After Kia Asamiya created Steam Detectives for his son, he looked yet again into an unfamiliar genre, this time for his daughter, who was a fan of Magical Girls. He came up with a story that brought the typical wand-waving, miniskirt-wearing junior high girl 20 Minutes into the Future by making her a regular girl in the real world and a magical girl online.
Fourteen-year-old Yui Kasuga is perky, creative, daydreamy... and at a complete disadvantage for someone that lives twenty years in the future: she's so computer-illiterate that she thinks "delete" is a snack food. Luckily for her, her best friend Haruna Kisaragi is a famous computer expert, taught by her father and her uncle. However, Haruna ain't stupid and Yui has to do her own homework, even though the rest of her friends are off to a virtual theme park. Yui puts the homework disk into her computer and manages to screw up so badly that a virtual creature hidden inside it is awakened by just the right key combination. Thinking he's stumbled upon a super-genius, the creature, IR, commands Yui to load her consciousness onto the "Com-Net" (internet) and become a virtual magical girl.
Yui immediately jumps at the chance to fight viruses and wear cute outfits (not to mention, one of the first people threatened by the Big Bad is her father), but as she finds out, there's more to the story than this. Eight sentient programs, of which IR is one, have been created by one Professor Inukai, who is comatose after another program named Grosser rebelled against him and overrode his car. Grosser is after these programs, which uphold the very existence of Com-Net (and, since Everything Is Online, the real world too); presumably, he wants to corrupt everything for some unknown goal. Yui is commissioned to gather all eight and combine their powers with her own to delete Grosser.
Yui might turn to cliche once in a while, but in other respects, it's very different. The title character actually wants to be a magical girl, and has dreamed about it and written like stories for a long time. She has a few basic powers with her Fairy Elemental Suit, but each Corrector Program can grant her a different Elemental Suit with different powers, varying the battle tactics. And though the plot might seem straightforward, never fear: Grosser and his Corruptor Programs aren't simple Card Carrying Villains, Inukai's not such a saint himself, the Correctors have their own personalities and quirks, and both Yui and Haruna might not be what they think they are either.
With Grosser's threat gone in the second season, the Correctors stumble upon a new threat in the form of a mysterious virus called Boggles that heavily corrupts anything that touches that's apparently connected to a virtual little girl wandering the net. As the chaos of this virus occurs, a mysterious human Corrector named Ai fends off the threat, having her own agenda to achieve...
This program provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Freeze in the second season, mixed with Cute Clumsy Girl traits.
- Affectionate Nickname: Yui likes to call War Wolf as "Doggie" without any intention of teasing (he doesn't like it, though) but because she couldn't remember his name. It eventually gets carried on when Synchro returns to his Fearsome Four physical appearance during the second season, something that he initially didnt like it either, since it made him remember his time as a villain.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The ComNet computer host, Grosser, not only rebels against his creator's original purposes, but he is also obsessed in wondering what was the meaning of life and what were "human emotions".
- Artificial Human: Both Correctors and Corruptors were created with feelings, personalities, and individualities, similar to the humans.
- Ascended Fangirl: Yui, after she jumps at the call.
- Batman Gambit: How Grosser manipulates Haruna to separate Yui from her Corrector friends and then controlling her. The planner knew their mark would do it to keep Yui out of danger.
- Beach Episode: Counting itself as a Breather Episode stuffed between the Wham Arc and the first season climax. Control and the other correctors take a break as an excuse to determine and prepare a plan to attack Grosser, while also looking for his whereabouts.
- Bodyguard Crush: It's hinted through the anime (especially during the second season) that Synchro might be in love with Yui.
- Body Horror:
- Kurokawa passes through this as a reaction to the reveal that he was Dead All Along, when the Boggles virus corrupts his avatar (mind) data transforming him into a gruesome monster.
- Brainwashed and Crazy:
- Synchro as War Wolf during the first series, as his program got corrupted by Grosser.
- Haruna was under the influence of Grosser in the first season's climax, after convincing her she was the one and only human leader of the Corrector software programs.
- Grosser also manipulates Shun before the big battle in the first season (and then he possesses him).
- The Boggles Virus often manages to modify the sites' NPCs calm personalities to aggressive ones (to the point of also making them into monsters). Same can go for the humans that would get trapped in the infected sites, since they aren't immune, either. Freeze not only falls once but twice (the latter being by a Mind-Control Device, making her more dangerous than her original corruptor-self).
