Arusu (Sachiko Kojima) is an 11-year-old girl who has a thing for the occult and is especially obsessed with witches and magic, thanks to a book given to her for her fifth birthday by her Disappeared Dad, Jidan (Atsuki Tani). When some bullies try to steal her book, a mishap sends her falling literally into the Magical Realm. Almost immediately, she meets Sheila (Houko Kuwashima) and Eva (Ryō Hirohashi), two apprentice witches who are close to her age.
Delighted as she is to be in the Magical Realm, she is less than delighted at how their society is run. Everyone is 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 fairies and keep them behind bars for their use in spells. When she releases all the captive fairies back into the wild, the Grand Master of Witches (Ryoko Kinomiya) punishes Sheila and Eva with the Curse of Eternal Youth, leaving her bound in duty to join them on their quest to recapture the fairies and break her new friends' curse.
As she becomes more familiar with magic and her new friends, she learns more about her new world and its extremely dark underbelly — in particular, the war between the witches and their enemies, Grande (Joji Nakata) and his faction of warlocks, who seem intent on tearing everything apart and are also very interested in that book of hers...
Certainly one of the darker takes on the Magical Girl genre, Tweeny Witches (魔法少女隊アルス, Maho Shôjo Tai Arusu, translated as Magical Girl Squad Arusu) is a 2004 anime created by Keita Amemiya and produced by Studio 4°C. The series aired within Tensai Bit-kun on NHK Educational TV from April 9, 2004, to March 4, 2005, with a 6-episode OVA spin-off titled Tweeny Witches: The Adventures released on November 22, 2007.
A manga adaptation by Mai Jinna, titled Mahō Shōjo Tai Arusu: Minarai Majo Kōza (Lessons For Apprentice Witches), was serialized on two pages in Shogakukan's shoujo magazine Ciao from the May 2004 issue to the March 2005 issue.
In September 2011, Fuji Shōji released a pachinko machine titled Magical Slot Mahō Shōjo Tai Arusu.
In North America, Media Blasters released the TV series and The Adventures in 2008 and 2009 respectively, both dubbed and subbed. Both the TV series and The Adventures are available in Italian on YouTube here.
For two anime/manga series with similar art-style, premise, and themes, see Soul Eater and Little Witch Academia. Not to be confused with Tweenies.
Tweeny Witches 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 "Wil".
- Adjective Noun Fred:
- The show is known in Japan as Magical Girl Squad Arusu.
- Episode 13 is titled "The Warlock Sigma".
- Episode 22 is titled "The Pirate Lennon".
- Ageless Birthday Episode: In episodes 11 and 12, Arusu, Eva, and Menow celebrate Sheila's birthday. Justified because Sheila is made The Ageless by that point.
- All There in the Manual: The synopsis of episode 15 in the Japanese official site reveals that "deadly grey" (死の灰色, shi no hai-iro) is the name of the "disease" Sigma tells Arusu and Sheila about.
- All Your Powers Combined: Dark magic requires the True Book of Spells, the only one of its kind to list every spell a witch can use; each one of the 100 fairy species whose body parts enable magic; and a witch who holds darkness in her heart.
- Androcles' Lion: In "The Gryphon's Feather", after Arusu helps a gryphon run away from the special task force, the gryphon repay the favor by giving her its feather, which she needs to fly on a broom.
- Another Dimension: The Magical Realm exists separately from the Human Realm, with the latter being sometimes described as such by the inhabitants of the Magical Realm.
- Antagonist Title:
- "The Warlock Sigma": The titular character is revealed to be Grande's Enigmatic Minion three episodes later.
- "The Pirate Lennon" is named after the pirate witch who ambushes the Ludens on its way to the Human Realm.
- "The Ice Witch and the Dragon of Fire and Ice" is named after the one and same character, a giant witch dragon who sought to Take Over the World in the past.
- Arc Words: Arusu's belief that "Anyone can use magic as long as they believe with all their heart!" appears throughout the series and The Adventures. It was passed down from her Disappeared Dad, Jidan, who told Wil the same thing 14 years ago.
- Armored Villains, Unarmored Heroes: Arusu and her friends wear simple black minidresses in contrast to the Faceless Goons of Wizard Kingdom in armors that cover their whole bodies.
- Art Shift:
- The first part of The Teaser consists of static illustrations that resemble Renaissance and Reformation-era European paintings.
- In the trailer for episodes 11 and 12, the animation shifts to a childish crayon style after showing a picture of Menow holding a baby Sheila under her arms.
