelia as a character. The writers did a great job making her pretty much completely unlikable early on while at the same time showing brief glimpses of who she'll become later in the series. The Cornelia we see at the end of season 2 is a very different person from the Cornelia we see in episode 2 and her growth as a person throughout the series as she begins to overcome her own narcissism and selfishness is what makes her one of the most endearing characters in the show. She's also drastically different from the Cornelia in the comics, who is more of a refined but gentle big sister type character.

Anyways, later in the episode Will gets kidnapped but she leaves her bag behind and the Heart of Kandrakar is in her bag. Taranee finds it on her way back to school the next day and quickly realises what’s going on. I really like the attention to detail here. A few scenes ago it was established that Will and Taranee usually walk through the same dark alleyway (apparently school buses don’t exist in Heatherfield) to get home so it makes sense that Taranee is the one who finds the bag. We briefly cut to Phobos being a bit unhappy about Will not having the Heart with her. Apparently the girls are able to see this as it happens through the heart and with Will likely being in danger Taranee feels obligated to go to Meridian to save her, Considering how out of character this is for Taranee (she’s very shy and really easily scared in the animated series so it’s really weird to see her being so passionate about going to Meridian this early on) it kind of implies that she feels guilty about not accompanying Will home earlier in the episode, especially since doing so could have made it more difficult for Will to be kidnapped, although the show never goes out of it's way to say it. This is something I really like about this show, it manages to have little subtle character moments like this that just happen, like they don't feel the need to put a spotlight on it or anything like that,

Cornelia decides at some point during the episode after they get to Meridian that now is a good time for her to subvert the blonde stereotype and devises a way for them to get across the castle moat. I like how even though Taranee is supposed to be the smart one and Will is supposed to be the leader  the other girls are still given plenty of opportunities to show that they can also be the ones to come up with ideas or lead the charge on something.

Phobos is able to detect that the Heart of Kandrakar is now in his castle. I don't have much to say about this right now, I just feel like it's worth pointing out for some reason. It's really convenient that he has the ability to detect the presence of our heroes' super-powered macguffin in this episode. It would be a shame if this was just a one time thing the writers threw in as an excuse to get Phobos to send his minions after the girls.

After fetching Caleb and Will the girls face off against a creature known as Gargoyle and manage to escape through a portal. Gargoyle reaches through the portal to grab them but Will just closes the portal, which is a cool scene. Gargoyle has an interesting design, kind of this stone golem thing with a giant eye like a cyclops, and a mushroom like head, and seaweed like hair but he has tragically little screentime for this episode. While the girls were in the castle the show built up Cedric as the Villain the girls would end up facing but than they fight Gargoyle instead. It feels like it would have been better if Gargoyle was saved for another episode and they just fought Cedric instead since he gets a fair amount of buildup.

Overall it's a pretty solidish episode but I feel like the first episode was stronger. I feel like this episode nicely shows some of the show's strengths but it also begins to really show some of season 1's weaknesses. The pacing in this episode is a bit of a mess and that's the main thing dragging it down.

A 6.8/10 probably.

It's weird because I feel like I'm holding this show to exorbitantly high standards that it can't possibly meet but than the thing is in season 2 it does meet those standards. Heck even within Season 1 there is a bit of improvement as the season progresses but we'll talk about that when it comes. The show feels like it has a lot of potential and as it goes on I feel it manages to straighten itself out and become something special, anyways, here's the third episode, the key:


The episode picks off after the last one, I’d say maybe a day after it at most. Cedric and another character named Raythor inform Phobos that they believe Caleb had help from someone in the castle with his escape, since they found his shackles in his cell and the key for them is missing. I didn’t mention this last episode but a big blue guard guy named Vathek was pretty blatently helping Caleb out, which included sneaking him the key in question. It’s never stated how they know Vathek was the one who gave Caleb the key but I really like that this episode is sort of expanding on something from the last episode.

On earth Hay Lin is dressing up Caleb to help him blend in, much to his protest. Hay Lin is the artistic one of the group and she seems to have all kinds of outfits designed for her unwilling fashion model. This seems like a good time to go in depth a bit with Hay Lin so I will. As I mentioned she’s very much into art and she can be seen dabbling in all sorts of artistic endeavors throughout the series, such as how right now she’s dabbling in fashion design. She’s an extremely very bright and cheerful character who does alot but later on we’ll learn that she actually has a crippling issue with self doubt and she can be quite paranoid..

