Once upon a time, there was a young man with a beautiful face. The people loved the handsome young man, but he never showed the slightest interest in loving anyone. This was because all he loved was himself. When the young man, who neglected to love and sought only to be loved, found someone for whom he truly cared, he realized that he had lost even the words to express those feelings.
This is a wonderful glorious episode. Thank you, Michiko Yokote, for blessing the world with Femio.
Femio: This cursed body! Even as they are drawn to its beauty, its perfection halts their approach. […] OH HEAVEN, pour judgement upon THIS SINNER!
This episode is just so much fun, and we kind of need some fun at this point in the series. But it’s not quite pure fun, because the episode is really about Rue.
The Raven: If you are a girl of noble raven birth, cease this incessant whining! Hurry and fetch me a heart!
Princess Kraehe: I understand. Please calm yourself, Father! Poor Father…
One thing about princesses is that they receive that title because of the men in their lives, whether by marrying a prince or being a daughter of a king or lord. Rue has only men in her life, a father and a boyfriend. This episode opens with the father and closes with the boyfriend. Also I guess there’s Femio.
Femio: I am qualified to be a true prince, one who loves everyone and is also loved by everyone.
Rue: What splendid confidence. What blinding pride. Enough to make me hate you. You’re quite wonderful.
When Mytho has a little pang of the heart and faints, Rue decides to prove her worth (and sate her Father’s hunger) by using Femio as a sacrifice. It’s almost laughably absurd that she would ever believe that Femio genuinely loves anyone but himself, but apparently she’s so certain that no one else could possibly love her that she buys even this tiniest of possibilities. It is very clear that she believes what Femio says, which itself speaks volumes about how she interacts with Mytho and the Raven.
And speaking of Mytho…
Mytho: Love shines most beautifully when you feel so strongly that you would give up your life for that person, doesn’t it?
Mr. Cat: It’s possible it does, but love cannot keep shining forever on that feeling alone. You can’t marry on that feeling alone.
Then there’s a very anticlimactic climax, which is summarized best by Duck:
Fakir: Did something happen?
Duck: Well, no, I feel kind of like something happened and kind of like it didn’t.
Fakir: How descriptive.
As anticlimactic (and hilarious) as it may have been, though, it was hardly inconsequential.
Rue: You knew, didn’t you? […] That I’d be unable to capture a sacrifice myself.
Mytho: So it didn’t go well, I take it? You weren’t loved so much that he would give up his life. Poor baby.
Drosselmeyer: Oh, dear. The second princess is a princess who isn’t loved no matter how much she confesses her own love.
Well you don’t have to be so happy about it, Drosselmeyer.
This episode basically lays out how Rue is trapped in two extremely unhealthy relationships, which feed into one another to destroy her self-esteem, if not her very self. She sees value only in her role as Princess Kraehe, because Kraehe is loved by two men and Rue is loved by none. She thinks that Mytho is finally hers, that she’s won against Tutu, but at what cost?
Next time: Fakir takes the stage again…