So after three posts about the magical girls in the land of the rising sun, let's take it to the west.
W.I.T.C.H. is originally an Italian comic. It is about five girls chosen to be the Guardians of the Veil. Taranee can control fire. Irma can use water. Hay Lin, ironically, has the power of air. Cornelia controls earth. What does our main character get? The ability to transform the other four! Will gets to hold the Heart of Kandrakar. Without her the others can't transform.
The series received an animated adaptation that ran two season, for a total of fifty-two episodes. Sadly, this only covered the first two arcs of the comic series, which is still on-going. The cartoon did change a lot in the adaptation. For one, the material had more added to it. The character of Cornelia was changed quiet a bit. The difference between her comic and cartoon selves are about as different as manga Rei Hino and anime Rei Hino. There are design changes to some characters and another has his background completely changed. Don't let this put you off of either version! The comic and the cartoon are both worthwhile.
One thing that sets these four girls a bit apart from Japanese magical girls is that they don't get power upgrades partly through the season. They instead learn to more effectively use the powers they already have. The girls also spend a good bit of the episodes loosing and being out maneuvered even as they became more strategic themselves.
A sticking point in many magical girl series for me are the romantic relationships. I have good news everyone! Male love interests are actually well developed characters. Not only that, characters actually confess their feelings and get together instead of pining away the entire season. The relationships are also not static, especially in the comic. Characters will actually break up or drift apart, even find new loves.
Did I mention Steve Blum, Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy) or Spike (Cowboy Bebop), in it?
I can't decide whether I like the second opening or the US opening more. So I'm going to post both!
Magical Girls Unite