Having lost its storyteller, the story is now wandering in search of its conclusion…
This episode, Duck starts to grapple with Princess Tutu’s fate in the original story, and how it relates to her.
Duck: When I’m Princess Tutu, I can dance any dance I want. But is that me, or someone else? I’m just a girl in the probationary class, or rather, when you get down to it, I’m just a duck.
As Princess Tutu, she seems to be certain of her feelings for Mytho, but as a girl, not only is she unsure about those feelings, but she’s tempted to deny them altogether in light of Tutu’s alleged fate. She places much of her own worth in her role as Princess Tutu, but she also tries to distance herself from it because she’s not ready to contemplate “vanishing”.
Rue features prominently in this episode, between her opening performance and all the stuff with Mytho.
Rue: Trust me, Mytho, you do love me. […] You don’t need to understand, and you don’t need a heart, either.
It’s clear at this point that both Rue and Fakir at the very least know about Mytho’s heartless state, and neither of them is happy that he’s getting his feelings back. Fakir suspects that Rue is somehow responsible (because “Who else could it be?”), but she’s not dumb enough to suspect Fakir. On a side note, Fakir is starting to get violent and verbally abusive toward Mytho…more on that next time.
So this episode is written by perhaps the most notable writer on the show besides Yokote: Chiaki Konaka (best known for his work on Serial Experiments Lain and Digimon). He’s a talented writer with a good hand for subtle character development, and we’ll be hearing more from him as the series goes on.
This week’s episodic plot is a ghost story centered around the titular ballet (the show tells you pretty much all you need to know about Giselle to enjoy the story). The second half of the episode, while not exactly scary, certainly succeeds at creating and sustaining an eerie atmosphere, and the ending actually does feel a little bittersweet.
Perhaps most importantly, we start to see the cracks in Rue’s armor. I said in the last post that Rue cares about Mytho as an object – but she does truly care about him. As soon as she realizes that he’s in trouble (spoiler: Mytho needs to be saved a lot), she steps in to save him, or at least try to. She’s doing everything in her power to help him, but it’s not enough, and ultimately she sees Princess Tutu jumping in to save the day.
I definitely appreciate how this episode shows the physical stamina required for ballet. “If only I had done more basic training!” is a bit on the nose (especially since the basic training Duck did had diddly squat to do with her performance as Tutu), but I’ll take it.
This shot just makes me laugh. Please enjoy.
Until next time…