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Manga / Magical Circle Guru-Guru

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"A long time ago, the evil Giri, who controlled devilish black magic, attempted to dominate the world and unleashed many monsters. Confronted by a formidable enemy, the Kodai Kingdom asked for the help of a Dark Magic User from a particular tribe and succeeded in sealing off Giri. However, after 300 years, the evil Giri is now freed from the seal and once again threatens the world. To rid the world of this terror, the chosen Hero and Magic User began their long and tough adventure."
Episode Prologue

When the King of Kodai makes a proclamation demanding a hero come forward, a village man Bado sends his son Nike to see the local witch so he can take up the call. The witch tells Nike that to combat Giri he needs the power of the magic of "Guru Guru" which the Migu Migu tribe alone could use. Fortunately, it just so happens that the witch has been raising the last of the Migu Migu, Kukuri, in secret. Together, the reluctant Nike and naive Kukuri set out to face the evil Giri.

Magical Circle Guru-Guru (Mahoujin Guru Guru) is a sixteen volume manga by Hiroyuki Eto that follows Kukuri and Nike's adventures, published from 1992 to 2003. Eleven volumes of the manga were covered in an eponymous 45 episode anime series that ran from 1994 to 1995 and a 38 episode sequel series, Doki Doki Densetsu Mahoujin Guru Guru, that ran through 2000. A manga sequel, Mahoujin Guru Guru 2, started serialization in Square Enix' Gangan Online in November 2012 and, finally, a new anime adaptation aired through 2017. The latter series starts from scratch rather than continuing from where the 2000 series left off.

As this series takes place in an RPG Mechanics 'Verse, some videogame tropes will also be included:

  • Ascended Extra: Geil and Ena got a bit more spotlight in the 1994 series, only to have their asses handed to them, while in the 2017 series, they only appeared in the first episode, which was also the case in the manga.
  • Accidental Pervert: Inverted and lampshaded when Kukuri and another girl walk in on guys changing clothes.
    Kukuri: Isn't this the opposite of how it usually works?
  • Adaptation Distillation: The 2017 series did this to the entire manga. Story arcs that consists of 3 to 4 episodes in the first two series are covered in one or two in the reboot.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The original anime gave Geil and Ena dark brown and purple hair respectively. The 2017 series brightens Geil's hair and turns Ena's pink.
  • Adaptational Badass: The Cool Pose in the first series does nothing but make the user look cool and float for a while. The 2017 series turns it into a powerful light-based attack that can defeat many monsters at once.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end of the last episode, a new demon king appears to threaten the world. Nike asks Kukuri if she could join him again on a new quest.
    • At the end of the first series, as soon as they got to the door leading to Giri's chamber, Kukuri and Nike then decided to go back to their home realm, much to Giri's surprise, and deal with him later on so they can go on more adventures.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Latin American, Arabic and Italian dubs have completely different intros from the Japanese version
  • Anime Hair: Old Man North-North gets a blue one after reciting an incantation, although he did this so he wouldn't forget it.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: a trio of ratmen are seen talking in this manner while they discuss about attacking North Village at night in search of the Hero. They quickly got sick of it afterwards.
  • Art Evolution: Having been around for 25 years (as of this writing) Hiroyuki Eto's art style has changed drastically over the years.
  • Art Shift: The 2017 series regularly has characters turn into 8-bit sprites and travel is represented by travel across an RPG map similar to NES RPGs like Dragon Quest.
  • BFS: Nike pulls one out of a box (with branches) in the second episode. Though he buys a regular sword soon after.
  • Blessed with Suck: Raid's magic is formidable, but casting requires he perform really stupid dances. His Dragon Transformation dance especially, while it's very strong and can easily take on Nike, it also makes him such a complete dumbass that it often negates the strength anyway.
  • Book Ends: the series ends with Nike's father forcing him to be a hero again to defeat the new demon king. Nike is also shot again through a slingshot towards Kukuri's house like in the beginning of the series
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • When Nike introduced himself to Zaza, Migu and Toma with an close up shot, Kukuri felt like pointing it out.
      Kukuri: Hero loves using close-up shots!
    • When Nike and his party realize the weapons they brought with them are missing, they rewind through the last episode to try and locate them.
    • When they managed to get the Wind Sword from the Wind King in a short amount of time, they naturally lampshade they must be running out of episodes to put plot in.
    • Kukuri doesn't like it when Nike being trained by a chef (actually, the King of Fire) to cook distracts them from the plot.
      Kukuri: Cut it out! This isn't a cooking anime!
    • After undergoing a Face–Heel Turn at the end of 2017's episode 14, Kukuri fiendishly...makes a phony preview.
  • Butt-Monkey: Udberg Eldol, also known as Old Man North-North, who tends to suffer when he inflicts his dancing on other characters.
  • The Chew Toy: Geil & Ena in the first series. Geil's first appearance has him getting humiliated by Nike immediately after his skills were talked up.
  • Character Portrait: Parodied in episode 21 of the 2017 series, when the G-Fantasy guys gets one out of nowhere.
    Nishiji: The portrait cut-in technique makes you the star, no matter the context.
  • Child Mage: Kukuri, as it's revealed that Guru Guru can only be used during childhood. This basically means that all Guru Guru users are by default this trope.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The prince of the "Got Nothing" fairies shows up in the final episode to relieve Nike when he was about to poop so Kukuri can properly confess her love to him in order to save the world.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: A hideous award statue Kukuri won keeps finding its way back to her and Nike, despite Nike's repeated attempts to get rid of it.
  • Competence Zone: With the sole exception of Runrun, anybody older than the heroes is generally useless in a fight.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: All of the monsters and demons from the previous episodes return in the final episode to stop the protagonists from reaching Giri. Luckily, all of the protagonists' allies from previous episodes showed up as well to help them.
  • Continuity Reboot: The 2017 series is this for the first two series, this time adapting the entire first manga.
  • Couch Gag: The clips that play on the background when showing Nike and Kukuri at the beginning of the opening of the 2017 series are different in every episode.
  • Creepy Doll: The protagonists meets two of them in the endless tower, saying that they're doomed to be trapped in there forever. Old Man North-North then proceeds to whack them with a broom.
  • Crossover: Nike and Kukuri showed up as playable characters in a gacha game called Grimms Notes (also published by Square Enix), along with Raid, Udberg, Gipple, and some ratmen as side-characters. It was a limited-time only banner to promote the 2017 anime, and the event's story is not included in the offline version (except for Nike and Kukuri's Hero Episodes).
  • Cute Monster Girl: Chikuri the snitch demon, a cute little pigtailed monster girl with a book hanging around her neck. There is also Kukuri's demon form.
  • Dance Battler: Old Man North-North. Well... he dances whenever fights are going on, anyway... The battle in the fairy realm has him dancing atop Kukuri's summon Behm Behm with every indication he thinks he's the one blasting all the monsters.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Kukuri is a "Dark Elemental" type, her magic is considered black magic, and there's a whole society of Dark Magic practitioners who are allies of her and Nike.
