DVD cover art for volume 1 of the ADV Films North American release.
|Genre||Ballet-themed Musical, Fantasy, Magical girl, Comedy, Drama, Metafiction, Romance|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Junichi Sato
|Studio||Hal Film Maker|
|Network||NHK, Kids Station, Anime Network|
|Original run||August 16, 2002 – May 23, 2004|
|Written by||Mizuo Shinonome|
|Published by||Akita Shoten|
|Original run||March 20, 2003 – July 17, 2003|
Princess Tutu (Japanese: プリンセスチュチュ Hepburn: 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. The first season of the anime series was broadcast in Japan in 2002 and the second season in 2004. The anime series was also adapted into a two-volume manga. Both the manga and anime series were licensed by ADV Films in 2004 for distribution in North America.
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."
Once there was a writer named Drosselmeyer, who had the power to make his stories come to life. But he died before he could finish his final tale, The Prince and The Raven, leaving the two titular characters locked in an eternal battle. After many years had passed, the Raven managed to break free from the story and escape into the real world, and the Prince pursued him. To seal away the Raven's evil, Prince Mytho shattered his own heart with his sword, causing him to lose all his memories and emotions.
Drosselmeyer, now a ghost, decides the story must have an ending. He finds it in the form of a little duck, who has fallen in love with Mytho. He gives her a magic pendant that can transform her, first into an ordinary human girl, then into the graceful ballerina Princess Tutu, another character from The Prince and The Raven. As Tutu, it's Duck's job to find Mytho's heart shards, each containing a different emotion, and return them to him, until his heart is whole again.
But not everyone wants Mytho to get his heart back. Rue, the Raven's daughter reborn as a human, has fallen in love with him too, and worries he might not return her feelings if he has a heart. Her desire to stop him regaining his emotions unleashes her ability to transform into Princess Kraehe, Tutu's evil counterpart. Fakir, the boy who found and took care of Mytho after he escaped the story, also tries to stop Tutu, fearing that the Raven will be unleashed if Mytho's heart is mended, and Mytho will die fighting it.
What's more, Duck learns that part of Princess Tutu's story is she can never confess her love to Mytho, or else she'll turn into a speck of light and vanish. However, it becomes clear that Mytho wants his heart restored, so despite Fakir and Kraehe's interference, she persists.
Eventually Fakir accepts Mytho's choice and decides to help Tutu, even discovering her true identity as Duck and becoming good friends with her. He also learns he's a descendant of Drosselmeyer, meaning he too has the power to make what he writes a reality. Rue finds out she's not the Raven's daughter, but a human child he stole to serve him.
With most of Mytho's heart returned to him, the seal trapping the Raven begins to break. Finally able to feel love again, Mytho realizes he loves Rue - just as the Raven kidnaps her. Duck discovers her pendant is the final heart shard, meaning if she gives up she must also give up her human life and being Princess Tutu. She eventually finds the courage to do so, becoming a mere duck again.
Mytho and the Raven battle once more. When the fight turns bleak, Mytho considers shattering his heart again. Duck begins dancing to show him he must not give up. As she does, Fakir writes a story about how she never stops, no matter how many times the Raven's minions attack her. Together they create hope, which gives Mytho the strength he needs to rescue Rue and defeat the Raven.
Mytho asks Rue to be his princess and they return to his kingdom inside the story. Duck and Fakir continue their friendship. With nothing left to do, Drosselmeyer departs in search of another story.
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.
North American DVD releases
In 2004 ADV Films announced that they had licensed the anime series for distribution in North America. ADV Films produced English adaptations for all episodes and, beginning in 2005, the series was periodically released as single DVD "volumes" that each contained several episodes. In 2007 the series was released as a complete DVD collection of all 26 episodes. In 2011 AEsir Holdings announced the licensing of the series and the release of a complete DVD collection of all 26 episodes distributed by Section23 Films.
