Tweeny Witches (Japanese Title: 魔法少女隊アルス – Maho Shôjo Tai Arusu) is a 2004 anime by Studio 4°C, and is certainly one of the weirder takes on the fairy tale genre.
In modern-day Tokyo, we meet Arusu, an 11-years-old girl who has a thing for the occult and is especially obsessed with witches and witchcraft, thanks to a book given to her years ago by her Disappeared Dad. When some bullies try to steal her book, a mishap sends her falling (literally) into the world of the witches. Almost immediately, she meets Sheila and Eva, two apprentice witches who are close to her age.
Delighted as she is to be in the Witching World, Arusu is less than delighted at how their society is run. Everyone is either miserable or scared, certainly not overjoyed at the reality of magic, while she believes magic should be used to make people happy. More disturbing to her is how the Witches capture sprites and keep them behind bars for their use in spells. When she releases all the captive sprites back into the wild, the Grand Master of Witches punishes Sheila and Eva with the Curse of Eternal Youth, leaving Arusu bound in duty to become an apprentice witch and join them on their quest to recapture the sprites and break her new friends' curse.
As the series continues, Arusu becomes more familiar with magic and her new friends. She also learns more about her new world and its extremely dark underbelly, one which seems intent on tearing everything apart, and is also very interested in that book of hers...
This series was licensed in North America by Media Blasters, who dubbed and released it in 2008.
This series provides examples of:
- Aerith and Bob: The names range from fantastic ones like "Atelia", "Sigma", and "Presatio" to average Western names like "Sheila", "Eva", and "Will".
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Atelia gives Arusu a witch's outfit from when she was a child.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Eva (blonde), Sheila (blue), and Arusu (redhead).
- Catch-Phrase: "Anyone can use magic as long as they believe with all their heart!"
- Curtains Match the Window: Eva (yellowish green) and Sheila (light purple). Arusu also sorts of counts, though her eyes come off as gold whereas her hair is always reddish orange.
- Cute Witch: All three witches in the picture.
- Determinator: According to Arusu, anyone can do magic if they have a heart that believes.
- Disappeared Dad: Jidan, Arusu's father. He lived in Witch Haven for a while with Atelia, but left since he was still married. Atelia... wasn't pleased.
- Faceless Mooks: On both sides: The Witches' have mosquito like gas masks while the Wizards' wear armor that makes them look like sharks.
- Femme Fatalons: Atelia has long red nails. Suspiciously, Arusu also favors long, red nails...
- First-Name Basis: Arusu's mother, Yoko. Arusu never gives her any kind of honorific or respectful title. Considering how Yoko acts, it's understandable why.
- Genki Girl: Arusu. At one point she's taken on the task of saving the animals normally used for potion ingredients, learning magic, rescuing her friends, and reuniting Witches and Wizards. Her friends note that she may have bitten off more then she can chew. When cursed with dangerous levels of bad luck, she tries to use the humor of her own misfortunes to get Sheila to smile.
- Hands-Off Parenting: Yoko is so depressed and/or drunk that Arusu has to do everything. Then again, she still has a sense of humor so there could be hope for her yet. Sheila and her mom have been estranged for years.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Sheila's house can turn into a dragon.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: The opening song.
- Jumped at the Call: Being a fan of magic, Arusu is delighted to find herself in a genuine world of magic full of real witches.
- Mini Series: Very mini — the episodes are only 12 1/2 minutes long, counting the (very long) opening in odd-numbered episodes and the ending and preview in the even numbered episodes. Without that, the episodes are about nine to ten minutes a piece.
- There are 40 half-length episodes in the main storyline. Combining them into a standard 25-minute slot yields 20. Add to that the six normal-length side story episodes released later, and you've got a full season.
- Missing Mom: Menow, Sheila's mother, decided to stay with her wizard husband, despite giving birth to Sheila, which would have allowed her to return to Witch Haven.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: The Witches live in a lush valley surrounded by nature, while the Wizards (who have lost the ability to use magic, save for a few very old outcasts) live in an underground high-tech fortress. Appropriately they used to live together, but then the men were taken over by what amounted to warlike scientists.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Literally. Sheila and Eva are cursed to remain young girls. They get better.
- Older Than They Look: Ever so slightly. Two of the Power Trio were punished by being unable to grow older. But not a lot of time passes in story after they're cursed.
- Scenery Porn: Many of the backgrounds are a real visual treat.
- Science Vs Magic: See Mother Nature, Father Science above.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Arusu. This is her name in both Japanese and English, but the fansubs wrongly called her "Alice."
- Title Drop: Episode 20 has Arusu literally say "Magical Girl Squad."
- Trailers Always Lie: The promo trailer looked awesome and got a lot of people excited about the series. Thing is, that was actually a mini-pilot and not an actual trailer.
- Trapped in Another World
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Both Witch Haven and Wizard Fortress are amazing places of magic and technology, respectively, but both have dark sides: The warlike Wizards are very authoritarian and the Witches have a habit of banishing witches to the desert to live with the Wizards or, if they've been really bad, making them risk going through a very unstable portal into our world, where neither magic nor technology exists at that level.
- The Weird Sisters:
- Arusu, Sheila, and Eva.
- Atelia, Presatio, and Credelle form the three sages.
- Barunn, Biris, and Nerabu form the special capture squad, the group formed by Atelia to recapture all sprites.
- Witch Species: The Witches and the Wizards are the same human-like species which once upon a time had wings.