She’s probably my least favorite of the five but she’s still a really good character. She gets a ton of really good character moments and her wide eyed optimism makes her an excellent addition to the group.

After an amusing scene of Blunk trying to sell some junk he collected on earth Blunk learns that Vathek is in danger and heads to earth to try to sell that information to Caleb. I really like how they handle this, apparently Caleb stashed the key somewhere after he escaped so Vathek could retrieve it and be covered for his escape. Caleb quickly deduces that Blunk is responsible for the key’s disappearance and after finding out that Blunk had the key with him vows to return to Meridian to return it.

There’s a scene of the girls practicing their powers in a remote beach area which is a neat touch. They seem to be starting to get the hang of things but it’s still pretty much a trainwreck.

They learn that Caleb went back to Meridian and go after Blunk for answers. Hay Lin’s reaction to Blunk having the clothes she made for Caleb is amazing. The girls learn that Blunk has the ability to sniff up portals which is neat and follow him to Meridian,

At one point Caleb runs into Aldarn from the first episode and I love the scene of Aldarn asking Caleb about how he crossed the veil and asking what it’s like on the other side. Caleb talks about how the teenagers there he saw earlier in the episode “stand on boards with wheels and do 360-fakey ollies” and say “like” in the middle of sentences for no reason. Aldarn says all of this “sounds good” and honestly it’s really a really endearing scene.

I like how Aldarn continues to be the sort of counterpart to Caleb’s unflinching bravery. There’s a consistent trend with him basically trying to reel in Caleb’s more crazy and ambitious ideas. Anyways, Caleb, Aldarn, and the girls run into eachother. I like how we see Aldarn trying to use the earth lingo he heard from Caleb to flirt with Cornelia (for the record, he doesn’t know the girls are from earth). It’s a brilliant little humanising touch for Aldarn, who is otherwise a fairly minor supporting character.

I really like how at this point the girls seem to largely treat this whole guardian thing like some kind of game at this point, it makes the impact when they start to realize how bad things are on Meridian in a few episodes hit a bit harder. It’s a good touch.

The girls manage to frame Raythor for the whole missing key thing and he gets dragged off to Phobos. I don’t remember if this is mentioned later in the season or something but eventually we learn that he got dropped in the abyss of shadows which is apparently Phobos’s preferred means of execution that was built up throughout the episode. Basically the only thing Raythor has going for him is that he has one of Wolverine’s voice actors doing a great job with him. He largely feels like a one note villain and it’s a shame because I like his design. It kind of feels like it isn’t so much that Cedric thinks Vathek is innocent after all of this so much as that Cedric is just happy to have a chance to get rid of Raythor. Maybe there’s some kind of rivalry there, who knows.

Anyways, the episode ends with Hay Lin dressing Blunk up in ridiculous clothes. Blunk seems to be pretty into it and it’s just a cute way to end the episode.

Honestly this is the strongest episode out of the entire show so far. The pacing is excellent. Theres some great humor, we’re starting to see the build up Meridian, it’s pretty solid. It’s easily an 8/10. There's a really bad production snafu where Irma's voice comes out of Will's mouth during one of the scenes that holds it back. This show may be made on the cheap but even than that's kind of ridiculous.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 12:23:22 AM by pokepal148 »
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Offline pokepal148

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I'm just going to leave this here because it's a solid read.

















What a read.
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Offline Spak-Spang

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The problem is that consultant groups are those that control the money and power.  It is the reason Warner Bros can't make a decent DC comics movies.  They are controlled by people that don't know anything about storytelling, telling the writers what to do. 

Sigh.

Offline pokepal148

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I think the thing that really screwed W.I.T.C.H over is the absolute insistence on trying to market it to boys instead of marketing it to everyone. This is a show about five girls who transform into little pixie things with magical powers. You can certainly try to scale back some of the more girly elements to give it some more broad appeal and that's generally a good move but trying to market it almost exclusively to boys in your action block next to shows like Power Rangers is just incredibly boneheaded.
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Offline Spak-Spang

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Most Cartoons at that time and still today are marketed for boys.  Boys buy more action figures and play with toys in a way to break them or lose them.  So then they buy more.  Or at least that is what marketers believe.

