Cover of the first DVD volume
(Mahō Shōjotai Arusu)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Yoshiharu Ashino|
|Produced by||Wataru Tanaka|
|Written by||Shinji Obara|
|Music by||Tamiya Terashima|
|Original network||NHK Educational TV|
|Original run||April 9, 2004 – March 4, 2005|
|Original video animation|
|Tweeny Witches: The Adventures|
|Directed by||Yoshiharu Ashino|
|Produced by||Wataru Tanaka|
|Written by||Sunao Katabuchi|
|Music by||Tamiya Terashima|
|Released||22 November 2007|
Tweeny Witches (Japanese: 魔法少女隊アルス Hepburn: Mahō Shōjo Tai Arusu, lit. "Magical Girl Squad Arusu") is an anime television and original video animation series. Produced by Studio 4°C, the series is directed by Yoshiharu Ashino and written by Shinji Obara. Inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, the story follows a young human girl who finds herself trapped in a magical world filled with witches, warlocks, and fairies. In 2003, it was announced at the Tokyo International Anime Fair that the anime Magical Girl Squad Arusu was going to be made; the series first aired between April 9, 2004, and March 4, 2005; in all, 40 episodes were made plus an OVA that contains 6 episodes which were released in 2007.
It was translated and dubbed into English by the anime television network Animax, who broadcast it in its respective networks in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and other regions, and was licensed for distribution in the United States by Media Blasters until 2012. AnimeWorks (Later called Media Blasters) licensed under the English name Tweeny Witches with three DVDs being released in 2008; the OVA titled Tweeny Witches: The Adventures (Japanese: 魔法少女隊アルス The Adventure Hepburn: Mahō Shōjo Tai Arusu: Ji Adobenchā, lit. "Magical Girl Squad Arusu: The Adventure") was also released on DVD by Media Blasters in 2009.
More than 14 years before the events of the series begin, a Japanese archaeologist named Jidan (ジダン Jidan) fell into the Magical Realm (魔法界 Mahō Kai) through the hole of ruins during his research on the crow statue (クロウ像 kurō zō) in Crow Island. He was found and imprisoned by Grande (グランデ Gurande), the leader and general of the warlocks (魔族 mazoku). Atelia (アテリア Ateria) rescued him and later had a son named Lennon (レノン Renon) together. Jidan left her to seal the True Book of Spells (真の魔導書 Shin no Madōsho) away in the Human Realm (人間界 Ningen Kai), keeping the forbidden dark magic (黒魔法 kuro mahō) from turning the Human Realm into an empty haven for the witches (魔女 majo) and warlocks from their old, dying Magical Realm. During a voyage back to the Human Realm, Jidan was accidentally separated from his baby son, who would grow up to be a pirate on the Interdimensional Sea (異次元の海 Ijigen no Umi). Jidan eventually married Yoko (ヨーコ Yōko), with whom he had a daughter named Arusu (アルス Arusu). He taught their young daughter to believe in magic and use magic for happiness, with the True Book of Spells as a present for her 5th birthday, he left the family for the Magical Realm in search of his son before he spent 6 years in the prison of Wizard Kingdom (ウィザードキングダム Wizādo Kingudamu), the underground capital city of the Warlock Realm (魔族界 Mazoku Kai).
In the present day, Arusu finds herself in the Magical Realm at the age of 11, summoned by Lennon and the True Book of Spells, she is captured by some witches alongside a mina fairy (妖精ミーナ yōsei mīna), only for Eva (エバ Eba) to release her in gratitude for giving her a sweet chestnut, species of which do not grow wild in the realm. Arusu is initially delighted that her dream has finally been granted, however, she is not satisfied with the way of the witches, insisting that magic should only be used to make people happy; when she releases all the fairies (妖精 yōsei) the witches have captured as the source of magic spells, she is tasked with removing the Curse of Eternal Youth (大人になれない魔法 Otona ni nare-nai Mahō) from Sheila (シーラ Shīra) and Eva, two apprentice witches of her age. During their attempts to recapture the fairies, Arusu and her new friends deal with the special task force (特殊捕獲部隊 tokushu hokaku butai), an elite team of combat-oriented witches sent by Atelia, one of the Three Sages (三賢者 San Kenja), for the same purpose. Arusu begins to live with her new friends in Dragon House (ドラゴンハウス Doragon Hausu) as Atelia arranges for her to live as an apprentice witch.
