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Western Animation / Ultimate Book of Spells

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Ultimate Book of Spells (2001-2002), or UBOS, is an animated series which ran for only 26 episodes. It's about three kids (Cassandra/"Cassy", Gus, Verne) who are attending a Wizarding School and learning about magic. One day, they receive a magical book called UBOS, and learn of an evil wizard named Zarlack who is trapped in the center of the Earth, and is plotting to steal the world's magic so he can escape. The three of them have to stop him.

The show includes examples of:

  • Audience Surrogate: Verne fills the this role in the show. As the resident "Mortie" who is enrolled in the school because of his latent gifts, Verne acts as the newcomer audience would act, and provides valid reasons for exposition, particularly early on.
  • Beard of Evil: Zarlak is the main villain and has a beard.
  • Boarding School: The school the main character attends is this.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy - Happens to Verne and Cassy in one episode, combined with Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Catchphrase: Verne tends to cry out "Why me?!" whenever he finds himself in yet another predicament, usually involving being chased by magical monsters or some other problem due to his failed spellcasting.
  • Cute Witch: Cassy is both cute as a button and a skilled witch.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Zarlak, the main villain of the series, has a very deep voice.
  • Fake Defector: Cassy's ancestor Cassandra the Seventh is believed to work for Zarlak. She's innocent but plays along to help stopping him.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Mr. Beagleboyce turns out to be stealing the feats of others. In a subversion, however, he did have a few feats of his own in his life and can actually back up his boasts, managing to fend off Zarlak of all people for enough time for them to escape.
  • Fantastic Racism: everywhere you go in the series Morties are either what you compare someone to if you want insult someone, not the kind of people you want to have anything to do with, or the best fun you could ever have around
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: When the veil of illusion was stolen during Halloween, Headmistress Crystalgazer had to pass the school's real look as Halloween decoration and have the students celebrate the holiday. Cassy wore a witch costume.
  • For Want Of A Nail: When the Wizarding School went into a field trip to the past, Gus took a crystal as a souvenir. Unfortunately, without that crystal to power up his wand, Cassy's Great-Grandfather couldn't defeat Zarlak, resulting in a Bad Future where Zarlak rules. Fortunately UBOS managed to take the heroes back to the past to set things right.
  • Halloween Episode: "Veil of Illusion" takes place during Halloween.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Gus is half-elf.
  • Heroic Lineage: Verne is eventually revealed to be a descendant of Merlin.
  • I Have Your Wife: In "Shadow Land", the shadow creature working for Zarlak only does so because Zarlak is holding his family hostage.
  • Idiot Ball: One of Zarlack's plans apparently causes things to become less "Dull". While this does work for edges and pencils, apparently it also works on peoples' minds as well.
  • Lawful Stupid: In one episode, Verne and Gus go into the girl's dorm to prove Cassy's innocence. Cassy is vindicated, but still has to receive punishment anyways, which she accepts. But then Gus and Verne receive detention too, because they went into the girl's dorms.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Cassy's eyes glow green for about a second in an episode where one of Zarlack's minions uses a mind-control spell on her, although she's actually faking it.
  • Modesty Shorts: Cassy wears a black pair under her skirt.
  • Muggle: Verne is a mortal, or "mortie".
  • Our Dragons Are Different: They're called Ratfinkles and they can transform into a two headed dragon.
    • Don't forget the Dwarf Dragon mail carrier that showed up in the first episode
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: A cheerful Mr. Beagleboyce mentions he used to be a conquistador, which aren't, how to put it, not very well considered nowadays. Kind of a Noodle Incident as well, as we are not explained how did a non-Iberian like him get into that.
  • Power Trio: The three main characters. There's even a prophecy about that.
  • Pretend to Be Brainwashed: In one episode, Cassy pretends to fall under Zarlack's mind control spell so she can secretly come up with a plan to stop his scheme without having to concern herself with Zarlack or his minions capturing her.
