Regardless of how many of these shows I’ll actually get to follow up on, this round of sampling has been thoroughly enjoyable just by virtue of how much variety it’s exposed me to. Whatever stereotypes there are about anime, none of their umbrellas cover an illustrated ballet that plays like a fairy tale written by Hans Christen Andersen or Oscar Wilde. The narration in the prologue even sounds like something they’d write.
Of course, for all the whimsy, there’s actually a nightmarish quality to PRINCESS TUTU (not as much as BLACK SWAN, though.) The whole bit with the ballet instructor just happening to be a cat and then throwing that weird threat of marriage down so often certainly feels like something that’d come out of an adolescent girl’s troubled dream. If there’s an identifiable texture to chibi, then the comic relief certainly has a more menacing undertone. Even the nigh-non sequitor surprise about Duck turning into some kind of superheroine has a kind of wavy dream logic to it instead of just being some random plot point from a zany show you can dismiss.
Actually, the dreamy feeling of things being out of place starts with the aforementioned prologue, which promises a slightly metafictional story that doesn’t get referenced or called back to again. Maybe they’re saving that stuff for later episodes (this being a series and all.) It goes without saying that this is a girly show, but I honestly don’t have too many qualms about that - - certainly not enough to wholly dismiss PRINCESS TUTU. I think I would’ve preferred if they restrained the execution just a little and laid off the modern anime slapstic, but I suppose that’s like asking a duck not to quack.
I probably won’t follow this show up to see how Duck becomes some beautiful, swan-like Princess Tutu, but I do appreciate seeing a show here that pulls from an area of art totally removed from any other I’ve other I’ve watched before here.
Watch this episode "The Duck and the Prince" below and decide for yourself.
Check out my thoughts on the other shows I've sampled below...
- GUNSLINGER GIRL
- FULL METAL PANIC!
- SCHOOL DAYS
- OTOME YOKAI ZAKURO
- GIANT KILLING
- HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD
- PANTY & STOCKING
- GUIN SAGA