- In episode 11, the animation shifts to a childish crayon style for the scene where Eva explains to Arusu the traditions of the witches.
- Apocalypse How:
- Due to the overexploitation of magical and scientific resources, the destruction of the Magical Realm is approaching. As Sigma's father foretold, Arusu prevents it with the magic of light.
- Grande plans to destroy the Human Realm through dark magic in hopes of making a new home for his species to escape the eventual destruction of the Magical Realm.
- Jestor in "The Secret of Dragon House" created a program to destroy the Witch Realm. Although he planned to destroy the Warlock Realm as well, apparently he died before he could complete his work.
- Beast of the Apocalypse: As Eva casts dark magic, the 100 fairy species turn into a huge frog-like creature that attaches to her. It disappears once Arusu undoes dark magic with the magic of light.
- Big Bad: Grande is the leader and general of the warlocks, who are (mostly) the mortal enemies of the witches and wizards. He is behind one of the most prominent conflicts in the TV series as he plans to destroy the Human Realm through dark magic in hopes of making a new home for his species to escape the eventual destruction of the Magical Realm.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- The TV series ends with Arusu saving both the Human and Magical Realms, but she and her friends have to bid farewell to each other before she returns to her homeworld and reunites with her parents. Lennon has reconciled with his mother (who has been forgiven by the Grand Master for her past forbidden relationship with Jidan) and is going to live with her, but they're never going to see his father surviving his apparent death.
- The Adventures: "The Ice Witch and the Dragon of Fire and Ice" ends with the Witch Realm released from the freeze the Ice Witch brought, but at the cost of Hanamomo's untimely death.
- Black Magic: Dark magic is a forbidden spell that requires the True Book of Spells, each one of the 100 fairy species, and a witch to destroy everything and to drive every living thing to despair. It derives its powers from hate, distrust, and despair, hence why the caster needs to have darkness in her heart. Grande seeks to destroy the Human Realm with it in hopes of making a new home for his species to escape the eventual destruction of the Magical Realm. In the Grand Finale, as foretold by Sigma's father, Arusu dispels dark magic with the magic of light.
- Bloodless Carnage: Atelia is shown striking a warlock soldier with her Magic Staff without any visible damage on him.
- Brought Down to Normal: As the destruction of the Magical Realm approaches, the witches start losing access to their magic and fall ill in the process. Even the Grand Master of Witches and the Three Sages are no exception.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Even background characters look distinctive in identical costumes, which is quite necessary considering the large cast.
- Catchphrase: "Anyone can use magic as long as they believe with all their heart!"
- Cerebus Syndrome: The series was pretty dark to begin with, but when Sigma and the warlocks show up, things start to become serious.
- Chekhov's Gun: Eva explains to Arusu that the witches and warlocks are the descendants of a race of winged humanoids who inherit their ancestors' wings only in the degenerated form. When Eva sees Lennon's back lacks degenerated wings, she finds out that he is a human, not a witch.
- Children Are Innocent: Sigma and Lennon are a preteen and a teenager respectively. They are two of the more sympathetic villains in the franchise and the only villains who end the TV series redeemed.
- Civilization Destroyer: In "The Secret of Dragon House", Jestor created a computer program to destroy the Witch Realm. Although he planned to destroy the Warlock Realm as well, apparently he died before he could complete his work.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: As a child, Arusu learned from her Disappeared Dad, Jidan, that anyone can use magic as long as they believe with all their heart. It is heavily implied that The Idealist Was Right, judging by the fact that the inept witches on the Ludens finally manage to fly on brooms in the belief that they might be able to use magic because even a human girl like Arusu can do it.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Judging from what is shown in the series, the religion of the witches and warlocks looks like Christianity. The Witch Realm has a large chapel, where Atelia arranges a meeting of all her people. According to Atelia, the Book of Prophecies tells the story of how a witch known as a savior created the Magical Realm with the legendary magic of light. At the beginning of "The Warlock Sigma", Sigma's father is seen foretelling the coming of a savior right after he tells another warlock that it's forbidden to awaken Satan from his eternal seal by the Creator.
- Cute Witch: All three witches in the picture. Witches in general are also this, with a few exceptions. Of course, the series is a Darker and Edgier take on the genre, with the Witch society having some less-than-wholesome practices and the warlocks being A Nazi by Any Other Name.
