Princess Tutu logo
|Genre||Ballet-themed Musical, Fantasy, Magical girl, Comedy, Drama, Metafiction, Romance, Tragedy|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Junichi Sato
|Studio||Hal Film Maker|
|Licensed by||AEsir Holdings|
|Network||NHK, Kids Station, Anime Network|
|Original run||August 16, 2002 – May 23, 2003|
|Written by||Mizuo Shinonome|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|English publisher||ADV Manga|
|Original run||March 20, 2003 – July 17, 2003|
Princess Tutu (プリンセスチュチュ Purinsesu Chuchu ) is a metafictional, ballet-themed magical girl, dramatic-musical anime series created by Ikuko Itoh in 2002 for animation studio Hal Film Maker. It was adapted as a 2-volume manga illustrated by Mizuo Shinonome. Both the manga and anime series were licensed by ADV Films.
Princess Tutu follows Duck (Ahiru in the original anime and manga, meaning "duck"), a duck who was transformed into a young girl and takes ballet at a private school. She becomes enamoured of her mysterious schoolmate Mytho, and transforms into Princess Tutu to restore his shattered heart. Mytho's girlfriend Rue transforms into Princess Kraehe to frustrate Tutu's efforts, and Mytho's protective friend Fakir discourages Mytho's burgeoning emotions. When it becomes apparent that Duck, Rue, Mytho, and Fakir are meant to play out the characters in a story by a long-dead writer named Drosselmeyer, they resist their assigned fates and fight to keep the story from becoming a tragedy.
The series explores the concepts of fate and free will. Reviewers point out that although Princess Tutu is nominally a magical girl series, it is more of a "fairy tale set to ballet with a few magical girl elements mixed in," and its use of dance in lieu of violence to solve conflicts carries "surprisingly effective emotional appeal." The background setting of the story is based on the historical town Nördlingen in Bavaria, Germany.
Long before the story's timeline, a writer named Drosselmeyer from Gold Crown (Kinkan) Town, played with others' fates using stories that became reality. For this behavior, his hands were cut off and he was killed by those fearing his power. Drosselmeyer's final story was thus left unfinished, and the Prince and The Raven in it were locked in eternal battle. After many years had passed, The Raven broke free from the story and into the real world, and the Prince pursued him. To seal away The Raven, the Prince shattered his own heart with his sword.
Drosselmeyer had however written about himself before he died, and thus continued to control events despite his death. When he sees a duck watching the sad, heartless Prince Mytho dancing on the water, Drosselmeyer decides to let the story take a new course. He gave the duck a magical necklace, which transforms her into a human girl named Ahiru, so that she might find a way to help the Prince. As long as she possesses the necklace with its red, egg-shaped jewel, she can transform into a girl. If she quacks, she returns to being a duck; she can revert to human form if she comes into contact with water.
Now a gawky pre-teenager, Ahiru becomes Mytho's classmate and takes ballet classes with him. She grows deeply infatuated with Mytho, now a popular boy in their school, eventually learning of his shattered heart. To help recover his heart's pieces, Ahiru's necklace also enables her to transform into the beautiful Princess Tutu — a mature, expert ballerina with special powers. The necklace's jewel glows red whenever a heart shard is nearby, and these shards have lodged themselves in people with strong emotions, which the heart shard magnifies. To cure these people, Princess Tutu invites them to dance with her, communicating without words to help them better understand and overcome their feelings. Since their heightened emotions are a result of the heart shard within them, they are freed of this artificial intensity when Princess Tutu removes the shards and returns them to Mytho.
When Mytho's girlfriend Rue realises that Tutu is restoring Mytho's heart, she grows worried that he will fall in love with someone else. This unleashes her power to transform into Princess Kraehe, the dark counterpart to Princess Tutu and who is mistakenly thought to be The Raven's daughter. With her powers, Kraehe tries to stop Tutu and capture a heart shard herself, so that she can free her father The Raven. Mytho's childhood friend Fakir also attempts to stop Tutu out of fear that if Mytho's heart were mended, the story would progress and he would have to shatter it again to stop The Raven. However, it becomes clear that Mytho wants his heart to be restored, and Ahiru persists despite Kraehe and Fakir's interference.
As the story unfolds, Fakir learns that he is a descendant of Drosselmeyer, which explains Fakir's ability to alter reality through writing stories. He initially resists using those powers as when he was a child, these did not help him. A swarm of ravens attacked the town, and wanting to help, Fakir wrote a story where the ravens came for him and he fought them off. Unfortunately, only part of the story came true: the ravens attacked his home but Fakir was unable to stop them, and his parents died protecting him. Ahiru eventually convinces Fakir that he must write again in order to save Mytho, and Fakir's feelings towards Ahiru change from his initial suspicion and contempt. He becomes reluctantly tolerant, until finally he has affection for Ahiru as he writes a story for her, to aid her when she falls into despair.