The Witch Realm (魔女界 Majo Kai) reaches the day of the witch evaluation (魔女検定 majo kentei), which banishes apprentice witches who fail to pass at the age of 16 to the Human Realm, a fate all witches fear. During the evaluation, a huge hydra fairy (妖精ハイドラ yōsei haidora) attacks the realm, allowing the warlocks to find out that all the fairies have escaped. Arusu turns herself into stone to save the realm, only for Qoo (クー Kū) to bring her back to life with her long hair. This causes Atelia to allow Qoo to stay in the realm because she is no longer a failed witch. Afterward, the warlocks invade the realm in search of the True Book of Spells, the 100 fairy species, and a witch, all of which they need to cast dark magic. With the help of the mysterious Sigma (シグマ Shiguma), Arusu and her group sneak into the Warlock Realm, where science dominates every aspect of life under the new rule of Wizard Kingdom. Arusu and her group accidentally reveal themselves as apprentice witches in disguise, forcing them to escape from the police. Arusu emerges from a coma to find herself sheltered by Wil (ウィル Wiru), an old rebel who fights for the wizards (ウィザード wizādo), the remnant of magic-using warlocks forced by the military government to live in the deserted Miche Village (ミッシュ村 Misshu Mura). At the Sanctuary (聖地 Seichi), Sheila learns from Sigma about the eventual destruction of their home realm, as well as the existence of the real portal to the Human Realm.
After Wil helps Arusu reunite with her group and save the fairies, she suggests to Sheila and Eva that they found the Magical Girl Squad (魔法少女隊 Mahō Shōjo Tai) to protect magic and the fairies from the warlocks. During the celebration for the foundation of the Magical Girl Squad, Sheila drugs Arusu to send her on board Ludens (ルーデンス号 Rūdensu), a ship carrying failed witches to the Human Realm. Under the order from the Grand Master of Witches (グランドマスター Gurando Masutā), Sheila spies on the Three Sages at night to find the traitor, the witch secured by the warlocks to cast dark magic, in hopes of removing the Curse of Eternal Youth from at least Eva. After surviving an explosion thanks to the True Book of Spells, Arusu returns to the Magical Realm with Lennon, who calls himself her "mirror". Thrown into prison for failure, Sigma meets his roommate, Jidan. Eva begins to see a vision of a mysterious old man encouraging her to stay hopeful, causing her magic to become stronger than before.
During a meeting in the chapel, Atelia declares a full-scale war against the warlocks, scapegoating them for the destruction of the Magical Realm; the ensuing war is interrupted by Arusu, who screams to the masses that the witches and warlocks should work together to protect their home realm. The Magical Girl Squad and Lennon are invited by Atelia, who demands the True Book of Spells from them, she reveals that she broke the law of the witches and had a son named Lennon by Jidan, who stole the True Book of Spells 14 years ago, much to Arusu's shock. During a rebellion led by the special task forces, the warlocks mistake Lennon for Arusu and capture him away, threatening to kill both him and his imprisoned father unless he gives them the True Book of Spells; when the witches are approaching to fight back, Luca (ルーカ Rūka), one of the commanders of the warlocks, declares the humans as a common enemy who keeps dark magic from saving all the citizens of the dying Magical Realm. Encouraged by Arusu, Atelia confesses her treachery and offers herself in exchange for her son, shifting the anger of the masses from him to herself. To get people to trust the humans, Arusu gives Grande the True Book of Spells in exchange for her father and Atelia as promised. During the destruction of Wizard Kingdom, Sigma rescues Arusu and helps her return with her friends, recognizing her as the savior foretold by his late father, who died in defiance of Grande's nefarious plans; when Luca and his army are looking for Jidan and Atelia at the bottom of Hydra Lake (ハイドラ湖 Haidora Ko), Jidan offers himself to save Atelia, leaving Arusu desperately searching for his body in vain. Eva suddenly loses her magic and grows weak from the plague that has afflicted many witches and warlocks as a sign of the destruction; the Magical Girl Squad temporarily surrender to Grande and the special task forces, who demand a mina fairy from them. After another visit from the mysterious old man, Eva accepts his offer to restore her magic with the True Book of Spells.