- Darker and Edgier: While idealistic, the series is a darker and mature take on the Cute Witch genre as a whole. It begins as a Slice of Life with some drama about a group of young apprentice witches, only to take a much darker turn once Sigma makes a proper introduction with the group embroiled in the war between the witches and warlocks, as well as the destruction of the Magical Realm. The warlocks from Wizard Kingdom bring an aura of sheer brutality and menace never before seen, with their invasion of the Witch Realm, their manipulations, their ethnic cleansing campaign against their traditional counterparts known as the wizards, their disposal of whoever has outlived their usefulness, their plan to destroy the Human Realm through dark magic in hopes of making a new home for them to escape the destruction of the Magical Realm, their long imprisonment of a human, their use of hostages, and their propaganda to create a common enemy. In the Grand Finale, Grande turns Eva into the unwilling caster of dark magic, which feeds on The Power of Hate to destroy everything with people driven to cross the Despair Event Horizon. On top of that, the characters deal with animal rights issues, eugenics, traditionalism, abandonment issues, loss of a loved one, military dictatorship, Maligned Mixed Marriage, and betrayal, the first four of which appear even before Cerebus Syndrome kicks in.
- Dark Is Evil: When the traitor among the witches casts dark magic, it tears the earth apart with black beams.
- Dark Secret: The leadership of the witches hides the fact that all the captive fairies had escaped from the public. However, after an angry hydra attacks the Witch Realm in episodes 9 and 10, the warlocks discover about it. In episodes 13 and 14, some young witches including Sae and Hata finds out it, being arrested for discovering the top secret.
- Despair Event Horizon: As the Grand Master of Witches explains, dark magic takes away the will of every living thing to rebuild and even their hopes. It takes Arusu casting the magic of light to bring hope back to them.
- Dispel Magic:
- A witch's long hair is needed to turn anything Taken for Granite back to normal.
- The magic of light is the only spell that can destroy dark magic.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Sigma offers Sheila a chance to leave the world together, telling her that he knows they're not that different. The way he talks makes it look like he's making a Love Confession for her.
- The witch evaluation banishes those who cannot use magic at 16 to the Human Realm, where they marry into humans. Furthermore, "Lennon's True Identity" reveals that it's against tradition for a witch to marry a human if she can use magic. This is an obvious parallel with the eugenics movement, which believes "flawed" people need to be removed from the human gene pool.
- Dramatic Irony: After Arusu releases a mina fairy from the holding facility, Atelia reports to the Grand Master of Witches that with the mina fairy captured, the witches now have all of the 100 fairy species.
- Dueling Messiahs: The TV series ends up with Arusu and Grande fighting to stop the destruction of the Magical Realm. The former is an All-Loving Hero and a pacifist whereas the latter's plan of Homeworld Evacuation involves destroying another entire dimension in the process.
- End of an Age: The witches, warlocks, and wizards come together to rebuild the Magical Realm in the finale, marking the end of the age of segregation.
- Everybody Lives: Nobody dies in the TV series and The Adventures outside of flashbacks.
- Eye Catch: The eyecatches have the series logo against a black background.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
- The main protagonists of Tweeny Witches are an 11-year-old human apprentice witch and two native apprentice witches of her age.
- Atelia, the Grand Master of Witches, Lennon, and Wizard Kingdom share their names with their Leitmotifs, though the second one's is only named "Grand Master".
- Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems: The series takes place in the Magical Realm, but Arusu and her friends still deal with problems like animal exploitation, conservatism, war, oppression, and racism.
- Faceless Goons: On both sides: The witches' have mosquito-like gas masks while the warlocks' wear armor that makes them look like sharks.
- Fakin' MacGuffin: The warlocks are trying to get the True Book of Spells so they can cast dark magic. Sheila bluffs them by using her guard dog to create a copy just in case Lennon gives them the book.
- Feminist Fantasy: Tweeny Witches is a hauntingly beautiful dark fantasy primarily driven by a diverse cast of women. The entire cast is varied in both their personalities and appearances, with some being stunningly beautiful and some being plain. The main trio of young apprentice witches, as well as Atelia, prove themselves to be brave, resourceful, and independent without waiting for a man to rescue them. Their femininity, or lack thereof, is not shown as a bad thing, as Arusu and Sheila are not shamed for their gender-nonconforming aspects while Eva and Atelia have moments where they demonstrate Silk Hiding Steel. Instead, their characterizations are built around something that is sensibly related to the plot, such as having low self-esteem because of the inability to cast magic. Meanwhile, the cold, emotionless, Always Male warlocks are the villains of the series, who cause untold destruction, and are eventually soundly defeated by the ingenuity and kindness of the heroines.