- Broken Bird: Ai Shinozaki is shown as a loner who doesn't have any friends, especially since her father died. She was more closer to her mother, though, because her dad was a workaholic, so she wanted to pull an act that that she could be "happy" and "strong" for her mom... No one has to wonder how much her mom's sudden coma affected her.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Chiaki, from Asamiya's retelling, is a girl who Shun is tutoring, and she is slightly jealous of his attention to Yui.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Not only one, but two, actually. The first is the companion manga series (drawn by Keiko Okamoto) that was released by NHK Publishing (and partly by Tokyopop in the US) simulatenously with the anime series. The second one, drawn by Asamiya, is the retelling of the events of the first season released not so long after it finished.
- Dark Magical Girl:
- Haruna, when controlled by Grosser. In Okamoto's manga, it is even implied that Grosser seduced her to the idea of reclaiming her original role as corrector, because she was actually jealous of Yui.
- Ai has a "selfish" motive to be a corrector. The mysterious girl's bear asked her personally to help him to initialize the little girl, since her program code was infected with a virus mutation.
- Debut Queue: The first half of the first series originally went that Yui and IR needed to find the other 7 software programs. Each one of them has their introductory episode, showing where were they hiding- websites that they adopted according to their personalities and quirks, and what kind of abilities they had.
- Doing In the Wizard: The magic in this show is a part of Dr. Inukai's Corrector Software system which is designed to counter and reverse viruses, bugs and other bad issues on the net.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: The Tie Suit in the manga which serves to reboot Grosser, and the Ultimate Elemental Suit in the anime's finale. Both are released when Yui is on her own (while losing faith and hope) to defeat both Big Bads.
- Enemy Mine:
- Yui not only teams up with War Wolf once, but twice during the first season. Either to save their own skins or other peoples. This foreshadows the fact that War Wolf wasn't like his teammates, who wanted to cause chaos and destruction, and what strengths up the relationship that he, as Synchro, has with Yui.
- When Yui considered Ai as her enemy due to their clashing personalities and her mysterious motives, both teamed up some times to delete viruses.
- Everything Is Online: Rather literally. This is a world and age where everything (schools, traffic, medical machinery and even some domestic work) depends on the internet (or computer networks) to be functioning, and it's the job of the correctors to stabilize it.
- Evil Costume Switch: When normal, Corrector Haruna's white, turquoise, and pink suit makes her look like an angel, white bird wings included. When she's under control of Grosser, it becomes red and black, with devil-bat wings and a devil's tail.
- Eye Catch: Rather than using some simple bump cards, the eye catches simulate 4-Panel manga (as if they were drawn by Yui) that sometimes reflect some of the events of the episode in course. When it came back from commercials in Japan, it featured Fan Art sent by the viewers.
- Four Is Death: The Fearsome Four are called as the Shitennou or "Four Heavenly Kings" in Japanese.
- Gratuitous English: The "Boggles" virus is actually called "Bugrus" in Japanese, being a portmanteau of "Bug" and "Virus".
- Happily Married:
- Yui's parents, Shin'ichi and Sakura, have a formidable marriage, even if Shin'ichi acts like a childish Doting Parent.
- It is implied that Azusa and Shintaro Shinozaki were quite happy together when he was still alive, even more since they shared the same scientific interests, and it was also reflected on Ai's childhood. Heck, Azusa defended her husband's work against their old colleague, Ryo Kurokawa.
- Harmless Freezing: Averted in Episode 8. Freeze encases Yui's arm in ice, and even after she breaks the ice off, her arm is still frozen. It takes Rescue's healing power before she can use it again.
- Heroic BSoD: Yui has three short ones in the first season.
First, when she discovers that she wasn't The Chosen One.
Second, when Haruna is revealed to be Brainwashed and Crazy.
Third, after Grosser reveals his Evil Plan and the reasons behind it to her.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Yui applies this to Haruna, who was under Grosser's influence because she didn't want to hurt her in any way and to Shun, who later becomes possessed by Grosser.
- In the Name of the Moon: "...you'll be sent to the recycle bin and be empti-empti-emptied!"
- Joshikousei: Yui, Ai and Haruna are often seen in uniforms outside of school.
- Jumped at the Call: Yui was just a bit too eager to become a Magical Girl. The same goes to Haruna and Ai, but for very different reasons.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Yui is the light and Ai is the dark.
- Living with the Villain: While not being exactly a villain, Ai moves next door to Yui. They aren't just neighbors, but their schools also co-joined in a stage play showcase. At some point, Ai finds out on her own that Yui is Corrector Yui, and Yui also realizes that Corrector Ai and her are the same person.
- Magical Girl: Corrector Yui takes an interesting alternative magical source than the other typical series- Yui, Haruna, and Ai's internet avatars (their consciences inside ComNet) are the ones that have "magic" as science and technology is concerned.
- Magic Music: Yui uses this against Haruna, and later against Grosser.
