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Dispel Magic

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"Way to dispel your own spell, de Spell!"

Magic with the ability to remove the effects of other magic. A form of Anti-Magic (and Sub-Trope to it), this applies to any ability that is used to reverse the effects of another spell that has already worked. If someone has been changed into a frog, a magic spell to change someone into his original form is an example of Dispel Magic.

Contrast Counterspell, which is a spell that interrupts another spell and prevents it from working in the first place, and No Ontological Inertia, where magic fades naturally upon the death of the one who cast it. Anti-Magic can prevent magic from happening at all as a passive defense, while Dispel can only remove magic that has already taken hold.

Super-Trope to Status-Buff Dispel: Anything that dispels a Status Buff specifically goes there.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Clover, Asta already has two Anti-Magic swords, but much later, he receives a third sword with the ability to remove curses and possessions, something the other swords cannot do and has bugged Asta for a long time. This sword also makes Asta a Combat Medic in certain situations, as the sword can heal people of poisons and diseases created by magic.
  • In Bungo Stray Dogs, one of the main characters, Osamu Dazai, has a magical power called "No Longer Human", which is basically dispelling magical powers of anyone he makes skin contact with.
  • The manga Code:Breaker has Sakura Sakurakouji with implied Anti-Magic abilities. All Code Breakers' abilities have been shown to be ineffective against her, and she's even displayed the ability to cancel out the effects of those powers on others. Canceling out their power's effects may or may not require full body contact, since she seems to hug people every time she does it, causing her friends to name it her "rare power hug attack."
  • In the second season of Code Geass, Jeremiah Gottwald gets the Geass Canceller, the power to completely negate Geass. Not only is he immune from such effects, but he can create spheres with huge radii that strip anyone caught in the bubble of any Geass effects they're currently affected by. For Lelouch's Geass, it even resets the "once per person" counter, allowing the victim to be Geassed again.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, Marcille uses this trick against the Lunatic Magician, surprising herself, the party and even the wizard, instantly destroying otherwise invulnerable magic constructs. She is only able to do this due to the fact that both her magic and the Magician's are the same type of ancient, forbidden blood magic.
  • Fairy Tail: Several such spells of this caliber exist, but the most notable is the "Deus Zero" enchantment first used by Irene Belserion. When cast, it can effectively dispel any other enchantment in use, which includes forms of Magic Enhancement, Forced Transformation spells, even Grand Theft Me spells. As shown when Wendy manages to copy it, since "Deus Zero" is an enchantment itself, it's possible to cancel one "Deus Zero" with another one if you're fast enough and prevent previous enchantments from being dispelled.
  • The Familiar of Zero: Louise's first controlled void spell. Earlier on, she also accidentally damages the defense wards on a storeroom for magical artifacts. In the third season, Louise's void spell is the only reason the heroes are able to defeat the square golem.
  • Near the end of Fullmetal Alchemist, Father activates the giant transmutation circle he's spent centuries constructing to transmute the souls of all the people in Amestris into a Philosopher's Stone that will allow him to consume God and achieve absolute power. However, Hohenheim turns out to have prepared a countermeasure: a second transmutation circle which deconstructs Father's Philosopher's Stone and restores the souls of the people of Amestris, destabilizing his apotheosis to the point where he can be defeated. And how did Hohenheim manage to create another transmutation circle? He hijacked Father's! Father's nationwide transmutation circle had to be activated at a specific time on a specific day because it needed a solar eclipse to create a circle in the sky. Hohenheim was aware of this, so he took advantage that the shadow of the eclipse would create a second circle on the ground.
  • Finding a Nen user capable of this to help their leader becomes the goal of the Phantom Troupe following the Yorknew City arc in Hunter Hunter.
  • In Inuyasha, Myoga the Flea has an odd version of this; he can break binding spells on people because if he bites you, no amount of magic will prevent you from swatting him.
  • The Eclipse Drivers in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force are capable of instantly dispelling magic of any kind almost at whim, which makes them extremely dangerous to the magic-dependent society at large and to the magic-using main characters in particular.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: A limited version of Magic Cancel is the "Dispulso" spell. The author notes this a "paradoxical" spell, being a magic that disperses magic.
  • The Spell "Flow Break" from Slayers causes all long-term spells (for example, "animate golem" or whatever it's called) to stop working and the Golem or Animated Armor will collapse. If used on a mage, it causes harm.
  • Wedding Peach has the power to negate devil powers: possession, illusion, mind control etc. will be dispelled with her "Lovely Operation Tempete".