- Marchen (DVD 1), episodes 1-5, release date: 2005-01-25
- Traum (DVD 2), episodes 6-9, release date: 2005-11-29
- Erwachen (DVD 3), episodes 10-13, release date: 2006-01-24
- Prinz und Rabe (DVD 4)), episodes 14-18, release date: 2006-03-21
- Schwert und Feder (DVD 5), episodes 19-22, release date: 2006-05-23
- Abschied (DVD 6), episodes 23-26, release date: 2006-07-25
- DVD Collection (DVD 1-6), episodes 1-26, release date: 2007-11-20
- Complete Collection (DVD), episodes 1-26, release date: 2009-04-21
- Complete Collection (DVD), episodes 1-26, release date: 2011-10-11
- The first DVD volume (DVD 1) included episodes 1 through 5. Theron Martin reviewed this volume for the Anime News Network and awarded grades from "C+" (art) to "A" (music).
- The second DVD volume (DVD 2) included episodes 6 through 9. Zac Bertschy reviewed this volume for the Anime News Network and awarded grades from "B+" (story) to "A" (most everything else).
- The fourth DVD volume (DVD 4) included episodes 14 through 18. Theron Martin reviewed this volume and awarded grades from "B" (animation) to "A+" (music).
- The sixth DVD volume (DVD 6) included episodes 23 through 26. Theron Martin reviewed this volume and awarded grades from "B+" (animation & art) to "A+" (music).
- The 2011 Complete Collection (DVD) release was reviewed by Chris Beveridge for the media blog The Fandom Post and given an overall grade of "A-".
A manga adaptation of the anime series was written by Mizuo Shinonome and published in Japan by Akita Shoten in the shōnen manga magazine Champion Red. Two tankōbon volumes of the manga series were published in 2003. The Japanese manga series was translated to English and published in North America by ADV Manga in two volumes.
|No.||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN||English release date||English ISBN|
|01||March 20, 2003||—||November 30, 2004||ISBN 978-1-4139-0193-1|
|When a spellbound pendant transforms Ahiru into Princess Tutu, she thinks she can finally dance her way into her beloved Mytho's heart, but there's one problem. Mytho doesn't have his heart! Princess Tutu will have to twirl her way through a dark and lonely world as she searches for the missing pieces of her true love's broken heart and wounded spirit.|
|02||July 17, 2003||—||January 25, 2005||ISBN 978-1-4139-0235-8|
|Ahiru is now the beautiful and graceful Princess Tutu, but a happy ending for this fairy tale is still out of reach! She may have returned the pieces of Mytho's broken heart, but the jealous Princess Kraehe is determined to thwart her. Yet an even more intimidating enemy awaits Princess Tutu, and nothing but fate will decide who wins the prince's heart...|
Note: The English language manga continues to use the Japanese name "Ahiru" rather than the name "Duck" used in the English language version of the anime TV series.
- Martin, Theron (June 17, 2005). "Princess Tutu DVD 1: Marchen". Review. Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- "Anime Boston Saturday Licensing". News. Anime News Network. April 4, 2004. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "Section23 Films Announces October Slate". Press Release. Anime News Network. July 20, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
- Agnerian, Maral (March 3, 2003). "Princess Tutu". Review. Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- Beard, Jeremy A. "Princess Tutu". Anime Reviews. T.H.E.M. Retrieved 2013-12-18.
- Bertschy, Zac (October 26, 2005). "Princess Tutu DVD 2: Traum". Review. Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- Martin, Theron (May 1, 2006). "Princess Tutu DVD 4: Prinz und Rabe". Review. Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- Martin, Theron (August 8, 2006). "Princess Tutu DVD 6: Abschied". Review. Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- Beveridge, Chris (October 11, 2011). "Princess Tutu Complete Series Anime DVD Review". All News. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
- "Watch Princess Tutu". Anime Network. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
- Cooper, Liann (November 20, 2004). "Sugar Rush". RIGHT TURN ONLY!!. Anime News Network. Retrieved December 18, 2013.