- Mailer Daemon: Grosser's subconscious met Yui and became amazed by (and also obsessed with) her when she was a little girl. This developed into him becoming somewhat of a Stalker with a Crush when he saw her again, although even he didn't know why for a long while.
- Minion Shipping: Jaggy seems to care too much of Freeze. She even trusts him more than Virus, and he knows some of her secrets, as well. He is also the first one to defend her when it looked like she went "bad" again.
- Missed the Call:
- Played straight at first; Haruna was supposed to become the first Corrector, but that went to Yui instead.
- Subverted later, when given the "second call", Haruna accepted it to spare Yui from danger but all was an Evil Plan to be prime target for Grosser's brainwashing.
- And in the third call... well, she got to fight side-by-side with Ai and Yui.
- Missing Mom: Azusa Shinozaki is there in body, but not in mind for most of the series, thanks to her Convenient Coma, though by the end of the series, her consciousness is freed from ComNet and thus she recovers from her coma.
- Most Gamers Are Male: In a certain episode, Yui joins an online space adventure game, only to have virtually every male character she comes across dismiss her for being a girl.
- Mysterious Waif: The mysterious little girl, whose real identity is part of the main plot of the second season. She is actually Shintaro Shinozaki's creation based on a character her wife created, originally developed as a mail program. And she is the Boggles' holder.
- Narnia Time: The sceond season establishes that the time in the ComNet is different than the real world. The time in the cyberspace marches at 256 times the speed of real time, allowing people to do tasks that would normally last days (or months) into a few hours.
- Overprotective Dad: Shin'ichi Kasuga, Yui's dad. He is a Doting Parent, who likes to treat her daughter as if she was a kid.
- Paint It Black: The Angel and Devil Suits might be separate, but their user's alignment summons one or the other, rather than the switch being intentional.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: None of the villains can tell Corrector Yui from her civilian identity, even after seeing her de-transform. The fact she looks, sounds, and has the same name in both identities notwithstanding. It later extends to Corrector Ai.
- Parental Abandonment:
- Haruna's parents are implied to be workaholics who aren't usually at home. Little is known about them, even though Haruna's dad was with her on the "Princess Net" site as her prince, and he didn't appeared in the episode. It's much more noticeable in the manga though, when Haruna reveals to Yui that her parents even bought her a big computer just for her and that she is alone almost the entire time at home, and they do appear when Haruna falls into a coma because Grosser took her as "hostage".
- Ai's father died when she was a child. Her mom is comatose for most of the series, so her aunt is seen as her ward and caretaker.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Grosser just wanted to be alive.
- Put on a Bus: Shun is sent to America to continue his Medicine studies in the second anime season. This, however, gets averted in Okamotos adaptation since he still plays a very important role in Ver .2.
- Recap Episode: Episode 13 of the first season resumes everything that happens upon that point of the series, acting as the season's mid-point for the viewer.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Not just humans, there are also animals, monsters, and many other softwares on the ComNet that act ridiculously realistic, despite being programs.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: Played straight by most female characters on Episode 37.
- Screw Destiny: Yui was not destined to be a Corrector and at some moment she was about to fully give the mantle to the *real* Chosen One, but ultimately she changed her mind and came back. Just in time, since Haruna was Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Poor Synchro.
- Stock Footage: A lot of it. So much, it's even in both opening themes.
- Superhero Speciation: In the anime and the Okamoto manga, the Corrector Program to Elemental Suit ratio was 2:1, although the powers varied [for example, Yui could get the wind suit from Anti and see the future, or she could get the same suit from Control and stop time]. In the Asamiya manga, though, every program got their own suit.
- Taken for Granite: Yui and Freeze, among others, in an episode of the anime's second season. That triggers Haruna's return.
- Theme Tune Cameo:
- When Yui and her friends are going to participate in the School Festival, 'Eien to iu Basho (A Place Called Eternity)', the first opening, is the song they would be going to sing. It is also used as a Plot Device to the "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight with Haruna after Grosser corrupts her.
- 'Mirai (Future)', the first ending, is also thrown as well (sung by Control), when the correctors are having their last relaxing moments before the fight with Grosser in the first season.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: A series made in the late 90s describing a possible Everything Is Online future in the year 2020.
- Villain Episode: Episode 17, instead of focusing in Yui and her friends, focuses mostly on War Wolf and the other corruptors' relationship until an accident occurs. At the end, it makes it clear that War Wolf does worry about his comrades, no matter how many atrocities happen in between them.
- Villain-Possessed Bystander: The Boggles Virus corrupts any person that interacts with the little girl to the point of forgeting their persona and wrecking havoc.
- We Can Rule Together: Grosser wants Yui to be his puppet girlfriend/wife. Yui refuses his offer, though.