  • Relative Ridicule: In one episode, Lucretia and Borgia mock Cassie over the fact that that one of her aunts was a traitor who allied with Zarlak and ended up being imprisoned beneath the earth with him. This prompts Cassie to do some investigation, eventually revealing that the aunt is actually a Hero with Bad Publicity who appeared to ally with Zarlak but was actually trying to lure him into a trap.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: When UBOS becomes unglued.
  • Scholarship Student: Verne was turned into one so his parents wouldn't need to be told about the magical world.
  • Secret-Keeper: Only Verne knows that UBOS is Cassy's great grandfather, Getz.
  • Selfless Wish: In "Once in a Blue Moon", Zarlak finds a magic ring that he can use to wish himself back into the surface but first he must let the main heroes use it to have one wish granted for each one. Fortunately, Zarlak summons the ring back before Cassy has a chance to make her wish and must figure out a way to force her to make a wish. Cassy wishes the ring will never be used for evil.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Harry Potter, to a degree that even a child could spot. 3-person trio, with an awkward guy, normal guy and nerdy girl, magic, etc. But the main one is the witch teacher, Headmistress Crystalgazer who acts SO much like McGonagall that she can even turn into a cat.
      • Also, there's a ghost teacher who teaches magical history and manages to make it sound extremely boring (considering there are several ghost teachers at the school, this one might not be so obvious).
      • Not only that, but one other episode is about a professor who appropriates feats of people as his own, like Gilderoy Lockhart.
      • One episode reveals that Cassy has an Aunt who used to serve the Big Bad. The heroes learn in that same episode that she's innocent but the rest of the magical world still believes her to be guilty. She's basically a female version of Sirius Black.
      • Like Draco Malfoy, Lucretia and Borgia have a father who used to work for the main villain. Unlike Lucius Malfoy, who pleaded innocent on grounds of coercion, Lucretia and Borgia's father avoided punishment by switching sides before his boss' downfall like Severus Snape did.
    • To quite a few if you know where to look in the series, but the most glaringly obvious one is in Magic Quest, the whole episode is scattered with shout outs to Arthurian Legend
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Lucretia and Borja are occasionally mocked because their father used to work for Zarlak. They once retaliate by pointing out Cassy has an Aunt who used to work for him as well.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Gus the half-elf can talk to tree-dwelling animals.
  • Spell Book - The titular Ultimate Book of Spells, or UBOS, obviously. Also of note, Verne learns and is subsequently sworn to the secret that UBOS is in fact Cassy's famous grandfather, Getz, transformed.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Though Cassy is the overall lead, with much of the focus on the backstory and lore revolving her, her family, and her development, Verne is often treated as and comes off as the secret lead, especially early on when his Audience Surrogate side is played up. He's the first of the trio we see when he are introduced to the school that he has just transferred to, and we follow his perspective as he meets everyone, including his soon to be best friends. He also has his own secret destiny that is connected to his roots as a descendant of Merlin and his magical specialization as a Techno Wizard (that the series sadly never gets around to elaborating on, past his temporary Heel–Face Turn and the aforementioned teases). Cassy takes the lead focus after a fashion once she's introduced and when Verne become more acclimated to his surrounding, but the show doesn't shy away from flipping the perspective back to him when it feels necessary.
  • Techno Wizard: When the show gets around to bringing up Verne's magical specialization, and up to that point, he had issues grasping even the basics, it is mentioned that he is this trope. He generally doesn't get the chance to show this off too much in show, his time during his temporary Heel–Face Turn being a notable exception.
  • Transflormation: Cassy undergoes this in one episode when hit by a spell that brings out her "witchwood" ancestry.
  • Unequal Rites: Cassy wants to be a sorceress, since witches get no respect.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Cassy and Gus are already friends by the time the series starts while Verne has yet to be introduced to them.
  • Wizarding School: To mortals, it looks like a modern everyday school, but to a magical being, it's a Hogwarts-esque castle.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Headmistress Crystalgazer claims to be several hundred years old.