- Floating Continent: The Magical Realm has floating islands.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- In episode 15, after he shot a warlock soldier to save Eva, Sigma sends a red signal to the soldier. In episode 16, he sends the same red signal to a white creature the warlock army rides on. It's implied that he manipulated not only the heroes, but also the warlock army for his own ends.
- As soon as Atelia declares a full-scale war with the warlocks, the special task force is seen moving presumably to fight the warlocks that are invading the chapel in the Witch Realm.
- As Grande makes a speech about his solution for the destruction of the Magical Realm, a sick warlock is briefly seen using a ventilator on his bed.
- Gender-Restricted Ability:
- Subverted. Although only the witches appear over the first 10 episodes, the Warlock Realm does have its share of magic-users in the form of the wizards, a Dying Race of magic-using warlocks.
- It's explicitly stated that only a witch who has darkness in her heart can use dark magic with all the 100 fairy species and the True Book of Spells.
- Goroawase Number: Arusu and later some witches use one of these to cast magic, as opposed to the traditional way which uses Greek numerals instead. The English dub replaces them with direct translations of puns. For example:
- 0141963215 (a spell for hallucinogenic magic) becomes "oishii kuromitsu ichigo".
- 80588109696 (a spell for petrification magic) becomes "yamagoya hairegu rokkunrōru".
- Gotta Catch Them All: Atelia tells Arusu and her friends that they have to capture each one of the 100 fairy species in order for the Grand Master of Witches to undo the Curse of Eternal Youth cast on Sheila and Eva.
- Great Escape: Sigma, in an attempt to escape prison with his cellmate, Jidan, asks Tiana for a job to redeem himself for his failure, suggesting that the warlocks take Jidan hostage to demand the True Book of Spells from the human's daughter, Arusu. As further Laser-Guided Karma for his betrayal and manipulation of Arusu and her friends, Tiana mockingly refuses to let him out, reminding him that no one gives their traitor a second chance. However, he ends up escaping with his cellmate anyway.
- 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 mother have been estranged for years.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Tweeny Witches uses "Destiny" for the TV series and "Adventure" for The: Adventures, though the latter is missing in the original Japanese version.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: The anime opens with an orchestral instrument theme composed by Tamiya Terashima.
- Internal Reveal:
- While the audience knows from the start that Arusu is human, Sheila, Eva, Obecitus, and Magna assume her to be an apprentice witch. However, she proves herself to be really human with a chestnut because it is not native in the Magical Realm.
- While the audience knows from the start that all the captive fairies had escaped, everyone except Arusu, Sheila, Eva, wardens, and the leadership of the witches does not know this. However, after the angry hydra attacks an entire town in episodes 9 and 10, the warlocks find out it. In episodes 13 and 14, a bunch of young witches including Sae and Hata finds out it, being arrested for discovering a top secret.
- Last Day to Live: At the end of episode 15, Sigma tells the heroes that Arusu and Sheila will die of "deadly grey" 24 hours later. It was a lie for him to get the True Book of Spells.
- The Legend of Chekhov: Atelia tells Arusu and her friends about the legend of a witch known as the savior who created the Magical Realm using the magic of light. In the Grand Finale, Arusu performs the magic of light to destroy dark magic and save Eva.
- "ARS~Main Theme~" has three leitmotifs. The first two ones appears in "Kaerenai" Translation and "Dōkei" Translation , while the third one appears in "Kessen" Translation and "Tokushu Hokaku Butai" Translation .
- "Kūchū e" Translation appears in "Kaze o kitte" Translation .
- "Madōsho" Translation appears in "Akiraka ni naru Himitsu" Translation .
- "Atelia" appears in an unnamed harp piece that plays when Grande shows Eva a vision of a mysterious old man who tells her to stay determined.
- "Lennon" appears in "Hyōhen" Translation . It is associated with Lennon.
- "Hatsukoi" Translation appears in "Shin-sekai" Translation .
- "Shitsui to Kibō" Translation appears in an unnamed song that plays in the cold open sequence.
- Light Equals Hope: Arusu glows gold as she dispels dark magic with the magic of light, bringing hope back to the Magical Realm.
- Light Is Good:
- The light of the Sanctuary is the source of life and magic in the Magical Realm.
- Only the magic of light can undo dark magic.
- Magical Incantation: Magic in Tweeny Witches requires an incantation that is made of numerals. While most witches use Greek numerals, Arusu and later some witches use Goroawase Number (see above for details).