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: "Disenchanting" (destroying enchantments and artifacts) is a standard effect seen often on green and white spells. Just about every expansion has a Naturalize and Demystify variant.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Archie Comics:
    • The Rich Bitch Alexandra Cabot from Josie and the Pussycats series can cast witchcraft spells, but these are fragile spells whose effects are ended by as little as Melody Valentine snapping her fingers, which Melody is wont to do.
    • Sabrina the Teenage Witch has cast a few of her spells so weakly, they were negated by three claps.
  • Wonder Woman's lasso of truth can dispel certain magics; illusions, mind control and memory alterations.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has the typical Dresden examples of any sufficiently powerful water-mage, while Wanda can do this through either grounding it out, or using Chaos Magic to unravel it (though that tends to have explosive side-effects, because all the energy has to go somewhere...)
  • The Conversion Bureau: In Metal Ripper, when "Back In Control" is sung by Joakim Bróden, it instantly disables all enchantments or spells placed on him.
  • In the Discworld, the Guild of Assassins are developing the idea of Total Sensory Deprivation as a training aid. One teacher, responsible for developing the idea, has already used it as advanced training and her version of the Vimes Run for gifted but delinquent pupils. Professor Ponder Stibbons, father of a gifted student Assassin, is aware his delinquent daughter has undergone the treatment. He agrees with the Assassin who has devised the training that it would be instructive if selected magic users spent an hour in the Tank. Besides, his daughter's account has really intrigued him. But he points out that given what TSD can do to the mind, a panicked magic user blasting off spells at imagined perils or bad memories returning as hallucinations might be, well, destructive. Ponder and a volunteer Witch, Irena Politek, take care to load each other with temporary spells, stripping away their ability to use magic, before going into the Tank. Read more in the works of A.A. Pessimal.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • The readers don't explicitly see her doing this via, say, a spell or a gesture, but from how the maddening whispers in Celestine's mind seem to have stopped after their interactions, we can infer that the Plain Doll is capable of this. It says a lot about her capabilities when even Celestine, a Seer of great arcane prowess, is unable to make the whispering stop through any means.
    • In the remastered version, Olga can cast an enchantment to "pull wraiths into the physical world", so as to nullify their intangibility.

    Films — Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • As is usually the case in the parent show, the Magic of Friendship's main effect is to dispel dark magic. In the final showdown of the first movie, it engulfs the demonic forms of Sunset Shimmer, Snips and Snails into rainbow tornadoes that return them to human form, as well as breaks the mind-control spell cast over the CHS students.
    • Friendship Games: In her Golden Super Mode, Sunset Shimmer has the ability to fix the tears in reality made by Midnight Sparkle, and it's the very first thing she does after her transformation.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Last Witch Hunter has at least two potions that can dispel magic effects.
    • Belial uses one in form of injectable liquid to dispel effects of Kaulder's memory potion.
    • When the warlock later curses Kaulder with nightmare, Chloe puffs some powder in hunter's face, to the effect similar to the above.
  • Miss Granny: 74-year-old Oh Mal-soon has been transformed into her 20-year-old self by a magic spell. She suffers a cut at a water park, and the skin around the cut instantly turns old and blotchy. Mal-soon figures out that blood loss causes the charm to wear off and turns her old again. The charm wears off completely after she has to donate blood to save Ji-ha, who has been critically injured in an accident.

