The pacing might be boring to some. In almost every episode, there’s a shard for Princess Tutu to retrieve by saving a person. However, the show also makes it a point to drop important plot elements regularly so that the main story can still keep moving forward. By the time you’re at Episode 12, most of the plot will have already been revealed to the point that it seems the series is closing its end! Yet, there are 13 more episodes. Don’t worry! This show ends in a very, very clean and satisfying way! I think there was not a loose end that was left untied. I actually had goosebumps during the last three episodes! It was just such an amazing ride!
Art & Music
I personally think that the aesthetics of this show matched the usual beauty of ballet quite well! Some scenes were made to look like you’re watching an actual ballet in the theater, with the dramatic lighting, the beloved and familiar musical scores, and the symbolical props and effects. Most of all, the dances are well animated, and even featured mimes (the hand gestures of ballet) whenever they communicated while dancing! I actually won’t be surprised if some of the animators were taught a bit of ballet while working on this! I wish there were more dancing animations than static ones. I get that it would’ve been time consuming (more so since this was released in 2002) but as someone who’s also a fan of ballet and watched this to see the dance in an anime, I was hoping to see more of it. This is the main reason I never skipped a very short performance of Princess Tutu in the opening sequence! But, whatever bit of actual dancing we get to see is lovely to watch, so I guess that’s enough.
The overall art still looks beautiful today even though it fits the usual art styles of its time. The character designs are gorgeous and memorable, especially since there are anthropomorphic animals alongside humans. With such a diverse cast as theirs, I was just inspired with how they all managed to look one-of-a-kind! As for the voice overs, they were exceptionally acted; no scene felt awkward or forced. However, I watched the Japanese dub, so I can’t say the same for the English.
Themes & Trivia
Magical Girl: As I mentioned, Princess Tutu fits most of the tropes of a magical girl anime. And it’s not surprising since Ikuko Itoh, one of the character designers and animation directors of Sailor Moon, created this show!
Ballet: Aside from just featuring the dance itself, the show was heavily influenced by Swan Lake, one of the more famous ballets. Some episodes also drew inspiration from other stories such as Giselle, Coppélia, La Sylphide, and The Nutcracker. However, the most notable feature of this series, given that it’s an original ballet story, is that it has the makings of a tragedy. Did you know that a lot of ballets have tragic endings?
Hope and determination: The quote ‘May those who accept their fate be granted happiness, may those who defy it find glory’ can be heard a few times throughout the show, and it’s mentioned for a reason. If you found out that you’re doomed to a sad ending, would you have gone along with it? Or would you have done something to change it?
To be honest, I had a bit of trouble talking about this masterpiece without screaming because this is my number one favorite anime of all time, and I don’t think it’ll be removed from that spot anytime soon. I re-watched this a lot of times already, and it never fails to inspire me and leave me in awe! My love for ballet grew due to this anime, leading me to take ballet classes! Not only that, but Princess Tutu, or rather Ahiru, encouraged me in more ways than one! I started loving ducks because of her! If you haven’t watched this yet, please give it a try!