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Anime / Artiswitch

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"Do you want to... peer deeper?"

Artiswitch is a 2021 original web anime created through a collaboration between Sunrise and Japanese music talent agency Asobi System about a witch-in-training named Nina who runs a shop that reveals the inner wishes of her clients. These wishes in question are often artistic in nature.

Each episode concerns a new character's internal struggles. Each of them visit the shop to "peer deeper" and get thrusted into a visually striking acid trip, accompanied by music.

All six episodes can be officially seen on YouTube here. After the original airing the channel focuses on producing music videos. Has an official website.

This show provides examples of:

  • To Be Lawful or Good: The second half of the web series brings up that Nina is not allowed much freedom when interacting with customers and has to fulfill their wishes even if they're self-destructive. When she tries to reject her next customer, she is literally forced to and breaks her strings to stop Tiara.
  • Be Yourself: The recurring theme is Ura Ura-Harajuku reminding clients of their true desires.
    • Haruka realizes she doesn't actually enjoy choreographed dancing or being a tomboy, and only followed what is asked of her without questioning.
    • Mana realizes she's so afraid of standing out, she started to look and act identically to her two friends, to her own detriment. Once she becomes a street musician, she reacts with relief when her friends call her cringe in the comments.
    • Akihiro loves designing outrageous costumes that stand out. Nina outright calls his designs "intentionally lame" and instead of throwing a tantrum, he needs to make costumes he'd actually be proud of.
    • Deconstructed in episode 4. Ruru already couldn't care less what people think of her, monologues how she hates people, and walks in high-altitude places known for being popular suicide spots. Her wish is implied, in Picture Drama clarified, to be eternal quiet. Nina reacts with horror for releasing her further. Ruru is in the end shown to not go through with it.
    • Tiara makes a wish on behalf of her friend Saki so she'd shine brighter. This turned Saki into a Harem Seeker who thinks Tiara is envious of her career success. Nina has to interrupt her mid-Disney Acid Sequence before the two kill each other, and Tiara learns to be more independent, becoming more popular than when they were together.
    • In the finale, Nina's client is the younger version of herself, who reminds her that becoming a witch wasn't supposed to be the way to escape bullying, and not following Ura Ura-Harajuku's rules can be a good thing, but she did save more people than she harmed (and her two previous clients are shown to do better than she assumed). Nina admits she likes making people happy and will consider quitting at another time.
  • Blessed with Suck: Nina became a witch to she could learn about wishes of other people she could help, but the condition is that she also has to grant them, no matter how dark they are. When she starts acting against it, her Mentor Mascot threatens to turn her into a lonely schoolgirl she was before.
  • Breakout Character: Ruru proved to be popular enough to receive her own two-part prequel in 2023 called Ruru's Episodes of Memories.
  • Broken Ace: The Picture Drama shows Akihiro being Book Smart, loved by girls and winning many art competitions. By the middle school, he became so focused in becoming a fashion genius, he loses all the previously mentioned achievements.
  • Continuity Nod: Some customers learn of Ura Ura-Harajuku from the previous client, and Picture Drama shows that all of them did.
  • Costume Porn: All the clients have richly-decorated costumes in the Acid-Trip Dimension sequences, with a minor inversion with Akihiro from Episode 3, whose outfit is already outrageous and in the magic dimension he is somewhat plainer than the girls.
  • Cute Witch: Nina is a perky witch in training with modern costumes who helps people realize their desires.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The 5th Picture Drama shows the aftermath not from Tiara's perspective, but from Saki's despite her not being a client. She even tries to find Ura Ura-Harajuku, but realizes she treated Tiara as a commodity by herself and lets her go.
  • Death Seeker:
    • The series starts with a girl jumping off the rooftop. Episode 6 shows it was Nina's classmate, and Nina herself came to here to jump as well, before Ura Ura-Harajuku called to her.
    • It's heavily implied that Ruru wants to stop seeing other people, period. In the next episode, after granting her wish, Nina wears a mourning dress and starts rebelling against her role. The finale shows Ruru is still doing relatively fine. The Picture Drama further shows that Ruru hates pretty much everything and would like to be forever in darkness, but has grown to like the world being ugly.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The web series is more of a promotional for the music agency's MV's, and all clients are sent into a colorful dimension where they express their wishes through music.
  • Eccentric Fashion Designer: Akihiro is a smug fashion designer who believes being weird is more important than being stylish. Even Nina tells him in the face how annoying it is.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Ruru from Episode 4 wears a blue-themed Lolita costume with a matching umbrella, with Nina sporting a similar dress during said episode.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Haruka has been practicing in the dancing club she doesn't like, mainly because it was her mother's dream. In "Picture Drama" the mother apologizes for controlling her unwittingly.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Haruka buys a lipstick from Ura Ura-Harajuku to be who she wants to be. Her friends insensitively ask if she's being less of a tomboy because she's dating someone.
  • Good Parents: The first three picture dramas show the client's mothers supporting their new way in life.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Somewhat inverted in Episode 5 with Tiara and Saki. Tiara, a lesbian, wants a monogamous relationship with Saki. While Saki does like women, she's not interested in being exclusive with any one person, making the two incompatible romantically.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In the Picture Drama, Mana realizes that Snow from Instagram who has been cheering her on must be her mother. When she brings it up, mom says she doesn't know any Snow, who Mana didn't mention.
  • Irony: In the Picture Drama, Saki has a Heel Realization and wonders if she can ask the rumored witch to make a wish on Tiara's behalf. She doesn't know that Tiara tried to make a wish in Ura-Harajuku on her behalf before being interrupted by Nina.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The way to enter the Ura Ura-Harajuku shop differs and is accidental every time, and customers are teleported out to the streets when they're done.
  • Number of the Beast: The cash counter ironically shows 666 when the series is at its darkest.
  • Magical Girl: The series focuses on Nina using her magic to help those who come across her shop realize their true desires and give them the resolve to achieve those goals.
  • Mentor Mascot: Nina has Pig and Chameleon keeping her company and guiding her with running her new shop. The Chameleon specifically also pushes Nina to do her job.
  • Mirror Routine: In Episode 4 Nina copies words and gestures after Ruru, though helps that Ruru talks in short phrases and is straight to the point.
  • People Puppets: In Episode 5 Nina is too depressed to work with the customer. Her Mentor Mascot ties her to strings and literally forces her to.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title can be read as either "art switch" or "arts witch", which are both applicable.
  • Red Herring: Ruru is heavily implied to be suicidal, and Nina reacts with grief after showing her her desire. Ruru is the only one absent from the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. A bit later, she's shown separately to be fine, though still bitter at the world.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: In the second episode, Mana argues she can't be unique because people who stand out attract rumors. Nina snaps her out of it.
  • Transformation Sequence: During Disney Acid Sequence in Episode 1, Nina's and Haruka's costumes gradually change to be more expressive.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    • The 6th episode briefly montages through previous clients shown to be happier with their lives.
    • The Picture Drama is a voiceless sequel that shows the clients in their new state of mind.