The witches and warlocks scream in despair as the Magical Realm crumbles through the fierce power of dark magic. Grande reveals to Sheila that Eva has darkness in her heart, allowing him to manipulate her into casting dark magic. Realizing that dark magic is made of hate, distrust, and despair, Arusu decides to save her friend despite her betrayal. Contrary to Lennon's warnings, Arusu manages to come back from the bottom of the Interdimensional Sea where she is dragged into the Human Realm by the interdimensional sirens (異次元の天女 ijigen no tennyo). She feeds Eva a chestnut as a token of their friendship, saving the Magical Realm with the legendary magic of light (光の魔法 hikari no mahō) in the process. Full of new hope for the future, all the witches and warlocks come together as one to rebuild their home realm. Sheila and Eva have the Curse of Eternal Youth removed from themselves by the Grand Master of Witches, who asks Arusu to stay and improve the Magical Realm, which the human girl refuses. After a tearful farewell, one of the interdimensional sirens takes Arusu home to Japan, where she finally reunites with both her parents.
Broadcast and release
In 2003, it was announced at the Tokyo International Anime Fair that the anime Magical Girl Squad Arusu was going to be made; the anime first aired between April 9, 2004, and March 4, 2005; in all, 40 episodes were made plus an OVA that contains 6 episodes which were released in 2007.
It was translated and dubbed into English by the anime television network Animax, who broadcast it in its respective networks in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and other regions, and was licensed for distribution in the United States by Media Blasters until 2012, it was licensed by AnimeWorks (Later called Media Blasters) under the English name Tweeny Witches with three DVDs being released in 2008. The OVA titled Tweeny Witches: The Adventures was also released on DVD by Media Blasters in 2009. In 2009, a complete collection for both the TV series and the OVA called Tweeny Witches: True Book of Spells was released. In 2010, a complete collection only for the TV series called Tweeny Witches: Core Collection was released. In 2012, a complete collection for both the TV series and the OVA called Tweeny Witches: Complete Collection was released.
The anime has received mixed feedback from reviewers: Ain't It Cool News said that the anime can be thought of as a "There will be blood" type as well as being "Spicy" structurally; the review goes on to say that the anime fan should "at least give it a try" and "warrants appreciation". Rachael Carothers and Ronald J Duncan from Anime News Network both gave a good review. Ronald said that while the idea of a character traveling to another world and gaining the ability to do magic isn't original, the series is different, he stated the episodes were well paced, had a fun main character, and the artwork was beautiful. Rachael praised the art as "extremely beautiful animation" and background music that "fits in so well". Theron Martin from Anime News Network gave the first DVD a B rating for both the sub and dub and went on to say that it was a "fresh twist on a well-established genre" but it raised animation shortcuts to annoying new levels. Chris Beveridge from Mania.com gave the DVD a mixed review with a C rating. Chris went on to say that the story was "slow moving and stilted"; however, he went on to say that his eight-year-old daughter was "plenty fascinated by it", something the creator was aiming at. Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network gave the 2nd DVD a B− for both the sub and dub and went on to say that the animation was great and the lead character was "lively" but that the direction was "cold and over complex"; the third DVD received a C+ rating from him for both dub and sub, again the artwork was praised but the story was lacking a great deal. For the OVA Carl gave it a B− rating again for both sub and dub; the OVA was praised for its fast pace, action, and adventure, but is "too somber and slow".
