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Anime That Doesn't Suck: Princess Tutu

Don't rush to judgment.



Info

Title: Princess Tutu
Studio: Hal Film Maker
Licensee: ADV Films  
Year Produced: 2002-3
Number of Episodes: 26  
Available Online: Yes (For free, without registration, on The Anime Network)
 

A long time ago there was an anime horribly named Princess Tutu. Men wouldn’t watch it because others would question their sexuality upon doing so, and women wouldn’t watch it because it sounds like it would be little girl’s cartoon. In the end, Princess Tutu would end up being the ugly duckling of anime, forever lost to other anime with awesome titles like ‘Gunslinger Girl’, and ‘Murder Princess’.  

However, in most cases a series' title means nothing. For example, you would think an anime called ‘Those Who Hunt Elves’ would be an epic masterpiece featuring Legolas fighting off insane hunters who can shoot 5 bows at once while riding on top of a flying dolphin, etc... but in the end it isn’t that great; not withstanding tanks and breasts. What I’m trying to say is that even if you name an anime Princess Tutu, it can still be epic. 
--- God Len


Plot

Princess Tutu is actually two things in this anime. On one hand, it is a classical story, written by the long dead Drosselmeyer. The other, is in the real world, where events similar to the story are playing out.
 
The Book:
   Princess Tutu
 Princess Tutu
The world is threatened by the evil Raven, and protected by the valiant Prince. In an attempt to seal away the Raven, the Prince takes his sword, and shatters his own heart. This left the prince empty, emotionless, yet still just as loved by the people. So loved, that one magic duck becomes a girl, Princess Tutu, and helps him gather the shards of his broken heart.
 
   Duck
 Duck
The Real World:
Duck, our quacking protagonist of the story, is approached by Drosselmeyer (who should be deceased.) He explains how elements of his story are quite real, and that "the prince" Mytho needs her help. Drosselmeyer gives her a magic pendant that allows her to become a girl, who, in turn, attends the same ballet school as Mytho. In times of need, she actually becomes of the legendary Princess Tutu, and restores elements of his heart. The twist? The emotions she returns to the Prince are, by default, negative emotions (despair, guilt, etc.)
 
 Oh, and eventually Duck learns that the story is a tragedy. If "Princess Tutu" ever admits how she feels to the Prince, she'll turn into a speck of light and disappear for ever.  
 

Things you might like

 
 
  • Don't let your masculinity be challenged, this series makes ballet cool
  • Monster of the week format makes each episode approachable, yet fits into a larger framework
  • Despite its light colors/action, the tone is fairly dark, with each character consistently punished for their most noble actions.
  • Piles of classical music you'll actually recognize, and feel smarter for knowing.
 

Recommend it to friends who liked...

Revolutionary Girl Utena
Sailor Moon
Shugo Chara
Romeo x Juliet

Images

    Drosselmeyer approaches duck
  Drosselmeyer approaches duck

   Fakir and rue
 Fakir and rue

   "Princess Tutu"
 "Princess Tutu"

   Rue and her gaggle of faceless friends
 Rue and her gaggle of faceless friends


 
 
 
 

Conclusion

One part "Magical School Girl Gone Wrong," one part "Well animated ballet amid classical music," the end result has a fairly delicious taste. In a genre that has been tapped and reproduced like clockwork, Princess Tutu comes out feeling very strong, and very independent of the tropes it employs. While not for everyone, if you can get beyond the ballet centric theme, Princess Tutu is a solid hit. At the very least, its an anime that doesn't suck.
 
reinon March 16, 2010 at 2:14 p.m.
I'm not afraid to admit that i loved princess tutu. It was an amazing anime, and i found myself addicted since the first episode. 
crusader8463on March 16, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.
By the looks of it i might need a lawyer next to me when i watch it to make sure i don't get arrested.
sunfloweron March 16, 2010 at 3:01 p.m.
And it's not just classical music.  Most eps are based on a specific famous ballet and feature that music.  This is just about my favorite anime series.   It's one of the most romantic I've ever seen, and also one of the most philosophical. I loved the characters so much.  Oh yeah, and the extras on the DVD are excellent.
 
Don't ever read the manga version of it though, which is totally worthless and skips everything that made the anime great.
 
I hate that they used that picture for the cover, because people like the guy above tend to think it's porny or moe or loli, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Lyaloveon March 16, 2010 at 3:30 p.m.
Ok delurking just to say how good this anime is. Seriously, Princess Tutu has got to be one of the most underappreciated anime ever. The storytelling is phenomenal, the music beyond excellent and the dark tone of the series with the contrasting cute shojo style art adds a whole different layer to it. Honestly, even the dub for it is good and it deserves so much more attention then it gets. 
 
And I have to say I completely agree with sunflower that picture really does not do the series justice. It is so much more and absolutely nothing like what that picture gives the impression of.
JELEINENon March 16, 2010 at 3:32 p.m.

Excellent series.  It's a great take on the magical girl genre.
Lanon March 16, 2010 at 5:10 p.m.
As much as I love classical stuff, you think I'd be all over it--especially for the pretty costumes. However, I just didn't like the series that much. I stopped after a few episodes; I just didn't like the protagonist Princess Tutu/Amu. And the story just didn't grab me as a really unique or interesting spin on Swan Lake. I thought the prince was kind of lame. Maybe I should give it another chance and just watch further past 5 episodes?
reinon March 16, 2010 at 5:20 p.m.
@Lan: I feel like the characters around tutu developed more then herself, But yeah. The prince was rather annoying. I would recommend watching another 3-4 episodes and if you really don't like it, then just stop watching it.
Lunarmothon March 17, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.
This will get add to my list of stuff I need to watch, tell then keep telling us about more show. 
John_Martoneon March 18, 2010 at 1:53 p.m.
@Lyalove said:
" Ok delurking just to say how good this anime is. Seriously, Princess Tutu has got to be one of the most underappreciated anime ever. The storytelling is phenomenal, the music beyond excellent and the dark tone of the series with the contrasting cute shojo style art adds a whole different layer to it. Honestly, even the dub for it is good and it deserves so much more attention then it gets. 
 
And I have to say I completely agree with sunflower that picture really does not do the series justice. It is so much more and absolutely nothing like what that picture gives the impression of. "
Thanks, comments like that make my day
 
And I dunno, I can see how that picture could give a misleading image, but I do love it so. Encapsulating how Rue is this caged bird, contrasted with the general impression you get from her in the series, paints a very rich image.
 
@Lunarmoth:
Anytime

Dig Deeper into Princess Tutu

A duck is magically turned into a girl so that she can attempt to romance her prince, who is a character from a story come to life-- along with his enemy, the Raven.

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