  • Akata Witch: Orlu has a particular knack for unravelling almost any kind of juju, from intuitively dismantling a spell to talking a powerful Masquerade into de-manifesting.
  • In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, the notus blooms revert Kilda's Forced Transformation to a certain extent.
  • The Dresden Files:
  • Stephanie Burgis's Kat, Incorrigible series: In A Most Improper Magick, Kat finds she can spontaneously break spells by verbally denying them.
  • In Mistborn, an Allomancer burning Aluminum will erase all other Allomantic metals in their body. It's been implied by Word of God that burning Aluminum could also allow one to rid their body of other manifestations of Investiture. Chromium has the same effect, but on other people instead of oneself.
  • In the Myth Adventures book M.Y.T.H. Inc in Action, the young wizard Bee knows two spells. One of them dispels magical disguises and is called Dis Spell. (The other one is the standard disguise spell and, much to the main characters' disgust, is called Dat Spell.)
  • In Spectral Shadows, belief is what gives magic its power. So it is actually possible to dispel magic with enough disbelief.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The Magic by Any Other Name is performed by weaving "threads" of the Elemental Powers. The normal way to cancel someone else's weave is to cut it, but a stealthier option is to unweave it. This is very much a Dangerous Forbidden Technique, since if you screw it up, the threads will resettle into a random pattern (such as a thermonuclear explosion.) This is much easier if the opposing channeler is the same gender since channelers cannot see weaves used by the other gender.
    • Balefire, while not specifically against magic, has the effect of retroactively countering a person's effects on the universe, including spells, at sufficient power.
  • Xanth's Magician Grey Murphy can cancel out any magic, but only one target at a time (and can actually make magic stronger by leaning hard on his null effect, then removing it).