Chris Beveridge from Maina.com gave the 2nd DVD a better review stating that the "imagery presented, especially towards the end, was very grandiose and epic" but again cited the pacing of the story as a flaw. For the 3rd and final DVD Chris stated that the ending felt "pretty complete" and was "fairly predictable", he later went on to say that the best moments tended to come with the secondary characters but overall did not capture or hold his attention. Chris rated the OVA as being lighter and more accessible nut at times going over the top, in all the review was good. Chris has placed the anime at #4 of the 10 most underrated anime. Mark Thomas from Mania.com said it is something that parents could get into with their children, and a "little bit of Harry Potter, mixed with some Don Bluth, add a dash of Ralph Bakshi." makes it an odd, but fun, combination.
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- "疑惑". Tweeny Witches. Episode 25 (in Japanese). October 29, 2004. NHK Educational TV.
- "Suspicion". Tweeny Witches. Episode 25.
- "Anime Production Update". Anime News network.com. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- Ashino, Yoshiharu; Aoki, Yasuhiro (2008-03-18), Tweeny Witches Vol. 1-Arusu in Wonderland, ANIME WORKS, retrieved 2018-11-03
- Ashino, Yoshiharu (2008-05-06), Tweeny Witches 2: Through the Looking Glass, ANIME WORKS, retrieved 2018-11-03
- Ashino, Yoshiharu; Aoki, Yasuhiro (2008-07-22), Tweeny Witches Vol 3: What Arusu Found There, ANIME WORKS, retrieved 2018-11-03
- Ashino, Yoshiharu; Aoki, Yasuhiro (2009-02-17), Tweeny Witches the Adventures, ANIME WORKS, retrieved 2018-11-03
- Ashino, Yoshiharu (2009-04-07), Tweeny Witches True Book of Spells, ANIME WORKS, retrieved 2018-11-03
- Ashino, Yoshiharu; Aoki, Yasuhiro (2010-05-25), Tweeny Witches: Core Collection (in Japanese), Anime Works, retrieved 2018-11-03
- Ashino, Yoshiharu (2012-01-10), Tweeny Witches Complete Collection (in Japanese), ANIME WORKS, retrieved 2018-11-03
- "Anime Spotlight: Tweeny Witches Vol. 1-Arusu in Wonderland Released by Anime Works". www.aintitcool.com. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
- Carothers, Rachael; Duncan, Ronald J. (May 9, 2004). "The Summer 2004 Anime Preview Guide". Anime News Network.
- Martin, Theron (April 6, 2008). "Tweeny Witches DVD 1". Anime News Network.
- Beveridge, Chris (April 18, 2008). "Tweeny Witches Vol. #1 (also w/box)". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on March 18, 2014.
- Kimlinger, Carl (June 16, 2008). "Tweeny Witches DVD 2 - Through the Looking Glass". Anime News Network.
- Kimlinger, Carl (September 8, 2008). "Tweeny Witches: What Arusu Found There DVD 3". Anime News Network.
- Kimlinger, Carl (March 8, 2009). "Tweeny Witches OVA DVD - The Adventures". Anime News Network.
- Beveridge, Chris (May 14, 2008). "Tweeny Witches Vol. #2". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
- Beveridge, Chris (August 8, 2008). "Tweeny Witches Vol. #3". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
- Beveridge, Chris (March 26, 2009). "Tweeny Witches: The Adventures". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on March 25, 2015.
- Beveridge, Chris (August 11, 2009). "10 Most Underrated Anime Series". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on February 22, 2015.
- Thomas, Mark (June 5, 2009). "Tweeny Witches: Book of Spells Complete". Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.