- Magical Land: The Magical Realm is inhabited by witches, warlocks, and fairies. It is connected to the Human Realm through the Interdimensional Sea.
- Magic Cauldron:
- Presatio is seen using a cauldron to boil water when Sheila spies on her to see whether the sage is the traitor.
- Eva uses a big cauldron to cook a magical soup in "The Magical Girl Squad Transformed Into Fish!".
- The Magic Goes Away: As the destruction of the Magical Realm approaches, witches start losing their magic and fall ill in the process. Even the Grand Master of Witches and the three sages are no exception.
- Magic Hair: A witch's long hair is needed to turn anything Taken for Granite back to normal.
- Magic Versus Science: As Eva explains to Arusu in "Witches' Tradition", it's the custom among the witches to go to the Warlock Realm if they've been unable to get an official post. Meanwhile, in the Warlock Realm, the military government force the magic-using wizards of the old order to live in Miche Village ever since the foundation of Wizard Kingdom. It seems that this split has stagnated the three groups: the technology used by the witches hasn't really advanced past the dirigible, and while it appears that Wizard Kingdom is a man-made underground cavern of plenty, the military dictatorship of the warlocks uses their technology for Bread and Circuses, oppression, and war. In the Grand Finale, the three groups get back together to rebuild the Magical Realm.
- Magitek: The female witches tend to a more primitive steampunk-style of magitek while the technologically advanced male "warlocks" now use very little magic at all (there's only one "real" warlock left, and he's very old).
- The Maker: According to the Book of Prophecies, a savior created the Magical Realm with the magic of light.
- Memento MacGuffin: The True Book of Spells that Jidan gave Arusu for her 5th birthday.
- Mistaken for Dying: Invoked. At the end of episode 15, Sigma tells the heroes that Arusu and Sheila will die of "deadly grey" 24 hours later. It was a lie for him to get the True Book of Spells.
- 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 Child: Atelia never found her son, Lennon, for 14 years ever since her husband, Jidan, took him away from her to protect their mixed-race family from the persecution they would face in the traditionalist society of the Witch Realm.
- Monochrome Past: Wil's flashback to when he sent Jidan and a baby Lennon to the Human Realm has red as its only hue in the otherwise monochrome scene.
- Mood Whiplash: Despite being generally Darker and Edgier, the series has the incredibly cute, sweet and adorable closing theme, which can really offset moments like Sigma revealing himself to be lying about the "deadly grey" and its "counterspell".
- Mystical Plague: As the light of the Sanctuary is fading away, a nameless disease begins to afflict the witches, leaving its victims powerless and bedridden. It's implied that the warlocks are falling to the disease as well, as evidenced by the scene in "" where a sick warlock is briefly seen using a ventilator on his bed. In the Grand Finale, some of its victims are seen fully recovering after Arusu stops The End of the World as We Know It with the magic of light.
- Myth Arc: Arusu, Sheila, and Eva's quest to break the Curse of Eternal Youth cast on the latter two gets entwined with unraveling the mysteries surrounding the warlocks, the eventual destruction of the Magical Realm, and Arusu's Disappeared Dad.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- 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.
- The trailer for episodes 9 and 10 shows a witch with a pumpkin head getting imprisoned and exiled to the Human Realm for not casting magic. However, in the actual episodes, Qoo almost gets exiled to the Human Realm for her inability to cast magic.
- No Antagonist: The conflict in "The Magical Girls Squad Transformed into Fish!" from The Adventures is about the heads of Arusu, Sheila, and Eva being transformed into fish and their attempt to reverse it. They are trying to keep people from finding and laughing at them, but that's the extent of their antagonism.
- No Hugging, No Kissing: With the exception of the Maligned Mixed Marriage between Jidan and Atelia as part of their backstories, there is no romance in any form.
- Only One Name: Every single character has only one name.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: The theme for the Grand Master of Witches, "Grand Master", combines organ music with the strings and sinister choirs.
- Once More, with Clarity!: The first part of The Teaser begins with three medieval illustrations that portray winged people. In "The True Book of Spells", the same scene is played again as Eva reveals to Arusu that the witches and the warlocks have marks of wings on their backs as remnants of their flying ancestors' wings.
- On the Next: The previews in the TV series have no voice overs, only subtle scenes that foreshadow the next two episodes.