Offline pokepal148

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The idea that this show was held to any kind of content standards is kind of surprising considering how fucked up some of the stuff in Season 2 gets.
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Offline pokepal148

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Episode 4: Happy Birthday Will.

The whole idea of Will telling Irma she doesn't want a birthday party and than Cornelia deciding to throw a surprise party for her anyways and hold it at Irma's house feels like a deliciously underhanded way for Cornelia to **** with Irma. You all probably thought I was exaggerating when I said Cornelia was a bitch, I really wasn't.

This is the first episode where Ulriah's little gang makes any real appearance so I feel like talking about them. They're basically Bulk and Skull except there are three of them, they are less likely to smash their faces in some kind of cake during every scene they're in, and they don't have Bulk and Skull's theme music. They have their role in this show, and they do a pretty good job with it. They are actually down a member though, in the comics Nigel, who is Taranee's love interest, was a part of their group as well but I guess the writers didn't want to have one of the main characters be in love with a delinquent or something.

Caleb is the leader of the Rebellion. While in the comics he was a pretty minor supporting character the show elevated him to main character status and I think it's one of the best decisions the show made. He just adds a lot to the show. By having actual combat experience and knowing his way around Meridian he is of great help to the girls, especially during the first season. Outside of combat however he tends to be incredibly socially inept during his scenes which leads to some amusing hijinks, especially when he's on Earth. He lacks magical powers to take advantage of during fight scenes but he is more than enough of a skilled fighter to get by without them.

During the episode we're also introduced to a few girls from the school, being Elyon and Alchemy. Since they don't turn into magical pixies they aren't really that important. They seem to be pretty into Caleb though and their reactions to his shenanigans throughout the episode are kind of adorable. I've always intuited that since Cornelia and Elyon are supposed to be BFFs or something that they are primarily Cornelia's friends but they seem to get along with the other girls just fine.

While something like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers likes to pretend that parents don't exist this show digs pretty deeply into the relationship it's main characters have with their families. In this episode alone we see Irma's parents and her little brother, Chris along with Will's mother, and Cornelia's little sister, Lilian. Irma’s family gets a lot of focus this episode, mainly in that once Irma finds out about the party one of her top priorities is to get them out of the picture so they don't embarrass her only to have to have them hold the fort while the girls go and fight a giant snake man in city hall get pizza.

Yan Lin gives Hay Lin a map. What's interesting about this scene is that in the comics Yan Lin dies almost immediately after this leaving the girls to figure everything out on their own while in the show she's alive and able to give them sparodic advice about the whole Guardian thing. People like to attribute her hands off attitude with the girls to her comic counterpart's death but I think there's another reason that relates more to her own career as guardians, although I won't be able to get too much into that until season 2 for spoiler reasons. Anyways, the reason I wanted to bring this up is because I want to give a shout out to how the comic handled Hay Lin learning about her death. Take a look:





The comic has a ton of issues that make it difficult to recommend seeking out but the way it handles these more serious moments is absolutely sublime. Overall though, I feel that the show does more than enough with Yan Lin as a character to warrant keeping her around. Her quirky and aloof attitude about everything is kind of fun in general and I feel she adds a lot to the show.

Now let's talk about the villains in this episode. I like that it's established that Phobos basically just feeds off of Meridian's life force to get his magical powers. It's also established that that well is starting to run dry and the reason he wants to find his younger sister on earth is so he can steal her own powers because unlike him she apparently doesn't need to freeload off of the land's life force.

Cedric proposes that he could venture to earth to steal the earth city's birth records for girls her age so they can narrow the search to girls who weren't born in the city. Let me see how many problems I can find with this plan:

Whoever brought her to earth could have easily stolen the identity of someone who was born in Heatherfield for the princess to assume. It wouldn't be easy but the true heir to the throne seems important enough to take such lengths.

2. We are given no reason to assume that she is still in Heatherfield and that she isn't just hiding out in Faddon Hills or something. You can infer from stuff we learn later in the season that the fact that the portals between Earth and Meridian are opening in Heatherfield specifically means that the princess is hidden in Heatherfield because her power is what's opening all the portals but since they never say that at this point it just looks like they're jumping the gun a bit here.

3. Because practically everyone and their goldfish who has any kind of magic powers has the ability to use some kind of illusionary magic in this multiverse which includes changing the appearance of themselves or someone around them. There is no reason to even assume that the princess isn't disguised as someone with a different age or even gender to make her more difficult to locate.

