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Dispel Magic

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"Way to dispel your own spell, de Spell!"
Scrooge McDuck (making an Obligatory Joke), DuckTales, Season 1 finale
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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 the frog back into a person (presumably the same person) 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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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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 at the absolute last minute: 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.
  • 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.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!: A limited version of Magic Cancel is the "Dispulso" spell. The author notes this a "paradoxical" spell, being a magic that disperses magic.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 (a.k.a. Orange-kun) 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 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 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.
  • 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".
  • In Bungou 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.
  • 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.

    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 
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    Fan Works 
  • In Metal Ripper, when "Back In Control" is sung by Joakim Bróden, it instantly disables all enchantments or spells placed on him.

    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.

    Literature 
  • In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, the notus blooms revert Kilda's Baleful Polymorph to a certain extent.
  • In Stephanie Burgis's A Most Improper Magick, Kat finds she can spontaneously break spells by verbally denying them.
  • 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.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The literal Queen of Anti-Magic must be Old Lady Winter, as seen in Cold Days. She has the Unraveling, which permanently dispels ANY magic, including the curse which makes vampires, turning them into normal humans.
    • Skilled users of water or earth magic can ground out offensive magic (as opposed to just ignoring it, like some of the more powerful Fae and most Outsiders can do). Notable users include River Shoulders, the Genoskwa and Listens-to-Wind.
  • 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).
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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.
    • 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.
  • Spheres of Power has the Counterspell feat, which lets you do both this and counter spells
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Theater 
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • The Anti-Magic spell in Trials of Mana removes all magical effects from its target.
  • The Eye of the Beholder series features the D&D "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 Standard 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.
    • 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.
  • 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).
  • In The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, you can remove a curse from a floor with a Rune of Dagaz or a Black Candle.
  • 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 Ao E 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
  • 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.
  • 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 

  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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).

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