- Opening Narration: The second part of The Teaser features a narration, though the contents vary depending on the episode or the medium. The series features a female narrator explaining to the audience who Arusu is in the 1st episode and recapping the previous episode since episode 3. Meanwhile, the OVA features a male narrator saying "The Magical Realm. It is a mysterious world which is inhabited by witches, warlocks, and fairies. It was this strange [???] Arusu, a human, was suddenly drawn into. She began living with Sheila and Eva, who were apprentice witches her age, and the things that happened around them are always quite bizarre. What kind of adventures are [???] now?".
- Origins Episode:
- "Lennon's True Identity" gives the backstories of Lennon and his parents.
- "Promise" gives the full details on Sigma's backstory, confirming the identities of the three warlocks at the beginning of "The Warlock Sigma".
- The Adventures: "The Secret of Dragon House" reveals how Dragon House came to be, as well as how Sheila became Eva's housemate.
- Our Mages Are Different: Witches and wizards are a mix of Race and Scholars: they are born with the ability to use magic and have to learn how to control it through study. Arusu initially seems to be a mere Gadget User empowered by the True Book of Spells, but she turns out to be a Lottery Winner as she becomes a powerful witch through study despite her human origins.
- Power Glows: When Arusu performs the magic of light, her entire body glows yellow.
- The Power of Friendship:
- Arusu thought this and The Power of Love saved her and Sheila from dying of "deadly grey". Of course, the "disease" was not real in the first place.
- Arusu performs the magic of light and saves Eva by feeding her a chestnut, reminding her of their first meeting.
- The Power of Hate: Dark magic takes shape from hate, distrust, and despair, hence why the caster needs darkness in her heart, as well as the True Book of Spells and each one of the 100 fairy species. In a Continuity Nod to the myth told in "The Warlock Sigma" that the power of all creatures that have been released from their cages would awaken Satan from his eternal seal by the Creator, the Grand Master of Witches describes its activation as the awakening of hatred sealed away in the Japanese dub, before warning her subjects to fight with innocence since showing their hatred only makes it stronger.
- The Promise: Arusu promises to Wil and his grandson, Nito, that she will protect the magic and find a way to undo dark magic using the legendary magic of light.
- Prophecies Are Always Right: There are two conflicting prophecies; one tells that only awakening the sleeping Satan with the creatures freed from the cages would save the people deprived of sunlight, while the other tells that a savior is coming to save the Magical Realm. The finale reveals that they're both right — Eva performing dark magic enables the savior (Arusu) to save the day with the magic of light.
- The Prophecy: There are two conflicting prophecies; one tells that only awakening the sleeping Satan with the creatures freed from the cages would save the people deprived of sunlight, while the other tells that a savior is coming to save the Magical Realm.
- Prophecy Twist: There are two conflicting prophecies; one tells that only awakening the sleeping Satan with the creatures freed from the cages would save the people deprived of sunlight, while the other tells that a savior is coming to save the Magical Realm. However, they didn't say that the magic of light undoing dark magic would save the world, or that the Messianic Archetype would be a human girl.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child:
- The Witch Realm enslave fairies and use their body parts as the source of magic.
- Grande uses Eva as the source of dark magic. The forsaken child part is justified — only a witch who has darkness in her heart can use dark magic.
- Previously on…: Every two episodes of the TV series start with the narrator recapping the previous episodes.
- Public Domain Soundtrack:
- The closing theme tune, "DuDiDuWa*lalala", is simply the most famous part of Johann Straus's "The Blue Danube", but given lyrics and set in common-time (4/4) instead of waltz-time (3/8).
- Recurring Riff: Throughout the series, the first two leitmotifs of "ARS~Main Theme~" plays depending on the situation.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- In episode 3, Nerabu sports huge glowing red eyes.
- The warlock cavalrymen ride on creatures with red eyes.
- Eva's eyes become red as she performs dark magic.
- Red Herring:
- It's hinted that Arusu may be the long-lost daughter of Atelia due to how they both have long red nails. This is Jossed, however, when it's confirmed that Jidan went to the Interdimensional Sea with young Lennon and the True Book of Spells 14 years ago, meaning that the 11-year-old Arusu cannot be the daughter of Atelia.
- Barunn, Nerabu, and Biris are suspected by Sheila of having been chosen by the warlocks to cast dark magic because they side with Grande. Then it turns out that another witch is the real traitor.