Drosselmeyer attempts to lure Duck into a selfish choice, but she refuses, accepting that she is in reality a duck and her status as a human girl and Tutu is temporary. Uzura, the toddler-like reconstitution of Drosselmeyer's assistant Edel, meanwhile finds the mechanism driving the story and turns it backwards, revealing secrets of the past. Kraehe then learns that The Raven is not her real father and that she was kidnapped by ravens as a child.
Impatient with Kraehe's failure to secure him a heart shard, The Raven attacks the town, covering it in darkness. Kraehe reverts to being Rue and attempts to help Duck, only to be captured by The Raven. Duck asks Fakir to write one last story for her, and as Tutu, she restores the final shard of Mytho's heart. This last shard is Ahiru's enchanted jewel, and when she returns it, Tutu vanishes. The Raven then turns the townsfolk into ravens that attack Ahiru, and Mytho is overwhelmed by The Raven's minions trying to steal his heart. Rue meanwhile is unable to escape The Raven's clutches because of her despair. Seeing no other solution, Prince Mytho prepares to once again shatter his heart with his sword. Despite being in animal form, Duck refuses to accept this outcome and thus begins to dance to the astonishment of all.
The ravens battle Ahiru mercilessly, and Fakir starts to write the story Ahiru requested, finding that Drosselmeyer's story dominates everything he does and is forcing Drosselmeyer's intended tragedy. Fakir must also fend off the townsfolk who are coming to chop off his hands out of fear he will follow the same abusive path as Drosselmeyer. Gradually gaining control of the story, Fakir transforms it into a positive, inspirational tale of how a little duck, no matter how badly she was injured by the ravens, continued to dance because of her unwavering hope. Each time Duck gets knocked down, she gets up to dance once more.
Fakir and Duck's perseverance gives Mytho and Rue the strength to finally destroy The Raven. This lifts the darkness, restores the townsfolk to normal, and forever frees Rue from serving The Raven as Princess Kraehe. Mytho, Rue, Fakir, and Ahiru then restore the town itself by tearing down the machine in the clock tower that mechanically wrote stories and enabled Drosselmeyer to control events. Drosselmeyer admits defeat, and moves on with Edel to create new tales elsewhere, while Mytho and Rue marry and return to Mytho's original kingdom. At the end, Fakir is shown carrying Duck on his arm wherever he goes. In the closing scene, he is seen sitting on a dock, writing whilst Duck floats and dozes nearby in the lake. The narrator ends with, “And there was another man who began writing stories. That story, full of hope, has only just begun.”
- Duck (あひる Ahiru ) is a friendly, kind-hearted duck who was turned into a pre-teen girl by Drosselmeyer by a magical pendant. Like a duck, she is easily excitable, clumsy, and talkative. If Duck removes the pendant or quacks while talking, she transforms back into a duck, and must touch water while wearing the pendant to return to her human form. The pendant also allows Duck to transform into Princess Tutu (プリンセスチュチュ Purinsesu Chuchu ). As Princess Tutu, Duck is wise and graceful. According to Drosselmeyer's writing, Duck/Tutu would turn into a speck of light and vanish if she confessed her love to Mytho. In the anime, despite her feelings for Mytho, she develops a close relationship with Fakir as the story progresses and they help each other out in their shared desire to protect Mytho and restore his heart. While it's never explicitly confirmed if she actually does grow to have feelings for him, she does muse that Fakir gives her strength. In the manga, her feelings for Mytho are left open-ended, with Rue competing for his heart. Duck's name in the manga is Ahiru Arima, which is retained in the English adaptation. Voiced by: Nanae Katou (Japanese), Luci Christian (English)
- Mytho (みゅうと Myūto ) is the noble and kind Prince and protagonist of Drosselmeyer's story "The Prince and the Raven". He sacrificed himself to protect the weak and needy by shattering his own heart to seal away the monstrous Raven. Despite having become a popular senior at Gold Crown Academy (Kinkan Gakuen) and known throughout the student body to be a very talented ballet dancer, he possesses no emotions, and is largely dependent on his roommate and childhood friend Fakir for his well-being and survival. As Tutu restores his emotions, he finds himself both afraid of and drawn to her, holding a desire for her to return the rest of his heart and know what she thinks of him. He is later corrupted by The Raven's blood that Kraehe put on one of his heart shards, and so attempts to steal girls' hearts as a sacrifice to The Raven. While Mytho's true personality does try to fight back against the corruption, as it progresses he becomes increasingly unstable and verbally abusive to Rue. In the end however, with her help he overcomes The Raven's blood when the last heart shard is returned. Ultimately, because of this, he chooses Rue to be his princess. At the end of the anime, Mytho's real name is revealed to be Siegfried, which, incidentally, is the name of the Prince in the ballet Swan Lake, from which the series borrows many plot elements. Voiced by: Naoki Yanagi (Japanese), Jay Hickman (English)