  • Darker and Edgier: Episode 20 of the 2017 series feels more serious than the rest of the series.
  • Disney Death: Kukuri in the penultimate episode of the 2017 series after she was seemingly killed by Kaya. It turns out that he only killed her replica summoned with her Guru Guru.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Runrun, which is the sound one makes while singing, akin to "La-la".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Nike (Hero), Udberg Eldol (Old Man North-North), Runrun (Dark Magic Society Lady), and Sly (Boss)
  • Evolving Credits: The number of characters dancing near the beginning of the first opening occasionally increases throughout the series as they are introduced.
  • Expressive Accessory: Old Man North-North's headdress has a face on it whose expressions frequently match his own.
  • Fake Special Attack: Raid's "Burning Finger Attack". It only cures back pains and stiff shoulders, much to his dismay.
    • There is also his seemingly menacing "Final Dark Sunshine." It restored Nike's Party's HP and MP, much to Raid's disappointment.
      Raid: I was so concerned about how stylish the spell was that I didn't bother to ask about the effects.
  • Fan Disservice: Old Man North North himself and his grass skirt. Not helping that the dance he is trying to spread was a dance for young girls.
    • Kaya's photo book.
    • Old Man North North's and a traveler's transformation from a grasshopper to a human. Even Nike was freaked out.
  • Flying Saucer: Yonyon, Kukuri's flying Guru Guru, resembles one.
  • Forced Transformation:
    • The president of the Dark Magic Society used to be human until he was turned into a poodle by Lord Giri.
    • Gizaia turned almost everyone in Dohgma into dogs.
    • Sly gradually turned into a duck due to eating an enchanted food that was meant for the princess.
    • Planano, the queen of flowers, turned a traveler, and later Old Man North-North, into a grasshopper after being shocked by the traveler's accidental exposure of his undies and the Old Man's dance, respectively.
  • Fountain of Youth: Planano turns back into a toddler everytime she uses her powers to turn someone into a grasshopper.
  • Funny Afro: The Water King in Ozumi Springs sports a blue one. Nike also gets a pink one after bathing in said springs, along with Prehensile Hair
  • Gorgeous Gaijin: During their stay in Alahabica, they came across a blonde haired lady, wearing sexy clothing with a stars-and-stripes pattern and a Wonder Woman-esque headband, jiggling her large breasts. It turns out that the lady is a manifestation of Kukuri's anxiety about her chest size
  • G-Rated Drug: Blue Pepers make humans who eat them (like Nike and Kukuri) go on a mad, Studio 4°C animated drug trip and wreck the place like a bunch of wild cats.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Happened in episode 20 of the 2017 series when Kukuri and Nike were trapped in Lef island. It is implied that this was the manifestation of Kukuri's fear of growing up and moving on.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Toma is training as a magical version of this.
  • The Hero: Nike, whether he likes it or not, as his parents trained him for it since birth. "Hero" is the only thing Kukuri calls him.
  • Healing Shiv: The aforementioned "Burning Finger Attack" and "Final Dark Sunshine."
  • Heroic Wannabe: Nike's father, who trained Nike to be a Hero because he himself couldn't do it. Also Gail, who repeatedly gets shown up by Nike when he doesn't fail on his own.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Nike has one due to growing up being trained by his father to be a Hero, which includes being chased by a boulder and being shot by suction cup arrows.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The potatoes in Yondor Village were so good, that everyone eating it were constantly shedding Tears of Joy.
  • Involuntary Dance: Yondor Village is cursed to constantly do this when Nike and Kukuri arrive. They soon defeat the monster causing it, freeing the village. However the mayor continues to do it anyway for reasons unknown.
  • Inconvenient Summons: In the special, Kukuri used a Guru Guru to summon Toma so she, Nike, and Juju can ask him for help about a spell. Unfortunately for Toma, he was just about to take a bath.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Unbell, he grows larger the more he's attacked or taunted, and vice versa. He actively taunts people specifically to provoke this effect.
  • Joke Item: The "Disappointing Sword," which is a very short sword that is given to Nike in Yondor. It does what you expect to the wielder.
  • Leave Him to Me!: Raid insists on this in episode 43. Nike does it because Raid did it.
  • Lethal Chef: Sly, Boss of the Gaba thieves. Criticizing his cooking will cause him to become lethal in more traditional ways. He allows Nike to become his disciple solely on the basis of making Kukuri teach him to cook better.
  • Light 'em Up: The Cool Pose in the 2017 version can defeat many monsters at once. The G-Fantasy team has a version where they do this as a group.
  • Low-Level Run: Unintentionally done by Nike and Kukuri, much to Nike's dismay, when they found out that they were only level 4 and 5 respectively, compared to Toma and Juju, who were 29 and 38, during the final episode.
  • Lost in Translation: The "Sappari/Got Nothing" fairy gag relies on the Japanese word, sappari, which could mean, "nothing" or "refreshed," depending on how it's used.
  • Magic Dance: Raid uses these and, to a lesser extent, so does Kukuri. Raid's are ridiculous but effective. Kukuri's are occasionally incorporated into drawing her magic circles.
  • The Millstone: Old Man North-North is this more often than he's useful. The heroes are frequently inclined to just leave him to whatever fate he's found himself in. As one example, when the heroes set up a business to make money and they start selling rice balls, the old man offers to help and things are going great until everyone discovers he's shaping them by stuffing him in his armpits. Business dries up immediately.
  • Mundane Utility: During the Endless Tower, Kukuri uses her new flying summon to fly back to Gatari's house so she can use the bathroom.
