Clumsy, easily flustered ballet student Ahiru attends ballet school, where she has a crush on her sempai, Mytho. He is one of Kinkan Academy’s top dancers but seems lonely and detached from the world around him. One day, the enigmatic storyteller Drosselmeyer appears before Ahiru and tells her the truth: she’s not a human, but a duck! She has been changed into a girl to help the prince regain his emotions. Ahiru must transform into Princess Tutu to recover the pieces of his heart that have been scattered throughout the village. Can the magical ballerina fix the prince’s broken heart?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Musical and thematic references to classic works; treat for eyes and ears
Lows: Pace slows in later episodes
Combining the music and themes from ballet and classical compositions, Princess Tutu is a charming mahou shoujo anime unlike any other. Accompanying the music are beautiful character designs, a storybook setting and outstanding performances by the seiyuu, who put their hearts into the story. Even with the missteps in the middle of the series, Princess Tutu regains its footing to captivate all the way to the grand finale.
Because Princess Tutu features the magic of storytelling and the spirit of fairy tales, it’s no surprise the show receives due attention to its own story and design. The music from Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Wagner and more, the picturesque setting of the town and the eye-catching character designs from the designer of Magic Users Club all come together to create a series pleasing to both the eye and the ear. This is a classical music lover’s dream come true. Not only does the series use the music from many plays and ballets, it incorporates elements from those stories into its own, most significantly, The Nutcracker.
This anime only begins to drag in its second half, where repetitive episodes threaten to bring down the story and noticeably slow down its pacing. Fortunately, the series picks back up to complete with a strong finish. Adding to the strength of this anime are the impressive performances by the voice actors who meet the challenge of portraying characters with animal and human characteristics. Katou Nanae, in particular, displays her talent by capturing the essences of both a girl and a duck in the character of Ahiru.
If the idea of ballet or magical girls makes your nose wrinkle, it’s safe to say this series will not have much of an appeal to you. But if you’re a fan of the mahou shoujo genre or even a classical music enthusiast, Princess Tutu should be added to your must-see list.
Princess Tutu can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.