4. Breaking into city hall risks drawing attention from earth's authorities which would potentially complicate any future attempts to locate her and bring her to Meridian when everyone is on high alert for snake man and his goon squad. This universe also has a government agency of some sort that focuses specifically on mystical and supernatural stuff, at least based on the comics.

5. Cedric doesn't know where such records are kept so there's a good chance he'll just end up drawing a bunch of attention to himself and end up leaving empty handed.

Overall, this is a really good plan.

I do like how this means today's fight with Phobos and his Crazy Friends will take place on earth for a change. I just wish it was for something meaningful and not just some filler arc. There isn't much else to say about this though, they fight in city hall and Cedric manages to leave with the birth records he came for. There is a weird continuity thing where Taranee asks why they don't go to the police for this stuff even though the main reason they got involved with this is that Irma's father is a police officer so if he ends up getting called in to investigate the calls about a lizard man in City Hall he'll probably get himself killed.

When Will returns to the party she didn't want in the first place she meets a boy named Matt. Matt is Will's love interest and the relationship between Will and Matt is one of the two main love sideplots we get for this show (The other one being Caleb and Cornelia which will start to gain some steam later on).

The Caleb and Cornelia relationship is generally pretty well done, it feels like it grows organically, and while I don't want to get into details, in my opinion both Caleb and Cornelia benefit as characters from being in that relationship, both in terms of personal growth, and as far as how we see them as the audience. At the same time that relationship is never allowed to define either of them as characters.

Matt on the other hand is explicitly introduced as Will's love interest and while he does begin to become his own character later on I feel like the fact that he is introduced explicitly as a love interest hurt him a lot as a character. Caleb is introduced as a badass rebel leader who wrestles with a giant snake man every other week, Matt is introduced as some kid at Will's party with an incredibly stupid looking hat who shows up so they can make goo goo eyes at eachother and hold hands at the end of the episode even though they literally don't even introduce themselves to eachother.



The problem with Season one is that even though W.I.T.C.H generally tries to tell it's story as a serial, where events in one episode will effect the very next episode, it's overarching plot for the season is incredibly thin which makes it difficult for episodes like this one not to feel like they're just filler even though stuff does happen that ends up progressing the season's plot (specifically Will meeting Matt and team Phobos beginning to actively search for the princess on Earth). I suppose they're trying to keep things simple but they kind of went too far with that. When you throw in stuff like Matt's introduction we just have a poor episode. The setup of Cornelia basically trying to screw Irma over could have probably salvaged things a bit but I just don't feel like it really went anywhere.

5.5/10
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 09:24:49 PM by pokepal148 »
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Offline pokepal148

  • It certainly has been deep. IDK about the fear part though.
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I've had this sitting on my phone completely finished for two weeks. Here you go.

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We open with Phobos and Cedric trying to pretend that the birth records Cedric stole last episode are going to lead to something. Phobos claims pretty matter of factly that the Princess doesn't know her true identity. He doesn't even acknowledge the possibility that her adoptive parents may have told her of her heritage at some point, likely to explain her magical abilities. He claims that while her ignorance was once her greatest protection it now presents him an opportunity. Personally I'd say that taking her to another dimension when traveling between Earth and Meridian is as much of a pain in the ass as it is in this show probably qualifies as her greatest protection. Phobos than claims that he has a mission for Cedric that will require him to pass as a human. That may be pretty difficult for the guy who can literally transform from a giant snake man into a human in the time it takes this show to burn through a few seconds of recycled footage from his transformation sequence to pad out the runtime. Basically my point is this scene makes Phobos look like an incompetent idiot.

Thankfully things pick up a bit when we reach the school. I like the community service day setup. It's the kind of thing that probably actually happens in some form in some communities but at the same time they exaggerate it in an amusing way with how most of the community service jobs on offer present massive safety hazards and you're putting a bunch of middle schoolers through this stuff. At the same time it doesn't take up the entire episode which is nice. The whole thing mostly exists as far as the episode is concerned to introduce Mr. Collins and get the ball rolling on today's Meridian plotline.

The revelation that Will's mother is dating Mr. Collins is handled in an interesting way I quite like. The whole Mr. Collins subplot kind of gets put on the backburner after this for the rest of the season which is a real shame because this episode is one of the few bits of character focus she gets during season 1. Will's lack of character development throughout season 1 is really glaring when literally every other main character on the heroes side, including Blunk, gets a character arc.