    Live-Action TV 
  • In American Gods, a God of Thunder dispels a storm because some Vikings sacrifice a girl, the storm is implied to be cast by the Thunderbird in response to the prayers of the Natives slaughtered by the Vikings.
  • In Bewitched, it is explicitly stated several times that only the witch that cast a spell can remove it. The very rare attempts at ignoring this rule always prove disastrous. Thus, having the victim of a spell (most usually Darrin) freed of it involves convincing the guilty witch (most usually Endora) to show leniency. That said, Samantha's father Maurice is sometimes shown undoing a spell cast by Endora.
  • In the kids TV-game show Knightmare, casting spells is a matter of calling "spell casting" and then spelling them out. To dispel magic, it was to call out "Spellcasting: D-I-S-M-I-S-S!" and whatever spell that had been cast would end. In theory anyway, it turns out spelling even simple words in the context of the pressure of the game could be tricky.
  • In Once Upon a Time, True Love's Kiss can break any curse.
  • One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch had Sabrina forbidden from using these types of spells (trying to simply "undo" her last spell simply caused a "No can undo" flag to pop out of her finger) in order to teach her to be more responsible.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The basic dispel magic is practically required for any spellcaster able to learn it. Later break enchantment, dispel evil and greater dispel magic perform the same job but affect more powerful spells than the basic dispel magic. In 3.X Edition, curse spells such as bestow curse and mark of justice are treated differently from other enchantments and can only be broken by the use of specific spells.
    • At the very highest levels, there's Mordenkainen's disjunction (later renamed mage's disjunction for reasons too complicated to go into here), which is a near-epic version of dispel magic: it can remove multiple spells and undo ordinarily permanent enchantments such as those inherent in magic items. The spell can even be used in an attempt to annihilate major artifacts (which are ordinarily indestructible) or divinely generated effects, although there are severe risks involved in both cases.
    • Other variants of dispel magic can also be found in various sourcebooks. One of the most efficient is certainly spellstrike from the Forgotten Realms. It entirely negates the effects of a spell cast the previous round — retroactively. Meaning that if some devastating magic has just killed several people, a spellstrike can bring them back to life by erasing the effects; or if somebody has teleported away, the spellstrike can pull them back. The same sourcebooks have unburn, though it reverts ashes made by normal fires as well as magical.
    • Some of these variants are extremely specialized, affecting a restricted category of spells. For example, dispel silence only targets sound-nullifying magic; its main interest is that it has no vocal component, and thus can still be cast within a silence spell.
    • The Cleric or Paladin spell resurgence can end any magical effect allowing a saving throw, by giving the victim a new saving throw against it. It is notable because this is a first-level spell, and low-level characters have otherwise very little access to more powerful forms of dispelling magic.
    • The fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons has a dispel magic spell, too: however, that edition lacks most of the long-term and/or permanent spells that made it so vital in the third edition.
    • The Rod of Cancellation can rob magic items of their enchantment. It is one of the only magic capable of destroying the dreaded Sphere of Annihilation.
    • In keeping with the scalability of spells and powers in fifth edition, the dispel magic spell now ends all spells on a target equal to or lower than the level of the "spell slot" used to cast the spell, making higher-level casters capable of gradually more and more powerful dispelling based on how much power they're willing to spend without requiring seven different distinct versions of the spell.
    • A lot of spells are also specifically noted as being "Dismissible", which means the original caster can put an end to the effects before the duration has expired. It typically requires the same concentration as casting a spell, but does not use further magic. A Prestige Class exists (Incantatrix, from Faerun) with the power to wrestle this control from another spellcaster, although that is a difficult task.
  • Exalted: The Solar Charm Magic-Shattering Strike and the Sidereal Martial Arts Charm Spell-Shattering Palm, both of which do pretty much what you'd think they do.
  • Mage: The Awakening: The Prime arcanum has a Dispel effect that works on spells of any arcana that the caster knows, plus a more powerful Supernal Dispel that can unravel any magic. There is also a Master-level Death effect that just plain kills spells.
  • Shadowrun: The Counterspell skill can be used actively to remove sustained spells (in addition to functioning as a Counterspell), forcing an opposed skill check between the counterspeller and the mage who cast the spell. Successes permanently removes power from the spell, with enough of them unravelling it altogether.
  • Spheres of Power has the Counterspell feat, which lets you do both this and counter spells.
  • The Unofficial Hollow Knight RPG: The Dispel Arcana is available to bugs on the Path of the Spire, and allows the caster to dispel magical effects or cast it as a reaction to Counterspell another Arcana. It only works on weak spells by default, but the caster is able to counter more powerful spells by spending more Soul when they cast Dispel.

  • Explicitly impossible in Wicked, which causes problems when Elphaba starts fiddling with magic at the behest of the Wizard. She gives wings to the monkeys, tries to take it back, and is informed that a spell cannot be broken once cast.

