Come dance with me.
I absolutely adore this show. It might seem like a bit of a leap from The Chronicles of Narnia to an anime about a magical ballerina princess, but the two series actually have more in common than you might think. They stand at opposite ends of the same literary reference pool, with Narnia drawing from ancient European mythology and fairy tales, while Princess Tutu employs ballet, theater, opera, and fairy tales (so basically drawing from more modern mythology). Also, they’re both very intelligent stories made for children. Whether Princess Tutu is actually appropriate for children I leave to the parent’s discretion, but I promise it is worth your time if you give it a chance.
Whereas Narnia had a single (if versatile) narrative voice from C.S. Lewis, anime requires many voices to work in accord. The main voices in Princess Tutu are Junichi Sato (series director, of whom I have previously written), Michiko Yokote (head screenwriter), and Ikuko Ito (original story idea-person & animation director). One of the fun things about Tutu is seeing the story grow and change over time, as the creators admit they themselves couldn’t have predicted where the story would take them.
Unfortunately, Princess Tutu is currently unavailable on free legal streaming platforms, but it is on Hulu and The Anime Network (both subscription services now). You can also try your local library and/or interlibrary loan – or for my friends, if you’re ever in the area, I’m always ready to sit down and marathon the show with someone new (as certain of my acquaintances will attest). Even if you don’t have the opportunity to watch along with me, though (or if you have no interest in it whatsoever), I’d still invite you to read along, spoilers and all. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t care too much about spoilers (and yes, while I’ll still try not to spoil future episodes, I know I can be terrible about dropping strong hints); this is one story where I honestly think some people would benefit from being spoiled. Allow me to explain.
First of all, I personally didn’t fully appreciate it until I had rewatched it. Knowing where it was going allowed me to focus on the characters instead of the plot (and it didn’t hurt that I had watched several of the featured ballets in the interim). Princess Tutu is really more about the execution and the experience than shocking or unexpected plot twists. I always cry (or close to it) at the end, and I know the story backwards and forwards (I’ve even gotten teary-eyed listening to The Nutcracker…). It’s good old fashioned catharsis. So I don’t think it particularly matters how much you know going in, and since some people are unimpressed with the first episode (personally I didn’t get really invested until the end of episode three, and some fans contend that it doesn’t get good until episode 7), I hope my series will provide a venue for those people to make a more informed decision.
Sub vs. Dub (for those who care): I intend to watch the English dub, as it is a wonderful dub, the dubbed version is the only version available streaming, it’s an image-driven show which is (in my opinion) best experienced without subtitles, and honestly, I just prefer the English track to the Japanese. I’ll admit that the Japanese Mytho is much more “princely” in the early episodes, but I actually prefer the cartoonier English dub, especially in season 2. As such, I’ll also be using the English names. Don’t pester me about calling her Duck; I won’t pester anyone about calling her Ahiru.
Since I’m only posting once a week now, I might write more non-serial posts (which may or may not relate to the show).
Come along, children, follow me
To that mysterious, magical, beautiful, and tragical
Realm of story…