This wouldn't be such a big deal (especially given how much focus Will gets in the second season) if Will had a strong, likable personality like the other girls do but there just isn't much that's worth talking about in that department. She also doesn't get any powers of her own during the first season so she can't really contribute to fight scenes. Instead she's the one who activates the other girls' powers.

A lot of Will's personality from the comics, particularly her shyness and social awkwardness, were heavily downplayed in the TV show (with Tarannee essentially inheriting Will's shyness.- which results in Will feeling more like a collection of character traits than like a cohesive character.

Will is very conscious about how other people feel about her. She also struggles to accept the idea of either of her parents (who are divorced) seeing other people. She can be very paranoid which certainly isn't helped by the fact that she has an extremely dubious moral code, which we'll see the first big example of later in the episode. I'll probably have to talk about Will again about halfway through Season 2 but for now she kind of just isn't a very good character.

While Will and Hay Lin are painting what appears to be an abandoned train station completely unsupervised they find some strange writing. Caleb takes them to someone known as the Ancient One who can decipher the writing and she makes some interesting revelations. Firstly, she reveals to the girls that Phobos has sent one of his minions to earth and that the writing was a message to that person. She than claims that the Heart of Kandracar can reveal the true form of a beast who has taken human form by touching a beast with the heart. She warns the girls that the beast will attempt to get close to them.

Will calls a club meeting to propose her current theory: Phobos's minion is disguised as Mr. Collins. Her reasoning for believing this is because he has the hots for her mother and clearly that's a massive red flag. Caleb is less than enthusiastic about this theory, and is quick to make some points that would make most rational human beings reconsider this theory like asking how a monster from Meridian would be able to attain enough knowledge of Earth's history to become a history teacher, but the girls are already so wrapped up in this whole theory that nobody is going to talk them out of it.

The rest of the episode features the girls finding flimsy evidence of Mr. Collins being a monster from Meridian and then beating him up with magic powers. When they touch him with the Heart they realize he's just a history teacher after all. Also apparently Cedric holed himself up in some bookstore downtown that he'll be using to search for the princess from here on out.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

I kind of really like how they had Elyon be the one storming out of the school assembly ranting about community service day. Elyon has been established as a supporting character who, from the one or two scenes we've gotten from her, has been portrayed as generally being in pretty good spirits. She's has had just enough screentime at this point to make her being this upset about something have a decent amount of impact.

The sort of subplot that explores Cornelia and her little sister's interactions was pretty well done as well.

I appreciate having an episode that doesn't really feature a Meridian plotline. It honestly feels more like a slice of life type thing than anything. Season 1 suffers from having a lot of fillery episodes that don't really contribute to the overall plot and while I certainly feel this episode falls into that trap it also gives us a bunch of really good characterization for the girls and honestly doesn't really pretend to have any real meaning for the plot.

Overall, it's a fun, but kind of unremarkable episode. 7/10.
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Offline pokepal148

  • It certainly has been deep. IDK about the fear part though.
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  • Score: -9963
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What makes W.I.T.C.H's 1st season interesting watch is how it seems to be basically on the verge of greatness but fails to reach it. Generally each episode has one or two moments where you get a glimpse of what this show can become.

This episode is an example of what Season 1 can be. You have some incredible characterization from the girls, great world building on Meridian, and probably the most significant progression in the overall season's plot we've seen so far.

This is the first time we see Cedric's bookstore owner persona that was established last episode in action. The way he's portrayed as a friendly bookstore owner is really interesting. Instead of having an overt "look at how evil I am" routine like a lot of villains who try to pass of as human in kid's shows do, "Rick" basically behaves like a regular old boring book shop owner. The way the show informs the viewer that he's evil is through the show's music and through camera angles and stuff like that that none of the characters in the actual show would get to see. I honestly wonder why they actually revealed that Cedric was the bookstore owner if he's going to be so subtle. It feels like they should've just let "Rick" having the same voice as Cedric and the creepy atmosphere they gave the bookstore speak for itself and given the viewer some time to figure it out for themselves instead of spoiling the whole thing before "Rick" even got any screen time at the end of the last episode and again at the beginning of this one. However I still greatly appreciate that, from the character's perspective, there's nothing really giving him away. Also apparently Cornelia's friend, Elyon thinks he's cute so I guess he's popular with the ladies.