    Video Games 
  • Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia: The MacGuffin the early game revolves around, the Purger, is effectively an extremely powerful dispelling magic. Translating the Hymmnos lyrics in the song's opening shows that it cuts off the target's access to the local Tower's magic energy supply, rendering any spells they've set up useless, as well as massively weakening any creatures they've created through magic. However, it cannot be used to nullify the effects of any Extract-level song like the Purger itself is.
  • Avencast: Rise of the Mage: When The Legions of Hell invade Avencast Wizarding School through a dimensional portal, the player character is sent to charge a magic-destroying Plot Coupon with Star Power and use it on the portal. It instead destroys the Containment Field the wizards erected around the portal... just as intended by the school's Mole in Charge, who wants to travel through the portal himself.
  • In The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, you can remove a curse from a floor with a Rune of Dagaz or a Black Candle.
  • In the Dragon Age series, Dispel Magic (or simply Dispel) is a common mage spell from the Spirit school that removes all dispellable magical effects (hostile and helpful) from a single target. Additionally, the Templar specialization for warriors typically has an ability that dispels all hostile magic around them (known alternatingly as Cleanse Area, Cleanse, or Spell Purge).
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Starting with the third installment, usually features a few abilities per game that accomplish this effect. Given that this is Dragon Quest III we're talking about, it's quite possible that this is the original example among Japanese RPGs.
    • Zoma is the first Boss capable of using the recurring Disruptive Wave skill, which purges buffs from your party, rendering all that time and MP you spent casting defense, speed, and power-boosting spells and vice versa for de-buffs wasted.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, specifically Morrowind and Oblivion, spells and enchanted weapons could have a Dispel effect which would immediately end all magical effects on the target.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: The mysterious bracelet that everyone is chasing after has this effect. Being able to cancel out even Blackberry's magic is what prompts her investigation and thus involvement in the plot, and one of the clues to track the bracelet's location.
  • The Eye of the Beholder series, being based on AD&D, features the dispel magic spell. However, beyond some very specific Guide Dang It! instances, it's actually more detrimental than anything because you can't direct it at all, and thus any use will also wipe the whole party of their Status Buff spells.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Most games have had a White Magic spell called Dispel, that removed the target's buffs and occasionally had the additional effect of removing certain Status Effects such as Slow. A better way of removing the latter on your party members is the series staple Esuna or cheaper spells such as Blindna which only work against one effect each. Because Dispel can remove certain debuffs, sometimes you'd have to make the choice of sacrificing your ally's buffs to remove the debuff, effectively resetting them to a clean slate.
    • In Final Fantasy X, certain enemies are able to instantly banish your summoned Aeons, although they generally got one turn to do something, so hopefully you'd prepared their Overdrive in advance.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III:
    • Dispel removes all magical effects from the targeted creature. Cast at greater levels of proficiency, it can also affect enemy creatures (Advanced) or the whole battlefield (Expert).
    • Cure removes all negative magical effects from the targeted creature and heals it a little.
  • Master of Magic features a few different Arcane spells, accessible to all wizards, which can attempt to nullify ongoing spells on a target or area or to zap Global Enchantments off the board. Sorcery, in keeping with the traditions of the game's Magic: The Gathering roots, features True versions of all of these spells which function mechanically the same but which triple the effective value of all Mana pumped into the spell, making them much more likely to succeed even against extremely expensive and powerful spells.
  • The Anti-Magic spell in Trials of Mana removes all magical effects from its target.
  • Warcraft III:
    • Every faction has their own version: the Alliance has an area of effect spell (actually called Dispel Magic), the Horde fries the target with lightning to dispel and slow the unit (friend and foe) and later obtained a standard area of effect spell, the Undead's Devourer regains mana for every buff it dispels, and the Night Elves have an autocast version that's single-target but discriminating (it only removes debuffs from allies and buffs from enemies). In addition to their Status-Buff Dispel utility, they also deal massive damage to summoned units.
    • The Blood Elves from the expansion's campaign have a single-target "stealing" spell that transfers spells from enemies to allies and vice versa, depending on whether they're beneficial.

  • Debugging Destiny: This is one of Alexander's special abilities. He has used this to dispel Osborne's shadows and Ambrose's summoned bridge.
  • Kubera: The Chaos clan of the sura ("demons") can nullify any magic or transcendentals with their eyes. This isn't common knowledge among the humans as their existence is apocrypha, and not all members of the chaos clan even have eyes, but it certainly serves to make them dangerous.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • As the comic is based on Dungeons & Dragons (Edition 3.5), several dispelling spells are seen used: break enchantment, dispel magic, disjunction, superb dispelling and greater dispel magic. Usually done to negate ongoing buffs, covering the Status-Buff Dispel Sub-Trope as well.
    • Elan also gets to use a bardic ability, the "Song of Freedom", to free Belkar and Mr. Scruffy from Girard Draketooth's most powerful illusion. Later also used by a pair of dwarf bards to free their brethren from vampiric domination.
    • Zz'dtri demonstrates that greater dispel magic can be deadly if the subject is a vampire and the spell dispelled is the one that protects it from the rays of the sun.
    • In "Dispelling Misconceptions", a volley of dispel magic and greater dispel magic is used to shut down all the magic buffs of the Order of the Stick. Although the vampire spawns they were fighting are caught in the wave, and are promptly fireballed since they no longer resist fire, for the heroes it means they lose all of their protections against the master vampires' Hypnotic Eyes. This turns the tide of the battle very fast.
  • Rusty and Co. is another webcomic based on Dungeons & Dragons. It features notably a wand of dispel magic (with the command word "Slough"), used by D. D. Burnum the Derro Ringmaster to dispel Presti's magical disguise. The wand is later appropriated by Stabs the halfling rogue, who uses it against a darkness spell cast by Malevolus the Blackguard.