- Fakir (ふぁきあ Fakia ) is Mytho's roommate and a talented ballet dancer in his own right. Initially he is extremely possessive of Mytho, displaying a need to be in control of everything the prince does and discouraging his emotions as they are gradually restored in a forceful and almost abusive manner. He also acts rude or hostile towards anyone who appears to be growing close to Mytho, including Rue, Duck, and especially Princess Tutu. Eventually Duck learns that Fakir's harsh behavior came about only because he wanted to protect Mytho from repeating the tragic events of the past, which he felt he could only do by preventing Mytho from regaining his heart. Duck however helps him realize that Mytho wants his heart back. Fakir is the reincarnation of the Knight in Drosselmeyer's story, who died to protect the Prince; Fakir was even born with a birthmark on his chest that resembles a scar, which lies in the same place as the wound that killed the Knight. It's later revealed that Fakir is a descendant of Drosselmeyer and inherited his ability to bend reality with his writing. He tried using his power to stop a raven attack when he was young, but failed and his parents were killed. This made him shut away the knowledge of this power until Duck convinces him to try again. When he chooses to pick up the pen once more, he eventually realizes that he can only successfully write stories about Duck. By the end of the series he has fallen in love with Duck, which is exemplified through his promise to stay by her side forever. Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese), Chris Patton (English)
- Rue (るう Rū ) is an advanced ballet student, and greatly admired by Duck and the other pupils. She is aloof, and only Duck dares to approach her and make friends. She has loved Mytho since childhood after he defended her from crows, and now takes advantage of his apathy to pretend they are a couple. Like Duck, she also has a magical princess alter ego, Princess Kraehe (プリンセスクレール Purinsesu Kurēru ), the daughter of the Raven. Her jealously interferes with Tutu's attempts to restore Mytho's heart, fearing that he will fall in love with someone else. Her father, The Raven, uses her as a means to revive him, but in the end she learns she is not a raven, but rather a human girl kidnapped as a baby during The Raven's attack on the town. When it appears Mytho will give himself to The Raven, Rue sacrifices herself instead, admitting she had always loved Mytho. Touched by her selfless act, Mytho regains his heart and rescues her, asking her to be his princess. In the manga her name is Rue Kuroha, and is much colder and more cruel. Kraehe (also spelled Krähe) is the German word for "crow". Voiced by: Nana Mizuki (Japanese), Jessica Boone (English)
- The Raven (大鴉 Ōgarasu ) is the monster from Drosselmeyer's story The Prince and The Raven and is one of the main antagonist of the anime. Unlike Drosselmeyer, The Raven was mentioned in the first half of the anime and only appears in the second half of the anime. Mytho shattered his heart to seal up The Raven, who then requires the sacrifice of young, beautiful hearts which he will eat to restore his form. He stole Rue from her parents as a child and raised her as his daughter, calling her Princess Kraehe. The Raven is cruel and abusive to Rue, and orders her to corrupt Mytho with The Raven's blood. When Rue's love for the Prince eventually lets him break free from the tainted heart shard, he rescues her and together they defeat The Raven. The character does not appear in the manga, albeit brief mention by Edel. Voiced by: Takayuki Sugou (Japanese), Mike Kleinhenz (English)
- Drosselmeyer (ドロッセルマイヤー Dorosserumaiyā ) is an elderly man with a long, white beard, and though he is long dead is one of the main antagonist of the anime. Author of The Prince and The Raven, he is bored with happy stories so he enjoys watching Duck, Fakir, Mytho, and Rue struggle with the tragic fates he wrote for them. He posthumously influences their lives via a machine in the clock tower. Drosselmeyer died after the angry townsfolk cut off his hands to stop him from warping reality with his writing, but he managed to bring the writing machine into existence by writing in his own blood. His name comes from the godfather of the children in the opening of Tchaikovsky's other work The Nutcracker: one Christmas, Drosselmeyer gives a wooden doll to his niece Marie, who rejects its ugliness but later realises it is magical. He is not present in the manga. Voiced by: Noboru Mitani (Japanese), Marty Fleck (English)
- Edel (エデル Ederu ) is a life-sized wooden puppet with an organ grinder and a tray of creatively named jewelry. She gives cryptic advice and tells stories to Duck. Drosselmeyer created Edel to act as narrator in his stead and originally without her own emotions, though she ends up developing them after interacting with Duck. She sacrifices herself in a fire to save Fakir and to provide a guiding light for Mytho and Princess Tutu to safety during the finale of the first season. She then asks them to dance a pas de deux before she is completely consumed by the flames. In the manga, Edel is portrayed as the human owner of a shop where Duck sees a tutu she admires. As a gift, Edel gives her a necklace with an egg-shaped jewel, and makes her promise to come back again. There she also seems to take Drosselmeyer's place, encouraging both Princess Tutu and Princess Kraehe. In the second volume, she is revealed as plotting to revive The Raven within herself. Edel is a German term and suffix for other words, that means "noble". Voiced by: Akiko Hiramatsu (Japanese), Christine Auten (English)