While in the bookstore Irma, Cornelia, Taranee, and Hay-Lin find a weird looking book and are somehow warped into a labyrinth of bookshelves on Meridian. Taranee being the smart one manages to eventually lead them out of the labyrinth by leaving a trail of string she got by slowly undoing the stitching of Cornelia's sweater. They reach the end of the maze and start basically wandering around until a middle aged woman spots. The woman named Trill tells them they aren't supposed to be there and guides them out of the castle.

Since this episode focuses a lot on Taranee I feel like we should focus on her a bit. Tarannee is the smart bookwormy one of the group. She controls fire which is ironic because she's kind of afraid of fire. She's also afraid of bugs, skiing, and her own shadow but that's it's own thing. Taranee is basically the group's second in command. That role kind of fluctuates depending on the episode or situation but she's the one who's most likely to take charge if she needs to. Both the comics and the show depict her as the most independent one out of the group. Like Irma, Tarannee has issues dealing with her anger. Unlike Irma however who will lash out at anything that's bothering her Tarannee tends to internalize her anger and frustration. The animators actually found a great way to show this by having this effect of fire being reflected by her glasses to the viewer. Taranee also inherited some of Will's shyness and timidness from the comics which pairs well with everything else about her character.

Blunk saw the girls disappear and runs off to find Will, who than meets up with Caleb and Yan Lin to figure out what's going on. Yan Lin calls it an insta-portal or something and sends Will and Caleb to go through the insta-portal to find the others. They follow the string out of the castle only to find rather unwelcome company.


a wild Phobos appears

This is where Will's lack of magical abilities for combat really hurts the show. This is essentially Phobos's first fight scene. Phobos is the first season's main villain so this should have been a chance for him to show that his fairly substantial mystical powers are at the very least enough to let him overpower Will's powers and send them running for the hills. Instead Will doesn't have powers so he gets to throw Caleb around a bit with Telekinesis until Will pushes a bookshelf on him. Bravo good buddy.

The episode manages to pull itself together after this with the scene of the other girls in the forest. The village lady, Trill, provides a bunch of exposition about how it's a hard knock life in Meridian. This scene is absolutely dripping with atmosphere. The sounds of the campfire in the background and the guy playing flute thing in the background really add so much to this scene. It's absolutely incredible.


link

Trill informs the girls of rumors she has heard that Meridian's princess and the true heir is somewhere on Earth. The girls resolve to find her and bring her to Meridian. I'm pretty sure Yan Lin mentioned all of this during the opening exposition during episode one but I'm also pretty sure that the first two episodes went through some rewrites since there is a lot of weird contradictory stuff with those two episodes that I can think of. Either way it's been a while. Since that plot point is going to be relevant in a couple episodes it's worth mentioning it again.

The ambience of this scene is ended by the entrance of the Tracker. The Tracker is actually an original character to the show. We have already seen a large number of characters introduced for the show like Alchemy, Blunk, Aldarn, Gargoyle (the giant golem thing from episode 2) Raythor (that guard guy from episode 3), The great mage from last episode, and now Trill. The show is really good at integrating it's original characters into the show and making them feel like they were always part of this universe.

A good example of this is this scene with the Tracker. The show did not set aside screen time for the Tracker to be built up as a threat like a lot of shows would do. Instead they weave him into Trill's exposition scene. He seems to have become rather infamous around town before this. His presence alone is enough to send the gathered townsfolk into a mass panic, which both reinforces Trill's whole speech about everyone living in fear under Phobos and establishes the Tracker as a threat to the viewer in a really elegant way. I really dig it.

The girls run around a bit while the Tracker chases them. season 1 is really inconsistent about whether the girls have any kind of limited access to their powers when they're in human form and unfortunately in this episode they do not so they're kind of in a bit of a pickle. Will finds them, and they transform and whoop the Tracker around a bit. The episode sadly doesn't have enough time left to give the Tracker a full fight scene and honestly pretty much everything after the scene with Trill feels a bit rushed but the Tracker will get plenty of action in a few episodes so don't worry about that.

And outside of a B plot about Tarannee's essay that's this episode in a nutshell. I'm starting to see what a slog this first season can be but episodes like this one show the potential this show has. Sadly the next one is one I am absolutely dreading because if this episode is some of the best this season has to offer than from what I remember the next one is some of the worst.
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