    Web Original 
  • Ascension Academy: When someone is bound to Chromatic Glass all their magic is forced to pass through the glass as it forms. The glass difuses their mana as it tries to take shape, effectively nullifying it. This Glass is used to imprison magic users, a humane alternative to the old solution which was lobotomization.
  • Void Domain: The Elysian Nuns' signature spell is a deadly white lightning that also dissolves any magic it touches, which makes it especially dangerous to supernatural entities. The power is granted by the Sentient Cosmic Force of Death itself. While the Nuns are usually antagonistic, their power proves instrumental in dispelling the Curse aggravating a Wound That Will Not Heal on Eva Spencer.

    Western Animation 
  • In the first season finale of the DuckTales reboot, the kids use some Deadly Dodging to trick Magica de Spell (pun intended) into undoing one of her own spells (namely, trapping Scrooge inside his #1 dime).
  • The Fairly OddParents! uses Timmy's wish to turn back everything that happens in the episode into normal as an In-Universe Reset Button. Sometimes, however, it doesn't work, and Cosmo and Wanda have to find a solution other than his "undo" wish.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • Early on, Celestia's most common use of her considerable powers is to neutralize out-of-control magic, like with young Twilight Sparkle's wild surge in the flashback of "The Cutie Marks Chronicles", or her "Want-It Need-It" spell in "Lesson Zero".
    • The Elements of Harmony are also often used as this, from the second episode onward where they remove the corruption that turned Princess Luna into Nightmare Moon. They can also dispel their own effects, as seen in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" where they're used to turn back Discord from a statue to a living draconequus.
    • In "Amending Fences", Moondancer quickly dispels Twilight's bubble of silence.
    • In "What About Discord?", Zecora provides such in the form of a magic potion, that should dispel the charm Discord cast on Twilight's friends. Except there is no enchantment to dispel in this case, despite Twilight's stubborn insistence it is true.
    • In "The Cutie Re-Mark Part 2", Zecora again, in an alternate timeline, uses a magical salve that forces Changelings to revert to their true form. Whatever properties accomplish this also helpfully react to the fact that Twilight and Spike are time travelers, convincing Zecora to help them.
    • In "To Where and Back Again Part 2", Queen Chrysalis can use her own magic to force a changeling to regain his true form, as demonstrated with Thorax.
    • Averted in "A Royal Problem"; Starlight cannot remove her own cutie-mark switch spell, and neither Luna nor Celestia even try to with their own (switched) powers, forcing them to wait for the end of its 24-hour duration. Probably justified by the fact that magic dealing with cutie marks is extremely tricky, as Twilight established in previous episodes, and tampering too much would be deemed too risky.
    • "School Daze Part 2": The seal and shield Chancellor Neighsay puts over the School of Friendship looks impressive, but Twilight has no problem breaking it with her own magic once she decides to do so. The spell does seem to include a warning for its creator when dispelled, however, as Neighsay is prompt to gate on the scene shortly thereafter.
    • "The Beginning of the End Part 2": Attempted by Twilight, who tries to break the spell on a mind-controlled Apple Bloom. She fails, however; without the Element of Magic, she can't overcome King Sombra's power.