  • Non-Combat EXP: Nike and Kukuri were only seen leveling up outside battles, such as when they drank a potion given to them by Wanchin and after Nike touched the troubled-looking cat. This might explain how they got to Giri's realm at such a low level.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Raid's "Burning Finger Attack" is actually a healing spell rather than an attack spell despite looking like it.
  • One-Winged Angel: Subverted by Gizaia, who transforms into a fire-form and is promptly eaten before he can even finish introducing himself.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Gaba thieves deliberately only use code-names instead of their actual names.
  • Older Than They Look: The main characters are 13 years old, but the art style makes them look like they're at least 8.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Seven at once are used on Old Man North-North in episode 43.
  • Painting the Medium:
    • The King of Koudai puts away a message box showing his name that appears in front of his face.
    • The G-Fantasy guys suddenly gets a Character Portrait out of nowhere in one scene. Kukuri wasn't amused when one covered Nike while he was being beaten up by monsters.
  • Plot Armor: Lampshaded by Nike after Kukuri somewhat survived Kaya's ultimate attack.
    Nike: Allow me to explain why she didn't die... Because she's the main protagonist!
    Kukuri: Th-that isn't it, Hero!
  • Pixellation: In the first anime, when Kukuri forces herself to watch Old Man North-North dance, the images are censored for the viewers.
    • The second anime uses it differently; for extreme close-ups and party-style movement scenes.
  • Rebellious Princess: Juju becomes a rebellious priestess after her father ends up with a creepy statue.
  • Power of Love: The Heart in Love Guru Guru, which is used to seal away Lord Giri, is powered by Kukuri's love towards Nike.
  • Puberty Superpower: Inverted with the Guru Guru magic, which can only be used in childhood.
  • Punny Name: Some places have names that sounds like an existing word, such as Boering Village and Ainshent Castle.
  • Raging Stiffie: Nike had one in episode 22 after he fell down on Kukuri and accidentally felt her chest.
  • Ret-Canon: Some plot elements, such as the Cool Pose, Kukuri's love for chocolate, and Kukuri's devil form originally appeared in the first anime series and were later incorporated into the manga, though in a different context, as the manga wasn't finished when it first aired.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: We're constantly shown the levels and stats of characters and equipment. The narration also incorporates lines like "Hero attacks" and "Nike is paralyzed."
  • Running Gag:
    • Occasionally, when Kukuri screws up a Guru Guru spell, it is usually accompanied with her sheepishly saying, "I made a mistake."
    • The "Got Nothing" fairy appearing every time someone utters said phrase or something that sounds like it. The gag only works in Japanese due to it relying on multiple meanings of a word.
    • Old Man North-North suddenly showing up where Nike and Kukuri is currently staying in, and then doing his dance, much to their, and the townspeople's, disgust and horror.
    • Nike and Kukuri laughing at Raid's weird "dance" every time he uses his magic.
    • Gail and Ena in the first series, appearing in the middle of a battle, only to get trounced very quickly.
    • In the first series, Kukuri often fantasizes herself and Nike in a romanticized light, Complete with an Art Shift, akin to a shoujo manga.
  • Schmuck Bait: Prince Ron Ron of Jaba kingdom violated the kingdom's rule that you must not stand in front of the guardian statue Pura Pura and tell it "Take care of your health" while boxing with your left hand, picking your nose with your right hand, and having a loaf of bread wedged up your rear. Nike has to be prevented from doing this three separate times.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Demon Lord Giri. His return is the background danger throughout all the comedy.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fairies love love, and love to help love, whether the potential couple likes it or not.
  • Spin-Off: Currently in the works: Buyuuden Kita Kita, starring Old Man North-North.
  • Strawberry Shorthand: Kukuri's Strawberry Serpent Guru Guru can shoot strawberry projectiles against the enemies.
  • Spiritual Successor: The series was inspired by the author's earlier work on some Yonkoma based on Dragon Quest.
  • Summon Magic: Guru Guru magic. As the name suggests, it works by drawing circular patterns in the ground. After that, Kukuri puts her magic into it and summons a creature. There are specific patterns, but messing them up causes random results.
  • Taken for Granite: Donkama the black sun planned to do this to the world.
  • Training from Hell: Nike's Heroic Wannabe father put Nike through this growing up.
  • Unfortunate Name: A swordsmaster and an owner of a training hall goes by the name of "Gochinko", translated as "Goedicke". Naturally, children comes to the front of his training hall to make fun of its name.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Nike and Kukuri are often seen wearing different outfits throughout their journey.
  • The Unreveal: We didn't get to see the Dark Magic Society President's true form after changing back from a poodle, at least in the 2017 version.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: After receiving an upgrade from Gatari, Kukuri has even more trouble controlling her magic than normal. Attempting to use it sends her flying off randomly. After her visit to the Migu Migu Ruins and getting the idea to incorporate dancing into her drawing, her next summon is a flying beast that takes them right where they need to go and away from Raid.
  • Vocal Dissonance: At Yondor Village, Kukuri wins a doll that cries out when monsters close by. The doll is cute enough, but when alerting them of foes, its face becomes super serious and its voice is very deep.
  • With This Herring: The king loudly disavows any responsibility for Nike and Kukuri after providing a tiny amount of gold for them.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mahoujin Guru Guru


Magical Circle Guru-Guru

Kukuri summons the legendary bird... just to find a bathroom.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

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