- Satan: Satan is mentioned by two unnamed warlocks who appear at the beginning of "The Warlock Sigma". One foretells that the only way to save people who have been deprived of sunlight is by awakening the sleeping Satan with the power of all creatures released from their cages. Sigma's father opposes the idea, saying that it is forbidden to do so because their Creator sealed Satan away forever. Judging from the context, they seem to be talking about how the warlocks need all the 100 fairy species to cast dark magic, which they believe would save them from The End of the World as We Know It once activated.
- Same Race Means Related: During the second half of the TV series, Arusu finds out that there are other humans in the Magical Realm. They are Lennon, who is revealed to be her half-brother; and Jidan, their father who has been imprisoned in Wizard Kingdom for the last 6 years.
- Saved From Their Own Honor: Atelia surrenders her life to an angry mob of witches in her half-human son's place by publicly confessing that she has hidden her past forbidden relationship with Jidan to come to and stay in power. Her family interrupts her Suicide by Cop and, in the finale, the grand master not only spares her and her son but also restores her to power, allowing both of them to help rebuild the Magical Realm.
- Save This Person, Save the World: Arusu saves both the Magical Realm and the Human Realm due to being the one who saves Eva from the despair that enabled her to perform dark magic.
- "Save the World" Climax: Arusu, Sheila, and Eva starts off with a fairly simple quest to break the Curse of Eternal Youth cast on the latter two. However, in the Grand Finale, Arusu ends up struggling to stop Eva from destroying the Magical Realm with dark magic.
- Scenery Porn: Many of the backgrounds are a real visual treat.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
- Invoked. Sheila sends an asleep Arusu on the Ludens, a ship for the Human Realm, to spare her from the destruction of the Magical Realm.
- Credelle decides to escape to the Human Realm to spare herself from the destruction of the Magical Realm. When Sheila finds out about it, the apprentice witch calls out the sage on her lack of pride as one of the Three Sages. The sage replies that anyone would want to live no matter what magic or pride if they find out about the destruction. Downplayed because the sage collapses before she can go on board a ship for the other realm.
- When the special task force invade Dragon Palatium to take over the Witch Realm, Mileth and Miletis run away from the castle because who will win doesn't matter to them.
- Selfless Wish: Arusu wishes for the Ecoo fairy to save Sheila from the special capture squad and an angry fairy.
- Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Inverted. Arusu and her friends wear sleeveless black minidresses, with Arusu only in a tank top and pants before she gets a Significant Wardrobe Shift as part of her Going Native. Atelia is a veteran of the raid on Wizard Kingdom to retrieve the True Book of Spells, where she wore a skin-tight, sleeveless minidress and Zettai Ryouiki. The antagonists, on the other hand, cover a lot of skin in varying degrees:
- The special task force spend the first half of the series wearing black cloaks. They get a Significant Wardrobe Shift, with Nerabu, Barunn, and Biris in a metal armor, a pink dress with a red cape, a grey low-cut dress respectively. However, the last one still covers much than Arusu and her friends.
- The warlocks cover much, including the villainous ones. Sigma shows only his face and hair with his white-and-black suit, though he turns out to be Good All Along. Grande, Tiana, and Luca only show their faces with their white-and-gold suits. The Faceless Goons of both the military and the police show no skin at all.
- Shadow Discretion Shot: The scene is rendered in shadow when Grande turns into a dragon-like monster and devours Sigma's father while forcing a younger Sigma to watch.
- The masks of the witches' mooks look a bit like that first angel with a busted "nose."
- In episode 11, Arusu mentions the title of "Smile For Me", Naoko Kawai's once famous song.
- In episode 14, Arusu says Yobarete tobidete jajaja jān.
- Episode 20 has Arusu doing a Kamen Rider Ichigo henshin pose.
- The three volumes of the North American DVD release are named "Arusu in Wonderland", "Through the Looking Glass", and "What Arusu Found There" respectively.
- Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: All of the major characters are female since the story mainly takes place in the Witch Realm. The three main characters are Arusu, an idealistic Genki Girl who becomes an apprentice witch; Sheila, a Defrosting Ice Queen Broken Bird; and Eva, a Classical Anti-Hero with Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold. Even the most important male characters—including Jidan, the Disappeared Dad and Greater-Scope Paragon of Arusu; Sigma, the Enigmatic Minion from Wizard Kingdom; Grande, the Glorious Leader of the warlocks; and Lennon, a mysterious pirate who claims to be the mirror of Arusu—stay strictly in supporting roles.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The series weigh both ends of the spectrum but ultimately comes to idealistic conclusions. Arusu believes in magic, happiness, freedom, The Power of Friendship, and determination even though the Magical Realm is full of ordinary problems. Sheila believes in depending on herself alone due to her Dark and Troubled Past and tells Arusu that they must fight the warlocks because they want to fight, though Sheila gradually becomes more idealistic near the end of the series. When it's revealed that the Magical Realm is dying, the contrasts between idealism and cynicism become clear; Arusu tries to save the realm with the legendary magic of light, Luca believes in dark magic as the only way to save his people, Sheila and Eva decide to do everything they can no matter what, Atelia tries to distract her people from the truth to keep the weakening peace in her realm, Grande plans to destroy the Human Realm with dark magic to make a new home for his species, and Lennon tells Arusu that nothing matters in such a situation. In the Grand Finale, when Eva has gone insane with the power of dark magic, Arusu reminds her of how their friendship began with a chestnut, by which she manages to use the legendary magic of light to stop The End of the World as We Know It and destroy the magic of darkness fueled by hate, distrust, and despair.
- Sliding Scale of Muggle Involvement: The series has very low muggle involvement since the series takes place in the Magical Realm.
- Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Wizard Kingdom has Everything Is An I Pod In The Future aesthetics. In contrast, Miche Village is a poor district of the wizards in the desert outside Wizard Kingdom.
- Spell Book: The True Book of Spells is the only book to list every spell a witch can use, as well as one of the items the warlocks need to cast dark magic. Before it goes missing, it enables Arusu to use magic without using a fairy's body part. Her father gave it to her for her 5th birthday even though it should've been impossible for an ordinary human like him to own something of magical origin that the grand master states had been stolen 14 years ago.
- Steal It to Protect It: Atelia met Jidan when she rescued him while fighting the warlocks to retrieve the True Book of Spells. She intended to return the book to its rightful owner, only for him to steal it in order to prevent more fighting between witches and warlocks, as well as the destruction of the Human Realm.
- Tagline: The series is advertised with the hook "A never-before-seen magical world", referring to the fact that Arusu finds out that the Magical Realm is not what she thinks it is.
- Team Title: The series is known as Magical Girl Squad Arusu in Japan.
- The Teaser: Every episode opens with medieval illustrations on the screen while the song named "Atelia" plays. In the TV series, the scene switches to a female narrator explaining to the audience who Arusu is in "The Witch Realm" and recapping the previous episode later. In The Adventures, the scene switches to a male narrator explaining what the Magical Realm is and telling the audience to watch Arusu's adventures.
- Through His Stomach: Discussed when Arusu praises Eva's cooking, saying the latter is so good at cooking she can win a man's heart with it.
- Title Drop: Episode 20 has Arusu literally say "Magical Girl Squad."
- Vagueness Is Coming: Sigma's father advised Grande against the use of dark magic, foretelling that a savior would come to save the Magical Realm from its doom. Grande forced a young Sigma to watch as he killed the prophet before the prophet could give any more detail about The Prophecy.
- War Arc: As the secondary plotline of the second half of the series, Arusu and her friends fight in the war against the warlocks from Wizard Kingdom.
- The Weird Sisters:
- Arusu, Sheila, and Eva make up the Magical Girl Squad.
- Atelia, Presatio, and Credelle are the Three Sages.
- Barunn, Biris, and Nerabu make up the special task force.
- Wham Episode: Episode 16: Sigma reveals that he approached Arusu and her friends to get the True Book of Spells.
- Wham Shot: At the end of episode 16, Arusu and Sheila turn out to be alive 24 hours later, revealing that their "disease" Sigma told them about wasn't real in the first place.
- World of No Grandparents: Sheila and Sigma are missing her parents and his father respectively, but their grandparents are never brought up even in passing. The only characters known to have a living grandparent are Qoo and Nito.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Implied. Arusu finds herself trapped in the Magical Realm and has apparently been there a long time. In the Grand Finale, when she finally goes home to the Human Realm, her mother, Yoko, notes that she's late to go home without seeming to have been worrying about the disappearance of her daughter.
- Your Days Are Numbered: At the end of episode 15, Sigma tells the heroes that Arusu and Sheila will die of "deadly grey" 24 hours later. It is a lie for him to get the True Book of Spells.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: The warlocks accept Arusu's offer to give the warlocks the True Book of Spells in exchange for the safe return of Jidan. When she and Lennon are going to Wizard Kingdom across the desert, a soldier tells them that his people just want the True Book of Spells and are never going to let the hostage go. Arusu is outraged before Wil tells the soldier to disappear for today, saying that the soldier is a disgrace to his people.