- Uzura (うずら Uzura ) is a toddler-like doll created by Charon (Fakir and Mytho's adoptive father) from Edel's ashes. She plays a small drum and semi-inadvertently helps Duck. However, whenever she helps Duck turn back into a girl with a splash of water, awkwardness comes for both Duck and Fakir (as ducks do not wear clothing). Uzura often adds the suffix –zura to her sentences and is very curious, fixated throughout the series on figuring out what love is. Uzura is absent in the manga.Voiced by: Erino Hazuki (Japanese), Christine Auten (English)
- Autor (あおとあ Aotoa ) is a somewhat snobbish music student at the Academy who is obsessed with Drosselmeyer and his powers. After realizing that Fakir is a descendant of Drosselmeyer, Autor becomes very interested in him and encourages him to use the reality-altering power of writing. At one point, Rue tries to seduce Autor in order to feed his heart to her father; Author however professes he loves her. This makes Rue doubt The Raven's words that only he and the Prince could love her and conflicted, lets Autor go. He does not appear in the manga. Voiced by: Yuu Urata (Japanese), Adam Conlon (English)
- Pike (ぴけ Pike ) is an outspoken, tomboyish character, and one of Duck's two best friends from her class. In the second season of the anime, she is the first attempted victim of Mytho after The Raven's blood possesses him, and she almost loses her heart. However, Tutu is able to dance with her and save her from that fate. In the manga, she is replaced by a girl named Mai. Voiced by: Sachi Matsumoto (Japanese), Cynthia Martinez (English)
- Lilie (りりえ Ririe ), Duck's other best friend from dance class, who is constantly trying to push her into a doomed relationship with Mytho and later Fakir. She tends to romanticize star-crossed lovers, gleefully anticipating any such relationship to fail. In the manga, she is replaced by a girl named Yuma. Voiced by: Yuri Shiratori (Japanese), Sasha Paysinger (English)
- Mr. Cat (猫先生 Neko-sensei ) is the dance teacher at the Academy. He is one of the few anthropomorphised characters from the anime to appear in the manga, and plays a similar role in both. He appears to be obsessed with marriage, and frequently threatens misbehaving female students with marrying him if they do not reform. In the anime, Mr. Cat particularly makes this threat to Duck, due to her lack of concentration during practice as well as her constant tardiness. Despite his quirks, he is a competent teacher and offers words of wisdom and advice to his students. At the end of the anime, Mr. Cat is shown as a normal cat again and paired up with a female cat, walking with their kittens. Voiced by: Yasunori Matsumoto (Japanese), TJP (English)
- Narrator, an unnamed female voice that presents a short tale in the prologue before each episode that is often related to the theme of the episode's title. Her voice also narrates a few other situations, such as the split-episode previews and closing of Chapter of the Fledgling (only in the TV version, but also in the DVD extras). Voiced by: Kyoko Kishida (Japanese) Jennie Welch (English 1st) Marcy Bannor (English 2nd)
Princess Tutu was originally aired in two seasons. The first season, "Kapitel des Eies" ("Chapter of the Egg"), consisted of 13 half-hour episodes. The second season, "Kapitel des Junges" ("Chapter of the Fledgling") in R2 DVDs, and "Kapital des Kükens" ("Chapter of the Chick") in R1 DVDs, was aired as 25 quarter-hour episodes and one half-hour episode; to conform to the format of the time slot, each episode was halved. These were brought back together in the DVD release as 13 complete episodes.
Ritsuko Okazaki sang both the opening theme Morning Grace and the ending theme Although my Love is Small. Throughout the series, a classical style purveys as the soundtrack, which includes recordings of such classical composers like Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Strauss II, and Erik Satie.
A manga adaptation of the series was written by Mizuo Shinonome. It was published in Japan by Akita Shoten in the shōnen manga magazine Champion Red and collected in two tankōbon volumes in 2003. It was released in North America by ADV Manga in late 2004 and early 2005.
- Martin, Theron (June 17, 2005). "Princess Tutu DVD 1: Marchen". Anime News Network. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
- "ADV Films Shuts Down, Parent Transfers All Assets to Other Companies". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- "Anime Boston Licensing Roundup". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- "Section23 Films Announces October Slate". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- Cooper, Liann (November 20, 2004). "Sugar Rush - RTO". Anime News Network.